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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning?

car - 2002 vulcan with 65000 miles

I was on my way to work this morning when I noticed my temp gauge was way past the "H". Pulled over and checked for leaks and to be sure I had coolant - no leaks, and the tank has plenty of coolant. I turned on the heat and drove back home (about 10 miles of highway driving). The temp gauge was still well over the H, but I did not notice it running poorly. the heat consistently worked, no change in temperature from the air blowing from the vents, from what I could tell.Since then I have done the following:

checked the oil - no white, milky stuff or foaming (evidence of head gasket leak)
Checked the fans - even though the temp gauge is very high, the fans were not on.
Checked the belt - the belt seems fine; there is a slight noise from somewhere under the hood, but it could be normal. I do not know this car well enough.

How should I proceed troubleshooting? It seems like it might not be overheating, perhaps a sending unit is bad. when i pulled the wire from the unit by the thermostat housing, there was no change in the temp gauge reading. is there another temp sending unit?

How can I check the fans? is there somewhere I can use a jumper to have the fans come on if the key is on?

When the car cools a little bit, I am going to pull the thermostat and test that in a pot of water, and check to see if the pump is working by running the car with the housing off.

The 2002 chilton/haines books are apparently not out yet (I could probably answer some of these myself if it was!)- are the 2002's very different from previous years?

I am a new taurus owner, so I dont know that much about them yet. . .

Thank you for your time - any advice, guidance, etc would be appreciated!

Tim
 

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Some local auto parts stores(Murray's, AutoZone, etc) check ECM codes for free, maybe that'll give more info on the source of the problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
perhaps that could help, but the yellow service engine soon light did not come on (no lights came on, actually), I was under the impression that no code had been set - is that not true for the Tuarus? I apologize for my lack of familiarity with these cars. . .tim
 

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This pertains to my '95, but perhaps it might help. I had the water pump crack on our 3.8 a little over a year ago. The guage never quite got to the H, but close. After the pump was replaced, the guage read consistently high. I've replaced the thermostat, fan switch and the guage switch, changed all the hoses, had the radiator rodded out, and the system checked for electrolosys (parasitic electrical charges in the coolant can cause guage malfunctions). A blue water test was also done (three times in fact) and a flow test. All passed.
I've since decided that the guage either was malfuntioning previously, or is now. I'm getting better at ignoring it (well, at least taking the reading with a grain of salt).
On my 3.8, there are two switches. The one on top of the thermo housing has a plug with two wires. This is the fan switch. Unplugging it should cause the fans to come on and the CEL to illuminate (failure mode). The fans should also come on when the A/C is turned on, no matter what.
There is another switch on the intake manifold that only has one wire, this is for the guage.
I know our two cars really have nothing in common, but figured I'd throw out my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
UPDATE:

I have replaced both sensors - "coolant temperature sensor" ontop of intake manifold, and the "temperature sensor" which is located between the thermostat housing and a hose going to the heater core. I also replaced the thermostat, which checked out fine.

interestingly, the car has been off for about 5 hours, but the temperature gauge reads slightly above the middle of the range (above halfway between the C and H). this is hotter than the car runs on a 90 degree day!

SO, I think that the gauge in the dashboard itself is incorrect. Any suggestions? I could do as was suggested in a previous post and ignore it, but with my commute being 65 miles each way, I like to know my gauges are accurate so if there is trouble, I can avoid serious problems. . .

ANY suggestions are welcome!
 
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