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it does sound as if the thermostat is stuck open not uncommon, but as you said the previous owner may have had the thermostat cut in half just leaving a seal and the ring of the stat. if this is the case you may find that the car has had an overheating problem in the past and this has been a tempory fix.
so good luck m8 and let us know the outcome alex
Old Mother Hubbard , Went to the cupboard to fetch her poor dog a bone.
When she bent over Rover took over, And gave her a bone of his own:D
Currently in alex21's garage:
vx astra mk5 2l turbo