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Old 11-22-2012, 05:56 PM   #21
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Disconnecting/connecting the iacv is not a test/troubleshooting procedure with the engine running. Whatever you saw isn't what the pcm sees and adds to the confusion; not only are you throwing out something new for troubleshooting but you also made the pcm confused. Think; does the pcm have any ability to disconnect/connect any sensor for self diagnosing itself? Electronics and programs for self diagnostics is developed in a certain way but isn't 100% perfect as many complain about. In a strict sense, on-board diagnostics was developed with dealer mechanics/technicians trained in car electronics and message systems for trained people to aid in troubleshooting. You and I are on the outside looking in and have to have the service manuals as well as electronics/mechanical skills to understand EFI systems to troubleshoot problems. Throw in a few problems that don't generate error codes and either you sink or swim..................Too many think servicing EFI systems are easy until they come across a problem that defies their "abilities". No one is an expert on everything.

Sometimes thinking outside the box will help but not in this case with the iacv. Either try what's suggested (as done by others and verified to work for troubleshooting) or venture on your own and develop a new troubleshooting method. If you venture out then please explain what you find and whether or not it helps you troubleshoot to find the answer to your problem. Sharing experiences is what we do here on Saturnfans. Some ideas work, others don't.

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Old 11-22-2012, 06:02 PM   #22
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Disconnecting/connecting the iacv is not a test/troubleshooting procedure with the engine running. Whatever you saw isn't what the pcm sees and adds to the confusion; not only are you throwing out something new for troubleshooting but you also made the pcm confused. Think; does the pcm have any ability to disconnect/connect any sensor for self diagnosing itself? Electronics and programs for self diagnostics is developed in a certain way but isn't 100% perfect as many complain about. In a strict sense, on-board diagnostics was developed with dealer mechanics/technicians trained in car electronics and message systems for trained people to aid in troubleshooting. You and I are on the outside looking in and have to have the service manuals as well as electronics/mechanical skills to understand EFI systems to troubleshoot problems. Throw in a few problems that don't generate error codes and either you sink or swim..................Too many think servicing EFI systems are easy until they come across a problem that defies their "abilities". No one is an expert on everything.

Sometimes thinking outside the box will help but not in this case with the iacv. Either try what's suggested (as done by others and verified to work for troubleshooting) or venture on your own and develop a new troubleshooting method. If you venture out then please explain what you find and whether or not it helps you troubleshoot to find the answer to your problem. Sharing experiences is what we do here on Saturnfans. Some ideas work, others don't.
As a 7-year auto mechanic, though back in the day of carburetors and points, this EFI stuff is confusing. Another thread I found had a guy who could get his car to start (same symptoms) by disconnecting the IAC. I did the same, disconnect the IAC and the car starts instantly. Plug the IAC in and the car won't start. Using my old-fashioned diagnostic abilities, that tells me something is wrong with the IAC or the computer. I figure I'll clean out the intake and IAC and see if that works. If not, I'll continue my diagnostics.

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Old 11-22-2012, 09:58 PM   #23
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

It don't matter how much you or I know. Unless you have a well grounded knowledge of electronic fuel injection systems and understand how sensors work, fail, and produce repeatable symptoms, its anyone's guess what occurs when disconnecting electrical parts of the EFI system.

If you can reproduce repeatable symptoms here then go with it and replace the iacv. You're either right or wrong. It doesn't matter who's right or wrong. The idea is to find the right troubleshooting method that works and minimizes playing "I'll just throw parts at the problem until its fixed."

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:53 PM   #24
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

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It don't matter how much you or I know. Unless you have a well grounded knowledge of electronic fuel injection systems and understand how sensors work, fail, and produce repeatable symptoms, its anyone's guess what occurs when disconnecting electrical parts of the EFI system.

If you can reproduce repeatable symptoms here then go with it and replace the iacv. You're either right or wrong. It doesn't matter who's right or wrong. The idea is to find the right troubleshooting method that works and minimizes playing "I'll just throw parts at the problem until its fixed."
Yeah, throwing parts at it until it's fixed sucks. Is there some sort of diagnostic procedure for going through this EFI system? The other problem I have is no tools that one uses for specific EFI parts. All my stuff is from another era and is of little use with this.

