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Old 04-27-2020, 04:26 PM   #1
neato3000
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Hi guys, new here, but have honestly been coming around for a while to get some insight into some of the problems I've run into with this thing. At this point I've dealing with a cooling problem and have most everything back in order, but now I'm trying to replace or even just diagnose the ECTS, but I just cannot find it on this 3.5L engine. I have tried, it seems, a million different google searches trying to locate it. Could some one help me out by shedding some light as where this thing is? Figuring it is what's keeping my main fan from coming on during normal operation. AC fan comes on when AC is in use, and the main fan comes on only when overheating. Thanks!

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Old 04-27-2020, 05:04 PM   #2
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Just found it, but the main wire loom for the engine is run right over top of it with zero flex. How do you move that out of the way? Disconnect everything just to move it over by an inch? Any help is appreciated

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Old 04-27-2020, 05:12 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Perhaps an alternative to removing and replacing the ects may help. Plug in a reader capable of displaying coolant temps. Measure temps with a cold engine since a cold engine sitting overnight should reflect temps very close to ambient temps in your area. The with a fully warmed up engine, measure temps again. Operating temps should be whatever the t-stat rating is listed in your owner's manual or online from GM parts or rockauto.com.

How many cooling fans and do you know if fan(s) have more than one speed?
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:28 PM   #4
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

The t-stat rating is 185
-oh and when checking with an infrared thermometer, the rad gets up to 235 at idle and the fan just won't come on. (proly would go higher, but I shut it down at that point)

There are two fans,
Passenger side comes on when running AC
Driver side only comes on when it overheats(flashing, not solid, dummy temp light)

Near as I can tell they just run one speed.

There is voltage at the relays, but nothing happens when shorting them. Weird since they come on when the comp tells them to. Really need a schematic for this thing to diagnose that I think.

Heard I could disconnect the ects, and the fan should come on, is that correct?
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Old 04-27-2020, 07:56 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Disconnecting the coolant sensor in the S-series Saturns did turn on the single cooling fan but I don't know if this will work or help your two fan set-up. Complicating diagnosing/troubleshooting your cooling fan circuitry is lack of service manual info. Any info from your owner's manual? Perhaps members with the same 3.5L Vue may help.

I'm wondering if your dual fan setup runs similar to L300s with dual fans. From my service manual, it's clearly explained as a three speed configuration with both fans running low, medium and high speeds. Mine has a fan control module parked next to the battery with a pair of connectors. Technical descriptions explains low speed with relays wiring both fans in series to reduce current. I see and barely hear both fans with ac on. As coolant and/or ac pressures increase, fans are switched to medium speed with each fan having a resistor - each fan runs on full 12v power. At higher pressures or hot coolant temps, both fans are switched to high speed, bypassing the resistor. I can hear high speed in summer hot temps when stopped at lights. High speed fans run for less than a minute before switching back to medium or low speed. The ecm determines which speed is needed and controls switching speeds thru the fan control module.

I'm under the impression something is faulty in one fan based on my dual fan cooling configuration. I'm guessing yours have a three speed setup too. A Chilton or Haynes manual should have this info otherwise a search may turn up info. Lastly, subscribing to alldata.diy or Mitchell for online service manuals.

One way to tell if each fan has more than one speed is if the electrical connector has three wires. Ground, medium (with built in resister) and high speed. I haven't looked in my service manuals lately but I think when high speed wiring is in series, the reduced current thru both fans also runs each fan at low speed.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:13 AM   #6
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

That is probably the worst part about fixing this vehicle is that there seems to be a serious lack of service manual info. Haynes has a manual for the Vue from 2002 to 2009. How that makes sense with all the Vue combos there are blows my mind...

After my last post I just drove the car for a while out of frustration. It has a new water pump, because the last one grenaded itself. A new expansion tank, because the last one broke that little bib that hangs on the top for overflow. New thermostat, cuz I thought it was the last piece. And lastly, a new expansion tank cap, because it was still boiling over. So why not right? Also threw in an oil change.

