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Discussion Starter #1
So my new issues with my 94 Sammy. First when driving if I switch on the headlights the temp rises a significant amount. If they are turned off it drops back to normal. When the ac is on the temp does not rise as much. Didn't think that the lights would cause that much draw as to out that much load on the engine. Do I need a new alternator. Also now I am having an issue starting. When I turn the key the starter cranks continuously and it won't start until I let go of the key. Normally it would crank start after a few revolutions and then I would let go of key. Now it will just keep cranking until I let go then start. I also have the clicky starter fix installed. Sometimes it also seems like the starter gets stuck for a second and then frees itself. So don't know if I need a new starter or if its the clicky fix going bad. I just put it on a few months ago.
Thanks for the help in advance.
 

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First - I'm pretty certain that the engine temperature is not rising when you switch the lights on - I suspect you have a gauge problem, and the only way to verify this is to get the actual temperature reading - either from a mechanical gauge, a test meter with a temperature probe or an infrared thermometer.

Is the temperature change instantaneous - rising as soon as you switch on the lights, falling as soon as you switch them off - or is it gradual. It takes time for an engine to warm up or cool down, so if you're seeing a rapid change, chances are you're watching the gauge reacting to an electrical change rather than the engine responding to the load.

My suspicion is one or more bad grounds, I'd start with the one between the battery negative and the bell housing, and then the one between the battery negative and the frame/body.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The temp is a gradual increase up when lights on and a gradual decrease when lights off. And when it starts to go up it will finally hit the thermostat temp point and it will open and then temp will go down a bit. But I don't think it's electrical although I have not checked out the wiring for the lights. It has done this since I bought it but now that I flushed coolant and replaced thermostat it seems to be rising a little higher. At times it gets about 1/4 inch from the red.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just curious as to where other people's operating temps are. With lights off and no ac mine usually rides at the halfway point. Lights on goes up sometimes to 1/4" from red depending on outside temp. With ac on goes up just a little past halfway. Now with ac on and idling in a parking lot the temp almost hits red. And I have the electric fan working. So just wanting to know if others are in the same spot.
Thinking I might need a new fan clutch.
 

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You've got something very strange going on there - what I would expect, from a cold start, the engine will warm until the thermostat opens at which point the temperature should stabilize - I've never seen a case where it rises until the thermostat opens and then falls, and I've never seen one where switching the lights on would cause a temp increase.

There's also the suggestion (in the first post) that the lights are causing a greater loading than the a/c, which is highly improbable - although I guess it is possible that the additional air circulation caused by the condenser fan might provide enough cooling to skew the observation.

I'll leave it to the Samurai drivers to tell you what they see on their gauges, but I suspect you'll find quite a variance - the temp gauges are not precision measuring instruments - which takes back to my original suggestion, using an external measuring device.
 

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My temp gauge will vary widely depending on out side temp. In summer going down the highway it will stay at about the halfway point to just over halfway. In town or on the back roads it will drop to about a third of the way up. In winter it never gets above 1\3 on the highway and in town or the back roads it will stay at about 1\4, I have to block off part of the rad the get it to run right in the winter.

I don't have a\c and the head lights don't make any difference on the temp.

'88 samurai running on propane.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mine will normally run at halfway maybe a little below during summer or winter on the highway. On back roads it does drop a little in winter but summer still runs at mid point. Just don't understand about the lights and now my starting issue. I'm starting to wonder if the ECM might be to blame. Has never been fixed or replaced.
 

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I would suspect a ground problem or a bad voltage regulator in the cluster.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ok so here's an update. Idling in driveway when I turn the lights on the idle drops like under load. Unplug both headlights and no change. Seems to be only in switch. Also only drops idle when headlights are on. Running lights does not affect idle. So one would think if I unplug headlights idle would go back to normal but does not. So I am suspecting switch. Also still dealing with starting issue. Used to crank once and fire. Now have to hold key and like I said before will not actually fire until I let go of key. After its warm one revolution and it fires.

Also checked all grounds and they are good. PO had main ground from battery disconnected but I fixed that when I installed clicky fix. Also when I unplug coolant temp the electric ac fan comes on so it seems to be operating properly.
 

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I was going to suggest you switch the lights on/off and see what effect it has on the idle speed, but I decided against it - the drop in idle speed may have no bearing on the load on the engine.

I'm not certain what idle speed control mechanism your Sami has (or what condition it is in), but Suzuki uses an "idle up" system which is designed to bump the idle rpm up when an electrical load is switched on (or the a/c or power steering is in use) to compensate for the increased load - on carbed engines it's done via a vacuum switching valve and an actuator that moves the throttle stop, EFI engines use whatever idle speed control mechanism they are fitted with to achieve the same thing (usually some sort of throttle plate bypass) - the problem here is that if the "idle up" is not working or out of adjustment, it can cause the idle speed to not increase when it should or even decrease - without the loading on the engine changing in the slightest.

I really don't see a defective light switch being able to load the engine to the point where it's noticeable in the idle speed - without the switch burning up - but, on the other hand, just turning the switch on activates the idle up compensation circuit, and that may be what's affecting the idle speed.
 

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It's a long shot but when the ignition switch in my old s-10 went bad it was doing some weird things that would not have told me it was a ignition switch check it out.

As others have said check to see if the engine temp really is going up instead of a bad gauge.
 

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Been in any water lately? Sounds like you have a very weak short that is induced when you turn on your lights. Does your temp gauge go up when you turn on just your parking lights or only when you switch on your headlights?

Had a corroded right side marker socket that caused my right turn indicator on my dash to just faintly light up when the parking lights were on. It was so faint that I only saw it night.

If this occurs when your parking lights are on, you may need to pull each bulb and clean up the socket connections to find the bad one. Could also see the dash light dimmer, so try dimming the lights all the way off and see if that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Honestly I have not driven with just running lights so don't know if temp increases. As a not the temp only goes up high when on the highway. When on surface streets the temp barely goes up past normal with lights on. This is why I don't think it's an electrical issue. If it was then the temp gauge would read high when on surface streets also.
 

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Most overheating at speed is the result of:

1. Timing too far retarded or not enough mechanical (carb only) advance
2. Thermostat not opening completely.
3. Radiator clogged
4. Lower radiator hoses collapsing
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's not overheating. Just getting close and only with the headlights on. With them off it runs normal. Maybe a little higher on hot days. It idles perfect but probably needs a valve adjust. Little noisy. It will run fine too with lights on but am just trying to figure out why the temp rises with the lights. And it's not a sudden increase. It's a gradual over about 5 minutes. Then when off it will drop in about same time. Just weird. But I think I might have an ignition problem with the starting problem. I forgot that a while back the ignition was sacked and I had to push it back together. The key would turn but was not engaging the starter. Ignition started to push out the drivers side.
 

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I wonder if you have a faulty dim-dip unit?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dim-dip? I am assuming this is the dimmer. But please correct me if I'm wrong. Also does anyone have any suggestions to the starting issue. Won't actually fire until you let go of
Key. Otherwise it will just keep cranking.
 

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Dim-dip? I am assuming this is the dimmer. But please correct me if I'm wrong. Also does anyone have any suggestions to the starting issue. Won't actually fire until you let go of
Key. Otherwise it will just keep cranking.
Check the wire from the starter switch to the ECU, maybe the ECU isn't seeing that signal.

The dim-dip unit operated daytime running lights, when fitted, when they go faulty they can cause odd effects when the headlights are operated.
 
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