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02' WS6 Temp too high for my comfort

This is a discussion on 02' WS6 Temp too high for my comfort within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; ^^ This. I was just curious as to what thermostat you had in it. Quite possible it burped some air, ...

  1. #21
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    ^^ This. I was just curious as to what thermostat you had in it. Quite possible it burped some air, or that the extra ended up in the overflow bottle. Is the system still filled with Dexcool (orange) or does it have "green" coolant in it?

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    Silly me - I was on the parts website and I was under the impression that 186 WAS stock.

    Car has only had orange Dex-cool in it. It was replaced every year by previous owner, who drove it 2500 miles a year.


    Where can I buy something that will tune the fans? I'd love to do this.

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    It might be stock temp setting. I'm not sure of that. It sounded like it might have been lower than stock though so I thought I'd just make the comment. I have a 160 degree t-stat and my fans were adjusted through a tune to accommodate that. It needs to be adjusted in the PCM, but I wouldn't recommend messing with the settings if yours is indeed stock.

    Has to be something else. You verified both fans come on. Have you been able to identify at what temp each fan turns on? There's a low and then high setting.

    Aside from that, I'm not sure. Low coolant level, air in the system, non-pressurized/working cap, and a failing water pump are the main root causes of running higher than normal usually.
    It's on jackstands.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Like Scott said, don't rely on the factory temp gauge. Ours reads right around 205, no matter what the actual engine temp is. On my scanner, the temp is generally in the 185 to 195 degree range with a 180 degree thermostat. Just a note - The cooling systems in these engines will airlock when you drain and refill the cooling system, so ensure that both your hoses get hot as your engine gets up to the thermostats rated opening temp.
    Going back to Jeff's remark, the gauges in our cars (in all cars, I believe) are intentionally inaccurate. As long as nothing is wrong, they tend to just stay at the same spot. This "helps" uninitiated owners from freaking out when the needles start to move around. I posted a thread on here a while back asking about people's idle speeds. Mine sits a 1000 rpm at idle. Others posted numbers between 600 and 1200 (IIRC). When I finally hooked up my car to a scanner, the scanner indicated that my idle was fluctuating between 790 and 810 rpm. It also indicated that the "commanded" rpm was 800. So the engine was running just fine. The needle was just not pointing at the correct hash mark.

    If I'm not mistaken, the readings on the scanner that you plugged in seem to be within normal spec. My first inclination is that this car's needles point at different places than your other two, and that it's "normal" for this car, even though the needle might be indicating a "false" temperature. But I'm far from expert in these matters.
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  5. #25
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    Best bet is a mail order tune from Frost. You can download a data sheet from his website, fill in the details and then send him your PCM. He does excellent work with a fast turn around time.

    If you want to get into it yourself, then HP Tuners Pro is the way to go. You can get into all sorts of trouble with this... there is a lot to it. Fortunately, their website and tuning forum is very helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Going back to Jeff's remark, the gauges in our cars (in all cars, I believe) are intentionally inaccurate. As long as nothing is wrong, they tend to just stay at the same spot. This "helps" uninitiated owners from freaking out when the needles start to move around. I posted a thread on here a while back asking about people's idle speeds. Mine sits a 1000 rpm at idle. Others posted numbers between 600 and 1200 (IIRC). When I finally hooked up my car to a scanner, the scanner indicated that my idle was fluctuating between 790 and 810 rpm. It also indicated that the "commanded" rpm was 800. So the engine was running just fine. The needle was just not pointing at the correct hash mark.

    If I'm not mistaken, the readings on the scanner that you plugged in seem to be within normal spec. My first inclination is that this car's needles point at different places than your other two, and that it's "normal" for this car, even though the needle might be indicating a "false" temperature. But I'm far from expert in these matters.
    Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it!


    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Best bet is a mail order tune from Frost. You can download a data sheet from his website, fill in the details and then send him your PCM. He does excellent work with a fast turn around time.

    If you want to get into it yourself, then HP Tuners Pro is the way to go. You can get into all sorts of trouble with this... there is a lot to it. Fortunately, their website and tuning forum is very helpful.
    Mail order tune - I forgot all about that. What is Frost. Who is Frost? Guide me, teacher! Honestly as soon as the fans come in, it goes right back to the sweet spot. Having them come on just a bit sooner would be great.

