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Old 01-08-2005, 11:10 PM   #1
jessicabreck
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Default Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

The problem:

I replaced my ECTS sensor as per other posts here on a forum. I regret to say I did not use the new OEM brass type, but one from Autozone. I replaced it (And it was cracked, textbook style.) snugged it down like a spark plug, and attatched the connector. Same reading. About 1/8th to 1/4 under a 1/4 on the gauge. I think it might be the thermostat, but it the heats seems to be cooking ! (on a 25 degree day in michigan.) .

The car:

1996 Saturn SW2 130,000 miles.


My hypothesis:

Perhaps it's the thermostat... I don't know. Perhaps the connector to the ECTS is bad? I know you can replace it, and I probably will on monday, going to the dealership, and getting the OEM ECTS sensor while I'm at it. If I short this connector out, should the gauge hit the overheat end( I haven't tried this yet, but will tommorrow)? I noticed that the gauge doesn't move when the car is off, and it doesn't move when I pull the connector off the ECTS, which I found weird. Maybe the gauge is bad??


What are the odds of it being the thermostat? Is there something else I could check?


Oh, and on a related note, thanks all you guys for your wonderful tech section on this site, especially Wolfman... I replaced the PCV valve as per numerous posts, and several problems I had (High idle, Idle not falling fast after letting off the throttle to shift, rough shutoff) disapeared, and the old one was clogged with all kinds of crud. And I thanks to various alternator posts, I caught it going out on a test drive when I bought it (Lights flickering, battery indicator, engine hiccups, among other things.) , and saved $300 which I used to pay a local shop to replace it.

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Old 01-09-2005, 01:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Welcome to the board.

If the sensor connector does not look like there ANY corrosion in it then it should be ok. With a good connector and the lower temp reading on the gauge the thermostat would be the next place to go. With the engine warmed up to normal operating temp you should be getting at least 140 degrees F out of the center dash vent on 3ird speed full hot setting.

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Old 01-09-2005, 10:41 AM   #3
wrenchtnr
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

If the ECTS was broke, the computer would notice, and set the SES light or affect the idle and running of the engine.
Since the gauge is "stuck" at less than 1/4 weither the engine is hot or cold, on or off, it sounds like the gauge is broke.

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Old 01-09-2005, 03:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

O.K. I'm going to grab a connector monday at the dealership... this one has some coolant gunk in it, and doesn't look the best. Thanks. And since I bought the car, I was planning on replacing the thermostat this weekend to wrap up my post buy tune-up along with new spark plugs and an oil change.

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Old 01-09-2005, 03:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessicabreck
O.K. I'm going to grab a connector monday at the dealership... this one has some coolant gunk in it, and doesn't look the best. Thanks. And since I bought the car, I was planning on replacing the thermostat this weekend to wrap up my post buy tune-up along with new spark plugs and an oil change.
You might try cleaning the connector first with a quick drying electronic cleaner and an old toothbrush. You can buy a spray can of this type of cleaner at any good auto parts store. I used it to clean every one of the connectors on my main engine harness when I rebuilt my engine. It worked really well.

If that doesn't work, then my next bet would be your thermostat. Saturn thermostats usually fail open, which would keep the engine running cool, and a gauge reading that is consistently under 1/4 -- assuming the gauge and the ECT sensor are both working -- would be an indication of that.

Here's a picture of the cleaner I used -- CRC QD Electronic Cleaner -- which I bought at Pep Boys. I understand you can also buy it from Ace Hardware.


Last edited by Razorbak; 01-09-2005 at 04:03 PM..

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Old 01-09-2005, 04:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

One more thought: If you're worried that the problem may be masked by the aftermarket ECT sensor that you just bought, you can temporarily swap out the Intake Air Temperature (IAT) sensor on the inlet to the air filter box and put that in the ECT sensor's place to see if that resolves the problem. The IAT sensor is the same as the old resin-style ECT sensor, but it's probably not cracked because it's surrounded by air rather than hot water and antifreeze.

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Old 01-09-2005, 04:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbak
One more thought: The IAT sensor is the same as the old resin-style ECT sensor, but it's probably not cracked because it's surrounded by air rather than hot water and antifreeze.
Amazing what you can learn here. Are they the same part number?

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Old 01-09-2005, 04:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Yes, they are last time I checked.

BTW, I've rarely seen an SES light triggered by a failed ECTS(by itself).

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Old 01-09-2005, 04:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor4SL2
Amazing what you can learn here. Are they the same part number?
Amazingly enough, they are, at least for my car. Go to SaturnParts.com, look in the Mechanical Parts Catalog, under Saturn/1996/SL model, and click on the links to both the ECT sensor and the IAT sensor. Same part number, same price. I actually tripped over this bit of information when examining the temperature/resistance correlation charts in the FSM. Both charts were the same. And then I looked at the connector diagrams and pin-outs in the FSM. Same again. If you actually remove the connector on the IAT, you'll see with your own eyes that it is the same, and you can even view the tip of the sensor by peering at the right angle with a small flashlight into the mouth of the air intake from the corner of the hood opening.

Last edited by Razorbak; 01-09-2005 at 05:03 PM..

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Old 01-09-2005, 09:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

The PCM coolant temp sensor, the intake air temp sensor and the auto trans temp sensors all are the same on the S-series.

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Old 01-09-2005, 10:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

I thought a low temp gauge reading was usually due to bad thermostat? When my SC2 was always reading 1/4 I replaced the thermostat and it started reading normal.

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Old 01-09-2005, 10:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94sc293sl1
I thought a low temp gauge reading was usually due to bad thermostat? When my SC2 was always reading 1/4 I replaced the thermostat and it started reading normal.
96 and up with the one engine temp sensor the gauge reading is gotten from the PCM via the one temp sensor. Bad reading from the temp sensor bad temp display on the gauge

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Old 01-10-2005, 09:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Same problem I had. First time replaced the ECTS with one from Advance auto parts. I took this part back after two days. Temperature would not get hot, then all of the sudden it would be at half. Paid $18.95 for the Saturn brand, and I have not problem since. Going on a week now.

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Old 01-10-2005, 11:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Replaced ECTS... Still runs under 1/4 on temp gauge???

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennySW2
Same problem I had. First time replaced the ECTS with one from Advance auto parts. I took this part back after two days. Temperature would not get hot, then all of the sudden it would be at half. Paid $18.95 for the Saturn brand, and I have not problem since. Going on a week now.
That's good to know. I was wondering what eventually happened with your car. You should post an update on your original thread, in case future members hit that thread doing a search and are looking for the final resolution.

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