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Old 07-02-2003, 02:48 AM   #1
Kpendrgn
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1998 SC2
Default '98 SC2 with coolant problem +unrelated clutch problem

Scoop:

I wish I had an actual ferenhieght reading for you here, but I do not. Anyway...

Last summer, normal operating temperatures read on the temp guague just a hair over 1/4 (a hair over the first notch, and there are three notches)

This summer the car's normal operating temperature is two or three hairs above 1/4. Also, when I drive up the rather steep missouri hills the temp rises to right in-between 1/4 and 1/2 on cool nights.

On hot days, If I idle in traffic at all I have trouble keeping it from reaching the halfway point. I roll the windows down and run the heat, but the needle floats nearer and on top of 1/2. Once, i drove home on the highway during a very hot day for 30 minutes, sitting in traffic, then I drove a friend home through traffic and drove myself home. I was in the car, in the heat, for quite a long time. The coolan light came on (the first light to EVER come on in my car to indicate a problem) So I added more coolant, changed the oil, and went on my way. I have not had to sit in traffic again like that, but I assume if I will I WILL have a problem.

Help?

Yesterday I did a complete coolant flush to see if that would cause the car to run cooler. It appars to have done nothing, but the car just hit the 5 year mark so it was time to change it anyhow. The old coolant was milky, but I expected that since it has been in there a long time. The air filter recently was cleaned, there are no signs of a coolant leak, bent radiator hoses, ect.

Am I imagining a problem with my vehicle or is this a small problem that could eventually build up to a larger problem? How do I fix?

I am also having a problem with my clutch. I have to be very precise when engaging the clutch/giving car gas. Otherwise, it bounces all around as if a spring is in there somewhere. The clutch did NOT do this when I first got it. Related? Probably not.

-Chrissy
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:06 AM   #2
SilverNickelQC
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I might have an answer for the first you may need to change your thermostat it costs about $2-$5 depending on where you go to get it. Good Luck! Hope this helps.

Dont have a clue about the last question.
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Old 07-02-2003, 12:43 PM   #3
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"Typical" normal operating temp reading for an 96' and UP OBD2 Saturn is just above the 1/4 (say 1/3) mark on the gauge while going down the road, a/c on or off even at temps in the 90's. If you have never changed the ECTS (engine coolant temp sensor) and still feel the car is running "cold" start there. The thermostats on cars running the newer Dexcool coolant such as your car is are VERY reliable. The 1/2 point on the gauge is by NO MEANS an indicator of the car running "hot" and is actually very typical in stop and go traffic.
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Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
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Old 07-02-2003, 03:14 PM   #4
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It sure feels hotter then usual! I checked my oil the other day while getting gas (good habit) and I could barely touch any of the engine componants. Usually the dipstick is not untouchable.
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Old 07-02-2003, 07:27 PM   #5
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Sounds like your hydraulic clutch assembly. Check to make sure there is fluid in it. It can be a DIY - at least for my old 1st gen.
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Old 07-02-2003, 11:36 PM   #6
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you could also check your coolant cap. it might not be holding pressure wich would cause it to run hotter and leak coolant. plus they are pretty cheap. think they're around $16.00
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Old 07-05-2003, 03:12 AM   #7
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Update:

Since changing my coolant, I have driven the car:

1. half hour drive, 20 minutes hwy, 10 minutes not at night.

2. a few 5 minute trips back and forth to work/lunch/home from work in very hot day temps and cool night temps.

3. tonight to my friends house from work, 15 minute drive, kinda humid and warm 9pm.

4. drive home from friends. cooler temps then earlier.

As I am driving home from my friends tonight, the coolant/temp light goes on after about 8 minutes of driving. I check the coolant levels and they are fine. Why not go off during the other trips, like the one TO my friend's house?

I will replace my coolent cap and see if that helps.
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Old 07-09-2003, 03:20 PM   #8
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Another update:

I drove 100+ miles in the blazing heat the other day. some on the highway, lost in evil evil traffic.

My coolant light never came on, but my temp needle got WAY past 1/2, more like 2/3.

If I let it sit there at 2/3 long enough the radiator fan would eventually kick on and bring the temp a little lower, sometimes as low as half. other times, the needle droive me crazy enough to turn the heat on..

The car has never, EVER been this hot, and I watch my temp needle all the time. in fact, last summer it never got over half. EVER.

Now, even if half is normal for my car, 2/3 does not seem normal. If the car had always ran like this I would not be posting, but it has changed since last year.

Is it still normal?
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Old 07-09-2003, 03:21 PM   #9
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Also, I checked the hydraulic clutch assembly and fluid levels are normal, and the fluid looks normal, too. So it must not be that. The other day I test drove two '98 SL2's for a friend who wants a Saturn and there is a definit difference. The SL's trannny is much easier to operate smootly. (both were sticks, obviously)


-Chrissy
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Old 07-11-2003, 02:08 AM   #10
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today, the coolant temp.pressure light went on twice.

Once was this morning. Cool temperatures. I had barely driven the car for two minutes when it came on and blinked at me. It went off after about 20 seconds.

It failed to go on when I drove to lunch, to advance to get a coolant cap, to my friend Jon's, or home.

The second time was driving my friend Jon home. Right after dropping him off it blinked at me for about 20 seconds again. Once again, the temp is cool, ESPECIALLY compared to the temps during the day. Somewhere around 73 degrees, plus or minus.

tomorrow I shall stick on the new cap. Unfortunately since the pressure/temp light seems to blink at random occations on short trips when the atmosphere is cooler, I have no idea if it will fix the problem, unless I have gone about a month with no blinking.

Anyeone else have suggestions? Is anyone still reading this post?

-Chrissy
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Old 07-12-2003, 09:48 PM   #11
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The light in your dash can be an indicator of coolant temperature or level. The proper level for a saturn is halfway up the coolant jug at the seam. If your coolant is there or above, you probably have a bad/sticking coolant sensor, which is part of the jug.

As Saturns age, it is normal for them to run hotter than they did when they were new. the insides of the cooling system get coated with deposits that decrease thermal efficiency. I would change the thermostat as a precaution. But anywhere up to 3/4 on the coolant gage is normal for a saturn.

If the needle being high on the gage bothers you, turn your a/c on - this will bring on the cooling fan for as long as the button is pressed. If you don't want to decrease your gas mileage, then turn the a/c off - the fan will stay running for 5 minutes afterward - usually enough to bring any saturn back down below 1/2 gage on the hottest of days.

I regularly hit the a/c button on then off every 5 min if I am stuck in traffic, so that fan stays on, and the coolant temp never makes it near 3/4...

No a/c? you might want to wire up an auxiliary cooling fan switch for those hot days, or alternitavely, power the cooling fan relay with an ignition fed +12v so that it stays on whenever the car is running, or you could get out and push, or you could.kul67635&^@2+_ (wife strangling me for the sarcasm)
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Old 07-12-2003, 10:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
The light in your dash can be an indicator of coolant temperature or level. The proper level for a saturn is halfway up the coolant jug at the seam. If your coolant is there or above, you probably have a bad/sticking coolant sensor, which is part of the jug.
I had a similar thing where the low coolant light would come on, even though the coolant level was fine. When I flushed the cooling system before I put new coolant in, I removed the expansion tank from the car and scrubbed it as best I could and shook it with a dishwashing soap solution to get the grunge out. Haven't had a problem with it since.

BTW when I replaced the thermostat with a genuine Saturn part, it cost around $14, not the $2-5 quoted earlier.
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