STOP! Red light of doom... suggestions please

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BackinaBX
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STOP! Red light of doom... suggestions please

Post by BackinaBX » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:31 pm

Hello once again forum... this time it's a question about the fabled red light of doom...

Today (hot and sunny) I was coming up a long and steep hill (2nd gear steep), loaded with four other passengers and some shopping. The red light of doom and the STOP lamp both came on. As I was less than 1/4 of a mile from home, I decided to risk it and carried on. As I was coming down the other side of said hill, the light went off slowly... and by the time I got home, it was off completely. However, I noticed there was a bit of an odd smell coming through the vents... a bit like burning? Probably not the clutch, as it's only a couple of years old and very strong.

I'm going to wait until the engine is cold before taking any action, but is there anything I should have a look for while I'm under the bonnet? I checked the dipstick for mayo, and found none, so I don't think the heads on the way out (if it is, my £300 bargain suddenly doesn't seem so great).
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Captain Slow
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Post by Captain Slow » Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:13 pm

Checked the level of fluid in the reservoir? It sounds as if its a little low, thats all.
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Post by BackinaBX » Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:46 pm

Ah, you're one step ahead of me there... no, I've checked that, and it was a little low, now topped up... I'm going to let it run and get up to temp to see if the fan cuts in later tonight... that'll make the neighbours happy - that's only because although the fan was cutting in earlier in the week, I haven't heard it doing so of late... and with this hot weather set to continue, I think it's a good thing to check... I bet those thermoswitches aren't very expensive either.
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'91 Saab 900 Turbo - thirsty, expensive & beautiful.

tim leech

Post by tim leech » Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:52 pm

Sounds like a low level to me also!
Last edited by tim leech on Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by BackinaBX » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:15 am

Why would low LHM put the red temp warning on? Note also, that I didn't get any yellow light; just the red light. Is that... wrong?

However, I shall check the level in the morning.
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Post by Way2go » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:18 am

Had this problem of red light when temp guage was reading OK AT 90deg.
Problem is silt in the head. Use Wynns flush in cooling system after normal flushing of the cooling system and drive for 100 miles with it in or at the least temperature cycle it a few times before dumping and refilling properly. Mine has worked properly ever since and the fans cycle better too. :D
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Post by jeremy » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:53 am

Sorry can't remember what car this is.

2 possiblitites should be considered - especially if its a TD - the first is that the long hose from the water pump to the bottom of the radiator may get sucked flat when the engine is revved hard - cutting off the water flow. - Does it happen - well I caned my TD estate up a long windy hill on an extremely hot day when it was fully laden with camping gear - and yes the red light came on. I stopped after a hundred yards or so and although the light was still on and the fans were running at full speed it wasn't boiling and didn't smell hot.

The head gasket had been done about 25,000 before and the thing never seemed to run hot and all the indications were that the inside of the radiator was spotless. It never did it again.

The other one is the state of the radiator and cooling system. If the radiator capacity is reduced it will overheat under stress like yesterday. BX all use crossflow radiators which means that the water flows in tubes from side to side - and as the tanks are at the ends the sludge blocks the bottom tubes. So get the thing warm and feel the radiator for cold spots. If you have any suspicion of dirt take it out and flush it vigorously.

If you're lucky no damage has been done and with a bit of care it'll go on for a while longer.

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Post by BackinaBX » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:48 am

All of your suggestions add up to basically the same thing... get that hose out and flush the system good and proper, using some kind of proprietary cooling system flush...

Will do.

I've heard that the Forte stuff is pretty good... is that right?
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Post by Captain Slow » Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:16 am

Sorry, I didn't read the post correctly. I did not realise another warning light came on with the stop light, thought it was just the stop light!
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Post by docchevron » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:12 pm

BackinaBX wrote: I've heard that the Forte stuff is pretty good... is that right?
The forte stuff is very good in my experience. If a little expensive, but then you get what you pay for I guess.

Definetly worth checking the bottom hose and after flushing, check the rad gets hot all over. I had one that was only 8months old that was blocked in the centre of the rad and trashed two engines, I never suspected the rad since it was so new. Turned out to be a very expensive experience!!! :roll:
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Post by DLM » Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:56 pm

After you've identified and tackled the problem, it may well be worth checking the bulb for the orange warning light - though this does of course involve unscrewing the instrument binnacle. Or, to get a better idea of what's really going on, fit a temp gauge.
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Post by Jaba » Tue Jun 13, 2006 6:31 pm

Good point Dave ? Also verify that the correct lead is fitted to each temp sensor.
The lights are easily checked by earthing each connector on the thermostat housing.

This fault is consistent with the rad fans not cutting in at all when they should.
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