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Old 11-26-2012, 02:41 PM   #25
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

I understand completely. I learned old school and fortunately (was forced into) picking up EFI systems with my first new car. Back then the service manual was one book and only cost $25-$50(?). I bought the manual because I was terrified of this new (to me back then) EFI system failing and leaving me stranded somewhere. Needless to say, it never did except for one small fuel pump issue that was quickly found with a pressure gauge. Learning how EFI systems operate and the parts used slowly parted the clouds in my mind over the years. Having compete familiarity with basic 4-stroke principles and applying each EFI sensor makes it somewhat easier to absorb. Reading the forum problems Saturnfans members have and solutions helps to reinforce what fails, their symptoms, and solutions. Its just a little more difficult when more than one problem is presented and separating them to their failed parts presents a different twist on issues. In the end, after some time to absorb all the information, it comes down to three areas; starting, fuel or ignition. It isn't hard to learn if done piecemeal. While it may seem like rocket science, it isn't.

There are service manual diagnostics but that depends on a trained (GM) person with experience. The DIY way has many ways to troubleshoot depending on one's abilities. The basics require; mechanical, electrical, electronic, hydraulic, practical knowledge and hands on time. Second guessing like the typical armchair quarterback can be expensive. My personal troubleshooting method is really no different from anyone else except maybe more in-depth knowledge to separate a starting problem from a fuel or ignition issue. Starting is a power issue while fuel is a pump and pressure issue. Ignition is electronics and an issue by itself. Each area has definite places to test for to rule out any doubt. Test one area then move on to the next and eventually arrive at the problem. Now if it were that simple..................

You'd be surprised how much you know when you become familiar with the electronic components and how they work. Technical info aside, its what they do and when they fail is the key to understanding EFI. There's a lot to know but it can be learned a little at a time. Satrunfans has a wealth of free information. Putting the symptoms together with the failed part can help with troubleshooting.

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:02 PM   #26
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Well, I've been off all this past week so I've been driving the wife to work so she didn't get stranded when the temperature dropped.

Needed to fire the SL1 up so I can get it usable for her this coming week. It will not start no matter what I do.

Where can I get a manual or something that tells me how to troubleshoot the EFI system on this car? The Haynes Manual is absolutely useless for this.

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:32 PM   #27
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

The Haynes manual usually is useless, unless you want it for parts swapping. I'm only chiming in because I noticed a way back that you installed platinum plugs. No bueno. I actually corrected a no start condition by installing baseline OEM Delco plugs once. I know, not fancy, but they work.

You can clean the pindle on the IACV with throttle body cleaner, just in case it's gummed. If you decide to replace it, they're fairly cheap at least. It does sound a bit like you're suffering from a fuel pressure drop. Also, take off and clean your EGR valve. If you're that gummed in the throttle body, it can't hurt. Probably isn't contributing to the hard start, but it'll even out the idle a bit.

And lastly, if fdryer says to do it, hands down I'd get on it. He's saved my bacon a time or two.

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:58 PM   #28
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by WageWor View Post
The Haynes manual usually is useless, unless you want it for parts swapping. I'm only chiming in because I noticed a way back that you installed platinum plugs. No bueno. I actually corrected a no start condition by installing baseline OEM Delco plugs once. I know, not fancy, but they work.

You can clean the pindle on the IACV with throttle body cleaner, just in case it's gummed. If you decide to replace it, they're fairly cheap at least. It does sound a bit like you're suffering from a fuel pressure drop. Also, take off and clean your EGR valve. If you're that gummed in the throttle body, it can't hurt. Probably isn't contributing to the hard start, but it'll even out the idle a bit.

And lastly, if fdryer says to do it, hands down I'd get on it. He's saved my bacon a time or two.
Yeah, he seems pretty knowledgeable

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Old 12-31-2012, 02:20 PM   #29
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

There are several ways to learn about EFI systems but very seldom do they cover how to troubleshoot. The basics need to be understood as in what a coolant sensor is used for, how signals are output that translate to rich or lean fuel mixtures, and what occurs when it fails. Troubleshooting any sensor depends on how its understood in the EFI system and how it affects engine running. Service manuals do not cover this but describe the functions as its assumed the person using these manuals have the basic background and GM training. I noticed the glaring disclaimer in each of my service manuals that these manuals are expressly written for trained people in dealerships and not meant for anyone else. This may have a lot to do with liability issues but the printing leans on GM trained persons using GM equipment and is worded that way. As a non GM technician I can read between the lines to apply what I know to the text referring to GM equipment and specific troubleshooting steps that I can't perform - things like using GM's Tech II reader/scanner/programmer.

