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Admin and Sup Mod keeping the peace
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Hi, my first post so greetings all.

I've kind of become the neighborhood "mechanic" after working on several cars we have, and an elderly neighbor asked me if I can help him replace the thermostat on his 2003 Sentra GXE. Pretty straightforward stuff.

I was going to order a Stant from RockAuto, which includes the round thermostat gasket and comes with a jiggle valve and uses the standard 170F temp. This is a decent one for this model, right?

I was just wondering if I need to replace the housing gasket as well, and if so whether with a precut one and if so which, or with RTV, and if the latter which kind? I have a bunch of different Permatex RTVs including the one for water pumps.

He also wants to replace the spark plugs, which he says are the original ones. Any rec? Copper NGK ok or anything RockAuto sells? Should he replace the wires as well while he's at it?

Thanks all.
When replacing the thermostat, just replace the O-ring that comes with the thermostat. Install the thermostat with the jiggle-valve facing upwards. (The position deviation may be within the range of 10°). Don't buy an aftermarket thermostat like a Stant; they are not very reliable and many times cause an overheating problem. Buy a Nissan OEM thermostat from a Nissan dealer; cost a little more but are very reliable. There's no need to mess with the thermostat housing.

Replace the spark plugs with the OEM NGK type; stay away from other brands as they don't work too well with Nissan engines. There are no high voltage ignition wires and no ignition distributor as on the older pre-2000 engines. Each cylinder has it's own coil pack.
 

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Admin and Sup Mod keeping the peace
Joined
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7,957 Posts
Thanks. He decided to go with the OEM thermostat per this advice, and I'll tell him about the plugs.

However, for various reasons I don't think he needs plugs that'll last another 100k miles. Would the more basic platinum plugs or even copper work just as well for the next 20k miles or so, and would he notice any difference or decreased performance, gas mileage, engine reliability, etc.?

RockAuto recommends new boots. Not needed if existing ones look ok and car runs fine?

He also needs a new radiator upper and lower hose as they felt weak and iffy to me. Is any decent aftermarket brand ok, like Gates or AC/Delco, or also OEM?

Finally, he's due for a new air filter too. Same question, e.g. Wix or OEM.
The standard platinum plugs I believe are PLFR5A-11 which is an OEM plug; it'll work fine. Gates hoses are good quality; OK to use. For an air filter, OEM or Purolator is my choice. As long as the plug boots look good and are not oil soaked, no need to replace them.
 
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