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Old 01-28-2014, 10:42 PM   #1
HawkeyeCB
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Default 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

Hey everyone. What a helpful community I've seen here so far.

Bought a used 2001 SC2 3-door car about a week ago and it's such a smooth car. It's a nice ride and a solid upgrade on my older vehicle.

Anyway, a few small issues I've come across are the ones listed in the title.

TEMPERATURE GAUGE: Stays at cold for a long time before working it's way up to 1/4. It does not seem to go higher than 1/4. I've read that it should run around 3/8 temp.

RPM: Seems to idle between 1,000 - 1,500 RPM. I've read 800 RPM is a better reading.

GAS MILEAGE: Seems to have bad gas mileage so far (at least compared to what I was expecting), but I think that could be due to crazy storms we've been having the past week. Between 10-15 inches of snow, so that's probably causing a lot more work.

So looking at those three issues, I've seem to read a lot about the ECTS sensor/connector and the theromostat. The car gives off fantastic heat though, so would that mean the thermostat is okay? Is that pointing to the ECTS? Anything else I should be looking for?
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

Your searches have led you to the first two items I would suggest. You can actually check the thermostat for leaking during warm up by feeling the upper radiator hose to see if it warms up with the engine, or doesn't get warm until the engine is hot. I suspect it's probably leaking some.

Even if the ECTS is doing it's job properly, the idle will stay high if actual coolant temp isn't up to normal. As for the heat issue, you can still get fairly good heat even if your car is running fairly cool. You just don't notice that it could be hotter than it is.


One other point is that if you use a lot of heat and the blower motor on higher speeds, especially if you don't use the recirculate mode, you can pull heat of the engine in cold situations. The colder it gets the worse this can get.


What temps are you getting and what MPG?
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

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Originally Posted by Signmaster View Post
Your searches have led you to the first two items I would suggest. You can actually check the thermostat for leaking during warm up by feeling the upper radiator hose to see if it warms up with the engine, or doesn't get warm until the engine is hot. I suspect it's probably leaking some.

Even if the ECTS is doing it's job properly, the idle will stay high if actual coolant temp isn't up to normal. As for the heat issue, you can still get fairly good heat even if your car is running fairly cool. You just don't notice that it could be hotter than it is.


One other point is that if you use a lot of heat and the blower motor on higher speeds, especially if you don't use the recirculate mode, you can pull heat of the engine in cold situations. The colder it gets the worse this can get.


What temps are you getting and what MPG?
I'm not sure what temperature we are getting because we kind of just realized the issue now. Nor do I really know how to test that anyway.

As for the heat issue - it gets really warm. I don't think it could go much warmer - if it did, it would be too warm, in my opinion.

Even with the heat off, the car does the same routine. Doesn't heat up much when first turned on an idling, eventually gets to 1/4 no matter how long I drive for.

MPG... unless my math is a little off about 15-18 mpg, all city driving. I think it has to do with the weather though, as I have let it idle a few times for a few moments and I'm like I said, the weather has been absolutely crazy with the amount of snow. There have been days where I've had to drive in 3-5 inches of snow - so I'm travelling fairly slowly compared to normal. I think the gas mileage is an issue, but not as big of an issue as it's been due to the weather.
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

See pics below. Yours is most likely the faulty plastic one as the idle never drops down to 800-900 rpm.
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File Type: jpg brass cts.jpg (33.8 KB, 3 views)
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

I had the same problem. I just removed the old-style ECTS and replaced it with a new-style. It was cheap, and I was able to do it myself. Although I'm glad I replaced it, it didn't fix the problem. So I had the thermostat replaced (I don't have enough confidence in my ability to replace that myself), and that solved the problem. The heat works REALLY well in the car now.

However, on my older Saturn, it was the other way around; the thermostat was OK but the ECTS was bad.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

Going to pick up a new ECTS today. Will report back after it's installed. If it's not that, I'll look into the thermostat being replaced.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

With a faulty thermostat, I only lost 1 mpg or so. Was still pulling around 33~34 mpg so I didn't even notice, was only when the temps started to drop a little that I realized the air wasn't as hot as expected.

With a faulty ECTS and connector, I was seeing low temp gauge readings even when getting warm air from the vents, had the high idle and hard starting, and around 15~20 mpg.

When temps are around 0F (windchills -20 to -25), in about 10~15 minutes, the air is coming out toasty warm

Be interesting to see what your build date (sticker in the door) is. We know that Saturn switched away from the resin-tipped ECTS sometime in the 2001 model year, but were not able to narrow down what month it was.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

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Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
With a faulty thermostat, I only lost 1 mpg or so. Was still pulling around 33~34 mpg so I didn't even notice, was only when the temps started to drop a little that I realized the air wasn't as hot as expected.

