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Temp Gauge Wacky - Cold Weather related???

Driving along today during our first real cold spell here in TX (thirties) and I noticed after a quick stop that the temp gauge went all wacky, down to cold and then back to normal. Also, I noticed last night that it is not running as warm as it has been. Could turning on the heater really cause it to drop from 195 on the guage to 160?
No mods on the car and no (MFA) tricks being played while this happened. I got a CE this morning and have to wait to get home to scan it. Any thoughts while I sit here at work??? TIA.


[Modified by texasvr6, 10:10 AM 11-28-2001]
 

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Re: Temp Gauge Wacky - Cold Weather related??? (texasvr6)

Head gasket going ? That's what mine did on my Supra turbo when it went.
Living in a cold winter country [Canada] I can tell you turning on the heater will not cause your temp gauge to move regardless of how cold it is outside.
 

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Re: Temp Gauge Wacky - Cold Weather related??? (texasvr6)

My first guess would be a faulty thermostat, likely stuck open. I experienced the same symptoms that you are describing. It may be a bad thermo switch -- located on the side of the radiator and responsible for turning on the fans.
Do the cheap thing first: Replace the radiator fluid and flush the system, assuming it's been over two years since this was last done. Otherwise have somebody replace your thermostat. Having just dont this myself, I recommend you have somebody else do it, mostly because it's just a pain (and time consuming) to remove/attach the power steering pump. If you have a Saturday, a warm garage and a Bentley or Haynes manual then you could do it yourself and save some bucks http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif The Haynes manual does a good job explaining how to flush the cooling system; Bentley sucks in this situation.
 
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