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Old 09-27-2012, 11:39 PM   #1
blue91lx
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Default Car heats up at a stop?

Hey all,

My 97' SC2 has always ran right at or right above the 1/4 mark on the temperature gauge, regardless if I'm moving or sitting still. Recently, at a stoplight or in a drivethru, the car heats up to a little over 1/2 on the temp gauge. I've started driving before it increases anymore.

Has anyone experienced this? I'm only concerned because it has never done this before.

Thanks!

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:28 AM   #2
magtec
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

it sounds like the thermostat needs to be replaced. proper operating temperature should have the needle just under the halfway mark (the radiator fan won't turn on until the needle almost hits the red, about 3/4 on the gauge).

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:59 AM   #3
PurdueGuy
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

Do you know if your ECTS is good?
Do you know the condition of your thermostat?
Have you checked your coolant level?
When was the last time the coolant was changed?

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:59 AM   #4
DonP
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

On a '97 expect the temp gauge to sit at about 3/8 scale when on the open road. If the car is not moving and the A/C is off (so the radiator fan is not spinning) the temp gauge will slowly climb to a bit under 3/4 scale at which point the fan should turn on and stay on until the temp gauge drops below 1/2 scale. (The '95 and earlier will go a bit above 3/4 scale before the fan come on.)

If the temp gauge stays at about 1/4 scale or below on the open road the t-stat is likely stuck open and that will result in slow warm up, reduced fuel economy, and slow/weak heat in winter.

On a '96 and newer model year a bad ECTS usually results in inaccurate temp gauge readings (typically low), a variety of driveability issues, and unreliable radiator fan turn-on..

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Old 09-28-2012, 07:52 AM   #5
onefunkar
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

is fan turning on?

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Old 09-28-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
dbsanfte
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

This is only a problem if the fan isn't turning on.

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Old 09-29-2012, 06:23 AM   #7
blue91lx
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurdueGuy View Post
Do you know if your ECTS is good?
Do you know the condition of your thermostat?
Have you checked your coolant level?
When was the last time the coolant was changed?
I do not know if my ECTS is good, however, it's behavior is rather consistent in the manner I described. Once I get a chance this weekend I will check.

Thermostat I was told was replaced not too long ago, but who knows.

I replaced the coolant when I did a water pump last month, and it's still right on the money .

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonP View Post
On a '97 expect the temp gauge to sit at about 3/8 scale when on the open road. If the car is not moving and the A/C is off (so the radiator fan is not spinning) the temp gauge will slowly climb to a bit under 3/4 scale at which point the fan should turn on and stay on until the temp gauge drops below 1/2 scale. (The '95 and earlier will go a bit above 3/4 scale before the fan come on.)

If the temp gauge stays at about 1/4 scale or below on the open road the t-stat is likely stuck open and that will result in slow warm up, reduced fuel economy, and slow/weak heat in winter.

On a '96 and newer model year a bad ECTS usually results in inaccurate temp gauge readings (typically low), a variety of driveability issues, and unreliable radiator fan turn-on..
The bolded portion is exactly as I have been describing. The needle sits above 1/4 on the open road (appears to be 3/8), and all of these 'tests' have been done with the AC off. I will let the car run today with and without the AC on to determine.

My Evo had an open t-stat and had the normal symptoms, and the Saturn behaves nothing like that, which led me to believe it was normal. The only reason why it had just started I think is because I stopped using my AC as soon as I started noticing this, (duh, me)

I would've quoted all of you, but multi-quote wasn't working well on my browser it appears. Again, thank you all!

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
ssewall
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Default Re: Car heats up at a stop?

A correctly operating T-stat for 96+ opens at 3/8s(195F, halfway between 1/4 mark and 1/2 mark). A failed T-stat usually opens just a hair above 1/4. Keep in mind this is only when the T-stat opens, it doesn't indicate the temp reading. If you're driving consistently there should be enough airflow through the radiator to keep the temp at 3/8ths. In town there isn't so the temp reading is largely decided by the radiator fan. The PCM uses a hand full of variables to decide when the fan turns on, but generally it comes on around 1/2 for 96+.

Replace the t-stat if it doesn't stay at 3/8ths while driving. Check the coolant system/levels, and whether or not the fan is coming on around 1/2. If both tests pass you're fine.

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