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Discussion Starter #1
Ok,
So 6 days ago, I purchased a 1996 Sable GS from an older gentleman that insisted he had taken care of it... Up until 2 days ago, everything was fine. The car takes a little bit to warm to normal temperature, but nothing else wrong. Then on the way from dropping a friend off at his house, i noticed the temperature gauge fluctuating from cold, to 1/2 - 5/8 and the heat also fluctuating... I checked the antifreeze, and it was fine.

So, I drive it home. Looked it over... Couldn't see anything wrong. So I drove it again, this time for another 15 mile drive. This time, I smelled antifreeze. So I bring it back home, not overheating. I noticed that every time I slow the car, the temperature goes up. and when I speed up (or just raise the RPM's) the car drops in temperature DRAMATICALLY. At idle, the temp is normal.

All through this, the heat is shady and unpredictable.

HELP.

Last night, I replaced a leaky freeze plug (wasn't rusted through, just a TAD leaky) and the thermostat... and flushed the radiator.
 

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When moving the natural flow of air over radiator will lower temp on coolant, at idle the fan should be cooling, I would check the radiator fan system, believe there is a relay in the circuit that may not be functioning properly

Any idiot lights coming on?

With smell of antifreeze I would be concerned that heater coil is OK, this is not fun item to replace. TO test heater assembly you need to conduct a pressure test, not sure how to do this
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Any possibility of a leak causing such a fluctuation? It's instant, its like from a dead stop, its at half way, and by the time i reach 50 while accel its at C again.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Originally posted by maceslin@Dec 23 2003, 12:24 PM
When moving the natural flow of air over radiator will lower temp on coolant, at idle the fan should be cooling, I would check the radiator fan system, believe there is a relay in the circuit that may not be functioning properly

Any idiot lights coming on?

With smell of antifreeze I would be concerned that heater coil is OK, this is not fun item to replace. TO test heater assembly you need to conduct a pressure test, not sure how to do this
No idiot lights, no overheating, I have been told that a blockage could be causing this... where is the temperature sensor? I ask, because is there the possibility that the car could still be overheating even though the temp sensor says not?
 
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I can almost guarantee that the heater core is plugged. It needs to be backflushed to clear it out. This may be causing erratic temp gauge readings, and the coolant smell may be from the degas tank. When the heater core's plugged, the degas tank builds up pressure and leaks slightly.

Send me an email at [email protected] and I'll send you back the writeup I did on this. It's too lenghty to post here, and is not yet in the maintenance articles.

Also, welcome to the TCCA!

~Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the warm welcome. I am sending you an email as we speak, thanks for the quick response, btw




Jon
 

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Air in the system will do this too. Does it still fluctuate after your recent work?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yes, but its not as noticable. im going to do a chemical back-flush, and then if that doesn't do it, im going to start changing things....



this thing is a pain LOL
 

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Originally posted by jdaniels@Dec 24 2003, 12:44 AM
yes, but its not as noticable. im going to do a chemical back-flush, and then if that doesn't do it, im going to start changing things....



this thing is a pain LOL
Start diagnosing instead of changing things...

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thats what I hope to do, please give me some ideas on what exactly to do to diagnose parts of the cooling system. I am mechanically inclined, but have never done any cooling system work.

Any and ALL help is appreciated greatly.
 

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It is the job of the t-stat to keep the temperature at a minimum temperature. If you are fluctuating between hot and cool air this is because there is hot water pumped through the heater core then air is getting trapped. The air or non-moving water will cool off. If you then get heat there has been hot water pumped through there again.

Either you current t-stat is completely failed open, which would not let the temp get hot at all, or if stuck closed would get very hot and not cool off, or there is air in the system. The air should work itself out providing there are no leaks and the radiator cap is good.

If you can smell antifreeze inside the car either the heater core is leaking or the hoses going to it are. Try tightening the hose clamps first.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Tracked the smell down to the petcock. It wasn't tightened enough and had a small leak.

Question is, WHY the fluctuation in temperature when the RPM's are increased?


On another note, the heat was blowing hot this morning. Fluctuations are a little better now, 1/4 - 1/2 fluctuations. Heat still fluctuates a little, though. System has never been backflushed, to my understanding. The new parts are a thermostat, freeze plug, and fresh coolant. Next up is the flush. Today, once the rain slows I will do some tests, how can I tell if the heater core is plugging up?

Like I said, any other techniques for cooling system conditioning and repair, would be GREAT.
 

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Originally posted by mikehawk+Dec 24 2003, 05:47 PM-->QUOTE (mikehawk @ Dec 24 2003, 05:47 PM)
<!--QuoteBegin-jdaniels
@Dec 24 2003, 01:45 PM
Tracked the smell down to the petcock. It wasn't tightened enough and had a small leak.
What the heck is a petcock? I hope it's not what it sounds like.
[/b]
A petcock is a type of release valve.
 

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QUOTE
Question is, WHY the fluctuation in temperature when the RPM's are increased?[/b]
This is because there is probably an uneven heating of the coolant due to air pockets. When the rpms are increased the coolant flow through the block is increased. This reduces the difference in temperature in the coolant. Either that or you have a restricted flow of coolant due to-- low idle speed, bad impeller, or blocked coolant passages in the engine block.
 

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Originally posted by Bob Gervais@Dec 23 2003, 02:19 PM
I can almost guarantee that the heater core is plugged. It needs to be backflushed to clear it out. This may be causing erratic temp gauge readings, and the coolant smell may be from the degas tank. When the heater core's plugged, the degas tank builds up pressure and leaks slightly.

Send me an email at [email protected] and I'll send you back the writeup I did on this. It's too lenghty to post here, and is not yet in the maintenance articles.

Also, welcome to the TCCA!

~Bob
Bob, if you can email me the instructions at my email: [email protected], I would greatly appreciate it


Thanks in advance for your help with this matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great, just got home from work today... and the freeze plug in the block on the front side, behind the manifold, is leaking BADLY. Looks like I have to replace all of em now LOL.

Question is, how many are there, and where are they?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I still believe my heater core is plugging up, or atleast some type of sediment. Something is making the pressure exceed 15-16PSI in the cooling system, thats all I know... its making my (old) freeze plugs pop... although, from the looks of the last one I did, it was pretty well rotted on its own.. i think the pressure made it fail, finally.

This car has been the worst purchase I have ever made. I hope I can resolve everything, because I love the car otherwise.
 
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