Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY: Replacing the Engine Thermo Switch

Inspecting for leaks, check. Cleaning the dirty radiator, check. Removing a busted thermostat, check. After all that shebang, Ace is still overheating. I know, right? There was a moment there that I wanted to jump off a cliff. But finally, we figured out what the heck is wrong with my cooling system. Drum roll please... its was all caused by an itty-bitty thing called the Thermo Switch.

"A thermo switch sometimes called a fan switch is a temperature sensor. Usually close to the radiator in your vehicle engine this device is the one that switches on the fan as soon as the engine/ radiator reaches a set temperature." -

I can't believe it was staring us in the face the entire time. I had no idea about thermo switches until that day but why didn't I check the fan? We tested it and confirmed that the right radiator fan really wasn't turning on. A total facepalm moment.

So anyway, I was surprised to find out how easy it is to replace a thermo switch so I went ahead and tried it myself. Didn't have my nails done yet so it's perfect timing for a DIY session. :)

  • A brand new thermo switch (of course)
  • 24-inch open wrench
  • A glass of soda and chips to reward yourself when you're done.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

To Thermostat, or not to Thermostat?

 An engine thermostat works during cold engine starts. It has a valve that prevents the water/coolant to flow in the radiator when the engine has not reached it's normal operating temperature yet, therefore helping it warm up. Once it reaches the normal operating temperature, the thermostat opens up and lets the water circulate.

I don't know about you, but in my circle of car guy friends a large percentage of them have already removed the thermostat completely from their engines. I have always had this debate in my head why this is and if it's advisable to do so. It was a bitter-sweet feeling when recently, Ace put me in a situation that would help me come to a conclusion. My engine thermostat gave out. Major suckage.   

It happened right after I had the radiator cleaned (tried Lavramon) in Sucat. I was driving home, listening to Mariah Carey songs, all smiles with my newly cleaned radiator, when my eyes locked on my temperature. It was so high that it almost touched the red line. I believe my exact words were, "#@$% ^&*#@!!!" So I had no choice but to drive it back to the shop.  

We found out that the thermostat is stuck closed, clogging the water way, therefore making the engine overheat. My mechanic's solution was just to remove the thermostat completely. He said it wouldn't cause any harm to the engine except for the fact that it would take more time for it to warm up and reach it's normal operating temperature. It was already 5 PM and all auto-supply shops are already closed. So even though I was reluctant, I had no choice but to give him the green light. So now, Ace is running thermostat-less.

Honda Accord Thermostat
Although I trust my mechanic and although Ace is running fine without a thermostat, it still bothered me knowing that my engine is missing a part. So I decided to ask a handful of my car gurus. Should I have a thermostat? Or should I ditch it completely too? Here's what I gathered...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Lavramon"... a sexy name for a radiator cleaning machine

A couple of months back, Ace (my 6th gen Honda Accord) has been having temperature problems and I found out the cause the hard way. I was driving along Ortigas when the temperature suddenly shot up and I could hear pressurized water coming from the engine bay. I pulled up in the nearest gas station and found out that a hose near the engine block has cracked and is spraying water everywhere. I got it replaced right away. While I was at the shop, I had them check all of water hoses if they were all in good condition and I got a thumbs up from the mechanic. It got me thinking about Ace's cooling system...

 Ace's radiator is filthy. It's filled with rust or mud or who knows what that brown substance is. So I thought, while all the hoses are still good, it's a good time to try out having the radiator cleaned to ensure a healthy cooling system. Meet... "Lavramon". Sounds like a sexy love machine.... well, sort of is. Specially when you say it with a hard rolling R. Lav-rrrrrrrramon. :)