    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    It might be stock temp setting. I'm not sure of that. It sounded like it might have been lower than stock though so I thought I'd just make the comment. I have a 160 degree t-stat and my fans were adjusted through a tune to accommodate that. It needs to be adjusted in the PCM, but I wouldn't recommend messing with the settings if yours is indeed stock.

    Has to be something else. You verified both fans come on. Have you been able to identify at what temp each fan turns on? There's a low and then high setting.

    Aside from that, I'm not sure. Low coolant level, air in the system, non-pressurized/working cap, and a failing water pump are the main root causes of running higher than normal usually.
    I had the numbers pulled up and watched the fans come on at both speeds, so that is totally fine.

    Quite a few of you have said that it seems to be running as intended which I'd agree with, EXCEPT for the very faint smell of coolant the next morning from the vents. But the cap, pump, gaskets, t-stat, belts, and coolant were just replaced, and still seeing the same issue.

    I was going to drive it today in traffic with the log device, but it was too wet outside before leaving for work. I know, it may sound silly, but the car has never seen rain or wet conditions so I'm trying to keep it that way.

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    More info:

    After running around in stop and go traffic and parking it, the temp gauge will be pegged 3/4 of the way up, then will shoot down once the engine is started.




    Just to make sure this looks right




    This is what the temp got to after letting it sit for a few minutes after the engine was turned off from just running in the driveway at night. When started, the fans came on.


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    I would consider changing the stat to 160 having the fans set. If I remember they are set to 170&172 that should put you in your happy place. The overall mail order tune is nice to have.
    Your pictures show just where my guage ran before I changed my set up. I would also maybe dig into blowing out the radiator or at least checking it better. I removed some of the duct work on mine and just. Recently did the same on a friends Vette to install a ram air system and was amazed at the dirt that gets trapped in the fins. Just a thought.
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    UPDATE:

    So I ran a few errands, and before I returned my reader, I sat and recorded the temp with a video camera. The guy working at the parts shop has an LSx truck, and said he could smell the coolant from the engine bay, said it smelled like it was coming from under the battery in that area. That is the one thing I haven't checked, is under the battery. Is this worth pulling up and checking? I thought the overflow wasn't pressurized / part of the system. The video is very boring, so here are the details.

    When I pulled into the parking lot and stopped:

    TEMP - 208


    After exactly 2 minutes of idling with temp increasing:

    TEMP - 228

    High fan kicked on, and brought it down to 214, where it then continued to heat up again after the fans turned off.


    ALSO!

    This happened when I left. I had all my vents off, and my windshield fogged up pretty bad. Check the short video below:


  10. #30
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    Sweet smell coming from vents and fogging windshield, usually means bad heater core. You can rent a cooling system pressure tester from a local parts store and pump it up to pressure as stated on the radiator cap. See if pressure holds for extended period of time. 30-50 minutes. Try to do this after the engine is warm also. Be careful when removing the rad cap so you dont get burned.

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    As for checking the radiator for junk in the fins. Take your air filter box off. Then take off the top radiator assembly hold down bracket. This has 4 bolts holding it in place. Pull this off and look down inside there in between the a/c condenser and the radiator. While this piece is off you can also flush this out with a garden hose. I like to flush it from inside the engine compartment out towards the front bumper. The reverse of the normal air flow. You will be surprised how much dust and dirt gets trapped in between those fins.
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    Your temp gauge after shutting down the car seems normal to me. All cars will get a little hotter after shutting them off, due to exhaust heat and heat soak in general inside the engine bay. Remember these cars (Trans ams/Camaros) are almost completely shut off from any outside air compared to a lot of other vehicles that have an open front grille.

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    I think your issues of coolant smell and engine temps aren't related to each other, just coincidence.

    The fogged windshield is likely a heater core issue and would also contribute to the coolant smell out of the vents.

