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Temperature Gauge Issue


JOEYD2005
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I recently changed the battery in my '96 LS400 (118k miles). A few days later I noticed that my temperature gauge would move just above the "C". The normal position of the needle is 2 lines above the "C". I replaced the radiator cap (as advised in previous posts). The coolant level was a little low so I added some distilled water. I even checked the HTR fuse located near the parking brake release. No luck with any of these fixes. I know the gauge works because when I start the car in the morning the gauge is below the "C". The reason I mention the battery change is because I am wondering if I touched anything, near the battery, that has to do with the gauge.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

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  • 6 months later...

Interesting as I have just noticed the same phenomenon. I replaced my battery when the old one was just not holding a charge. Now I have noticed that my temperature gauge always shows the car is running really "cold". Basically it never moves beyond the first few ticks no matter how long it's been running or how warm it is outside. In the past (almost 14 years) the gauge needle would be about midway (horizontal) when it was at normal operating temperature.

So far, I've just been keeping an eye on it as the car otherwise runs just fine. What an interesting conundrum. Does anyone have any ideas?

BTW: My LS400 is a 1992 with close to 248,000 miles on the odometer. The car just won't die! LOL!

I recently changed the battery in my '96 LS400 (118k miles). A few days later I noticed that my temperature gauge would move just above the "C". The normal position of the needle is 2 lines above the "C". I replaced the radiator cap (as advised in previous posts). The coolant level was a little low so I added some distilled water. I even checked the HTR fuse located near the parking brake release. No luck with any of these fixes. I know the gauge works because when I start the car in the morning the gauge is below the "C". The reason I mention the battery change is because I am wondering if I touched anything, near the battery, that has to do with the gauge.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

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Too bad the original post in July was never followed-up with a solution. Although you changed the battery and think the low temp is

related, it may not be. It sure does sound like an open thermostat. Do you still get a lot of heat out of the heater when set to max?

When was the last time the Tstat was changed?

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You know, I don't EVER recall changing the thermostat. However, I just completed a 5 hour round trip to visit a relative this weekend in the car, and the heater seemed to be working just fine. It's about 40 degrees outside so if the heater wasn't working, the family would have been yelling !Removed! murder. I had it set at 72 and it seemed right.

My LS400 is the 3rd car in our family. We bought it new in 1992 and people thought we were nuts as we just had a new baby. This car was the family "beater". Since then, I've had 2 kids brought home from the hospital in that car and my oldest (now 13) wants the car as her first car! It's too funny. We use the LS as a backup when the family Volvo V70 is in the shop or dies (which happens way more than we'd like). I normally drive a 2 seat convertible so I use the LS when I have to cart the kids around.

I keep thinking about really putting some money into the old LS as it's been such a good car. But now it's got flaking paint, a few dings, headlight and windshield cracks, and the leather interior is beginning to crack and tear. I would take more money to fix it up than it's worth (blue book). But I still can't get over how well it drives even in it's old neglected state. These are such great cars. When I scrape up enough spare change, I may just get an new LS460.

Oh well, here's hoping someone responds with some info. I hope you are having a good 2009!

Too bad the original post in July was never followed-up with a solution. Although you changed the battery and think the low temp is

related, it may not be. It sure does sound like an open thermostat. Do you still get a lot of heat out of the heater when set to max?

When was the last time the Tstat was changed?

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Oh well, here's hoping someone responds with some info. I hope you are having a good 2009!

Sigh... :( FWIW, I am trying to help. If you are expecting someone to drop the exact answer in your lap, you may be in for a long wait.

I would actually use an IR gun on the engine/radiator to determine the approximate temperature. From there you can

determine if the Tstat is going bad or if it might be a sensor.

These problems often require a bit of detective work. If that is not your cup of tea, you may want to drive her

to the shop for a professional evaluation.

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Oh no! I appreciate the response. I reread my post and realized it may have sounded critical of your response.

In reality, it's always good to share views. I am not expecting a magic answer. I am one of those tinkerers, otherwise I wouldn't be messing with a 1992 model car!

I have had occasions where someone had the exact same problem and answer. Then there was the time when someone told me an issue in my wife's Volvo was with an evaporator core. I spent a weekend taking apart the dash of her car to replace the evap core. As it turns out, it wasn't the problem! Although it was a huge time sink, I actually had fun and learned a lot. One thing I learned is .. "never replace an evaporator core by yourself"! It just isn't worth the pain. LOL!

Oh well, here's hoping someone responds with some info. I hope you are having a good 2009!

Sigh... :( FWIW, I am trying to help. If you are expecting someone to drop the exact answer in your lap, you may be in for a long wait.

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I may have misinterpreted your response as well. Its good to hear that you are a "tinkerer". This forum is geared more toward the DIY'rs.

Oh another thing to check is your gas mileage. Sometimes a truly cold engine will get very poor mileage.

So, whats your game plan at this point?

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  • 7 months later...
I may have misinterpreted your response as well. Its good to hear that you are a "tinkerer". This forum is geared more toward the DIY'rs.

Oh another thing to check is your gas mileage. Sometimes a truly cold engine will get very poor mileage.

So, whats your game plan at this point?

No freaking clue. It's been 7 months since that post. The car still runs like a top and the temp gauge still shows cold all the time. I recently went out and cleaned her up thinking that I would trade it in using the government "Cash for Clunkers" program. But the fates conspired against me! I couldn't find the title.... I applied for a new one, but it takes 2 weeks. Well, the program ended a week ago.

So I went out one weekend and decided to fix up the car. I polished it, fixed the flaking clearcoat, and have now started to think about fixing the AC again. I also spotted a new leather interior kit at www.leatherseats.com. My mind is reeling...should I or shouldn't I?

Maybe this will become my daughter's first car. It's only 2 years away....

The car actually looks pretty darn good. Here's a slideshow if you are so inclined... http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.a...w_photos_button

I was going to use this to list it for sale, but I'll probably end up keeping it.

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