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if the fans aren't turning on, then it sounds like air in the system is preventing flow. Eventually the water in the block boils out the coolant tank.

Assuming the thermostat doesn't have a small hole to allow flow all the time, then you get to burn your fingers a little while bleeding the system.

The basic procedure is to run the car until the thermostat opens, and make sure you have the heat on to get flow through those cores. Then open the bleed screw on the top of the radiator and let the air hiss out. Finally, open the bleed screw on top of the thermostat housing and let the air out there.

Usually you have to back the bleed screws out almost all the way, or remove them completely...that's how you burn yourself :)

As a test, you can run the engine and if you aren't getting heater output, then you aren't getting coolant flow.
 
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