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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm on my 2nd sender in a week, both senders start showing the temp to be at about the normal operating temp as soon as the key is on on a cold engine. I don't trust the senders to know for sure I'm not running too hot. Is this a sender issue or a gauge problem. Here's the senders I got.
The sender that came with the vehicle never got much above the "C" mark so I thought it was the sender, but now the problem is with the new ones.

 

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Rhinoman's Suzuki Service Manuals

The link above will get you the Vitara factory service manuals, in there you'll find the details on how to test the gauge sender - what resistance it should have at what temperature.
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking it's possibly a mismatch on the ohms. Which brand is known to be a good match?
I threw out the original, so I can't test against that.
 

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Or maybe check the yellow/white wire from the temp sender at the thermostat housing to the gauge on the dash. If you disconnect the sender connector, and put the key on, does the gauge still register?
 

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Testing against a defective original would simply give misleading results - if you don't want to use the Vitara manuals, Ack's FAQ has a 96 Tracker FSM - you've been provided with the information you need to properly diagnose the issue, you can use it, or you can choose to just keep changing parts - you've changed two sensors so far, maybe it's time to change the cluster.
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
My FSM came in the mail today, I'll check that.
Did do a quick check and the gauge does not register with sender disconnected.
Thanks.
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The gauge pegs to the top with the sender wire grounded.
I'm still thinking this is a new sender incompatbility issue. I'm now looking through the FSM to find the ohm specs for the sender.
I have the J/E platform both volumes, if anyone can point out the page, that would be great.
Thanks
 

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Section 8 should be body electrical - at least if it's a Suzuki manual, if it's Geo, I have no idea.

I briefly researched the senders you linked to and whilst I cannot say they are incompatible with the Tracker, I also cannot understand why you thought they would be.
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I bought one sender and it showed the gauge going to the middle with key on and on a cold engine. I returned that and got another of the same and this one shows the gauge going to C at first and after about 5 seconds of running, the gauge shows half. Again the engine is cold.
The original sender only showed the gauge going to a little above C after the engine was at operating temp and that's not right either.
I found an ac delco sender and I think I'll give that a try.
The gauge behavior is consistant with what I've seen in the past when either the quality control is not there or the ohms dont match between sender and gauge.
Eventhough Amazon says the one I have is a match, I don't really trust that. That's why I'm trying to find the factory specs on the sender.
If it doesn't work out and I can can't get the factory gauge to work so I'm reasonably confident in it, I'll get an aftermarket gauge.
 

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If I click your link, Amazon says it's not available, if I search for a temperature gauge sender, I get a ton of other senders, but not that one - you want to keep throwing parts at it, it's your money. If you go to RockAuto (or even your local auto parts chain), you're more likely to get a sender compatible with the vehicle than you are shopping at Amazon.

The reason I've been sending you to the manual is the resistance (ohms) of the sender changes with the temperature - it's not as simple as it's going to be between 25~30 ohms - you have to know what the temperature of the sender is when you measure it, and you'll need to make the measurement at several different temperature points - the manual tells you how to check it - what resistance to expect at any given temperature.

Just so it's clear, I have nothing against Amazon, I've had an account there since the mid 90's, but a lot of what you see on Amazon now is from an Amazon marketplace seller, and that's exactly what it sounds like, a marketplace where anyone can sell anything, and that is a recipe for disaster - you don't know what you're getting, or who you're getting it from - in this case PT Auto WareHouse - when you have a few minutes, do a google search on them, take a look at their website, and tell me if you would have done business with them directly.
 

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[1996 Geo Tracker, 16v, 4x4, 4 door, manual]
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I understand that ohms change with temperature. It is that info that I cant seem to find in the manual. What ohms at what temp.
Also I agree that even thought the seller on amazon says its comparable doesn't mean it meets all criteria, even though it'll screw in but that's not all for comparability. So far between the 3 senders, I've spent $15 on them. So throwing money away isn't really an issue. I'm returning the other 2 and getting the ac delco.
Autozone's website has the ac delco as being comparable, so I'll try that next, just will be getting it at amazon for a few bucks cheaper.
I'm still in search for the Ohms table
 

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I understand that ohms change with temperature. It is that info that I cant seem to find in the manual. What ohms at what temp.
Also I agree that even thought the seller on amazon says its comparable doesn't mean it meets all criteria, even though it'll screw in but that's not all for comparability. So far between the 3 senders, I've spent $15 on them. So throwing money away isn't really an issue. I'm returning the other 2 and getting the ac delco.
Autozone's website has the ac delco as being comparable, so I'll try that next, just will be getting it at amazon for a few bucks cheaper.
I'm still in search for the Ohms table
it should be in the temperature sender testing description and usually gives a 20 or 25 C resistance and either an 80 or 100 degree C resistance. (100C is boiling water, or 212 F in your funny measurement)
 

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It could well be your thermostat is stuck open and the original sender was correct, very easy to crack open the two housing bolts and check the stat.

Make sure you have a new gasket or way to make a new one, my Escudo has the rubber gasket mounted to stat but some other versions have a paper gasket.

I had the very same symptoms and a new stat sorted my problem.
Best of luck.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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At least with my Geo Tracker FSM, chapter 8 (the Electrical Diagnosis) was a supplement and ot part of the FSM. It had to be obtained separately.
Anyway, the factory info for trouble shooting the coolant temp gage is here, starting at #14 on page 9
 

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It is that info that I cant seem to find in the manual. What ohms at what temp.
<SNIP>
I'm still in search for the Ohms table
The attached PDF is from section 8 of the Vitara manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Wow, Thank you. That's what I needed. I'll test this one out and see.

In any case, I'll still replace with the Ac Delco one and post back. If that doesn't work, I'm replacing with a stand-alone gauge.

The old thermostat looked like new, the entire cooling system looks great. I did flush it and replace every coolant related hose and thermostat. Pretty sure they were all original. There was no crud in the coolant or radiator or the overflow bottle. I did not test the old sender or the thermostat. Thermostat stuck open is a possibility, but I didn't consider that at the time and the old one is long gone.
 
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