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it is near the thermostat housing and has up to 4 wires attach to the plug
it is used to repot engine coolant temperature to the ECM so that air/fuel mixture can be adjusted and the fans switched on through a relay
don;t confuse it with a coolant temperature sender which has 1 wire and works the temp gauge
Should be two. One for the dash gauge (often called the sender) and one to tell the ECU engine temp to adjust fuel trim. Not certain, but the ECU one is usually near the thermostat housing, in the intake manifold.
It mite not be running hot at all , I replaced a few stepper motors for the temp. gauge inside the instrument cluster . GM products of your year ,have known instrument cluster gauge problems . Best thing is to hook up to a factory scan tool or another type of professional grade scan tool to see what the engine computer is seeing from coolant temp.sensor Do your cooling fans come on ? They should at about 221 degrees . Or you came go to harbor freight an by a temp. inferred gun. point it at the upper radiator hose near the thermostat , an see what the actual temp. is . How to repair GM Instrument Cluster Speedometer Gauge Stepper
Which one? There should be a sensor for the dash gauge (one wire) and a coolant temp sensor for the ECU (two wires) and also a sensor for the outside temp display (no idea where this last one is--I just open the window if I want to know). The first two should be on the intake manifold, near the thermostat housing.
If it's a 2.0 it'll be on the back of the cylinder head on the intake side, sort of between the engine and the firewall - it is a single unit with two separate and independent sensors, one for the dash guage, the other for the ECU.
Because you have done so many repairs already I would most likely say that the gauge is defective. I would use a manual temp probe and probe the coolant temp after the car has reached operating temp. Coolant will be between 180- 230 degrees. If coolant temp checks out and you can see coolant moving in radiator and the vehicle does not overheat then you will need either a gauge or a coolant sensor. To locate the sensor it should either be mounted in the thermostat goose neck housing or the intake manifold.
If you changed the coolant temperature sensor and it had a 5 volt ref signal to it then you replaced the wrong part. You need to replace the coolant temperature sending unit.
The coolant temp "sensor" is an input to the ECM for your fuel injection system.
The coolant temp "sending unit" is for coolant temp reading at the gauge, It is an NTC switch (negative temperature coefficient) which means as temp increases/resistance decreases.