1997 Saturn SL2 overheating, fan doesn't come on, but it works when attached directly to the battery.

Tiny
ROCHAMBEAU
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 SATURN SL2
  • 4 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 145,770 MILES
-going through coolant very quickly. Not leaking, no wet spots.
-fan comes on when attached to the battery but not on it's own. So the fan motor is working.
-the wires connecting to the fan appear fine and there is no visible corrosion.
-overheating in hot and cold weather. It was 81 yesterday and today it's raining and 65. Same symptoms.
-only overheats while idling.

Originally I thought it might be the ECTS because the fan wasn't coming on and the coolant was disappearing. But then the temperature gauge started to rise. At first it was only overheating a little bit while idling (moving from 1/4 to 1/2), then eventually it turned it to a real problem when it started rising from 1/4 to 3/4s while idling. When that happens I usually turn off the car. When I turn off the car for a bit, maybe a minute or two, the temperature appears to have gone back to normal staying at 1/4. When I'm driving it runs perfect.

Any suggestions, tips, or comments are greatly appreciated. <3
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Monday, March 7th, 2011 AT 10:07 AM

2 Replies

Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
I don't believe your problem has anything to do with the fan and everything to due with the coolant loss. You have a leak somewhere. You just haven't found it yet. It could be internal and burning the coolant or just evaporating before it hits the ground. You need to pressure test the cooling system to locate the leak.
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Monday, March 7th, 2011 AT 12:56 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Just wanted to add to this one wrenchtech. Rochambeau I would change your coolant temp sensor it really sound's like yours is bad. You only have one that run's your temp gauge and tells the computer what temp it is. You say your overheating but you never said your temp gauge goes into the red when this happens. When the sensor's go bad they read cooler then actual temp so the gauge never give's you a warning your overheating. Change the coolant temp sensor and inspect the connector going to it if it's corroded replace the connector too. Also replace your coolant cap it's probably not holding anymore pressure after all that overheating. The coolant temp sensor is screwed right into the head right below where the upper radiator hose goes on. There is two wire's going to it a black wire and a yellow wire. Also the most common places for that car to leak coolant is the water pump and right below the upper radiator where it attaches to the radiator. The plastic radiator tank crack's and leak's where the transmission cooler line screw's into tank. Let me know what you find.
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Monday, March 7th, 2011 AT 5:19 PM

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