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mirrodie
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How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:57 am

Since Tuesday, I've become not a driver, but an engineer!

Ok, my '90 Buick Regal, well, I was driving home Tuesday night when I noticed the temperature rapidly rising toward the red. Then it hit the red. So I intuitively killed the Air conditioning, put the heater on HI (yep, even though its hot here in NY) and the temp dropped. saved.

So Wednesday, the trip to the office ( its only a 12-18 minute ride) was the same thing, so now I put on the heater and even though it helped, the temp was still riding high, so at any light, I'd rev the engine, thinking the water pump would flush more coolant through. This seemed to help.

Finally yesterday I called the mechanic and he was trouble shooting over the phone with me. He had me look at the cooling fans (only one seemed to work) and thinks it the fans or one of their sensors.

He told me to just keep an eye on it until I can see him Monday.

So after our phone conversation, I check the fans again, one was not working. So I switched their fuses to see it perhaps it was the fuse. That wasnt the case. The fuses are fine.

So I then drove home, with the same temp in the car riding near high (figure 240degrees) so I had to keep revving the engine, keepin the heater on, until I got home.

Then I get home, and let the car idle while checking the fuses again, and although the car was not running for more than 15 minutes, only one fan was running. Occasionally the other one would kick in.

But I couldn't get this car to now mimick the behavior from the night before! So I drove her around the neighborhood another 30 minutes and the temp was fine!!

WTF?!!

And this morning. Same hot temps on the way to work, but once the 17 minute tripe was over, the temp stabilized at a norm level.


Now, call it what you want, but I felt like the flight engineer the last few days What you think? Sensor? thermostat? its not the fans or the fuse, right? I mean, got them working.
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AeroWesty
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:02 am

My guess is the thermostat. I had that go out on my Camaro, and the radiator kept boiling over (I could only drive a mile at a time) until I could get to an open gas station. The water pump went out later that month, it was a memorable time!  Smile
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FlagshipAZ
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:05 am

Did you ever checked the coolant level itself? Nowhere in your post did you mention that you've look at the radiator and the recovery bottle. Also, was the engine itself actually running hot? What about the sending unit? It could be going bad, perhaps a loose connection. Just theories here. Regards.
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KROC
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:32 am

What do I think? With a '90 Buick you outta get a new rig.
 
dl021
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:50 am

Mirrodie....are you attached to that car for sentimental reasons? It'll be easy to outspend the cars value in repairs if you aren't careful. Perhaps it's time to look into something a bit newer.

I could see it if you were talking about a family heirloom or a Corvette/Mustang/whatevercoolyouname but this is a 15 year old Buick. Perhaps there is an unexplained attachment.

My mechanic friend says to check out the thermostat, then the coolant flow. If that's ok then take it to a mechanic because there's something wierd wrong.
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mirrodie
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:16 am

coolant level itself? Nowhere in your post did you mention that you've look at the radiator and the recovery bottle

both were filled appropriately.

With a '90 Buick you outta get a new rig.

Nah man, bought in 2000 with 28K original miles, its paid for and runs well.

Life's good when its less one payment.
It now has 103K on it. Just looking to let her run though 2007, then maybe I'll buy a late 2006 model.
No sentimental value, but right now, just bought a house and buying into the practice, so you can see the reasoning for keeping her running (within reasonable costs, of course.)

[Edited 2005-09-15 22:19:00]
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dl021
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:10 am

Gotcha....check the thermostat. It's the easiest target in this case. IM me if that don't follow.
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zippyjet
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:47 am

Quoting KROC (Reply 3):
What do I think? With a '90 Buick you outta get a new rig.

Hey if you're buying our thread starter would probably take you up on it!
I have a '92 Paseo. I'd be more than happy to accept should you like to put
Zippyjet in new wheels!  bigthumbsup 
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jafa39
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:18 am

If it worked after you swapped the fuses over it could well be a wonky electrical connection but check coolant level first eh?

Electrical faults are often intermittent due to vibration and bumps, one fan comes on quite early, the other should go in 30 second bursts if the temp gets too far over normal but stay on if the temp is way over the top.

