Mechanics

DODGE STRATUS THERMOSTAT PROBLEM

2004 Dodge Stratus • 100,000 miles

Just had installed a thermostat (high difficulty). Car takes forever to warm-up, absolutely no heat inside either. Never seen anything like this. Thermostat was install by highly rated shop. ($200) It takes about 30 minutes to get heat inside!
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Douglasdixon
January 27, 2013.



How was it before the thermostat replacement?

Saturntech9
Jan 27, 2013.
It blew the upper radiator hose/coolant switch housing (plastic) they do this a lot from what I've dug up on the web. So that was repaired along with the new thermostat. Unless the water-pump is in the process of failing, (2.7 they are a mess, up in the engine, driven by timing chain). It started to make a rattling noise upon initial start-up and soon quiets down. I know the bearings in these don't last much longer than 70,000, this one just turned100,000. It set off a code twice; P0128 engine wasn't warming up fast enough. Freeze-frame data stated only 165 degrees @ 80 mph, and 3,000 rpm. Fuel trims looked good. This thing takes forever to warm-up. (30min or more, and no inside heater for at least 40min.) All the coolant levels are correct. I work on cars for a living and have never come across anything like this.

Tiny
Douglasdixon
Jan 27, 2013.
The water pump is working pretty good right now if it takes takes that long heat up. Sounds like defective thermostat I have had ones right out of the box even name brand ones like stants. That's the only thing I can think of because if the coolant wasn't circulating till the thermostat opened at the correct temp then thecoolant would warm up a lot quicker. Or there iisn't a thermostat in the engine at all. That's the only two things I can think of.

Saturntech9
Jan 27, 2013.
Yes, that was the only thing I could think of also. Due to the difficulty of replacing the stat' on this model, (its a real bear) I just wanted to throw this problem out there before I go back in to replace the stat' again. I agree with you that it doesn't seem to even have a stat' in it, or like you say, it's stuck wide open. Or the possibility of being installed incorrectly, or the wrong part even. It was done at a reputable shop. So, I guess it fell into my lap now. I always get the hard ones!
But I want to thank you very much for your time and thoughts on this matter as its nice to have someone to throw ideas around with. And you can be sure that I'll be throwing the next stat' in some boiling water before installing!
Thanks again!

Tiny
Douglasdixon
Jan 27, 2013.
So how did it go you find the problem?

Saturntech9
Jan 28, 2013.
Hello there!
I am having the same problems. I have found a couple of interesting things: First, there is a special procedure for bleeding down the cooling system, it says to consult the dealer for details in the manual out of glove box. I will add that it says it is imperative to do so. Just go to ask. Com and put in special proceedure for coolant on a 2.7. I am hoping that is the problem for me.
I have just boiled the thermostat in water on the range with digital thermometer, they both checked good (new and old). This is very strange. I have also noticed the temp gauge in the car is not reaching HOT, a matter of fact the thing is setting about half way. My thoughts were that the system is not bleed correctly and there is a air pocket somewhere keeping it from circulating through the upper housing where the temp sensor is, ( not even letting the fans kick on) if this is so, I am hopping that I never over heated enough to cause damage to say the oil pump, heads, gaskets, etc. Well, I am awaiting a part, (timing chain tensioner) from ebvay. Then I will know more. These are just my thoughts and findings to this point.
I would recommend being very leery of running and thinking the inside temp says fine and well, check your lower radiator hose. Mine is cold, that is not good. This lead me to pulling the water pump(NIGHTMARE: (((( Turned out the water pump was fine, but the seal was a little rough and the tensioner had a little build up on it. Please keep this going and let me know what you all find. Thanks in advance! I will do the same.

Tiny
618murray
Feb 4, 2013.
A couple of other things I wanted to mention. The heat worked great one night and most of the time I had very little heat. I was noticing my reservoir was bubbling over when I shut the car off. I bought the car like this. So, I am not sure of the preliminary symptoms. I know this is tricky and we must find out or it spells disaster for our engines. This is a poor design ( in my opinion) and they say there is a sludge problem, that is pron to destroying these 2.7liter engines with small oil passages. (Sludge=oil + coolant)Well, the seal looked newer on my water pump and although newer, it looked like it was coming apart and seeping from the extensive heat\pressure from the steam pockets trapped. I have done lots of research on the subject and there is not a answer to our problem yet. The closest thing you will find to that is, my theory above this comment. I hope this simple fix is the cure for all of our problems. I am not saying this could not be your thermostat, the symptoms are kinda the same. By the way, the thermostat really gave me some trouble. Had to remove the alternator and a\c compressor to get the thermo housing off, and it was still tight. I am just saying to the guys that haven't pulled the thermostat yet, I would think twice. Try the correct bleeding procedure first.

Tiny
618murray
Feb 4, 2013.
Yes, now the one that I was working on has started to get hot and boil over, and that just happened over-night. From one extreme to another. These cars are such a pain! I thank you for writing me back with your thoughts and ideas. Yeah, I went through the bleeding procedure a couple of times, but now the top radiator hose is not getting hot at all, while the surge-tank is boiling over. I was getting ready to go into the water-pump (dreaded) and then got ill. So it may go to a shop. If so, I'll still keep you informed as to the out-come of this situation. The design/engineers at Chrysler sure didn't do the consumer any favors when they developed this nightmare. I thought that the water-pumps in Honda Accords were the worst, but now, I have changed my mind. What where they thinking? Oh. I know.$$$$$

Tiny
Douglasdixon
Feb 5, 2013.