Its not hard to change the heater hoses, its a bit fiddly down there but access isn't really that bad. An hour maximum really. You can't rely on your temperature gauge while you have a leaky cooling system as temperature is dependent on pressure and you need no leaks to keep the system working as it should. Remember, the temperature on the gauge isn't the temperature of all your coolant, only the temperature of the coolant at the temp sensor and thats on that stat housing, not too far from your leak point. Fix the leak, and flush the cooling system while you're at it and get that crap out of there, I hate that stuff, nothing is better for blocking up radiators.
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