How to Install a Coolant Temperature Sensor on a 2002 Ford Windstar


The Windstar arrived in Ford's lineup in the 1995 model year. The Windstar was a complement to Ford's larger, rear-wheel drive Aerostar, until it replaced its larger counterpart in 1998. The Windstar name remained until 2004, when Ford redesigned the minivan and renamed it the Freestar. The 2002 Windstar's 200-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 has a small sensor -- the coolant temperature sensor -- that measures the temperature of the engine coolant and relays the information to the vehicle's computer. The computer uses the sensor's information to know when to turn the cooling fan on and off. The computer also uses this information to display the temperature on the temperature gauge on the instrument cluster.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet
  • Deep-well socket set
  • Liquid thread sealer
  • Torque wrench
  • Allow the Windstar engine to cool enough to touch. Slowly open the radiator cap to relieve any residual pressure in the cooling system.

  • Find the coolant temperature sensor, the electrical component located on the top, passenger's side of the engine block -- it has a small two-pin wiring harness. Pull up on the locking tab on the coolant temperature sensor's two-pin wiring harness, and pull the harness from the sensor.

  • Remove the coolant temperature sensor from the engine, using a ratchet and deep-well socket.

  • Apply a thin coat of liquid thread sealer to the new sensor's threads, if not already coated. Allow the sealer to dry for the time specified in the sealer's instructions.

  • Hand-tighten the coolant temperature sensor into the top of the engine. Torque the sensor to 18 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and deep-well socket. Plug the two-pin wiring harness into the new coolant temperature sensor.

  • Replace any lost fluid, and replace the radiator cap.

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