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Old 05-11-2011, 07:16 PM   #1
PresarioSaturn
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1997 SL2
Default 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Hey guys,
Having an issue with the car. Its a 1997 Saturn SL2 sedan. I have an issue where I think my cooling fan may be bad.

I loaned my friend the car and he said the car was running warm, said it was going way above the just a bit over the 1/4 mark it usually sits.

I took it back and it fluctuates all the time. When driving with good air flow, such as highways ect car runs at the right temp, spending any time in traffic the car just get hotter and hotter till it almost will overheat.

I watch the gauge so it never gets to 3/4 but the fan used to kick on with a/c and when it got a bit over half.

I checked the relay under the hood due to the suggestion in a lower thread but the fan still does not kick, I swapped the A/C and the Fan and still no go.

Now Im assuming there is only 2 other things, the motor or the wires correct, I am going to make a jumper and try to test like the video said to see if it was the wires.

Also I am sure it has alot to do with it, the a/c doesnt blow cold unless the car is cool, it will blow warm when it goes over half or I sit at a light where it warms up form a 1/4 to half or more. Have no idea if it is any help but figured its worth a mention. Thanks guys

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:36 PM   #2
ehunter
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco 5sp Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 205k.
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by PresarioSaturn View Post
I loaned my friend the car and he said the car was running warm, said it was going way above the just a bit over the 1/4 mark it usually sits.

If the cars temp gauge usually sits at 1/4 then the Thermostat needs replacing. See the Richpin how-to library for a video on how to replace the Thermostat. It is pretty easy. Make sure you get a 195degF replacement thermostat and dont let the parts store convince you to settle for anything else. Most here recommend the "Stant" brand, part# 14279

I took it back and it fluctuates all the time. When driving with good air flow, such as highways ect car runs at the right temp, You mean at 1/4 right?

spending any time in traffic the car just get hotter and hotter till it almost will overheat.

I watch the gauge so it never gets to 3/4 but the fan used to kick on with a/c and when it got a bit over half.
This is what is supposed to happen. With no-AC it should kick on just over 5/8. With AC-on it should be on always.

I checked the relay under the hood due to the suggestion in a lower thread but the fan still does not kick, I swapped the A/C and the Fan and still no go.

Now Im assuming there is only 2 other things, the motor or the wires correct, I am going to make a jumper and try to test like the video said to see if it was the wires.
Yup, good plan

Also I am sure it has alot to do with it, the a/c doesnt blow cold unless the car is cool, it will blow warm when it goes over half or I sit at a light where it warms up form a 1/4 to half or more. Have no idea if it is any help but figured its worth a mention. Thanks guys
I think you have multiple issues going on. Somebody here knows the deal with the AC I am sure... I don't.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:57 PM   #3
PresarioSaturn
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Yes when I mean at the right temp I mean 1/4. Its FL it never gets cold so I really wasnt worried about the car running cool unless it has a bad effect on it?

And the a/c cools right down when the engine cools down when I start driving so I assume its not anything with the a/c its just the engine getting so hot that the a/c cant comp for the lack of cool air to pull in. Is there a way to see what temp the 1/4 mark is? Car seems like it run and has ran just great sitting just above the 1/4 mark VS right in the middle which seems very warm and is when the A/C starts getting ineffective

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Old 05-11-2011, 08:56 PM   #4
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1997 SW2
Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

'96+ should be between 1/4 and 1/2 (3/8 specifically). Most decent code readers can show live data, I'd guess 1/4 is around 160-170 and proper temp is 200 (+/- 5).

You can use a 18ga or 16ga piece of wire to jump the pins the relay would, that should turn on the fan. If it doesn't then it's probably the fan motor. I'd test it by wiring it directly to a battery (bypassing everything in the car) but someone else may have a better plan of attack.

If the car is moving, they don't stay hot/warm very long with a proper thermostat. Takes my '96 ~10 min of idling for the fan to come on, normal driving it never come's on.

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Old 05-11-2011, 09:02 PM   #5
ehunter
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco 5sp Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 205k.
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Running at 1/4 on the temp gauge at least has you out of the "sweet spot" in terms of fuel economy. Maybe there are other effects I don't realize at the moment.

I believe the effect of your AC air output temperature is independent of whether your engine is operating at a cooler temperature or warmer. It sounds like your system needs servicing. I remember there also being some Richpin videos related to the AC.

You might want to browse the video library and see what is there. Most likely what you do find would take you to the next step in diagnosing what might be wrong. Then, hit us up with questions.

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Old 05-11-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

I would go right to the fan connector and apply 12v direct from the battery. If the fan spins up then I would replace the relay. Jumpering relays is not a totally fool proof process and the consequences of a mistake can be large.

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Old 05-12-2011, 08:17 AM   #7
PresarioSaturn
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

is there an easy way to explain how to direct jump the fan to the bat? I am good with mechanical stuff but when it comes to wiring I will do it im just weary.

So I do need a new T stat a 195 degree model at least and I also need to jumper the fan motor. Im headed to the advance auto parts now Ill grab the T stat and a jump wire.

Is the Tstat reporting wrong temp to the gauge or is it bad in that it thinks it hotter then the car is and hence always keeps the car cool?

