Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

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Cam2363
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Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Cam2363 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:22 pm

96 z26

I've had a few questions I've been wondering about for a while, but didn't feel they needed their own thread

1.
Ever since I got the car, the temp gauge only really went up to 1/4, never to the halfway like it should, the only times I see it go up past the 1/4 is when I've been on a long drive and I stop in a parking lot, which makes it go up around half, or when its a really hot day and I stop at a light, which makes it go up between the 1/4 and 1/2. But as soon as I start going again, it drops right back down. My air is also cold in the summer and hot in the winter

I replaced the thermostat in March with an OEM spec one, and no change. My thought is it might be the temp sensor, but not entirely sure.

2.
I noticed that when I turn my temp knob any point where it would start to put some heat in, I get a hint of coolant smell, but it's gone then and I don't smell it again until another time when I switch it from all the way cold. Does this mean I have a heater core leak? I do leak some coolant, but no signs of anything in the cabin, and the leaking coolant (which I'm still stuck on where it comes from) leaks from the engine bay.

3.
My seats fold to get in the back, but the little black lever that you are supposed to push, to do what I assume would make them release, does nothing and you can just push the seats forward. Is this normal? I'm afraid if I were to get in an accident, the seat might just fold me like a sandwich. I noticed once when I hit the brakes real hard that the passenger seatback did move forward.

4.
When putting my door panels back on from my little adventure with a stuck door, I accidentally touched the little detonator thing that is supposed to lock the belts in an accident(at least I assume that's what it is) and it was really hot, like gave me a little burn hot. I'm not sure if this is normal, or not. I'm worried about a fire starting or something. The one that I bumped was the passenger side, closest to the latch. not the one on the belt part that comes out the panel crack. The doors had also been open for a good 30 to 40 minutes, so I'm not sure if that has to do with that.

5.
Sometimes when starting my car after it's been sitting for a bit, but is still slightly warm, after like 10 to 20 seconds, the engine starts revving up and down and then eventually calms down after like 30 seconds. If I hit (push and let off quick) the gas, it shoots up to around 2500 to 3000 and then drops down really low, I think around 500ish and then it stabilizes sometimes and other times is does it a little more. If I hold the pedal, the rpm does stabilize. But is obviously not idle.

Any answers to my questions would be appreciated!
Last edited by Cam2363 on Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby woody90gtz » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:15 am

1 and 3 are normal. 4 I didn't think our seat belts lock like the newer ones, but I could be wrong. Not sure why it would be hot. 2 sounds like the must be a small leak somewhere in the heater core. Have you had the bottom of the dash apart to check it?


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Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Cam2363 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:53 am

Ok. Why is 1 the case? Just seems weird that it wouldn't go half like all other cars. And for the belts, that's just what I assume they are. I'm not 100% sure. And I had the bottom apart months ago but not recently. I will try to get around to it some time soon.

Also, I replaced my IAC and now when I idle, the exhaust smells a bit rich. Any clue what could be going on there? I replaced it about a month ago and I just noticed it the other day.

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Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Rettax3 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:59 pm

1. GM doesn't have laboratory-grade instrumentation in their cars. These are sadly not linear gauges either, so a little deflection at the bottom range means a different temperature change than in the middle of the range. By replacing the thermostat, you've already made sure you don't have a mechanical problem to worry about. You are seeing a consistent and normal-for-your-car temp indication, it is all good.

2. You do have a leak (or seep, which is much less severe) from your heater-core. Pretty normal for any older vehicle, though not necessarily 'okay'. Here are some things to consider though: Berettas were designed pretty intelligently, with lots of little insightful features. The heater-core sits in a plastic tray with a drain-port that routes through the firewall, so a catastrophic breach of the heater-core wouldn't necessarily dump into the passenger compartment in thus the carpet. I am not 100% sure the '91+ style interiors retained this feature, as I have not had to do a heater-core in one yet, but the older ones do for sure. Your mystery coolant leak could be coming from that drain-port... It should exit through a small rubber elbow just to the passenger-side of the exhaust down-pipe. Check that elbow for wetness, dried coolant stains (usually crusty white) or coolant smell. You may have a heater-core issue now too! :fool:

3. The seat-tab works on maybe 2% of the cars still. You would have to hit something hard enough to kill you anyway for the seat-back to do anything substantial to you, unless you had something really heavy in the back seat (like an unrestrained passenger). I don't think that release feature was designed to hold against something like that anyway. One of my cars had the feature start working again after the actual tab was broken off -yep, that was fun, having to press up hard against a sharp fragment of plastic that protruded about 1/8 of an inch...

