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Old 12-12-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Default Cooling Sytem Problems...

Hi guys,

I'm a new member here. I have some problems with my Buick regal custom. I just bought it last month. It is a good deal because it has low mileage (9K) and barely used by its owner (has good tires). I heard GM cars easily get hot (temp rise) because fan(*) start to work when temp. gets into 200+ degree. Am I right? Anyway, my problems are related to this question which is in the coolant system. First, engine easily gets hot. Is this normal especially when you're in stop or in heavy traffic? I even feel the heat because the warm air gets into the car (I dont even need to turn on the heater sometimes). The second problem is one of the fan (driver side) is not working. Before, I was told by my sister'* BF that it might not working because it wasnt used often. So, he said drive it often then. Anyway, I tried to start my car and let it get hot. When the fan (passenger side) turned on, I turned on the A/C thinking the other fan (driver side) will turn on but it didnt. The third problem is the coolant. I am thinking of draining/removing the coolant because I discovered that the radiator only contains water. I also dont know what kind of coolant to replace. I want to follow the manual which is DEX COOL but I heard lots of negative comment/issues about this product and I dont want to be the next victim of this. And I think that it doesnt even contain DEX COOL because the color of the collant in the coolant tank is somewhat green but when I dipped a stick on the coolant tank and wiped the stick the color is somewhat orange.
I am worried (even though it'* still fall). I want to solve these problems as soon as possible before the heat/spring/summer gets in. I dont want to be stock in the middle of the road due to my engine overheating. I will appreciate all replies. Thanks guys..
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:22 PM   #2
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Hi guys,

I'm a new member here. I have some problems with my Buick regal custom. I just bought it last month. It is a good deal because it has low mileage (9K) and barely used by its owner (has good tires). I heard GM cars easily get hot (temp rise) because fan(*) start to work when temp. gets into 200+ degree. Am I right? Anyway, my problems are related to this question which is in the coolant system. First, engine easily gets hot. Is this normal especially when you're in stop or in heavy traffic? I even feel the heat because the warm air gets into the car (I dont even need to turn on the heater sometimes). The second problem is one of the fan (driver side) is not working. Before, I was told by my sister'* BF that it might not working because it wasnt used often. So, he said drive it often then. Anyway, I tried to start my car and let it get hot. When the fan (passenger side) turned on, I turned on the A/C thinking the other fan (driver side) will turn on but it didnt. The third problem is the coolant. I am thinking of draining/removing the coolant because I discovered that the radiator only contains water. I also dont know what kind of coolant to replace. I want to follow the manual which is DEX COOL but I heard lots of negative comment/issues about this product and I dont want to be the next victim of this. And I think that it doesnt even contain DEX COOL because the color of the collant in the coolant tank is somewhat green but when I dipped a stick on the coolant tank and wiped the stick the color is somewhat orange.
I am worried (even though it'* still fall). I want to solve these problems as soon as possible before the heat/spring/summer gets in. I dont want to be stock in the middle of the road due to my engine overheating. I will appreciate all replies. Thanks guys..
A few things to take into consideration. These cars come with a 195 degree thermostat, but the fans are not set to kick on until 210 or 215 degrees. The secondary fan is set ot turn on either when your A/C turns on, or when the car reaches 225 or 235 degrees (I forget which) If by that point your primary fan doesn't turn on, then there'* something wrong. I would start by checking the relay for that fan. What year is your car?

When you mentioned it gets hot, how high up does the needle go?

Dexcool in itself is not the problem. There are a number of problems that contribute to issues that have been blamed on dexcool. To start, you MUST use distilled water when mixing dexcool. In addition, you need to get it flushed. Sure the manufacturer recommends 100k mile intervals, but I'd seriously do it every 50k. Let it get too old, and you will have issues. The last point is that you can't let air get into the system. That screws things up.

If your car was made to run with dexcool, put dexcool back in there and make sure its done right. Bleed the air properly, get pre-mixed or dilute it with distilled water.

Give us some more information and we can go from there.

Oh, and welcome to GMForum. Don't be shy, go over to the new members' section and introduce yourself.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:12 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response. A few things to take into consideration. These cars come with a 195 degree thermostat, but the fans are not set to kick on until 210 or 215 degrees. How hot is 225 degree? How can you tell by looking at the needle because the fan (passenger side) starts to turn when the needle reaches the middle point. It stops when it goes down a little bit. The secondary fan is set ot turn on either when your A/C turns on, or when the car reaches 225 or 235 degrees (I forget which) If by that point your primary fan doesn't turn on, then there'* something wrong. I don’t know which one is the primary fan: the driver side or the passenger side.If the middle point is 225 degrees, there might be a problem because like you said that the secondary fan should turn on by the time car reaches 225 or 235 degrees but (reaches the middle point) it never did. And also like I told you, I waited for the fan to turn on. When the fan (passenger side) turned on, I turned on the A/C and the fan (passenger side) just turned fast and the other fan (driver side) didn’t. I would start by checking the relay for that fan. Where can I find the relay and how do I know if it has a problem?What year is your car? My car is Buick regal Custom 1996.

