Coolant Temperature Gauge Indication

Thread starter #1
6
1
3
Buick Ownership
1997 Buick Century Limited
Since I purchased my used '97 Buick Century Custom two months ago, I am confused by the position of the needle once the engine is warmed up.

Once the engine is at operating temp, while driving at highway speed 65 mph, the needle never seems to move more than two notches to the right from C like it is pictured in the Owners Manual. The only time that I have seen it move further to the right, even at half sometimes is when I am stopped, idling. Once the car moves again, the needle moves back towards the same position near cold.

Now that it is cold weather, the gauge indicates the same position, two notches right after cold. I do get heat but it takes awhile for the engine to warm up if it is especially cold.

I have had Fords and usually the heat warms up faster. So being new to this make and model, and vehicle's engine, my question is what I am seeing, and experiencing, on the coolant temperature gauge normal?
 

MelsRegal

Full Member
2,360
161
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Buick Ownership
Regal GS 2017
when the vehicle is completely cold, is the coolant at the proper level in the bottle?
you may or may not have a thermostat issue. The engine has to be checked with an IR gun to determine what the actual temperature is when warmed up. If below 195 the thermostat should be replaced.
 
1,412
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83
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Check by feeling your heater hoses after the car is warmed up both should be warm-hot, hard to describe. If you are getting heat in the car it could be the gage or sending unit. Check the sending unit connections are tight and clean, can't say it's the problem but it's on the list of possibilities. There's online instructions to do test on the sending unit and you can confirm if it's working properly.
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23
5
3
Buick Ownership
2001 Buick Century Custom
Having this issue with mine as well current temp now outside is 57 and checking mine with a scan tool temp came up to 195 F sitting still at idle but temp gauge was just above 3/8 on gauge done a drive test between 50-55 mph and watched scan tool for the 5 mile drive temp varied from 168-173 F till I slowed to turn into home then dropped to 161 F while driving temp gauge had settled in at just above 1/4 on gauge. Before this test we had to nights at mid lower 20's and when in these temps my gauge never leaves the 1/8th scale mark on temp gauge when driving and barely goes above 1/8th sitting I did not think to check my temps on scan tool at that time so not sure what my temps was This leads me to be-leave my t stat is stuck open some but when I was sitting and at 195 should it have been closer to half vs the just above 3/8 like it was I am going to replace my t stat but was trying to determine where Buick had there gauge calibrated to for 195 on the gauge
Oh And thanks Buick (GM) you could have designed the t stat housing in a better location to get at than you did bright a** move
 
Thread starter #6
6
1
3
Buick Ownership
1997 Buick Century Limited
First thing I noticed is that the Coolant Recovery Bottle Cap had the overflow/refill hose missing from its nipple underneath. Bought a replacement hose from PepBoys, and attached. Secondly, after driving and leaving the car overnight, noticed that I needed to add coolant to the bottle as it was low. So far, the level is holding.

I always get heat inside the car albeit a combination of heat emanating from the vents, and some at the floor even if I have the temp dial set at heat. Don't know if this combo is normal but at Max, the inside can be very, very warm.

I have a laser temp tester, so where do I have to point the laser on the engine to get an accurate reading of 195 degrees as some posters have mentioned?

Regarding the ECT, I read somewhere that if it were defective, I would get a CEL but do not. Thus, my coolant temp gauge stays at 1/4 above C, and occassionally might move to 1/2 if the car was idling. Anyone else have a coolant temp gauge displaying this?

Thanks to all for your responses so far.
 

BK3

A Regular
41
2
8
Buick Ownership
2002 Century
I had a time in my 2002 Century that acted very similar to this, except I got very little heat inside the car. I replaced the thermostat and the issue went away.
You MIGHT need to bleed the cooling system.
 

EarlD

Junior Member
54
5
8
Buick Ownership
Buick
Since I purchased my used '97 Buick Century Custom two months ago, I am confused by the position of the needle once the engine is warmed up.

Once the engine is at operating temp, while driving at highway speed 65 mph, the needle never seems to move more than two notches to the right from C like it is pictured in the Owners Manual. The only time that I have seen it move further to the right, even at half sometimes is when I am stopped, idling. Once the car moves again, the needle moves back towards the same position near cold.

Now that it is cold weather, the gauge indicates the same position, two notches right after cold. I do get heat but it takes awhile for the engine to warm up if it is especially cold.

I have had Fords and usually the heat warms up faster. So being new to this make and model, and vehicle's engine, my question is what I am seeing, and experiencing, on the coolant temperature gauge normal?
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EarlD

Junior Member
54
5
8
Buick Ownership
Buick
I have a 95 PA and a 94 Olds 88 and neither of them heat up quickly and neither of them ever get above what would be 160 degrees on the gauge unless they idle for 5 minutes or so after having been driven for a few miles. I have a 96 Chrysler and the gauge goes to 180 in about a mile, but not the 3800 of the PA or Olds - both heaters work just fine. I don't think you have a problem. The PA has 285K miles, BTW.
 
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