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Old 08-31-2009, 11:38 PM   #1
headmotty
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2001 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Anyone know what would cause this? The other day, the radiator (puller) fan started staying on (high speed, I believe) constantly, even more than an hour after shutting off the car. I have to disconnect the fan to turn it off. Even after sitting all night and cold, if I reconnect the fan, it will start running. Tried disconnecting the battery to reset things - no change. Tonight, replaced the ECTS - no change. Thinking to replace the thermostat, but I actually think it must be the PCM (or BCM or ECM) that must be stuck sending a signal to run the fan. Also, think this because within the last couple months, the airbag light, then the service engine and security lights have started coming on. I really don't think anything is suddenly and simultaneously wrong with all these things, and have seen other posts about a BCM (or PCM??) that is going bad causing these lights to come on. Could this also be causing the fan issue?

Hoping someone can help me out...

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Old 08-31-2009, 11:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Sorry, this issue is with a 2001 L200 2.2 liter 4 cylinder, 85,000 miles.

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Old 09-01-2009, 05:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

You may have a stuck relay. I had this issue with previous vehicles. If the fan still runs after you shut the car off, my bet is a relay or controller.

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Old 09-01-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

There are two different fan circuits; one with a single fan using one relay located in the underhood fuse box and the the other using two fans controlled by a fan control module next to the battery. If this is a single fan, look for the fan relay in the fuse box and yank it out. The fan should stop running - replace the relay. The two fan operation has the fan control module that may be causing the one fan to run - disconnect the wiring harness, pull the fcm from its location, rap it a few times (gently) against the chassis frame (there are several relays inside the fcm containing a circuit board) and connect it back to its harness and see if this stops the fan from running. If not, you'll need to replace the fan control module. But before you do that, try pulling the battery negative cable for 5-minutes to clear any errors in the ECM/TCM/BCM computers. This may work.

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Old 09-01-2009, 12:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Thanks both of you for your replies. Took out the fcm and gave it a couple whacks and wouldn't you know, when I reconnected the fan, it didn't start up. Then when started the engine, didn't start up. Excellent! Took it for a test drive, the fan only came on when I turned on the A/C, and cycled on and off as normal, and when shut off the car, it stayed off. So everything seems back to normal. Again, thanks for the advice.

One question - if this hadn't worked, is it possible to take the circuit board out of the fcm and just replace the relay(s), instead of the whole fcm? Looks like everything is soldered on, and don't know which part it is, but just wondering, since fdryer, you mentioned it might be necessary to replace the fcm.

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Old 09-01-2009, 12:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Maybe. Look in my pics for a member that recently removed his fcm for a disassembly and look-see. You'll need the schematic diagram with the board possibly silk-screening the major parts to find out which relay is the offending one. In your case the relay contacts welded together as mentioned before. It doesn't occur much but there's hair pulling when it does. Your fortunate to be able to perform the delicate realignment/calibration necessary as fsm's are dealer parts. Not much call for them. Anything is possible when parts, skills, and time is at hand. http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...1/ppuser/22193

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Old 09-01-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Thanks for the pictures. I just hope the problem doesn't reappear. Any idea what would have caused this to suddenly occur in the first place? Probably not, that is the nature of electronics...

Again, thank you!

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Old 09-01-2009, 07:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Relays can weld themsleves, the electrical contacts, at any time. There may be an overload from the fan if debris gets caught in the fan blades causing a higher current to heat the heavy duty contacts. Random occurrence and yours was the one picked to drive you nuts. Be happy that nothing broke.

The other odd issues may be battery related. Have the battery tested if its over 4yrs old. Check for a worn out belt tensioner that isn't keeping the drive belt taut. A loose belt can cause the alternator to work less efficiently, not charging the battery adequately. So can poor/loose/corroded battery cables.

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Old 09-02-2009, 01:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

I've done exactly this repair myself; had the same issue with my '01 LS100 when I first bought it. If it's been acting up for a while, once you remove the PCB from the plastic enclosure you'll be able to see discoloration of the PCB traces on the likeliest culprits; usually it's the HI fan relay which gives issue first, since it handles the most current.

