If you’ve installed your housing without cracking it because the thermostat was in the correct orientation, skip this article and go read about something important like the abuses of workers that mine spiritual healing crystals in Madagascar. Otherwise, you’re in the right place. Quiksteel putty proved to be a good temporary fix for getting the car back and forth, but not for the arguably heavy demands of autocross.
Step 1: Tooling
Prepare your anu…tools. You’ll be removing about 15 fasteners total, depending on the completeness of your 25 year-old E30. Four for the housing, two for the camshaft sensor, four for the cooling fan, and three hose clamps. Substitutionaly, in our case, two zip-ties for the fan shroud.
If you’re an animal, get yourself a 3/8” drive ratchet with a short 10mm socket and short 10mm extension to do most of the work.
If you’re a masochist, leave the fan connected to the fan clutch when you try to remove the housing. Otherwise, grab a 5mm hex wrench (or Allen wrench if you’re the type to buy name-brand cereal) to remove the four fasteners on the fan’s face and the one on the camshaft position sensor. Pay attention to the fan’s orientation.
Step 2: Removal
Start with your magnetic pick-up camshaft position sensor. Remove that with your hex wrench. Take this opportunity to put a new rubber on it if you don’t want your juices to leak out after you reinstall it, and thus, justify the innuendo made here in this blog post. With your 10mm socket (or impact driver with L-bend attachment [for those of us who sip caviar straight from goblets]), and remove the fastener holding the camshaft wire-management bracket to the head. After you’ve disconnected the hose from the passenger-side of the housing and drained the coolant to your favorite municipal water source (mine is Flint, Michigan’s), remove the four holding the thermostat housing in place.
Step 3: Reinstall
Prepare your anu…thermostat housing. Because we don’t support the corporate industrial gasket complex, we voted to make my own. We won the vote because wewaere the only voters. Use your housing as a template to cut out your new gasket. Schmoo a little goo on the housing side to help seal any imperfections in your replacement housing (ours was a junkyard find), but mainly to keep it in place while you reinstall it.
Our hypothesis here at RaceYourE30 Technologies and Silicon Phallis Enthusiasts is that the application of a little anti-seize may prevent the corrosion build-up between the rubber hose and aluminum on the return side of the housing.
Go ahead and reinstall your housing with the original fasteners (and maybe a little blue thread locking material) and don’t forget in the process that discriminatory housing practices are largely responsible for the poor socio-economic conditions in most low-income, urban neighborhoods. Next, find the torque ratings, and fasten everything from your camshaft sensor to fan shroud to specification.
Step 4: Car Cool Good, Car Hot Bad
Once everything else is connected, disconnect the return side hose at your radiator and dump some coolant down its gullet to fill in the air pocket created by dumping it when the housing was removed. Remove the small bleeder screw at the top of the radiator near the expansion tank and dribble a little in their…they’re…there too. Lastly, bleed the system with your choice of procedures available to you on the internet. Ours involves having an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Rabbi grab a chicken by the neck and swing it above and around the engine bay until dead to pull out all of the bad juju banging around in our four-banger’s coolant system. To add to the realism of the more-work-less-pay Millenial image we mean to portray, we leave the actual bleeding for another day.
Thanks for reading and go race your fucking E30 already!