With a faulty ECTS and connector, I was seeing low temp gauge readings even when getting warm air from the vents, had the high idle and hard starting, and around 15~20 mpg.

When temps are around 0F (windchills -20 to -25), in about 10~15 minutes, the air is coming out toasty warm

Be interesting to see what your build date (sticker in the door) is. We know that Saturn switched away from the resin-tipped ECTS sometime in the 2001 model year, but were not able to narrow down what month it was.
I don't think my car will be of any help then. Seems like it was a launch 2001 model. The date is June 2000.

Haven't had a chance to change the ECTS yet, but will have it done later on tonight. Will get back to everyone then - just wanted to let you know the date.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

UPDATE

So we replaced the ECTS Sensor tonight and low and behold, it was a cracked plastic one. So we replaced it with the brass one, checked the connector which was fine, and sealed the car back up.

This is what happens now;

[B]TEMPERATURE:[/B Car seems to get up to about 5/16 on the temp gauge after a few minutes of driving. It never got over 1/4 on the temp gauge before, even when idling for 25 minutes (this is when we found out there was an issue).

I've read on the forums that 3/8 is the ideal running temperature for the SC2 2001 - what else could cause it to run at 5/16?

RPMs: Perfect. Drops down to 800 now almost instantly, which is something it would take forever to hit before.

GAS: Haven't drove too far, but it hasn't dropped off full after 16 miles. That would have been an entire gallon before the car surgery.

OTHER THINGS
  • Brakes seem to be working better.
  • Car seems quieter.
  • Car runs smoother.
  • Heat seems more "normal." It's not blowing as ridiculously hot as it was before. It was almost "too hot" pre-surgery.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

PS. Here is a picture of the old ECTS. It's got a crack that you can see somewhat (my camera isn't great, my apologies), as well as another small bump/crack thing on the other side.

i58.tinypic.com/29bem43.jpg
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

This damaged sensor never sends correct signals so the engine computer never knows the actual engine temperatures. In summer, engines would overheat while the temperature gauge never indicates HOT - since the signals aren't correct, the cooling fan will never turn on during summer months. Extra heat in winter and a little less now with the correct sensor isn't observed by many but you would notice overheating.
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeCB View Post
UPDATE

So we replaced the ECTS Sensor tonight and low and behold, it was a cracked plastic one. So we replaced it with the brass one, checked the connector which was fine, and sealed the car back up.

This is what happens now;

[B]TEMPERATURE:[/B Car seems to get up to about 5/16 on the temp gauge after a few minutes of driving. It never got over 1/4 on the temp gauge before, even when idling for 25 minutes (this is when we found out there was an issue).

I've read on the forums that 3/8 is the ideal running temperature for the SC2 2001 - what else could cause it to run at 5/16?

RPMs: Perfect. Drops down to 800 now almost instantly, which is something it would take forever to hit before.

GAS: Haven't drove too far, but it hasn't dropped off full after 16 miles. That would have been an entire gallon before the car surgery.

OTHER THINGS
  • Brakes seem to be working better.
  • Car seems quieter.
  • Car runs smoother.
  • Heat seems more "normal." It's not blowing as ridiculously hot as it was before. It was almost "too hot" pre-surgery.

Thoughts?
I wouldn't be too concerned about the final operating temp. The fact that it comes to temp quickly indicates that the thermostat is operating properly. Though some claim you will lose MPG, blow up your car, and various other scare mongering if your running temp isn't exact, most have found out otherwise.

Similar to Alordofchaos, our car actually got slightly better MPG with the cooler running factory thermostat vs the higher temp replacement. With the ECTS replaced and the proper mixture for temps your car should be running better almost all the time.

Winter temps can slightly lower operating temp on some cars too, depending on outside ambient temps and use of heat. Unless you have issues such as poor MPG, running poorly, etc I personally wouldn't spend the time with the thermostat unless you're doing a coolant flush and fill or something that requires draining it.


Good use of the search, application after the confirmation, and follow up. Many members skip at least some of the above, often leaving the forum wondering if they found a solution, or what it was.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 issues - Gas mileage, temperature gauge, and RPM gauge.

^ ^ ^ +1

That temp gauge is not a precision instrument. Sometimes, it'll read a little off just looking at it cross-eyed

I'll bet if you hook up a scanner to your OBDII port, or put a thermometer in your surge tank/reservoir when the engine is normal temp, they will read around 190F~210F which is normal.

The gas gauge is not a precision instrument either, but would not be surprised to see that you are now getting 30~35 mpg now

Thanks for the followup and build date info!
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