So far, it hasn't given me any problems besides anxiety that the fan won't turn on. Spent some time looking at temperatures vs. fan activation, and maybe this thing just works warm.

I sat the running car in the driveway after running around. With AC on I saw temps (infrared temperature gun) at the ects housing to be 234 to 237. It kept just bouncing up and down between there. Without AC it was way cooler, 203 was it's max. The main fan never turned on in either situation.

Starting to feel comfortable with it honestly. It has pep that it didn't have before this, and it's not losing all of it's fluid to boiling over in the expansion tank. Mainly no overheating/stranding on the side of the road so far. Gotta be back for delivery on Thursday so we'll see what happens then.

Oh, and both fans only have two wires. Unless it's the awful pwm circuit they threw into the cabin's HVAC fan, I bet it's single speed.

I'm an electrical dude, so trying to figure this out without datasheets or schematics for this vue combo is just hurting the brain...




I swear the bcm is the main evil in this whole scenario...

Last edited by neato3000; 04-28-2020 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:01 AM   #7
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

234F-237F is way too hot. If I'm not mistaken, most antifreeze mixtures of 50/50 raise boiling point to around 265F with chilling systems under pressure. The 15-20 psi pressure and 50/50 mixtures allows higher boiling points. At those temps you measured, both fans should be on high, not one.

You haven't updated your profile to show year, model and engine under your name. I spent $145 for GMs service manuals. I didn't like the expense at first but knew the only way to have accurate info instead of hearsay and misinformation was to buy factory manuals. They paid for themselves when I needed info to repair my ac system. Technical info isn't given away but service manuals have it all. Stepping up from a '90s Ford wagon to a '03 Saturn L300 meant several computer modules (ecm, bcm, tcm, airbag and anti lock brakes) to learn about in order to stay ahead of the learning curve with more electronics than ever. Subscribing to alldata or Mitchell are very reasonable and you're not obligated to a long contract. Some public libraries have free access to Alldata as members in the past were able to find car info there.

Personally I don't believe your bcm is at fault. Without service manual info, it's guessing. The ecm determines when fans are needed since the coolant and ac pressure sensors are direct inputs to it. I can be wrong and without info I suggest at the least Chilton or Haynes.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:21 AM   #8
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2008 AURA XE
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

This is for a 2004 3.5l Vue. Hope it matches yours.
Check the cooling fan relay. It appears to control the low fan speed.
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File Type: jpg Saturn vue rads.jpg (70.8 KB, 5 views)
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Old 04-28-2020, 02:12 PM   #9
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Fdryer
So that 234-237 was at idle in the driveway with AC on. So the passenger fan was on. Later I did it again, idle in the driveway, and it maxed at 203. But so far who knows if those are even right. I'll need to get one of those shop manuals to know for sure I guess. Did you just buy it from your GM dealer?


imaddicted2u
Thanks for the schematic, not sure if it's right, but might have given me an aha! moment. Mine has 40A fuses, and the naming of the fuses is different in the box, but if this anything the same, I think I figured out why I wasn't getting anything from Cool Fan 1(Fan Main). I had pulled all 3 of those relays when I was testing, which takes away any path to ground for Cool Fan 1 through the Cooling Fan Relay. Not sure about Cool Fan 2(Fan Aux), that should have worked no problem... Thanks a lot!
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:10 PM   #10
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2008 AURA XE
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

This is a good video explaining the GM 3 relay fan control setup. (Assuming the diagram matches your VUE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OkF23fEjC0
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:09 PM   #11
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

