Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 11th 2018, 4:35pm

Hi guys!

First of all : sorry for my english im not a native speaker :)

I've bought an astro van from 2003 (4;3 V6 RWD) in Chile to do a conversion since i wanted to travel to all south america in a good car with space. So i cleaned all the back of the car, and was too confident, so i tired up the rear heater. All the coolant fluid came out :(

I was in the middle of nowhere so i tied up the two hoses succesfully and filled up the engine with clear water, untill i can find real engine coolant (not GM specific model) and did flush the water to remplace with coolant. I dont know if it was a good idea, but i flushed multiple times with clear water to "clean" the radiator before puting real coolant. The fact is i put too much coolant because i cannot see the marks on the tank, the liquid was dissapering and i was refilling it until i can finnaly find the marks that are really low on the tank.

My problem is that i have the "check engine" orange light on since the time i tired up the heater. But its only before i start, and it was off when the motor was on.

5 weeks passed and we started to travel, no more problems. Yesterday i wanted to check the coolant level when the motor was hot and on, so i've just opened the tank to check (not the radiator!!), and after that the check engine light was on even when the motor was on. At this moment i wanted to do a scan of the car to check if everything was ok. (i didnt do it before because its like $80 just to plug the scan in a chevrolet garage...)

Thats another story but like 10 km after that the light came on my front right tire blowed up in the middle of the desert so we were forced to go to the next garage to find new tire. I asked him to plug the scan, that he did for 25$ and he told me thats the only error was related to the thermostat function (i dont have the code) but the translation should be "coolant temperature below that regulated by the thermostat". He cleaned the check engine light, but 5 min after the light came on again, not when the motor is on but only before i start.

My thermometer seems ok and the temperature is always between 40C and 100C (most of the time 40/50C). And the car is working great since the beginning, i've done 2000KM approx.

I'm going back to the garage to change my tires today so i will ask him to give me the real error code.

But should I be concerned about something ? Should i do something?

Thank you,
Pierre
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby AstroWill » May 11th 2018, 9:05pm

Pierrot from Chile wrote:thats the only error was related to the thermostat function (i dont have the code) but the translation should be "coolant temperature below that regulated by the thermostat". He cleaned the check engine light, but 5 min after the light came on again, not when the motor is on but only before i start.

My thermometer seems ok and the temperature is always between 40C and 100C (most of the time 40/50C). And the car is working great since the beginning, i've done 2000KM approx

When warmed up should be right around 90c all the time.

Sounds like one or more of the below:
Low on coolant - check and burp the system properly ensure you don't have any leaks
Thermostat isn't working properly - check/replace
Temperature sensor/connection is bad. check/replace

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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby SportsBoy » May 12th 2018, 12:43am

Ok, I might be very wrong, but don't all the lights on the display come on if you just turn it to "on" before starting the engine?

Also, if you have a smartphone, getting a little obd2 bluetooth code reader would probably be a great help for you - super cheap on Amazon.
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 12th 2018, 1:25am

AstroWill wrote:
Pierrot from Chile wrote:thats the only error was related to the thermostat function (i dont have the code) but the translation should be "coolant temperature below that regulated by the thermostat". He cleaned the check engine light, but 5 min after the light came on again, not when the motor is on but only before i start.

My thermometer seems ok and the temperature is always between 40C and 100C (most of the time 40/50C). And the car is working great since the beginning, i've done 2000KM approx

When warmed up should be right around 90c all the time.

Sounds like one or more of the below:
Low on coolant - check and burp the system properly ensure you don't have any leaks
Thermostat isn't working properly - check/replace
Temperature sensor/connection is bad. check/replace


Sorry i missreaded its more 70C most of the time (like driving straight at 80kmh) and around 90C when im climbing dirt road.

Is there any tutorial to check what you said? Im limited in tools and internet connection also

Im not sure if i have leak of coolant or not, the level is hard to compare. I had a hole like a pinhead in the top of the radiator who was leaking when hot that i fixed with high temp silicona.

All the lights come on when i turn the key, and go off after 3s except the battery and check engine.

Btw i went back to the mecanician and he couldnt see any error now even if the light was on before i start the motor so i dont have the exact code.

I wish i could buy myself a portable scanner but i have no adress in chili since im living in my van! Maybe in the next big city :)
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby dchan51360 » May 12th 2018, 2:37am

Picture of the lights that are on?
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby sfeaver » May 12th 2018, 6:16am

Sounds like thermostat is faulty, staying open. Should be 90c or so all the time once warmed up.
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 12th 2018, 11:25am

Doing photo shoot asap.

Do you think its really bad if its not hot ?

The fact is that it began after fluid leak no more, im wondering if it can hurt the thermostat
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 12th 2018, 2:41pm

There is the pics
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First 3 sec
20180512_103244.jpg
Motor still off but light wont turn off
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby kennysmoke » May 12th 2018, 2:54pm

Pierrot from Chile wrote:There is the pics

Post pics with the engine running. These look like with key on engine off which looks normal.
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 12th 2018, 3:03pm

Second pic is not normal, check engine light should turn off after a few second.

