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NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Old 04-15-2017, 03:44 PM   #1
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NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I have an 1988 Trans Am 305 with tuned port injection and digital dash option.
I just bought the car less than a month ago. The person I bought it from had spent a lot of money at a shop because the fans werent kicking on before and it was overheating. I have the receipts for the work they had done. It was repaired to stock factory temp specs.
Anyway when I purchased it the temperature would go up to about 230 and then the fans would kick on and it would cool down to about 195 and then rise again when the fans shut off until it hit that point where the fans would turn on again.
On the freeway with wind blowing into the air dam it stays at 195.
Anyway,today I was driving it, and I noticed that once I got off the freeway the temperature started to climb and the digital indicator went near the red mark (260) on the digital display. I immediately pulled over by the side of the road lifted the hood and looked to see if the fans were running,the passengers side one kicked on,the drivers was not running. I also did not hear any boiling or feel indication that the car was overheating, and the fluid level in the reservoir was below the hot Mark. Could it be possible that the digital dash gauge is malfunctioning and no longer giving a correct reading and the car isn't overheating and that's why the ecm didn't turn on the drivers side fan?

When I had pulled over I also pushed the "max" ac button to see if the driver side fan would turn on at first it did not but once the AC compressor ran for about 30 or 40 seconds it finally turned on,but would shut off for a few seconds one in a while. Does that perhaps have something to do with the fact that the car needs Freon right now and is very low? (Because it is low on Freon and the clutch cycles on and off)
I really hope one of the third GEN experts here Can help me solve this as summer is on the way and this is really depressing me.
I truly detest all the electric/computer controlled crap on the later model third Gens. Guess I am old and living in the past.lol.
I wanted to get a carbureted 3rd gen Trans Am, but unfortunately nothing presented itself and I wound up buying this tune port injected car and now it's giving me grief.
Thanks for any and all help

Last edited by JimRockford; 04-15-2017 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 03:49 PM   #2
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Please bear in mind that I am also new to computer controlled cars. My previous third-generation Firebirds were 82's and 83's. They didn't deal with all this later model crap like ecm controlled fans and 222 degree operating temps. I'm not sure if the digital dash temperature gauge has started reading incorrectly. I don't have access to scan tools,temp readers and a bunch of electronic equipment to test it
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Old 04-15-2017, 04:26 PM   #3
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Update- I don't think it's the gauge reading wrong. I drove home on the freeway after and the temp went down to 195 where it has always stayed on the freeway (when moving) since I've owned it. Once I exited and got onto stop and go traffic it shot up to the segment in between 260 and 190 and I pulled over and lifted the hood and no fans were running.shouldnt the passengers side have at leAst come on? After I shut the engine off and after a minute turned the key but didn't start the motor and then the passenger side fan was running. I assume because heat built up after the engine shut off.
I am tempted to just ground the damn fans out and have them run continuously. It beats having a blown head gasket.

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Old 04-15-2017, 04:32 PM   #4
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I know where the lead from the fan switch is for the passenger side fan so I can ground it out me make it run independanf of the switch,where is the wire for the driver side one so I can do the same with it. Since that one is ecm controlled and I don't have a chip burner or whatever tech stuff is needed to change the temp the ecm tells the fan to kick on I just want to put it on a switch and be done with all this garbage.

Edit- there is a switch online for 1984-1995 corvettes that turns on at 185 and off at 170,will that work on our cars?

Last edited by JimRockford; 04-15-2017 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I'm like you, I prefer the pre computer controlled cars also.
No matter what the car, I would have a manual override fan ON switch
in cars having electric fan(s).
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Originally Posted by NoEmissions84TA View Post
I'm like you, I prefer the pre computer controlled cars also.
No matter what the car, I would have a manual override fan ON switch
in cars having electric fan(s).
I have mostly late 50's and 60's cars and it annoys me how needlessly complicated cars became. These third gens have beautiful body designs but I'm not a fan of the electrical issues,etc.

