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Old 01-30-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
cooxl231
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Default P0128 code on 03 Vue

Hello everyone.

I have a 2003 Saturn Vue with about 76,000 Miles (v6 AWD). I been battling this P0128 code for a long time. I owned the car since august and the light came on 500 miles after I bought it. I did a lot of research and found it out to be the thermostat. Okay, so I had my mechanic replace the thermostat, intake manifold gasket, some kind of hose, and a few other gaskets. 425 for the repair. After about 50 miles of the light being shut off after repaired, guess what, the light came back on! So I did more research, and found out it could possibly be the ECTS. Okay fine, replaced that too.


The light went back on again after 50 miles. I been driving it like that since. I noticed that since its been cold that it only gets up to the quarter line on the temperature when hot.

I have NO idea what it could possibly be, as I had both of those problems replaced and the lights came on anyway.

Im afraid since its been cold where I live is that I could possibly do engine damage as the engine is NOT getting up to temperature.

I checked the coolant level mix and it was like 80/20 mix! There was WAYY to much dexcool in there. I was thinking if I took the reservoir and cleaned the radiator sensor and put the proper 50/50 mix in there, would it get rid of that engine light? I am at a loss now as I had BOTH parts that trigger this light replaced.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Even if 50/50 don't fix the light its the right thing to do and sooner than later. Anything other than 50/50 is frowned on.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Tomorrow its supposed to be nice, so deff getting outside and doing it.

But other than that, what else could it be?
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooxl231 View Post
Tomorrow its supposed to be nice, so deff getting outside and doing it.

But other than that, what else could it be?
Blockage - bad radiator cap - I've attached a few files for you to ponder, and please repost if you'd like any of the files referenced in these three docs.

Lots of folks understand the 3.0 but I'm not one of them. They'll come around.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 02 Vue 3.0 Coolant Change.pdf (135.2 KB, 48 views)
File Type: pdf 03 Vue - 3.0 DTC P0128.pdf (46.3 KB, 39 views)
File Type: pdf 03 Vue - 3.0 Thermostat Diagnosis.pdf (16.4 KB, 45 views)
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

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Originally Posted by cooxl231 View Post
....... . I noticed that since its been cold that it only gets up to the quarter line on the temperature when hot.....
Either the t-stat is the wrong one or it was never replaced. If you followed the troubleshooting steps the recommended t-stat is a 195F one. The temperature gauge needle hovering over the 1/4 mark isn't anywhere near 195F but below that. This can be verified with a reader capable of monitoring coolant temps. And outside freezing temps has nothing to do with engine temps; that's what the t-stat is for, to maintain engine coolant between 189F-205F whether its 125F or -20F outside. The t-stat buried in the engine block senses coolant temps to keep operating temps as high as possible for emissions, fuel economy, and peak engine performance. A correctly operating t-stat should have the needle between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark. My 3.0L V6 engine is the same as yours with the same P0128 that required t-stat replacement. My needle was just above the 1/4 mark before and is now at 3/8ths in freezing temps or summer heat. My t-stat was replaced at around 45k miles. I'm currently around 68k.

The brass coolant sensor is the correct one and is reading correctly. The t-stat either has a faulty O-ring allowing cooler operating temps or was never replaced. Its also buried between the 'V' portion of the engine block requiring a few hours to disassemble the upper intake manifold and runners to access the t-stat for replacement. Ask your mechanic which t-stat was used if he did replace it.

And its OK to drive with the P0128 until you determine what needs to be done. The engine's just running a little cooler than normal but not anywhere below 170F.
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Last edited by fdryer; 01-31-2012 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

^^^^ My gauge is sitting here after replacing my T'stat.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

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^^^^ My gauge is sitting here after replacing my T'stat.
That is probably where the normal range is for the vue, 2.2 and 3.5 I believe rest there. Only time mine changes is in warm weather somtimes itill creep up to the middle, but if your fans kicking on and bringing it back down that is nothing to worry about.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

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^^^^ My gauge is sitting here after replacing my T'stat.
This is the same place my VUE's gauge sits... Before I replaced the DexCool coolant it sat a little higher. 3/8"s of the gauge.

On my Scangauge during the summer I have seen the temps vary between 184 and 200 degrees.

I don't recall the temp gauge deviating during these varying temperatures...
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

We just got finished cleaning the radiator tank out and evened out the system with a even 50/50 mix. We cleaned the radiator sensor and all as working as should properly.

The line is now where Chazberry posted the picture. Since we disconnected the battery the light is off for now so It's gonna take some time before the light comes back on again.

Also when checking the oil today, the oil cap was like a cream colored pasty goo. Could this be possibly from running to cool?


