Car apperently running too cool - is my t-stat in backwards?
My girlfriend has a 96 N/A 3.8 t-bird with 196k. I've never looked at the temp. guage before, but lately i've been noticing that the temp. never climbs high enough to turn the radiator fan on, usually it runs well below the "N" in "NORM", even in 55 degree weather. I've had a 3.8L before with a broken thermostat that was stuck half-way open and it exhibited these same symptoms. But when i changed the t-stat, i noticed the one in there didn't appear broken. With the new t-stat in, it cooled the same, the guage never went above the "N" in norm and the fan never turned on even after idling for 25 minutes in 45 degree weather.
When i changed the t-stat, i put it in the same way the old one was in, with the spring side going towards the hose, and the cone side going towards the motor. When looking in my 1995 ford service manual to see how much to torque the bolts, i noticed the picture showed the t-stat going in the OPPOSITE way. Is it possible that between 1995 and 1996 they made the t-stat go in the opposite way, or was the original t-stat in there BACKWARDS? Is it possible for a t-stat that's in backwards to cause PARTIAL opening resulting in the coolant never getting quite hot enough?
Thanx for any input, i know the car's got a lot of miles, but it runs strong and i'd hate to blow a head gasket!