Is there one wire for the drivers fan like there is on the passenger side that can be grounded and a switch added?
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:46 PM   #7
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I can't answer that. I have an 84 with clutch fan. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Except that I will probably add an auxiliary electric fan for added insurance should the engine get too hot, or the fan belt broke or got thrown.

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Old 04-16-2017, 08:57 AM   #8
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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I can't answer that. I have an 84 with clutch fan. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Except that I probably add an auxiliary electric fan for added insurance should the engine get too hot, or the fan belt broke or got thrown.
Yeah,I hear you. Trust me,I am not a fan of this setup,or the fuel injection system,or fuel pump in the tank. To me "progress" isn't turning a reliable system that seldom needs service and is easily serviceable into a needlessly complicated mess that requires massive amounts of time and effort to repair.
Good engineering isn't designing a car to run at ridiculously high,near dangerous temps,and trust the fans to kick on near 222-230 so the temp Falls before you blow the head gasket. Heat kills the transmissions,its bad for the electronics,etc. blown headgaskets and fan issues seem to be a common topic here.

In the "old days" if the belt didn't break,the fan was turning! And if your fuel pump went bad you could repair it in 15 minutes by the side of the road vs having the car towed and then spending 5 hours dropping a tank. I routinely see owners dumping these cars on Craigslist for $1000 because the fuel pump went out.
That isn't "progress". Especially since I have a big 1958 finned car with a 2bbl and 3 speed automatic that gets the same mileage this trans am gets on the freeway. AND I don't have to deal with PAYING the damn state every other year to have a grimy mechanic get behind the wheel of my car and put it in a dyno and stick probes in its tailpipe to get a little piece of paper saying that I am a good boy and pass.

Out here in the land of fruits and nuts all vehicles from 75 forward have to still be smogged,even though there are hardly any 70s or 80s vehicles being driven daily anymore. We don't have the luxury of taking off the smog bs and converting to carbs,etc.

As I said, i think these cars have a beautiful exterior and interior design. I wanted a carbed third gen,but none were available locally at the time,so I settled. Hopefully this thing won't give me too much grief

Last edited by JimRockford; 04-16-2017 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:36 PM   #9
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I agree with everything you said.
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Old 04-16-2017, 10:04 PM   #10
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

i also agree with everything you wrote. i used 10-gauge wire, a 30 amp fuse and toggle switch to turn my fans on whenever i want. the downfall i guess would be if i forget to turn them off?
but you can make or buy an adjustable kit like this;
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/flx-31149/overview/
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Old 04-17-2017, 12:56 AM   #11
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

You could also add a timer relay to turn them off after a specified time when the ignition is switched off - just like the headlights do on modern cars. That way, they could also run for XX minutes after you turned the car off, assuming you left your override switch on.
Or you could just change the wire supplying power to the fans via your override switch to IGN. Then they go off when the key is off.

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Old 04-17-2017, 05:59 PM   #12
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I have an 84 Carbed T/A that has a factory electric fan. I messed around with it for a while but it was set within the factory loom to turn on at about 220-230F as well. Apparently a pollution control thing!

I just bought a painless wiring kit that was preset to turn the fans on at 185 and off at 175 and that seemed to do the trick for me.

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Old 04-18-2017, 08:26 PM   #13
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Thanks for the input guys. I am having real issues with the car and the temps climbing.
Today it was only about 75f and the cars temp gauge shot up to right below red and the fans kicked on at the last minute. this scares me because its supposed to be 95f at the end of the week!


I also charged the ac and drove it on the freeway today and on the way home my nose started burning and it smelled funny so I shut it off. I think the r134 must me leaking in the evaporator.
Bad thing is my power window motors are so weak they barely raise or lower the windows.
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:27 PM   #14
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Is it important that the fans run for a little while after the engine is shut off? they don't seem to do that from the factory.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:06 PM   #15
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I've read on here somewhere about *****'s ultimate cooling system or something like that and this guy has done excellent research and has foolproofed this terrible design. I will dig and see if I can find it.