Get the car to run hot, lift the hood, if 2nd fan not working grab the wiring and shake it, if that makes a difference then you now have to trace the dodgy connection, if that don't make the fan come on there may be a sensor fault, you can by pass the sensor with a paper clip jammed in the connector terminals (Loom side, not sensor side) if that makes the fan run continuously then replace the sender (this will be messy and involve water peeing out and subsequent top-up).

Even if this cures the fault, you might need to check the stat or find the reason the fans are coming on so much (could be hot weather and slow traffic).

Hopes this helps...don't be tempted to run the car with no stat in it as some modern cars have a bypass circuit and if you leave the stat out it will fry the motor.

Good luck!
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flyfisher1976
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:46 am

You may have had a small amount of air in your coolant system that caused a vapor lock. It may have worked itself out over time explaining the mysterious disappearance of the symptoms. The cooling fans on the radiator are usually controlled by the computer. On my Pontiac, only one fan runs below a certain temperature. I know both fans work because I tested them and the electrical circuit. The fact that only one fan is running does not necessarily indicate a fault.
 
Roger136913
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:53 am

Quoting Mirrodie (Thread starter):
Occasionally the other one would kick in.

Some cars were made with fans that do not stay on all the time. The sensor tells it when to go on so it could be normal.

Try this

Start the car cold, and take of the radiator cap off. After about 10-15 mins the motor should be up to temp, check the gauge in the dash. If it's up to temp go back and see if the fluid is circulating.

If it is your Thermostat is fine. If not could mean 1 of 3 things.

1) Thermostat
2) Water Pump
3) Clogged Heater core

Cheapest way out is to change the Thermostat then Water Pump and then Heater core.

If it's not the Thermostat one thing you could try is take it to the dealer and see if they will place the heat gun on the water pump or radiator it should read what ever temp the Thermostat is set for.
 
NIKV69
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:56 am

Quoting KROC (Reply 3):
What do I think? With a '90 Buick you outta get a new rig.

LOL  biggrin 

I was going to say the same thing!

Mario you need a new ride big time!
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JasYHZ
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:33 pm

treat yourself to a 2006 Buick Allure CXS.....oh, sorry...you guys call it the Lacrosse....MILES ahead of the old Regal and Century. Not quite as oldmannish as the Century or Regal.
.
The Allure/Lacrosse story is my favorite of 2005.....anyone know why?
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flight152
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:50 pm

I don't know how ANYONE would consider that garbage GM is pumping out their favorite..
 
JasYHZ
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:54 pm

Not the car as my favorite (ugh) but the story of the name switch between Lacrosse and Allure....seems when GM was introducing the Lacrosse to Canada and they got to Quebec, GM retailers in La Belle province realized that "Lacrosse" is French Canadian slang for masturbation....

Hence the name change. I tell all my American customers they're driving the sexually inappropriate Buick.....
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CaptOveur
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:52 pm

Quoting Flight152 (Reply 13):
I don't know how ANYONE would consider that garbage GM is pumping out their favorite..

For once I almost agree with the guy who has the KIA interior in a BMW.

However, 1990 was at the tail end of that period where GM actually made cars that could outlive the payment book while keeping some semblence of looks and still being mechanically sound.

I understand the appeal of driving something that is paid for, but if this repair gets more expensive than the car it may be time to trade it in on a real macho car like LHMarks bug or KROCs sunfire.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
mirrodie
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:57 am

well, it still runs quirky, got up this AM, drove to work.

started to got the hot end, put the heater on high and bled off air, then it calmed down, then the last 5 minutes of work , was behaving.


will check thermo this weekend. thnaks for the reaffirmation. I was figuring with liquid levels good and confirmatiosn that both fans work intermittently, my line was thermo, then sensor, then heater core.

no leaking all round, so I'm doubtful its the pump.
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Roger136913
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:04 am

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 16):
no leaking all round, so I'm doubtful its the pump

Water pumps sometimes only leak while driving and under pressure. Since your levels are fine I would rule that out.

I would also rule out a sensor IMHO.

Quick question.

Hace you had the fluid replaced? if so was it replaced with Dex-Cool? the Pink stuff?
 
Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:11 am

Mirrodie:
Don't listen to these silly snobs that know nothing about 1990 Buicks.
That is a great car and will last many years to come. I'd take a 1990 Buick over 95% of the new cars on the market today. My roomates 1990 Buick LeSabre NEVER breaks down. It's survived 7 Nebraska winters, 3 trips back & forth between Omaha and San Francisco and is his everyday driver with 220,000+ miles on it.
Still rides very quite, lots of low-end power and even the original cassette player works perfect.

Get your Regal fixed. Worse case scenario, a radiator and water pump replacment would be cheaper than replacing the tail light from an overpriced, overrated hunk of garbage from Germany (BMW, Mercedes, Audi).
Take it from me. I've actually worked on them all.


Buick is the best line from GM.  bigthumbsup 
Bring back the Concorde
 
CaptOveur
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:17 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Don't listen to these silly snobs

I drive a 1990 Honda Accord, hardly a snob car... Makes me kind of glad GM pissed me off.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:23 am

CaptOveur:
Never considered you a 'snob'.
Your more of a follower that goes with the flow.  Smile
Bring back the Concorde
 
mirrodie
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:32 am

Get your Regal fixed. Worse case scenario, a radiator and water pump replacment would be cheaper than replacing the tail light from an overpriced, overrated hunk of garbage from Germany

very true and at least I can do the h2o pump change or t-stat changes. radiator I'd farm out.

Its not that I am terribly attached to the car, but its a good engine (sure the car is 15 years old, but the engine has only 103K on it.)

And I'm just a firm believer in maximizing on my investment. I'd rather invest my money into the house and the practice.

The toughest decision will come in 2 years when I have to decide to replace the car. It's not that I have any aversion to BMW or mercedes, but that 'German engineering' just does not apply anymore. Most cars today come with so much random bells and whistles that people forget thats just more crap to have to upkeep.

And just to show you I'm not out of my mind, I've had my eye on a Volvo 2 dr hardtop that's slated for 2006. I'd like to consider buying it but once I do, I'll work it to its grave. ;

Another doc I know, just leased a Jaguar after handling in his lease on an
Accord. Hates the Jag and wishes he'd stayed with the Accord.
Just sucks that cars arent built to last in the 2000's.
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Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:54 am

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 21):
And I'm just a firm believer in maximizing on my investment. I'd rather invest my money into the house and the practice.

Very smart!  Cool

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 21):
Just sucks that cars arent built to last in the 2000's.

Sad but true.  Sad

Thanks God that Mercury Grand Marquis, Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car are still around. The only surviving cars that are still made to last.
Bring back the Concorde
 
L-188
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 5:16 am

Anybody miss the days when radiator fans where belt driven?

My guess would be a problem electrical in nature. I don't think there is anything wrong with the thermostat in the car or with the coolant, unless it is visibly low. The coolant is just the medium, there ain't much too it, and all of the thermostats I have seen a simple heat activated bi-metal valve that opens up when the car reaches op-temp. And since you have noticed one of the fan motors does not appear to be working, I would focus on that instead of the waterpump, particularly if you aren't noticing any leakage from the weep hole on it. Usually when one of those goes, you get leakage.

Well you did the simplest thing which was to swap the fuses to see if the problem followed....it didn't...means fuses are good.

I would say that then next most likely issue is that the motor with the fan is burned out or damm close too it. I would pull the power plug from the motor and then take a resistance (Ohm) reading between the plug on the motor and ground. If there is very little resistance then you have a fan motor that is burned out and needs to be replaced. Comparing the readings between the suspected good and bad fans might not be a bad way to confirm one of them is going south.

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 16):
started to got the hot end, put the heater on high and bled off air, then it calmed down, then the last 5 minutes of work , was behaving

What it sounds like is that when you start it and driving slowly to get out on the road there is now air moving over the radiator. The heat builds up until you get it up to highway speeds where there is enough air from the forward motion of the car to pass over the radiator and provide cooling. Turning on the heater sends air over the heater core which is also a small radiator, except its primary purpose is to warm cabin air, this also removes heat from the engine system and that is why they tell you to turn the heat in the cab all the way up if you are getting a hot engine.


