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I can feel your frustration. It sounds like you've done all the logical stuff already. The "donut hole" in your process would seem to be not changing the water pump. The water pump as you might imagine, is responsible for circulating (pumping) the relatively cool water in the radiator into the running engine that contains the hot water. Hoses connect the two together. A thermostat is between the radiator and the engine. Once the water in the running engine gets to a certain temperature, the thermostat opens allowing the water pump to send cool water into the engine and hot water out to the radiator to be cooled. The heater core is usually on the passenger side firewall area.
It sounds like the water pump is the only thing left to change - if it isn't working - it can't circulate the water - and will result in overheating. Lastly, a clogged heater core shouldn't cause the engine to overheat - in fact, if the engine begins to overheat, you should turn the heat to HIGH fan and HIGH temperature to help remove some of the heat in the coolant.
take the top off the filler cap run engine to boil. keep it full off water to the top. you will see air bubbles coming out as the engine gets hotter. squeeze the pipes on the rads to help the air come out. when fan kicks in turn engine off and leave to cool down.while you are doing this make sure the fan for heater is off but is on full heat. can have fan on number one on speed that is fine.
REPLACE THERMOSTAT AND RADIATOR PRESSURE CAP.IF CAR OVER HEATING WHILE IN MOTION.MORE LIKELY ITS THE THERMOSTAT,LOW COOLANT IN RADIATOR OR COOLANT SYSTEM,BAD WATER PUMP,WATER PUMP WEEP HOLE IS LEAKING, WATER PUMP NEEDS REPLACING.CHECK ENGINE OIL,IF OIL LOOKS LIKE MILK SHAKE YOU HAVE LEAKING HEAD GASKET.IF CAR IN PARK AND OVER HEATS WHILE IN A LONG TRAFFIC LINE OR.BANK DRIVE THROUGH COOLANT FAN NOT TURNING ON, BECAUSE THE ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR FAULTY.CODE SCAN CAR FOR FAULTY COOLANT FAN RELAY OR FAULTY PCM. CHECK COOLANT FAN FUSE, AND HOT WIRE THE COOLANT FAN TO MAKE SURE ITS WORKING.IF COOLANT FAN DONT WORK WHEN HOT WIRED. COOLANT FAN NEEDS REPLACING. REPLACE BOTH RADIATOR HOSES, REPLACE THERMOSTAT AND RADIATOR PRESSURE CAP.BUY NEW COOLANT ADD 50/50 WATER AND COOLANT.IF ENGINE OIL HAS ANTIFREEZE IN IT.REPLACE ENGINE OIL AND OIL FILTER TO KEEP FROM LOCKING UP THE ENGINE.GET CAR FIX.DONT KEEP DRIVING IF IT KEEP OVER HEATING,ENGINE DAMAGE WILL OCCUR.I HOPE INFORMATION I GAVE YOU WILL FIX PROBLEM.PROBLEM COULD BE LEAKING RADIATOR HOSES BUT CHANGE THERMOSTAT THATS FIRST THING I WOULD CHANGE BECAUSE IF IT CLOSED, ENGINE WILL OVER HEAT AND CRACK CYLINDER HEAD OR CRACK PISTON, COOLANT NEED TO CIRCULATE THROUGH THE ENGINE TO TAKE AWAY THE HEAT FROM ENGINE.
CLUTCH ON COOLING FAN FREEWHEELING. COOLING FAN SHOULD HAVE RESISTANCE WHEN TURN WITH HAND WHEN ENGINE HOT.IF NOT FAN FREE WHEEL FAN CLUTCH NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.IF COOLING FAN OKAY.YOU COULD HAVE BLOWN HEAD GASKET.YOUR RADIATOR AND ENGINE BLOCK NEED FLUSHING OUT.CHECK WATER PUMP FOR LEAKING WEEP HOLE IF LEAKING REPLACE WATER PUMP.
When the engine is cold,and the radiator is full,starting the engine,does it blow out the radiator?If it does,then a head,or head gasket is blown.If not,bleed the system of air.The engine cooling system might have air that needs to be purged out.
All you have is one or two fans? Have you checked or replaced the thermostat? The thermostat opens when the engine gets to operating temp, and allows the water in the radiator to flow through engine and the water pump pumps the water out of the engine back through the radiator to cool before it goes back through again. I check the lower radiator hose to see if it get hot like the top hose or you could take the lower hose of the pump to see if it is pumping. I would start with a radiator flush and do this a couple times, prestone makes a flush and Im sure someone else does. do that then change your thermostat, make sure when you put the new one in it goes in spring side down..
if the fan is not going on then this is most definatley your problem. The water in the engine and radiator circulates around the inside of the engine block, drawing away heat and carrying it to the radiator, if the fan is not working to draw air across the radiator and dissapate the heat then you will overheat. Try checking the radiator fan fuses in the underhood fuse and relay box, if there all good check that the fans are indeed not coming on. they will start when the thermostat opens and close when it does. if no fan operation, check for power at the fan plug, if not change the fan assembly.