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FI Lunatic
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Discussion Starter #1
So folks, I haven't been on in a while, but recent events have prompted me back for a little research...specifically the temperature gauge has ticked me off. A little research has also peaked my interest.

In reading a couple other threads, I am guessing my temperature gauge needle will never move past the first minor tick to the cool side of center. I've noticed that once my DIC reaches about 180 degrees, that is
where the needle stops. My temperature can go as high as 242, and it stays right in that same spot. Since the needle doesn't come off cold until I reach about 130 degrees, it moves almost half the gauge span
in 50 degrees, yet from 180 degrees to 240 degrees (a 60 degree span), it does NOT budge. To me, this is insanely stupid.

Now, that being said.....I have also read on here that later 2012 year models do not have the capability to pull up the coolant temperature on the DIC. IF GM were to run a software update on mine, and removed this capability,
I'd really be pissed. Adding these two observations together, if the needle NEVER goes past that one mark cool of center, and the inability to see the temperature on the DIC, one could be considered driving blind as to
operating temperature.

What prompted my research into this....my fan. This past winter it started running....a lot. My DIC temperature showed sometimes into the low 240's. Temperature gauge never moved above it's normal "limit", where it always is.
Well, the coolant surge tank...empty. Using a post by BlueAngel, I've noticed my O-rings are out of whack, so I am looking at replacing them on my existing cap. It doesn't appear that I have a badly molded surge tank as also indicated in the post.

What really needs to happen is one software update...one that allows proper signal conditioning to the gauge that allows it to function as it is intended. This would allow any upward temperature trends to be observed and the
proper action taken.

If anyone else can chime in with any further input, I'd appreciate it!
 

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If GM saw fit to do away with the coolant temp. page on the DIC and make the temp gauge little more useful than that on a "Cruisin' USA" arcade game, how is the opinion of a few people that actually make the company less money by repairing their own cars and making an effort to keep them instead of trading in for a new one going to influence them to change it to a more sensible design? If the car, in stock form, is capable of feeding live temp info to the gauge, I see it as aftermarket territory. I see our little faction as a part of GM's buyer base that they want to keep around for reputation and promotion - when many of us bought our Cruze, we overlooked certain things other manufacturers' offerings may have done better for some personal preference or just brand loyalty, and our community is a much better place for a prospective first-time buyer to come to get the scoop on how good the cars really are instead of trying to get a fully honest, pro-and-con answer out of a sales rep at a dealership. Another thing many prospective buyers consider, especially in the market segment the Cruze falls into, is resale value, and one who comes here can - if the car deserves it - give a whole different angle on longevity and resale than what Kelley Blue Book spits out. There are other elements I think the manufacturer can draw from the enthusiast community (us), but watching the industry-wide evolution of options package changes, drivetrain and body style configurations, etc., I see the manufacturer focusing intently on what they can get off the showroom floor in mass and what appeals to the buyer type that looks for every distraction from driving (big screen in the dash, on board wi-fi, the greatest number of "connectivity" modes, etc.) over those that put priority on the driving experience itself.

If I could get a more affordable tune that made only minor tweaks to the actual tune, but livened up the temp. gauge, reduced rev hang, made throttle response more physical, etc. - basically, just undid what GM saw fit to do for the average driver that sees the car as a closed system aside from the gas cap, I'd be very likely to buy into it.
 

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FI Lunatic
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1,380 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Agreed, I guess I'm pretty biased since by trade I'm into R&D of electrical components for automobiles and do quite a bit of work for GM. In a nutshell, I just want things to work as they should, not as GM intends them to. Evidently, the physical gauge is conditioned to NEVER go past that certain point, which renders it absolutely useless. As stated earlier, a program that properly conditions this signal would fix this issue.
 

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The reason the gauge doesn't move its this car doesn't have a single set operating temp like cars used to have. Its more of a operating temperature range, 180-240F. Normally on a level road the car will run 217-219F, put it under load(like a hill) that will drop to the 190F range. If everyone's temperature gauge moved around to indicate these changes, everyone would be bringing their car into the dealer to see whats wrong. I suspect this is why GM removed the DIC temperature readout as well.

If your surge tank is empty you have a coolant leak, most likely your water pump.
 

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Spacedout probably has a point - it's no longer a traditional thermostat that's designed to, from a gauge feedback point of view, keep the needle in one place. Though there's no longer a red zone at the top of the gauge, which could mitigate the number of people that freak out when the gauge fluctuates if there's visual representation of what is normal movement and what's too much.
 

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The needle does move up and down from that "operating range", but very slowly. I've watched my digital temperature readout fluctuate from 184 to 231 in a matter of a quarter mile when blasting down dirt mountain roads. When the engine load goes up the temperature goes down very quickly. When the engine load goes down the temperature rises almost as quickly. If the needle moved as quickly as the car can change operating temps it would never sit still, causing people to take their car to the dealership complaining the engine temperature is constantly changing.