Forgive me Im cooling system retarded

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Old 05-12-2011, 08:26 AM   #8
PresarioSaturn
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
I would go right to the fan connector and apply 12v direct from the battery. If the fan spins up then I would replace the relay. Jumpering relays is not a totally fool proof process and the consequences of a mistake can be large.
I already swapped the relay from the a/c and the a/c worked fine so wouldnt that rule out the relay?

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Old 05-12-2011, 08:31 AM   #9
PresarioSaturn
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
'96+ should be between 1/4 and 1/2 (3/8 specifically). Most decent code readers can show live data, I'd guess 1/4 is around 160-170 and proper temp is 200 (+/- 5).

You can use a 18ga or 16ga piece of wire to jump the pins the relay would, that should turn on the fan. If it doesn't then it's probably the fan motor. I'd test it by wiring it directly to a battery (bypassing everything in the car) but someone else may have a better plan of attack.

If the car is moving, they don't stay hot/warm very long with a proper thermostat. Takes my '96 ~10 min of idling for the fan to come on, normal driving it never come's on.
the temp when running what I say normal is above 1/4 its like 1/3 way between a 1/4 and the 1/2 so is it a good t stat or a bad one, im on a budget and dont wanna spend money repalcing parts that are good.

It shouldnt run right in the middle am I correct (all other cars i have owned did)

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Old 05-12-2011, 09:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

3/8 of scale on the temperature gauge is normal. Mine runs about 2 needle widths above 1/4 scale and I have no adverse effects. I'm told that means mine runs a little cool, but I get 40 mpg on the highway, so I have never bothered refreshing the thermostat.

If your cooling fan is not working, the a/c will work poorly when the car is stopped, as there is no air flow over the condenser. If refrigerant does not condense in the condensor, it also doesn't evaporate in the evaporator, which means little or no cooling. If the a/c blows cool when you are moving down the highway, your a/c may very well be fine - just need to get the fan running again.

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Old 05-12-2011, 09:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by BV22 View Post
3/8 of scale on the temperature gauge is normal. Mine runs about 2 needle widths above 1/4 scale and I have no adverse effects. I'm told that means mine runs a little cool, but I get 40 mpg on the highway, so I have never bothered refreshing the thermostat.

If your cooling fan is not working, the a/c will work poorly when the car is stopped, as there is no air flow over the condenser. If refrigerant does not condense in the condensor, it also doesn't evaporate in the evaporator, which means little or no cooling. If the a/c blows cool when you are moving down the highway, your a/c may very well be fine - just need to get the fan running again.
Ok just got back from the advance, they tested the coolant temp, at where I consider normal, said it was right at 180 and for hot FL that should be just fine. He also was nice enough to let me borrow a jumper wire with fuse and check that, no dice. He then actually was nice enough to gator clip and direct wire the fan to the batt.

Still nothing, so he said new fan motor it is, got one for 23 dollars he said it had a lifetime warr. I am going to throw it on now.

The whole warm a/c thing makes sense now. Thanks for aleviating my worry about having an expensive a/c issue!

Ill report back after the fans in

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Old 05-12-2011, 10:29 AM   #12
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

There are 2 different fan motors that have been used in Saturn. If you find you have overheating issues after replacing the motor you have the lower speed motor. Go to a Junk Yard and get an entire assembly out of a late year car.

Contrary to the advice of the counter person the OEM for your car is a 188F crack open point thermostat, 180 is below the OEM specification. And, the thermostat only sets the MINIMUM engine temperature and has nothing to do with the actual operating temperatures.

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Old 05-12-2011, 11:02 AM   #13
PresarioSaturn
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Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
There are 2 different fan motors that have been used in Saturn. If you find you have overheating issues after replacing the motor you have the lower speed motor. Go to a Junk Yard and get an entire assembly out of a late year car.

Contrary to the advice of the counter person the OEM for your car is a 188F crack open point thermostat, 180 is below the OEM specification. And, the thermostat only sets the MINIMUM engine temperature and has nothing to do with the actual operating temperatures.
He got me the right motor, It works now when the car gets warm and when the a/c turns on, and it runs like a champ once more. $23 dollars, who would think a part that cheap could do so much!

All fixed now, guess I will get the T stat anyways (the one they have is a 188 degree one) I have to do a coolant flush since I just dumped water in to get it the hour home from my friends.

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Old 05-12-2011, 12:17 PM   #14
ehunter
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco 5sp Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 205k.
Posts: 1,450

1996 SL2
Default Re: 97 SL2 Sedan cooling issue, fan wont kick on at all, w/ or w/o A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by PresarioSaturn View Post
All fixed now, guess I will get the T stat anyways (the one they have is a 188 degree one) I have to do a coolant flush since I just dumped water in to get it the hour home from my friends.
Good Job Presario...

Wise choice to replace the Tstat. Your car would also run ok at 170 or 160 whether you lived in the Mojave desert or Anchorage but this does not mean the car would be running just as optimally than at the OEM spec.

Be careful with a coolant flush. If it were me I would just drain and replace. Use the full gallon of undiluted antifreeze and top off with distilled water. This is the least complicated way to do things while producing the least number of potential future issues.

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