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My temperature gauge warns up normal but the fluctuates between normal and half way to cool... What could the problem be? Dangerous?

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
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Probably not dangerous.
Assuming the radiator is full of coolant, it could be a normal thing where the thermostat is opening and closing at 195 degrees.
Or the cooling fan could be going on and off.
The thermostat opens at 195 degrees on most cars and the cooling fan comes on at 220 degrees.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013

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SOURCE: coolant temperature sensor location for 1999 Dodge Durango

The sensor is right next to the heater hose outlet on the front passenger side of intake manifold. It is very small with an oval shaped connector going to it. I have the same engine.

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SOURCE: 1999 Pontiac Montana Overheating

sounds like you could have faulty gauges to meby check them out.... and yes its posible that its pluged

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SOURCE: 2001 dodge stratus engine temperature gauge spikes occasionally

Look for a loose connection to the temperature sender unit on the motor.
If all connections OK, you may need a new temp sender unit.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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SOURCE: antifreeze ts boiling back into reservoir.

it sounds like a possible head gasket problem,you can get the fluctuation from combustion gases getting pumped into your cooling system and creating gas pockets,i would suggest taking it to a shop and have them do a block test to look for combustion in the cooling system to confirm the problem,that way you will know for sure,if it comes up negative they can also perform a flow test to make sure there is no restriction in the cooling system such as a plugged radiator or a bad thermostat,hope this sheds a little light on it

Posted on Sep 12, 2009

Testimonial: "I bet you've hit on the problem ! Car has been "using " antifreeze for a couple years now, with no leaking anywhere. Lost through the head gasket ?"

  • 12 Answers

SOURCE: temperature gauge fluctuating surges

That sounds like the classic symptoms of a cracked ECTS (temperature sensor). It is located on the head near the upper radiator hose and battery. You will see two wires (likely a yellow and a black) going to a small sensor hiding in a little cubby hole. If you pull off the connector (there are two points that if you squeeze it lets the connector come off) you will probably see that the connector is corroded because the plastic body of the original ECTS cracked and let a small amount of coolant into the connector. The ECTS is only about a $10-15 part, be sure to get the updated one with a brass body. Then the hard part is you will likely need to get a new connector, one of the best places for that is a junk yard, the temp sensor for the transmission and the air temperature sensor near the air filter use the same connector. When putting this in be sure to solder the connections and cover that with heat shrink tubing. There are video's from Richpin06A on youtube that will show you how if you have any doubts. The saturnfans forum is a great place for info too,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQx84-93WkE&feature=related

Posted on Nov 14, 2009

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3 Answers

Why does temperature gauge only reach a little past half?


Larry, If the cooling system was not bled properly, the temperature could fluctuate up to 3/4 then normally back down to 1/8 on temp gage.
If your gage is just staying a little over half when running, that is actually normal and acceptable.

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The thermostat "seals" the cool coolant giving up (rejecting) heat in the radiator & heater core from the hot coolant absorbing heat in the running engine "block".

When the coolant in the engine reaches a specific temperature (180 ~ 195 degrees) as determined by the value selected by manufacturer or when replaced, it opens and allows the hot coolant in the engine block to be pumped out to the radiatot & heater core for cooling and the cool coolant in the radiator / heater core is pumped into the engine block - replacing the hot coolant. The thermostat senses cool coolant in the engine block and seals shut until the temperature of the coolant in the engine block rises to 180 ~ 195 degrees again. This process continues over and over for as long as needed.

You should check to make sure that the coolant level in the reservoir / radiator is sufficient by checking when cold. Do NOT remove a radiator cap when it is hot! With the cap off, start the engine and add additional coolant as the engine warms up to normal operating temperature. If coolant levels are ok, the trouble could be related to the thermostat or possibly a faulty temperature sending switch. This means that the temperature of the coolant is fine - but the switch or sensor that converts the temperature to a voltage for the gauge on yur dashboard is the problem.

If the temperature is fluctuating up and down, you should have it fixed. Good luck!

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Why would a 1994 Oldsmobile Achieva S quad 4 engine temperature gauge fluctuate between 195 & 220 degrees? The thermostat has been changed and the engine and radiator have been flushed. The normal...


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What causes a 2003 mercury mountaineers temp guage to go from cold to hot then back to normal in seconds while driving.


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Temperature gauge is fluctuating while driving.


I'm thinking the coolnat level is low, and this might be caused by a bad head gasket - At least $800 to fix - sorry.

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Temperature guage is fluctuating between zero and half way


First make sure your cooling system is full; a low system will casue this.

If coolant is full, have your temperature sending unit checked, if thats not it its actually the gauge bad

Either way, get it repaired...heat in the enginer is the #1 killer of honda engines and their head gaskets/heads...and you want to be able to monitor the temp. closely

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Antifreeze ts boiling back into reservoir. Possibly not circulating properly. Thermostat problem? Temperature fluctuates with changing load on engine. Approaches the overheating "red zone" with an extended...


it sounds like a possible head gasket problem,you can get the fluctuation from combustion gases getting pumped into your cooling system and creating gas pockets,i would suggest taking it to a shop and have them do a block test to look for combustion in the cooling system to confirm the problem,that way you will know for sure,if it comes up negative they can also perform a flow test to make sure there is no restriction in the cooling system such as a plugged radiator or a bad thermostat,hope this sheds a little light on it

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1999 Pontiac Montana Overheating


sounds like you could have faulty gauges to meby check them out.... and yes its posible that its pluged

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