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Old 08-07-2008, 10:30 AM   #1
sps SOHC
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1996 SC2
Default Hot summer = loads of problems

My Sc2 runs pretty nice if it isn't sitting in traffic (aside from a strange lurching behavior that has reappeared). I expect the engine to get hot when I'm idling at a light and it's 97 F out. I put in a manual radiator fan switch to put my mind at ease.... unfortunately it doesn't seem to help much.

Yesterday I was sitting in traffic and the needle went to about 5/8th on the temp gauge. I decided to turn on my fan. It works... I can hear it running. But the temp slowly climbed to 3/4 before I got going. Once I was driving it dropped back down to about 1/2. What's goin on here? Is my fan spinning backwards or something?

Also when the car is this hot I get a really bad clutch chatter (only when starting off from a stop), it's much harder to shift, and my steering at low speeds feels like it's grinding. To top it all off, if I stop at a store or something for 10-15 min and come back out and try to start up, it starts and the rpms drop so low it almost dies (it did once) but usually recovers after a few successive dips into the 600 rpm range.

I'd like to fix these problems... it gets hot pretty often here in FL. And to add onto all the hassle I have this mystery oil leak that is coming from somewhere on the timing side (not the cam cover gasket). It gets on one of the pulleys and sprays everywhere so there is no way for me to tell where it is coming from. I've already replaced the front main seal (the suspected culprit) but no change. I'm going through a qt about every 400 miles! I'm going to do the oil pan gasket next. (this leak started after I changed my timing set)
...
-96 SC2 gets 35 mpg mix city/hw.
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:01 AM   #2
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Wrench Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

At idle there is actually very little coolant being pumped. So it is possible for the temperature to rise a little even after turning on the cooling fan. Once you rev it up some, more coolant will be circulated and it will then cool off. Sounds about normal, even though aggravating.

It is also possible that you have a marginal thermostat. If it hasn't been replaced in a while, you might want to do so. They are really not expensive and often come with a new housing as well.

What you are describing is precisely what drove me to add a secondary automatic fan control to mine. Now it runs at a little less than half on the gauge all the time without exception. The fan turns on and off without any concern on my part.

Your other problems sound all too familiar to me, and may be (variously) a binding throwout bearing fork, a dirty throttle body (particularly the IAC passages), and depending upon how many miles you have on it, a probable need for piston rings.

There is one thing that may have been overlooked. It is possible for oil to leak past the bolt and washer that hold the front drive pulley on. The spin of the pulley will sling oil everywhere and yet the pulley won't appear oily itself. This happened to mine. I only discovered it after adding UV dye to the oil. Streaks and stains were all over the front of the pulley.

Remove the bolt and use liberal amounts of silicone RTV between the bolt head and washer and also between the washer and the pulley and it should stop. Obviously this might not be the only problem, but it could be the issue and is easy to fix.

Cheers.
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

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Originally Posted by DIYguy View Post
Your other problems sound all too familiar to me, and may be (variously) a binding throwout bearing fork, a dirty throttle body (particularly the IAC passages), and depending upon how many miles you have on it, a probable need for piston rings.

There is one thing that may have been overlooked. It is possible for oil to leak past the bolt and washer that hold the front drive pulley on. The spin of the pulley will sling oil everywhere and yet the pulley won't appear oily itself. This happened to mine. I only discovered it after adding UV dye to the oil. Streaks and stains were all over the front of the pulley.

Remove the bolt and use liberal amounts of silicone RTV between the bolt head and washer and also between the washer and the pulley and it should stop. Obviously this might not be the only problem, but it could be the issue and is easy to fix.

Cheers.
Thanks for the reply. Oil consumption before I changed the timing set AND the valve guide seals was about 1qt per 1K miles. I noticed some smoke from the exhaust so I decided to change the valve guide seals (that smoke has disappeared). The oil leak was worse at first and I noticed I didn't tighten down the bolt above the idler pulley and it was misting out everywhere. I added RTV to that bolt head and then tightened it up. I also added RTV to the crank bolt washer (like you suggested). It stills is going everywhere... I cannot begin to tell from where. The only other place I could think would be maybe the top bolt didn't seal right or the oil pan gasket is dripping on the crank pulley and it's getting thrown everywhere from there.

The steering grinding.... that baffles me. I'm going to refresh my steering fluid.
...
-96 SC2 gets 35 mpg mix city/hw.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

i was told 3/4 is good before it over heats, i dont buy this, you could try taking out the thermostat
this involves draining the radiator from the nozzle/the removing the rubber bottom radiator hose from the engine which would be the thermostate bolted on by the two 10mm screws you see on the nozzle coming from the engine.. im going to try this i think i used to run at 3/8 all the time but i put stop leak in and blamo clogged r up

you take of the nozle and push down the spring and twist it out/this is hard and you will probably hurt ur hand unless u use a like wise nozzle(same size as the the thermostat nozzle to press it down
youre welcome
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:12 PM   #5
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Happy Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

Hi,

Unfortunately removing the thermostat will not solve this problem.

