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Fans not coming on overheating changed water pump, temp sensor fans work when hot wired

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  • Performance Symptoms:
    Overheats- Runs Rough- Runs Very Rough- Induction Backfires- Stalls Out-
  • Operational Symptoms:
    Won't start- Check Engine Light Turns On-
  • Diagnostic Error Codes:
    Various Cylinder Misfires- Overheat Condition- Oxygen Sensor Failure (Totally legit but, not related to other issues.) and a few others I forgot about.

    Overtime; I ended up replacing everything I thought could have been even remotely related to the problems, including the Engine Control Modual/computer. SOS!
The symptoms continue in an intermittent fashion. Sometimes it was happy for months with only a nerve racking sputter or two while at idle or even cruising at 70 mph. Then suddenly it just stops running. Crank, crank, crank but, not a plug fired or was it that not an injector injected. In any case the thing lay dead for half an hour before it just came to life again. It was fine for weeks after that.

Three things I came to notice about this whole miserable affair were:

  1. It all started “the day after” I did some maintenance under the hood. The work included replacing “one of the two” temperature sensors on the motor ( 'cause it had a broken connector latch..) while I changed out a leaking water pump (...which would drip on the serpentine belt and stall the power steering pump, YIKES!) and an R & R of the radiator to repair a small hole in the right side plastic tank.
  2. It would get normal and proper (as far as I could tell...) if I floored it!!! I discovered it would even start up, when it otherwise wouldn't, if I just held the throttle fully open..
  3. My scanner would report an Overheat Condition “well before” it was indicated on the temperature gauge.
  4. Some of the symptoms were most likely going to show up on cool and humid or moggy rainy days.

OK... Cutting to the chase now--- The problem turned out to be a poor and erratic connection between the Engine Coolant Temperature sensor (The one mounted in the front of the water pump...) and its connecter. A serious cleaning and "tightening" of the contacts inside that connecter was “The Fix!!!!”

Me Z' has been up & running like a bat outta' hell for over 3 years since I cleaned up and tightened those connector puppies... I mean it hasn't missed a single beat!

I think the poor and electrically chattering on and off of the connection was doing an input signaling number on the poor computer such that it didn't know how to respond. Under those conditions, whatever it did decide to do in response like, turn off the cooling fans, turn off fuel injection, go full rich injection, adjust ignition timing, were “Just Wrong!”

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! I hope this helps you and some others who have been experiencing this sort of thing.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010


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