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Old 02-01-2007, 11:31 AM   #1
DavidB
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Default SL2 Temperature Sensor??

I'm new to this forum, but I thought I might see if I could get some advice on some repairs that were suggested to me. I took my 1997 SL2 in this morning with the heating system not working properly(it wouldn't really put out warm air) and the Serv Engine Soon light on. They said that I needed a coolant flush, a new thermostat and also a new temperature sensor and connector(for the coolant, I guess?). The temp sensor and connector are $185, which sounded pretty high to me and I can't seem to find those parts online anywhere to get a price comparison. What's the difference between the thermostat and the temp sensor then? Any thoughts?

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Old 02-01-2007, 11:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

The thermostat blocks coolant from going to the radiator as the car warms up. Yours is stuck open so the car runs cool and there's no hot water available for the heater. It has no electrical connection and just sits inside a housing, blocking antifreeze.

The coolant sensor, if you search for ECTS, is a common failure item. This tells the computer how hot the coolant is, and is responsible for running the radiator fan when things get hot enough. It and its connector can be replaced for way less than $180. Did you go to the dealer? Incidentally that search will tell even a rank mechanical noob how to.

The diagnosis sounds spot on for the symptoms you describe, BTW.

The heavy duty brass tipped ECTS is available at advance auto for $10 or so. The harness is $30 at the dealer or saturnparts.net for $30 BUT you can use an old computer case part free for the picking.

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Old 02-01-2007, 02:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Yeah, that's an awful lot for what you need.

You might invest an hour total into it if you do the work yourself, very slowly, and very carefully. Most people with a reasonable amount of auto experience can fix your T-Stat and ECTS in 30 minutes, including the flush/fill.

T-Stat with housing is 15 bucks at Autozone, 185 degrees.
ECTS is 15 bucks.
Official connector is $40, but like Eljefino said, you can run a computer case LED connector with some silicone sealant for less than $40.

Hell, if you're in Jacksonville, Fl. I'll gladly help you out with it. I love working on these S-Cars.

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Old 02-01-2007, 02:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Thanks for the replies...they may have already done the work unfortunately. I authorized them to do it and then came in to work and poked around to see what I could find out. Between the flush and fill and the thermostat they are getting some cash out of me. I'll remember to post with you guys when I am experiencing future problems! Thanks!

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Old 02-01-2007, 03:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidB View Post
Thanks for the replies...they may have already done the work unfortunately. I authorized them to do it and then came in to work and poked around to see what I could find out. Between the flush and fill and the thermostat they are getting some cash out of me. I'll remember to post with you guys when I am experiencing future problems! Thanks!
the great irony of saturns is that they were/are marketed as economical, but if you get work done at the dealer, they are FAR from economical. being that most everyone here is cheap, most do the work themselves and can give you the hook up on what to do/what to spend. you will find it truly is cheap and easy to maintain your car yourself.

...
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Old 02-02-2007, 09:11 AM   #6
DonP
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Believe the actual recommended thermostat rating is 195 F.

The ECTS could have failed and not yet required the new conenctor, at this point you have to trust the dealer on that one. $185 at shop rates is probably not an unexpected or unfair price for work at a dealership these days.

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Old 02-02-2007, 09:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Yeah, I was informed by the Saturn dealer that the T-Stat is 185 stock, so I went with it.

Car runs at an appropriate temperature, so I'm not worried about it. (Just a sliver under the half way point on the temperature gauge. Not bad for a 98, or so I've been told.)

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Old 02-02-2007, 10:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

As posted:

the great irony of saturns is that they were/are marketed as economical, but if you get work done at the dealer, they are FAR from economical. being that most everyone here is cheap, most do the work themselves and can give you the hook up on what to do/what to spend. you will find it truly is cheap and easy to maintain your car yourself.


frugal -careful in the management of money or resources

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Old 02-02-2007, 11:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

cheap- stingy; miserly: He's too cheap to buy his own brother a cup of coffee.....

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Old 02-02-2007, 12:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

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Originally Posted by richpin06 View Post
cheap- stingy; miserly: He's too cheap to buy his own brother a cup of coffee.....
I'd add niggardly but, that might offend those with poor vocabularies. There was a politician in Washington that already got in trouble for that.

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Old 02-02-2007, 12:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Quote:
Originally Posted by richpin06 View Post
cheap- stingy; miserly: He's too cheap to buy his own brother a cup of coffee.....
or: He's too cheap to buy a decent quality part, so he's gonna be fixing it again next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
I'd add niggardly but, that might offend those with poor vocabularies. There was a politician in Washington that already got in trouble for that.
Reminds me of the guy who nearly lost his job for using the word "pedagogical".

Oh, and so as not to offend anyone, it's "lexically challenged".

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Old 02-02-2007, 01:20 PM   #12
Cat Fuzz
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

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Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
I'd add niggardly but, that might offend those with poor vocabularies. There was a politician in Washington that already got in trouble for that.

I remember this incident. It was actually a college professor or some sort of teacher that used the word and a vocabulary challenged student got all offended and, of course, when you're offended, a dump truck load of cash makes it all better.


At any rate, I don't see how, even at the dealer, that replacing an ECTS and connector would cost $185 when the total process takes MAYBE 30 minutes, if you stop for a break. If I was the OP, I'd call them on it and get them to lower that price.

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Last edited by Cat Fuzz; 02-02-2007 at 01:25 PM..

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Old 02-02-2007, 01:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonP View Post
Believe the actual recommended thermostat rating is 195 F.
According to my 2000 S-series owner's manual it is. If you get it at an auto parts store, make sure you get the correct temp rating, or your car won't get as warm or will get too hot....I'd try to find the AC Delco part if possible, it's probably AC Delco that makes them for our cars.

I believe they are all 195 degrees Fahrenheit.....someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

Even if you get the parts at the Saturn retailer, they aren't $185...that's probably with labor included....which you can do these things yourself. ECTS and the connector aren't hard at all. And the thermostat isn't really hard either.


I just looked it up and Advance Auto sells the correct 195 degrees one, while AutoZone sells the 185 one which isn't the correct one. I personally think Advance Auto has a better selection of compatible aftermarket parts....seems AutoZone is where the ricers like to hangout......I'd probably get mine from Saturn though.

Here it is at SaturnParts.net - http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...97&catalogid=1 (It's only a dollar more than the auto parts store)

I just noticed you are in Durham, you can PM me if you want and I would be willing to help you do this stuff!!!!

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Last edited by SaturnManiac; 02-02-2007 at 01:41 PM..

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Old 02-02-2007, 02:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Quote:
...total process takes MAYBE 30 minutes...
To make the actual changes, but add in everything else, like get the work order & keys, bring the vehicle in the shop, open it up, diagnose, make out the parts requisition, get the part from the parts guy (and wait for him to pull them), install and test, clean-up and return car to the lot, close ou the work order and you get past 30 minutes in a hurry.

That is why shop rates and flat rate books can look high, and why you can save a bundle DIY if you do not price out your own time.

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Old 02-02-2007, 02:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: SL2 Temperature Sensor??

Some shops are notorious for taking your car and charging you for labor when your car wasn't even in the shop, and instead was in line waiting to be pulled in the garage.

That's another reason I prefer working on my own cars. I think it's good to know about cars, because if my car were to ever breakdown, I could probably fix the problem on the side of the road (provided I had the proper tools), and be on my way back home. But then again, I've been into cars since the age of like 8.

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