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Old 04-05-2009, 05:00 PM   #1
clutch1983
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Default Cooling fan won't work, tried everything!

Hello,

I have a 1998 SL SOHC 5 speed. A while ago my car started overheating and I cracked my radiator. I found the reason I was overheating was because my cooling fan wasn't coming on and came on here and found out what to do. So yesterday I replaced the radiator, the coolant temp sensor, the fan relay and the connector to the coolant temp sensor. I also checked the fan fuse in the engine bay. My fan still will not come on and the cars temp slowly rises and gets past the halfway mark on the gauge. I hardwired the fan to the battery using a fused jumper wire and the fan started immediately. I thought that maybe i had the wires switched on the connector for the coolant temp sensor so I messed around with different combinations and found that when the sensor was not connected the fan ran and as soon as I touched the wires back together in anyway the fan stopped. Also my check engine light is on and the coolant temp and low coolant level lights are flashing. It is not low on coolant because i put about 5 litres in yesterday when I replaced the rad and I assume the rest of the coolant to put it up to capacity was still in the engine and hoses. Please help me out here, I am at my wits end! Thanks alot, hope I left enough info for this to be a quick solution for us!

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Old 04-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cooling fan won't work, tried everything!

Replacing the radiator would have occurred eventually as posts here note an average 10yr lifespan on them. Your fan will turn on but not where you're expecting it. It will turn on near the redline or 225F (give or take few degrees). Most owners aren't aware of this and resorted to a manual fan switch (search the How-to library) or, as one ingenious owner did, used his inoperable a/c system (with a slight mod) to turn on the cooling fan. You can use either method if you're worried but the fan will turn on. As to the low coolant light, removing and cleaning the reservoir container may unstick the internal float that operates the low coolant circuit. Use HOT water and some dishwashing detergent to slosh around and loosen up any deposits that may be interfering with float movement. Afterwards, be sure coolant is above the fill line and monitor coolant levels to be sure the system has purged itself of any air. It should have when you first replaced the radiator, refilled, and ran the engine This still requires monitoring at least one day after when one engine run cycle has been run.

The fan turning on when the coolant sensor was disconnected is the default mode when the PCM detects a failed coolant sensor, in this case an open circuit when resistance in the circuit always varies so the PCM panics by turning on the fan immediately. You tested the panic circuit. Polarity doesn't matter with the coolant sensor.

The alternate a/c (inoperative) use of turning on the radiator fan would be to disable the a/c from ever running by disconnecting the a/c power wire right on top of the compressor, locate the low pressure switch near the battery (a two-wire connector), remove the connector and jumper the connector with a short piece of wire or trimmed paper clip and taped with electrical tape. This will now allow you to turn the fan on with the a/c button. DO NOT do this if your a/c is in working condition.

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Old 04-06-2009, 05:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cooling fan won't work, tried everything!

Typically the '96 and later years won't get almost to the red. That said, I wouldn't conclude the fan was inoperative because it got half way either. Let it go and see what happens. You aren't overheating till you are in the red. At least, try it to 3/4.

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Old 04-06-2009, 06:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cooling fan won't work, tried everything!

You've tried everything except letting the car get hot enough to turn the fan on. Take the cap off of the overflow bottle and stick a thermometer in it. Start the car and let it run. DON'T watch the temp gauge, stand near the overflow bottle and watch that thermometer. When it gets to 226 degrees, the fan will turn on, as it is designed to do. You're trying to solve a problem you don't have.

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Old 04-07-2009, 08:19 PM   #5
clutch1983
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Default Re: Cooling fan won't work, tried everything!

Soooo .... you guys were absolutely right. I pulled off the reservoir cap and stuck a thermometer in and sure enough at 225 the fan kicked right on. The coolant lights are still flashing but it definitely has enough coolant so I guess I will let it go for another day or so and see if it works out some more air and then if it is still flashing I will try cleaning the reservoir out to unstick the float. Thanks so much for your help in fixing the problem that never existed!

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