When you mentioned it gets hot, how high up does the needle go? the needle reaches the middle point.

Dexcool in itself is not the problem. There are a number of problems that contribute to issues that have been blamed on dexcool. To start, you MUST use distilled water when mixing dexcool. In addition, you need to get it flushed. On the other hand, I was wrong about the coolant. I think it is DEX COOL because the color of the coolant is orange. Okay, I dont know if this is wrong but I added some "Prestone mix with any color coolant" (of course I mixed with water so it'* 50/50) in the radiator. Please tell me if I messed it up.Sure the manufacturer recommends 100k mile intervals, but I'd seriously do it every 50k. Let it get too old, and you will have issues. I think the coolant is too old. That'* why I'm thinking to replace it. The last point is that you can't let air get into the system. That screws things up. How can you prevent this to happen?

If your car was made to run with dexcool, put dexcool back in there and make sure its done right. Bleed the air properly, get pre-mixed or dilute it with distilled water.

Give us some more information and we can go from there. Thank you very much.

Oh, and welcome to GMForum. Don't be shy, go over to the new members' section and introduce yourself.
Please, help me. Okay, I'll go. And again, thank you very much..
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:44 AM   #4
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Be sure to check the fuses for the fans. You may have a bad fuse for the one not working. One fan comes on before the other, don't remember which is which but one comes on a a higher temp.

There'* no problem with DEX, as mentioned, change it just like any other coolant. Be sure to drain and flush it all out. If you mix green with DEX you will get a black sludge and have problems.

Does the engine get hot when moving, or only sitting still? Also, what temp is the gauge saying?
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by DJ 24 View Post
Thanks for the response. A few things to take into consideration. These cars come with a 195 degree thermostat, but the fans are not set to kick on until 210 or 215 degrees. How hot is 225 degree? How can you tell by looking at the needle because the fan (passenger side) starts to turn when the needle reaches the middle point. It stops when it goes down a little bit. The secondary fan is set ot turn on either when your A/C turns on, or when the car reaches 225 or 235 degrees (I forget which) If by that point your primary fan doesn't turn on, then there'* something wrong. I don’t know which one is the primary fan: the driver side or the passenger side.If the middle point is 225 degrees, there might be a problem because like you said that the secondary fan should turn on by the time car reaches 225 or 235 degrees but (reaches the middle point) it never did. And also like I told you, I waited for the fan to turn on. When the fan (passenger side) turned on, I turned on the A/C and the fan (passenger side) just turned fast and the other fan (driver side) didn’t. I would start by checking the relay for that fan. Where can I find the relay and how do I know if it has a problem?What year is your car? My car is Buick regal Custom 1996.

When you mentioned it gets hot, how high up does the needle go? the needle reaches the middle point.

Dexcool in itself is not the problem. There are a number of problems that contribute to issues that have been blamed on dexcool. To start, you MUST use distilled water when mixing dexcool. In addition, you need to get it flushed. On the other hand, I was wrong about the coolant. I think it is DEX COOL because the color of the coolant is orange. Okay, I dont know if this is wrong but I added some "Prestone mix with any color coolant" (of course I mixed with water so it'* 50/50) in the radiator. Please tell me if I messed it up.Sure the manufacturer recommends 100k mile intervals, but I'd seriously do it every 50k. Let it get too old, and you will have issues. I think the coolant is too old. That'* why I'm thinking to replace it. The last point is that you can't let air get into the system. That screws things up. How can you prevent this to happen?

If your car was made to run with dexcool, put dexcool back in there and make sure its done right. Bleed the air properly, get pre-mixed or dilute it with distilled water.

Give us some more information and we can go from there. Thank you very much.

Oh, and welcome to GMForum. Don't be shy, go over to the new members' section and introduce yourself.

Please, help me. Okay, I'll go. And again, thank you very much..
The middle point should be right at 200 degrees, the 1/4 line should be around 180 degrees, and the 225 or 235 point should be at the 3/4 mark. If you're getting close to the 3/4 mark, that'* your indication that there'* something wrong. The car will creep up above the middle point a little ways before the primary fan turns on in order to cool down the car. On my 95 Regal, the primary is the driver side fan, the secondary is the passenger side fan, although yours might be reversed if your passenger fan is kicking on right as you reach the middle point in your temperatures.

