Truck isn't reaching operating temp

Joined
Dec 2, 2019
Messages
4
Location
Owosso, MI
Okay so I'm generally new to vehicle repairs, just replaced the thermostat in my 97 Dodge Dakota, vehicle never reaches the 210 operating temp, usually sticks around 150-160 area, heat is pretty weak as well what else could be wrong? Heater core maybe?
Any suggestions would be appreciated, just don't want to drop tons of money at a shop if it's possibly something simple.
Thanks in advance.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2019
Messages
4
Location
Owosso, MI
How are you getting your temp reading? What temp is the new thermostat
Engine temp Gage inside the truck is showing 160 degrees, heat is very weak, the thermostat I got was a 196.
I'm going to get the fan clutch checked, but other than that, I'm lost on it. Previous owner did not care for this truck at all, I'm kind of learning as I have to replace things lol
 

JohnnyC

Long ago TLCA# 2231
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Jun 17, 2005
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16,415
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Nys
Buddy had an issue as well... just went with blocking the radiator for winters

I know that our cruisers had a cold weather screen option for certain areas... but... do not know if dodge had the same ... usually called a radiator muff... my friend uses a piece of cardboard to block off the air into the engine compartment... less air cooling the compartment = more heat

For my cruiser (upper north east) i block off air from escaping my engine area... and block off partially the radiator to keep the heat

IMHO try the cardboard and see if that helps... you may need to adjust the size ... if at highway travel its going past 1/2 way on the gauge reduce the cardboard size

post up your results
 

pb4ugo

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spay-lay-wi-theepi,
I would 1st confirm the accuracy of the stk gauge. I know on my old GMC truck the stk gauges are not even close to being accurate. If your temp reading and t stats temp range were the same b4 and after the tstat replacement then the t stat is probably working correctly even if the gauge reads wrong. You might check and make sure the heater control valve is working correctly and the heater hoses are run correctly. How's heater hoses plumb'd . The tstat most like is opening at 195, is the water flowing directly from the engine to the heater core? I have no idea how it should be plumb'd, but I would guess the core should be getting hot water from the engine b4 being returned to the cooling system.

I've done the cardboard in frt of the rad b4 as Johnny described too, if all else has been checked out.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
244
Location
SW Missouri
Okay so I'm generally new to vehicle repairs, just replaced the thermostat in my 97 Dodge Dakota, vehicle never reaches the 210 operating temp, usually sticks around 150-160 area, heat is pretty weak as well what else could be wrong? Heater core maybe?
Any suggestions would be appreciated, just don't want to drop tons of money at a shop if it's possibly something simple.
Thanks in advance.
What was it doing before changing the thermostat? Asking why it needed replaced and what is different now than before?
 
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