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Re: 2001 chevy caviler is over heating
To locate the thermostat follow the upper radiator hose from the radiator to the engine it will be at the end of the hose. Also if you have an electric secondary fan make sure the sensor that controls it is working or the engine will over heat.
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Could be a relay or a sensor, where I would start is at the nearest Auto Partts store for a manual. You already know the problem is the fans, you just need to know where the relays, sensors, and/or thermostats are. Don't be thrown off by the temp gauge.
It's possible that the thermostat has gone bad. If the valve on the thermostat remains closed, it's possible that water isn't flowing to the sensor that controls the radiator fans, thus you wont get an increase is fan operation.
The good news is that a thermostat is only about $7-10, and the replacement is relatively simple. I would give it a shot. If it doesn't work, at least now you have a new, reliable thermostat installed.
I had this problem last year. My husband went to the local automotive store and bought their recommended thermostat. The problem with that is it wasn't exactly the correct one. My 2001 cavalier takes a thermostat that has a special seal. The one that my husband installed did not have the seal and was leaking around the thermostat. I went to the dealership with my problem and they installed one of the GM thermostats and I have had plenty of heat and no problems since.
Make sure the thermostat is orientated correctly. If it is in upside down it will not open. Also are the radiator tubes clean? If they are clogged you will not get the flow you need through them to bleed off the heat. If that is the case you will need to have the radiator rodded and cored. You also didn't say what year the vehicle is.