How to Replace the Thermostat on a 1997 Acura 3.2TL

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If the engine in your Acura 3.2TL is overheating, chances are you will need to replace its thermostat. It's a relatively simple process that can be performed with basic tools. Make sure the engine is completely cool before beginning. While the engine may appear to be cool to the touch, the engine coolant could be hot enough to cause serious burns.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Drain pan
  • Screwdriver set
  • Scraper
  • Open the engine compartment of the Acura 3.2TL and prop the hood with the prop rod. Use a wrench to loosen the nut on the battery terminal and disconnect the negative cable from the battery to prevent accidentally shorting any of the electrical parts on the car.

  • Open the valve on the bottom of the radiator and drain the engine coolant into a drain pan. Remove the upper radiator hose from the thermostat housing using a screwdriver to loosen the hose clamp.

  • Loosen the bolts on the thermostat housing using a wrench and remove the housing from the engine. Remove the thermostat from the engine and discard it. Note the way the thermostat is situated on the engine as the new one will have to go in the same way.

  • Remove the old gasket material using the scraper to remove any gasket material stuck on the engine and thermostat housing. Place a new thermostat in the engine. Install a new gasket and replace the thermostat housing. Tighten the thermostat housing bolts using a wrench.

  • Connect the upper radiator hose to the thermostat housing and tighten the hose clamp with a screwdriver. Refill the radiator and reservoir with engine coolant. Connect the negative cable to the battery and tighten the terminal nut using a wrench. Start the Acura 3.2TL and allow the engine to reach operating temperature to be sure it does not overheat.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you keep the engine coolant clean when you drain it, you can reuse it when the project is complete.
  • Engine coolant has properties that household pets find to be sweet and they will drink it if they have access. Drinking the coolant could be fatal to them. Always keep engine coolant out of the reach of animals, and never drain coolant into the ground.

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