Coolant light issue - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Coolant light issue

Hello, a few weeks ago I stopped at a stoplight and the coolant light came on, as soon as I pulled away it turned off. It had begun. A few days later it happened again, and then driving back from lunch it came on for an extended period of time so I put some coolant in there even though it wasn't very low (I didn't check, I just put some in as I have never filled coolant before). That didn't solve anything and it has been coming on more and more frequently and for longer even though the coolant is at a completely fine level. I topped it off again and it didn't accomplish anything. The engine does not seem to be running much hotter, it used to never get above 199 but that was in the spring. I see it get up to 210 max if its been running for awhile. The coolant light comes on around 197-205 and the longest it's stayed on is a few minutes. What do you think the issue may be? It doesn't seem to be leaking any coolant and it could be the air bubble issue but my engine is not getting very hot and I had never opened the cap before it came on the first time.

Thanks for the help
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 03:15 PM
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If temps are unchanged, I'd vote bad sensor or intermittent connection. Any service lately (oil change or anything else)?


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 03:20 PM
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OK, first you must carefully monitor the level and make sure you are not, in fact, leaking/losing coolant somewhere. Your coolant kevel should be right around the molding line in the middle of the bottle. (Note: ALWAYS let your engine fully cool before removing the cap to refill!)

If your level is OK, it's probably just the level float switch is bad (or maybe the wire/connector is loose). If it's the switch that's the problem, you'll have to replace the whole bottle as the switch is not available separately. Fortunately it's not too expensive: ~$50 I believe.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 06:23 PM
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It does not take much of a loss of coolant for the light to come on, maybe 8oz. Less then 1/2" of water in the reservoir (a little over a cup!!). How many miles you have on your car? I'm guessing you have a WP going bad...And since your new to the forum, the WP is a VERY common issue around the 40-60k mark.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Car has 83000 miles on it, got it with 77000 miles on it and I have no idea if the water pump was replaced before I got it. I plan on selling it in a few months so I really hope the water pump doesn't fail by then and I want to get the coolant light fixed before I sell it. I need to get an oil change soon, is it something the mechanics could take a look at and relatively easily determine if it's the sensor? Or any way for me to troubleshoot it? $50 isn't much but I probably don't have the tools/skills to replace it and would rather not unless I know for sure it's the issue. What is the part number for the sensor? What range does your engine temp have? How high is too high? Im not sure if it's related or a placebo but the coolant light seems to come on more with the a/c on.

Thanks
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 07:12 PM
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Most auto parts stores carry these sensors I got mine at Auto Zone for 25 bucks with a lifetime warranty the GM one was 75 bucks and a 2 year warranty
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 05:22 AM
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Temp ranges depend on location and time of season. And everyone's car runs a bit different. My car runs between 194 and 200 without the A/C on. Put the A/C on and get stuck in traffic for 10 minutes, I can easily see 212 - 215. In the winter with the heater on I usually run 200-205. Only because the temp sensor for the motor is right by the heater box. The secret to these cars is that if you have a manual, leave the car in gear while coming down to a stop until about the 1200rpm mark. It will quickly cool your motor. Without getting too technical, they use very minimal fuel (if any) when coasting (foot completely off the gas). And that in turn sucks in cold air and quickly cools the motor. I can lose 8 degrees in a coast down from 50mph to 25mph in 5th gear on a 90 degree day....

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 01:34 PM
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Note - low coolant light and high temp are two different things. If it's the coolant level sensor it could be on all day long and you wont' have any temperature problems. If you have low coolant, on the other hand, that can indeed lead to high temp readings.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 02:14 PM
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All good inputs

The coolant light can come on if the coolant is low, like if the water pump is intermittently leaking in anticipation of a total failure, or it can come on if the sensor is failing, or if the connector is failing.

Keep an eye on the fluid level. If it drops below the center line of the tank after you fill it to that level then you have a leak. That is probably the water pump on its way to failing.

if the fluid level does not drop but the light comes on then its the sensor. The sensor is on the bottom of the tank. Find the wire that connects to it and make sure the plug is well inserted and connected. If it is, then it may still be a contact issue. You can unplug the connector, visually inspect it and make sure its clean copper on the contacts. If its not, clean it up with a small file and apply some dielectric grease. you can get it for a couple of bucks at any autoparts store. Apply the dielectric grease to the contacts and plug it back in. If it still comes on randomly then its likely the sensor that is bad and it needs to be replaced.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 03:09 PM
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much thanks for the replies on this as I am currently having a coolant light issue, goes on at a stop light but off after accelerating and does not stay on until at a stop again and i'm right at 200 degrees and i'm only 33,000 miles driving it about once a week.

will try what is suggested and post it here just in case anyone else might start having a similar problem recently.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 06:46 PM
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If you are losing coolant, you might want to take a look under the car after it has idled in one spot for a while. If the water pump is leaking, you will probably, but not always, find coolant on the ground just under the right front corner the engine. from what you describe, it sounds like both your coolant level and coolant temps are OK. If that is the case, it all comes back to the float switch in the coolant reservoir. I would try what rob says first. if it is the reservoir, it is an easy replacement. If coolant temps are indeed too high, it could be a failing thermostat. In any case, the reservoir, the thermostat, and the temp sensor are all easy and relatively inexpensive fixes.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 09:06 PM
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I didn't see a small quarter sized puddle under mine for almost 2 weeks after it started leaking. I knew mine was leaking from the smell and the orange, jelly like substance around the WP.

My suggestion, add some water/coolant to the reservoir and watch it for the next 3 weeks. If you notice it dropping or get a low coolant light again, then you either have a leak or headgasket that needs attention. You stated that you have "been topping it off", that's not a good sign. If that's the case, you need to start looking for leaks. These systems don't lose too much (about 1/2 a can of Coke, ~6oz.) before the low coolant light will come on. So if you've been adding "1/2 a can of pop/soda", you have a leak somewhere.

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Windrestrictor V2 lighted in white
Windrestrictor lighted door sills lighted in white
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Undercar LEDs in white to match Windrestrictor

ZZPerformance dyno tuned - 286HP, 317ft/lbs of torque at 23psi of boost.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 08:03 AM
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leaning toward sensor now as its now my daily driver with my jeep in the shop. sunday it came on once at start up with a cold engine and once on a turn and today came on once on the way to work. have coolant at the ready, just in case but am convinced i'll either need to check the wire contact or replace the sensor.

but thanks for the thread, thought I was about to have two cars in the shop at the same time and I don't have a 3rd car.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 11:06 AM
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Mine has been doing this also. At first, it was on super high G turns like taking an exit off highway far too fast but now it's even on hard acceleration from stops. So far no puddles in the garage and temps are consistently 190-200 so I'll have check fluid level and sensor/connections. How much should I expect to pay to have the system flushed and refilled at the dealer? I know the origanal Dex2 is way pasts it's expiration date on my 07
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 02:54 PM
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from what you describe, sounds like you are just low on coolant. The coolant level should be at the flange of the reservoir where it is put together. If it is even a little low, you can get the light on hard turns or acceleration or braking.

Bill.
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