cooling fan problem??

M

Mickey

Noticed something new today and not sure if this is normal or not.

Replaced thermostat this weekend and all appeared to be OK. While running the
engine to purge any entrapped air, noticed the cooling fans coming on and
cycling on a regular basis but duty cycle was probably less than 25%. Today I
noticed that every time I came to a stop the cooling fans would come on
immediately and stayed on until I was moving again. I live in a somewhat rural
area and no stop and go driving 40mph or more is quite easy. Weather is cool
(60°) & wet. Even had the heater on low. I don't think the fans were acting
this way before the repair but recently weather has been warmer that today.

New thermostat is stock temperature and temp gage is reading in the same area as
before.

Thought was maybe due to ambient temp the AC was coming on with the heater to
dehumidify the air but checked and AC is not running.

Anyone got an idea of what I'm seeing? TIA

Mickey
 
Are you sure that ALL the air is purged from the system. Recheck overflow
bottle when cold to see if more fluid has been sucked into the radiator. ed
 
Did you have the defrosters on? The defrosters will activate the AC to
dehumidify the air and to make sure that the seals stay oiled during the
winter months.

-Kurt
 
Edward said:
Are you sure that ALL the air is purged from the system. Recheck overflow
bottle when cold to see if more fluid has been sucked into the radiator. ed
Water level has stayed consistent for last several days. Have even pulled a
small vac on the radiator and saw no drop in fluid level due to entrapped air.

Mickey
 
Kurt said:
Did you have the defrosters on? The defrosters will activate the AC to
dehumidify the air and to make sure that the seals stay oiled during the
winter months.

-Kurt


Defroster wasn't on yesterday and I did mention AC compressor not running.

Anyone know the temp that the cooling fans come on at? Possibly that temp is so
close to the thermostat that there is almost no difference and fan could come on
at any time.

On the other hand I'm wondering why fans were coming on within a second or two
of stopping and why never shutting off as long as I'm stopped. Why no cycling
of the fans like is normal?

Need to find the reason for this operation as I don't want to find myself in a
overheated situation.

Mickey
 
Mickey said:
Need to find the reason for this operation as I don't want to find myself in a
overheated situation.

Hi,

Since none of the "usual suspects" seems to be your culprit, it may be
time to swap out the radiator sensor that turns on the fan(s) and see
what happens. My experience is that when the sensor fails, it usually
causes the fans NOT to go on (overheating) but that doesn't mean yours
couldn't be going the other way.

OTOH, it's STILL possible to have air in the system, even though your
overflow tank's not going down. When you purged the system, did you have
the car on an incline (front wheels on ramps or whatever) to make sure
air could get out? My Subie's not so bad about this, but I had a Toyota
that would take a month to get all the air out after a coolant change.
PITA!

Best of luck!

Rick
 
Rick Courtright wrote:

Hi,

Since none of the "usual suspects" seems to be your culprit, it may be
time to swap out the radiator sensor that turns on the fan(s) and see
what happens. My experience is that when the sensor fails, it usually
causes the fans NOT to go on (overheating) but that doesn't mean yours
couldn't be going the other way.

OTOH, it's STILL possible to have air in the system, even though your
overflow tank's not going down. When you purged the system, did you have
the car on an incline (front wheels on ramps or whatever) to make sure
air could get out? My Subie's not so bad about this, but I had a Toyota
that would take a month to get all the air out after a coolant change.
PITA!

Best of luck!

Rick

Did some further testing and still not sure.

Cooling fans are controlled via the ECU with input from sensor in the coolant
manifold atop the engine. Manual says signal from sensor at 85°C should be 1-1.4v.

I placed a thermocouple in the coolant and ran engine while fully warm at
various speeds for several mins. Temps ranged from 175-185°F and fans were on
full time. This is the temp the thermostat starts opening. Further test is
still needed but hope root cause isn't the ecu.

Maybe my continual post will help others or latecomer will see and have the answer.

Mickey
 
Mickey said:
Noticed something new today and not sure if this is normal or not.

