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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone! Please bear with me, I know next-to-nothing about cars...

I've owned a 2012 Chevy Cruze for just over 3 years now, I bought it used at about 32,000 and now am at 61,000 miles. I don't know if it's relevant or not, but some back story: I had that electrical problem that I found after internet searching seemed to be common in cruzes where my interior lights and the radio would go haywire, power steering would go out, culmilating once to shorting the battery completely to where I couldn't start the car or even turn the key. Anyway, that problem was fixed after a shorted wire was found.


Yesterday I was driving to work and noticed a warning come on that info screen behind the steering wheel "A/C Off Due to High Engine Temp" came on. I thought that it meant A/C unit in general as my heater was on given it was in the teens outside. It happened again on the way home from work, and noticed my engine temperature gauge not necessarily getting hot, but still past halfway to overheating on the gauge. After the A/C, may or may not have shut off, it would go back down to being just shy to a bit less than halfway to overheating. The same thing happened last night, and again this morning. However, those two times I noticed a fan-like noise coming out of my engine, loud enough to hear faintly with music on. I had heard it before, back in the Spring on the first hot day we had, but I never heard it again and so I dismissed it as my A/C "complaining" for being on for the first time in several months. On the drive home from work today, I completely turned off the A/C and heater, as well as radio to see what would happen. Sure enough, on two occasions more into the drive, which occured in times where I wasn't necessarily doing anything different than I had not already done, the gauge started rising, I got the message about my A/C being turned off due to a high engine temp, despite the fact that the temperature gauge still read about halfway between the midpoint and the third bigger marker and my entire A/C and heat system being shut off. Afterwards, the gauge went back down to where it was. The fan remains on and loud, I don't know if it's the radiator fan or A/C or what.

I have a had a radiator go bad in a previous car, and the thing that caught my attention was smoke coming out of the hood, but I don't remember the temperature gauge going haywire, or moving fast enough I could see it move. This time, it seems to be very unstable but always staying around the middle. I did check my car last night, this morning when I got to work, and when I got home and no smoke was coming out of the hood.


Is this another computer/electronic thing going wrong? Is my coolant getting low or worse radiator going out? My oil was just changed back in December, and they usually check levels, and didn't say anything.

Update in post 3...
 

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Could be a couple of different things. You definitely need to check for leaks in your coolant system. Between the coolant reservoir, the thermostat housing, the radiator, the hoses, the water pump and also the throttle body heater return hose that runs back into the top of the thermostat housing. The first thing i would do though is check your thermostat connection to see if the plug is loose. Next, disconnect your battery for a few minutes and reconnect it. Then see if the problem persists. If it continues to happen, and there aren't any leaks, the problem definitely lies either in the thermostat, the water pump, or either a clog somewhere in your system which isnt very likely. Especially living in a cold area, the water pump has a weephole and a freezeplug, run your car til the engine temp is in normal operating range and look at your waterpump to see if it is leaking coolant. Im not positive but i believe ive read somewhere that your dealer may replace it because there was a thing about faulty waterpumps or a bad design or something. Worth a check. I have just replaced my thermostat housing, thermostat, throttle body heater return hose, water pump, timing belt, tensioner pully, and idler pully so this is fresh in my mind.
 

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I'd check the coolant level. It may be low. The Cruze does have a number of issues that can result in the loss of coolant.

The first thing is to make sure coolant is at the right level and then look to see if it's leaking anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update: This morning I drove to work doing the same no heat/AC, but had the radio. Anyway, everything was the same until I was at a light almost at work and got the "A/C off..." message. However, this time, the thermostat shot up, there was no gradual warm-up, you would think the engine caught fire to read my engine was overheating. I saw no smoke coming out, and in fact when I was able to move to pull in somewhere, it went back to just below halfway, and remained there until I got to work a minute later. There was no smoke coming out of my engine, the hood did not feel warm or hot.
 

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Buy youself an elm 327 off amazon. They're cheap. Download torque app for free. Monitor the computer with car running. Itll show you what the coolant temp is so you can compare it to the dash.

Sounds like a bad temp sensor. Or low on coolant.
 

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I have a question related to a similar problem on my 2012 Cruze LS 1.8L with 114K miles. After a 50 mile interstate ride, I then drove for 10 minutes through town and parked, no problems or warnings (as it should be) and had the A/C on the entire trip . The car was parked with the motor off for about 10 minutes before I got back in the car and started driving and within a 10 seconds I got the message "a/c off due to high engine temp." Looked at the gauge and it was well above normal and the DIC had the temperature in the 240's. I immediately pulled over and checked the coolant level and it was full, but the radiator fan were not turning (would think they would have been on full blast with a temperature reading in the 240's. As a note that may be relevant, about three weeks prior to this I replaced the thermostat due to check engine light due to short in heater element in thermostat and radiator fan on full blast. Replaced the thermostat only, not the entire housing. Check engine light gone and fan not running full blast. Note that when I refilled coolant, I did warm up the car enough in the garage to ensure the radiator fan would turn on when the temperature was high enough, I am thinking it was about 210 or so and the fan came on, so I figured all good.

