Last post on Feb 18, 2013 at 6:32 PM
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Oldsmobile Silhouette, Van
#1300 of 1308 Non Operating Electric Engine Fans Fixed
Aug 05, 2012 (4:49 am)
Our temp. gauge recently went into the red zone when my wife was parked with our 2001 Olds Silhouette running at a convenience store during this hot summer weather. When she got the van safely home after letting it cool down, I ran it in idle and quickly realized that neither of the electric cooling fans were operating, even with the A/C on. Bad news.
So I get out my Haynes manual and start troubleshooting. The wiring harnesses to the fans are fine. The 3 relays are all tested and are good. Fuses to the fans are good. I ran a grounded 12 volt from a trickle charger to the individual fans at the harness and they both turned on, so the fans themselves are good. I decided to take it to a trusted local auto A/C shop to see if it was related to the compressor.
The A/C shop said all A/C components were good, but they could not fix it because it was beyond their scope of expertise and charged us $50 for the diagnostic time.
Not having much electrical background, I then take the van to a certified independent mechanics shop (that I have used before) and have the auto electrical "expert" look at it. He comes back with an opinion that the fuse block is bad and it should be replaced with another one. He states that he can only get used ones for $200-$250 from salvage yards, so no guarantee with the part. His estimate to get another fuse block, replace ours, and maybe fix the problem is $500-$600. I pass and pay him $150 for the "extensive" diagnostic time they spent on our van.
At this point I decide that I'm going to learn about electrical circuits and dive into the wiring diagrams in the Haynes manual and also do a thorough web search on this issue. I quickly come to a second wiring diagram for these fans that appears to be from either a GM service manual or another DIY source. Here is that diagram (thanks to the author for this effort):
I realize that I can take apart the fuse block. The bottom three modules are held to the top of the block with screws. I unscrew the module containing the grey and light blue fan electrical wires and I find both the female and male metal electrical connectors are black and the female ends are not likely to make good contact based on their slightly distorted shape . So I go to a local salvage yard/pull-apart and find a similar van and then cut out two good female electrical clips with 5"-6" of wire attached. The trick to getting these connectors out is to remove the secondary light blue slide-in plastic clip first and then use a very small (eyeglass repair) flat screwdriver to push the primary spring down that holds the female connectors in the plastic bay.
I get home and remove/cut out the two bad female connectors from the module, clean the male contacts, insert the two new female connectors into the module, and butt splice the new connectors to the corresponding wires coming from the fans. Then I screw the module back into the fuse block, start the van, and the fans are RUNNING AGAIN with the A/C turned on. Hooray!
I'm not sure why there was a short/poor connection to cause this problem. Maybe one or two bad connectors from the factory? Maybe too much amperage on this type of connector/bad design? Maybe something internal in the fuse block? It did take 11 years for the connection to finally fail. From an internet search, there seems to be a fair number or people who cannot solve this problem and have to hard wire the fans directly from the battery to get them to run. I was also prepared to fix it in that manner.
So after the initial run around with mechanics who were not close to being experts, we spent a total of $3 for two used wiring connectors, some new butt splice connectors, and some electrical tape to fix our van. Most importantly, I learned quite a bit about vehicle electrical diagnosis and repair. Hope this info helps someone out there.
#1301 of 1308 Re: How to change spark plugs in 2000 Olds Silhouette [miniwrench]
Aug 17, 2012 (5:27 am)
I did this on my friend's '99 to get more access to the O2 sensor about 2 years ago. Just another FYI.
#1302 of 1308 Silhouette rear self-leveling shocks.
Aug 17, 2012 (5:47 am)
My friend has a '99 Silhouette Premier with the self-leveling rear shocks that are just about shot. They are leaking and they are not going to last long. The van has over 206K on it and has had both the engine and transmission replaced over the years and last year the head gaskets were replaced too, so while it runs very well now, it hasn't been without its issues. My question is this: My friend is not going to spend nearly $500 dollars to replace the self leveling shocks when they finally go altogether. Can we go to an auto parts store and purchase normal shocks for this make and model with the hope that they'll act like regular shocks and won't cause a significant handling issue? In other words, will REGULAR replacement shocks work with this van? My local Auto Zone store told me that while he has these shocks in stock for a NON self leveling model, he told me to check with our local GM dealer to be sure. A Chevy dealer will do because this van is the same as the Venture and Pontiac Montana.
