How to Change a Thermostat on a 1988 Chevrolet Celebrity

Driving a 1988 Chevrolet Celebrity means you must pay extra attention to the engine's vital systems like the cooling system. Over the years, the engine picks up sludge and this sludge can cause serious mechanical breakdowns. A failed thermostat is designed to fail safely. This means the engine stays cool and won't overheat. However, if the sludge builds up around the thermostat, it can block the coolant from doing its job. If this is the case, your Celebrity can suffer severe damage. Staying ahead of this premature wear of the cooling system can add more miles to your car.

Tools Used: PVC gasket maker, Adjustable wrench, Screwdriver, Scraper, Shop towels

Change a Thermostat

Trace the radiator hose to the location where it is connected to the engine. The part it is connected to is the thermostat housing cover. Because of the age of the Chevrolet, it's recommended that you inspect the radiator hose for dry rot or cracks; if it has them, it should be replaced. Remove the clamp that holds the radiator hose onto the thermostat gasket cover and pull the hose off the cover.

Remove the housing cover by removing the bolts with an adjustable wrench. Due to age, the bolts can be hard to remove. An adjustable wrench will help you gain the leverage needed to break the bolts free.

Pull the thermostat out of the Celebrity intake manifold. It may be hard to lift out because of years of sludge buildup in the coolant system. It may take some force to remove the thermostat.

Place a shop towel or paper towel into the hole and then scrape the old thermostat housing gasket off the intake manifold. Do not get any old gasket material into the hole. If you do, it must be removed or you risk clogging the coolant system.

Cover the gasket area with PVC gasket maker and allow it to cure for 15 minutes before placing the thermostat housing cover back onto the intake manifold. Once you place the cover back on, bolt it into place, using the old bolts.

Place the hose back onto the thermostat housing cover and place the clamp back onto the hose.

Tips & Warnings

Older engines tend to have small imperfections in the intake manifold and in parts that must mate up together and seal. You can use a gasket designed for your 1988 Celebrity, but PVC gasket maker will fill in any imperfections that can cause leakage.

Your Celebrity engine should be cool when you complete the job to prevent the risk of injury. Coolant in a heated engine is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and you could be burned if you work on the cooling system when the engine is hot.

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