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Re: 2002 Chev Cavalier 2.2L Engine overheating
Did you let engine run from cold after refill, with rad cap off & heater on (not defrost) until the engine reached operating temperature and rad fan came on a few times? If not, try it, you may just have an air lock, provided your sure thermostat is correct one & back in correct way. Rev engine slightly every once in a while and hold it there for approx 10-20 seconds to help burp the air out & increase circulation to heater.
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Sounds like you have a leaking water pump. Have a shop run a pressure check on the cooling system to confirm this with the car up on a car lift. DONOT drive this car with an overheating engine, you will destroy the engine very quickly.
You have a reservoir that has fluid level markings for hot and cold for the coolant fill it to the full mark for cold after the engine is cooled down. If this is the reservoir that burst and it leaks then replace it. If the engine just overheated and boiled the antifreeze out then find out why and fix that issue.
overheating is most likely a bad thermostat, but the coolant loss is a second big concern. Does the exhaust look like steam? You could have a cracked block and the coolant is leaking into the engine. Also check the oil for contamination.
The cooling system may need to be serviced which is one of the things that is never done. The orange antifreeze has a life of 5 years and 150,000 miles and if it has never been flushed out, there may some crystal formation causing a restricted flow of antifreeze through the system. Try flushing out the cooling system with Preston radiator flush, use the dry power flush rather then the one from the bottle. Follow the instructions and replace the antifreeze with a 50/50 (water/antifreeze) mix, if you not sure how to mix it. You can buy them premixed 50/50. Too much water will boil over and too much antifreeze will gel up causing overheating. If you like you can replace the thermostat too, but that's not that easy on the 3.4 liter engines. If you go to Auto Zone you can pick up the antifreeze, radiator flush, and thermostat with the step by step instructions needed to get the job done. Keep me posted, be glad to answer any other questions you may have and good luck friend.
The cylinder head gaskets are leaking, u will need them replaced, the heads checked for true and the oil pan flushed to get the water/coolant out, make sure u figure out why it overheated before any repair begins or the same thing will happen again.