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95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On


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marcus
Novice

Apr 17, 2010, 12:50 AM

Post #1 of 19 (8238 views)
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95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On Sign In

Chevy
1995
Lumina
3.1
51,000 miles

my 95 chevy lumina, (51,000 miles) radiator fans, primary and secondary, will only come on when i put the a/c on, checked the relay and checked the fuse. What do you think it is? Please Help


Tom Greenleaf
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Apr 17, 2010, 8:24 AM

Post #2 of 19 (8234 views)
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Is it warm enough to even be needed yet? They aren't meant to just stay on but wait till a set temp and if you don't get to that it will remain off. A/C is full time no matter what,

T
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marcus
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Apr 17, 2010, 8:32 AM

Post #3 of 19 (8226 views)
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yeah the needle goes to about 3/4 way to the red, do you think its okay to keep my air conditioning when i drive it, until i get it fixed, also i check the radiator and it was really dirty, green sludge on the radiator cap, do u think if i drained it and flushed it with water it would do think this would help? please help


Tom Greenleaf
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Apr 17, 2010, 8:42 AM

Post #4 of 19 (8225 views)
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Temp needle should stay pretty steady! For the moment do run a/c to force fans and watch temp gauge. It may need the sender which may be mounted on radiator itself, a connection yet to be found.

Flushing is a good idea. Replace with good 50/50 antifreeze,

T
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marcus
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Apr 17, 2010, 9:00 AM

Post #5 of 19 (8218 views)
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okay thank you tom, i will flush today, do u think it could be the pcm, i took it to firestone and he said it could be the pcm and then to get a diagnosis and they wanted 95 dollars so i walked out, it was just too much money, i am really tight on cash, anyway i am a total newbie and dont really know how to fix my cars too much, i want to because alot of car mechanics i have come in contact with are dishonest. Thank you for you time, is the sender hard to put on, and is it expensive.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 17, 2010, 9:58 AM

Post #6 of 19 (8214 views)
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Re: 95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On [In reply to] Sign In

95 is OBDI diagnostics and may not be so helpful for this. It's important so certainly do chase this down. Just looked around for parts as there are sensors and switches for gauge and should be another for fuel enrichment while cold (CTS) to confuse which one is responsible.

Fans can work (right?) so I tend to rule out relays for now. Upon focusing on the part(s) involved sold all together for this application there was quite a bit more than a silly spark plug like sensor with what appeared to me have lots of opportunity for a simple lousy connection somewhere in this monstrosity of a sender! Shown like this..........
Compressor Works / Electric Fan Thermostat For your 1995 Chevrolet Lumina-Sedan/Coupe 3.1L SFI OHV 6cyl
That was from Autozone's site for parts. I'd find this stuff and make sure it's all plugged in properly for now and of course have to wait for warm up to see if any corrections make this work. It was a bit pricey ~$75 to just toss all this as a test so far. May help to ask at a counter if checking it out by eye shows nothing and see if just the sender is available? Didn't see it at two sites which are flawed sometimes with their stuff.

In theory this should be sensing temp of cool end of radiator which may also have a sensor to tell you it's low so need to know which if two or one does both. When what should be already cooled, coolant isn't cool enough at the return/cool side then fans should come on to fix that as intended. May need some better help if nothing found as just tossing parts is a waste. I'm not ready to blame a PCM or any computer control just yet unless it's absolutely diagnosed to be the problem.

Temp gauge and engine temp should stay fairly even once it reaches operating temperatures. If not there is a problem which you have narrowed down.

Suggestion is check that it's all there and connected first AND don't let engine overheat as that's insult to injury,

T
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Long retired now


marcus
Novice

Apr 17, 2010, 11:35 AM

Post #7 of 19 (8208 views)
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okay so that picture, that was a electric fan thermostat and some other thinks that comes with it, right? and i should also look for a radiator temp sensor but there is two different kind sensor, one that tells you when your low on coolant and one that senses how hot the temp gets and send that information to the fan, im so sorry for bothering you, Thank you so much for your help, i am going to check to make everything is plugged in securely. Thank you.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 17, 2010, 12:41 PM

Post #8 of 19 (8204 views)
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Re: 95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On [In reply to] Sign In

You aren't bothering me. I just wish I had a quick and easy answer for you.

Basics: Sensing temp is done as said to tell computer that engine is cold and enriching fuel mixture and back off when at normal operating temps, another tells your dash gauge what the engine temp is. Those two or if combined in assorted vehicles are on the engine most likely near the thermostat.

