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Overheating Of Engines With Electric Cooling Fans

Ever since gasoline prices have shot up, vehicle manufacturers have downsized cars and their engines. One of the best ways of making a car smaller is to turn the engine sideways under the hood. This has instituted the use of one or more electric cooling fans to move air through the radiator. Diagnosing overheating conditions on engines with electric cooling fans requires a few extra steps to ensure that the electrical control system for the fan is operating properly.

o Perform all of the tests associated with normal
installations, for example: check antifreeze level,
thermostat, water pump and hoses.

o Check that the cooling fan is moving air through the
radiator. With the fan turned on air should never blow out
through the front of the vehicle. If there is more than one
fan, be sure to check both. It's possible for the
electrical leads to be reversed during installation causing
the fan to move air in the opposite direction.

o If the vehicle is equipped with two fans, be sure that both
of them work. If the vehicle is equipped with air
conditioning, one of the fans may only operate when the air
conditioning is on. Consult the service manual if you are
not sure.

o Fans are controlled by a temperature sending unit. Check a
suspected faulty sensor by bridging the two connections. If
the fan comes on, then the sensor is at fault.

o Verify that the fan comes on at the temperature listed in
the service manual. Replace the sensor if the proper
temperatures are not maintained.

For additional information see AERA Technical Bulletins: TB 706,
SB 158 & SB 137

The AERA Technical Committee
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