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Old 10-09-2012, 12:38 AM   #1
ninetynineSC2
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Default New T stat or not?

I replaced the ECTS last winter and noticed the temp gauge still hovers just a hair over the first line on the gauge when the car is warmed up. The air from the heater is still warm enough to easily cook me out of the car though, so I guess my question is that will it hurt anything by running cooler (If its even the T stat and not the gauge). My dad, who is VERY mechanically inclined, said that as long as I'm getting good heat not to worry about it.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

I've had almost the exact same issue as you. Last spring I installed a brass ects to correct my idle and temp issue and it did fix it to an extent.

My idle was okay, and the temp needle would hover in the correct position, that was until it started to cool down outside. (I'm assuming that's what happened for you to?) Now my idle surges to 2000+ RPMs when cold started and the needle sits just above the 1/4 mark on the gauge when fully heated.

I'm going to replace the thermostat in the next few days and I'll tell you my results. iIt's probably a combination of the T-Stat and IAC for me though
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninetynineSC2 View Post
I replaced the ECTS last winter and noticed the temp gauge still hovers just a hair over the first line on the gauge when the car is warmed up. The air from the heater is still warm enough to easily cook me out of the car though, so I guess my question is that will it hurt anything by running cooler (If its even the T stat and not the gauge). My dad, who is VERY mechanically inclined, said that as long as I'm getting good heat not to worry about it.
A working temperature gauge is imperative.
A 99 should be higher than that.
Temperature gauge is there for many reasons. like the one your posting about now.
If you have a temperature gauge that works properly, you can catch problems before they happen.
There may be a possibility that the ECTS is faulty, or a bad connector.
Wouldn't you like to know if your vehicle was overheating? With a guage that is not working, you wouldn't catch a possible engine problem.
In a saturn, a faulty temp guage, is usually the result of a bad ects or connector & will make a saturn do some of the strangest stuff you can imagine, including high/low idle, bad gas milage, flooding conditions & lots more.

I have had a faulty ects right out of the box.
May be a good idea to check the connector that connects to the ects for corrosion.

I'm not badmouthing your father, but....
Just because you get heat from the vehicle does NOT mean a vehicle is running properly. When was the last time the thermostat was replaced?
A bad or sticking thermostat effects many things. If thermostats weren't needed, then manufacturers wouldn't use them at all. They are crucial to circulate coolant throughout the engine.

I'm sure someone else will chime in here,lol
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

I do believe the temp gauge is working correctly because it HAS gotten higher than half while sitting in traffic, then at the point where the fan kicks on it started going back down. Not sure when the T stat was last replaced, the car has 131,XXX on it.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

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Originally Posted by Josh16162 View Post
My idle was okay, and the temp needle would hover in the correct position, that was until it started to cool down outside. (I'm assuming that's what happened for you to?) though
Nah, when my ECTS went, the car almost REFUSED to idle.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

The coolant sensor is working correctly according to your descriptions. The t-stat may be worth replacing before winter unless you have a garage to do repairs (even an unheated garage will work as you use the warm engine to warm up a closed garage). If there was adequate heat last winter then it should be fine but 1/4 needle deflection usually indicates a cooler running (worn out) t-stat than normal. Needle position should be between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark for a 195F t-stat. And more heat in very cold weather. Worse case scenario is less heat this winter and no garage to do repairs. Best case scenario is replacing it now before cold weather sets in.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

It also sounds like the tstat is OK from your description of being roasted. when my newish tstat seal failed at 3 years, you could barely tell the heat was on.

If you are concerned with the engine temps, either plug an OBDII reader into the ALDL socket and see what that reads for temperatur (auto parts stores might do that for free - be worth a phone call) or put a thermometer in the coolant return stream (carefully open the cap and put it near the rear, thin line). Should show in the 195F range when warmed up
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

How old is your thermostat?

