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it could be you have an air lock in the cooling system
remove the rad cap from the rad, start the engine and let it run until the coolant drops (add to fill it back up) or until the coolant boils out of the rad spout.
maybe pull the heat sensor. -replace it OR clean it off, reinstall it.
your easy, that is caused by AIR Pocket in the engine block
the gauge can not read, air temps so if air is below the engine
coolant thermostat the ECT reads hot then air (cold ) repeats
you lost coolant and the number one reason for that is trusting
the silly side tank, (they fail easy)
never do that, on the next cold morning , dead cold
you take off the RAD cap. look down the neck, is it full of green
AF? id bet you its not.
the cab heater will never work with no engine heat, ever. so ......
never do the above on any hot engine.
also the thermostat might be bad and the coolant overheated
and blew out, so get a new STAT.
the flush the system, and refill with 50% AF.
or worse. lots of ways to overheat.... ask. the side bottle only works, (called the expansion tank)
if never overheated
and the tube in side is not dropped off
and you never let it go dry, ever.
those facts and others are why we check the RAD directly cold.
With the car running because it reduces the back pressure have someone that knows how to do it remove the cap from the radiator and see if the radiator is full, not the bottle but the radiator itself. If the antifreeze is not moving from the bottle to the radiator it will overheat. Not having heat unless you rev the engine makes me think the radiator is either not circulating the water or it is low.
There may be a thermostat problem, but your symtoms indicate low coolant level. When coolant is too low, it will not circulate, so you get no heat in car, and the coolant remaining in engine block overheats because no cool fluid coming in.
You need to fill the system up properly then look for leaks.
With cold engine, open radiator cap. Fill with antifreeze directly in radiator. Start engine, top up rad if level drops. Put heat control on Hot. Fan on low, heat on high. Gently rev engine and top up rad as needed. IF as engine heats up, it starts kicking fuild violently out of radiator, then the thermostat is bad. if not, then recap radiator, top up overflow bottle and you're done. Look under car for any sign of leaks. Steady dripping indicates a leak, then address that.
You have an air pocket in the engine that is preventing coolant circulation. Let the engine heat up and then shut it off to cool the engine back down. After doing this a few time the air pocket will usually work its way out.
Hope this helps:)
Start the engine when cool, remove rad cap and start engine and let it run with the heater on. (not defrost) Top up coolant as needed in rad, and let it run until either the rad fan comes on and off 2 or 3 times, or you can see increased flow in rad from thermostat opening. It will obviously happen after it reaches operating temperature, so watch after gauge gets close to there. Wait until you see that flow 2 or 3 times or fan comes on and off before you put cap on, and fill return bottle to proper level as well. That should cure it, by getting air out of system, and coolant flowing through heater core.
could be waterpump?
i was going to say rad fan,but if so heater would be hot.
lack of coolant will make heater core to blow cold,if engine heats up with full coolant,usually means poor or no circulation.
run engine with full coolant,at operating temp.with rad cap off and look in rad cap hole and see if there is movement of water inside rad.
[rad fan will not come on if water is not circulating through rad water pump?]
did you by accident put the head gaskests on the wrong side, because they are different, the head blot pattern will line up but the water jacket ports ares lightly different, you may have blocked off cooling ports tot he cylinder heads which will cause the overheating condition you speak of...