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Old 02-16-2017, 07:45 PM   #1
schleprock
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1996 SL1
Default overheating SL1

My car overheats. It is not losing engine coolant.

I had another problem, bad water pump that was leaking coolant, and while I was troubleshooting the overheating due to loss of coolant problem I was told that my heat sensor could be bad. I replaced the heat sensor. Also, I know that fan works.

Would a bad relay work when the engine gets super hot, nearly to the red on the indicator on the dashboard but not work at normal operating temperatures.

My car overheats when I am sitting in traffic and I never hear the fan come on. If I can get my vehicle above about 15mph it cools right down.

How do I know it comes on when it gets really hot? My Saturn always takes 5 or so miles of running to get the engine coolant to get rid of the air in the system. During this process I heard the fan come on, when I could see the indicator inside the cab was on red.

Could the relay only work when it is super hot. Or do they either work or not work. Or what might be happening here. In the summer this is going to become a big problem when I get stuck in traffic.

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Old 02-17-2017, 06:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: overheating SL1

If you constantly get "air in the system" you need to have the cooling system sniff tested. Air pockets around the ECTS can cause the fan to malfunction. That being said I don't think I read what year car it is. If prior to 2001 (IIRC) it has the poorly designed resin tip sensor. The new sensor will be brass tipped. Once you have that in there, see how the engine/fan behaves. If it still does this try turning the AC on which will force the cooling fan to come on. If the engine cools down than it could be the relay. Don't rule out a bad fan motor though

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Old 02-17-2017, 08:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: overheating SL1

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
That being said I don't think I read what year car it is. If prior to 2001 (IIRC) it has the poorly designed resin tip sensor. The new sensor will be brass tipped.
Mid-year 2001. Hence, some 2001 models came with the brass tipped sensor and others did not.

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Old 02-17-2017, 09:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: overheating SL1

OP appears to have a 96 SL1 per profile. On a 96 model, the gauge will approach 3/4 scale before the fan kicks on. It should not go up to the red zone.

As stated above, if the car has functioning a/c, turning it on should result in the cooling fan running constantly. This is an easy way to check if the fan is working. It can also be used to cool the engine when sitting in traffic.

When you say heat sensor, do you mean engine coolant temperature sensor? If that has been replaced with a new one, the replacement was likely a brass tip version.

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Old 02-17-2017, 03:17 PM   #5
schleprock
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Default Re: overheating SL1

It is a 1996 SL1. Sorry I forgot, that was a pretty stupid thing to leave out.

I will try the fan on the A/C and see what happens.

(last time we poked to probes into the wire and the fan turned on)

I only get air in the system when I change the coolant. For instance, when I changed the water pump the coolant came out. When I replaced that coolant it took a few miles to burp out the air bubbles.

The sensor was replaced and I am pretty sure it was the brass tipped one. I replaced it about 3 months ago.

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Old 02-17-2017, 03:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: overheating SL1

I gotta ask... If it isn't losing coolant, why do you think it is overheating? The dash gauge is far from being a precision instrument. Are you using live-data or an actual thermometer in the coolant? What actual temps (in F or C) are you reading?

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