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Old 01-20-2018, 03:08 PM   #21
Zeebins
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

So I've finally made some more progress on what is wrong. I pulled the ects connector eariler and there was defiantly some coolant on it so I guess I'll be putting a new ects in soon. Hopefully the t-stat hasn't failed as well and all the symptoms I've been having will go away with the new ects but I'll find that out when the time comes

(Also that air intake tube is a real pain to get on and off)
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:10 PM   #22
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Our 2001 SL2 was having the overheat problem, but only when you got stuck in rush hour after being on the expressway. Then it would 'boil over'.

What I found is the ECTS was off by about 40 degrees F. It would read 120 when the engine was actually 160, or it would read 160 when the engine was about 200. At lower temperature it was close to accurate (32f). I had replaced this sensor quite a while ago without knowing if the original was bad, because there was significant carbon buildup in the EGR system so I figured it was running very rich for a long time. I replaced the sensor this week and now things work great.

As an experiment, I took all three and connected them one at a time to either the ECTS connector or the IAT connector, then monitored the ECM while changing the water the sensor was dipped in from 32F to 200F and watched how all three sensors reacted. The original sensor and the new sensor were fine... but the old "new" one that I had put in a few years ago was reading defectively, as noted above.

On the gauge, it appears the 1/4 mark is about 160F and the half mark is 210-220F (220F is about where the fan kicks on).

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Old 01-22-2018, 08:16 AM   #23
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeebins View Post
So I've finally made some more progress on what is wrong. I pulled the ects connector eariler and there was defiantly some coolant on it so I guess I'll be putting a new ects in soon. Hopefully the t-stat hasn't failed as well and all the symptoms I've been having will go away with the new ects but I'll find that out when the time comes

(Also that air intake tube is a real pain to get on and off)
Be mindful that you'll likely have to replace the ECTS connector too as the antifreeze would foul it up and also cause you grief. Make sure that it is soldered in and not crimped; crimped connections are failure point for the ECTS connector replacement.

It's relatively easy to test if the thermostat is failing. From a cold engine the coolant hose just after the thermostat should remain cold until the coolant temperature reaches 195 degrees at which time the thermostat will begin to open. So if you keep your hand on that hose after a cold start and the hose gets warm rather quickly then your thermostat is leaking and needs to be replaced.

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Old 05-05-2018, 02:16 PM   #24
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

So this is kind of an old thread now but I figure I should say what solved my problem for anyone who might be reading this in the future.

At some point in February I got a scan tool to get some actual numbers for the coolant temp. With my reader plugged in and with a thermometer in the coolant tank, the numbers matched. So the ECTS was definitely seeing and sending the correct coolant temp to be PCM. Toward the end of march I ended up buying a new brass tipped ECTS anyway, when I pulled the old one it was the plastic OE one, and it did have a crack in it, but it wasn't "broken" since it still technically worked correctly. The new ects didn't really change anything. The gauge stil showed what it would before and the coolant temp was still the same.

Then last month I replaced my thermostat when I did a coolant flush and that definitely made a difference. Rather than the gauge showing somewhere around 5/16 after driving around for a while, it now showes somewhere between 7/16 and 1/2. So my old thermostat Was probably stuck open, or stuck partly open/opening too early if that's a possible way for it to fail. The old thermostat was OE too like the ECTS.

So was it a "Failing thermostat or ECTS?" Turned out to be a failing thermostat in this case

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Old 05-05-2018, 02:35 PM   #25
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

In your post, #21, you showed a fouled coolant connector. This fouling is more a coolant leak from a damaged coolant sensor than moisture or coolant/water/soap solution getting past the weather resistant connector. Finding the sensor cracked was just verifying damage and eventual signal corruption to the pcm. If allowed to remain, it would have led to overheating by not sending correct temperature signals. The pcm not sensing correct coolant temps won't turn on the cooling fan. In warm to hot weather, the engine will overheat if the cooling fan doesn't turn on when needed. You avoided damage by replacing the sensor and t-stat.

The side by side image of a faulty and redesigned coolant sensor in post#19 was a hint. Here's the other hint. It may not resemble your t-stat but was found by one member for the same problem.
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:42 PM   #26
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

My old thermostat didn't actually look that bad. Visually I couldn't see anything wrong with it so I was a little worried at first that the new one I got wouldn't fix anything but it definitely did.
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:49 PM   #27
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

What temps were you seeing with the scanner and thermometer, both before and after the t-stat change?

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Old 05-05-2018, 03:18 PM   #28
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Before the change the gauge would never go above 5/16 on the guage and the scanner would read somewhere between 180 and 185. Even after driving around for 20+ minutes

With the new thermostat, the guage sits between 7/16 and 1/2 and the scanner will go between 195 and 200 after about either 10 minutes of driving or a little longer if just idling

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Old 05-06-2018, 12:02 PM   #29
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeebins View Post
Before the change the gauge would never go above 5/16 on the guage and the scanner would read somewhere between 180 and 185. Even after driving around for 20+ minutes

With the new thermostat, the guage sits between 7/16 and 1/2 and the scanner will go between 195 and 200 after about either 10 minutes of driving or a little longer if just idling
That warm up time is what really helps the MPG, especially when it gets cold out again. Though people claim otherwise, I don't think the lower operating temp hurts all that much myself. Our car ran at about 185 from the factory and got great MPG return and no issues/codes/etc.

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Old 05-06-2018, 12:04 PM   #30
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Oops, wrong thread. Hate smartphones.

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Old 05-06-2018, 06:54 PM   #31
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeebins View Post
Before the change the gauge would never go above 5/16 on the guage and the scanner would read somewhere between 180 and 185. Even after driving around for 20+ minutes

With the new thermostat, the guage sits between 7/16 and 1/2 and the scanner will go between 195 and 200 after about either 10 minutes of driving or a little longer if just idling
This is not too bad. Just keep an eye on the temp gauge and make sure your cooling fan is working properly. 195-200F is a hair warm, but it won't hurt anything.

The rated temp of a thermostat is when they BEGIN to open. The higher number is the FULLY OPEN temp..

Example on my Grand Am: The factory OEM thermostat is rated at 195/212F.

So, it begins to open at 195F and will reach fully open if the engine coolant gets to 212F.

Since the Saturn replacements are either 185F or 188F, they begin opening at those temps amd fully open between 205F-209F.

Just be mindful of how crappy replacement thermostats are for these cars. They love to stick open. If this happens, floor your car to about 5,000-6,000rpm. Then let of the gas and allow it to upshift to the highest gear(AT) or hit the clutch amd let rpms drop back to the 1,250rpm idle.

This creates a surge of pressure in the coolant, as well as cavitation in the water pump. It will unstick the thermostat and the engine will begin heating up to temp.

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Old 05-07-2018, 10:17 AM   #32
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Default Re: Failing thermostat or ECTS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
In your post, #21, you showed a fouled coolant connector. This fouling is more a coolant leak from a damaged coolant sensor
Yeah, at that point I would have considered replacing both the connector and ECTS.

You (op) don't seem to be having an issue with it, so at the very least, I'd give it a shot of electronics cleaner to clean it out, if you haven't already done so.

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