Job done. If everything had gone smoothly, it would have taken about 2 hours. Instead, it took 6. I plead my mea culpas here for everybody to see! It was me! I was to blame.
Seriously, I was – well, my unscientific stubbornness I guess – was for the most part responsible for the extra 4 hours. Here’s what happened: I studied the shop manual in my office prior to doing the job, and was certain that the part I saw on the car in the garage was the same as the part on the drawing I saw in the office – green wire and all. If I had brought the shop manual out and looked at it while at the same time looking at the car, I’d have noticed that it was actually the part screwed into the water jacket two inches to the right that was the fan coolant temp switch. Ok, lesson learned. Fewer assumptions going forward.
The shop manual contributed its part to the confusion also. It is divided into sections: Engine mechanical, engine cooling, engine fuel, engine emissions, etc. There are four gadgets screwed into the engine’s cooling jacket: the fan switch, the cold start timer, the dash gauge sender, and the coolant temp sensor for the ECM. What I needed was a good drawing showing where they all are located w/respect to each other. But this is all that is all that is provided in the shop manual. See the picture attached.
The “radiator fan coolant sensor switch” is in the cooling section, but the “cold start injector coolant sensor timer” – which looks very similar to the radiator fan switch and is also screwed into the cooling system – is located in the fuel system part of the shop manual. Likewise the coolant temp sensor for the ECM is located in the emissions section of the shop manual. And there is no drawing showing both of them in the same drawing. There’s no drawing at all showing exactly where the cold start timer is located, just a verbal description of “in the area of the thermostat housing”. But that’s where the fan switch is too.
Lack of the exact tool was another problem. If I had had a 22 mm deep socket, I could have avoided a knuckle busting parts removal procedure. Instead, I had to so it with a combo wrench. No fun. And time consuming.
Finally, the retail parts stores contributed some confusion as well. When I asked for a “coolant temperature switch for the fan”, their computer brought up several different parts matching that description. Each parts store computer was different – just to add to the confusion – but all the descriptions were ambiguous, and looked like this:
- Engine - Coolant Temperature Sensor/Switch
- Coolant Temperature Sensor/Switch (For Computer)
- Coolant Temperature Sensor / Switch
- Coolant Temperature Sensor Sender
- Air Conditioning Switch
So the parts store employees were not certain which part I needed either. And since I was sure what it looked like, well, you get the picture where the extra 4 hours went … lol …
Hope this all wasn’t too boring but it is an example of why a professional mechanic, with all the experience they get on the job daily, can get a job like this done 3 or 4 times as fast as a driveway amateur. But its not stopping this particular driveway amateur. Job done, car is back on the road. Radiator fan purring like a kitten at 195 degrees F.
P.S. As if to make my job as difficult as possible, even when I finally got hold the correct part, on the box it came in, was it labeled “radiator fan temp switch 195/185 deg F, 12 mm”? No, it was labeled “DC Temp Sensor Commutator”!!