Question about 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

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My check engine light is on, and today my temperature gauge stopped working and we have replaced the engine coolant sensor and the connector and temperature gauge still not working. PLEASE HELP

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Could be the thermostat. I know nothing about cars but I noticed my 2000 Grand Prix temp gauge was not going to the normal level. My wife drives this car so I didn't notice it for a month or so. Eventually the Engine light came on. Took it to Autozone and the code came back as P0180... (1) low coolant (2) bad thermostat (3) enginge fuel temp sensor. They used a code reader that was about the size of an Ipod nano.

Coolant was okay, so took it to my mechanic. His netbook sized computer showed it was the Thermostat. He reset the codes and the temp guage went back to normal. Was short on $40 for the fix at the time, so I parked the car and promised to bring it back in 3 days. Went out and checked the car a day later at 25 degrees outside without starting the car... gauge still sitting at the normal level. No question it's the thermostat. That car will not be driven again until T.stat is fixed in 2 days.

Posted on Jan 30, 2011

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According to Autozone.com:

Because ECT (engine coolant temperature) sensor procedures vary depending upon their location, first locate the part. You may need to partially drain the engine coolant to prevent coolant spillage.
  • Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  • Unplug the ECT.
  • Then, unscrew it.
  • Reverse the removal procedures to install the new part.
  • Connect the negative battery cable to the battery.



    Related Parts:
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Coolant Temperature Sensor printpage_icon.gif



0900c152801bfc38.jpg enlarge_icon.gifenlarge_tooltip.gif

Fig. Remove the coolant temperature sensor
The coolant temperature gauge sensor is a temperature-variable resistor, or thermistor. As coolant temperature increases, the resistance of the sensor decreases or decreases, depending on the type of sensor.
A1 and A2 platforms use a different type of circuit that A3 vehicles. On A1 and A2 vehicles, the circuit is a "resistance to ground" type. A3 vehicles use a "variable voltage" type, where a voltage is supplied to the sensor. Because of the circuitry design on A3 vehicles, testing of the coolant temperature gauge is limited.
The engine coolant temperature gauge uses a heat sensitive sending unit to transmit an electrical signal to the gauge. The sending unit is a heat sensitive variable resistor that is located on or near to the cylinder head and threads into an engine coolant passage. The sensors are a Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) type. As the temperature increases, the electrical resistance of the sensor decreases. As the coolant temperature changes, so does the resistance of the sensor. The gauge is calibrated within the operating range of the sensor and interprets the resistance value to display the coolant temperature.
Beginning with model year 1994, the engine coolant gauge and the Engine Control Module (ECM) temperature sensors were combined into one sensor with 4 terminals. The basic operation remains the same in that their resistance decreases as the coolant temperature increases, however the actual resistance values of the 2 sensor circuits are different. The electrical connector of the 4-wire terminal sensor ( 1 and 2 ) is keyed to prevent improper connection of the sensor's electrical circuit.

0900c152801bfc39.jpg enlarge_icon.gifenlarge_tooltip.gif

Fig. Beginning with model year 1994, the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensors combined the sensors for the ECM and the gauge into one sensor-1997 2.8L V6 sensor shown


0900c152801bfc3a.jpg enlarge_icon.gifenlarge_tooltip.gif

Fig. The electrical connector for the combined temperature sensors is keyed to avoid improperly connecting the sensor's wiring-1997 2.8L V6 connector shown

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Coolant Temperature Sensor I would take the vehicle back to where it was serviced and try to ask them about what may have gone wrong to cause this problem.
The Intake Air Temperature sensor should also be checked.

The following is the procedure for servicing the coolant temperature sensor: Removal & Installation 3.8L Engine To Remove:
  1. Drain the coolant.
  2. Disconnect the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor connector. ECT sensor 3.8L gm-04-38-4321.gif

  3. Remove the ECT sensor.
To Install:
  1. Apply thread sealer P/N 12346004 or equivalent to the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor threads.
  2. Install the ECT sensor. Tighten 18 ft-lb (25 Nm).
  3. Connect the ECT sensor harness connector.
  4. Fill the cooling system.
5.3L Engine To Remove:
  1. Drain the coolant below the level of the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor.
  2. Disconnect the ECT sensor electrical connector. ECT sensor 5.3L gm-04-53-4322.gif

  3. Remove the ECT sensor from the cylinder head.
To Install:
  1. Clean the threads in the sensor mounting hole.
  2. Apply sealer P/N 13246004 or equivalent to the threads of the sensor.
  3. Install the sensor and tighten 15 ft-lb (20 Nm).
  4. Connect the ECT sensor electrical connector.
  5. Fill the cooling system and check for leaks.
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The Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor is mounted in the intake manifold and sends engine temperature information to the ECM. The ECM supplies 5 volts to the coolant temperature sensor circuit. The sensor is a thermistor which changes internal resistance as temperature changes. When the sensor is cold (internal resistance high), the ECM monitors a high signal voltage which it interprets as a cold engine. As the sensor warms (internal resistance low), the ECM monitors a low signal voltage which it interprets as warm engine.
0900c1528008f125.jpgFig. 1: View of the Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor 0900c1528008f126.jpgFig. 2: Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor locationTESTING
See Figures 3 and 4
  1. Remove the ECT sensor from the vehicle.
  2. Immerse the tip of the sensor in container of water.
  3. Connect a digital ohmmeter to the two terminals of the sensor.
  4. Using a calibrated thermometer, compare the resistance of the sensor to the temperature of the water. Refer to the engine coolant sensor temperature vs. resistance illustration.
  5. Repeat the test at two other temperature points, heating or cooling the water as necessary.
  6. If the sensor does not meet specification, it must be replaced.
0900c1528008f120.jpgFig. 3: Intake Air Temperature (IAT) and Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor wiring diagram 0900c1528008f095.jpgFig. 4: ECT sensor temperature vs. resistance values

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