So just after some opinions, preferably from those of you who know the old 1.6 8v engine - the Z16SE - and its tendency to "overcool"...
We have a Club which has been a brilliant car for us over the last year or so - and is still running just fine now. Last year we had the cambelt changed (at 56k not long after we bought it) and the garage changed the thermostat at the same time. Car is now on 68k and as I say, still starting and running well whatever the weather.
As i know is common with this engine, it's always run cool, on both the old and new thermostat - very rarely reaching 90, usually sitting somewhere between 80-85 on an average (or even pretty hot) day.
Now last year, i wasn't driving the car much through the winter and particular cold snaps we had, so I can't say for sure what the temp gauge was doing. This year I have been though, and for the last few weeks - all through the snow and cold weather - I've noticed the gauge staying quite low. It takes an age to get anywhere, and then we'll generally just go up and down between the second of the first two notches, and the 80 mark (not sure what temp those first two marks mean). It rarely gets all the way to 80 even, and then only when sat in traffic for a good while or really straining on a fast road - most of the time it's hovering much lower.
Today I sat parked after a good run with the engine still running, turned the heater and fans right down (which in fairness is usually on and chucking out lots of heat) and revved a little, and within a minute or so the gauge rose to around 85 again - typical temp on a normal day - which encouraged me. I've checked the oil cap and predictably found a dollop of Mayo, but also seen the coolant running clear in the tank.
So the question is - for this engine - is there anything unusual going on here? Should I just expect it to run that cold in the sort of weather we've been having, or is there something I need to get checked out? I'm no mechanic and only know what I've read here basically.