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As I mentioned in an aearlier post, I expeirenced a need to go to the top of a mountain, so I drove out from Austin, Texas to the ski areas around Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Sunday and Monday.

Now my SSR may have had an isue or two along the way in its 12,000 miles, but it has always been reliable in terms of drivetrain.That apparently has now changed.

Sunday, I noticed that the SSR was running fine as usual at 78 mph on the interstate, but the engine temperature, which NEVER gets above 210 even in stop and go idling under high ambient temperatures, was climbing well above that at gas stops, and then returning to normal on the highway.

After the 3rd gas stop, I developed a theory on what was going on: the colling fans were not coming on. To test this, I popped the hood at the next gas stop, waited for the temperature to rise, and watched the big radiator fan visible when you open the hood and look from the rear of the front fenders. It never came on.

Since the SSR was running just fine at 78 mph, but could not now handle city traffic, I did the sensible thing: just kept it at high speed all the way to Sante Fe!

Monday was Independence Day, and I didn't expect any Chevrolet dealer's service department to be open (just sales departments!). Furthermore, Santa Fe has ONE Chevrolet dealership - Santa Fe Chevrolet.

The first 3 calls to it from the interstate, at 7:30am, 9:30am, and 10 am went unanswered. But my 4th call from the hotel at 11:35 was answered by a receptionist who confirmed their service department was closed for the holiday.

However, George Willard, the sales manager on duty, rescued me. When I explained my situation, he said if I could get the SSR there somehow despite the cooling problem, he would provide me alternate transportation so that my mini-vacation would not be grossly delayed!

I mapped out a 16 mile route to the dealership that would include 11 miles of limited access highway (no problem), and 5 miles of Cerrillos Road (BIG problem - posted at 40 mph and well over 20 traffic lights), and went for it!

I thnk I had a little Divine help. Believe it or not, I had to stop at only 3 traffic lights - this was at 11:45 to 12:15pm timeframe on Independence Day!), and got to the dealership without the temperature guage EVER exceeding about 235.

George was true to his word. He got the keys to the Service Department, opened up the big door so I could drive right into the service lane, and then found me a great loaner for the mountain passes route I was planning: a Trailblazer (not an inexpensive 4-banger car like most dealerships would offer under the circumstances!).

As a result, I was out of the dealership 20 minutes after I got there, and on my way to Taos Ski Area, about 90 miles and about a zillion elevation feet away! I was on a chair lift by 3:45pm on my way to elevation 11,819 feet. My total "loss of vacation time" was maybe 90 minutes.

This morning (Tuesday), I called the service department at 7am and "Maryann" cheerfully took down my description of the symptoms over the phone, and also my theory. She took my cell phone number and said she would call me when there was news.

Yes, I know that sometimes our experiences with dealerships aren't always so idyllic. But here is a real example of a dealership manager goibg well beyond what he "had" to do.

If you7e ever going by Santa Fe, be sure to stop in and see George and tell him that SSR owners are a tight knit community, and his act of kindness was noticed!

Attached are photos of George and my free loaner!

Jim G
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good one!

The obvious immediate differences in feel I noticed on the Trailblazer include:

- The 4.2 liter engine is, uh, challeneged with this vehicle weight
- Handling is VERY soft
- Steering is not as firm
- Riding position is much higher
- Vehicle rolls a lot more on (attempted) spirited driving
- Visibility is lousy every direction except front and up to 90 degrees each side
- AC is better
- Instrumentation is MUCH easier to read
- Vehicle seems less rigid than the SSR
- No exhaust note
- NO ONE looked at the Trailblazer all day!

Jim G
 

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JimGnitecki said:
Good one!

The obvious immediate differences in feel I noticed on the Trailblazer include:

- The 4.2 liter engine is, uh, challeneged with this vehicle weight
- Handling is VERY soft
- Steering is not as firm
- Riding position is much higher
- Vehicle rolls a lot more on (attempted) spirited driving
- Visibility is lousy every direction except front and up to 90 degrees each side
- AC is better
- Instrumentation is MUCH easier to read
- Vehicle seems less rigid than the SSR
- No exhaust note
- NO ONE looked at the Trailblazer all day!

Jim G
Any squeeks or rattles in the top?
Over temp problems?
Radio reception?

BIG JIM :cool
 

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I am in a complete state of shock Jim, no Dyno Curve map posted? :lol

Glad you were taken care of! With service like that I would most likely follow up and write GM a letter. They forward it to the dealership after they read it from what I understand.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Digital: See my later posting on the fan problem. Unfortunately, the technician also ripped my underhood insulator blanket. They are trying to get me a replacement . . .

sigh . . .

