How to Install the Thermostat on a 1988 Buick LeSabre 3.0

The thermostat on the 1988 Buick LeSabre is located partially inside the intake manifold and the thermostat housing. Because the thermostat sits higher than the fluid level in the radiator, replacing the thermostat in the LeSabre is an uncomplicated task. Fortunately, the thermostat housing is not hidden among engine accessories. This makes it easier to reach, remove and replace a broken thermostat.

Tools Used: Pliers, 7/16-inch socket, Ratchet, Shop towel, RTV gasket maker

Install Thermostat

Follow the upper radiator hose to the point where the hose connects to the LeSabre's engine. The metal connector to which the hose connects is the thermostat housing.

Disconnect the radiator hose from the housing by squeezing the pressure tabs on the radiator hose clamp together with a pair of pliers. With the pressure released, pull the hose off the housing. A small amount of fluid may run onto the engine block. To minimize this, hold the hose vertical for a few seconds to drain the fluid back into the radiator.

Remove the two bolts that secure the thermostat housing to the Buick's intake manifold with a 7/16-inch socket and ratchet. With the bolts removed, apply pressure on the side of the housing with the ball of your hand to break the seal between the housing and the intake.

Pull the old thermostat out of the intake manifold and plug the hole with a shop towel to prevent anything from getting into the coolant system of your Buick.

Scrape all the old gasket material off the bottom of the thermostat housing and the mating surface of the intake manifold. Brush off any debris with a shop towel.

Remove the shop towel from the intake manifold and place the new thermostat into the hole. The end with the large spring submerges into the intake manifold and the end with the pin sits inside the thermostat housing.

Place a thin bead of RTV gasket maker on the bottom edge of the thermostat gasket. Allow the RTV gasket maker to firm up for approximately 20 minutes. This creates a small layer of "skin" on the RTV.

Place the thermostat housing onto the intake manifold and bolt it into place. Do not wipe off any excess RTV. It serves as additional sealant.

Squeeze the pressure tabs on the radiator hose clamp. With pressure released, slide the hose onto the thermostat housing and then let go of the tabs.

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