Thermostat Issues; P1281; CEL; Help? -
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Unread 05-08-2014, 02:49 PM   #1
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2002 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 6
Thermostat Issues; P1281; CEL; Help?

I'm throwing a code in my 02 TJ and I need to get it inspected. Because I'm in Houston I cant bypass the CEL issue. I haven't tried a fix yet because I just now narrowed down the issue to a temp thing. The temp warms up on my gauge as it should and stays where it should once its warm so no sensor issue that I can figure;

Code (P1281) says engine stays cold too long, which is total crap. Diagnostics say likely causes Low on Coolant (which I can guarantee isn't the case) and faulty thermostat. Thermostat was replaced less than a year ago. Doubt it went bad. I called my mechanic who suggested (this seemed weird to me) that I turn the thermostat 180 degrees and it should fix the problem.

Given his previous credibility with me on my annoying fixes, I don't want to say it sounds bogus, but has anyone else ever heard of this? Am I just the idiot who doesn't see how this would affect anything? Please, if anyone can shed some light on this I would really appreciate it, my inspection is about 3 months past due and its about to be my daily driver again.

The last thing I want to do is put her in the bullpen for a day and let my mechanic put his finger in my ***. Could it be a sensor sending bad information to my computer? I'm no genius, but if the thermostat was stuck open, wouldn't the gauge not be rising at all or stay at optimal temp? Please tell me if rotating the thermostat would do something because it kind of sounds like some quack **** and I'd rather not waste my time. I know I'm gonna get some laughs but seriously, I'm trying to get a solution here, so keep the "you idiot" remarks to a minimum please.


LAX_TJ is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-09-2014, 06:29 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 588
Question: What temperature rating is the thermostat?.. 160, 180 or 195 just wondering if the correct stat was installed..
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Unread 05-15-2014, 03:56 PM   #3
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 452
I had same problem a couple of years ago.

Thermostat frame/housing (metal part) had actually broken so the thermostat was stuck in an open position.

Engine temp never got high enough, and engine light appeared.

Simple enough to check, and cheap to replace if that is your problem.
WahooCreek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

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