Question about Saturn SL2

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I have a 1996 saturn sl2. My brother and i have tried to trouble shoot the overheating issue. water flows from the pump to the thermostat, to the engine, then its suppose to go to the radiator through a hose in a cycle. The water wont go from the engine to the radiator. it over heats after about ten miles it will be in the red. the temperature guage jumps around from cold to hot then in the middle. its not a smooth motion to hot it jumps all around. I bought the car for 800$ and this seems to be the only major problem. weve change the thermostat and toyed with it. i cant afford to get a pro to look at it. i have the haynes manual to fix the car and the tools. i just dont know whats wrong. the low coolant light a temperature light flicks constantly. i also have a DTC machine if that helps but the check engine is now off. PLEASE HELP..

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Hello, I believe the coolant flow is from the thermostat to the bottom of the radiator through the radiator and back into the engine from the top of the radiator. Make sure the thermostat is installed correctly, (the spring looking part toward the water pump) No collapsed/plugged radiator hoses. The radiator not restricting flow. Check radiator with a laser temp gun, see if the radiator is cooler near the top than the bottom. Last with the tool for checking to see if there are combustion gases in the coolant to determine if there is a blown head gasket. Hope this helps

Posted on Sep 08, 2010


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2 Answers

My saturn 1994 s12 is overheating even after i changed the water pump.

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.

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My 2000 SL2 is still overheating after all has been replaced i.e. water pump, radiator, I took the thermostat out (but when the cars is running, there isn't a good flow of water) the head gasket too.

Did you flush the system out before installing the new water pump? Scale may have loosened up and blocked some flow. Reverse flush the engine, radiator and heater core. Removing the thermostat for testing is ok, but don't plan to run it like that. It may actually run hotter without the thermostat.

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1 Answer

My 1993 sl2 saturn its over heating i already change termostat and replace anti freese they gave me the green one so i mix it with water bt it still over heating the fan works only when i put on the a/c...

It could be the water pump. To check this:
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  • Turn on the car and let it idle with the cap off.
  • Allow the car to warm up.
  • When the engine is hot and it is getting close to overheating, look down into the radiator. The coolant should flow. (It should look like a little river is going past the radiator opening). If the coolant appears to be still then your water pump is bad.

Other possible problems:
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check the tension on the water pump belt -- also check that the belt is not to warn out -- tighten to proper tension and or replace the belt.
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The car is over heating even when i put water in

check to see that the thermostat is working. if its sticking coolant wont flow well.

if its working, the water pump has likely broken its impellers. check to see if there is good coolant flow. if not. replace the pump.

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If the temp gauge is reading normal, the lights are flashing, and the coolant level is full, the level sensor in the coolant bottle is the problem. I'm a service consultant for a Saturn dealer and I've run across this many times.

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