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Old 12-16-2013, 03:13 PM   #1
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Need some fellow mechanic advice.

I have a 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix. It's a very odd little car that I bought for $700 to daily drive rather than driving my nice cars everywhere. The car has been great surprisingly as far as gas mileage and reliability. But 20 year old cars come with their share of issues, as you can imagine.

1) The car refuses to warm up when it's cold outside. It will get to about 110-120* and never go up to 180-200 where it should. The car does however, warm up the way that it's supposed to when it is hot outside. The previous owner was having trouble with the dual electric fans apparently because they hard wired them to the ignition switch to stay on when the key is on lol. I haven't changed the thermostat, but I'm worried that this one is stuck open or something and if I change it out for a new one then the car will overheat.

2) It has an intermittent starting issue. Sometimes the car will crank right up first try, and I have no issues. But there are other times when I will get in the car and turn the key and I just get a loud *CLICK*. If I continue that process 2-3 maybe 5 times the car starts right up and is fine. The voltage drop over the positive side is right where it should be and the headlights do not dim while I crank the car.

The car has brand new:
Plugs, wires, alternator, battery and negative battery cable.

Does anybody know what I should do to try to fix either problems? I'd imagine maybe a starter solenoid and a new thermostat? It's never that easy.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:25 PM   #2
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I've had both of these problems with my 2.2 L4 cavalier. The problem with the fan was that it was a multi speed fan and was only working in low speed so unless it was hard wired to run constantly, it would heat up.

Also, it's a good possibility that you may not have a thermostat at all. If overheating was a problem in the summertime the previous owner could have removed it. Does the heater work when it's cold outside? That's a good indication that there is no thermostat or it'd stuck open like you said if it doesn't.

I'm pretty confidant that the intermitted problem with the starter is from a worn out solenoid. If you jump the solenoid terminals when it's only clicking, I'll bet it'll start. I had to do that for about a week one time until I could afford a new starter.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:32 PM   #3
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I've had both of these problems with my 2.2 L4 cavalier. The problem with the fan was that it was a multi speed fan and was only working in low speed so unless it was hard wired to run constantly, it would heat up.

Also, it's a good possibility that you may not have a thermostat at all. If overheating was a problem in the summertime the previous owner could have removed it. Does the heater work when it's cold outside? That's a good indication that there is no thermostat or it'd stuck open like you said.

I'm pretty confidant that the intermitted problem with the starter is from a worn out solenoid. If you jump the solenoid terminals when it's only clicking, I'll bet it'll start. I had to do that for about a week one time until I could afford a new starter.
Yeah I'm content with the fans so long as they continue working. I have a cool little relay tester and both or them checked out but I didn't want to unplug the fans and mess with it.

I think you may be right about the thermostat. I haven't pulled the thermostat out yet because its right under the throttle body/intake manifold and the exhaust manifold crossover goes right in front of the thermostat housing. I would hate for me to replace the thermostat only for the car to start overheating, and reveal some other issue. The heater gets lukewarm at best, but on days where it's 50*+ outside the heater will get downright hot.

You are right, and I have jumped the solenoid and it has started right up. I also noticed that if I tried to jump the car with jumper cables that it would start right up also. I'm guessing its going to need a new starter? I couldn't imagine why it would start perfect a number of times and then just randomly have a fit..Damn GM cars lol
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by primer2tone View Post
I've had both of these problems with my 2.2 L4 cavalier. The problem with the fan was that it was a multi speed fan and was only working in low speed so unless it was hard wired to run constantly, it would heat up.

Also, it's a good possibility that you may not have a thermostat at all. If overheating was a problem in the summertime the previous owner could have removed it. Does the heater work when it's cold outside? That's a good indication that there is no thermostat or it'd stuck open like you said if it doesn't.

I'm pretty confidant that the intermitted problem with the starter is from a worn out solenoid. If you jump the solenoid terminals when it's only clicking, I'll bet it'll start. I had to do that for about a week one time until I could afford a new starter.
x2 I agree with all that he said!
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:48 PM   #5
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x2 I agree with all that he said!
Yeah I do too. I wanted some confirmation from someone other than myself though. Good thing is that this car should be mechanically sound after these two things are fixed
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:18 PM   #6
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Yeah, I had a sad life of GM cars with similar problems before I got turned on to mustangs. I have a cavalier for a daily. Well, it'll be a daily once I get a chance to replace the clutch.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:24 PM   #7
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Yeah, I had a sad life of GM cars with similar problems before I got turned on to mustangs. I have a cavalier for a daily. Well, it'll be a daily once I get a chance to replace the clutch.
Well this is the first and last GM I plan on owning unless I can pick up a z06 down the road. This Grand Prix is an emotional car. Sometimes the dash squeaks and I believe that's when it's either happy or sad and I haven't decided which one yet.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:42 PM   #8
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Well this is the first and last GM I plan on owning unless I can pick up a z06 down the road. This Grand Prix is an emotional car. Sometimes the dash squeaks and I believe that's when it's either happy or sad and I haven't decided which one yet.
Lol, it doesn't know wether it's heading to the auto parts store or the scrapyard.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:10 PM   #9
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Lol, it doesn't know wether it's heading to the auto parts store or the scrapyard.
Exactly! Most times it's both! Looking for parts. I remember one day I pulled up right next to the exact same car as mine but it was white. A probably 60 something year old man was driving. I remember thinking I was goin to show him how awesome his car could be through mine and mine began sputtering and didn't want to go lol
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:46 PM   #10
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Exactly! Most times it's both! Looking for parts. I remember one day I pulled up right next to the exact same car as mine but it was white. A probably 60 something year old man was driving. I remember thinking I was goin to show him how awesome his car could be through mine and mine began sputtering and didn't want to go lol
Performance anxiety?
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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Performance anxiety?
Yes! Either that or it was bogging down trying to lift the front end off the ground. That 3.1 makes so much FWHP/FWTQ that it can do a wheelie sometimes.
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