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Ok, the basics, 1997 5door auto, awd 165,500 miles (give or take)
Bought the Sled couple weeks ago, did the basics, fluids, filters (oil/air) plugs (no wires) getting tween 15 to 18.5 mpg running a 60 mile 500+ stops paper route, Love this little bugger but....
My temp gauge reads normally at 1/3 up with very brief stops at almost 1/2 scale. To me this seems like the t-stat is stuck "open" (which beats the alternative) I do get heat tho not the blast furnace temps I got with a 90 Volvo I once had, but regardless. The laser thermometer is showing 145 fluid temp with cap off, gauge "normal"
So, it's safe to assume the stat needs changed out but...could the low engine temp also be making the engine run richer than needed? The old plugs were not "fouled" but darker than I like.
Any thoughts (even the "you're full of it" kind) would be cool.

Take care

b
 

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Your Humble Administrator
2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Back when I was unfortunate enough to own a 1984 Mustang, my genius mechanic bro-in-law insisted on putting in a cooler thermostat since the engine had overheated. Apparently the rudimentary engine computer saw that it was running too cool and attempted to warm up the engine by making the injectors spew out more fuel. Not only were the plugs fouled, I had black soot blowing out the tailpipe onto the driveway. And of course the gas mileage was horrible.
 
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