SaturnFans.com
what's new (beta) - classifieds - forums - photos


Go Back   SaturnFans.com Forums > Models > Saturn S-Series > S-Series Tech
Register FAQ Members List Groups Calendar Chat Room Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-10-2007, 08:18 AM   #1
JayLo
New Member
JayLo is on a distinguished road
 
JayLo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 5

1998 SL2
Wrench SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Hi all. I am new to this forum and acquired a 1998 Saturn SL2 recently through marriage. My new bride is now driving my 1991 GMC Syclone. Some deal.

Anyway, until recently the car has been running speedily. The only problem my wife had with the car was a random low coolant light which thanks to this forum I traced to a gummed up coolant reservoir float (cleaned it with gasoline).

Yesterday, the coolant started to steam out of the reservoir as I was sitting in the car eating and idling. The coolant gauge read a little over half of the scale, which seemed odd to me as it rarely got over a quarter during this summer. The fan was also not on.

Since it has 113,000 miles, I decided to change the thermostat and coolant temperature sensor as cheap insurance and in hope that they would fix the problem.

Heres the old sensor:


I assume they are not supposed to have a decent sized crack in the side. Am I right?

Well, after draining the coolant, and changing the stat (which visually seemed fine) and refilling with straight water to flush the old stuff out, I let the car idle for 20 minutes. The gauge read just under a half, the fan never came on, the coolant in the reservoir got hot enough that it started boiling, and the lower radiator hose never seemed to get ridged or hot. The upper radiator hose was hot but pretty squishy.

Any ideas? Fan relay? Water pump? Both?

Ill continue to search on here for answers, but I just thought I would post this anyway.

Thanks for your help.

Regards,

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to JayLo's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help JayLo reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
JayLo is offline   Reply With Quote
SaturnFans.com Sponsored Links
Old 10-10-2007, 09:08 AM   #2
DonP
Master Member
DonP will become famous soon enoughDonP will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: VA
Posts: 3,580
 

1995 SL2
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Did you have water or an antifreeze mix in it when it started to boil over? Not clear from the post, but water alone will boil at a lower temperature than the proper mix.

Is the coolant reservoir cap good, that is, will it hold the rated pressure? If not, the coolant will boil at lower temperatures.

Does the fan come on if you turn on the A/C? If the A/C works and has charge, the fan should come on if the A/C is turned on. That provides a quick test of the fan and relay. Otherwise the fan comes on as the temperature reaches just below the red zone on the temp gauge (if the sensors are Ok), and off as it drops jsut below 1/2 scale.

A cracked ECTS is a bad ECTS, and if cracked to the point of leaking it likely resulted in incorrect temperature reporting to the engine control computer as well as the gauge.

Summer driving temp never going above 1/4 implies a failed open T-stat, not good for fuel economy or CAT life. However, the low reading may also have resulted form a bad ECTS as well. Normal driving reading is around 3/8 scale.

Bad water pumps usually leak and/or make a lot of noise, but i suppose you could try remove the belt and feels if the shaft rotates OK or has a lot of play.,

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to DonP's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help DonP reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
DonP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 09:18 AM   #3
JayLo
New Member
JayLo is on a distinguished road
 
JayLo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 5

1998 SL2
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Don,
Thanks for the input. The fan kicks right on with the AC and off when I shut it off so I guess it makes sense that it is not the fan relay.

Right now I have plain water in the cooling system as I was trying to flush some crap out of the system and wanted to make sure everything was up to par before I poured a $10 gallon of Dexcool in the system.

As it idled, the water boiled. Knowing that ethylene glycol (or whatever the active ingredient in Dexcool is) extends the boiling point to a degree and that 15psi in a closed system does an even better job of this, I was not entirely surprised that plain water with the cap off would boil. What surprised me was that the fan did not kick on.

Regarding the water pump, thats a good idea. After work, Ill pull the tension from the serpentine belt and check how easily the water pump rotates.

Do you know what coolant temperature triggers the fan? Is it above 212 F?

Should the lower radiator hose get hot when the upper hose is? Are they both squishy (i.e. do not feel full or pressurized) when up to operating temperature?

Maybe I am just being paranoid and everything is fine.

