I had the same problem on my SL1 2002 and my wifes SL2 2001. In both cases, the electric radiator fan motor needed replacing. It was not difficult but took me a full day of trying to figure out how to pull the plastic housing it is mounted in. Someone who knows what they are doing could have changed it in a half hour. Works great now.
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Two cooling fans controlled by three relay's . If only one fan is working ,that could be a problem .
Coolant Level Sensor Description
The coolant level sensor monitors the coolant level in the cooling system and indicates if the coolant is low. This sensor is located at the base of the radiator surge tank and is not serviceable.
CHECK COOLANT LEVEL (2)
The IPC receives a discrete input from the engine coolant level switch. The engine coolant level switch is normally closed. When the engine coolant is low, the engine coolant level switch opens. When the IPC receives an open signal from the engine coolant level switch, the IPC displays the message on the DIC.
the ac fan starts as soon as the ac is switched on
the fan is provide cooling of the condenser before the radiator to prevent high head pressures in the ac compressor
it is the fan at the front of the car mand does not affect engine temp
there is a radiator fan between the engine and the radiator that will not start until the coolant temperature reaches a set temp at which point the ECM switches that fan on
if that fan is not working when the engine is hot , check for fan, coolant temperature sensor switch , fan relay, fuses or problem ECM
Sounds like the electric cooling fans are not engaging. There is a sensor that is usually found on the side tank of the vehicle that senses coolant temperature. When this sensor goes bad it does not start the electric cooling fans and then the vehicle overheats from the extra heat produced from the AC system and increased engine load. It is not the thermostat or it would overheat quickly upon startup in about 10 minutes. Check the electric fans. Should be two of them.
This can be due to a bad relay or coolant sensor that turns on the fan or a bad fan, a good test to do to see if the relay and the fan work is to start the engine and then turn on the ac, if the ac doesnt work then unplug the coolant temp sensor this will turn on the check engine light but it will reset when you restart engine, if the fan turns on then fan and relay are good and its the sensor, if the fan doesnt run then it may be the relay or fan, a quick test of the fan is to dissconnect plug to fan and run a power and ground wire to fan and if it runs then you have a bad relay,hope this helps,
For first check the coolant level.If its low then it must be made full.If its full then check out for any kind of coolant leak.If the coolant is low or getting leaked from somewhere then the car will overheat.So get the ac pressure test done.At any local car garage they do ac pressure test.Doing this test will let you know that there is coolant leak or not.If there is coolant leak then that leak is the cause of overheat.But if there is no coolant leak and coolant level is also full.Then ignore coolant cause for overheat.Then other cause may be the thermostat ,thermostat allows coolant to circulate when the engine is warmed up and should be closed when the engine is cold so that the car can warm up faster. It's a fairly inexpensive part that's replaced easily, but when it fails, your car can overheat, causing costly engine damage. To check if thermostat is faulty try this procedure:--Warm up the car but don't let it overheat--don't let the thermostat gauge go into the red.Turn off the engine.Open the hood.Find the upper radiator hose. It's black, is made of rubber and is about 2 inches in diameter, with metal clamps on either end. The upper hose goes into the top of the radiator.Locate the lower radiator hose. It looks similar to the upper hose except that it attaches to the bottom part of the radiator.Touch each hose very carefully (they can be extremely hot). If the temperature gauge is indicating that the engine is warmed up but one hose is hot and the other is cold, the thermostat is probably stuck closed, and the coolant isn't circulating through the radiator.the thermostat is faulty is the case.If the thermostat checks out ok then it can be faulty temp sensor.Its also called coolant temperature sensor.The coolant temperature sensor is a thermistor ( a resistor which varies the value of its voltage output in accordance with temperature changes. ). The change in the resistance values will directly affect the voltage signal from the water thermosensor. As the sensor temperature decreases, the resistance values will increase. As the sensor temperature increases, the resistance values will decrease. The coolant temperature sensor lets the engine control computer know what the engine temperature is by gathering information from the engine coolant temperature.There are several ways to know if the coolant temperature sensor is malfunctioning, if the sensor is bad it will trigger a trouble code and the check engine light in the dashboard will come on, you can retrieve the engine code and see if it is related to the coolant temperature sensor, even if the engine control computer doesn't store a trouble code, there is another way to suspect a bad coolant temperature sensor : If your vehicle starts using more fuel than usual, starts having trouble starting when the engine reaches normal operating temperature or you notice black smoke coming out from the exhaust tail pipe, it is very likely that these symptoms are related to a bad coolant temperature sensor.A thermostat that is stuck closed will cause the engine to overheat. To test if thermostat is stuck in the closed position, place the thermostat in boiling water. If the thermostat doesn’t open, than the thermostat is defective and needs to be replaced. Check the Engine Coolant Fan Since the cooling fan pushes air through the radiator to cool the coolant, a fan that’s not working properly will cause an overheat condition.
Electric Fan – If the vehicle is equipped with an electric cooling fan, check to see if the fan is working properly. Most electric fans will only operate when the coolant temperature reaches a certain degree. In many vehicles when the air conditioner is turned on, the electric fan automatically turns on. The most common cause of an electric fan failure is the fan motor, a controller module or a relay.
Engine Driven Fans – Some vehicle have cooling fan driven off the front of the engine. If the clutch (between the fan and the engine) is bad it may slip. If the clutch slips it may not allow enough rotation on the fan to be affective and the clutch needs to be replaced.
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unplug the fan jump the conector with twelve volts if it comes on you need too do some extensive testing starting with the fuse and relay try turning on the a/c. the ac and coolant temp sensor control the fan if it douesnt come on repalce the fan chances are it will and you will probly need a auto tech too find the fault in that circuit if it is not the fuse go there first then the relay you probly dont know how to check them heres a quick trick swop it with onother one you knows works from another component see if it come on
Cooling Fan Temp Sensor is the First thing You Check (with what you have described) Cooling Fan Should ALways come On When The A/C is turned On as A/C Adds A Load to Engine, If Temp Sensor is Faulty it Will Not Give GROUND Signal to ECM >For COOLING FAN >RELAY to Give ground and turn ON The Fan.
There ARE 2 temp Sensors that Serve Different Purposes 1 is for Dash READING GAGE & Or TEMP LIGHT the Other is For ECM or Fan Relay (SAME Thing) you Said>""can disconnect the sensor and fan continues to run" < This Leads me to think you Changed the Wrong One. Not Questioning your Skills Just Here to Help.
TEMP SENSOR FOR 3.1L V6 is Located upper RH rear of engine compartment, near exhaust system. Temp SENSOR for 2.3L Engine is Located in LH rear of engine compartment. I Hope this Helps Lead you to a NON-OVERHEATING Pontiac.
Good Luck and Have A Great Evening. rejakwilson