Question about 1996 Honda Civic

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96 honda civic lxi overheating.

Almost every 6 months or more im replacing my thermostat switch.
my temp gauge goes up and down abnormally especially if there is load. like for example, if i turn on my headlights it goes up, when i turned it off, the temp goes down.

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  • marckydlcrz Nov 01, 2008

    The thermo switch im refering to is the sensor that triggers the radiator fan on/off... never had an accident before. well, i guess ill try concentrating on my wirings. thank you very much.



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I had same prob before, temp goes up and down when lights on. That thermo switch is located at the button of your distributor. You have two sensor there, take the smaller one on your left. Wiring could grounded or dirty clean it with contact cleaner......

hope this solve your prob...god luck

Posted on Aug 04, 2010

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The car is not overheating if the temp gauge goes up and down by turning the lights on and off.  The gauge is giving you bad information.   You can confirm this by starting the car from cold, sitting in the driveway, let the temp go to somewhere BEFORE normal operating temp, then turn on headlights and fan blower on high, watch the gauge, then turn them off.   If the gauge moves significantly from the electrical load, you probably have a short or a bad ground connection.  

You have a short circuit or bad wiring somewhere in the front half of the car.  I don't know what thermostat switch you have replaced ... but it's not the problem .. stop buying them.  
If you are the original owner, was there an accident that may have damaged some wiring?  If you bought the car second hand,  get a carfax and find out where the thing was hit ... concentrate your wiring trouble shooting in that area.

I think it is something OTHER than the temperature sending unit or the gauge

Posted on Oct 29, 2008

  • A Mayers Nov 01, 2008

    If the thing just goes up a little with voltage draw and you are the only driver, you could probably safely self compensate for the slightly abnormal readings.  You may want to test the overheat (idiot light) warning is functioning correctly by finding it, removing it, and while still plugged in and grounding if neccessary, then put in boiling water (or hot vegetable oil, but boiling water should be hot enough), the warning light generally will work on a seperate circuit that hipefully is not afffected by the voltage drop in the gauge circuit.

    If you are still concerned about the true temp of the engine,  the infrared heat detectors that you can simply point at anything, like the cyl head or the metal fitting where water is returning from the engine are now cheap (maybe $40-50), and autozone or another parts store might rent you one even cheaper.  

    This problem COULD be corrosion at the junctions of any connector in the path of the temperature sender -> gauge.   

    To make sure you have located the temp sender, unplug when the gauge registers anything above dead cold it and verify that the gauge goes to one of  dead cold or hotter than the sun.

    If you look at a wiring diagram, and it's a straight path from the sender to the gauge,  first with a helper and a voltmeter, check that the voltage coming INTO the sender (I assume this is how it's wired, but you'll have the diagram and be able to verify) doesn't fluctuate when the headlights are turned on and off. You should now be able to isolate the problem to before or after the sender ()

    If you can isolate the problem to the power supply to the sender piece, or ina a straight path from the sender to the instrument,  the fastest short term fix (and maybe the permenent fix) might be to run new wires for that protion of the circuit.  If you don't find an obvious problem at the terminal points of the circuit,  locating the exact point of wiring defect will likely be a long and tedious process.

    good luck



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