Fan, Temperature sensor and temperature gauge issues.
I've just bought a cheap 1997 Rover 414 1.4i. After a week of trouble free driving back and forth work, I started her up from cold this morning and the temperature gauge shot straight up to the red and stayed there (flickering violently, but staying around red and beyond), clearly the engine is not hot if its just been switched on. In addition to this, the cooling fan doesn't kick in either.
I've checked the car over and there are no obvious signs of Head Gasket issues, I am not loosing any water, the oil is still consistent, no residue on the oil cap, rev's appear fine, no smoke from the exhaust or noticeable leakages.
I'm of the opinion that this may be a temperature sensor issue. Can you confirm or deny this and explain to me how these sensors work (or not in this case) in relation to the problems I am having? The more I understand, the more likely I will tackle the problem myself by way of purchasing and fitting a new sensor or sensors.
(P.S. the fan does work but doesn't kick in. Surely if the temperature reading is in the red the fan should kick in, but I unplugged the temperature sensor whilst the engine was running and the fan kick in straight away so the fan seems to be in good working order. I'm confused.......... so, in summary - The temperature gauge shoot straight into the red regardless of whether its a cold start or not and the fan doesn't kick in when this happens) HELP!