I know its alittle challenging in the praries, but try and find a steep hill and floor it up that. That would always get it going when my cars were overheating.
Well, I managed to get it to overheat, even with the cooler weather. I just drove it really hard for 20 minutes and sure enough the guage went above center (and I tested the fan clutch again - total failure). The odd thing is my digital guage always goes from dead center (normal temp) to +2 above center - never +1. Kinda weird that it would jump a notch on the digital scale. It does this when it overheats and when it cools down it jumps back down 2 notches.
Anyway, today I was working on the engine and I noticed something interesting. I started the car up in the morning and after the engine warmed up I noticed some white smoke comming up between the power steering pump and the exhaust cam. At the time I assumed that I have a crack in my exhaust manifold somewhere, but now that I think of it, it's quite possible that there's a coolant leak in the area. Possibly the lower rad hose where it connects with the engine (although upon inspection it seems fine) or the water pump itself. What may have happened is that as the car cooled off over night some coolant leaked out. When I started it up the leaked coolant started to steam, which would explain that "white smoke" I saw. However, the leak must be pretty tiny as I can't see any steam (or smoke) rising after driving the car around. Anyway, I'll start the car up again tomorrow morning and watch for steam to rise from the same spot. If I see steam rising again that could explain my overheating problems!
And btw, I cleaned the heater core valve with sand paper, so the copper is nice and shinny. If it leaks I'll know about it right away, and so far it's still pretty clean, even after I overheated the engine.
Oh, and to exclude the possibility of a BHG, I checked my plugs for residue and found nothing but some carbon buildup. My tail pipe has only black residue and I don't see white smoke once it's warmed up. My coolant is oil free and my oil is black. I may be running rich or my timing could be off (it idle's a bit on the rough side), and that too could cause over heating, but could it be this bad?