The reason I am pretty confident in this because with my old 2000 Cavalier I had very simular symptoms to yours and it ended up being a burned out fan motor. If memory serves it ohmed across the motor about .2 or something. But anyway the shop wanted $150 bucks for a replacement fan assemby, I was able to go to the local autowrecking yard and pick up one for 20 bucks. So if you have no problems with recycled parts, this could be a pretty cheap Saturday fix. Just can be a pain trying to get the fan in there, I was able to do it with mine, without having to remove the radiator, something the book said was impossible. Just took a little elbow grease to get it in the hole.
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Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 5:27 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 23):
Anybody miss the days when radiator fans where belt driven?

I hear you man!
That 1987 Chrysler LaBaron I had used a sensor activated fan. That car always ran a bit on the warm side. A turbocharged car should always have a belt driven fan.
Glad my Lincoln still has the old style belt driven fan.
Very easy to work on.
Bring back the Concorde
 
tristarenvy
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 5:37 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 23):
Anybody miss the days when radiator fans where belt driven?

And how!

The motor needs to be in there "north/south", pushing the wheels in the BACK, like God and Dr. Porsche intended.

Not sideways, with electric motors running the fans....
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ScarletHarlot
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:19 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 23):
Just took a little elbow grease to get it in the hole.

.....heard that coming from your room last night.  Big grin

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
an overpriced, overrated hunk of garbage from Germany (BMW, Mercedes, Audi).

Ahem...Mr. Fly....  Angry

I've gotta disagree with you about American cars being sturdy and reliable. I have not had any problems at all with my '96 Integra. That is a GREAT car. On the other hand, my parents always had all kinds of problems with their American cars and they were considered old at 10. They always seemed to be going in for this, that and the other thing.

If reliability was the only consideration I'd buy a(nother) Honda or a Toyota in a heartbeat.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
L-188
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:46 pm

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 26):
.....heard that coming from your room last night

And yet you couldn't turn away Big grin
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flight152
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:08 pm

but that 'German engineering' just does not apply anymore. Most cars today come with so much random bells and whistles that people forget thats just more crap to have to upkeep.

Wow, are you off. Engineering goes far beyond adding bells and whistles to cars. Most of GM's platforms, engines and transmissions are so old, the German and Japanese models are generations ahead.

Quick Example- The My old E36 3-series which was built back in 96 had a 5-speed automatic transmission, now in 2006 Buick has dropped an ancient 4-speed model, in its new LaCrosse. Most new German cars come with at least a 6-speed transmission and Mercedes is a pioneer with a 7-speed model, while its American counterpart suffers from Higher fuel consumption and lower performance then it could have.
 
mirrodie
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Mon Sep 19, 2005 3:15 am

Wow, are you off. Engineering goes far beyond adding bells and whistles to cars


Actually I think you're off and completely missed the point. The more crap in the car, the more crap that fails.

German engineering used to be a term associated with things there were built to last. Made tough with ingenuity. The older BMW's mercedes, etc, there were simply made better.
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mirrodie
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:15 am

Scarlot, you've got a point too.

Toyota and Acura are pretty reliable.

Reliability is paramount to me. Right now, my car is just annoying hte crap out of me. i finally figuredo ut it only happens when the car is cold and first started. I let the temp get to right before the red, then bleed off hte heat and she normalizes.

mechanic checked it yesterday and could not get it to overheat.

So much for 2 years free of payment  Smile


looking into that new Volvo c70.....we'll see  Smile
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msllsmith
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:32 am

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 5):
No sentimental value, but right now, just bought a house and buying into the practice, so you can see the reasoning for keeping her running (within reasonable costs, of course.)

Hey, Mirrodie......did you get a house/practice in Huntington? I have a really terrific mechanic in town...... no fooling! "Faithful"....that's the name. New York Ave...... across from the bakery.

I really like the above sentiment..... drive a '89 Cougar myself..... same deal.

I think of you sometimes while eating a sandwich and slugging back a Coke at the end of the active runway at FRG.

Try them.... they're good.... (and honest, I think)

LLSmith
There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.
 
Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:47 am

Quoting Flight152 (Reply 28):
Engineering goes far beyond adding bells and whistles to cars.

