1995 3.3L Caravan won't heat up in winter

165

Asked by Mar 17, 2009 at 09:32 PM about the 1995 Dodge Caravan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1995 3.3L Caravan which refuses to get up to temp in the winter, or whenever the airtemp is below ~45 degrees.
I drive 14 miles one way to school in the winter, and the needle is barely off the blue "COLD" mark. However, the engine will eventually heat up if driven any farther than 14 miles or 25 minutes, and when it does, the heater works fine.  Any ideas as to why it takes so long to get up to heat, and what can be done about it?

12 Answers

475

You probably have a bad or none at all thermostat.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
165

Thanks, I'll check it out. How can I tell if the thermostat is indeed broken, short of replacing it?

475

The only way to know is to take the top hose neck out of the top of the engine block. If thermostat is there, it should be sticking to the intake manifold. It costs $4 to $6 and its not worth not changing it once you take the neck out. You will only need a new gasket and some coolant you may lose. Not expensive, easy and quick self job.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
45

Sounds like a failed thermostat, they generally fail/break in the open position. About the only other thing that will cause this will be a bad clutch fan, sometimes they will stick ON making it hard for the engine to warm up. (Note I'm not sure if your vehicle has a clutch fan or electric so keep that in mind. Just some general advice.) Good luck either way. :)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
165

Thanks for the advice! I will look into that.

165

Thanks for the info. I believe my car has an electric cooling fan, and I cannot remember a single instance of it ever coming on, even in the summer (maybe because the thermostat is indeed stuck open).

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
25

Definatly sounds like the thermostat. also when changing make sure you put in the new thermostat in the right direction.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
165

Yes, that is a good bit of advice. I don't want to think of what would happen if it was put backwards!

25

it would overheat and possibly damage the engine head or heads depending on which enginge you have.

165

ya, I have the v6, and it has enough problems already, with ticking valves and all.

200

I have had 6 c'vans, 4 w/the 3.3, and all 4 of them ticked, or started to tick, I put over 150kmi on all 4 after the ticking started, and they all seemed to run better after the ticking started. (Results not typical, and should not be expected...lol)

685

does this vehicle have dual heaters one in front and one for the rear? If it does you should jack up the front end of the vehicle and run it with the radiator cap of until the t/stat opens up it could have an air pocket in the cooling system causing your problem 25 minutes is way to long for a thermostst problem

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

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