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My girlfriend has a 96 N/A 3.8 t-bird with 196k. I've never looked at the temp. guage before, but lately i've been noticing that the temp. never climbs high enough to turn the radiator fan on, usually it runs well below the "N" in "NORM", even in 55 degree weather. I've had a 3.8L before with a broken thermostat that was stuck half-way open and it exhibited these same symptoms. But when i changed the t-stat, i noticed the one in there didn't appear broken. With the new t-stat in, it cooled the same, the guage never went above the "N" in norm and the fan never turned on even after idling for 25 minutes in 45 degree weather.

When i changed the t-stat, i put it in the same way the old one was in, with the spring side going towards the hose, and the cone side going towards the motor. When looking in my 1995 ford service manual to see how much to torque the bolts, i noticed the picture showed the t-stat going in the OPPOSITE way. Is it possible that between 1995 and 1996 they made the t-stat go in the opposite way, or was the original t-stat in there BACKWARDS? Is it possible for a t-stat that's in backwards to cause PARTIAL opening resulting in the coolant never getting quite hot enough?

Thanx for any input, i know the car's got a lot of miles, but it runs strong and i'd hate to blow a head gasket!
 

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my 95 is with teh spring side towards teh motor... hers was in backwards. the only thing that really clhanged between 95/96 was the addition of a DIS, and i think the intake design ws a little different. flip it around. look at it this way.. at least it isnt overheating. mine is on the opposide end of the spectrum.
 

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Yes it is in backwards. Also be sure that the thermostat does not slide down when you install it again. I've pulled 2 apart recently and they both had slipped when they were installed.
 

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birds4us said:
Yes it is in backwards. Also be sure that the thermostat does not slide down when you install it again. I've pulled 2 apart recently and they both had slipped when they were installed.
that or stuck open like mine was......
 

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yup deff. backwards, as for the fan. turn the ac on max cool to see if it's running right. as for the gauge, the sensor wire easily comes off. if it isn't working, thats the likely culprit.
 

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doesn't the new stat have "this side to radiator" on it somewhere?
 

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It is nice
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none of the ones i have seen have writing like that on them. You definately have it wrong. the spring goes towards the motor.

_95badbird said:
doesn't the new stat have "this side to radiator" on it somewhere?
 

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birds4us said:
Yes it is in backwards. Also be sure that the thermostat does not slide down when you install it again. I've pulled 2 apart recently and they both had slipped when they were installed.
If you use Motorcraft it actually wedges in the t-stat cover (twist to lock/unlock), which would prevent slippage.:) on a N/A tbird, I'm not sure on an SC.
 

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I'm lucky if mine makes it to the N. its usually always just above the blue square!!! I just got the TSTAT changed too. now it warms up quiker but still doesn't get any hotter.
 

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yeah my temp gauge doesnt sit much above the blue box ethier, but I know it works because it got nice and hot when my fan motor went up in smoke.
 
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