Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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For what it's worth, my temp gauge normally sits 3/4 the way up - right in the middle of the letter "M". So when you get it fixed, don't be alarmed if you see that high a temp.
Knock on wood, but I have never replaced my heater core over 380,000 kms. I flush out my coolant regularly and use a quality 50/50 mix with distilled water. Hopefully the rest of your system is in decent shape.
While you have the cooling system drained, it might be a good time to change the thermostat and rad cap. Opinions differ, but I highly recommend ONLY using a Mazda OEM dealer sourced 2-stage thermostat. They're really not much more expensive than the cheap universal ones.
All the small coolant hoses have a tendency to get soft and blow up like balloons. There's a few of them on the back of the engine under the intake manifold etc. It's also a good time to inspect them and replace if necessary. They're cheap, just a little tricky to reach.
Definitely flush and fill it with some good quality coolant and distilled water (or, at least soft water, don't fill the car up from a well etc. as it will cause mineral deposits to form).
I have never heard any gurgling sound from my car - or any other car for that matter. I would not say it's normal and if you hear it for 15 minutes then something is surely wrong. If the gurgling you're hearing is coolant boiling, that's definitely not normal or good. And if it persists for 15 minutes, I would say it's so overheated that I'd plan for a new engine.