Sensors at radiator are telling if without help radiator is too hot to return cooled coolant so fans would come on. Again, combined or separately some cars will tell that coolant level is low with a sensor that knows it's wet or not! Many vehicles use a remote pressure cap on a recovery tank - pressure all along till there and you can't see inside radiator on those so some will tell you radiator isn't happy because you can't see it there. That's all. Car makers decide on combining switches or making separate one. Because fans are high consumers of amps they then need to use relays to power them.

The principles are the same, they way it's controlled changes car by car and year by year in some,

T
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Hammer Time
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Apr 17, 2010, 3:21 PM

Post #9 of 19 (8195 views)
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Re: 95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On [In reply to] Sign In

Let me jump in here for a second............

Your spinning your wheels here. There is nothing to fix. Those fans aren't programmed to come on until about 226 degrees and that's pretty hot. It seems too high but that's the way it was engineered.

DESCRIPTION
The primary cooling fan operates when engine coolant temperature is above 226°F with A/C Off or 223°F with A/C or Defrost functions requested and vehicle speed is less than 50 mph. When A/C refrigerant pressure is greater than 185 psi, then the cooling fans will run. When certain diagnostic trouble codes are set then cooling fans will operate. The PCM will discontinue primary fan operation when the ignition is turned Off, engine coolant temperature falls below 210°F or A/C pressure drops below 189 psi with A/C selected.

Secondary fan operation begins when engine coolant temperature reaches 235°F with A/C Off or On. The secondary fan will operate if A/C pressure is above 236 psi with A/C requested and vehicle speed is below 50 mph . The secondary fan will discontinue operation if engine coolant temperature drops below 228°F, refrigerant pressure drops to less than 185 psi or the ignition switch is turned to the Off position.




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marcus
Novice

Apr 17, 2010, 5:01 PM

Post #10 of 19 (8183 views)
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the temperature gauge goes all the way up to 3/4 the way up and the fans still don't kick on, and i suspect would go all the way to the red if i were at an idol long enough, but the temp gauge does go down when i start to move i guess due to the fact the wind is blowing cooling down the radiator. When i turn on the a/c the primary fan (the one in front of drivers seat?) and the secondary comes on only once in a while. Thank you for all you help guys, this is really discouraging.

sincerely,
Marcus


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 17, 2010, 5:17 PM

Post #11 of 19 (8183 views)
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Re: 95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On [In reply to] Sign In

Good to know that about Lumina. Not all cars nor even all GM nameplates wait for A/C pressure to build - a good idea as fan isn't really much or any help if pressure is low OR at some speed as natural airflow is adequate for most. I didn't decide the engine/radiator temp setting to trigger fan at that high of a temp and would have opt for lower but they didn't ask meMad.

Makes for a lot of systems needing to be in exact working order right down to pressure cap and integrity of cooling system to hold pressure of paramount importance as even suggested mixed anti-freezes (any EG based ones) will boil without pressure especially at any decent altitude. At best the antifreeze can add 20F to boiling points whereas pressure is good for about 3 degrees F per pound of pressure with many systems using 15lb pressure that's 45 extra degrees alone with pure water.

Note: This car was originally equipped for DexCool which is an orange/pinkish color. The claim was longevity via additives and color there to identify. On warranty I would stick with it. Claims on others (still EG products) do say ok for use in all cars but also state must be only that and not a mix not recommended by about all of them.

Good to know those specs are out there Hammer,

Tom

Legend: EG = Ethylene Glycol - the most common base for automotive antifreeze no matter the color. Read containers!
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Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 17, 2010, 6:03 PM

Post #12 of 19 (8176 views)
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Re: 95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On [In reply to] Sign In

Believe me, your car is not overheating. I have seen them go all the way to just before the red and then kick on. Trust me, this is perfectly normal and by design. That's why it has a 2 stage fan. If the first one doesn't do the job right away, the second one will come on and finish the job.




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



marcus
Novice

Apr 17, 2010, 11:00 PM

Post #13 of 19 (8169 views)
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okay...so hammer what should i do, just flush and put new coolant in, because it does look nasty in there. what can i do to keep my engine cool!Unsure thank you


marcus
Novice

Apr 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

Post #14 of 19 (8164 views)
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Re: 95 Lumina Radiator Fan Wont Kick On [In reply to] Sign In

So tom i should have dexcool in there, i just acquired the car and it had regular green coolant in there and i even topped it off with some that was in the trunk she had left in there. will this help? what should i do


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 18, 2010, 3:20 AM

Post #15 of 19 (8161 views)
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Marcus,

Even techs will argue about what type is best to use. I see no problem with either but pick one and stick with that one. If you go to the area in a department or parts supply store read away at the claims. Many are clear (colorless) saying can be used with any. Hey - If stuck use real coolant to get home or in an emergency. Color is just added and alone means little - it's the product by claims and guarantee that it meets or exceeds requirements I'd go by most. Dexcool is trademarked GM product but non GM makers also sell it.