4. The belt-hold solenoids do get pretty hot if the door is left open for a long time -it also drains the battery, but not severely for short durations like an hour or so. They are not necessarily a safety-feature so much as a convenience one -remember that the belts need to extend when the door opens, and retract freely when the door closes in case the belt is left latched by mistake. There should also be a mechanical pull-cable attached to one of the solenoids, but I don't remember everything about the system off the top of my head... Basically, it is normal for the solenoids to be hot after that much time, not necessarily 'burn you hot' though. I've never heard of anyone having a fire start from one, I don't think GM has any TSBs out on them either, but you could check.

5. I would guess your IAC valve is maybe a little slow to respond, that would usually be worn, dirty, etc, but since it is new, it may still be wearing in, or lower quality or defective. It may actually be operating 'too fast', where the PCM requests a certain number of pulses open or closed (these are high-speed stepper motors) and it actually moves the pintle further in or out than the PCM expects, thus chasing the desired idle speed. There may be a slight fuel leak from an injector that could cause similar symptoms as well, but that would typically clear up a little faster. I know you had some concerns about your injectors anyway...

IAC has no bearing on fuel mixture directly. If your exhaust is rich, that again points to a problem with fuel supply or metering, maybe the injectors, which may have misled you into thinking you needed a new IAC valve...


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
1995 3.4 DOHC Turbo 5-Speed Z-26

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Re: RE: Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Cam2363 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:42 pm

Rettax3 wrote:1. GM doesn't have laboratory-grade instrumentation in their cars. These are sadly not linear gauges either, so a little deflection at the bottom range means a different temperature change than in the middle of the range. By replacing the thermostat, you've already made sure you don't have a mechanical problem to worry about. You are seeing a consistent and normal-for-your-car temp indication, it is all good.

2. You do have a leak (or seep, which is much less severe) from your heater-core. Pretty normal for any older vehicle, though not necessarily 'okay'. Here are some things to consider though: Berettas were designed pretty intelligently, with lots of little insightful features. The heater-core sits in a plastic tray with a drain-port that routes through the firewall, so a catastrophic breach of the heater-core wouldn't necessarily dump into the passenger compartment in thus the carpet. I am not 100% sure the '91+ style interiors retained this feature, as I have not had to do a heater-core in one yet, but the older ones do for sure. Your mystery coolant leak could be coming from that drain-port... It should exit through a small rubber elbow just to the passenger-side of the exhaust down-pipe. Check that elbow for wetness, dried coolant stains (usually crusty white) or coolant smell. You may have a heater-core issue now too! :fool:

3. The seat-tab works on maybe 2% of the cars still. You would have to hit something hard enough to kill you anyway for the seat-back to do anything substantial to you, unless you had something really heavy in the back seat (like an unrestrained passenger). I don't think that release feature was designed to hold against something like that anyway. One of my cars had the feature start working again after the actual tab was broken off -yep, that was fun, having to press up hard against a sharp fragment of plastic that protruded about 1/8 of an inch...

4. The belt-hold solenoids do get pretty hot if the door is left open for a long time -it also drains the battery, but not severely for short durations like an hour or so. They are not necessarily a safety-feature so much as a convenience one -remember that the belts need to extend when the door opens, and retract freely when the door closes in case the belt is left latched by mistake. There should also be a mechanical pull-cable attached to one of the solenoids, but I don't remember everything about the system off the top of my head... Basically, it is normal for the solenoids to be hot after that much time, not necessarily 'burn you hot' though. I've never heard of anyone having a fire start from one, I don't think GM has any TSBs out on them either, but you could check.

