Question about 2001 Oldsmobile Alero

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Car gets really hot before fans go on. I turn car off for 3 minutes...fans go on car cools down to normal for a short bit...cycle repeats i just changed the thermostat and temp sensor and that didn't help. I'm definitely loosing water in the coolant system but don't see any apparent leaks. The oil looks fine.

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If you are losing coolant and it's not on the ground or in the oil, then it's going into the exhaust. There is a bleeder at the top of the system to get the air out of the system, but you are looking at a pretty extensive repair - one of the manifold gaskets. Getting the air out probably isn't going to help.

Posted on Sep 07, 2010

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Car only overheats when a/c is turned on.? is there a coolant temp sensor or not?


Yes there is a sensor. It tells the PCM the engines temp and from there a number of things are going on.

Have the car running and turn the a/c on and look under the hood at the cooling fan(s). If the fan is not on immediatly wait for a minute as they may come on when the a/c pressure rises and not right when the a/c is turned on.

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Fan doesn't run while in idle and begins to over heat until I start driving agin then it cools back down to normal. Also the fan runs when engine is off and drains the battery.


The fan is only supposed to come on when there is excess heat .. in normal driving conditions it doesn't start. When you start your car in the morning the fan won't come on because the engine is cold.

With a hot engine - and it depends how hot the engine is - the fan will only kick in to prevent overheating. In heavy slow moving traffic or a traffic jam, the fan will kick in if needed.

The air flow through the radiator is usually sufficient -in normal driving conditions - to cool the engine.

When you park up and the car has a hot engine, the fan will kick in. This is perfectly normal. It is caused by a surge of hot coolant triggering the fan sensor. Perfectly normal.

The fan then should cut out after a while .. maybe 2-3 minutes at the most. If the fan runs continuously that suggests a fault in the temperature sensor switch.

Next time - wait by the car and see how long it takes for the fan to quit after you have parked up. It should stop of its own accord after a couple of minutes.

If the fan cuts off after a short while, and your battery is becoming drained, that's probably a battery or alternator fault.

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