Cooling system issue- not quite overcooling & an electrical snafu

Hi all!
My 1992 Paseo with 120,000 miles has 2 little issues
One, electrical - it was damp & rainy for days, went to start up, the car was tough to start, didn’t rev up to its normal cold start RPM, didn’t drive right, like it was missing.
Looked under the hood & there was plenty of condensation in places, although the distributor was dry, on the outside anyway. After things warmed up, no more problem. So it’s electrical, that’s obvious. Where to start though? I thus far can’t recreate the issue.
On the cooling system -
The car wouldn’t warm up past 1/4 on the temp gauge the other day in 30 degree weather. Stopped the car, lower radiator hose was dead cold. Also almost no heat from the vents.
I started home to swap cars & the temp went up to "normal’ & I got “normal” heat from the vents - which isn’t very hot.
30 minute drive with highway, then stop & go & then surface street traffic - and the lower radiator hose was STILL cold.
Radiator is full. Old, but full.
The only thought I have is that the radiator has a blockage or is crudded up, and the tiny engine, heater core, and outside temp kept/keeps things cool…?
I’d love some thoughts!

You should be checking the top radiator hose.
It should stay cool until the engine is warmed up.
If not the thermostat is sticking. Should be changed anyway if it’s over 10 y.o.
Re misfire when it’s damp, condensation can form inside the dist cap if it’s not sealed.
Condensation on old plug wires can be a problem too.
I suggest the thermostat & new OEM dist cap, rotor and wires.


so the plug wires were perfectly dry, & the seal into the spark plug tubes
is a nice rectangle with a bit of a lip and I checked that it was dry in
there. I didn’t open the distributor but it does have a seal between the
cap and the distributor body. Anyway yeah I just need to probably replace
those ignition parts and was hoping maybe that wasn’t the answer LOL
Both radiator hoses have been replaced. I’m not sure about the thermostat.
The car definitely is not overheating at all. When I checked the hoses the
car wasn’t fully warmed up but it was about a quarter of the way on the
gauge and the upper radiator hose was what I would consider a normal
temperature in other words somewhat warm but that’s about it. After the
long drive the lower radiator hose was not freezing but not warm and the
upper radiator hose was again normal temperature slightly warm. I did get
my normal heat which is not great after a bit. I guess I could go with a
thermostat just as a maintenance item but I’m still not quite understanding
how the car can be warmed up with the temperature gauge just below half and
the lower radiator hose is still if not dead cold very cool anyways. Thanks
for your help everybody

That says to me the thermostat is not closing properly.
The top hose should stay cold or nearly so until the engine is fully warmed up.
The bottom hose will be cold if there’s enough cold air going through the radiator (like cruising in the winter).

good deal. easier than the radiator.

I have a 92 Corolla, and have over the years, several times in fact, have replaced the thermostat, distributor cap, all the spark plug wires (the wires are part of the cap ass’y), and the ignition rotor for similar symptoms. In addition to the normal routine maintenance stuff like the spark plugs of course. Suggest that’s the place to start. Also suggest to test the coolant for freeze protection to -20 degrees. If ice forms in the cooling system that last symptom can be a result. Sometimes plain water withou anti-freeze gets added into the cooling stem in the summer and the owner forgets or didn’t know it happened until winter symptoms develop.

good call.
i did get the cooling system up to spec b4 winter -
But the ignition check & double cooling check is always a good call

Your Paseo has the 5AFE engine, while my Corolla has the 4AFE, so they might not be the same configuration. But if the dizzy cap/rotor/plug wires have not been replaced in the past 5 years, now’s the time to do it.

I don’t know if they have or not… time to replace I guess…
I flew 800miles and am driving a 2006 mazdaspeed 3 cross country right
now… ugh, this week better be dry!