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try a pressure test on the radiator while it engine is running.. If your head gasket is broken the compression of the engine goes into the cooling system. If the pressure rapidy increases it would indicate a head gasket problem.
is there a chance that one of your heater hoses are clogged? or where they connect to the engine are clogged still? sounds like a clogged system. Cracked heater housing? Outside air bypassing the heater coil while driving?
Time for Intake Gaskets and possibly head gaskets, very common problem with these, the intake gaskets go bad and the coolant actually burns in the cylinder and of course the cylinder pumps air into the coolant system because of intake gaskets being bad. :-(
Remove the 12 bolts that hold the intake to the lower section and disconnect all the hoses and linkages. Replace the lower gaskets and torque the manifold in a radiating sequence in this order. stages to tighten stage 1 - 59 inch pounds stage 2 - 66 inch pounds stage 3 - 90 degrees
make sure the radiator cooling fans are coming on. GM has also had major problems with the lower intake gaskets leaking on the V-6 engines. sometimes when refilling the cooling systems air lock can occur. run the engine until it warms up and then turn off and let it cool down, if coolant level goes down repeat this process two or three times. other causes could be clogged radiator, or worse case scenario blown head gaskets. also i have on occasion got bad thermostats from the parts store. the upper radiator hose will get very hot when the thermostat opens. run the engine and hold the upper hose and when the t-stat opens the hose will get hot. then when the cooling fan comes on hot air will rush from from the fans. if the fans come on and the air is cool then there is a circulation problem. t-stat, clogged radiator, low coolant, head gaskets. good luck.
Ha, you tried to fool me with the bit about a 3.5 L motor--I could find that one...here is the complete procedure from AutoZone.com:
Clean the gasket mounting surfaces. Be sure to inspect the manifold for warpage and/or cracks. If necessary, replace it.
Position the gaskets on the cylinder head with the port blocking plates to the rear and the This Side Up stamps facing upward. Then apply a 3 / 16 in. (5mm) bead of RTV sealant on the front and rear of the engine block at the block-to-manifold mating surface. Extend the bead 1 / 2 in. (13mm) up each cylinder head to seal and retain the gaskets.
Install the lower intake manifold. Tighten the bolts in sequence and in 3 steps, as follows:
Step 1: 26 inch lbs. (3 Nm).
Step 2: 106 inch lbs. (12 Nm).
Step 3: 133 inch. lbs. (15 Nm).
Install or connect the following:
Power steering pumpAlternator bracket bolt near the thermostat housingWiring harness to the lower manifold components, including the injector, EGR valve and ECT sensorAir conditioning compressor bracket-to-the lower intake manifold pencil braces
Install transmission oil dipstick tube, if necessary.
Fuel supply and return lines to the rear of the lower intake
Temporarily reattach the negative battery cable, then pressurize the fuel system (by cycling the ignition without starting the engine) and check for leaks.
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Install or connect the following:
Heater hose to the lower intakeUpper radiator hose to the thermostat housingDistributor assembly and engage the wiringIgnition coilConnect vacuum hoses to the upper and lower intake manifold.New upper intake manifold gasket, making sure the green sealing lines are facing upwardUpper intake manifoldManifold retainers. Tighten them to 88 inch lbs. (10 Nm) using two passes.Purge solenoid and bracketBrake booster vacuum hose at the upper intake manifoldPCV hose to the rear of the upper intake manifoldVacuum hoses to both the front and rear of the manifold assemblyThrottle bodyThrottle linkage to the upper intakeWiring to the upper intake components including the TP sensor, IAC motor, MAP sensor and the fuel meterEngine coverAir intake assembly
Firstly - DO NOT run engine, when guage reads hot, as this will cause costly damage to head gasket & alloy engine head.
The fact that guage takes 1min to read HOT, would confirm the guage IS working properly.
So, other components which are likely to cause hot readings (in this order) are:
- lack of coolant (or leakage somewhere): is there sufficient green coolant at the correct level? Top up mixture to correct level. Repair any leaks.
- collapsed radiator hose: when engine is cold, start engine, then quickly watch both upper & lower radiator hoses to see if either begins to flex inwards (collapse). Replace if either hose is collapsed.
- bad/incorrect thermostat rating : when replacing thermostats, you must ensure it is of the SAME temp rating (they all differ).
- Incorrect Temp sensor rating: the ratings of this sensor must be within manufacturer's spec's.
- bad waterpump: the engine relies on the waterpump to distribute the coolant throughout the entire system. If waterpump is faulty, coolant will not flow quick enough, causing overheating.
If you still believe all of the above components are OK, then have your cooling system "pressure tested". This test should be done, before looking further at other electrical components.
"if this has helped you in any way, please rate this solution"
the engine may have a leaking head gasket, to eliminate this possibility a reputable auto repair shop will use a device that attaches to the radiator cap it has a blue fluid in it that will change to yellow if any combustion gas is present in the cooling system passages indicating a blown head gasket. Try the alumi seal product sometimes that works.