Searching online should give you many avenues for learning EFI. A very basic and technical manual covering EFI systems would be one put out by Robert Bosch, the inventor of our EFI systems covering the many generations culminating in what we're driving today. Its a perfect starter manual that goes over the basics. No troubleshooting. I used prior knowledge of carburetor/distrbutor/4-stroke info to correlate how sensors are used to operate a typical EFI system. A very basic troubleshooting step would be to ask whether a problem is fuel or ignition related. Separating an EFI system a into a fuel or ignition issue can halve the problem. Understanding how EFI fuel systems operate in general as well as how ignition systems work in EFI systems also helps. Saturnfans has many repeated posts covering the usual failures with symptoms that fit; crank position sensor, throttle position sensor, coolant sensor (in S-series engines from '91-'01), ignition control module, and ignition coils.

I find one procedure that's used where a spark and fuel test is asked and done to narrow problems quickly. While it may seem overwhelming with a lot of information, taking the time to learn and understand one faulty sensor and its affect to the engine is the same as if a choke doesn't work. In one sense the coolant sensor takes the place of the old choke mechanics while telling the engine computer what it needs to know to run the right fuel mixture. Cold coolant sensor = rich fuel mixture, warm = less fuel, and hot means leaning out fuel some more. It can be that simple. Faulty coolant sensors have been covered many times; more faulty ones run the engine rich with a few running lean from cold start (sharing the same characteristic - actual backfiring into the intake manifold and out the throttle body if the air intake tubing is left off).

All the information is out there. You just have to have the desire to relearn what you already know and transfer it over to EFI systems. After all, the same 4-stroke engine from the 60's with one or more carbs is the same engine now except its heavily sensored all over it with one computer to run it. Its not rocket science.....................

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Old 12-31-2012, 02:38 PM   #30
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Thanks fdryer! I will definitely read up on EFI systems.

For now though, I need to figure out how to trouble shoot the current problem. I'm at my wit's end.

To refresh - car cranks but will not start if the weather is below 30 degrees F. Holding the gas pedal to the floor causes it to backfire.

Crank sensor (CPS) is new. Temp sensor (CTS) is also new. Idle control (IAC) is new as well. Spark plugs and wires are new. Fuel pressure is 58psi. I am getting spark and fuel. Plugs are wet after cranking for a while with no start.

Above 40 degrees, the car starts and runs fine with absolutely no problem. All temp sensors, coolant, air, and trans all read the correct temperature according to my ScanGuage.

I have read many posts and checked many items on the car. Wiring from the CTS is in good condition with no signs of corrosion. Spark tester shows nice thick spark. I cannot get it to run at all now so I cannot test fuel pressure while running.

I really don't know how to continue. I have replaced every single item that is related to the car starting. So, I guess we should just pretend I'm brand new here and I'll start re-checking everything.

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Old 12-31-2012, 02:55 PM   #31
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

A fuel test is simple; one of two ways - the simple 'depress the fuel test valve on the fuel rail' or use a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel test valve. All you need to do is turn on the ignition and listen for the faint hum/hiss of the fuel pump running for 2-seconds (then it shuts off for safety), locate the fuel rail's test valve, remove the black plastic dust cover to reveal the schrader valve (resembles a tire valve), cover loosely with a rag while depressing the valve stem expecting a healthy spray of fuel. No fuel or a dribble means a fuel issue; fuse, pump relay, clogged fuel filter, pump, pump ground connection by the rear brake lights. The fuel system only needs 2-seconds to pressurize the fuel lines to around 50 psi and hold for at least 5-minutes. When the engine is cranked the crank position sensor sends timing signals to allow the pcm to; turn on the fuel pump, initiate the ignition system for spark, and pulse the injectors. GM's basic EFI system in a nutshell.

