Radiator cooling fans won't turn on - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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#1 Old 12-26-2010, 12:31 AM
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Radiator cooling fans won't turn on

My 99 toyota camry four cylinder car has a problem with the radiator cooling fans not turning on. Both fans turn on when the A/C clutch engages. But if I'm driving around with the A/C off the fans will not turn on. And the coolant temp starts to rise but will still stay in the normal zone. But the fans will never turn on. I replaced the coolant temp sensor and that didn't fix it. Is there a relay switch somewhere that needs to be replaced? Any ideas?
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#2 Old 12-26-2010, 12:52 AM
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You need an engine coolant temperature "switch", not "sensor". I know, many different sensors/switches/senders are called similar names. This one goes to the bottom of the radiator and actually turns on the fan when the temperature reaches a certain point.

See if the fan starts when you remove the connector to:

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=44792

Be careful of moving fan blades.



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Originally Posted by cougarhunter View Post
My 99 toyota camry four cylinder car has a problem with the radiator cooling fans not turning on. Both fans turn on when the A/C clutch engages. But if I'm driving around with the A/C off the fans will not turn on. And the coolant temp starts to rise but will still stay in the normal zone. But the fans will never turn on. I replaced the coolant temp sensor and that didn't fix it. Is there a relay switch somewhere that needs to be replaced? Any ideas?
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#3 Old 12-26-2010, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnGD View Post
You need an engine coolant temperature "switch", not "sensor". I know, many different sensors/switches/senders are called similar names. This one goes to the bottom of the radiator and actually turns on the fan when the temperature reaches a certain point.

See if the fan starts when you remove the connector to:

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=44792

Be careful of moving fan blades.
The one I replaced looks exactly like that. It's on the metal pipe that exits from the engine. If there is one by the radiator. Where exactly on it do you think it is? Any pictures that I could see?
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#4 Old 12-26-2010, 03:46 PM
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Look at the bottom of the radiator from the engine side. (I believe it's on the driver's side but I'm not certain.) There is a sensor there that screws in to the radiator and controls when the fans turn on.

Mike
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#5 Old 12-26-2010, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Gerber View Post
Look at the bottom of the radiator from the engine side. (I believe it's on the driver's side but I'm not certain.) There is a sensor there that screws in to the radiator and controls when the fans turn on.

Mike

Do I have to look under the car to see it? Because I just looked with the hood open and I don't see a sensor. Unless the fan is blocking the view below it?
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#6 Old 12-26-2010, 06:00 PM
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I know that there are a few cooling fan relays or fuses under the hood. I don't know which one is for the fans to turn on with the A/C off. Some say fan 1 fan 2 fan 3. I don't have three fans. I'm thinking that one of the switches in the relay box is the problem. Is there a way to test that idea out?
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#7 Old 12-26-2010, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cougarhunter View Post
Do I have to look under the car to see it? Because I just looked with the hood open and I don't see a sensor. Unless the fan is blocking the view below it?
I think it is on passenger side on my 5s-fe gen4.5 (more or less). it's hard to see it from top, so shut off the car, give it a few minutes to cool down, put aside your tie or hoodie straps then bend over the radiator or feel the area with your hand, there will be an electrical cable attached to it (it's routed below the fan shroud), so you can't miss it.


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#8 Old 12-26-2010, 06:25 PM
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The sensor on the outlet pipe is for the EFI. The switch on the bottom of the radiator controls the fans. Its doubtful the relays are bad since the fans come on when you switch the AC on, which overrides the switch on the radiator.
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#9 Old 12-26-2010, 06:40 PM
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I think it is on passenger side on my 5s-fe gen4.5 (more or less). it's hard to see it from top, so shut off the car, give it a few minutes to cool down, put aside your tie or hoodie straps then bend over the radiator or feel the area with your hand, there will be an electrical cable attached to it (it's routed below the fan shroud), so you can't miss it.

I assume I will lose my radiator fluid out? Is easier to get putting the car up on ramps or try to bend for it over above?
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#10 Old 12-26-2010, 06:46 PM
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I assume I will lose my radiator fluid out? Is easier to get putting the car up on ramps or try to bend for it over above?
access from bottom is easier after removing splash shields, etc.
yeah, you would need to drain radiator before removing that switch. ramps should work fine.


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#11 Old 12-26-2010, 06:49 PM
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access from bottom is easier after removing splash shields, etc.
yeah, you would need to drain radiator before removing that switch. ramps should work fine.

It's raining outside and will turn to snow.

But I'll take a look at here in a day or two and will let you guys know what I find.
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#12 Old 12-26-2010, 06:54 PM
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It's raining outside and will turn to snow.

But I'll take a look at here in a day or two and will let you guys know what I find.
yeah, we have a blizzard going on here until tomorrow ... not exactly best weather for tinkering with cars hehe...

keep us posted!


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#13 Old 12-27-2010, 12:57 AM
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The one on the metal coolant outlet pipe is the sensor. It's a variable resistor that changes with coolant temperature. This "sensor" is quite different from the "switch" that's on the bottom of the radiator. The switch, like the on/off light switch, turns the fan on or off depending on coolant temperature at the inlet hose.

The 3 relays work together to turn the two fans either in series or parallel (slow/fast speeds). As mentioned, they should be fine because both fans turned when you turn on AC.

You can try to remove the passenger side fan and look near the coolant inlet hose for the switch. When you disconnect the switch the fan should turn on. You may need to turn the key to ON, but engine can be off.

Just be careful of moving fan blades.
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#14 Old 12-27-2010, 12:58 AM
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I wonder if pinching shut the coolant overflow rubber hose will slow the outflow of coolant when the switch is removed. Never tried it, but doing so may help create a vacuum in the cooling system.
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#15 Old 12-28-2010, 08:05 PM
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So I took the fan off and replaced the sensor at the bottom of the radiator. The weird thing was that I had been driving around town and then I took it off and the engine's temp gauge said it was warmed up and I had to be careful not to burn my hand. So to my surprise when I took the sensor out I was ready for hot coolant to come out. It was cold. Like not even warm. That puzzled me. And it was clean coolant. So I put the new sensor in and it's still doing the same problem. The temp needle will stay half way driving all around. Then it will rise another quarter when I'm idling.
The fans work. And I checked the relays and they work. The fans will come on way later when it's about a quarter above half way on the gauge. I had a flush done. And they put in a new thermostat. Rated at 180. There has been no oil in the coolant from a head gasket failure.
I'm wondering if the thermostat isn't opening enough at idle? When they flushed my cooling system I did have the heater core open and what it pumped out was clean.


It's strange. The part about the coolant being cold after taking that sensor out after driving puzzled me.
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