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Hypertech 160F Thermostat Install Guide and Review

NOTE: This guide was written when I owned a 2000 Pontiac Firebird V6 but the install applies to all 3.8L V6 F-bodies

For 2001-2002 Models an 18KOhm resistor must be placed in the IAT sensor to keep the PCM happy
 (email me if you want one dgo@cox.net)

The Hypertech 160F Thermostat for the V8/V6 F-body has been one of the most controversial modifications for our cars I have ever seen. Many people claim it is worthless, others praise it, and I am of the latter. This guide is here to help those install such a simple item as a thermostat into their V6 Firebird or Camaro, whether it be a stock 195, 180, or a Hypertech 160. I really had a lot of fun installing it, it only took me about 30 minutes to get done - and I was pacing myself... I feel this is a good moficiation for your hot running V6 being that it really helps keep the engine run cool under load, which will help reduce the possibility of detonation, could increase horsepower, and might even extend the longevity of your engine.

Before I bought the 160 thermostat, I ran a 180 made by Stant... if nothing else I suggest you run a 180 in your car to reduce the risk of overheating... I would like to note though that going from the 195 stock to the 180 was more significant than dropping to this 160 stat, but the 160 definetly lowered my engine's running temperature even though the gauge sometimes doesn't reflect it...

The box I recieved came in from SLPOnline as part number: 100160 <~use this link to go directly to the thermostat page. You'll notice this thermostat is not listed as being a Hypertech on SLPOnline's website... but it is infact a hypertech as you can clearly see... I highly suggest purchasing this product from SLPOnline instead of directly from hypertech, even though shipping for this part was almost $8 - so expect to spend a little less than $20 total.


To begin you'll need the following tools which you may or may not already own:

Socket Wrench
10mm socket
13mm socket (for the EGR bolt)
Socket extention... 3-6" should be fine
Oil/Liquid drain pan
Roll of paper towels

Once you have all of the following plus your new thermostat, be sure they included a new gasket with your thermostat. If you didn't get a thermostat gasket (I didn't with mine even though the salesman told me it shipped with one), you can probably use your old one from the OEM thermostat, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to pay the $0.50 to Pepboys for a new one. You'll need one which fits a 44mm thermostat, since that is the size of the thermostat in your vehicle...

Before we begin, make sure your car has been off for quite sometime and is perfectly cold... NEVER WORK ON A HOT COOLANT SYSTEM... IT IS UNDER EXTREME PRESSURE AND CAN BURN YOU VERY BADLY!

If your car has been off long enough that the pressure is down, then you can continue on with your thermostat swap.

Now we can start working on the car... open the hood and look to the driver's side of the engine bay, you'll find a black pipe running from the radiator to a small bell-housing located on the engine block - under this bellhousing is the thermostat which we will be replacing. You can see the EGR tubing running just over the thermostat housing, which is all located right near your power-steering fluid reservoir.


Take out that oil pan or drain pan you own and slide it under the car directly underneath this bellhousing, when we take the cover off you'll end up losing about 1/2 pint of coolant, and you don't want that running into the driveway and contaminating your drinking water...

Once you've got that setup, grab your socket wrench, possibly a socket wrench extender 3-6" in length, and the 13mm socket. Proceed to unbolt the small black bolt located to the right of the top of the EGR hose (the one which loops over the thermostat bellhousing... its very shiny and Im holding it in the picture below). Remove the black bolt when done, and place it in the lid of your toolbox so that you don't lose it... Placing a black screw somewhere inside an engine bay which is predominantly black is not advised.

Then, switch over to the 10mm socket, and unbolt the two "different" 10mm bolts holding on the thermostat bellhousing... the lower one is very long, the top one is significantly short, so don't mix them up when you remove them and forget what goes where.

Once you're done, you can remove the EGR hose partially, and your job so far should resemble this:

As you can see in this photo, I have already pulled the EGR hose slightly lose, and removed the bellhousing from the block, exposing the thermostat. It is at this time you may want to adjust your drainpan to catch all the coolant that will leak... which is not very much at all in my opinion.

Here is another view, showing the thermostat:
Take note of the way the thermostat is facing... as well as which way the black gasket is mounted around the thermostat, you'll need this information when you install the new thermostat.

Go ahead and pull on the thermostat to remove it, the gasket and stat will come out with a slight pop, and a bit more coolant may leak out, which is fine. If the gasket is in good condition, and you want to use it, then mount it on the new thermostat... Otherwise, use the new one you bought from Pepboys on your new thermostat... the main thing is you want a fairly tight seal so that the thermostat is the only leak in the loop - that being a temperature controlled one.

 

Once you've done all that, go ahead and pop the new thermostat in the block, put the bellhousing over it, snug down the 10mm bolts with the longest one going in the bottom, and snap the EGR back in and snug it down... Get the bolts snug, but not "ass-tight" since it doesn't need to be really tight to make a good seal.

You're not quite done yet =)...

Remember the coolant you lost earlier... well, we need to put some back in. Since its such a small amount, I recommend just using some distilled water to top off the radiator... if you don't know how to properly fill and topoff your radiator getting all the air out of your system, then continue reading... otherwise you're ready to go.

Basically, now that everything is bolted up, just remove your radiator cap and crank the car... dont rev it or anything, instead get out and wait for it to warm up, keep feeling the hose going to the radiator from the engine-thermostat  waiting on it to get warm... peridodically watching the temp gauge as it heads towards 160. When it looks to be about 160, the thermostat should open, and you should feel a tremendous amount of heat flowing through that pipe into your hand... it'll be very hot so don't burn yourself. If, at this time, the radiator needs more water, just top it off with distilled water.

I suggest lightly squeezing the hose watching the radiator *belch* out all the air, every once in a while press the throttle inside the car to 2500rpm's or so in short bursts to suck the water into the engine, then add water to the radiator when it goes down... Continue doing this until the car is warmed up and you can press the throttle without the waterlevel inside the radiator dropping.

At this time... you can put the cap on the radiator and go for a drive. Enjoy your new thermostat, don't trust the interior gauge, and I hope this guide has helped you.

If you need some help, feel free to contact me on the www.firebirdv6.com message board =).