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How is your cold coolant level? Yes, if it leaks enough coolant from the O-rings, and you don't keep it filled, you will eventually have an overheat problem. Did your temp gauge hit the red or did the warning light come on? If it's overheating you'll see it on the gauge.

There are test kits for testing for exhaust gasses in the coolant to help you tell if your head gasket is not sealing the cylinders from the coolant passages.

Brett
 

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You can ping the radiator with an IR thermometer. If the radiator is "cold" when the engine is hot, there is no coolant running through it (or not enough). Does sound like it could be a bad thermostat. If coolant is too low, the pump will cavitate and will no longer pump coolant through the block, and it will overheat. If it's overheating with full coolant, then thermostat is a good suspect.

I'm not sure that pouring water over the thermostat is the best test. It's slow acting. Better is to immerse in hot water for a period of time. But, it's cheap enough to just replace it and see what happens.

Brett
 
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