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Usually, there are two temp sensors on the block. Depending on the car the one that controls the temp gauge is near the front of the block and connection is problematic. It may be in the region of the battery and become disconnected, and or I am finding bad connection due to corrosion or perhaps battery acid in your case? Double check the connection polish spade and try to clean connector with a tooth pick.
Typical GM problem Dana,
The gauges they use now are controlled by step motors for each gauge. If you turn your key on then off it will start to decline in temp.Continue to repeat this several times and it will go back to normal.But that is not a fix, The gauge will need to be replaced to correct this permanitly
the temp gauge works of a different sender to the coolant sensor. IT has 1 wire only and changes resistance as the water heats up there by moving the needle on the gauge up the scale Check that the wire is tight on the sender unit and if so then replace the sender unit.. The difficulty in re starting the motor may be because it is over heating but you would not know this because of the faulty sender unit.
To review, you have two temp sensors, one for the gauge on the dash and one for the computer. If you unplug the sensor for the computer the reading will be minus 30 degrees or over 300 which will make it very hard to start. Unplugging the sensor for the gauge would have no effect on the computer. According to the wiring diagram, the wire for the temp gauge is green, and the wires for the temp sensor for the computer are yellow and black.
YOUR TEMP GAGE WILL NOT REGISTER CORRECTLY WHEN THE COOLANT FALLS BELOW A CERTAIN LEVEL. WHEN IT IS SMOKING IT IS EXTREMELY HOT. IF YOU HAVE A COOLANT LEAK THAT BAD IT SHOULD BE NOTICEABLE EVEN WHEN IT IS NOT HOT. YOU NEED TO FIND THE SOURCE OF THE COOLANT LEAK. WATER PUMP, COOLANT HOSE, FREEZE PLUG, HEAD GASKET, RADIATOR CAP LEAK, OR RADIATOR, OR HEATER CORE. CHECK THE ABOVE AND YOU WILL FIND THE SOURCE OF THE LEAK.
I have replaced the sensor plenty of times to correct this problem. Even when the gauge was working and the check engine light was off. Also I have just unplugged and plugged the sensor and got them to work. Try this first.
most likely the temp sensor is bad that would make the car start hard by adding to much fuel and also would make the gauge not work. it is easy to change by unscrewing the old sensor that is located in the end of the cylinder head.