Jim G
 

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just caught that...damn sorry about the blanket, did he point it out or did you have to?

interesting thoughts about the fan in the other post, but I gotta wonder...with your headers, what is the underhood temp? Any chance premature failure from higher temps underhood?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Digital: I had to find the insulator blanket damage myself. A disappointment bigger than Larry imagines it to be.

If the extra heat of headers is enough to provoke fan failure, the thermodynamics of that underhood area need SERIOUS attention by GM.

Have you ever heard of a Camaro or Corvette suffering fan failure, even though they are packing 15% to 35% more power STOCK? And MANY of them are modified with headers and produce 500+ horsepower which certainly generates a lot more heat than our measly 300 hp.

The SSR fan is crap, transplanted over from a clearly less hot underhood environment (pickups and SUVs), and inadequate for its new role.

A real disappointment.

Jim G
 

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JimGnitecki said:
Digital: I had to find the insulator blanket damage myself. A disappointment bigger than Larry imagines it to be.

If the extra heat of headers is enough to provoke fan failure, the thermodynamics of that underhood area need SERIOUS attention by GM.

Have you ever heard of a Camaro or Corvette suffering fan failure, even though they are packing 15% to 35% more power STOCK? And MANY of them are modified with headers and produce 500+ horsepower which certainly generates a lot more heat than our measly 300 hp.

The SSR fan is crap, transplanted over from a clearly less hot underhood environment (pickups and SUVs), and inadequate for its new role.

A real disappointment.

Jim G
Jim - as you probably have seen in a whole lot of previous posts - a lot of us have had to replace the "second" fan and we're still just running our engines stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Houtex: I assume you are referring to Corvettes?

I haven't been paying attention to posts on the C5 and C6 on this board. Are you saying that many of you Corvette owners HAVE had to replace fans? And, if so, why only the SECOND fan (which you would think gets LESS use than the primary fan that comes on FIRST and stays on LONGER? That's the exact opposite of what you would expect. The fan that gets more usage, the primary fan, should logically fail before the second fan does.

If the second one is failing, and is failing before the primary fan fails, that implies something wrong about the design or build quality of the second fan.

Jim G
 

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I thnk I had a little Divine help. Believe it or not, I had to stop at only 3 traffic lights -

Well Jim you know God would have to like the SSR
 

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JimGnitecki said:
Houtex: I assume you are referring to Corvettes?

I haven't been paying attention to posts on the C5 and C6 on this board. Are you saying that many of you Corvette owners HAVE had to replace fans? And, if so, why only the SECOND fan (which you would think gets LESS use than the primary fan that comes on FIRST and stays on LONGER? That's the exact opposite of what you would expect. The fan that gets more usage, the primary fan, should logically fail before the second fan does.

If the second one is failing, and is failing before the primary fan fails, that implies something wrong about the design or build quality of the second fan.

Jim G
Never had a 'vette - I had the exact same problem with mine at about 12,000 miles. Based on other threads on the site, I told them to check the "second" fan. They said they replaced it, but it may have been the same fan. No matter - the key here is that it seems to be a common problem with the SSR and is probably the result of an underdesigned fan/cooling system.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I examined the fan in the loaner Trailblazer that Santa Fe Chevrolet provided for me to use, while they got and installed a replacement fan for me.

THREE things I noted about it:

1. It is HUGE compared to the one in our SSR

2. It is MECHANICALLY driven via engine accessory drive belt so is MUCH more powerful on top of the size advantage (although it bleeds off a fair bit of engine power because of the fulltime mechanical connection)

3. It serves a 4.3 liter 6 cylinder inline engine that is rated at 275 hp at 6000 rpm and 275 ft lb torque at 3600 rpm - so it generates less heat than our 5.3 liter v-8s do.

No darn wonder our fans are failing.

Jim G
 

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I have a friend that is the area club mechanic.
His work truck is a very nice 1980 El Camino with a 340 HP 350.
He put electric fans in it and his Corvette (1978 Show Car ).

He also ran wires to a little light panel in the dash that tell when the fans are on and off.

I always that that was a good idea along with one to let us know if the Day lights are on or off.

Skip.

PS
Highest Highway in USA is Mt. Evans, CO. at 14202 ft.
Been there, done that.

Then went to the lowest below sea level in Death Valley.

Looking for the longest now, may be I-90. :flag
 
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