I own a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am. The radiator cracked and I had to have a new radiator installed, yesterday, 31Dec08. With the new radiator, the heater works okay, but I cannot direct the heater airflow with the right heater control knob. The heater only projects an airflow through the instrument panel outlets. When I put the dial to defrost, no air comes out of the defroster vents, the airflow continues to come out of the instrumet panel outlets only. It is as if the control knob only operates in the "vent" mode, no matter where I position the dial.
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yes --it is a common thing
the transmission oil cooler is in one of the radiator tanks and have a habit if cracking allowing the transmission oil to mix with the coolant
the fix is a new radiator and a very good wash out of the cooling system ( heater included)
I suggest that you use an accredited radiator shop and have then do the flush and the radiator replacement
Use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. Increasing the amount of antifreeze won't improve cooling. Check the rad fans, thermostat and rad cap. Are you losing coolant? Is it leaking or do you have a blown head gasket?
There could be several reasons that may cause an engine to overheat. It sounds like you have covered the most important ones. Thermostat,radiator and water pump. Hopefully you do not have internal damage, cracked head, head gasket, or a cracked block. I would try flushing the heater core and pay close attention to what comes out. You know, is it clogged with stop leak or rust. Then while I was flushing that I would drain the entire system and put in some Prestone super radiator flush. You just add plain water with it and run your vehicle for about 10 minutes. You then empty your cooliant system and refill with antifreeze. The flush works pretty well and if there is an obstruction from a previous owner putting stop leak in the system it generally will clean it out.
BTW, are you sure the thermostat is in properly? Not upside down? I think I would start there before I went through all of the work of flushing the system. It actually sounds like from everything you've done already, that's possible. Hey it does happen once in awhile. Was this car overheating when you bought it? If so, maybe the previous owner put it in upside down, and when you changed it put it in the same way by accident.
Hope this helps.