So, went out, and did some more testing with this schematic in hand, looks to be an exact match. So after some poking and prodding, turns out it's just the fan ("Cooling Fan Right" on the schematic, driver side on my car). I swapped the two fans and drove around with the AC off, sat it in idle in the drive way (because it still hadn't kicked off the fan) and it finally came on when the exposed part of the ECTS exceeded 235 according to my infrared thermometer, then shut off when it went below 234. Upper hose was at around 210ish, and lower hose was at about 195ish. Went looking for a scan tool to get better numbers, but $100 for one that would live stream the data at oriellys was a bit too much. It could still be real high, and I need a new ects, but at this point I know I need a fan, so first things first I guess. Thanks for all the help!
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:46 PM   #12
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2008 AURA XE
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Quote:
Originally Posted by neato3000 View Post
So, went out, and did some more testing with this schematic in hand, looks to be an exact match. So after some poking and prodding, turns out it's just the fan ("Cooling Fan Right" on the schematic, driver side on my car). I swapped the two fans and drove around with the AC off, sat it in idle in the drive way (because it still hadn't kicked off the fan) and it finally came on when the exposed part of the ECTS exceeded 235 according to my infrared thermometer, then shut off when it went below 234. Upper hose was at around 210ish, and lower hose was at about 195ish. Went looking for a scan tool to get better numbers, but $100 for one that would live stream the data at oriellys was a bit too much. It could still be real high, and I need a new ects, but at this point I know I need a fan, so first things first I guess. Thanks for all the help!
Put 12 volts directly on the fan to be sure it's broken. If it is, replace it first. I think the cooling system operation will return to normal.
When the computer commands low speed, both fans should come on at half speed. When the temperature rises high enough, the computer commands high speed both fans should come on at full speed. Only one comes on at full speed in your case.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:50 PM   #13
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Members have recommended Torque (app) for cellphones and a OBD II wifi adapter to broadcast to the phone. The OBDII wifi adapter is as low as $8 but requires an app. Torque lite is free, Torque Pro is $5. Other members may have better suggestions. The OBD II reader should display coolant sensor temps as the the ecm or pcm sees it.

One low cost wifi adapter;https://www.ebay.com/itm/OBD-OBD2-Sc....c100677.m4598.

Google for Torque apps.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:57 PM   #14
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2008 AURA XE
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

It looks like the right and left fan motors are different part numbers so you should put the motor back on the proper side.
Rockauto has the whole fan shroud assembly with both motors and fans for $113.79. Whereas the ACDelco motors alone are around $100 each.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:11 PM   #15
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2008 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

imaddicted2u
Yeah, I already did the direct connect to battery and the fan never came on. It's toast. Was thinkin' I'd just pick up a fan and replace the one. Still gotta figure out how to tear into it though. Lots of stuff in the way.

fdryer
Just wasn't sure if these adapters did all that. I just bought one of those, per yer suggestion, we'll see the numbers in a few days it looks like. So if I show something 235 on my infrared thermometer when checking the ects, but odb2 shows something like 215, would that call for a swap? I imagine the part of the sensor that's outside of the motor must be something close to the temp it's sampling. Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:31 PM   #16
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2008 AURA XE
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Just to be clear...there is no AC fan.
Both fans are controlled by the BCM and it determines the conditions where the fans need to be on.
I don't think you have an ECTS problem. You have a no low speed fan operation problem. In low speed the fans are connected through the relay in series (each running half speed) and since one of yours is broken the other one doesn't run in low speed but it does run when the coolant gets hot enough for the BCM to trigger high speed.
This is for Equinox but should be similar to replacing your fans.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3281ZSGS1_A
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

Quote:
Originally Posted by neato3000 View Post
but I just cannot find it on this 3.5L engine.
You're posting in the 2008 Vue forum. Last year for the 3.5L was 2007.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:54 PM   #18
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2008 AURA XE
Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

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You're posting in the 2008 Vue forum. Last year for the 3.5L was 2007.
Rockauto lists 3.5l parts for 2008 and the Owners manual for 2008 shows the 2.4, 3.5 and 3.6
https://my.gm.com/content/dam/gmowne...vue_owners.pdf
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

I was thinking of the Honda engine. Forget what I said.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:09 PM   #20
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Default Re: 3.5L ECTS location, and other things

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I was thinking of the Honda engine. Forget what I said.
I can see where that could happen...forgotten...
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