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Old 02-23-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
144man
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Default T-stat questions, 99 SL2

I'm getting ready to replace my T-stat and ECTS. Nothing wrong really, and only 65K on the clock. But the temp gauge never goes much above the first line.

I've read that the Stant 14279 is the right one, but I can only find them at 188, even though they say 195.

I THINK I want a true 195 T-stat. Am I barking up a phantom tree?
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

It sounds like your T-stat is working find. I would not mess with it if it was mine.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

how much is "not much" above the 1/4 line? Looking at it straight on, it should be just about 3/8s, give or take a few millimeters.

it's possible your T-stat is fine, but your ETCS does need to be replaced with the brass-tipped one. Get both parts and install the ECTS first and then drive and see if anything changes, if you want. I would just change both if anything was questionable. Together they are affordable enough that they will probably pay for themselves in saved gasoline pretty quickly, depending how much you drive.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

The stant is highly recommended on here for whatever reason. I replaced mine with one from Autozone (only because I was getting a code) and it has lasted longer (6 years) and more miles (90K) than the original from the factory. AND, it was a 185 degree one from Germany.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by papoopeepoo View Post
how much is "not much" above the 1/4 line? Looking at it straight on, it should be just about 3/8s, give or take a few millimeters.
It pretty much just hits the first hashmark, then stays there. Only sitting in traffic on a hot day will it get up to even halfway between the first hashmark and the middle one. Never all the way to the middle (fat) one, where I THINK it should run all the time.

FWIW, I get really good heat in the winter in about 1-2 miles of driving, with the gauge at or just below the first hashmark.

I'll try the ECTS first and see if that does anything.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

If the ECTS doesn't do it, then do the thermostat. If that is the correct part number for the Stant unit, it is the proper one. The ratings vary based on where you buy it from.

I'm not partial to the Stant units myself, and similar to TxSaturn02 used another brand that worked just fine. More than a few people had some really early failures with the Stant units.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by 144man View Post
Never all the way to the middle (fat) one, where I THINK it should run all the time.

FWIW, I get really good heat in the winter in about 1-2 miles of driving, with the gauge at or just below the first hashmark.
Good plan on doing the ECTS first, and be sure to check the connector for crud.

The fact that you get good heat so quickly sounds like your thermostat is fine. I wouldn't bother with the tstat unless you are also doing something else, like your regularly scheduled antifreeze change.

For a 1999, the nominal 'normal' temp gauge reading is 3/8, but these temp gauges are not precision instruments. When your gauge hits 1/2 or slightly over, your fan will come on if you are below ~40 mph or so.

Saturns originally (1991-1995) ran with the temp gauges at 1/2 normally, and had the fan turned on at 3/4 on the gauge - but a lot of owners thought their cars were overheating at 3/4 and complained. So Saturn recalibrated the gauges to show 3/8 for normal, even though it was the exact same temp as the old 1/2 reading.

I'm one of those "early Stant failure" guys.... replaced the old tstat when I got the car (because I was replacing antifreeze of unknown age), ended up with a failed tstat 3 yrs later. Some boxes are marked with when the tstat first opens, others with when they are fully open. Might even be the exact same thermostat
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:24 AM   #8
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post

Saturns originally (1991-1995) ran with the temp gauges at 1/2 normally, and had the fan turned on at 3/4 on the gauge - but a lot of owners thought their cars were overheating at 3/4 and complained. So Saturn recalibrated the gauges to show 3/8 for normal, even though it was the exact same temp as the old 1/2 reading.
Just for clarification here....

I can't speak from personal experience on all earlier years, but our '95 from the factory ran at 3/8 on the gauge or a little less. The factory thermostat was a cooler running unit than the aftermarket NAPA or the Stant. With the NAPA unit it now runs at just shy of 1/2 on the gauge.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

At first read, to me it sounds like it's running a little too cold, because my 94 was usually at 1/2 warmed up and between 3/5 & 3/4 in slow stop & go traffic.

My friend's 97 was exactly the same way, but come to think of it, she drove it with the oil level between 1 & 1.5 qt short half the time - which might have cancelled out the difference from the recalibrated temp gauge and spoofed me into believing they're supposed to read the same?
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

On the '96 and newer the fan should come on somewhat before the gauge reaches the 3/4 mark.

Expect the temp gauge to stay at abotu 3/8 scale on the open road (generally above 30 mph). It will slowly climb to fan turn-on if stopped at a light, idling, etc.

Temp gauge sitting at 1/4 scale or below on the open road sounds low, and implies a t-stat that is not closing fully or is opening early, or it could indicate an ECTS issue.

The rub is that a stuck open t-stat can reduce fuel economy.

The original ECTS was resin tipped and will crack/fail over time. This can result in low temp readings and may allow overheating as well because the fan will not come on when it should. You can spot whether or not the ECTS has been replaced by its profile. See the several threads in the How-to library forum for images, etc. By now many S-cars have had the ECTS replaced, perhaps by a previous owner, but wiorth checking to be sure.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Signmaster View Post
Just for clarification here....

