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Old 09-11-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
saturn95
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2001 SL2
2007 ION-2 Sedan
Default Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on park?

The 2001 SL2 temp gauge goes just a bit past the 1/4 mark even on city driving or with AC and never moves past the mark.The car sometimes also idles at 1500RPM when on park but as soon as you turn it off and back on it will idle at like 800RPM and stays there steadily( I am not sure if these things are related)
I thought about the thermostat being stuck open but the car warms up pretty quickly and it should take a long time to warm up if it was stuck open. Today I changed the ECTS with a brass one(I think the old one was also brass since it was not round at the tip) but the same thing happens. Also, the high idle only happens sometimes and I am not sure what triggers it under normal driving, I do know that if I try to bug down the car manually by moving the throttle cable it will do this every time until I turn the car off then on again. Any ideas? Thanks for the help.

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Old 09-11-2010, 02:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Also was is the stock temperature thermostat? Maybe I have the lower temp one?

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Old 09-11-2010, 02:45 PM   #3
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

I have an 2001 SL2 as well and my temps sit right at the 1/4 mark. Not sure if that is where the gauge should be as this is my first Saturn but it has never moved above the 1/4 mark.

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Old 09-11-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

the thermostat is stuck open. replace it.
its an easy 20 minute job.
the car may be idling high to try and warm itself up faster.
change thermostat and see if it stops doing that.

should ride about halfway between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark. fan should kick on at about the mark between 1/2 and 3/4 and cool it back down to normal before kicking off.

...
1998 "Red Hot" Sc2

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Old 09-11-2010, 02:58 PM   #5
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturn95 View Post
The 2001 SL2 temp gauge goes just a bit past the 1/4 mark even on city driving or with AC and never moves past the mark.The car sometimes also idles at 1500RPM when on park but as soon as you turn it off and back on it will idle at like 800RPM and stays there steadily( I am not sure if these things are related)
I thought about the thermostat being stuck open but the car warms up pretty quickly and it should take a long time to warm up if it was stuck open. Today I changed the ECTS with a brass one(I think the old one was also brass since it was not round at the tip) but the same thing happens. Also, the high idle only happens sometimes and I am not sure what triggers it under normal driving, I do know that if I try to bug down the car manually by moving the throttle cable it will do this every time until I turn the car off then on again. Any ideas? Thanks for the help.
you have 2 separate problems. 1)your TPS is defective. the 1500rpm and turn it off and back on then proper idle is the test and it failed. 2) your thermostat is leaking through when closed and is slowly dieing. Replace it with a STANT 14279.

Also do a vacuum leak check. 2001 is not a good year for intake gaskets either. Usually is only a SOHC problem but check first.

The TPS is unique to the 2000-2002 DOHC try and find one in a J/Y as they are superior to the aftermarket replacements.

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Old 09-11-2010, 03:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Replace the thermostat, period. If you read past threads about the two main issues (a third may be the tps), the coolant sensor is the first failure of the original plastic round nose tipped sensor while thermostat is the close second to keeping the coolant colder than normal. The coolant sensor's sole job is to tell the engine computer coolant temps but if the sensor itself fails the pcm doesn't know squat; the majority of plastic tipped sensors failed in the high resistance mode causing the engine computer to think the engine's cold all the time so it keeps a rich mixture and higher than normal idle. Hard starting and flooding are only two of many issues related to faulty coolant sensors. The thermostat follows.

The worn out thermostat's only role is to maintain coolant temps and if it leaks from a worn O-ring or stuck open it won't allow the engine to run at operating temps. Original ones are for 185F/190F and replacements run cold
so recommendations are for using the 195F ones. The temperature gauge will show 3/8ths instead and the engine will run better as well as raise fuel economy. As a side note, even my '03 L300 gave an error code for a cold thermostat that other L300 owners noticed; replacement was necessary. You wouldn't like to read about the nightmare involved in thermostat replacement on a V6 engine.......

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 09-11-2010, 03:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Thanks Fdryer, I didn't even know I had a thermostat problem till I read your post. Gonna replace the ECTS while I am at it whether I got the brass one or not (just $10 at the parts store).

Saw a good video tutorial on the ECTS and thermostat replacement by Richpin. That's gonna help out a lot.

Should I replace the water pump while I am at it?

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Old 09-11-2010, 04:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

OldNuc beat me to it but that idle issue definitely sounds like the throttle position sensor. I had the same thing with my '02 when I bought it. Intermittent high idle, that was fixed by turning the car off and back on. I went ahead and paid the bucks to get the OEM one from a dealer. It's an easy part to change, just don't drop the screws in the process.

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Old 09-11-2010, 05:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanecrow99 View Post
... Should I replace the water pump while I am at it?
No, only if you can rock the water pump pulley and that means pulling off the right front passenger tire and splash guard to have full access to the water pump unless you can remove the belt tension and simultaneously rock the pump pulley to see if the bearings are worn out or see coolant marks from leakage.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 09-11-2010, 06:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Sounds like a plan. Your guidance is much appreciated.

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Old 09-13-2010, 09:09 AM   #11
saturn95
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Default Re: Temp gauge does not go past 1/4 mark and sometimes the car idles at 1500RPM on pa

Well I replaced the TPS and that fixed the high idle, I also got a brand new thermostat and the car seems to be running a little hotter now. I tested by letting it idle so the true test will be with city driving. Thanks for the help guys.

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