Question about 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara

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Hi.Water temp gauge in dash board drops off normal temp down to bottom of gauge then back up again. My water levels are fine car is not over heating. What could be the problem please. John.

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Hello to you too.!
what engine? G16/J20, H25,H27? (diffr, engines, diff EFI , bingo?)
well , lacking using a $15 pyro IR gun to see what it's really doing.
we might guess.
1: low coolant, the sensor does that (surge) if it has air pockets.
2: bad sensor. (if water is 180F and it reads wrong its bad)
3 :bad meter. (it is not EFI run, its standalone from 89 to 02)
4: bad wiring from meter to the sensor.

now begs the better questions.
does this year, use the ECT sensor to do this, or sep. sensor.
(there are 3 designs uses, in 20 years) bag.
2002GV is.....
the online page shows that this car has a DUAL ECT
2 in 1 (sensor)
one side is for ECT sensor to ECU for engine temps for EFI controls
the other side is silly gauge.
on guess what. the sensor has 3 pins and the guage side uses
engine ground for the meter (a bad idea)
so add to my less, bad ground to sender or engine block.

so the real question is (backing up to a real diagnosis)
1: is the engine temp really doing that , or is the gauge fibbing.
i can put my right hand on the RAD hose to thermostat
and tell you in 5 min, or less. (calibrated hands)
or use pyro gun. (aka, IR heat meter, point and shoot)

so if you use a scan tool on this car, and the temps read perfectly
say 180F all the time hot. then we know there is water in the block , not air, and the thermostat is not going nuts as all do this old.
ever think thing the gauges is not fibbing and the thermostat lost its nut (brain) they
all do that. (stick open, closed, or surge) bad.

on newer cars the ECU/PCM runs the meter directly, saving cash on dual needless sensors.... and the scans tell it all.....

Posted on May 03, 2015

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Bad coolant temp sensor

Posted on May 15, 2010


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Hi there iask,

I could call myself ianswer. My name is Mike. I've got a 91 wrangler that used to do the same thing.

With me it was an air pocket. The temp sensor responds to a heavy medium like water, not air. As an air pocket circulates and comes into contact with the sensor, your gauge will fluctuate.

I'm sure you checked the coolant levels already, but hear me out. What I'm suggesting is like chicken soup, it can't hurt, it can only help.

Just because a radiator looks full, doesn't mean it is. Air pockets can exist in the engine and heater core. We're going to get rid of any.

Checking the coolant level.
  • I know, you've been there, but I say this to everyone. First and foremost: BE SAFE!!! Wear safety glasses.
  • This should be done with the engine cool. Never open the coolant caps on a hot engine.
  • When you look in the radiator, do it from an angle, not directly in front.
  • Have a hose or a couple two liter bottles full of water available.
  • Take off the radiator cap. (Do not take off if engine is hot)
  • Is the water level low? If so, top it off.
  • Make sure the transmission is in either PARK or Neutral and set the parking brake.
  • Start the engine, put he HEATER and FAN on HIGH. Go back to the radiator..
  • Observe the water level in the radiator. If it drops, top it off again.
  • At first it should do nothing. The water will seem to just sit there. This is normal. The water in the engine is still cool. The thermostat is closed. As the water in the engine heats up, the thermostat will begin to open. When it does, you will notice the water level begin to surge up and down.
  • When the thermostat finally opens all the way, the water will start moving as it cycles through the system. You will be able to tell when this happens.
  • Does the water level drop at this point? If so, top it off while it's circulating. Adding water will close the thermostat. Be prepared to wait through the cycling two or three times until the water level remains constant during a cycling.
  • Make sure the heater is blowing hot air. Turn it off. wait a full cycle. Then turn it back on. Check another cycle for level drop.
  • When you don't need to add water any more, put the cap back on. Observe the temp gauge. Has it leveled off? If so, it was an air bubble and it's gone. If not, We go to phase 2.
Either way, let me know how it goes. If you have any other problems, click the ASK button.

Remember: Good things come to those who Rate.


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