I just did some more research and it looks like the primary fan is set to kick on at 210 degrees F, and the secondary at 225 degrees F (right around the 3/4 mark).

According to what I have read from various publications, mixing conventional green coolant with dexcool will not hurt anything except cause DexCool to lose its extended life properties. Some claim it will create some form of gel or sludge in the system, but having accidentally done this on two occasions now (the first time driving it like that for 25k miles), I did not experience the mentioned sludge. Its not recommended, but if you happened to do it, I don't think there will be any problems. If you are at all worried about it, have a shop flush out your entire cooling system and replace it with DexCool. If its older than 5 years or 50,000 miles, I would replace it.

Generally air gets into the system when there'* a leak somewhere. You'll notice the level in your overflow tank has marks for hot and low level. That'* because when your engine gets hot, the fluid expands, and goes into the overflow tank. The radiator cap has a set pressure that it will hold in the system before it allows it to go to the overflow tank. When your car cools back down, the fluid contracts and gets sucked back in from the overflow tank. If you have a leak anywhere in the car, when your system cools down, it will suck air back in from that leak. If at any point you've had to add coolant because it was low, you have a leak that needs to be addressed.

I happen to have my sister in law'* 96 Regal up on jackstands in my garage for some brake line work, so I can answer any specific questions you might have and take pictures as needed.

You mentioned in your intro thread that you had 9k miles. Was that actually 9,000 miles, or 90,000?
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:08 PM   #6
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Keep in mind there is a green all color coolant. That will not sludge up. The bottle will have a all color label on it.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:20 PM   #7
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Be sure to check the fuses for the fans. You may have a bad fuse for the one not working. One fan comes on before the other, don't remember which is which but one comes on a a higher temp.

There'* no problem with DEX, as mentioned, change it just like any other coolant. Be sure to drain and flush it all out. If you mix green with DEX you will get a black sludge and have problems.

Does the engine get hot when moving, or only sitting still? Also, what temp is the gauge saying?
By the way, I was wrong about 9K mileage. It'* really 98K. Sorry typo..

Fuses? are those the 3 (2 are for the fans) black shaped box (under the hood at passenger side inside the fuse compartment)?? these are different kind of fuses.. it'* hard to tell if they are worn out because they are not not transparent like the normal ones.

When you say "One fan comes on before the other, don't remember which is which but one comes on a a higher temp." when does the other fan normally turn? is it right after the other one or is it when the engine is near of the overheating state? do you think its not turning (the other fan) because we're still in cold sesson and normaly turns when its really hot? The fan which is turning turns for a few minutes (probably 2 minutes) when the needle reaches the middle point of the gauge.

About the DEX COOL, would you recommend that a certified mechanic do the changes or can I do it myself?? The green one??? what kind of coolant is that?? and how green (thick or light)? Like I told you I added some (50/50) "prestone mix with any color" coolant on the radiator. Its somewhat yellow green. Is this the one that you've told? If it is, will it bring problems even I drain and change the coolant to pure (50/50) DEX COOL? OW MY GOD!!! I think I'm messing my car by doing things to it..

Now that you mention, both yes, engine gets hot especially when moving. I dont know how hot but every morning when I fetch my mom to work, we feel sudden warmness coming out from the engine. A/C doenst turn on, and the needle havent even reach the middle point of the gauge.. Sometimes when I drive, warm air is getting out from the engine that I have to open the window because it feels like too much A/C.. We have different feelings but maybe mine is just too sensitive..
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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By the way, I was wrong about 9K mileage. It'* really 98K. Sorry typo..

Fuses? are those the 3 (2 are for the fans) black shaped box (under the hood at passenger side inside the fuse compartment)?? these are different kind of fuses.. it'* hard to tell if they are worn out because they are not not transparent like the normal ones.

When you say "One fan comes on before the other, don't remember which is which but one comes on a a higher temp." when does the other fan normally turn? is it right after the other one or is it when the engine is near of the overheating state? do you think its not turning (the other fan) because we're still in cold sesson and normaly turns when its really hot? The fan which is turning turns for a few minutes (probably 2 minutes) when the needle reaches the middle point of the gauge.

About the DEX COOL, would you recommend that a certified mechanic do the changes or can I do it myself?? The green one??? what kind of coolant is that?? and how green (thick or light)? Like I told you I added some (50/50) "prestone mix with any color" coolant on the radiator. Its somewhat yellow green. Is this the one that you've told? If it is, will it bring problems even I drain and change the coolant to pure (50/50) DEX COOL? OW MY GOD!!! I think I'm messing my car by doing things to it..

