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Red temperature light blinking?!

Old 07-23-2012, 10:54 PM
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Default Red temperature light blinking?!

Help.
My 06 xB was taking me home on my commute when the red temperature light started blinking. I pulled over, saw nothing weird or broken. I turned the a/c off and drove on. It went away. After about 10 miles or so, it did it again. I pulled into a store and bought a 1 liter water and poured about 90% into the overflow tank. About another 10 miles down the road it started doing it again. I turned the a/c off and got off the freeway on my way home and it stayed off.
Any ideas???
It is a 5 speed with 315000 miles and the clutch is needing a replacement. If that matters.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:51 AM
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When was the cooling system last serviced? Great to see you've got 315K miles. If mine lasts that long, I'll be elated. My last Toyota went well over 300K, so why shouldn't this Scion? Anyway, that Toyota went through two radiators before hitting 300K, but I don't think the second one was really needed (long story) and those miles were put on over many more years than yours. Is it the original radiator? Assuming these cars still have thermostats, that is another possibility. An easy thing to check is the electric cooling fan. Is it turning on when the engine gets hot. There are a lot of possibilities because you are only getting overheating when the engine is being tested (summer heat, AC, etc.). It could be something easy and cheap like a sticky thermostat or more involved and expensive like a radiator that is plugging up. If you haven't paid a lot of attention to the cooling system, you can just start with the easier and less expensive things and work your way up the ladder. You've got little to lose because anything you replace will need it eventually with that many miles. On the other hand, if you have been keeping up with regular maintenance of the cooling system, it would then make sense to try to diagnose exactly what is wrong before proceeding. FWIW, I doubt the clutch is involved. I've had clutches go out and never had an overheating problems. Then again, with the position if this clutch, I suppose it could overheat and may affect engine temp a bit. But I would still think the cooling system should be able to handle that additional heat because there are people driving scions in 120 degree Arizona heat with the AC on full blast and their red light isn't flashing.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bearsnob View Post
When was the cooling system last serviced? Great to see you've got 315K miles. If mine lasts that long, I'll be elated. My last Toyota went well over 300K, so why shouldn't this Scion? Anyway, that Toyota went through two radiators before hitting 300K, but I don't think the second one was really needed (long story) and those miles were put on over many more years than yours. Is it the original radiator? Assuming these cars still have thermostats, that is another possibility. An easy thing to check is the electric cooling fan. Is it turning on when the engine gets hot. There are a lot of possibilities because you are only getting overheating when the engine is being tested (summer heat, AC, etc.). It could be something easy and cheap like a sticky thermostat or more involved and expensive like a radiator that is plugging up. If you haven't paid a lot of attention to the cooling system, you can just start with the easier and less expensive things and work your way up the ladder. You've got little to lose because anything you replace will need it eventually with that many miles. On the other hand, if you have been keeping up with regular maintenance of the cooling system, it would then make sense to try to diagnose exactly what is wrong before proceeding. FWIW, I doubt the clutch is involved. I've had clutches go out and never had an overheating problems. Then again, with the position if this clutch, I suppose it could overheat and may affect engine temp a bit. But I would still think the cooling system should be able to handle that additional heat because there are people driving scions in 120 degree Arizona heat with the AC on full blast and their red light isn't flashing.
I just bought this thing so I know no history. When I took it in to check the clutch, they told me it was the original clutch. I don't see anything obviously wrong, or hear any noises. I am thinking the thermostat as well. I assume they have one.
I drove it 77 miles this morning on my commute with no a/c on, and it did just fine.
Everything looks factory original on it so you are right, I will replace the cheapy stuff and work my way up. I posted this primarily to see if there were any common quirks about this blinking light thing. I also have a 2011 SS Camaro with a Hennesy Supercharger, and when I get on it, I get Onstar calling me telling me I am having massive engine failure!
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:12 PM
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do you scream

when onstar calls you

would be funny
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:57 PM
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Oh yeah. Especially when they threaten that I may void my warranty if I don't turn it off. I have gone round and round with GM on this.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:56 PM
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You might try calling scion to see what type of service history they have on the vehicle. You might get lucky like me. The previous owner took it almost exclusively to the dealer for service and, when he didn't, he took it to a non-scion dealer. So with the CarFax and contacting scion, I have a pretty good service history even though the first 96K were driven by someone else. Btw, if you didn't get a carfax, PM me. I bought five a while back and have an extra I won't use.

FWIW, if it were me, I'd start by putting some radiator cleaner in, run the car for however long it says, then backflush the system followed by new coolant. That might be all you need for now.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:11 PM
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I got the Carfax, but the one owner vehicle was worked on at the Toyota dealer he bought it at till 98k, then he went on the cheap so it ends there, until the dealer took it on trade. Nothing other than regular maintenance showed. Thanks though.
I drove it this morning with no issues. When I turn the a/c on though, it seems to struggle at idle more than it should.
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