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Thread: Actual thermostat and fan operating temperatures?

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    Default Actual thermostat and fan operating temperatures?

    Hello to all,
    New to this forum. I have recently purchased a 2003 vectra c 1.8 club (hatchback with aircon). The car came with a non working thermostat so that has now ben changed by my local garage (too long since I got my half inch socket set out and it's all torx now so a new tool kit would be required). The car now warms up quickly and the temperature sits at about 82 degrees on the move and then slowly rises when sittng in traffic to 92 degrees at which point the fan kicks in and causes the temperature to fluctuate around the 90 mark.I know that the thermostats on the 1.8's are rated at 92 degrees. I would have thought that this meant that the car should have it's temperature regulated at 92 degrees on the move ??? My question is what should the regulated temperature be for the car when it's reached it's perfect running temperature on the move(not stuck in traffic) and what is the actual temeprature that the fan should kick in ? Somewhere there must be actual figures for these. The thermostat for the 2.2 is rated at 82 degrees confusionally the same as what my 1.8 runs at whilst on the move. Thanks in advance for any replies. Wickers.

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    On my 1.8 the thermostat opens at 86 and, as you've found, the fan kicks in at 92. In the winter mine sits at 85 and in the summer it sits at 90 unless stopped in traffic.

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    Mine too (now I've got a working thermostat!). The temperature range it's aiming for is 85-90C.

    If the car's not moving (so effectively the radiator isn't doing much to cool what's passing through it), the temperature rises to 87 (mid way between the marks on the gauge), then drops back slightly (thermostat opens fully and the cold coolant in the radiator gets mixed with the hot coolant in the engine), then carries on rising until the needle's just past the 90 mark when the fan comes on, then it cycles on and off every few minutes and coolant temperature sits between 88 and 92.

    If the car's moving, then it normally sits between 86 (heaters on full, moving fast in sub zero conditions) and 88. Stopping in traffic after a high speed cruise it'll creep up to 92 then drop back to 87 when moving again.

    82 is too low. Did you replace the temperature sensor and housing, or just the thermostat? If just the thermostat then it could still be leaking slightly due to a worn housing (my previous stat did this), or the sensor could be covered in limescale and not getting a true reading.

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    Hi, thanks for the replies.

    The new thermostat was a complete new unit including the thermostat housing with new temp sender.

    When the temperature sits at 82 degrees on the move it does also drop slighltly below the 80 mark if the heater is put on full blast.

    Should I be going back to the garage and say the new part is faulty?

    Wickers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wickers View Post
    Hi, thanks for the replies.

    The new thermostat was a complete new unit including the thermostat housing with new temp sender.

    When the temperature sits at 82 degrees on the move it does also drop slighltly below the 80 mark if the heater is put on full blast.

    Should I be going back to the garage and say the new part is faulty?

    Wickers
    How are you measuring these temperatures so accuratley?

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    Interpulating between the main marks on the temp gauge. Assuming the temp gauge is accurate it seems reasonably possible to be visually within +/- one degree. This of course is based on my assumption that the temp gauge is accurate ????

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    Regular Member alcutler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wickers View Post
    Interpulating between the main marks on the temp gauge. Assuming the temp gauge is accurate it seems reasonably possible to be visually within +/- one degree. This of course is based on my assumption that the temp gauge is accurate ????
    Thats the problem - there can be quite a descrepancy in the accuracy of the temperature gauge, thats why they have calibrated them in 5 degree increments, so to be honest I wouldn't rely too much on the readings this gives, also the accuracy of the thermostats opening temp itself -its a very basic mechanism and they are only accurate to within a few degrees - so taking that into account how accurate are the readings on the temp gauge. Perhaps a better method of testing the operating temperature is to connect a diagnostic reader to the car but even that will reply on the engine coolant temp sensor. Very difficult to get an accurate temperature.
    I think a good basic guide that the coolant system is working properly is that the engine quickly gets up to its maximum working temp. (going by the gauge) and that it stays pretty constant, with slight deviations depending on long periods of being stationary with the engine ticking over and obviously the outside temperature, but even then the thermostat should maintain a steady running temperature. Also ensure that the radiator fans are working should the temperature rise too much.
    The temperature gauge will fall slightly with the heater on full with the fan blowing as this acts in the same way as the fan on the radiator. The details you have given sound about right and I wouldn't worry too much.
    Last edited by alcutler; 6th April 2012 at 12:49.

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    The car now that the new thermostat has been fitted does get up in temperature very quickly (reaches 80 degrees within 2 miles). It does stay reasonably constant besides dropping a few degrees with the heater on.

    All in all the thermostat does seem to be doing its job. What has caused the doubt is that the 2.2 vectra runs at a lower temperature than the 1.8 and its started to make me think that the new thermostat is actually for a 2.2 and not my 1.8 (although they are different in appearance).

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    I suppose another way of accurately measuring the coolant temp would be to get one of the infared digital thermometers (Machine Mart sell them - but can get them cheaper on Fleabay) you would have to point it at the hose leaving the thermostat housing, as near to the temp sensor as possible, and they give a digital reading of the temperature. Accurate to a fraction of a degree and you could compare the temp gauge to this reading to see how accurate the gauge is.
    I had a problem on my other car with one of the brake calipers binding and wasn't sure which one it was - I bought one of these thermometers and soon found which disc was getting warmer than the others - handy bit of kit - although the wifes pinched it now to check the temp of her tropical fish tanks every morning
    Oh and welcome to the Forum!

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    Thanks for the welcome

    The infrared thermometer is a great idea (just been using one to find the heat losses in my house).

    Vauxhall must have actual temperature specifications for thermostats and cooling fan operation and it would be good to use as comparison.

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