For best results pick one that states for use in your car and follow recommendations. Know capacity of cooling system as you don't get all water out from flushing without antics that most wouldn't do or know how.

OK: Now when it's time to fill, aim for 50% coolant/antifreeze so add that first. Wait as it will drop down some. Especially cars with fill only at pressure capped reservoir it may be helpful to fill from a high hose or find a bleeder bolt as the thermostat will lock air in system.

For the couple bucks I'd also use distilled water for the mix not knowing exactly the mineral content of everyone's tap water. No other additives but what's in the product you choose!

Seriously aim for the 50/50 mix. Too much product is a lousy coolant or heat transfer agent and too little lack the corrosion protection for maximum life.

Warm up engine till upper hose gets warm indicating thermostat has opened. When pressure is down and cool again, take off pressure cap and fill to proper marked level again. This can take several cycles and be a pain! A drive around the block can help get more air out as you are close to the finish and check again daily for a few days of use.

Do run heater while filling. When heater works it's a good indication of having a safe level but not to say there isn't still some air in the system. Check, check, check!

Above in this section are some ideas for getting air out of a system if fussy. Most folks wouldn't have a device that puts whole system under a vacuum to speed up a refill.

Notes: This is a good time to check and replace hoses and pressure cap with exact OE rated one as seen fit from inspection.

Dispose of flushed coolant as per local rules - ask store or locally about that.

It's poison so don't leave open antifreeze new or used where it could be consumed. It can fool animals and is highly toxic!

One more: It will kill or be harmful to plants, lawn and can stain surface. Read labels for the cautions and suggestions,

Good luck,

T
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Long retired now


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 18, 2010, 8:13 AM

Post #16 of 19 (8150 views)
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Quote
what can i do to keep my engine cool!


The dirty coolant is one thing but unless your car boils over, it is not overheating. The temp gauge is going to run high when the car is not moving and the A/C is off. That's just the way it was engineered to run.

As for the dirty coolant, that is a problem. If it's rusty and muddy in there, it can be very hard to get clean because the sludge build up only comes off one layer at a time. The only thing you can do is run some flushing chemical through it and flush it with water until it runs clean. You will find it just gets dirty again after a short time so you will have to do this more than once over time. This is the result when water is used instead of coolant for any period of time.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Sidom
Veteran / Moderator
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Apr 18, 2010, 4:42 PM

Post #17 of 19 (8145 views)
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I just want to add one quick suggestion.... This is a very long thread and I've just skimmed it so if it's already been mentioned and I missed it I apologize....

I see where it's a new car and HT posted the spec on the fan temps.....

This system has 2 coolant temp sensors. 1 for the gauge & 1 for the comp (fans). I have had cars in the past where the gauge sender gets out of cal or a ground problem on the circuit where the gauge shows hot but the engine isn't hot....

Like HT said, these fans come on at 225°. The easiest thing to do would be to hook up a scanner, moniter the ECT temp PID and if the fans kick on at 225°, then you are looking at a gauge problem...... There could be a problem with the PCM ECT cal but normally you would be seeing other drivability problems as well not just a fan problem....

Considering the shape of the coolant and known problems with the intake gaskets on these. I would completely flush the system and considering your concerns, change out both ECT sensors.........






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marcus
Novice

Apr 18, 2010, 6:26 PM

Post #18 of 19 (8136 views)
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I think maybe i know what the problem is, i thought that it was just the exhaust cooling down when i heard a tick, tick, tick sound after i turn off the car, but then i realized it was doing this after a very short time of driving, like around the corner, and i think, i think, i hear it while im driving. its not leaking so is probably burning off before it hits the ground. Could a small leak in one of the hoses cause my car to run hot, that is probably a stupid question. and also which hose do you think it is if you agree with my hypothesis. Thank you soo much for your time. i have learned so much already. this is a great forum with really great people.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 18, 2010, 6:39 PM

Post #19 of 19 (8135 views)
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About the ticking only: Not there to hear it but would bet it's just heat cooling off exhaust parts. If it was coolant it would be consuming coolant and you'd notice that fairly soon. Exhaust manifold(s) and heat shields heat up pretty quickly - even just around the block,

T
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