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A/C and Coolant Temps: Need a Fix

By Junior Damato, July 25th, 2015

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2008 Pontiac Solstice with 18,200 miles and last week I went for a short ride to a local car show. When I started the car to return home the DIC display for the coolant temperature showed as ---Fahrenheit, no reading. Also the A/C does not run, just warm air, and the engine fan comes on and stays running. Some other Solstice owners say the coolant sensor and thermostat has to be replaced and some are getting a code of p0128. What is the correct fix? Richard

Manufacturer photo: 2008 Pontiac Solstice
Manufacturer photo: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

strong>Dear Richard: You need to first check the connections at the coolant temperature sensor. The code p0128 indicates a long time response and low engine coolant temperature. The A/C compressor will not come on if the temperature is out of range. A scan tool will give you the correct information and some scan tools also have trouble shooting built in. Thermostats do get lazy and slow to respond as well as keeping the engine temperature at the correct temperature. I recommend using the factory thermostat and coolant sensor and make sure the wire pig tail is in good condition, too.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have two issues I'd like your advice on: My 2008 Honda Odyssey has about 190,000 miles and I drive it regularly. At times I can put over 400 miles on it in a 24-hour period. I've had the timing belt changed, along with the water pump at around 95,000 miles. Should I have it changed again? Secondly, the threads on my oil pan have been stripped. Those threads came out during my last oil changed. The 14m oversized plugs no longer fit. I currently have a rubber plug in as a temporary fix. Would going up to a 16m drain plug be feasible? The pan is aluminum. Could that be a problem, too? Zim

strong>Dear Zim: The timing belt replacement is an important part of maintenance on Honda V-6 engines. You are at the mileage interval for replacement. If the timing belt does break while you are on the road piston and valve interference is possible and this is a major expensive. I see stripped and worn out oil drain treads every week. There are many companies that sell oil pan tread repair kits and to correct the oil pan is a simple procedure. The kit comes with the correct size tape and new oil drain plug. This repair kit is for aluminum oil pans only.

strong>Dear Doctor: When I stop to get gasoline in my 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe I shut off the engine, get about 13 gallons and leave the station. I then notice the gas gauge shows as empty -- and we know that is wrong. As I drive a few miles the "check engine" comes on. The next day the gas gauge needle starts to move up and the check engine is off. Any thoughts? Joe

strong>Dear Joe: We need to first check the fault code with a scan tool while the check engine light is on. It sounds like there is a problem with the level sending unit. A faulty fuel sender unit could be the problem, however, we do need confirmation before condemning it.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2000 Subaru Outback. The check engine light comes on regularly. When it comes on, I reset the gas cap. Then after about 5 miles the check engine light goes out. Then the light comes back on every 50 to 100 miles. I did have the exhaust system replaced with a factory-built one by a local garage over 18 months ago. For 12 months, I had no problems, then the check engine light problem started. Also, the coolant system has Subaru anti-freeze with a factory-approved additive, which was recommended by Subaru sometime ago to stop gasket leakage. So far, I have had no leaks over the last 10 years. Vic

strong>Dear Vic: When a check engine light comes on it is because the car's computer cannot process the information coming from the whatever circuit is involved in the system that is causing the light to illuminate. You did not mention the fault code, which is why the check engine light is on. You need to have the code read by a technician. The check engine light can be triggered by multiple systems and multiple sensors and sensors.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own Volkswagen Golf TDI with incredible fuel mileage -- anywhere from 45 to 55 mpg on highway and 32 mpg city. Why don't most car manufacturers offer a turbodiesel model like VW? Luciano

strong>Dear Luciano: Car companies offer many variations of drivelines including turbodiesels. There is no question that some vehicles deliver more miles per gallon than others like your VW. However, diesel engines are not for every car owner. Diesel engines do provide good fuel economy. With this said, gas-powered vehicles are often less expensive, quieter, offer in some cases better performance. I recently drove a new Jeep with a Fiat V-6 diesel that delivered 30-plus mpg. Our whole auto industry is changing and gasoline engines have also improved in many ways, including performance and gas mileage.

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