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An often overlook cause of radiator problems can be traced to trapped air in the cylinder heads. Areas inside the engine that the air pocket contacts are insulated from the cooling effects of the radiator coolant, meaning less heat is carried away to the outside. What happens is that when the temperature of the uncooled area gets higher than the boiling point of the coolant, steam is created.
Air pockets can form when the cooling system is being refilled after a coolant change. The trapped air may also prevent your new thermostat from opening and cause the engine to overheat. The problem here is that it may lead to additional damage such as head cracking or warping. Another symptom of air trapped in the cooling system would be little or no heat output from the heater when the engine is warm. After your motor has warmed up, turn on the heater and see if this happens.
Also, your timing problems may well be heat related.
Unfortunately, cooling problem fixes, like those of fuel, ignition/electrical, drive train etc, have to be isolated one item at a time.
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