Thanks for the write-up !! I did mine last week and it was pretty easy, I just had to fight with the hose clamps and pliers to pop them out. Also I used liquid thread sealant rather than teflon so no more leaking problem. The contour t-stat seems beefier than the oem, even the type of plastic used looks strounger.
You might want to take a look at your valve cover gasket. I've read that hot oil drippin from the top of the head onto the housing could shorten it's life. Mine was leaking so I changed it at the same time, i wouldnt have wanted to ruin the brand new t-stat.