Now that you mention, both yes, engine gets hot especially when moving. I dont know how hot but every morning when I fetch my mom to work, we feel sudden warmness coming out from the engine. A/C doenst turn on, and the needle havent even reach the middle point of the gauge.. Sometimes when I drive, warm air is getting out from the engine that I have to open the window because it feels like too much A/C.. We have different feelings but maybe mine is just too sensitive..
The fuses and relays for the fans should be on the passenger side right above the PCM (the car'* computer), in front of the wheelwell.

The first fan will turn on, allow the car to cool back down, and then turn off. If the car really never gets near the 3/4 mark, you really don't have anything to worry about. This is normal operation.

You should be fine with that coolant you added, but if the DexCool has never been replaced in those entire 98k miles, I would definitely get it replaced by a professional shop as they will flush out the old fluid and then put the new in, where as all you'll be able to do is drain it. Its a problem of the old coolant being so old, not a problem with mixing the coolant you just added.

How high does the needle go before the first fan kicks on? Could you perhaps get a picture of this behavior, both the maximum temperature it reaches and the point where the fan turns off?
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:35 PM   #9
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The middle point should be right at 200 degrees, the 1/4 line should be around 180 degrees, and the 225 or 235 point should be at the 3/4 mark. If you're getting close to the 3/4 mark, that'* your indication that there'* something wrong. Oh, the needle never reaches the ¾ mark. The car will creep up above the middle point a little ways before the primary fan turns on in order to cool down the car. Yup, when the needle exceed just a little bit beyond the middle point or even reaches the middle point, the fan starts to turn and stops when the needle moves back a bit from the middle mark. On my 95 Regal, the primary is the driver side fan, the secondary is the passenger side fan, although yours might be reversed if your passenger fan is kicking on right as you reach the middle point in your temperatures.

I just did some more research and it looks like the primary fan is set to kick on at 210 degrees F, and the secondary at 225 degrees F (right around the 3/4 mark). Hmm.. So it means that the other fan (driver side) will never turn on till it reaches the ¾ mark and might turn on especially in hot seasons. So it means that it is just a back up fan? However, how do I know/check if it is working alright?

According to what I have read from various publications, mixing conventional green coolant (how about the “prestone mix with any colors” coolant, is this counted?) with dexcool will not hurt anything except cause DexCool to lose its extended life properties. Some claim it will create some form of gel or sludge in the system, but having accidentally done this on two occasions now (the first time driving it like that for 25k miles), I did not experience the mentioned sludge. Its not recommended, but if you happened to do it, I don't think there will be any problems. If you are at all worried about it, have a shop flush out your entire cooling system and replace it with DexCool. If its older than 5 years or 50,000 miles, I would replace it. I think the previous owner hasn’t changed the coolant yet or even done anything with the car like change oil etc. What I know about the car is the owner barely used it that’* why it only has 98K.

Generally air gets into the system when there'* a leak somewhere. You'll notice the level in your overflow tank has marks for hot and low level. That'* because when your engine gets hot, the fluid expands, and goes into the overflow tank. The radiator cap has a set pressure that it will hold in the system before it allows it to go to the overflow tank. When your car cools back down, the fluid contracts and gets sucked back in from the overflow tank. I’m so stupid!! I put coolant even it has enough as you mention. Like you said “When your car cools back down, the fluid contracts and gets sucked back in from the overflow tank.” I thought it is lacked of coolant so I added some. That’* why it over flowed. Stupid me.. Will it cause any problem?? If you have a leak anywhere in the car (do you mean in cooling system-radiator, coolant tank, etc?), when your system cools down, it will suck air back in from that leak (I happend to add the coolant and let it suck inside and over flow from the radiator but I capped it after I'm done and while the car is still hot by then. Do you think it sucked up air from the radiator uncapped mouth?) If at any point you've had to add coolant because it was low, you have a leak that needs to be addressed. I think there’* no leak since the level of the coolant never went down to cold. That'* why when I added coolant it over flowed. But still, I’m not sure. On the other hand, there are some noises when I make turns (turn the wheel). My sister’* BF told me to add fluid because it might be leaking I think its transmission fluid (not sure).

I happen to have my sister in law'* 96 Regal up on jackstands in my garage for some brake line work, so I can answer any specific questions you might have and take pictures as needed. Okay, I have additional question. When I drive I hear some ticking inside the dashboard. Is this came from the odometer or something? Do you think it’* somehow serious?
You mentioned in your intro thread that you had 9k miles. Was that actually 9,000 miles, or 90,000? It’* 98K. It was a typo..

Hmm. how much do you think will coolant and oil change cost? Thank you very much.. I'm learning so much/
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:47 PM   #10
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Keep in mind there is a green all color coolant. That will not sludge up. The bottle will have a all color label on it.
Is that the "prestone mix to any color' coolant, the yellow container? this one http://www.prestone.com/products/print/378?popup=1 if it is, WOOOOO, that'* a big relief.
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