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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Acura
Satisfied Customers: 31915
Experience:  20+ yrs. experience as repair shop manager and technician.
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Acura CL: I have a 1997 Acura CL 3.0. Lately it has been getting

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I have a 1997 Acura CL 3.0. Lately it has been getting hot at idle (in traffic). Driving down the road it is perfect (gauge about 1/3 way up from cold), but it heats up when I stop (to over 3/4 way up towards hot). I have replaced the thermostat, the engine temp sending unit, the engine temperature switch (located near the sending unit). I have noticed that the engine cooling fans were not working. I tested and replaced the motor in the drivers side fan. It will now run where it would not before. The fans, however, only come on when the temp gauge gets close to the overheat mark (1/2 way between the middle mark and the hot line. When they come on they only stay on for about 30 seconds and then turn off. Today I replaced the Radiator Fan Timer module behind the glove box. I'm out of ideas now. The engine runs awesome otherwise. I hope you have a suggestion.

Have you either used a scan tool with live data to monitor recorded temperature to verify that your gage is accurate, as well as record the temperature when the fan comes on, or used an infrared temperature gun to record the temperature at the thermostat housing?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, I have not. I do not have either tool. However, the gauge reads perfect any time the vehicle is moving so I have had no reason to doubt it. I'm a moderately capable home mechanic and surely no expert but it seems to me that getting fans to come on at a proper temperature and stay on until the temperature drops is the answer. I just don't know how to accomplish that. I was hoping the Radiator Fan Timer module would fix it. The vehicle does not leak (or lose) any coolant and has had the head gaskets replaced about a year and a half ago. It's been running great until now.


Ok, please understand that the gage is at best an approximation of engine temperature.

The low speed fan is not designed to come on until 199 degrees, which will be around midway on the gage. It only stays on long enough to get temperature below 190.

the high speed fan is not designed to come on until 223 degrees, which is between 1/2 way and 3/4 on the gage.

You have replaced absolutely every component of the cooling fan system except the relay. because the fans do come on, the relay is working. the only things left is the wiring harness between each component and the gage.

At this point, the temperature absolutely must be monitored with a scan tool to determine whether the gage is accurate or not and if the fans are coming on at above mentioned temperature, or use a infrared temp gun to get temp reading at the thermostat housing while engine idles to see if fans are coming on at desired temperature.

If they are, then you have a faulty gage. If not, then engine temperature switch you installed is defective or there is a short in the wiring harness from it that is causing a loss of some voltage and thus not allowing fan to come on at desired temperature

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