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Hi All,

Had a big snow storm yesterday. Was about 1 degree here today too (about -24 with wind chill). Well, about 2PM today I 'Preconditioned' car for 10 min. then went out to clear the snow off the car. Then took a ride in the car, leaving gas engine running a bit to get some extra heat quicker. About 5 miles from the house I pull into a parking lot to clean some snow and ice off the front and back windows a little better. Well, I was out of the car for maybe 2 minutes and get back in the (still running) car and it smells like something burning. Odd....but everything else seems normal in the car.

I drive off still wondering what the smell is from...thinking maybe I drove by a house that had a wood stove going or something. I then check my Volts coolant temp and its 199!! Whaat!!?? Why is is so hot, especially in THIS freezing cold weather!!?? So I go off "Hold" and back to battery power as I drive. Coolant temp starts to drop...187, 185, 179....

humm, So I then go back on "Hold" ....engine starts, and temps start to climb again, even got to 201!! I did not get a pic of that because I went back to battery power, and roads got bad (figured I better drive instead of take more pics), but you can see 199 degrees in one of the pics below.

This is very concerning. Are there movable vent fins in front grill of car? I am thinking (if yes) they were froze closed and did not open like they were supposed to? Anyone have any other ideas why the engine got so hot today??

Jeff

Some Pics:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wj53u8t7rs8rwg3/AADGps-dQXUPwC82YWd_tZ-za?dl=0
 

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Can't comment about the odor you noticed but the Volt's engine coolant will reach 185F - 205F when the engine is fully warmed so 199F is within normal operating temperature. In summer heat under load the engine coolant could reach 220F+ and still be within normal operating range. It would be considered to be overheating if the engine coolant temperature reached 240F to 250F.

Check the coolant level in all 3 coolant overflow tanks when the engine is cold. The engine coolant overflow tank is closer to the firewall than the battery and electronics overflow tanks that are located up front closer to the radiator
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, thanks for the replies guys, I just never recalled seeing it that high. And it seemed with outside temps around 1 degree that would keep it cooler. The smell almost smelled slightly like new paint burning off, or a rubber hose smell.... but maybe that was just my imagination. I even wondered if I got the seat heater wet somehow and that was the smell....but I did not get that much snow in the car. Anyway, I'll keep an eye on it. Am in the process of building a big garage addition + RV Port....but weather turned bad and it on hold until March when hopefully the weathers breaks. Next Winter car will be inside, I can't wait. Jeff
 

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226F is a little high, but ICE engines need to be running around 190-205F for emissions and fuel efficiency. I get the burning smell occassionaly and have decided it's only after I haven't run the ICE for a while. It's a similar smell to when you turn your furnace on for the first time in the fall.
 

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199F is perfectly normal in a car with a gas engine. That's why coolant/antifreeze is used instead of water as it has a higher boiling point.

That being said, I routinely get the burning smell in my '17 usually after/during longer ICE drives after not running the engine for a while. It goes away after a while of the ICE running so I assume it's some kind of sediment burning off the engine or something like that as I don't use the ICE all that much unless I am taking a long trip.
 

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I keep the coolant temp screen up whenever I'm using the ICE so I can manage switching back and forth from Hold to Normal. In my case, I'm more concerned about the engine getting too cold as I'm trying to avoid extra warmup cycles.

I have 10,000 ICE miles in the Volt. I typically see the temp move between 185 and 225 while the engine is in use. It's perfectly normal. Analog coolant gauges give the impression of stable temps, but all modern ICE cars that I've ever monitored fluctuate over a similar range.
 

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Analog coolant gauges give the impression of stable temps, but all modern ICE cars that I've ever monitored fluctuate over a similar range.
Ha....reminds me of older BMW motorcycles that were oil/air cooled. It is said that no one ever knew they overheated until they started putting temperature gauges on them.
 

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Ha....reminds me of older BMW motorcycles that were oil/air cooled. It is said that no one ever knew they overheated until they started putting temperature gauges on them.
Same thing on old air cooled VWs. The idiot light is only for oil pressure. The hacks that folks will engage to monitor oil and head temps are funny: http://www.doe.carleton.ca/~ngt/vw/temp_gauge.html

I actually have a version of the oil temp gauge on the Thing. It's amazing that these old engines run as well as they do.
 

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Analog coolant gauges give the impression of stable temps, but all modern ICE cars that I've ever monitored fluctuate over a similar range.
Many cars have temp "gauges" that don't gauge anything. The computer knows the real temperature, but the temp gauge stays glued to the same place (so you won't worry your pretty little head about it) until the temperature is way past normal, then the computer will deign to let you know. At that point probably all your coolant has already boiled away. I appreciate that GM will give you the real numbers.
 

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Same thing on old air cooled VWs. The idiot light is only for oil pressure. The hacks that folks will engage to monitor oil and head temps are funny: http://www.doe.carleton.ca/~ngt/vw/temp_gauge.html

I actually have a version of the oil temp gauge on the Thing. It's amazing that these old engines run as well as they do.
The oil cooler was installed in front of #3 cylinder, iirc, and caused that cylinder to run a little hotter than the other three.
 

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A hotter engine burns more efficiently. Under a light load the Volt will run the temps up to around 215 degrees. You'll see this under cruising speeds on the freeway. If you load the engine down, the temp will actually drop to leave some overhead for additial heat loads. I don't think this car has a thermostat. The water pump is electrically driven and is made to spin up/down by computer demand. Ther's no reason to run a electric water pump too fast and then restrict the water flow. The pump will just slow or speed up to achieve proper coolant flow.
 

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A hotter engine burns more efficiently. Under a light load the Volt will run the temps up to around 215 degrees. You'll see this under cruising speeds on the freeway. If you load the engine down, the temp will actually drop to leave some overhead for additial heat loads. I don't think this car has a thermostat. The water pump is electrically driven and is made to spin up/down by computer demand. Ther's no reason to run a electric water pump too fast and then restrict the water flow. The pump will just slow or speed up to achieve proper coolant flow.
The car has a thermostat. It's most likely right before the water pump since that's where GM puts it on other Ecotec based engines.
 

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The oil cooler was installed in front of #3 cylinder, iirc, and caused that cylinder to run a little hotter than the other three.
It was worse on the older fan shrouds which placed the oil cooler directly in the path of air flow to #3. Later versions had a "dog house" for the oil cooler which helped. Regardless, most folks kept the valves on #3 a bit looser (especially the exhaust valve) to compensate for the higher head temps.

Sorry for the off topic ramble to aircooled VW land, but there is a point here: ICE engines for cars are designed to handle a wide range of temp and load; some variation in coolant temp on the Volt engine should not be a cause for concern.
 

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Those are totally normal temps. I've seen as high as the 220s, myself. If the car doesn't say its overheating then it's probably not overheating (unless you are completely out of coolant).
 

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I've seen up to 220 in summer, regularly see 195-208 in all sorts of weather conditions. In fact, when it was 10 degrees the other day, I was surprised that the coolant only got up to 165.

Your engine and coolant are both fine.
 
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