Search *****'s total fan control. I'm about to do this to my 87 GTA

Last edited by Jbuchanan; 04-18-2017 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Found the post
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:07 PM   #16
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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I've read on here somewhere about *****'s ultimate cooling system or something like that and this guy has done excellent research and has foolproofed this terrible design. I will dig and see if I can find it.


Search *****'s total fan control. I'm about to do this to my 87 GTA

Isn't it a shame that as sleek and stunning as these cars look,they had such terrible cooling systems? It's sad you have to go in and re-engineer all the weak points that shouldn't have gotten past highly educated,well paid gm engineers.

I had always wondered why the fans didn't run for a little bit after because most cars now do that. It drops the temps while the water is still flowing to prevent them from spiking after the car is shut off.

It sounds confusing,though having to re-wire and do that. Can you maybe post pictures when you do it to help others see the process?

I went out and bought a 180f themostat today,and am going to either ground out the passenger side fan or buy the hypertech switch. Do you think that would get my car running much cooler? On the freeway with the wind blowing on it it runs at 195 (on my digital dash gauge). It's only when I am in stop and go traffic that things get scary
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:13 PM   #17
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

It will definitely run cooler, mine was giving me trouble. I hate to say I did this but right now my fan relays are jumped and I drive every day in stop and go traffic and it never goes over 195 degrees. The downside is my fans run constantly while ignition is on and heater doesn't work as good as it should. I don't have to worry about that right now but I am gonna address this soon and I will post pics as I do it.
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:02 PM   #18
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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It will definitely run cooler, mine was giving me trouble. I hate to say I did this but right now my fan relays are jumped and I drive every day in stop and go traffic and it never goes over 195 degrees. The downside is my fans run constantly while ignition is on and heater doesn't work as good as it should. I don't have to worry about that right now but I am gonna address this soon and I will post pics as I do it.
How do you jumper the fan relays so both the passenger and drivers side fan always run? Know I can just ground the wire to the fan switch on the passenger side,but the drivers fan is controlled by the ecm.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:10 AM   #19
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Each fan has a relay. The green and white wire going to the relay is grounded by either the ECM or the fan switch. If you ground out those wires yourself both the fans will run every time the key is on. Well, that's how the Camaros work. assume firebirds are the same?
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:54 AM   #20
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Yep green and white, on my 87 they are both in front of the air cleaner. Take the lid off unplug the relays and make a jumper in-between the green and white. I put a 25 amp fuse in my jumper. I hate doing things like this but I was at the end of my rope.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:38 AM   #21
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Thanks guys for the tips on jumpering the relays. I am going to do that until I can get the hypertech switch
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:41 AM   #22
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Yep green and white, on my 87 they are both in front of the air cleaner. Take the lid off unplug the relays and make a jumper in-between the green and white. I put a 25 amp fuse in my jumper. I hate doing things like this but I was at the end of my rope.
Yeah,I know what you mean,but it's way better than blowing a head gasket. I had a friend with an 89 formula who drove his car for years that way because got fed up with the bs with the stock fan switch and ecm temp. It never ran hot again after that. I don't think he ever messed with it again.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:42 AM   #23
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Yep green and white, on my 87 they are both in front of the air cleaner. Take the lid off unplug the relays and make a jumper in-between the green and white. I put a 25 amp fuse in my jumper. I hate doing things like this but I was at the end of my rope.


Would you be able to post a photo of your setup and how you jumpered them and installed the fuse?
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:54 AM   #24
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Yep green and white, on my 87 they are both in front of the air cleaner. Take the lid off unplug the relays and make a jumper in-between the green and white. I put a 25 amp fuse in my jumper. I hate doing things like this but I was at the end of my rope.


Would you be able to post a photo of your setup and how you jumpered them and installed the fuse?
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:57 AM   #25
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Originally Posted by Jbuchanan View Post
Yep green and white, on my 87 they are both in front of the air cleaner. Take the lid off unplug the relays and make a jumper in-between the green and white. I put a 25 amp fuse in my jumper. I hate doing things like this but I was at the end of my rope.
Here's a photo of my air cleaner. I can see only one relay in front of the air cleaner canister,there is another near the fender near the overflow bottle. I am not sure if these are fan relays and don't have my service manual yet. The wires look green pink and orange
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:23 AM   #26
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I use one of these to control my aux/AC fan and have reprogrammed the ecm for the primary fan.