Replaced thermostat this weekend and all appeared to be OK. While
running the engine to purge any entrapped air, noticed the cooling fans
coming on and cycling on a regular basis but duty cycle was probably
less than 25%. Today I noticed that every time I came to a stop the
cooling fans would come on immediately and stayed on until I was moving
again. I live in a somewhat rural area and no stop and go driving 40mph
or more is quite easy. Weather is cool (60°) & wet. Even had the
heater on low. I don't think the fans were acting this way before the
repair but recently weather has been warmer that today.

New thermostat is stock temperature and temp gage is reading in the same
area as before.

Thought was maybe due to ambient temp the AC was coming on with the
heater to dehumidify the air but checked and AC is not running.

Anyone got an idea of what I'm seeing? TIA

Mickey

Got to work on this problem yesterday and what I found was interesting and
thought some others might find it useful.

I had the chance to get over to my son's house where we had some test equip.
Was able to see some real-time readings from the ECU via the OBDII port and
laptop computer.

From physical observation I noted with the car stopped and cooling fans on,
within a min or two I could hold my hand on the upper radiator hose or top of
radiator and it didn't feel that hot. Also noted the air coming off the
radiator fans was cool and not what would be expected when engine temp was close
to 93(200). After seeing this I switched the heater on full blast. Within
several mins the measured temp had dropped to the point where the fans went off
and they stayed off. This indicated to me the problem most likely was with the
thermostat.

The measurements:
The stk thermostat is rated at 78 (172) and I expected to see the engine running
close to this but what I saw while driving was the engine was running between
92(198) - 96(205) depending upon driving conditions, much higher than expected.
Taking some other readings I found the cooling fans come on at 96(205) and
shuts off at 91(196).

As stated in original post the fans were coming on almost instantly when I came
to a stop. Now I can see why.

I pulled the new thermostat expecting to find is not functioning correctly but
what I noted instead was the flow passage on the new thermostat was a lot
smaller than on the original part. I took a couple measurements and did a quick
calc. What I found was the original part had an opening of 1.43 sq in and the
replacement part of .85 sq in. New part was Only 59% of the original. These
number were based on area of opening dia not including restriction of the center
support. Looking at the difference in the support design I would guess the new
part actually was only flowing 50% of the old.

Putting the old part back in and going for a drive I saw a 15-20°F drop in
temperature. Back at the house the car idled for another 5 or so min before the
fans came on.

The replacement part was a Beck/Arnly, made in Germany, almost $20. I would
have expected this part to be of high qlty in all respects but the reduced flow
just won't cut it.

Will have to drive to nearest city with a dealer so I can purchase a factory
spec't replacement.

Hope there is a lesson in here for all to learn from.

Mickey
 
Thanks Mickey; that's good information to file for later use. So many after
market parts seem to be listed as OK, only to find out that they only fit
the mounting bracket. I once got a pair of Monroe shocks for my 86 Saab that
were support to be valved and recommended by the Monroe book for my car. The
darn things fit beautiful but were valved for a vehicle weighing probably 2X
my Saab. I don't think the shocks moved at all when I hit a bump. Just
because it fits doesn't mean it's the correct design. Ed
 
Mickey said:
Hope there is a lesson in here for all to learn from.

Hi,

Thanks for the update! Looks like ANOTHER item to add to the "OEM works
best" list! Not sure why Subies are so picky about factory vs
aftermarket parts but they sure seem to be. My dealer parts guy jokes
that aftermarket parts for Subies are all guaranteed: not to fit or work
right! Several experiences of mine make me think he's right.

Rick
 
Rick said:
Mickey wrote:




Hi,

Thanks for the update! Looks like ANOTHER item to add to the "OEM works
best" list! Not sure why Subies are so picky about factory vs
aftermarket parts but they sure seem to be. My dealer parts guy jokes
that aftermarket parts for Subies are all guaranteed: not to fit or work
right! Several experiences of mine make me think he's right.

Rick
Got the factory replacement part put in on Tues and took it out for an
instrumented run. At speed engine temp was running 183-185F. Big difference
than seen with the Beck/Arnley which had the car running at 198-205F.

All is well with the fan operation again.

Mickey
 
I've had this problem with all makes of cars and not just Subaru. It may be
more of a problem with low volume sales encouraging aftermarket suppliers to
find something that fits the "hole" but not made expressly for any given
vehicle. ed
 

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