I replaced all 3 (the ones with the additional wire bridges soldered across the traces are the fan relays) on mine using 40A Bosch Foglight relays from the local speedshop for about $8 each; be mindful that the middle (black in the pic above) one is SINGLE-POLE DOUBLE-THROW, and don't buy the EL-CHEAPO No-Name ones from Radio Shack or AZ. (Some chain stores DO have name brand relays in their lighting section - you have to search, and make sure you get the big approx 1" square ones, not the rectangular mini-relays like so many cars use now)

This project is a medium tech-level hack; you will need a LARGE soldering iron of 125-150W, or the BIG Weller soldering gun with a new tip, and a BIG Solder Sucker. You will also need a Dremel tool with cut-off wheels and a steady hand; you'll need to cut the tabs down on the relays to fit in the holes in the PCB. Grind slowly and give the metal time to cool off; if you melt the plastic of the relay case you'll ruin it and they won't replace it for you.

Getting the old relays out is the hardest part; the solder pads are big heat sinks which fight getting all the solder off the terminals; one of the worst ones I actually had to cut the relay apart with big dikes until I got down to just the metal tabs, then hold the gun against the tab and pull gently on it with pliers until the solder melted enough to let go.

Once you have the new relays in place, you want to solder "hot & fast"; make good contact with the solder pad, use the high trigger setting on your gun (if that's what you're using) and just feed it solder until you have a good clean puddle without voids. I DON'T recommend lead-free solder for this job; it melts too hot and you run the risk of burning the traces on the PCB. Get some 60/40 .032 ROSIN-CORE, NOT ACID-CORE solder, (Radio Shack # 64-009 is good, but NOT their POS soldering gun) and use a vent fan pulling AWAY from you across the work.

Anyhow - I've been driving mine for over a year in the Texas heat with this fix (knock on wood) and so far, so good.

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Old 09-03-2009, 08:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Thanks, guys. It's continuing to act normal so far. mnementh, that's great info if the problem reappears and things come to that.

As for the dash lights coming on, the battery is just a year old, and the serpentine belt and tensioner were replaced earlier this year, so....I'll keep trying to track them down.

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Old 09-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

I hope ya'll are still reading this...if you would, please tell me any thoughts you have as I relate the latest.

So the fan problem returned today while my wife was driving. Stayed on after shutting off the car. I had already shown her how to unplug the fan connection so it wouldn't run all day, so she did that. When I got home, with the car off, I plugged the fan back in and it started running. So again, I unplugged and removed the FCM. Instead of giving it a whack, this time I slid the circuit board out and very gently wiggled the relays a bit. All the solder connections looked solid and fine (I know somewhat what a broken connection looks like) and were bright and shiny, no old flux or other crap on the board. I put it all back together again, and the problem was corrected again.

Please tell me if what I relate next seems like normal fan behavior. While idling in my driveway, the fan would come on if I had the a/c on. It cycles on and off I guess as it needs to for cooling. It seems to come on for about 3-second bursts, then stay off for 15 seconds or so, but occasionally will run longer before shutting off. So that's what it does with the a/c on. If I turn the a/c off, the temperature guage will gradually rise from about 3/8 scale to about 5/8 scale. At that point, the fan will kick on and run for about 30 seconds, sending the guage back below 1/2, and kick off. I let it creep up to 5/8 again, and the fan came on to get it back to below 1/2 scale. And when I turned the car off, the fan stayed off this time.

I think that's the way it's supposed to work, am I right? Does anything here indicate any kind of thermostat problem? I'm thinking to change it just because I don't think it's been changed before it couldn't hurt. But the main thing is, I wondering why the fan staying on problem reappeared in the first place. Does it indicate that something is indeed wrong with the relay, or the soldering connection. It isn't running hot, and I did change the ECTS as the first part of my troubleshooting on this (and it already had the good brass kind in, so I probably didn't need to replace that). Does this indeed indicate that the computer is incorrectly sending a signal to turn the fan on, and then for some reason, it gets stuck in that mode?

Sorry for this being ridiculously long - I just wanted to provide full details.

