Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue
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  • 4 Post By sven914
RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; ...
  1. #1
    sven914's Avatar
    sven914 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Question Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    Recently my car has been experiencing higher than normal coolant temperatures and I'm not exactly sure what is causing it. The temperature usually sits between 205º and 215º, but when I get on the highway (usually on the entrance ramp) the temperature starts to spike. In a few minutes the temp maxes out the gauge (goes past 260º) but less than thirty seconds later, it will read in the low 200's again. Whenever I stop to check the engine, while the gauge is scrolling "HI", there are no signs that anything is overheating.

    The radiator and thermostat were put in last year, so the coolant isn't that old. I thought it might be the water pump, but I don't have any signs that the pump is bad (no leaks, no noise), and I can't see the temp dropping that fast with a bad pump. I pulled DTC's and didn't get any, so the computer hasn't registered that the engine overheated.

    The only other thing I can think of is the radiator fan, and my manual doesn't give much information about it. With the engine still hot, I can spin the fan and get it to freewheel from one blade to the next. It seems loose to me, but the manual doesn't say how to test it when hot. The book says that with the engine cold, the fan should not freewheel any more than 5 turns, but that number seems somewhat relative. Does anyone know a more definitive way to test the clutch? I would also like to know how much of a pain it is to replace.

    Any other ideas and suggestions would be welcomed.

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  3. #2
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    Does the temperature continue to rise once you're moving more than ~30 MPH? If so, it has nothing to do with your cooling fan, as the airflow from driving will cool the radiator. You're assessment of the water pump is correct, if it's turning, not making noise, and not leaking, it's fine. Have you checked your coolant level?

  4. #3
    sven914's Avatar
    sven914 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    It usually doesn't start increasing until I reach 50mph, and then it spikes. I checked and there isn't anything blocking the radiator and the coolant level is fine.

  5. #4
    outsider is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    are your temp sensors good? were they replaced before?

  6. #5
    sven914's Avatar
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    I replaced to one when I installed the gauge. I'm not so sure about the one for the computer.

  7. #6
    lincolncadillac's Avatar
    lincolncadillac is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    Clutch is cheap (i think like 45.00 for mine) and simple to replace. I started replacing mine but changed my mind, i just cleaned the bimetal coil and called it a day.

  8. #7
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    Quote Originally Posted by sven914 View Post
    It usually doesn't start increasing until I reach 50mph, and then it spikes. I checked and there isn't anything blocking the radiator and the coolant level is fine.
    At 50 MPH , your cooling fan serves no purpose. A bad clutch wouldn't cause an overheat problem at speed. From your description, the temp seems to rise and fall fairly quickly. To me, that indicates either air in the system (hear any gurgling?), a bad sensor or gauge., or possibly a slightly sticky thermostat?

  9. #8
    sven914's Avatar
    sven914 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    The more I think about it, I'm thinking it is a bad gauge. Cyberdyne made the gauge and I called them to see if the gauge could misinterpret the reading from the sender. They said it was probably RFI or a bad ground screwing with the reading. I ordered a new one in June, because they are crap and the LCD display dies after two weeks (can't read the last digit), so hopefully when I get it, that will be the end of this issue.

    In the meantime, I might cook me up a thermostat...

  10. #9
    Rick James is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    It sounds like your fan clutch is fine. It wouldn't spin more than a rotation or two if it was going bad.

  11. #10
    sven914's Avatar
    sven914 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Fan Clutch/Cooling Issue

    One thing that I love about Cadillac is that problems will mysteriously resolve themselves. I was getting ready to take the thermostat out, and the gauge stopped reading high and the temperatures have been fine since.

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