5. I would guess your IAC valve is maybe a little slow to respond, that would usually be worn, dirty, etc, but since it is new, it may still be wearing in, or lower quality or defective. It may actually be operating 'too fast', where the PCM requests a certain number of pulses open or closed (these are high-speed stepper motors) and it actually moves the pintle further in or out than the PCM expects, thus chasing the desired idle speed. There may be a slight fuel leak from an injector that could cause similar symptoms as well, but that would typically clear up a little faster. I know you had some concerns about your injectors anyway...

IAC has no bearing on fuel mixture directly. If your exhaust is rich, that again points to a problem with fuel supply or metering, maybe the injectors, which may have misled you into thinking you needed a new IAC valve...
Wow thanks for all the advice. The heater core definitely seems like the culprit. I will definitely look at that then. Also if it is bad, how hard is it to get to and replace?

I do also have new injectors and an o2 sensor to install when time allows. I really replaced the IAC as I heard it may help with my mpgs, and it was cheap and easy.

The belt solenoid makes sense too as my doors were left open for a hour or so, but when my driver door was broken, my dome light stayed on way longer than it should, so I dont know if both sides are connected, but that might be part of the cause.

Also, the surging I mentioned happened with the old IAC too, which was another reason I replaced it, hoping to possibly fix that.

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Re: RE: Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Rettax3 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:45 am

Cam2363 wrote: The heater core definitely seems like the culprit. I will definitely look at that then. Also if it is bad, how hard is it to get to and replace?

Very easy, with a sawz-all or a hand-grenade. Otherwise, about an hour and a half into it, you will be cussing GM engineers out and pleading for your two missing spinal vertebrae back.

I did the core on my '90 'Retta before I owned the car many years ago (I think I am approaching nearly 20 years of owning that thing. Wow. :o ). It took a lot of time and was generally a PITA, but really just a case of unscrewing enough of the dash pieces to gain access to the core then being gentle with the new one -the older cars had plastic tubes (which is what failed on my car's core) that extend through the firewall for the hoses to clamp to, and they need to be 'twisted' to the right angle during installation. Nothing overly technical though. I don't think the newer cars are much different.


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Cam2363 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:04 pm

Rettax3 wrote:
Cam2363 wrote: The heater core definitely seems like the culprit. I will definitely look at that then. Also if it is bad, how hard is it to get to and replace?

Very easy, with a sawz-all or a hand-grenade. Otherwise, about an hour and a half into it, you will be cussing GM engineers out and pleading for your two missing spinal vertebrae back.

I did the core on my '90 'Retta before I owned the car many years ago (I think I am approaching nearly 20 years of owning that thing. Wow. :o ). It took a lot of time and was generally a PITA, but really just a case of unscrewing enough of the dash pieces to gain access to the core then being gentle with the new one -the older cars had plastic tubes (which is what failed on my car's core) that extend through the firewall for the hoses to clamp to, and they need to be 'twisted' to the right angle during installation. Nothing overly technical though. I don't think the newer cars are much different.
Alright. Probably a bad choice, but since I used my last hand grenade, I think I'm going to just wait until It becomes a bigger problem, then I'll fix it. I'm gonna regret that, but I dont wanna rip it all apart to find out it's a tiny drip or something. I mean it took like 2 months for my coolant level to drop about an inch in the tank, so it's not a massive leak where I'm putting coolant in every week

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Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Rettax3 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:23 am

Honestly, that is what I would do too... Of course, I do have a few alternative vehicles to drive if my heater core blew out in the middle of winter, buuut... :D Probably a good choice for you at this point. Hope it holds, it probably will.


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
1995 3.4 DOHC Turbo 5-Speed Z-26

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Re: RE: Re: Bunch of different questions that have been irking me(coolant, seats, seatbelts)

Postby Cam2363 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:08 am

Rettax3 wrote:Honestly, that is what I would do too... Of course, I do have a few alternative vehicles to drive if my heater core blew out in the middle of winter, buuut... :D Probably a good choice for you at this point. Hope it holds, it probably will.
Haha thanks. I also have a backup vehicle incase it does blow and I need to replace it. But I should be fine. Thanks for your help!

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