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Old 12-31-2012, 03:11 PM   #32
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
A fuel test is simple; one of two ways - the simple 'depress the fuel test valve on the fuel rail' or use a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel test valve. All you need to do is turn on the ignition and listen for the faint hum/hiss of the fuel pump running for 2-seconds (then it shuts off for safety), locate the fuel rail's test valve, remove the black plastic dust cover to reveal the schrader valve (resembles a tire valve), cover loosely with a rag while depressing the valve stem expecting a healthy spray of fuel. No fuel or a dribble means a fuel issue; fuse, pump relay, clogged fuel filter, pump, pump ground connection by the rear brake lights. The fuel system only needs 2-seconds to pressurize the fuel lines to around 50 psi and hold for at least 5-minutes. When the engine is cranked the crank position sensor sends timing signals to allow the pcm to; turn on the fuel pump, initiate the ignition system for spark, and pulse the injectors. GM's basic EFI system in a nutshell.
Okay. Fuel pressure is still about 58 psi. Quick spray test reveals healthy spray of fuel with a lot of pressure after sitting for 1 hour.

Next test?

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Old 12-31-2012, 06:56 PM   #33
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Re-reading from the beginning, fuel pressure @58 psi and strong spark at start up results in either flooding or lean mixtures at random along with random backfiring. Summing this all up seems to point to a possible loose or corroded coolant sensor connection despite it looking clean. With cold weather hovering at freezing levels, a flooded engine or excessively lean fuel mixture (backfiring) at start up tends to point to the coolant sensor connection, ruptured fuel pressure regulator (vacuum pulling in raw fuel into the intake manifold or leaking injector(s). Fuel pressure remaining high after the 2-second ignition ON priming cycle shouldn't bleed off at all until at least 5-10 minutes passes. Pressure remaining after an hour (fuel spray) would rule out injector leaks and regulator rupture, leaving the coolant sensor connection.

Pulling plugs off after a no start should show either wet or dry plugs. Dry plugs are usually associated with backfiring with a shorted coolant sensor/very low resistance while a flooded engine would be associated with a high resistance sensor/open, loose connection. There's no consistency here with both(?) scenarios occurring?

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Old 01-01-2013, 02:29 PM   #34
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Re-reading from the beginning, fuel pressure @58 psi and strong spark at start up results in either flooding or lean mixtures at random along with random backfiring. Summing this all up seems to point to a possible loose or corroded coolant sensor connection despite it looking clean. With cold weather hovering at freezing levels, a flooded engine or excessively lean fuel mixture (backfiring) at start up tends to point to the coolant sensor connection, ruptured fuel pressure regulator (vacuum pulling in raw fuel into the intake manifold or leaking injector(s). Fuel pressure remaining high after the 2-second ignition ON priming cycle shouldn't bleed off at all until at least 5-10 minutes passes. Pressure remaining after an hour (fuel spray) would rule out injector leaks and regulator rupture, leaving the coolant sensor connection.

Pulling plugs off after a no start should show either wet or dry plugs. Dry plugs are usually associated with backfiring with a shorted coolant sensor/very low resistance while a flooded engine would be associated with a high resistance sensor/open, loose connection. There's no consistency here with both(?) scenarios occurring?
Well... the backfiring only occurs when I'm doing the "flooded mode start" where I put the pedal to the floor while cranking. It could be possible it's actually flooding and the lean condition is only occurring when the fuel cuts off when doing the flooded start mode.

I will crank the engine normally then check the condition of the plugs. If they are very wet, it will indicate flooding.

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Old 01-01-2013, 03:07 PM   #35
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Okay, after normal cranking, plugs are very wet with gasoline.

Upon visual inspection of the wiring to the CTS I see that the connector itself is completely encased. I opened the connector and found the actual connection to be encased in silicone grease or the like. It is in excellent condition physically.

What is my next step?

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Old 01-01-2013, 03:44 PM   #36
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

UPDATE: After cranking the car at 2:30 PM (it is now 3:44 PM) I decided to check the fuel pressure once more - the simple test, depress the schrader valve.