...
JL
1998 Saturn SL2
1991 GMC Syclone (stock: 13.56@98, now with 3 stainless exhaust/cutout)
1967 Cougar (351C, Accel DFI in the works)

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to JayLo's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help JayLo reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
JayLo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 11:18 AM   #4
madpogue
Super Member
madpogue is a splendid one to beholdmadpogue is a splendid one to beholdmadpogue is a splendid one to beholdmadpogue is a splendid one to beholdmadpogue is a splendid one to beholdmadpogue is a splendid one to beholdmadpogue is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 25,449
 

1996 SW2
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Check the ECTS connector. That bad a failure of the sensor probably damaged the connector, to the point that the PCM is still getting a bad temp signal, even with a good ECTS. You MIGHT be able to clean the corrosion from the connector; I was. But most folks who report corrosion in the connector have to replace it. That would account for a lower temp gauge reading than the actual coolant temp, and thus the fan not going on.

And the straight water in the system is confounding things somewhat. Unless your old coolant looked really nasty, there's no need to run straight water to flush. If anything, presuming it's tap water, you might well have introduced contaminants (minerals in the hard water) that weren't there before. In any event, if it is tap water, you should now drain out all the water that you can, and after adding 3/4 gallon of anti-freeze, finish filling the system with distilled water. If you still have to do anything with the cooling system, you can drain it into a clean vessel and re-use it when you're done.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to madpogue's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help madpogue reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
madpogue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 12:46 PM   #5
Greg1
Senior Member
Greg1 is on a distinguished road
 
Greg1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 1,190
 

1997 SW2
1998 SL2
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayLo View Post
Don,
Do you know what coolant temperature triggers the fan? Is it above 212 F?

.
Around 220F.

...
97 SW2 5-Sp 273k -mine
02 SC2 5-Sp 67k - best friend's

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to Greg1's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help Greg1 reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
Greg1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #6
Sky King
Master Member
Sky King is on a distinguished road
 
Sky King's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Memphis Tennessee
Posts: 2,307

1999 SC2
1995 SL2
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg1 View Post
Around 220F.
Correct, mine always come on at 221 Deg F. Needless to say this is well above the boiling temp of plain unpressurized water so the boiling you experienced was not an indication of a problem. As for the hoses, the water only flows through the radiator when the thermostat opens. The hot water from the engine enters the radiator through the top hose and leaves the radiator back to the engine from the bottom hose. If the thermostat had not yet opened, the water would not be flowing through the radiator which is why the lower hose is not hot when the top hose is. The fact that the hoses are not firm is because you had the cap off the resevoir and the system could not pressurize. It is the pressure in the system that makes the hoses hard, not the temp.

...
1999 SC-2 280,000 miles -mine now also dead, RIP
1995 SL-2 296,000 miles - my wifes totaled, RIP
1993 Chevrolet S-10 Pick-up - mine
2003 Harley Davidson Low Rider - mine

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to Sky King's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help Sky King reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
Sky King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 03:42 PM   #7
oseberg
Senior Member
oseberg is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,495
 
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

I don't believe your water pump is circulating your coolant. Either it's failed, or something is clogged. Both the top and bottom radiator hoses should get hot. If you're not moving and the fan is not on, they should both be the same temperature.

Is your radiator also not getting hot?

I guess you're never seeing anything past 1/2 on the temperature gauge because that's probably close to the boiling point of water, so it can't get any hotter than that.

I'm a bit confused about the squishy hoses. That's very strange. If the system is properly sealed, the boiling water should build up pressure until the pressure release mechanism allows the pressure out. This should be at around 15 psi. Somewhere you're leaking pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post
The fact that the hoses are not firm is because you had the cap off the resevoir and the system could not pressurize. It is the pressure in the system that makes the hoses hard, not the temp.
Did you have the cap off?

Last edited by oseberg; 10-10-2007 at 03:47 PM..

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to oseberg's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help oseberg reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
oseberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 04:08 PM   #8
Sky King
Master Member
Sky King is on a distinguished road
 
Sky King's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Memphis Tennessee
Posts: 2,307

1999 SC2
1995 SL2
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg
Did you have the cap off?
This is in one of his posts (I added the emphasis for clarity)


Quote:
Originally Posted by JayLo View Post
Don,

As it idled, the water boiled. Knowing that ethylene glycol (or whatever the active ingredient in Dexcool is) extends the boiling point to a degree and that 15psi in a closed system does an even better job of this, I was not entirely surprised that plain water WITH THE CAP OFF would boil. What surprised me was that the fan did not kick on.

