THERMOSTAT HOUSING BOLTS BROKEN

Asked by Nov 18, 2016 at 03:09 PM about the 2004 Ford Explorer XLT Sport V6 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Here goes another one of my favorite miserable moments...

In noticing a coolant leak on my 2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 with a 4.0 v6 engine, I applied a coolant pressure test and quickly noticed the culprit of the discrepancy.  It was at the base of the thermostat lower half housing.  It is a fairly simple repair.  Three bolts and wua-la! Right?  Well, due the beautiful black cloud of misfortune that looms over me like an ex wife seeking more child support money, two of three bolts broke off.

Now, I know that most broken bolts require a drill and extractor tool to remove broken bolts.  However, I wonder if by performing this task perhaps the bolts break even more and further inside the block portion of the thread?

On the other hand, I wonder if it is possible to pull the entire thermostat assembly upward and off, leaving the broken bolts, or pieces thereof, exposed whereby they can be removed by use of vise grips or tools of the sort?

Any suggestions, recommendations and assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

3 Answers

103,235

If you can remove the third bolt then you could try vice grips. You could also cut the bolt head off to allow the upper housing to be removed. Good luck!

22,720

If it is like my 2003 4.0, the thermostat housing is plastic. I'd try to break the housing (if just the head broke off the bolt) so I can get a pair of vice grips on the stud to unscrew it. Once the remaining studs are exposed, work gingerly with the vice grips as to not break off the remaining stud at the block. It should come out fairly easily, unless someone used loc-tite on the threads. If it does not unscrew fairly easily, apply some heat to the block area (make sure everything surrounding is metal). This should expand the inside thread slightly so unscrewing would be easier. The replacement housing (plastic) is about 90 bucks. They make an aftermarket one made of aluminum which holds up longer.

103,235

I would apply penetrating oil to the threads and let it soak in for a while before trying to remove those bolts.

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