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I am assuming that you know this since the temp gauge is not reading at normal temperature. I say this because I have had people in the past tell me that the engine wasn't warming up only to find out that the real problem was the heater wasn't working. They are two completely different issues. That said, the primary reason that an engine won't come up to operating temp is that the thermostat is either
this is usually an indication that there is air in the system and or possibly the engine is overheating causing the coolant to boil. try changing the thermostat and have the system checked for a bad head gasket.
Check the thermostat, It may be frozen in the closed position. The thermostat should open up as the engine warm up, this helps the engine tp warm up quickly. A thermostat that is stuck in the opened position will not allow the engine to reach operating temperature quickly.
The engine temperature
sensor is bad. If so, the ECU assumes the engine is warm and it leans out the
mixture, but you need a richer mix when cold, so it will run lousy till it
actually gets warm.Check your coolant temp sensor. It may be defective and
telling the computer that the engine is already warm. The computer is supposed
to add extra fuel when cold to "choke" the engine until it reaches
operating temp. If the sensor is reading incorrectly the computer may think its
warm and not add the extra fuel to keep it running smoothly. Also check the two
ground wires connected right next to the thermostat housing for loose or
corroded connections. A bad ground here can also lead to running problems. If
the sensors test ok have the timing checked.
Pull your diagnostic codes.
The codes will tell if the sensor is not right.
Please get back to us if
you have further query or else please accept this "particular" solution.
Make sure your coolant level is at the full mark in the reservior, ( plastic tank)
Start your engine and let it run 6 to 8 minutes, so it reaches it's operating temperature.
With the engine still running, turn your heater on full blast. You should hear a light clicking noise from the thermostat opening up to cycle the coolant from the radiator. ( sometimes if a sealant is used, and it shouldn't be in most cases, when installing a thermostat excess sealant can prevent the thermostat from operating properly )
If you hear the click from the thermostat then you know that's working. then.......;
Turn the engine off, look back behind the engine at the firewall you should see 2 small hoses, about 1 inch in diameter. While the engine is still hot, carefully reach back and feel both hoses, both should be hot. If only 1 is hot then the coolant isn't circulation through the heater core and you could have blockage in your system.
Another good possibility is, the trap door that moves between the heater core duct, and the a/c evaporator duct is not moving back and forth like it should. To check this you will need to remove a few parts from the lower dash to gain access to inspect.
Warm up vehicle. Then, from the engine compartment, grip each heater hose to check if they are HOT. Not warm HOT. If they are both hot, then the BLEND DOOR is stuck to the cold position. Access this thru glove box area.
If they are not HOT, then check radiator hoses for proper heat. If radiator hoses are not HOT then thermostat is stuck OPEN.
If they are HOT then there may be a restriction in circulation to the heater hoses and heater core.
Yes, your sable has a thermostat, and it sounds like it needs to be replaced. Are u sure the temp gauge is broken? It may be that the thermostat is stuck open, which won't allow the engine to warm up, which in turn would show low engine temp. and result in no heat. Even the gas fumes could possibly be a result of the car running inefficiently due to running below operating temperature. So, replace the thermostat, and u may solve all your problems.