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Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix
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speeder
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Joined: August 17, 2007
Posts: 17
Location: Durango, CO
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:13 pm    Post subject: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

A quick story for those of you with a thermostat housing leak. If it's coming from the temp sensors, you may not need to change the whole housing, just the O rings around the sensors.

My housing assembly was replaced about 8 years ago with the factory style plastic piece. It recently started dripping slowly around the temp 2 sensor and the temp sensor units. These units are held in the housing with a simple clip and seem to fit quite loosely for something that is under moderate pressure when the coolant heats up. They are sealed with a very basic O ring, like many german cars these days. I have worked with the same setup in my mid 2000 BMW's, where there is a plastic coolant system junction or male hose neck with a sensor plugged in the side and an O ring to seal it. Over time these rubber O rings shrink and loose their compliance.

All hoses around the tstat housing in the case of my Vanagon looked good, no cracks or signs of leaks, and felt compliant. The thermostat housing looked in good condition with no leaking areas on the body of the unit. So rather than replace the whole housing setup, I opted to jack up the van, don some clothing that I knew would get soaked with coolant, pulled the sensors out one at a time and very quickly swap the O rings with new ones. The new O rings were bit thicker, and far more flexible and compliant than the old ones, which had shrunk and become hard. Yes, I took a coolant shower. I lost about a half quart of coolant. Not sure yet if I will need to bleed the coolant system, but no prob if so.

It appears to have fixed the leak around both sensors, saving me a big job and expense.

Should I have changed the whole unit prophylactically? Sure, that would be an option. But if I get another few years out of this fix, I'll be happy. Swapping that whole housing looks like a PITA and it had been done fairly recently on my van, so I'm rolling with it.

I search the Samba all the time for this type of info. I didn't find much about this particular situation, hence the story here. Maybe I can return the favor from all of you and this will save one of you some time and money somewhere down the line. Thanks!
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WestyWanter
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Joined: February 15, 2017
Posts: 359
Location: San Diego
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

Where did you get the O ring?
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speeder
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Joined: August 17, 2007
Posts: 17
Location: Durango, CO
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

Amazon. $10 for 2 shipped to me in 2 days. Auto parts store said they had it, and then showed me a random box of dry, stiff O rings when I got there. Not very useful.

Go westy sells the O rings for $1 each, but I was in a hurry to get it done.
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4Gears4Tires
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Posts: 1185
Location: MD
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

Any Ace hardware will have a whole cabinet of o-rings. After an o-ring and another a bit later, I went in and just bought several of every single metric size. Handy.
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djkeev Premium Member
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Joined: September 30, 2007
Posts: 25841
Location: North West New Jersey
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

I do agree, it is odd how much they depend on O-Rings..........

My O-Rings always get a smear of Hylomar before installation.

I do LOVE my Hylomar!

Dave
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Ghia
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392473

Vanagon
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6315537#6315537

Beetle
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=482968&highlight=74+super+vert
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Abscate Premium Member
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Joined: October 05, 2014
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Location: NYC/Upstate/ROW
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

It really helps if people document the size of orings with a vernier caliper

Outside diameter and thickness are needed.

If you are on the road and need an oring and know the size, you can find one at a local shop,to get you home
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djkeev Premium Member
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Location: North West New Jersey
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Thermostat housing temp sensors leaking, O ring replacement, fix Reply with quote

Thermostat housing sensor O-Rings......

19,6X3,65

Dave
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Ghia
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392473

Vanagon
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6315537#6315537

Beetle
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=482968&highlight=74+super+vert
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