The real issue is that the coolant exiting the radiator is getting hotter than the thermostat's setpoint temperature. So the thermostat just opens up wide and the engine continues to heat up more.

The temperature rises until the ECTS and engine computer (PCM or ECM, or whatever you want to call it) finally decides to turn the radiator fan on. At that point your gauge will be reading something between 5/8 and 3/4.

So far as I am concerned, that is WAY too hot. Under a setup like this, the thermostat actually only regulates the lower limit of the temperature, not the upper.

That is why you don't want to run without a thermostat. The engine would not warm up enough while you are driving along with good airflow through the radiator. This will definitely hurt gas mileage, raise emissions, and could allow the engine to gum up internally if running too cold.

The proper solution is to regulate the fan better so the outlet temperature of the radiator never gets higher than the thermostat's setpoint. I have a thread on the subject. You don't have to build a fancy controller like I did to get results, you can just buy an aftermarket fan switch and wire it to turn the fan control relay on.

If you set the switch to turn on just below the thermostat's setpoint, the radiator's outlet temperature will stay cool enough that the thermostat can do its job properly and the engine will run at its "ideal" temperature all the time.

FWIW.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

oh yes sorry to mention all these problems im having include the switch you speak of run off of my 30amp fan relay switch i have built screwed right into the plastic piece on the dash right over the heater blower hole next to the drivers door

i naturally being a car savant did this years ago before i read it here haha i fix 3 saturns ive done this too.

my problem is the stop leak i added to my cooling system(****them!) do you have a heat resistant microsubmarine i could use anytime soon? i am running to hot after your fix so no thermostat might fix my problem until winter probably not tho ru sure itll gum up or are you saying that to sound fancy? lol that or im gonna try to flush with a garden hose setup with a t installed into the two rubber heater core hoses ****ing stop leak
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:26 PM   #7
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Happy Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

I think that the switch you are referring to was originally from Wolfman, not me. My version is automatic, there is no switch to worry with.

I used stop leak a long time ago (1970's) but will not use it any more. Better to find the leak and do whatever it takes to fix it.

I had my radiator tank crack on the Saturn a while back. A new radiator and it runs fine.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:23 AM   #8
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

Theory -- your last-mentined problem is the cause (or a cause) of most/all the previous ones. The leaking oil is getting on a pulley, then on the serpentine belt, making it slip (silently, because of the oil), making your water pump work less effectively, raising the engine temperature, and also making the power steering pump work less effectively.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by sps SOHC View Post
.... if I stop at a store or something for 10-15 min and come back out and try to start up, it starts and the rpms drop so low it almost dies (it did once) but usually recovers after a few successive dips into the 600 rpm range.

I'd like to fix these problems... it gets hot pretty often here in FL.
For the fan circuit, this may help but one of the write-ups says that the switch isn't waterproof so weatherproofing it should help. Adjustable for whatever temperature you want the fan to run at;http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/P...ostat+switches .

The engine re-start with idling dropping down until a minute or so passes may be due to the underhood high temperatures felt by the intake air temperature sensor (IATS) heat soaking and leaning out the initial air/fuel mixtures until the iats cools off. cheapybob did some extensive resistor testing, modifying the iats for mileage improvements and heat soaking the iats at rest in the HOT Florida temps does the same until enough airflow is pulled into the intake air filter tubing to cool off the iats. You can try a simple experiment to prove this as a heat soaking problem; next time there's a HOT day where you know a re-start with an already hot engine will drop rpm's, leave the hood open to allow engine heat out. I'm guessing the re-start will result in a normal idle.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:07 AM   #10
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Happy Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

Be sure to get the adjustable version of the switch.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: Hot summer = loads of problems

My car normally runs at 3/8th when it's not in the 90's and idling.

When I first got the car I did a radiator flush a few months later (coolant was running low but no lights flashing). To my surprise (or not) about 6 new leaks sprang up in hoses, heater core, and the radiator. I fixed them and have not had a leak since.

Oh, and about the dirty throttle body, it's spotless (as well as the IAC passage). The lurching is most evident when I'm leaving my apartment complex and have it idling in 2nd at about 10 mph. After each speedbump it lurches w/ the rpms going up and down ~150 rpm. This isn't the only time it happens but it happens all the time in that scenario. It tends not to do it when the engine is warmed up (but does it about the same when the engine is hot).
...
-96 SC2 gets 35 mpg mix city/hw.
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