My 1996 Saturn SL overheated, and there was an oil change place close by, so we drove there to get an oil change and had the radiatar flushed. It has 170,000 miles and still runs good. Well we were told to drive it and if it heated again, to get the thermostat changed. Today had the thermostst changed, and everything seems to be working. However, reading the manuel it talks about the fan. As far as I know, the fan doesn't come on. How often should it come on, or should it be on when you are driving? Was wondering if that might have been the overheating problem. Love the Saturn, and it has given us wonderful service. Drive it instead of the other vehicles. There isn't a dealership close by, within 40 miles, and if the fan isn't working, I am afraid to drive it to have it checked out. Any advice?
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Re: Don't know if the hot engine fan is working
The fan is known as a traffic fan because it usually goes on in heavy traffic. However, it should go on whenever it gets sufficiently hot.
If you have a temperature gauge on your car the needle shouldn't go more than 1/2 way up, or the temperature gauge if digital should not go above 220 or 230 deg. F (in GM cars) during even hot day operation.
If it goes to 260 deg. F or above, you have a problem.
If the fan does not go on with the a/c then you may have a relay or electrical wiring break that prevents it from going on when needed.
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How hot is it getting in degrees F? Some electric fans won't even turn on, till around 220 degrees F. Does the fan turn on at all?
As far as overheating, does the coolant recovery reservoir fill up in a hurry?
Sometimes after opening up the cooling system, you get air in the system that may cause temp gage to react.
What about your thermostat? Did you check for coolant flow through the radiator? Another thought might be a head gasket issue, I'd check everything else first.
Does the engine appear to be overheating? Signs of engine overheating are : 1. Sluggish engine operation when hot. 2. Detonation upon acceleration (pinging). 3. Coolant boiling in overflow tank. If any of these symptoms are present, then place a cooking thermometer on the upper radiator hose where it connects to the engine. Tape the thermometer to the hose to hold it in place. Run the engine until operating temperature is reached. The temperature should stay between approx. 195deg.F and 225deg.F. If it goes over 230deg.F, then overheating is indicated. Before shutting off the engine, check to see if the engine cooling fan is running. If not, then turn on the AC switch and see if it comes on. If the fan still does not turn on, then a faulty cooling fan or fan circuit is indicated. Other causes of hard/no start when hot include : 1. Dirty air filter. 2. Bad temperature sensor (computer). 3. Bad map sensor. 4. Bad EGR valve. 5. Failing ignition module. 6. Leaking injector(s) If the vehicle is used primarily as a work vehicle, then it might be overdue for an oil change. If the oil is fuel soaked, then it can cause an over rich mixture during hot restart. I hope that this information is helpful and thank you for using Fixya.com. CAUTION : Be careful when working around a running engine. Keep hands and loose clothing away from moving engine parts and engine cooling fan.
The engine on a 1996 Saturn SL uses SAE 5w-30 engine oil. The recommended oil-change interval for this engine is every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes sooner. ----------------This will help.Thanks.Helpmech.
Change the thermostat for the heating problems. As for the hard to start when hot, check your air filter. Change your fuel filter and check the fuel pressure. Check your engine ground connection. Check the connections in your ignition system. Change your idle control sensor. Could be any one or combination of the above.