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Pelican Technical Article:

Thermostat Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$18 to $40

Talent:

****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, 45-degree snap ring pliers

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)

Parts Required:

Thermostat

Hot Tip:

Be prepared for spilled coolant

Performance Gain:

Proper engine temperature

Complementary Modification:

Flush coolant system

The thermostat helps control the engines temperature. If your car is running too hot and there is the proper amount of coolant in the car and it is not leaking, or your car is taking a long time to warm up, there is a very good chance your thermostat is bad and needs to be replaced.

The thermostat on the Porsche 944 and 951 is located in the coolant pump housing on the right front of the engine. There are two styles of water pumps; both pumps hold the thermostat in an opening by using a snap ring to secure the thermostat. The older style pumps have a smaller snap ring groove (4.5mm) than the newer pumps (7mm). You will need an O-ring and a support washer when installing the thermostat into a newer style Turbo pump, as the support ring will help fill the 7mm gap. Make sure to install the O-ring, thermostat and then the 2.5mm support ring between the thermostat and snap ring.

If you are going to be working on the thermostat, make sure the car is cool and not under pressure. Working on a hot engine or one under pressure can cause serious harm and should never be attempted. Coolant is also very toxic and needs to be collected and disposed of in accordance with your local regulations. Pouring coolant down a drain or into the street is illegal. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after working around it.

If the coolant in the car is new there is no reason to replace it as long as you drain it into a clean container. Coolant is expensive and not great for the environment, so if the coolant in your car is good, try and save it to reuse.

You are going to need to safely raise and support the vehicle and remove the under engine tray. Please see our article on safely raising and supporting your Porsche 944 as well as removing the under engine tray.

With the vehicle safely raised and the under engine tray removed, you will need to drain the coolant from the radiator.
Figure 1

With the vehicle safely raised and the under engine tray removed, you will need to drain the coolant from the radiator. The drain plug is located on the lower left side of the radiator (red arrow). Please see our article on draining and bleeding the coolant system for additional information regarding bleeding the system when you are done.

With the coolant drained use a flathead screwdriver and remove the lower radiator hose (red arrow).
Figure 2

With the coolant drained use a flathead screwdriver and remove the lower radiator hose (red arrow).

Follow the hose to the coolant pump and remove the clamp and hose from the pump (red arrow).
Figure 3

Follow the hose to the coolant pump and remove the clamp and hose from the pump (red arrow). This photo shows the hose from the top, but you can access it from below.

With the hose removed you can see the thermostat in the coolant pump housing (red arrow).
Figure 4

With the hose removed you can see the thermostat in the coolant pump housing (red arrow).

Here is a close-up shot of the thermostat in the housing.
Figure 5

Here is a close-up shot of the thermostat in the housing. You will need to use a set of 45-degree snap ring pliers and remove the snap ring. Compressing the snap ring (red arrow) and removing it can take a LOT of patience. Some people have claimed to have gotten it out on the first try, while others have spent hours trying. Just remember this is the way you need to remove it, and you will need the right tool and the right set of mind.

Often you can get one side of the snap ring out (red arrow) and then walk the rest out with a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 6

Often you can get one side of the snap ring out (red arrow) and then walk the rest out with a flathead screwdriver. If you go this route, lubricate the inside of the pump to help slide it out and prevent damage to the pump housing.

This photo illustrates the thermostat with the snap ring (red arrow), the spacer (yellow arrow) and the O-ring (green arrow).
Figure 7

This photo illustrates the thermostat with the snap ring (red arrow), the spacer (yellow arrow) and the O-ring (green arrow). Installation is the reverse of removal. Make sure to install the O-ring, thermostat, spacer and snap ring in the right order. Once everything is buttoned up you will need to refill and bleed the cooling system. Please see our article on bleeding the system for additional assistance.

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