.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg
I don't believe your water pump is circulating your coolant. Either it's failed, or something is clogged. Both the top and bottom radiator hoses should get hot. If you're not moving and the fan is not on, they should both be the same temperature.
Untill the thermostat opens, the water will not circulate through the radiator thus the outlet hose from the radiator will not be as hot as the inlet hose. The inlet hose is hot, not from circulation but because of the heat that is simply conducted through the water as this hose comes directly off the head. Even after the thermostat opens, the lower hose will never be as hot as the upper hose (at least it better not be) because the radiator is cooling it.

...
1999 SC-2 280,000 miles -mine now also dead, RIP
1995 SL-2 296,000 miles - my wifes totaled, RIP
1993 Chevrolet S-10 Pick-up - mine
2003 Harley Davidson Low Rider - mine

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to Sky King's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help Sky King reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
Sky King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 04:58 PM   #9
oseberg
Senior Member
oseberg is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,495
 
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post
Untill the thermostat opens, the water will not circulate through the radiator thus the outlet hose from the radiator will not be as hot as the inlet hose. The inlet hose is hot, not from circulation but because of the heat that is simply conducted through the water as this hose comes directly off the head. Even after the thermostat opens, the lower hose will never be as hot as the upper hose (at least it better not be) because the radiator is cooling it.
The thermostat usually has a little hole in it somewhere so that even when it's fully closed, there's a slight circulation. Enough to heat up the upper hose, but not enough to cause the bottom hose to become hot.

If the vehicle is not moving and the fan is not no, there is no air flow through the radiator (unless it's a windy day). So the radiator and the air in and around the radiator will heat up until everything is as hot as the water coming out of the engine until eventually the bottom hose will be just as hot as the top hose.

Ok, maybe there will be some air flow around the radiator because hot air rises, and thus there will be a little bit of cooling, but the air trapped in the fins on the radiator will be stuck in there, and therefor there will be very little cooling. The difference in temperature from the top hose to the bottom hose will not be and should not be noticeable. (with the car not moving and the fan off and no wind)

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to oseberg's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help oseberg reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
oseberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 05:37 PM   #10
JayLo
New Member
JayLo is on a distinguished road
 
JayLo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 5

1998 SL2
Thumbs Up Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

I guess I had the flow backwards in my head. I assumed hot water entered from the bottom and went back to the cylinder head up top.

The hoses were probably not firm because I had the cap off when checking. That makes sense as does the fan kicking on at 220 F.

From everything you guys have said, I think I am ok. I drove the car to and back from work (about 22 miles) without a hitch. If the pump were bad (no leaks or squeaks), I don't think I would have made it. I'll drain the water tonight and add the Dexcool/water mix.

Thanks a ton for all of your valuable input. You guys rock!

...
JL
1998 Saturn SL2
1991 GMC Syclone (stock: 13.56@98, now with 3 stainless exhaust/cutout)
1967 Cougar (351C, Accel DFI in the works)

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to JayLo's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help JayLo reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
JayLo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 08:54 PM   #11
oseberg
Senior Member
oseberg is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,495
 
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayLo View Post
From everything you guys have said, I think I am ok. I drove the car to and back from work (about 22 miles) without a hitch. If the pump were bad (no leaks or squeaks), I don't think I would have made it.
Yup, if your water pump were bad, you definitely wouldn't have made it 22 miles.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to oseberg's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help oseberg reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
oseberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 10:47 PM   #12
ssicarman
Super Member
ssicarman is a name known to allssicarman is a name known to allssicarman is a name known to allssicarman is a name known to allssicarman is a name known to allssicarman is a name known to all
 
ssicarman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 10,242
 
Default Re: SL2 Cooling Problems (Picture Included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Check the ECTS connector.
As madpogue said check the connector. It likely has corrosion in it skewing the 5 volt signal to the PCM.

...
A lousy day in paradise is still a day in paradise.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to ssicarman's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help ssicarman reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
ssicarman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Backlight for radio is burnt out, the digital read-out (SL2, 1997, pic included Fatalah S-Series General 4 01-13-2008 07:42 PM
Need Picture of 2001 SL2 Grill OFC Engine 4 S-Series General 3 04-20-2006 02:07 PM
Cooling System Flushing/Work (Pics Included) SSJTrunks258 S-Series Tech 12 12-18-2004 01:19 PM
Help! Cooling Problems sat96 S-Series Tech 32 11-01-2003 01:36 PM
cooling problems lweber General Saturn Discussion 3 04-17-2003 07:51 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:46 PM.

Advanced Forum Search | Advanced Photo Search


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SaturnFans.com. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.