Also, the temp gauge is not working the way it should and neither is the fuel gauge. My friend claims that there is a problem with the instrument cluster on that side(right side). Now the tach and speedometer and other things are fine, and I'm wondering if the fuel sending unit in the gas tank may be at fault. The temp gauge goes down to 0 when the van is shut off and when you start it, it seems to come up to temp normally, but then creeps up to just below the red marks, but this causes no problems and the cooling fans seem to work normally. My friend says he was told he'd need to replace the instrument cluster at a fairly good price to solve these problems and he's not going to do this, so he'll have to live with it. The gas gauge is what really bugs me. It just seems to go all over the place, one time it might be right at the full mark, and then it's at half or below. He's got a wacky formula that he uses so that he or his wife don't run out of gas. They multiply the number of gallons they buy by 18 and reset the trip meter and when they get near what they call the "magic" number, they get more gas(LOL)
Sorry to be so long winded, but if any of you have any suggestions especially whether we can replace those auto shocks with regular ones, please let me know and thanks very much.
#1303 of 1308 Re: Silhouette rear self-leveling shocks. [shopdog97]
Aug 17, 2012 (11:49 am)
I guess I'm answering my own post here, but today at a local NAPA auto parts store I stopped into for a different issue told me that they have a replacement OEM self leveling shock set for about $100 bucks. The guy couldn't say whether I could replace them with regular shocks, but I'm going to inform this van's owner about this and see where he wants to go with it.
#1304 of 1308 Re: Non Operating Electric Engine Fans Fixed [jrdwyer]
Sep 29, 2012 (9:31 am)
I am having the same problem with my 2001 Olds Silhouette. Just like yours, relays, fuses and fans all work. The junction fuse block seems to me what I should look at. Thanks for all the info.
#1305 of 1308 Re: Non Operating Electric Engine Fans Fixed [greg787]
Oct 01, 2012 (3:55 pm)
Glad I could help. Post back with your results when fixed.
One thing that I didn't mention is the bottom of the fuse block should have a black plastic cover/splash guard that snaps into place. Ours was missing and I'm not sure when it was removed or if it was ever on the van from the dealer, where we bought it new. I got another one at the junk yard.
Our van had over $4K in dealer performed GM warranty repairs in the first 5 years (extended warranty came with all new Olds vehicles in mid to late '01). We will run this van for another 10 years, assuming that the head gasket and tranny don't fail. I might even tackle the head gasket myself.
We do like the van for its size, interior space, and ride, but it's very high maintenance! So much potential existed for improving upon this great basic design (large inside-small footprint outside- lighter than competitors- fuel efficient), but alas, GM just gave up and moved on to SUVs.
#1306 of 1308 Re: CC/BRAKE LIGHTS [indrgb]
Nov 12, 2012 (11:15 pm)
My CC was working friday, now monday it doesn't. I noticed all the posts about the brake light issue so I ran out and bought brake lights. Put them in and they still don't work and neither does the CC. Any Ideas? (mechanically challenged)
2003 olds silhouette
#1307 of 1308 oldsmoblie silhouette 2000 model wobble and roaring noise
Jan 23, 2013 (8:12 am)
i have a 2000 oldsmoblie silhouette and i have a wobble at low speeds and also a roaring noise coming from the front end. i replaced the cv joint on the right side last night and thought that was the problem becuase the cv joint was throwing grease but the same thing is going on this morning. can some one help?
#1308 of 1308 A/C Climate Control Fan Setting
Feb 18, 2013 (6:32 pm)
I have an Oldsmobile Silhouette '03. Been doing assorted jobs (previous owner busted out the rear window with a hammer, busted the taillight out with the hammer, used a corrosive chemical on the headlight causing a small hole, replaced the radiator and cooling system since they used the wrong anti-freeze, and so on) to bring it back to being a decent, legal vehicle, but...
A couple of months ago, I suddenly lost the 5th fan setting on the A/C dual climate control. When it's on 0, it runs as if it's on 1. I've replaced the climate control (not exactly cheap), but it didn't resolve the issue. Both climate controls were checked and are working properly, so I'm a little lost. Not particularly my strong point.
Any idea what it could be? What's the next step?
I'd appreciate any input anyone could offer. Thanks in advance!