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Old 05-22-2021, 02:39 AM   #1
Champ
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Default Cooling system

I have a 1999 Sl2 Saturn. A few days ago the water pump was changed. I live in a small town and ride around real slow in first or second gear. I am watching the heat gauge and needle climb to a little past the middle mark and then slowly fall back to a a little below the middle mark. I believe the fan is turning on and off. The problem is the fan is coming on about every two minutes. On and off. On and off. That may be normal because I haven't been constantly watching the heat gauge until the new water pump was put in.. Is this normal. The resivor has the right amount of antifreeze.
When I get on the highway at regular speed limit the needle is a little past the first mark and I never see the needle move. But when i slow down to real slow the needle moves close to the middle mark.
Is all this normal or is there a problem that is making the fan turn on and off so frequently? Oh, and I don't have the AC on.
Thank you for any help.
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:50 AM   #2
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Cooling system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Champ View Post
I am watching the heat gauge and needle climb to a little past the middle mark and then slowly fall back to a a little below the middle mark. I believe the fan is turning on and off. The problem is the fan is coming on about every two minutes. On and off. On and off. That may be normal because I haven't been constantly watching the heat gauge until the new water pump was put in.. Is this normal.
Completely normal for your year.

We usually refer to the first mark as 1/4 and the middle mark as 1/2. At 3/4 you are running hot and should shut off the engine before 4/4 to prevent damage to the engine.

When the needle is between the first and middle mark (3/8 on the gauge), your antifreeze temp is roughly 185~190F. That is when the thermostat (tstat) first starts to open up, allowing antifreeze to flow through the radiator and get cooled by incoming air. Tstat stays closed before that to warm up your engine more quickly

As the antifreeze continues to heat up from the engine running, the tstat continues to open with full low at roughly 200F (? not positive on number, but close). If you are driving less than about 40 mph, your fan will come one at around 220 F to further cool the antifreeze in the radiator. Once the antifreeze has cooled off enough, the fan will shut off again. This is to keep your engine at peak operating temperature for efficiency and longevity. The car is trying to keep between the 3/8 and 1/2 mark.

Your refrigerator and the furnace in your house do the same thing. They run long enough to get to the desired temp, then shut off again for a while.

Quote:
When I get on the highway at regular speed limit the needle is a little past the first mark and I never see the needle move..
Normal, at hwy speeds, you have enough air flow to keep your radiator and the antifreeze flowing through it at a steady temp. That is why the electric fan is disabled above 40 mph, because there is so much air flow at that point that the fan does not add anything.

Sounds like your car is running as it is supposed to, and as long as you keep an eye on oil level between oil changes and keep it at the FULL mark, should last a long time

edit: fix typos and add below

Quote:
is there a problem that is making the fan turn on and off so frequently?
No problem, what it is, is your driving pattern. When you drive around town slowly, there is not enough airflow through the radiator to keep the antifreeze in the radiator below 220F, so the fan turns on as needed for additional airflow/cooling. It cycles through on when it hits the high temp, then off when it cools the radiator enough.
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cooling system

Do you have the defrost on?
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Old 05-22-2021, 08:00 PM   #4
TomM96
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Default Re: Cooling system

Champ-

When the cooling system is serviced, it is important that the
cooling jacket be Flushed with purified water before filling with
the antifreeze mixture. Old coolant can become acidic, and degrade the head gasket.

I bought a used 20 year-old Sat a few years back, which had a New
radiator. Unfortunately, the antifreeze had an old mixture, and tended to
boil/overflow... until I thoroughly flushed out the cooling jacket.

Coolant is important, should be refreshed at least every 5 years,
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