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Lately, the ol' van has been overheating a little, but not much. If I put water in it, it will be okay for a while, but then I notice that it is pretty low, after a while. There are no leaks anywhere that I can see, even when it's been running for a while, so I'm thinking that I either have a thermostat that's sticking, an intermittent cooling fan (it does run, if the car has overheated a bit), or a plugged radiator.

Okay, so now I'm going to put in some fresh antifreeze, but thought that I would just try changing the thermostat, first. The problem is that I'm not sure if the thermostat is located in the top hose or the bottom hose. When I tried researching it on Google, I got two totally different answers, which means that somebody is posting an answer when they don't really know, because it sure as heck isn't in both places. I'm sorry, but that's one of my pet peeves: when somebody, who actually means well, but doesn't know what they're talking about, posts an incorrect answer to a question. Like I said, they mean to help, but, in fact, all they do is cost someone a lot of time and trouble, when the questioner follows their advice, only to find that they were wrong. So, PLEASE, don't give me an answer, just based on what you think the right answer is.

Second question: If I were to just remove the thermostat altogether, will that have any adverse effects, other than making the van a little chilly for a while, until the block and coolant all come up to temp? Here in western Washington, the temperature, even in the winter, is pretty mild, when compared to most of the rest of the country. And, for right now, I just want to try running the car without the thermostat in it, in order to see if it's a sticking thermostat that's causing my problems; then, later, I will buy a new one and install it, if that proves to really be the problem.

Any knowledgeable help would be much appreciated.
 

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I posted some info on "hotter" tstat of 82C (Motorad), so you may find that useful. You never know you travel elsewhere and need the extra heat.

The other option is to stick to OEM tstat which is 75C-78C type.

Anyway it is your choice of Motorad vs OEM tstat.

Since you will be removing the tstat, you may as well install a new tstat.
It is cheap.
 

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If you are losing coolant without any leaks, you MAY have a leaking head gasket. A sticking thermostat, intermittent cooling fan, or plugged radiator will not cause the coolant to go low after you fill it up.

A leaking head gasket will cause the coolant to leak into the combustion chambers and be shot out the exhaust pipe with the exhaust gases. You won't see any coolant leaks, but your coolant slowly goes down over time.

That's my best guess...

P.S. As for removing the thermostat altogether... uh, I don't think that's a good idea. I live in Seattle and even the so called "mild" winters in the 40s in the mornings are cold enough to take FOREVER for your car to warm up if the thermostat is not there. Unless you like warming up your car for 15-20 mins every morning, I would keep the thermostat in there.
 

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To add to megatron's correct answer the missing antifreeze could also be going in the oil which will in time destroy the engine. My 04 has antifreeze added once in seven years. If it is going down it is leaking somewhere.
 
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