My 2001 wagon had the original one until last Saturday when I changed it. The temperature gauge read slightly above 1/4 mark. With the new thermostat it sits closer to midway between 1/4 and 1/2.

Also of note is how quickly you get heat in the cabin. With a proper thermostat the radiator loop should be closed off, so the coolant in that loop won't be heated, so that the rest of the coolant heats up more quickly. It seems that my heat comes on faster now after I replaced the thermostat.

Rest assured that changing it out isn't too difficult. You can get the Stant 14279 off of Rockauto for about $15 + shipping. If you have the original one in I'd say you're definitely ready for a change.

Also, does anyone know whether a stuck-open thermostat will prevent the engine computer from going into closed-loop mode? I'm wondering this given a recent loss of fuel economy.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

I'll have to plug the scanner in this weekend when I'm at my dads and see what its running at for temp. I'd say maybe around 5-ish minutes (Depending on how I drive) to get good heat from the vents. If it does end up being bad, not a big deal, we have a heated garage to work in (Came in handy when there was a blizzard going on when I had to change out the ECTS.)
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

I would assume if the vehicle never gets up to the predetermined operating temperature you would never enter closed loop. The ecm isn't exactly clever, it won't postulate that the thermostat has stuck open, preventing coolant blockage. It's just gonna say "still too cold, dump more fuel/high idle" lol.

Changing out the tstat is a good idea anyway, with winter setting in and not knowing if it's ever been replaced. It's a pretty easy job, the retention spring clip that holds it in the housing can pinch the hell out of you if you aren't careful though ;(.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeWiggles View Post
I would assume if the vehicle never gets up to the predetermined operating temperature you would never enter closed loop. The ecm isn't exactly clever, it won't postulate that the thermostat has stuck open, preventing coolant blockage. It's just gonna say "still too cold, dump more fuel/high idle" lol.
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I think it enters closed loop. When the car is warmed up it idles at around 750 or so RPMs. As for dumping more fuel I'm getting 35ish average mpgs which I think would be WAY worse if it was stuck in open loop.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

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Originally Posted by ninetynineSC2 View Post
I think it enters closed loop. When the car is warmed up it idles at around 750 or so RPMs. As for dumping more fuel I'm getting 35ish average mpgs which I think would be WAY worse if it was stuck in open loop.
I don't know a whole lot about the preset states in the saturn pcm, so it is possible that if it doesn't reach what is defined as the default operating temperature it goes to a default profile, or it's possible that you're reaching the bottom end of the operating temperature spread.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

Keep in mind that the gauges aren't precision instruments, and some cars shipped with different temp thermostats as well. Our '95 ran a bit cooler with the factory unit, but got better mileage with the lower temp and ran just fine. If the car is coming up to temp quickly and has no indications of a leaking thermostat there is probably no need to change it over a few degrees of operating temp.

If you are really concerned get a scanner reading, and that should pin down what your real operating temp is.


As for the comments on going closed loop, if you hook up a scanner you will find it takes some really low temps to keep most cars in open loop. Cars are often in closed loop in less than a minute.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

One thing I did not see mentioned here is that mileage will suffer a bit when the engine is not up to temp simply because it is not as efficient at lower temps. The thermostat is set to keep the temp at the highest practical level within the safe operating limits of the materials and fluids used in the engine.
This has nothing to do with it being in open/closed loop mode. As was pointed out, it gets into closed loop mode fairly quickly.
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: New T stat or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninetynineSC2 View Post
I think it enters closed loop. When the car is warmed up it idles at around 750 or so RPMs. As for dumping more fuel I'm getting 35ish average mpgs which I think would be WAY worse if it was stuck in open loop.
Sounds like you are reaching proper temperature. The car will want to idle around 900 RPM even when slightly cold. You should be seeing a minimum of about 3/8 on the gauge. I assume you've already replaced the defective plastic tipped ECT sensor. If the car stays above 3/8 I wouldn't worry about it.

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