Coolant Temp Sensor

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I'm about to replace the coolant temp sensor in my Grand Am and I want to know if I should drain the fluids before taking it out. I don't want coolant to gush out everywhere! I don't think I'll have a problem because of where it's located (near the top of the block behind the spark plugs) but it's always good to be safe.
Thanks for your help. :thumbs:

posted by  93GrandAm

Yes and yes. A gallon should be a safe amount. You already had the answer, didn't you? :wink2:

posted by  lectroid

Which coolant should I be concerned with? The thing is, I don't know if it pertains to oil, water, or antifreeze.

posted by  93GrandAm

Nevermind that last post. It is most definitely antifreeze. I removed the sensor with a few groans and a socket wrench and as I expected, coolant gushed out everywhere. luckily, I thought ahead and got something to catch it in. But now I have a different problem. Apparently, what I thought was the coolant temp sensor on my '93 2.3L quad 4 wasn't. The electrical connectors for the new piece and the "old" piece didn't match. The new piece's connector was oval shaped. The "old" piece's connector was a square shape with a notch in it.
Now I have no clue what the "old" part was since it is definitely not the one I thought it was. But the "old" part was pointed out by a friend of the family who is a mechanic. He said (and he pointed to the "old" part) "This could be your problem, the coolant temperature sensor. I would replace this, i'm 95% sure this is the problem..." but maybe he just wasn't sure exactly which one it was.
My question to those of you who read this is: What the hell is the "old" part? AND Where is the real coolant temperature sensor located on my engine. By the way, I have a Haynes manual and it's absolutely no help whatesoever.
Thanks for your help in advance and thanks for just reading this post. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.

posted by  93GrandAm

I would say that you were probably given the wrong part by the shop, It's more than likely the temp sensor...just the wrong one for your car, take it back with the old one and match the two together :thumbs:

posted by  Cliffy

Mate = Friend, Buddy, sexual partner- This just ain't right :screwy:

Trouble and Strife = Wife- This is nothing but the truth :laughing:

posted by  lectroid

The 'sexual partner' bit is an 'or' not an 'and' if ya get what I mean lol

posted by  Cliffy

I got what you meant :laughing: Just sounds "NASTY" :badrazz:

posted by  lectroid

You're probably right Cliffy. I believe there are two different "coolant temp sensors" in this engine. One of them tells the car's computer if the coolant is up to normal operating temperature; the other tells the temp guage what to read. I probably got the one for the guage instead of the one I need. :doh:

posted by  93GrandAm

Is this not what you purchased?

http://home.ripway.com/2004-2/72131/TS4052.jpg

posted by  lectroid

Cliffy could be right. I was thinking you had a Temp sensor and a Coolant level sensor. :oops: If ol Ceme was on line he could tell you.

posted by  lectroid

Yes, that's exactly what I purchased, only brass in color. ( I don't think that matters though)
but the part I intended to replace didn't have the oval connector end. It was more of a square shape with a notch in one corner. :hi:

posted by  93GrandAm

Well, I don't know :doh: Return it and take the old one with you, like Cliffy said.... But ,you can also buy a replacement oval electrical connector if you can't get the exact temp sensor replacement. :ohcrap:

posted by  lectroid

Also, the part with the square end... the knob at the opposite end (the end that does the reading) was shorter and larger in diameter than the part I purchased. Get what I mean?

................ ___
.........A)....|....|........B)..____
................|....|............|......|


(Please don't pay attention to the dots, I had to use them to hold the place of the characters for the crude drawings) * Figure A represents the end of the sesor I bought. Figure B represents the end of the sensor I pulled out of the engine today (crude drawings, very very very crude) :thumbs:

posted by  93GrandAm

Do the threads on each sensor match and is it a two wire conductor/lead? Where did you buy this?????Adapter=

http://home.ripway.com/2004-2/72131/TSC200.jpg

posted by  lectroid

Do you mean coolant level? I'm curious.Confused :ohcrap:

posted by  lectroid

I am aware of the Coolant Level Sensor. That's located at the bottom of the surge tank but i'm not concerned with that. I'm trying to replace the temp sensor and not the temperature guage sending unit (this one sends the signal to the guage and turns on the "idiot light". As far as I can tell, the threads on the two parts match. But, I didn't look too closely. I had to put the old part back in the car because the new one didn't work plus I had to drive the car today. So I think I'll go to AutoZone today and return the part I bought. (Thankfully I found the reciept :thumbs: )
Do any of you guys know for sure where the real coolant temp sensor ( the one that sends the signals to the ECM :mrgreen: ) is on a 1993 2.3L quad 4 engine?

posted by  93GrandAm

Read Tbaxley's previous post.

posted by  lectroid

:doh: I don't know how I missed that post :doh:
He must have posted while I was responding. Anyway. I believe he and I are talking about the same sensor (judging by the location he gave). Only, the replacement I bought looked like the one lectroid supplied the pic of. Is that a two pin terminal? the one I took out of the car was square and I only saw one pin. Am I messing with the one that sends the signal to the guage? :banghead:


By the way, I appreciate all of the attention this thread is recieving :mrgreen:. Thanks to you all so far.:thumbs: I'm sorry I am so easily confused. :tard:

posted by  93GrandAm

Your always confused :-D

posted by  DodgeRida67

:doh: So I am messing with the wrong one. Good thing I haven't taken back the part I bought yet. It could still be the right one. Now I wish I had a digital camera so I could show you guys just what's going on in there. Then maybe we could have avoided a lot of confusion.
My next question: is the sensor to the ECM around the one for the idiot light? Because I took out the one that was on the driver's side of the head below the valve cover and that one had the one pin terminal. :screwy:

posted by  93GrandAm

This might be a noob question, but I'm stumped. :screwy: I don't think I would call this a problem, more like a new development. I've tried many things to get it to shut off, but now the "Low Coolant" idiot light won't shut off. I've filled the reservoir to the fill line and tried unplugging the connector and cleaning it out, I've also tried topping off the oil (it leaks very small amounts) but still the light comes on. Can you think of anything I should try that I missed?

posted by  93GrandAm

there should be a sensor on the side of your rad, when your refilling there is a cap on the passenger side of the car which allows you to bleed the air out the rad. I changed the thermostat on one of these last independence day, they are a pain in the arse. I havent worked it out yet, i came to the states for a holiday and ended up workin on cars. oh well all good fun learning about the quirkes of your yank tanks.

posted by  cinqyg

I understand completely about somethings being a pain in the butt. Timing belts and water pumps on some of the asian imports are a real pain.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Autozone says:
On your 1993 PONTIAC GRAND AM,

COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR
The COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR is:
UNDER HOOD, DRIVER SIDE, UPPER ENGINE AREA, BELOW VALVE COVER, MOUNTED IN CYLINDER HEAD


TEMPERATURE SWITCH
The TEMPERATURE SWITCH is:
UNDER HOOD, CENTER, LOWER ENGINE AREA, REAR OF WATER OUTLET, DRIVER SIDE OF COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR, MOUNTED IN ENGINE BLOCK

It doesn't mention a level sensor at all!

posted by  HighWayMan

I get what you're saying, but I don't know what a rad is? I is it an abbreviation for Radiator?

posted by  93GrandAm

rad = radiator

posted by  DodgeRida67

yup sorry, brit lingo.

posted by  cinqyg

It's ok. I had a good Idea of what you meant... just wanted to be sure. :thumbs: I'll check it out.
I feel dumb for asking this, but... it is antifreze that runs through my radiator right? 'Cause I know on some vehicles, it's water.

posted by  93GrandAm

Probably a 50/50 Antifreeze/water mix if you're south of the arctic circle :clown:

posted by  HighWayMan

I would like to see what happens to an engine when the water freezes. For that reason I doubt they exist(engines with "water" only) :screwy:

70/30 is the strongest. 70% Coolant/30% Water

posted by  DodgeRida67

50% distilled water, 50% antifreeze is good in most parts of the US. Running higher concentrations than 60% anti-freeze or 70% antifreeze will make the mixture too thick for the water pump to pump as well as do some funky things with the heat transfer properties.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

really dumb idea but just read the label. genrally will tell you what concentration you need as some is premixed, some is part mixed, some comes neat etc. there are guides to what concerations you should have in realtion to the temp of the climate. the more water the better in the summer as it has a higher thermal capacity 4.81kj/mole than the organic solvents in the antifreeze. but just read the label!

posted by  cinqyg

higher constant pressure specific, lower boiling point.

Agreed, the chart on the back of the antifreeze jug will tell you what you need to know.

Here in the US, you can buy pe-mixed 50%-50% at most auto parts places as well as Walmart (A.K.A. Wally World)

posted by  tbaxleyjr

most systems are under pressure, i try and change my coolant for summer and winter, although there is only a little diffrence in climate here its always cool/cold. but ive managed to overheat in winter sitting in traffic. can be a problem to get it right.

posted by  cinqyg

most antifreeze used in the US is either an ethlyne glycol base or propolyne glycol (low tox) basw with corrosion inhibitors

Accepted practices here in the lower 48 states in the US is 50%-50% with the colling system flushed and coolant replaced @ 36000 miles. Many cars built here since the mid 1990s use an ethlyne glycol based coolant with a different corrosion inhibitor package allowing the stuff to work "effectively" not having to be replaced until 60000 miles or longer.

since ethlyne glycol based antifreeze is regulated here in the US as toxic to plants and animals until it breaks down, getting rid of the stuff after flushing and filling can be a pain.

depending on the manufacturer, a typical cooling system operates under pressure between 13 psig and 16 psig (to allow higher boiling points)

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Thanks guys. I thought it might have been a dumb question, but I know I can come here to have my questions answered. You've all been more than generous in your answers. Thanks again. :mrgreen:

posted by  93GrandAm

questions aren't dumb unless they are not asked. Not knowing about what you are doing can damage the car at best, get you hurt or killed at worst

posted by  tbaxleyjr

In regards to your low coolant light coming on:

There is a switch in the coolant overflow tank that is connected to a float.
Sometimes the float gets mucked up and sticks in one position.
If you remove the tank and rinse it out, it might unstick. (Worked for me on my 93 Beretta)

Advance auto sells a replacement, but i'm not sure how you would change it, since it seems to be formed into the tank.

In the meantime, you can try knocking on the coolant overflow tank to free the float (worked on mine). :)

posted by  PciMaster

do you even have a clue where and what the sensior looks like drain the freeging coolant man o man .............. :fu: only if you want to put in more .

posted by  revolutionismyn

always always always on those damn reservoir bottles if they go low, after topping it up the light stays on get a screw driver and tap on the tank right where the sensor float is, this alway works for me. :thumbs:

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

you obviously have a douche complex, the question is what the **** are YOU talking aboot

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

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