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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'04 with well over 200k on it, bought just over a year ago with what looked to be 'newish' radiator (my best guess was about 40k miles previously). Zero heating issues until very hot day, some stop and go with highway closures and an accident along a 4 hour drive lead to it behaving like it was starting to overheat. Got out and checked the aux fan and it was not running, noticed that it felt abnormally hot. Got in and checked gauges and saw that they were showing just below the middle for both the tranny and engine temps. Figured I had either a temp sensor problem, thermostat problem, or (wildly unlikely) gauge problem. Got home by opening windows and letting heater run hot. Felt like idiot when I read that the aux fan comes on automatically with A/C on Max (knew this about other cars I've had, should have been obvious but I chalk it up to a senior moment) and that I may have been able to go the opposite way during the drive.

I have since tested the aux fan with A/C on Max. It does NOT come on 'automatically' but very soon after start up. But a few short test drives have revealed that it doesnt STAY on, and is in fact turning off and on as they normally do (for example, it was off when I pulled into driveway but after idling in park for 20 seconds it kicked on).

So my initial guess (and fear, since it looks like a pain to replace ) of the sensor now looks less likely (but I still have no explanation for why the gauge isnt working). Thoughts from the collective voice of experience would be most appreciated (so thanks in advance).

D
 

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still could be a sensor issue. wiring to the sensor could be losing continuity when it get hot/falls under a certain temp causing erratic readings to the ECM
water pump?
is the clutch fan working? if it gets hot in the engine room it will start to sound like a MAC truck when you accelerate (rrooooaaaarrrrrrrrrrr sound). when the car is off it should spin freely.
coolant tested?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
main fan appears to be operating fine, was spinning away each time I have had the hood up. I lean towards thermostat generally and am thinking of swapping it out for a lower temp one anyway (thought I saw another thread that suggests this is a good move with an armada, and I tend to like the idea in older vehicles anyway)
 

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I know it seems kind of random, but might want to at least confirm the radiator cap is holding pressure. I had a radiator cap on a vehicle wear out. Cheapest thing to replace but last thing I thought of. I had a pressure test kit for testing the cooling system but didn't think to test the cap itself initially. Went into the store with my pressure tester and went through 3 caps off the shelf before I found one that held pressure...no quality control there for sure! Problem was finally solved!
 
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