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/i...019%7CL3*15910

I have it wire to the battery so it will still run after I turn the car off. Usually no more then a minute or so. Don't want it killing the battery
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:47 AM   #27
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I won't disagree that many parts and systems on our thirdgens aren't the greatest. Look at the EFI systems of today. They all have there roots in the crossfire, TBI, and MPFI systems of the 70's and 80's. What's that saying about a long journey beginning with the first step? -or something like that???

Anyhow, I swapped in 4th gen dual fans/shroud, and a Painless Performance dual fan control kit. Running wide open or idling in the hot sun, it never gets more than 190*, with a fan enable temp of 185*. I realize that not everybody wants to mod their car, but it was an easy decision for me.
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:09 AM   #28
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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I use one of these to control my aux/AC fan and have reprogrammed the ecm for the primary fan.

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/i...019%7CL3*15910

I have it wire to the battery so it will still run after I turn the car off. Usually no more then a minute or so. Don't want it killing the battery

Assuming we get our cars running at a lower temp,is there a need for having the fans run for a minute after the motor is shut off? Not all cars today do this,and older cars with belt driven fans didn't seem to have an issue just being shut off after being driven. Is this just for peace of mind or is it necessary?
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:33 AM   #29
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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I won't disagree that many parts and systems on our thirdgens aren't the greatest. Look at the EFI systems of today. They all have there roots in the crossfire, TBI, and MPFI systems of the 70's and 80's. What's that saying about a long journey beginning with the first step? -or something like that???

Anyhow, I swapped in 4th gen dual fans/shroud, and a Painless Performance dual fan control kit. Running wide open or idling in the hot sun, it never gets more than 190*, with a fan enable temp of 185*. I realize that not everybody wants to mod their car, but it was an easy decision for me.
That's true,every nascent technology goes through an awkward period while the bugs are worked out,or it gets abandoned and replaced by something that actually works. Trace elements of these systems survived,but not the system itself. The electronics in cars today have become much more reliable than in the 80's,and manufacturers have finally figured out how to get high horsepower and mpgs out of motors with smog crap on them with out the terrible loss of performance we saw in the 70's and 80's. BUT they have complicated the cars to such an insane degree that when something fails it becomes extremely costly to fix and in most cases can't be repaired by the owner. Engines are now shoehorned into engine compartments with little to no room to even change the spark plugs or turn a wrench and are buried under a mess of wires and hoses.
on some cars just to change the alternator Requires loosening an engine mount and putting a jack under the engine to tip it forward. This isn't "progress" in my opinion. Cars have basically become disposable commodities,they are reliable up to a point and then when they start having issues people dump them and move on because they cost too much to fix.

My point is that the old technology did the same job reliably and was easily serviceable by the owner. And when something went wrong you could get it back on the road the same day in most cases,rather than having it towed to a shop where it would sit for a week until mechanic got around to it.
I know people who had Dodge Darts and Plymouth Dusters with slant sixes that had over 300k miles on the motors and over 200 some thousand miles on the 3 speed autos,and those were cars in the late 60's and early 70's. I have had several second gen firebirds that never had any major issues with many thousands of miles on them.
Given a choice I would much prefer an earlier 80's third gen with a carb and mechanical fan that wasn't designed to run at ridiculously high temperatures which killed the transmission and didn't have an ecm controlling ever aspect of the cars performance,that just creates other issues. The only down side to the early third gens is the crappy 200c auto used in 1982 and that the early 700r4's didn't hold up as well.

I have no idea how to reprogram the ecm to turn the primary fan on the fan sooner and I certainly dont have the equipment so that would create a situation where I would have to take it to someone and bend over. I don't see anything wrong with your modifying your car to get it to run much cooler. If GM would've done it right from the start you wouldn't of had to. So anything you do is obviously going to be an improvement at this point. And it can always be reversed if you go to sell it or wish it to be stock again.

