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Greetings...

It's been a while since I've posted about the '93 Sable, but I've been
having a problem lately with the cooling system. It was in for service to
fix some brake issues in a time crunch (I'm doing most of my own service
now) and I knew there was leaking coolant because I could smell it.
However, they suggested that the radiator was leaking and replacing it would
fix the problem. I believe that the radiator isn't extremely old and that
another weird phenominon might be happening due to some other funky things
that are going on with the car cooling-wise.

When starting the car from cold state, it doesn't take real long to warm up, however the heat is still cold when the car is in the NORMAL range. After a while, it gets slightly warm, but the temperature varies in bursts. Finally, it ends up getting decently hot. Before the heater even gets hot, the engine temperature reaches up into the N-O range and usually stays there while fluctuating occasionally to maybe the O-R (city or freeway).

I suspect the thermostat has gone bad (it was replaced with a NAPA one in Summer of '01). When it went bad last time, it had exploded (literally, the spring some metal pieces, the housing and the canister were all separate pieces that were sitting in the engine block)! That was in summer, so it would go to the point of almost overheating (go around the N, cutout the A/C) and then go down a letter or two. I am wondering if the thermostat maybe went bad again? The system does seem to be leaking, but I felt a bit of coolant around the t-stat end of the top radiator hose. The hoses were replaced maybe a year or so before the t-stat. Is there any good way to verify where the leak might be coming from and could low coolant level cause the weird heater issues?

Finally (long winded, I know), I was curious what I might be able to replace suspension wise that would solve some problems I am having. I am not as familiar with things in this neck of the woods. The suspension seems rather loose in steering and handling. This is very different from the two other cars I am used to (my own and my girlfriend's SHOs). Since the cars all basically share the same chassis, I was curious what the story was. My SHO is slightly higher in mileage, but the suspension feel is a world of difference. I know the Sable isn't supposed to be nearly as bad as it is, either. I'm figuring that new shocks/struts/springs might be in order for the Sable. I'm also curious if there are worn out bushings or anything of that sort that I should check for. Both SHOs are getting Aluminum subframe bushings, so I know what that does for the car.


Thanks in advance for any insight that you might be able to provide!!
 

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QUOTE
I am wondering if the thermostat maybe went bad again? The system does seem to be leaking, but I felt a bit of coolant around the t-stat end of the top radiator hose. The hoses were replaced maybe a year or so before the t-stat. Is there any good way to verify where the leak might be coming from and could low coolant level cause the weird heater issues?[/b]
If you're not strapped for cash now you might want to replace the T-stat for Peace of Mind it's only a few bucks and you can install it yourself, you only have to remove the Air Filter box and the Top Radiator Hose, then remove 2 screws that hold the coolant outlet gasket to get to the Tstat, remember to buy some red silicon sealant (like $3) while you're at it.

One way I use to verify for leaks, I would run that car for 5 mins, idling over 2k rpms to get it hot, then wrap your hand in a cloth or glove and start Squeezing the Radiator Hoses, sometimes if the leak is big enough you'll notice coolant coming off the leak when you Squeeze the hoses, also if the Hose is properly installed you might have a hard time crunching it, but if there's a leak you will easily crunch it with your hands, I've caught a couple of coolant's leaks that way.

If that radiator has been trough severe overheating conditions in the past, chances are it cracked and it might be the culprit for the low coolant level you mention. Check for White smoke coming out of the pipe, that would point you to a Head Gasket problem (let's hope that's not your case). Also after you ran the car for 5-10 mins keep an eye on the radiator's Fan to see if it's actually spinning when the car is warm, a quick test would be to Unplug the wires from the Temperature Sensor and the Fan should spin, that would tell you the Fan is working but you might even want to change the Temp Sensor if you have some extra dough to play with. I don't trust the Temp Sensor Logic in my old 89 Sable so I installed a Switch under the dashboard that allows me to activate the Fan at will since then I can control when I want my car to cool down and how much reading the Temp gauge. Just a few tips I hope that helps. Good Luck.
 
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