Very true.
German engineers overengineer some of the most basic things such as seat belts, to door hinges and all sorts of standard parts of a car.
Bring back the Concorde
 
mirrodie
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:03 am

thanks MLL, I'll look em up  Smile
check your private messaging.

And right Super. For Christsake, its a seatbelt! Just plug it in already  Wink
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PHLBOS
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:34 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 23):
Anybody miss the days when radiator fans where belt driven?

If I'm not mistaken, most RWD vehicles might still have belt driven (although via a single serpentine belt) radiator fans. I'll double-check on my '97 Crown Vic. when I get home from work tonight.

The reasoning for the electrical motor-driven radiator fans, at least early on, may have been due to the fact that most FWD vehicles (there were some exceptions) have a transversely-mounted engine (turned sideways so that the cylinders, transmission, etc. are parallel to the front axle) as opposed to the conventional longitunally-mounted engine.

As a result, all the belts (most likely just one serpentine belt on Mirrodie's 1990 Regal) may be located along the side of the car rather than the front; adjacent to the radiator. Rather than reconfigure the belt arrangement for the radiator fan, engineers most likely decided to opt for an electrical-motor driven fan as a means to save space (and add less weight) for transversely-mounted engines.

[Edited 2005-09-21 22:45:42]
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aaflt1871
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:51 am

Quoting Mirrodie (Thread starter):
What you think? Sensor? thermostat?

Quick and easy test to check the thermostat, take if off of the vehicle, drop it into a pan of water, boil it.The O.E temp for that thermostat is 192/195 degrees, once the water starts to boil you will see if the thermostat opens up or not. It will take less than 10 minutes to do. If you need to replace it, look at putting a 160 or 180 degree in there so the system will open up sooner.

Now for the coolant temperature sensor, it will be screwed into either the thermostat housing or into the manifold itself, find it and make sure it has not come loose, or if there is a wire attached to it make sure the connection is still there.

And lastly, check your hoses, while the car is running, firmly grab the center of the hose and give it a squeeze, you should feel water pressure flowing by.
Where did everybody go?
 
Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:00 am

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 34):
I'll double-check on my '97 Crown Vic. when I get home from work tonight.

You have a serpentine.  Sad
Bring back the Concorde
 
PHLBOS
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:18 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 36):
Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 34):
I'll double-check on my '97 Crown Vic. when I get home from work tonight.

You have a serpentine.

I know about my car having a serpentine belt, the '89 Caprice I owned years ago also had one as well; what I was trying to convey is whether the radiator fan is still belt-driven via the sepentine belt(?). Unless, what you're trying to tell me is that all vehicles w/serpentine belts (regardless of whether it has a transversely or longitudinally mounted engines) have a motor-driven fan as opposed to a belt-driven fan. If that is the case, then electric radiator fans are no longer a feature solely for transverse-mounted FWD vehicles.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
Superfly
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:36 am

PHLBOS:
Not what I was saying. I figured you know your car well enough.
I'll be suprised if the 1997 Crown Victoria is a sensor generated fan.
Bring back the Concorde
 
PHLBOS
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RE: How's This For Finicky?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:12 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 38):
Not what I was saying.

Okay, what is it then that you trying to say? 'Fly, I think you lost me on this one.

With regards to my Crown Vic.: since it's been my first new car, I haven't done as much backyard poking around as I have done with my past cars so I might have missed a couple of subtle, hidden design or material changes that have been made over the progressive model years.

So, when you put the   on your earlier post (see below),

Quoting Superfly (Reply 36):
You have a serpentine.  

it appeared to imply that serpentine belts and sensor generated fans go hand-in-hand. Personally, I didn't think that was the case. Am I misreading you on that?

I've always thought that the existence of sensor-generated fans were mainly for transverse-mounted engines found on most FWD vehicles.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Mirrodie, as others have stated, I would start checking and replacing as needed the small (& inexpensive) items (thermostat, hoses, etc.) first; then move up as needed. If that's the only problem that your car is having, I'd say keep it for now. It doesn't sound like your Regal's becoming a money pit yet.

[Edited 2005-09-22 00:13:46]
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981

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