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Old 09-03-2009, 09:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Everything seems correct except the thermostat theory and temperature swing. The thermostat is operating correctly as displayed by the gauge but the needle swing is reflecting something possibly not right; too much swing from your description of 3/8ths to 5/8ths. This may be indicating a possible fan failure as you haven't described hearing/seeing both fans turning on or hearing both screaming loudly when they're on at full speed. What's the local temperatures? Have you heard or seen both fans turning or know if only one and not both fans running? There should be three speeds and I've never had my temperature needle go past the half mark at any time ('03 L300 V6). With decent sound insulation, I can hardly hear my fans running except for the occasional quiet stop when I hear them. Most likely at medium speed. I did hear them loudly the first time I went for a test drive with the a/c on and did hear them cycle as you described, for 15 seconds or so before either dropping to low speed or off. I think with the a/c on, one fan will be on for low speed to continuously force airflow through. The three speeds allows the ECM to determine which speeds to run whether the a/c is on or not. There may be either a relay fault or a fan fault preventing the temperature needle from staying closer and below the 1/2 mark. Do you remember the temperature needle ever swinging as much before? Fan testing may have to be done manually to determine which one is faulty and if one or both are worn out. Wiring each fan directly to the battery should result in high speed screaming and less than that could mean a worn out one.

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Old 09-04-2009, 04:18 PM   #13
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

fdryer, your last post got me thinking about both fans running at the same time. I checked this at first, and thought both were running, but I must have been mistaken. I just went out and checked the fuses...cooling fan #2 was blown. That must be the a/c condenser (pusher) fan. The radiator fan must have been coming on to compensate, and with the other one completely inoperable, getting stuck ON. So I will replace that fuse and see how things go. I should have checked fuses first...

One additional thing I noticed inside the fuse box - there is no fuse in the "Air Solenoid" spot. Not that it's blown, there just isn't one there. Should there be? It's got (L4) beside it, and that's what I've got. What does this fuse control?

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Old 09-04-2009, 04:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

OK, according to the car manual, the "Air Solenoid" fuse controls the air pump solenoid, but out beside that it's got L61 California in parentheses. I'm not in CA, so does that mean I don't have an air pump solenoid, and therefore, correctly, no fuse?

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Old 09-04-2009, 04:48 PM   #15
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

No one fan is dedicated to one use as both are needed by the ECM to control cooling for the cooling system or a/c & cooling system simultaneously, making both fans crucial to keeping things cool under the hood. I should have asked at the beginning about checking for both fuses and glad you found out anyway. This may be what all the fussing is about () and other than a stuck fan from debris holding the fan and causing an overload, the only other reason for a fuse to blow would be a shorted motor or wiring. Hopefully its just a blown fuse from a momentary overload and things will go back to normal. You should see an immediate improvement by the temperature gauge needle staying below the 1/2 mark otherwise check on the fuse again. If blown then you'll have to check and see if the fan is shorted or damaged. If you like I can send a diagram of the fan ciruit by email if you pm me your email address.

You are correct, no California air pump=no fuse.

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Old 09-06-2009, 08:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

Check both fans for free rotation of the blades. If the fuse blew, it is very possible that is because the motor cannot run freely. My pusher fan was totally siezed when I found the fuse blown. I purchased a new aftermarket unit online from Performance Radiator.

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Old 09-09-2009, 10:38 AM   #17
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Default Re: Radiator fan runs even with car off and cold

I removed the fan, cleaned it (there was a bunch of debris all up in there), and bench tested it. It ran, so it may have been stuck before, and that's what caused the fuse to go. It's back in, with a new fuse now, so we'll see how things go.

I bet my a/c is colder now too. I thought during the summer that it wasn't as cold as it could be, and actually bought a can of refrigerant, but it was already at full pressure, so I was kinda stumped on that as well. This may have been why - this fan may have been out for a while and just didn't notice the whole issue until the car finally got run hard enough for it to get hot and the radiator fan HAD to be signalled on all the time for proper cooling. At least that shows that the car is doing what it is supposed to do to protect itself, so I guess I should be happy about that.

Much thanks again to all who helped me out on this!

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