I can't speak from personal experience on all earlier years, but our '95 from the factory ran at 3/8 on the gauge or a little less.
Yep, there is/was considerable variation in "normal" even within a given model year

We've had several members test actual temperature with thermometers and OBDII readers, because after a new thermostat, their gauges were still reading at 1/4 - the thermometer and OBDII showed correct temps, while the guage stubbornly read low)
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Good plan on doing the ECTS first, and be sure to check the connector for crud.

The fact that you get good heat so quickly sounds like your thermostat is fine. I wouldn't bother with the tstat unless you are also doing something else, like your regularly scheduled antifreeze change.

For a 1999, the nominal 'normal' temp gauge reading is 3/8, but these temp gauges are not precision instruments. When your gauge hits 1/2 or slightly over, your fan will come on if you are below ~40 mph or so.

Saturns originally (1991-1995) ran with the temp gauges at 1/2 normally, and had the fan turned on at 3/4 on the gauge - but a lot of owners thought their cars were overheating at 3/4 and complained. So Saturn recalibrated the gauges to show 3/8 for normal, even though it was the exact same temp as the old 1/2 reading.

I'm one of those "early Stant failure" guys.... replaced the old tstat when I got the car (because I was replacing antifreeze of unknown age), ended up with a failed tstat 3 yrs later. Some boxes are marked with when the tstat first opens, others with when they are fully open. Might even be the exact same thermostat
Well, I replaced the ECTS, and it was the original plastic one. It hadn't failed yet, since the connectors were bright and clean. The new one I put in is a BWD brand brass-tipped, part number WT5029. Thanks sould go to Richpin, and his excellent video. (Is it just me, or does he sound exactly like Peter Griffin? My wife thought I was watching Family Guy videos. Anyway, his stuff is really helpful.)

The car seems to heat up faster than before, but it still only goes to the first hashmark on the gauge. I guess I need to find someone with a reader, so I can determine what the ACTUAL running temp is.

For now, I guess I'll leave the T-stat alone, and see what it does when warmer weather gets here.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

I would replace the t-stat. the temp gauge should get noticeably above the 1/4 bar, ~3/8ths. As alordofchaos said, the needle should progressively rise to halfway and your fan should come on and the needle should quickly drop below halfway.

Having a stuck open thermostat, as it looks you have, will not allow your engine to completely warm up, and this will affect the amount of fuel the computer delivers during operation. So get a Stant part# 14279 thermostat and you'll improve your gas economy, heat, and overall reliance in your car.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
the thermometer and OBDII showed correct temps, while the guage stubbornly read low)
5-10 minute fix with a 7mm socket for 2nd gen style gauge's ('95-'99)
Adjusted the rest of the gauges at the same time, everything was far more accurate. Don't play with 'em without a scanner though to read what the PCM wants the gauges to show otherwise you'll do more harm then good.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
Yep, there is/was considerable variation in "normal" even within a given model year

We've had several members test actual temperature with thermometers and OBDII readers, because after a new thermostat, their gauges were still reading at 1/4 - the thermometer and OBDII showed correct temps, while the guage stubbornly read low)
This is exactly what happened to me. I replaced the ECTS and the T-stat, but the temp gauge was still reading low, barely above the 1/4 mark. A ScanGauge II shows the temp at 190-195 F in normal driving.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

These gauges do have a tolerance and every so often you find one that sits at either extreme of the OK range..
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #17
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by papoopeepoo View Post
I would replace the t-stat. the temp gauge should get noticeably above the 1/4 bar, ~3/8ths. As alordofchaos said, the needle should progressively rise to halfway and your fan should come on and the needle should quickly drop below halfway.

Having a stuck open thermostat, as it looks you have, will not allow your engine to completely warm up, and this will affect the amount of fuel the computer delivers during operation. So get a Stant part# 14279 thermostat and you'll improve your gas economy, heat, and overall reliance in your car.
I kinda don't think the stat is stuck open, since it warms quickly. I get good heat and defrost in about 1 mile of driving on surface streets. Also, since replacing the ECTS, it comes up to the first hashmark noticably quicker than it did before. It just never gets much above there. I rather suspect it is a gauge issue, since it runs fine and gives 25-28 mpg in suburban non-freeway driving. It's hard to tell with the weather being cold. I guess I need to get it scanned to see what the real operating temp is.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

Typical code-reader for free use at the parts store doesn't have real-time capabilities; only code reading. Maybe you'll be luckier than I was, until I bought one with real-time cababilites
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

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Typical code-reader for free use at the parts store doesn't have real-time capabilities; only code reading. Maybe you'll be luckier than I was, until I bought one with real-time cababilites
What did you buy, and how much? I'd like to keep this car for a LONG time, and I'm thinking maybe I should spring for one.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:00 PM   #20
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Default Re: T-stat questions, 99 SL2

I bought an Actron 9180 for about $40 more then it's going for now. At some point I'll get one of those $15 USB readers for my laptop.
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