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Discussion Starter #1
I've read all the relevant threads and posts out there and still couldn't find the answer to my problem, so this is my last hope.

Here is the problem: Check engine light on for some time, code 18613 P2181 0035 - cooling system problem. Cooling fan doesn't turn on. Car work's fine, mileage is not good, no overheating red light comes on. Blue light comes on when starting engine than goes away around 55C. Coolant level good, pinkish red. If AC turned on both fans work.

I replaced temperature sensor (green top) and also temp fan switch. By replacing the switch the fan turned on after engine warmed up and stayed on after turning the engine off. But only for a day or so. The code came back on and fan doesn't turn on. I suspected maybe a fuse or faulty switch. Fuses seem ok and I replaced the switch with another one, still fan doesn't turn on.

I am guessing its either thermostat (how would I troubleshoot?) or some electrical problem/short that doesn't engage the switch to the fan.

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks guys.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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In this section there is a sticky called Summer is Coming, check your fans. It has links to troubleshooting fan issues. Might help you get this sorted out.

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for a prompt response.
I read that thread already and couldn't find a similar issue resolved. I tested both fans and they are operational, with ac or heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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Cooling fans RARELY run on these cars. Usually only with the AC on.

Also the cooling fans rarely run on shut down and only on very hot days and for a short period of time.

Now, on to the thermostat, these are a real problem not only on these cars but many cars. I expect that about 30% of the cars and trunks on the road have a soft thermostat and an engine to is running too cold.

You indicate your mileage is not good, likely you have a soft thermostat and the engine is running 20F too cold.

The ECU window for flagging a bad thermostat on these cars is TOO wide.

If you have a scan tool that can read real time coolant temperature, these cars should run right around 205F at idle.

Many times you cannot flag a bad thermostat once the ambient temps go above 70F.

See the 2nd link below in my signature.

DO NOT FALL FOR THE TRAP THAT IF YOU GET A ENGINE TEMPERATURE CODE YOUR COOLANT SENSOR NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. YOU CAN REPLAC IT, BUT THE THERMOSTAT LIKELY NEEDS TO BE REPLACED EVERY 3 YEARS. MY CAR WAS RUNNING ALMOST 40F TOO COLD AND NEVER TRIGGERED A COOLANT/THERMOSTAT CODE!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks jfoj, that is my assumption too. Thermostat is on its way and I hope that will be the end of it. As fas as cooling fans go, if I remember correctly (it's been a while since they ran) cooling fan/fans run automatically when the car is idling in neutral for a while, and also 1-2 min on shut down pretty much every time.

Thanks for the links too. I actually did read the one on thermostat before when I did my research. I liked the part about swapping your thermostat without taking alternator out. I will try my best...
 

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Good luck and I think except for very warm days and extended runs you will find the cooling fans will not run often. Even when shutting my car off the fans maybe run 5-10% of the time.

As for swapping the thermostat with removing the alternator, I was glad someone else had success with my approach. I try things many others may not think about and sometimes I wonder is I am more skilled after MANY years doing these things, but if anohter forum member pulled it off, I think you can as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am ready to do the swap tomorrow. I drained coolant from the radiator but there really wasn't much of it, maybe a cup. I was reading somewhere that there should be at least a liter or coolant. I found it odd and maybe that is a part of my problem.
Any thoughts?
 

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There will be more coolant in the radiator.

Did you open the expansion tank cap?

Did you realize the radiator drain is 1/4 turn to unlatch, then you pull is out from the radiator?

You will get close to 1.5 gallons as I recall?
 
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