Last edited by JimRockford; 04-20-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:48 PM   #30
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

When I get my 84TA back on the road (hopefully this summer), the emissions crap will be removed as well as the ECM. It will be like a 70's musclecar. And I will love driving it even more for the reasons you stated above.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:31 PM   #31
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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When I get my 84TA back on the road (hopefully this summer), the emissions crap will be removed as well as the ECM. It will be like a 70's musclecar. And I will love driving it even more for the reasons you stated above.
Unfortunately we can't remove any of the emissions devices cars 76 and later out here. Originally each year it moved forward and another year became smog exempt,then it was stopped at 1975. isnt it so lovely that we have smarter people than us running the show and making these decisions for us?
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:39 PM   #32
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

In Connecticut, once it hits 25 years old, it becomes exempt.
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:31 PM   #33
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Rub it in! Lol
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:54 PM   #34
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

i ran 3 fans at one time. was able to fit a slim flex fan on the waterpump. might be something to think about? after a few years i took it off and just put a toggle switch on the dual electric fans. problem solved.

you might try a few other things?;
water wetter is usually good for 10 degree drop.
new radiator cap.
flush entire coolant system very good.
drill 3 small, 1/8" holes on the edges of your thermostat. it will let a small amount of coolant always circulate.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:19 PM   #35
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Can you post photos of the fan relays and which wires to jumper to just have them both run? Radiator is flushed,it works fine and when the car is moving stays in the middle. I bought a 180 thermostat to install today but wasn't able to get the water neck off because the torx bolt was placed right underneath a water hose line. there she was that the fans don't come on soon enough
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:22 PM   #36
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

I will, I'm sorry just catching up on here. What year is yours?
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:45 AM   #37
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimRockford View Post
Assuming we get our cars running at a lower temp,is there a need for having the fans run for a minute after the motor is shut off? Not all cars today do this,and older cars with belt driven fans didn't seem to have an issue just being shut off after being driven. Is this just for peace of mind or is it necessary?
Probably a little bit of both. Every car I've owned newer then model year 2000
has had fans that can run after I turn off my car. My last 2 did it a lot but they are both turbocharged so that may have something to do with it.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:03 AM   #38
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Originally Posted by Jbuchanan View Post
I will, I'm sorry just catching up on here. What year is yours?
1988 trans am 305 TPI DIGITAL DASH
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:27 AM   #39
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Car: 88 firebid with z20 appearance pack
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Make sure your air dam is still there.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:54 AM   #40
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

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Make sure your air dam is still there.
Yes,the air dam is intact and that would NOT affect the cars temp rising at a standstill. The air dam simply directs air into the radiator and functions only when the car is at speed. The issue I am having is only when the car is at idle,as I explained in my first post,the car runs cool when it's at speed.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:46 AM   #41
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Were you able to solve your problem?
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:09 AM   #42
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Contact member Tuned Performance here on the forum. He can burn a chip for you to lower the fan set points. This is not a "bend over" situation at all. It's typically less than $100 from most vendors to get a chip burned. He can also, if you desire, remove the emissions components.

The TPI system is not the first generation of fuel injection - it's actually quite far along the evolutionary path. The system is quite good and has virtually of the same components found in fuel injection used all through the 90's and 2000's. The big change in the last 10 years has been direct injection and systems integration with CANBUS networks, etc. The TPI is beautiful because it is such a stripped down injection system with virtually no fluff. It's also well documented, and has a large following with tools and support.

Your problem is very common. Make sure you have a good radiator and a 180 thermostat. Lowering the fan set points will help. They ran them hot back in the day because the converter technology sucked, not because the fuel injection was primitive.

GD
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Old 06-02-2017, 07:46 PM   #43
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Re: NEED HELP! OVERHEATING

Before you start tearing your car apart you should invest in one of these.
https://www.harborfreight.com/non-co...ing-60725.html
3rd gen Temp gauges are notorious for being wrong.
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