Is it good to remove thermostat to stop overheating – car talk – nigeria electricity 101 presentation


elitper: Dear Nlanders, just took delivery of 1996 camry. The car is good except that it is overheating. I am divided between those who say I should yank off the thermostat and those who think I should change the radiator altogether. A couple of people also feel I should just give the radiator a good wash. Wise ones, please help.

If you are talking about the cooling system "radiator" thermostat, don’t even think about removing it. Contrary to popular myth, the thermostat sets the minimum temperature that the engine operates at, not the maximum. The maximum operating temperature is a function of engine ouput (load) and how well designed and maintained the cooling system is. On almost all modern cars, the cooling system has plenty of "overhead" to manage heat disipation under even the worst conditions. This is a direct result of the heat/cold driving cycle testing requirments for modern emission controlled engines.

If you remove the thermostat, the engine will run at a variable temperature and on a modern car this is usually too cold because of the large cooling capacities. This temperature is unlikely to be that which is required for proper operation of the engine management system. The end result of this is likely to be radically increased fuel consumption because of the Automatic Choke staying open for longer periods while it waits for the engine to fully warm up, greater emissions, and the setting of MIL or CEL "fault" conditions in the ECU. If the system runs rich for a long period of time, it can also cause a pehenomenon known as cylinder oil scrubbing in which the rich fuel/air mixture "scrubs" the oil off of the cylinder walls, resulting in premature piston/ring/cylinder wear and engine failure.

If you are experiencing high temps, change the thermostat, as it may not be opening all the way or may be stuck in a partially open position causing the high temps. Also carry out a coolant pressure test and check if your cooling fans are working properly.

Few months ago (I think 3 months), there was this under Mango Tree mechanic workshop not far from my office (those who have been to my office would know the place). I was passing and I saw a Toyota Sienna (1st generation) they were working on. I saw a tokunbo engine on the ground and saw the mechanic with his boys trying to remove the old (probably dead engine) from the engine bay. What caught my attention was the used (tokunbo) engine on the ground they wanted to swap in. The thermostat housing was removed and I saw the thermostat on the ground, near the engine. Meaning, they just signed the death warrant of the newly purchased engine even before it was mounted in the car.

Sometime in February this year, I drove to Kubwa (not really Kubwa, but somewhere near Kubwa which I have forgotten the name) to troubleshoot a lady’s French car. While I was waiting for her to come and pick me up where I got stuck because I couldn’t the street name she gave me, I spotted another Under Mango Tree Mechanic Workshop close to where I parked my SV D9. A Toyota Yaris Sedan, 2nd generation, with bonnet opened. I got curious, not because they were working on the Yaris, but because I saw the Yaris transmission on the ground. So I got close. I realized that the car had auto transmission replacement. So the newly purchased one ( probably a tokunbo) was already in. What I saw next shocked me. The ATF they refilled the purchased auto transmission with. The brand is "Kings", I think. At least I know that oil. It cost about N300 or so and its locally made, which Taxi drivers use for topping up their Power steering system. Now, someone suffered auto transmission failure headache, spent huge amount of money, bought another transmission and then kill it before he or she even started using it. Like the other, he signed the death warrant for the transmission on day 1.

If I would suffer such nightmare of losing an engine or transmission, probably borrow money or empty my saving to replaced the failed engine or transmission, I would be careful of what goes inside the transmission or what goes out of the engine, so that what happened before wouldn’t repeat itself, at least, in the near future.

Giving mechanic money to buy ATF he thinks its ok for your transmission and just walk away, pending when he calls you to come and pick the car when the gearbox replacement is concluded, doesn’t show seriousness on ones part. Not being their when your newly purchased engine is been swapped in doesn’t show seriousness of the vehicle owner either. So for one to say "the mechanics did all that because the owners were not there", doesn’t follow. Why?

To get a man to do something for you, just admire and praise his car in his presence or before him. Then consider your request granted. But talk down on his car, then better find another person for that favor you seek. No matter how happy looking or old a man’s car is, he wants his car to turn heads or least, "It makes sense, isn’t it?".

Now if thats how we feel about our cars, why then do we treat them the way we do, yet expect them not to embarrass us before others? You may say, "After all, they are piece of metals." But when your fellow man wash down your car with negative remarks , you will put your 36 in your mouth into action, looking for who to eat alive.

Give attention to a little part of you which is your car. A vehicle is not some smartphones or some electronics you can use anyhow and get away it. A car determines if you live to breath the next moment or not. If you treat it carelessly, it ends your life the next moment. If you cherish and handle it like it meant something to you, it will keep you safe, by bringing yu back alive everything you drive out with it. Its a choice, you the owner has to make yourself.