Back to my story, since I was over 50 miles from home, I turned the heat on to lower the engine temp and continued to drive. The temperature dropped as I drove and on the interstate I closed the windows and turned the a/c on and the engine temperature stayed between 189 and 200 degrees the rest of the trip. Made one stop and checked if the fan was running since I had the a/c on and it was, so I know the fan works.

I did not get a check engine light, but put my scanner on to check for any code, including pending, and nothing. At this point it looks like everything is good. No codes and coolant is full. In the two years I had the vehicle, I never had that warning. With that said, I believe the fan should have been on full blast, but was not running, my gut says it may have to do with the thermostat replacement, but at the same time, no codes to know where to begin.

Any thoughts or suggestions what my next step should be would be appreciated. When I looked at other threads, it seemed like it was a coolant leak or some code to direct where to repair, in my case nothing!
 

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The fan doesn't run till the temp gets hot enough. 230 for the earlier cruze models. Driving down the road doesn't need the fan running. Only when it's sitting idle.

It's a Front Wheel Drive thing. With electric fan. Since basically the 80's.
 

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That's where I am confused and don't know what to check. I just started driving and got got the warning "a/c off due to high engine temp" and pulled over (in town) to check under the hood. Gauge on dash was above normal and DIC showed the car was running 240+ degrees which should have meant that the fan should be running, but there was no fan action.
 

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Gauge on dash was above normal and DIC showed the car was running 240+ degrees which should have meant that the fan should be running, but there was no fan action.
The fan in the Cruze is infamous for going from "low-medium-high" to "off-off-high". In your case, it might have gone to "low-off-high". The medium speed may have burned out. That would explain why you saw it running later (on low).

If I'm correct, the fix is to replace the fan as the burned out part (the resistor pack) is only sold as part of a complete unit.
 

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The fan in the Cruze is infamous for going from "low-medium-high" to "off-off-high". In your case, it might have gone to "low-off-high". The medium speed may have burned out. That would explain why you saw it running later (on low).

If I'm correct, the fix is to replace the fan as the burned out part (the resistor pack) is only sold as part of a complete unit.
I think you would be correct. That seems to be the repeating answer.
 

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Thank you ChevyGuy and Snowwy66. Is there a way to check the resistor pack with a meter? If not, I will drive it and see what happens in different situations. With the cooler/cold weather coming, it may be a non-issue until next spring. Thanks again for all your help and ideas, it really is a big help.
 

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Assuming no loss of coolant and understanding that the radiator is too small on this car to start with, the problem becomes that when the serpentine belt stretches through age it does not deliver enough flow. Change the belt.
 

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Assuming no loss of coolant and understanding that the radiator is too small on this car to start with, the problem becomes that when the serpentine belt stretches through age it does not deliver enough flow. Change the belt.
The radiator isn't small. It's the car running hotter then normal. Everyone else says the radiator is more then adequate. That car runs @220. For whatever engineer reason. They went hotter then the standard 180 - 190 cars have been running at for decades.

Belt has nothing to do with flow. If the belt were slipping. It be squealing. And they don't really stretch per se. But there's a tensioner that takes up the slack. If the tensioner goes bad. Then yeah. Belt becomes loose and squeals.

Op problem is a common problem that's been discussed multiple times on this forum. The fix seems to be a whole new fan assembly with resistor pack.
 

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Yes, I will need to check the fan resistor when I have a chance. I appreciate all the feedback. I will update the thread once I get it fixed. Unless I get the message frequently, I may wait until spring since now the cooler/cold weather may prevent any overheating.
 

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Unless I get the message frequently, I may wait until spring since now the cooler/cold weather may prevent any overheating.
Considering that you are flirting with headgasket problems, I don't think that's a wise gamble. Too little to gain and too much to lose.
 
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I found a post by Frankh that appears to be an easy way to test the fan/resistor. I should be able to get the cover off the fan motor terminals and just use a jumper from the battery positive terminal to each of the fan speed terminals. I assume it will identify which fan speed is not working due to a bad resistor. If the fan runs at each terminal, I will then test the relays. Looks like it should be quick and easy. Below is what I found from an April 2018 post.


frankh

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Sadly the function of relay 10 is the same no matter which way round its installed.. I just checked and the circuits are cross connected.

However I did get access to the fan motor terminals. you could take a jumper wire from the battery positive and go direct to the three terminals shown. The right terminal with a scorch mark is a ground.. ask me how I found that out..:)

The little cover pops off if you insert the screwdriver as shown.. There is a little dab of glue that seems unecessary to hold it down as well.

If the fan don't run with direct jumpering i'd say you're into a new fan.

Oh I did get the big connector halfway off with levering and swearing.. but it was starting to break.. its almost like its glued on. Clearly though its just the plastic lever at the top of the pics is pressed down (towards you) and then pushing the connector downwards.. Mostly by using a screwdriver in the place shown and on the other side.​
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Last edited by frankh; 04-02-2018 at 06:15 PM.​
 

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Check the actual fluid capacity of the radiator before posting please and thank you. Likewise, a noise from the belt is not the only symptom of a worn belt. When the belt ages it stretches and the flow is reduced. Flow is everything in this car. If the fan is coming on at top speed and it is still overheating it is not the fan that is causing the overheat.
 
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