The needle's motion is a compromise between what the car is actually doing vs. what people expect from previous cars.
 

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FI Lunatic
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1,380 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys for all the input. Very good points as to the reasoning behind the way GM probably did this. Marketing to the masses I guess. I'd still rather have a truly responsive temperature gauge for myself. I am assuming at some point if the car were to go into an overheating issue, the gauge might let go and allow the needle to swing into new territory. The only indication that I ever had that I was running hotter than normal (yet not overheating), was that the fan was running when normally it would not be.

Now to deal with the coolant loss...little more reading to do. I'm losing coolant, but no coolant has ever been observed on the ground, and no coolant smell/odors inside or outside the cabin.

Thanks again all!
 

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Ha, back in the good old days when the radiator cap was on top of the hood, a sign of overheating was steam coming out of it.

My 2012 2LT is the same way, analog gauge only goes almost midway, not only a worthless gauge, so is the speedometer, steering wheel completely blocks it. And why a 140 mph gauge? Resolution is so poor on this thing, can't even tell if you are driving 26 or 25 mph, and with all these left over 9/11 cops, 26 mph can give you a speeding ticket.

If you learned how to fly, really trained to watch your gauges, in particular the tach and the EGT, if you push the stick a tad forward, can red line the engine, every time you change your altitude a couple of feet, EGT can run lean burning out your engine, have a mixture control to compensate for this. Sure have to watch your fuel gauges, oil pressure, just can't pull over to the side of the road. Well also navigation, ATC, tower, and ground radio frequencies.

With the Cruze, leave the DIC in temperature mode, hit that center switch to keep a close eye on that, then click that back for speed. Would be nice to have a real temperature gauge. Reading all the cooling system problems on this board doesn't help. On any long trip, even 40 miles, open the hood for a quick check, put a black mark on my recovery tank, also nice to know if you have engine oil.

Ha, wasn't born paranoid, sure became this way. Like my GPS, also shows speed, changes to red if even going over 1 mph over the limit. Cruise dies at 24 mph, many areas in town, have as low as 10 mph speed limits with cops all over the place. Expect in the next few years, we will be driving backwards.
 

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I believe the temp gauge is programmed to know when the car is purposely commanding a high temperature (low load situations) and when the car is actually overheating and it can't bring itself down. At this point, the gauge should start to function as it should, at least that's how it worked in another new GM car we had. It had a crack in the radiator. I've seen that car at 210 degrees in the past (185 normal running temp) but the gauge was perfectly normal. However, one day it started increasing past the middle, up some more, up some more, and then the fan came on and the computer commanded a higher idle and it slowly came back down...idle dropped, fan turned off, went back up. Rinse repeat. But when I looked at actual temp, highest it was getting was 218, but was far above normal line. Only got back to "normal" at 185. Weird stuff going on with these, but I suppose GM knows what they're doing. Haven't watched my mustang on the OBD monitor - should do that. Wanna talk about a gauge that doesn't move...ha. Would be lucky if I noticed it moving, very small and has no tick marks on it besides cold and hot.


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Ha, back in the good old days when the radiator cap was on top of the hood, a sign of overheating was steam coming out of it.

My 2012 2LT is the same way, analog gauge only goes almost midway, not only a worthless gauge, so is the speedometer, steering wheel completely blocks it. And why a 140 mph gauge? Resolution is so poor on this thing, can't even tell if you are driving 26 or 25 mph, and with all these left over 9/11 cops, 26 mph can give you a speeding ticket.

If you learned how to fly, really trained to watch your gauges, in particular the tach and the EGT, if you push the stick a tad forward, can red line the engine, every time you change your altitude a couple of feet, EGT can run lean burning out your engine, have a mixture control to compensate for this. Sure have to watch your fuel gauges, oil pressure, just can't pull over to the side of the road. Well also navigation, ATC, tower, and ground radio frequencies.

With the Cruze, leave the DIC in temperature mode, hit that center switch to keep a close eye on that, then click that back for speed. Would be nice to have a real temperature gauge. Reading all the cooling system problems on this board doesn't help. On any long trip, even 40 miles, open the hood for a quick check, put a black mark on my recovery tank, also nice to know if you have engine oil.

Ha, wasn't born paranoid, sure became this way. Like my GPS, also shows speed, changes to red if even going over 1 mph over the limit. Cruise dies at 24 mph, many areas in town, have as low as 10 mph speed limits with cops all over the place. Expect in the next few years, we will be driving backwards.
Off topic - but the cruise control shutting down at 40 KPH (24 MPH) is a "safety" feature. Toyota also shuts the cruise control off at 40 KPH. Mitsubishi and Chrysler shuts down the cruise control at 65 KPH (40 MPH).
 
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