Radiator Fan Works Intermittenly

Asked by Jun 19, 2017 at 10:27 PM about the 2001 Ford Taurus SE Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Okay, I have a 2001 Ford Taurus. It is a 3.0 L. It has a V6 Vulcan. DOHC. Front Wheel Drive.

When I crank my car the Radiator Fan automatically comes on. It will stay on for 3 minutes, then it will turn off. Then obviously without the Radiator Fan on after that first 3 minutes. The hot hand begins to move up.

The odd part is when you turn on the Air Conditioner. It will kick the Radiator Fan on as well. So if you have the Air Conditioner on. You can ride around all day and the car will not run hot, but if you turn the Air Conditioner off. Then The Radiator Fan stays off as well then obviously the hot hand will start to climb.

Things I have checked:

Low Fan Speed Sensor Relay (It Worked) - Fuse Panel under the hood.
High Fan Speed Sensor Relay (It Worked) - Fuse Panel under the hood.
Cooling Fan Fuse (It wasn't blown, and looked to be in great shape)

The fans will come on during the first 3 minutes or so of the car being cranked then turn off. Then turn on again when The Air Conditioner is turned on. I am not a mechanic. Probably wouldn't classify as the shade tree variety, but The Fans do come on at varying points. So that tells me that the fans are good. It's just something that controls the different speeds or something like that, because it is cutting off prematurely causing the hot hand to rise.

The car runs like a top other than that issue, and even in it's current condition will run all day long without any problem as long as you turn the A/C on. I even drove it today 30 minutes with the A/C off and as long as you are moving and wind is blowing under the car. The Hot hand stays in the middle where it is supposed to. It's just sitting still at Red Lights, etc. if you don't have the A/C on then those radiator fans aren't on and it will cause the hot hand to rise.

I want to personally thank in advance whoever takes time out of their busy day to read over this problem and help provide me with a solution. Thanks and have a great day.

4 Answers


Ok, first. How hot does the car get without the A/C on? If the gauge only goes to the middle or almost 3/4th of the way and the fans come on. The system is working fine. The fans are temperature controlled. Meaning the engine management system needs to see a set temperature before the fan comes on. The car should never get hotter than 235 degrees at idle in park or neutral or 210 while driving. the exception to this is when you turn the A/C on. The A/C condenser needs to be kept cool when the air is running. Do do this the engine management system commands the fans to run To keep A/C high side pressures in check. If the car overheats when sitting in traffic. Meaning the gauge goes past 3/4 to all the way hot without the air on. The fan switch that reads engine temperature is probably bad.

When The Air Conditioner is on. It stays Dead In The Middle between Hot and Cold. Never deviates above the middle. Which in the Middle is where it has always stayed during normal operation. I have had the car since Feb 2016, and dead in the middle is the way it has always operated whether you had the A/C on or off (This being before the trouble occured at the end of last week.) Now like I said when the A/C is on it stays in the middle which is where it has always stayed since. Now if you turn off the A/C it starts going above the halfway point. When it first happened last week. When it got to right around 3/4ths of the way (maybe a hair above but still a good way away from the "H".) I stopped the car immediately, because I have always been taught when the hot hand goes up past where it normally sits especially as high up from where it normally sits. That you pull over to make sure that you don't do any damage to the engine. Like I said, prior to this issue. Whether the A/C was on or whether it was off. It hung exclusively at the half way mark on the hot hand. Never really deviated above or below that. So I know by it going past that halfway mark. That it is an abnormal temperature for it. First of all, I want to thank you for your response. It means a lot to me. Secondly, I hope this additional information is helpful that I replied with.

I drove my car to a "Big Box Automotive Chain" ( I am not sure if I can name names of stores on here. So I will say Big-Box Automotive Chain. I drove my car to their store, and they do free testing. They hooked up an OBD-II Scanner to my car since they do automotive testing for free. A man that looked like he was in his early 20's who seemed pretty knowledgeable hooked it up to a port under my steering wheel, and The only code that my car was showing that was faulty was The Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor. So I purchased that part for $17.99. I haven't had a chance to put it on yet, but I am relieved that it is the only problem that the car is showing, but I try my best to keep it maintained as good as possible. So we will see either tomorrow or Thursday whether that is the fix. I will try to report back on whether it is the fix or not, but by the OBD II Scanner. It was the only issue that showed up, and it was one of the culprits that I thought of during my extensive online search to try and figure out what this issue has been. I'll try not to leave anyone hanging, because I know I haven't found this exact issue online, and will try to pay it forward so no one has the same headache that I have had with trying to solve this problem. I hope that the Engine Coolant Temperature Switch is the cure for the woes that my Taurus has been having. It certainly makes me feel better that the OBD II Scanner listed it as the only problem that is showing up that my car is having.

I wanted to drive the car around a little while before coming back. It's been roughly 2 and a half weeks since my last post. The car is running fine in that time span, but the radiator fan only kicks on when I turn on the air conditioner. However, there has been no problem with the car trying to overheat even when I don't have the Air Conditioner on. Like I said in the earlier post. I will be running the Air Conditioner anyways this month (July), August, and September for the very least, because it gets hot, humid, and sticky here in Georgia. For those wondering though and hopefully this will be of some help. Right before I bought the part which turned out to be an Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor. 2 or 3 days before I bought the part and after I posted on here the last time. The Car started exhibiting some of these symptoms. - The car began to idle strangely. RPMs would go below 800, then 600 and finally the car would stall out and die. - Started not wanting to crank until after it sat for about 30 minutes and cooled off. - Car begin to ride rough and couldn't handle hills well. Kind of like it would when you would need spark plugs. - Hot hand would pretty quickly get past the halfway mark. After I bought the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor these problems went away and the car is running like a champ again. The only thing is like I said the Radiator Fan which used to come on the first 3 minutes or so when I would crank the car doesn't come on at all anymore unless I turn the Air Conditioner on. However, the car hasn't been running hot anymore, and the hot hand has stayed right in the middle where it has always stayed since I bought the car. As of June 2017, The Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor cost $17.99, and on this model of 2001 Ford Taurus SE. It is located near the Thermostat on your car. It is a very simple 5-10 minute procedure that even someone who doesn't work on cars by trade or even hobby should be able to fix with no problem. With newer cars, I believe I heard 1996 or newer. If you have a car that is 1996 or newer. Which I am sure almost everyone does these days. Most of the Big Box Automotive Chains can hook up an OBD-II Scanner to your car and it reads the codes to tell you what your issue is and most if not all do it Free Of Charge. When I went to one. The salesman hooked the scanner to a port under my steering wheel, and the only issue that it came back was that the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor. So I bought that part for $17.99, installed it, and haven't had anymore of those problems I mentioned above, and the hot hand has been staying where it needs to. Anyways, I thought I would report back in to keep my promise to not leave anyone hanging. I hope that whomever reads it finds it helpful, and maybe some how, some way I might have helped someone else along the way who might experience a similar issue. 2 1/2 weeks later after my last post The Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor seems to be the fix for the problem.

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