Question about 2004 Chevrolet Impala

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My engine light is on and my temperature gauge is real low. I already flushed my radiator and changed the thermostat.

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Might be the temp sensor on your cylinder head, remove and test it...
hope this helps

Posted on Nov 17, 2009

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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
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I would buy a new thermostat and flush the radiator coolant. Dexcool (The orange coolant) is known to clog up the internals including the temperature sensor in cars of your age.

While you are at it, I would strongly consider changing radiator hoses and clamps unless that was done recently.

If you are referring to the dashboard temperature gauge not moving...It means that your temperature sending unit may be faulty (or it's not plugged in). Dexcool is known to clog up the internals including the temperature sensor in cars of your age. Inspect the connector to the temp gauge for damage and replace the temp gauge.
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Did the engine overheat before the water pump was replaced? If so, you may have a warped cylinder head and/or blown head gasket.

Was the radiator full of rusty-colored liquid before you flushed it? If so, your radiator is probably restricted with rust deposits in the cooling tubes. Flushing WILL NOT get this stuff out. The radiator MUST be replaced if this is the case. Your heater core is probably not in real good shape either, so you should be expecting some heating problems this winter.

If the above is not the correct answer, then you should check to make sure the temperature gauge is not "LYING" to you. This could be caused by a defective gauge, a bad temperature sending unit, or faulty wiring.

The way to check this is with a scan tool that can read engine data and an infrared thermometer. While reading the coolant temperature data from the computer, check the cylinder head temperature with the infrared thermomometer. The readings you get should be within 5 degrees (F) of each other. If the computer data does not match the thermometer within the 5 degrees, then the sending unit for the computer should be replaced.

Then look at the gauge to see if the gauge reading is appropriate to the temperature readings that you took. Normal operating temperature is between 190 and 230 degrees. This should place the gauge at slightly to the right of center to about 5/8ths of the way to HOT. If the readings you took are OK and the gauge is reading higher than this, then you should try replacing the temperature sending unit for the gauge and see if that fixes the problem.

Please note that there are TWO temp sending units: One for the gauge and one for the computer.

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Is there a vast difference in the temperature between the upper and lower radiator hoses? If there is then you should check out the water pump (since you already changed the thermostat).

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It could be the wiring between the sensor and the gauge or the wiring between the ECU and the gauge which is bad.

I don't think it's the thermostat or that you have to flush the radiator because the levels and the actual temperature is ok.

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