No pressure! I repeat, I have no pressure in the fuel system after sitting for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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Old 01-01-2013, 03:52 PM   #37
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Its ok if fuel pressure bleeds off after an hour passes. Who cares about fuel pressure when the engine's off after more than 15 minutes passes. This would have no effect on starting/running. Its not ok if pressure bleed off is occurring while starting or during engine running at any time - this can result in leaned out fuel mixtures that can burn exhaust valves quickly if not found. Using a pressure gauge to monitor starting, idling and while driving may help to narrow down fuel pressure/pump issues.

Here's the basics of coolant sensors.

Electronically, the coolant sensor is a thermistor, thermal resistor that changes resistance in indirect proportion to temperature; as it senses cold/ambient temps its resistance is very high (somewhere around 100k ohms) and resists the voltage (5v) going through it so the output is a lower voltage like 0.5v - the pcm sees this low voltage and interprets this as a cold engine and uses a rich fuel mixture as in starting a cold engine. As the engine/coolant warms up this coolant sensor continuously changes its resistance value to a lower one (now much less than 100k ohms or a few hundred ohms) so the voltage increases that's used by the pcm to lean out fuel mixtures. The lower resistance allows higher voltage that's interpreted as a warm engine that needs less fuel. Finally, when the engine reaches operating temps (195F t-stat) the coolant sensor is electrically at a low resistance value (less than 1k ohms), voltage output is near 5v that the pcm sees as a hot engine - fuel mixtures are leaned out to coincide with ideal fuel/air mixtures of 14.7:1 while the O2 sensor is already operating to feedback more precise signals to make the pcm run the engine as lean as possible but stay within guidelines set by EPA for emissions control/catalytic converter function. EFI at its best.

If this coolant sensor doesn't see the 5v from excessive silicone grease that may interfere with the low voltage signaling, the pcm may see this as a very cold engine (much higher resistance even though the connections seem clean) and simply flood the engine during starting as it senses (incorrectly) higher resistance/lower voltage) the wrong signals. The usual case for flooding is a faulty plastic sensor or poor coolant sensor connection. Replace the connector and wiring with a junk yard air temperature connector, soldered to the existing wiring. The two very small terminals inside the connector are fragile and may not tolerate any grease or probing that can interfere with the low voltage signaling. An alternative connector is a two-pin pc connector that's soldered in and sealed with silicone compound. No grease used to keep the two terminals from weathering.

A faulty coolant sensor connection can result in richer/flooding incidents.

Last edited by fdryer; 01-01-2013 at 04:06 PM..

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Old 01-01-2013, 04:08 PM   #38
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

How can I check the resistance across the connector and CTS?

Also note the CTS is the new brass style. Even the old one was. The silicone is factory sealant used in the connector.

I have no wiring diagram in my Haynes manual. Do the wires from the CTS go directly to the computer? If so, can I check it at the large connector?

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Old 01-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #39
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2005 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

UPDATE: Hooked up my ScanGuageII and checked the temp sensors.
Coolant: 24 degrees F
Air: 24 degrees F
Transmission: 29 degrees F

Ambient temperature is 25 degrees F.

All temp sensors appear to be reading correctly.

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Old 01-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #40
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Default Re: Cranks for a long time before starting

Silicone grease is not a factory dielectric used anywhere on Saturns. This was done by someone else when the sensor was replaced. Most likely the connector was already beaten to death so silicone grease was used to attempt corrosion prevention. '02 Saturns and up went to brass tipped sensors after the fiasco with plastic ones in all the Saturns from '91-'01. I have the brass one in my '03 L300 and most likely every car/truck/suv in the world has the brass tipped one for coolant sensors.

Measuring the coolant sensor is easy on a bench but doesn't take into account the very small physical dimensions of the two terminals in the wiring connector that's difficult to measure. Only a very small probe should be used and may not work since probing the wiring connector can cause it to expand the two brass terminals. Expanding the small terrminals can result in a looser connection, another failure point to an existing one about poor electrical connections. The two wires go directly to the pcm. Just performing a continuity test through each pinhole may do more damage by widening the round brass terminals. Once loosened they won't return to grab and hold onto the two pins on the sensor. Its an exercise in futility. If you use stick pins pressed into the wire insulation you can measure continuity but its not testing terminal continuity. Replace the connector as suggested.

The brass coolant sensor is most likely in perfect working condition. The connector is the failure.

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