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Engine too cold?

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Rather a simple and strait-forward question. I have a '01 Chevy S10 2.2l. For the most part, its stock but I've installed a cold air intake, 2.5" cat-back flowmaster and swapped out the clutch radiator fan with an electric fan.


So lately, dear old mother nature decided to get bitterly cold; about 3degrees at the moment. Not a big deal except now the truck wont get warm - At all. Engine temp yesterday after letting it sit idle for 15 min didnt even flinch the needle and the heat blew cold. Not a big deal, I popped the hood and pulled the relay for the electric fan. it got slightly warmer, about 100-150 depending on if i was on the throttle or not. I cut out some cardboard and installed them in front of the radiator to the point that more than half of the radiator is covered. 


My simple question is this: Is it just the thermostat stuck open? The heat occasionally does come back for a bit and tease me with warmth but then quickly goes away. after driving for a few hours it will stay warmer longer. I realize its probably a no-brainier but funds are low for even a little 5$ thermostat and 3$ gasket. Mostly the problem is the 20$ proprietary coolant the truck wants, tough I'll probably get the universal stuff....




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I would first suspect a low coolant condition. Check the fluid in the radiator itself.


I would not rule out a stuck or missing thermostat.


Also, the factory fill dexcool can become problematic after 10 years as it starts to sludge and form silica gel in the cooling system. GM recommends a 60 mo or 150,000 mi service for the coolant using dexcool or equivalent.

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