Question about 1993 Saturn SL2

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Cooling fan doesn't kick in even when temp gets beyond 3/4 guage

The car has over 180K and is/has been well maintained. all fluid maintenance has been done according to or sooner than scheduled. this past Sunday,it popped the plastic radiator tank and started leaking. New rad, and now, the fan is evidently why the old one popped, it's not coming on. checked the relay and when overriding pin's 30 and 87, the fan comes on. So, either the ecm isn't telling the relay to kick, or the sensor isn't telling the ECM it needs it. Just wondered if there's a common thread on these. I know of two that have done this in the last 6 mos.

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Excellent post localwonder!!

I have a shortcut/trick you may be able to use as well.

1. If you have A/C that works, turn it on and see if the fan engages.
2. If it does, your problem is usually the coolant temp sensor. The part is under $20 and can be changed in about 15 minutes with a 13mm deep socket.


Posted on Jul 30, 2010

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HI. I have a very thorough, step by step procedure, that will help troubleshoot this issue. Follow carefully to isolate the problem. Use extreme caution when preforming this inspection procedure.

Check for broken wires or loose connectors around the fan circuit. Inspect connectors at the fan motor, relay, sensor or heat sensitive switch, and the Electronic Control Module (ECM)--your car’s computer control system. Also, make sure to check for a possible blown fan fuse. These are common and overlooked troublesome spots that may cause a fan to fail.

Run and bring the engine to warm temperature. With the engine running, use a voltage test light to check for power to the motor fan. Be extra careful and make sure to keep your hands and tools away from the belt, fan or any other engine moving parts. If voltage is reaching the fan motor, the test light should glow.

Turn off the engine after you see the light glow. Apply direct voltage to the fan motor from your car battery using a pair of spare wires. If the fan fails to operate, replace the fan motor. If the motor operates, your problem is in the motor connector.

Locate the heat-sensitive switch or heating sensor if the fan motor operates with direct voltage and the test light did not glow. You should find the sensor in the radiator, engine block, or thermostat housing.(coolant temp sensor)

Measure the resistance across the heating sensor with the multimeter. With the engine at cool temperature (engine off), it should register infinite resistance; with the engine at warm temperature (engine off), you should read low resistance. If both readings state infinite resistance install a new heating sensor, that’s the cause of your failing fan.

Check the action of the fan relay if the heating sensor is registering variable resistance. Your service manual should specify the power and ground wires according to color codes and the proper way to test it. If the fan relay fails the test replace it with a new one.

Check the connections going to the ECM after you determine the fan relay is working properly. If you find broken wires or loose connectors, make the necessary repairs. If you suspect a defective ECM take your vehicle to a service shop for a computer analysis. In most cases, the ECM is rare to be the cause of a failing fan. The above steps should take you to the root cause of your problem and help you fix the cooler fan.

Posted on May 12, 2010


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