But waiting for that, my drivers side window when rolling up only goes half way. If i wait 15 seconds, the window goes up some more then stops. Do the same procedure over and over untill the window is already up. What could be possibly causing this? Bad wire in the regulator?
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooxl231 View Post
We just got finished cleaning the radiator tank out and evened out the system with a even 50/50 mix. We cleaned the radiator sensor and all as working as should properly.

The line is now where Chazberry posted the picture. Since we disconnected the battery the light is off for now so It's gonna take some time before the light comes back on again.

Also when checking the oil today, the oil cap was like a cream colored pasty goo. Could this be possibly from running to cool?


But waiting for that, my drivers side window when rolling up only goes half way. If i wait 15 seconds, the window goes up some more then stops. Do the same procedure over and over untill the window is already up. What could be possibly causing this? Bad wire in the regulator?
Most window motors have a small thermal switch (circuit breaker) which "opens" when becoming too warm.

A few reason for overheat could be .... window motor tired. The raise/lower mechanism could need lube, the window up switch could be flaky, or window channels could be causing window to bind.

If the window lowers completely in one cycle it MAY indicate the motor is OK but then again those darn windows are heavy.

You probably need to get inside the door and check for loose or corroded wires and could also try lubricating the window regulator mechanism. Especially if you find evidence of water intrusion.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Okay the engine light came back on. I asked the mechanic what thermostat he used and he said he ordered one directly from a GM warehouse in delaware thats why it took him three days to do the repair. I don't know how you get the wrong part if you ordered it from a GM warehouse. Thats way beyond me.

Any order diagnostics I can do?
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

I'd have the code checked to verify its P0128.

Does temp gauge indicate as you mentioned in previous post (same as pix posted by Chaz)?

The CTS sends the coolant temp signal to the ECM which uses as part of fuel management equation and also passes to IPC to drive the temp gauge.

If the gauge is indicating normal you could reasonable doubt P0128 is valid (determined by ECM).
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

It seems to have gone back to the quarter line and just stay there. I'll get the code checked out tomorrow again.
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Hello everyone sorry about the late response.


I had the code rechecked and it is indeed a P0128 code once again.


I just find it hard to believe that a factory GM thermostat was used , along with a ECTS that was OEM specs.

What else can I do? The last thing I want to do is drop another 425 in getting the thermostat redone.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Well, for one - don't put all your eggs in one basket (believing GM spec t-stats are the one and only). While its generally accepted to use OEM parts, even the original OEM coolant sensor used from '91 all the way to '01 were of inferior design. Read about this infamous failure in the S-series forum. GM reluctantly decided to switch over to a brass sensor and all's well again. Yours is the brass one. Mine and every model after '01 in the Saturn line are using brass coolant sensors.

The best way to gauge coolant temps would be with a reader capable of displaying live data - specifically coolant temps. When you find and connect a reader that will display live coolant temps, post your observations.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Fwiw - I used an ACDelco 131134 that I got from RockAuto ($12.72). It says "Made in Germany" on it, as did the OEM part.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooxl231 View Post
Hello everyone sorry about the late response.


I had the code rechecked and it is indeed a P0128 code once again.


I just find it hard to believe that a factory GM thermostat was used , along with a ECTS that was OEM specs.

What else can I do? The last thing I want to do is drop another 425 in getting the thermostat redone.
Even the oem thermostats that have been replaced with another oem stat are defective sometimes,I've seen it before. I always wondered how much better an aftermarket thermostat would do if any, they can't be any worse than all these oem thermostats setting the po128 code. I don't think I have ever seen a vue with a bad ect sensor although anything is possible.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

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Well, for one - don't put all your eggs in one basket (believing GM spec t-stats are the one and only). While its generally accepted to use OEM parts, even the original OEM coolant sensor used from '91 all the way to '01 were of inferior design. Read about this infamous failure in the S-series forum. GM reluctantly decided to switch over to a brass sensor and all's well again. Yours is the brass one. Mine and every model after '01 in the Saturn line are using brass coolant sensors.

The best way to gauge coolant temps would be with a reader capable of displaying live data - specifically coolant temps. When you find and connect a reader that will display live coolant temps, post your observations.

Where can I get access to one of these readers? I am not looking to purchase one if the price is crazy. Maybe rent one? Or if there cheap, I'd consider buying one.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

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Where can I get access to one of these readers? I am not looking to purchase one if the price is crazy. Maybe rent one? Or if there cheap, I'd consider buying one.
The PC-based tools are the cheapest way to go, assuming you have a laptop.
You can get this Elmscan5 (http://www.scantool.net/elmscan5-compact.html) at Amazon for $30 . . .
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: P0128 code on 03 Vue

Thanks for that Chazberry. I just put my order in through Amazon and it should be here by friday. Hopefully I can find out what is going on get to the bottom of this.
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