Everything is ok when engine is on now since the first time i scanned
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby kennysmoke » May 12th 2018, 3:59pm

Pierrot from Chile wrote:Second pic is not normal, check engine light should turn off after a few second.

Everything is ok when engine is on now since the first time i scanned


I've owned five of these vans since 1993... the check engine and battery lights turn off a few seconds AFTER starting the engine... key on, engine off the lights stay on.
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 12th 2018, 4:47pm

Because before I teared up my rear heater, the check engine was off before i start the engine. And still now it is what happens, when i start the engine, and turn it off, if im getting the key on there is no check engine light going on in the next 30s after turning off my engine. Getting you a pic
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 12th 2018, 4:50pm

There it is
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby AstroWill » May 12th 2018, 5:36pm

May want to read your owners manual, all of that about the lights is in there, section 3-23. If you don't have the owners manual, they are available on this site.

Pierrot from Chile wrote:Do you think its really bad if its not hot ?

Yes, it needs to be up to proper running temperature, that is the entire purpose of the thermostat, to establish the lowest normal operating temperature.

Pierrot from Chile wrote:Im not sure if i have leak of coolant or not, the level is hard to compare. I had a hole like a pinhead in the top of the radiator who was leaking when hot that i fixed with high temp silicona.

If you found one, there could be more, it's something to check, are you losing coolant? Also, you should not just be running water in there, get some antifreeze in there, your water pump may thank you. Maybe use a pressure tester and find if there are any leaks.

Pierrot from Chile wrote:I wish i could buy myself a portable scanner but i have no adress in chili since im living in my van! Maybe in the next big city :)

Have it sent 'lista de correos' to any post office?

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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby dchan51360 » May 12th 2018, 9:27pm

Did you get a chance to find out what that code is?

If it's a P0128 then most likely your thermostat is bad, or you might still have a leak. If your temp does not get to a specific temperature in a specific amount of time after starting the engine, you will get this P0128 and it will set the check engine light on..

After a certain number of correct operations, it would turn off again.

After a certain number of incorrect operations, it would turn on.

If you are running straight water and no antifreeze/coolant, there are no lubricating agents in the coolant. If your thermostat is stuck or getting stuck open, it will take longer to get to operating temp.. Also if the thermostat is stuck open, when ever you are driving above 30mph/48kph your coolant temp will drop well below what is considered operating temp. the temps will change a lot and might also trigger the SES(Check engine light) telling you that the thermostat is not functioning properly. plain water might make the problem worse since without the lubricants in Antifreeze, it might be binding upon opening or closing.
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby dchan51360 » May 12th 2018, 9:32pm

By the way I don't know if this works on the 2003 OBD systems but you might try this.

http://masrepair.com/how-to-retrieve-tr ... -scanners/
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 14th 2018, 8:47pm

Thank you for your answers, was in no internet zone.

After looking longer to my temp : im at 70c when driving straight or downhill (im always going easy on speed for fuel comsuption) and today i've been from 0m to 2000m in less than 30min so my temp went to 110c but never went more. (Dont know what would have happend if i had to go further uphill)

Coolant is never the same level, hard to check in the bottle, so i dont know if i have leak. Do you have any way to do it ?

I will try to to do your trick dchan, btw im now in a big city with a lot of parts sellers and im looking to buy a bluetooth scanner.

Im not running on water anymore, i had water for only one day.
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby AstroWill » May 14th 2018, 9:24pm

70c is too cold, probably need to replace your thermostat, borrow/buy a pressure tester or have your coolant system pressure tested, 110c is overheating or very close to it(I wouldn't let mine run that hot normally). When cold, check your radiator level. The bluetooth adapters are the cheapest way to go if you have a tablet/smart phone.

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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby Pierrot from Chile [OP] » May 15th 2018, 12:43am

Ok im getting my thermostat checked tomorrow and remplaced if needed. By luck the local part store had it! (It costed me like 60dollars but whatever)

But if even the thermostat is always open, that do not explain why the engine is overheating (or almost).

My radiator is always full even if the water tank is getting lower and lower. But i put it back around 2 liters today
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Re: Check engine orange light since removing rear heater.

Postby AstroWill » May 15th 2018, 1:09am

Pierrot from Chile wrote:Ok im getting my thermostat checked tomorrow and remplaced if needed. By luck the local part store had it! (It costed me like 60dollars but whatever)

$60usd? Damn I will know to bring my own to Chile ;)
Pierrot from Chile wrote:But if even the thermostat is always open, that do not explain why the engine is overheating (or almost).

Nope, it sure doesn't, but one step at a time. You should probably do a radiator flush while you are in there.
Pierrot from Chile wrote:My radiator is always full even if the water tank is getting lower and lower. But i put it back around 2 liters today

Still leaking if you have to add constantly.

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