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Heating problem



Your refreshing approach is like aerobics for the brain ! You are questioning basics that we all accept for granted without a second thought ourselves. That can't be a bad thing at times.
Perhaps if I might embellish what Julian said. If the top hose is hot - the stat is working or at least open - and the bottom hose is cool, then this proves your 80's radiator is working well. The hot coolant is being effectively cooled by the time it gets to the bottom of the rad. So on its way back up through the engine to the head and eventually the top hose its picking-up more heat, especially by the time it gets to the passages around the valves. Its whilst its in the head - and hottest - it gets diverted to your heater circuit.
In other words don't worry about your engine, get the heater circuit/controls/blockages etc fixed !
Sorry to hear about your back. With an 80 one advantage is that they are spacious to work on, even to crawl underneath and check the transmission oils without jacking. But getting at the engine can be a problem as its so high.
I am somewhat gorilla size and shape, but even for my long monkey arms I have trouble reaching the side of the engine. Like recently I took out the starter to adjust the contacts (something else you will have to learn to do, but its not onerous), and on the HZ engine it has to come out from above not underneath. The only way to get at it comfortably is kneel on a workmate bench against the side of the wheel to allow one to get in there ready to take the weight of the starter. Others put padding on either wing and then lay on a scaffold plank stretched across the car.
Thanks for your kind words about what I do, but this is not really the place for it JB, off-list maybe. Its just what I do and I find it mildly enjoyable as well as different, and have done for many years. Each to his own. You will have noted that in my wolf trap pictures I don't include a picture of a trapped wolf ! Best left to the imagination as they are not too friendly towards onlokers with digital cameras !
Take care, must now get on with some work today.
'92 HZJ80 ex UN surplus in Bosnia