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Old 01-03-2011, 02:32 PM   #1
likedamaster
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Default 2001 SC2 overheating problems

My 2001 Saturn SC2 is overheating and I've replaced the radiator, reservoir cap, thermostat, water pump, coolant temperature sensor, and coolant itself, and it still overheats(passed red). I can't figure it out. Any help would be appreciated.

I don't know if this was already posted or resolved, I tried looking into forums but found nothing pertaining to this year & model. Thanks.

I have half my hair ripped out of my head because of this issue. Its my only car right now.

Edit: I've also noticed the heater stops working when the car is overheating. Unusual, especially since that same hot coolant is running through the heater core, am I right?

Last edited by likedamaster; 01-03-2011 at 02:35 PM.. Reason: to add info

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Old 01-03-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

Last two things to test or replace; the radiator cooling fan relay and/or the cooling fan (broke/worn out?).

Simple fan test; either pull the fan relay and jumper relay socket pins 30 and 87 to send 12v immediately to the fan or wire the fan directly to the battery. The fan should scream otherwise a dead or worn out fan is not cooling off the radiator. It would be rare to have wiring issues here. Maybe the fan is jammed? Swap relays with a similar (horn) relay to eliminate relay failure.

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Old 01-03-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
MiNiMaTiC
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2001 SC2
Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

I have a 2001 SC2. One last idea if all previous suggestions don't help is to replace the idler pulley. I see you replaced the water pump, so maybe you already checked this.

My SC2 started to have this really bad sounding clunky/grindy type of noise coming from the engine. I thought my steering pump was the culprit since that was where the noise was coming from. As it turns out the idler pulley bearings were shot and one day on the way home it started to overheat because the sepentine belt was dragging (and broke).

It's an easy fix and not too expensive.

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Old 01-03-2011, 09:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaTiC View Post
I have a 2001 SC2. One last idea if all previous suggestions don't help is to replace the idler pulley. I see you replaced the water pump, so maybe you already checked this.

My SC2 started to have this really bad sounding clunky/grindy type of noise coming from the engine. I thought my steering pump was the culprit since that was where the noise was coming from. As it turns out the idler pulley bearings were shot and one day on the way home it started to overheat because the sepentine belt was dragging (and broke).

It's an easy fix and not too expensive.
Interesting... I AM getting that noise, thanks for that.

My problem did got resolved tonight though(thank God). I noticed the heater was not working. It blew air but not hot air while the car was overheating so I connected the two hoses together bypassing the heater core and it stopped overheating. I can't believe something like a heater core can not only kill your heater but make the whole car overheat. Ridiculous.

Edit: I had the fan replaced a few years ago when it crapped out on me, and it has been working till now so that wasn't it.

Btw, thanks everyone for responding. Problem solved = Heater Core.

Edit 2: Before resolving my issue, the car overheated to the red -- not only passed mid level. My situation is proof, a bad heater core can cause severe overheating issues. Thanks again everyone.

Last edited by likedamaster; 01-03-2011 at 09:29 PM..

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Old 01-03-2011, 09:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by likedamaster View Post
Interesting... I AM getting that noise, thanks for that.

My problem did got resolved tonight though(thank God). I noticed the heater was not working. It blew air but not hot air while the car was overheating so I connected the two hoses together bypassing the heater core and it stopped overheating. I can't believe something like a heater core can not only kill your heater but make the whole car overheat. Ridiculous.

Edit: I had the fan replaced a few years ago when it crapped out on me, and it has been working till now so that wasn't it.

Btw, thanks everyone for responding. Problem solved = Heater Core.

Edit 2: Before resolving my issue, the car overheated to the red -- not only passed mid level. My situation is proof, a bad heater core can cause severe overheating issues. Thanks again everyone.
As the heater core is part of your cooling system, it too can get gunked, the same way everything else in your cooling system does: with rust, dirt, bad coolant, oil in the coolant, stop leak products, etc.

Thankfully, heater core replacement in an S-series is pretty simple (in fact I got halfway through mine till I gave up due to my vice grip not gripping on those squeeze-type hose clamps), and it's in a panel right underneath where the radio is. There is a how-to right here: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=150968

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Status: Alive, no heat

Last edited by adventureoflink; 01-03-2011 at 09:56 PM..

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Old 01-03-2011, 11:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

Well that's got to be a first? And, I'll be... Yup, checked the diagnostic manual and it lists one of the causes of overheating as the HC! Good to hear you stumbled upon the solution. Mental note: file this one..

You don't list a location in your profile so maybe a heater isn't priority but.. Since you've already removed the firewall connections (usually the hardest part). Have you tried back flushing the HC to see if there's any flow? If not, as Link posted the link (hah!) to Shawn's thread, it's only ~$47 for a new core and relatively easy to replace in an hour or so.

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Purchased 114k 10/07
Added OEM CC

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Old 01-04-2011, 12:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

If the heater core becomes totally blocked then you will probably overheat and will definitely overheat if the thermostat is seating tightly. The water that leaves the head and returns to the pump suction by way of the heater core is directed onto the temperature control element of the thermostat. No flow and the thermostat will not open. The other flow path from the head channel is a short cycle path and will not be warm enough to result in opening either.

Careful perusal of the cooling system diagram and reading of the accompanying operational description will make this phenomena clear. The diagram is in my photo gallery.

The Saturn cooling system is not like the cooling system in your father's Oldsmobile.

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Old 10-23-2012, 10:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 overheating problems

I'm reviving this old thread.

I had the same problem, a 2002 SL2 would not give out heat in the cabin, no heater core leak, but it must have been clogged. All of a sudden the car's operating temp would spike a bit and return throughout driving. Sure enough, the heater core is clogged, and the core's outlet hose is bone dry.

Replacing the core should do the trick, and stop the overheating as well.

I didn't bother to back-flush the old core, as I find this is usually a temporary fix, or the results are mixed.

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