So awhile back, my check engine light came on. I checked the codes and there was three that related to my thermostat. I talked to the auto store guys and they said its pretty common to replace them because they are originally made of plastic and tend to crack. I did some research on my own and it seemed like the easiest path forward was just to replace the whole thermostat and housing with the all metal "upgraded" part. So i did. I began the process by draining the coolant from the valve underneath the radiator on the passenger side (with the surge tank lid off of course), unscrewed the bleeder valve to get the rest out, and then unbolted the original thermostat housing from the engine block along with all the hoses and sensor cables. Then I put the new thermostat and housing on (with all new sensors) and reinstalled the hoses and wires. I did a quick system flush with distilled water then drained that and put the factory recommended coolant in.
Now when i'm driving, it is tough to get my car to warm up past the 1/4 mark on the temp readout on the dash. The only time it seems to get above 1/4 is when i'm idling. My car doesn't readout the actual coolant temp on the digital display so I can't check that. Also, i can hear the radiator "clicking" after I've gotten out of the car after a drive so that is at least getting partially warm.
So obviously winter is coming and I want to be able to use the heat in my car. I can't decide if it is something faulty with the thermostat I put in, the way I put it in, or something else. Any help is greatly appreciated!