    The temps you logged look normal and fall right in line with what GM does with these cars. Pretty sure the factory tune won't even kick the high speed fan on until 230ish (I'd have to check the stock tune file) but in a nutshell they are setup to run pretty darn hot, mainly for emissions reasons.

    I don't care to run them so hot, so a cooler thermostat and fan reprogramming is always first on my list with a new car.

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    What was the outside temperature when you pulled out and window fogged? If you look to the right the yellow truck has vapor coming from the exhaust. That tells me it is chilly out and with you and your body temp and sun hitting windshield it wouldn't be uncommon for windshield to fog with no defrost on. I know you westerners don't know what cold is but we here in the east run the defrost pretty much from October to late April...lol
    Last edited by kingls1; 01-20-2015 at 06:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingls1 View Post
    . I know you westerners don't know what cold is but we here in the east run the defrost pretty much from October to late April...lol
    Oh I'm well aware, I grew up in Ohio, that's why my a$$ is out here in AZ
    kingls1 likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RONS98TA View Post
    As for checking the radiator for junk in the fins. Take your air filter box off. Then take off the top radiator assembly hold down bracket. This has 4 bolts holding it in place. Pull this off and look down inside there in between the a/c condenser and the radiator. While this piece is off you can also flush this out with a garden hose. I like to flush it from inside the engine compartment out towards the front bumper. The reverse of the normal air flow. You will be surprised how much dust and dirt gets trapped in between those fins.
    Thanks for the solid step by step. I will do this this weekend. I know the car was well cared for, but it sad a lot in the garage with a cover on it, and it was up in the mountains, so there could be some nice crap up in there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    I think your issues of coolant smell and engine temps aren't related to each other, just coincidence.

    The fogged windshield is likely a heater core issue and would also contribute to the coolant smell out of the vents.

    The temps you logged look normal and fall right in line with what GM does with these cars. Pretty sure the factory tune won't even kick the high speed fan on until 230ish (I'd have to check the stock tune file) but in a nutshell they are setup to run pretty darn hot, mainly for emissions reasons.

    I don't care to run them so hot, so a cooler thermostat and fan reprogramming is always first on my list with a new car.
    If it were just a temp thing, I wouldn't be worried, but it is the combination of the smell and the temp that has me worried. The only parts store close to me has one tester and it leaks from the cap, so I can't get an accurate read. I guess i'll take it to a shop that offers free testing and have them check it to see if they can spot a leak.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingls1 View Post
    What was the outside temperature when you pulled out and window fogged? If you look to the right the yellow truck has vapor coming from the exhaust. That tells me it is chilly out and with you and your body temp and sun hitting windshield it would be uncommon for windshield to fog with no defrost on. I know you westerners don't know what cold is but we here in the east run the defrost pretty much from October to late April...lol
    Temp outside was low 50's. I noticed that too in the video, but that was the first and only time my windshield fogged up with all the vents off. I thought heater core, but usually the windshield massively fogs up for broken heater cores.

    Also, I bought my second WS6 in Minnesota in February. Good freaking god it was cold. We road tripped from California to MN, and slept in the truck. I remember looking at the outside temp and it was -9. No thank you!


    So my plan of attack:

    - Take the car to a shop and get a free pressure test since parts stores rental tools are busted and abused. Specifically looking for heater core issues

    - Give the radiator a good clean to make sure there isn't a build up of crap that has accumulated over the past 14 years.

    - Order a 160 t-stat and get a mail-order tune for the fans to come on in line with the new t-stat.

    sound good?

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    Okay - so if anyone is wondering, the problem is fixed.

    Know what it was? I have no idea. But the issue went away on it's own. Been driving it for a week now. No coolant smell in the morning, and the needle stays where I want it to. If I had to guess, there was air in there somewhere that finally got out where it could get out. Every night I would take the cap off and let it sit, and apparently that was enough to take care of it.

    So..yay?

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    I would say that the LS1 Gods are with you - usually with these cars, no problem is an easy fix like that

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    Did you ever take the air filter housing off and clean out the area in between the radiator and a/c condenser? Just curious. Good to hear everything is back to normal.

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    sounds like normal troubleshooting to me..."what did you do to fix it?" I dont know but it works now.
    pajeff02 likes this.

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