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AndrewErroch

Head Gasket Blown

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I need some good advice please before I decide on whether or not to approve a major and very expensive investigation and repair.

I have a 63 plate Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI Diesel Titanium X that is currently in my local Arnold Clark Ford garage after I called out the AA on Tuesday night (11/02/20).

The car's mileage is 71,287 and it had a full service a couple of weeks ago. I was told as an advisory that the coolant was contaminated with water.

On Tuesday morning, a warning came up several times saying 'Engine Malfunction Service Now' and it was cutting out a bit, going up a steep hill. I still managed to get to work, but contacted the AA via their handy app when leaving work. The engineer did a roadside diagnostics check and found problems with the fuel pressure and noticed the coolant was almost black, as well as a few other error codes. I drove the car a few miles to the garage that evening with the AA following and there were no issues or error messages. It seems to be just when I put my foot down that the message comes up.

I am now being told by the Ford garage that the Head Gasket has blown and the cylinder needs to be sent away to be pressure tested and the end result could cost me about £4000 if the cylinder can not be repaired. As you can imagine, that is a major shock as I had no idea there was much wrong with my car. I've never had to spend that much on a car and this is my best car ever, or so I thought...

I reckon the car is still worth about £6000, but I'm wondering if it's even worth taking the risk and telling them to go ahead with this work or just scrapping or trading in my Diesel.

I need to let them know by Monday. Please help!

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Ouch. I'm no mechanic but what about a replacement (from crash damaged car) surely wouldn't be £4k but guess still won't be cheap for labor.

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I would be a bit surprised if that car is worth £6k. Probably more like £4K, so definitely not worth doing that repair!

I would get it out of Arnold Clark’s workshop and find a trusted local mechanic to have a look and re-quote. 
 

Alternatively, if you like the 1.6 TDCi 115 then you will love the newer 1.5 TDCi 120 - the engine is incredible. I think Ford are still running a scrappage scheme, or might give you £3-4K on trade in?

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My advice would be absolutely do NOT accept that repair.

If it is the headgasket, or even the head, there are much cheaper repair options but they won't be available through the main dealer.

We rarely see headgaskets fail on these, I'd want either the EGR cooler or the oil cooler to be checked very carefully before assuming it's the headgasket.  (Depending on whether it's oil or exhaust contaminating the coolant, that's not clear in your post)

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Agree with Tom. Get it away from Arnold Clark (don't they have a terrible reputation?) and to a reputable independent garage.  

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9 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

My advice would be absolutely do NOT accept that repair.

If it is the headgasket, or even the head, there are much cheaper repair options but they won't be available through the main dealer.

We rarely see headgaskets fail on these, I'd want either the EGR cooler or the oil cooler to be checked very carefully before assuming it's the headgasket.  (Depending on whether it's oil or exhaust contaminating the coolant, that's not clear in your post)

I was just about to suggest oil cooler issue. And don't assume it's one fault. There could be two separate issues unrelated and assumption is headgasket. 

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I’m with Tom on this. I would not be confident on diagnosis unless the person who did the diagnosis has stood beside the car with me and explained to me how he came to that conclusion showing me how he did this. 

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If it makes it any clearer, this is the main part of the AA report: -

Patrol found the following fault code/s:System : Engine control 1 - 9FA / Diesel CR/EDC SID 807P051200 - Starter actuation. Error Message : Malfunction.P228C00 - Fuel pressure regulation. Error Message : Pressure too low.P086B00 - Neutral position sensor. Error Message : Outside specified range.loss of power and eml light on. Basic checks ok. Coolant showing signs of contamination. Checked codes found code relating to fuel pressure issue. Carried out road test. Fault occur on two occasions with live readings dropping out of spec. Followed to dealer for investigation. Member has breakdown repair cover for this vehicle. Member must arrange for the vehicle to be taken to a garage without delay if it cannot be fixed at the roadside, any delay or continued use will affect the validity of a potential claim. Any repairs need to be authorised prior to repair, to make a claim contact AA claims department 0344 579 0042.

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42 minutes ago, The Finance Guy said:

I would be a bit surprised if that car is worth £6k. Probably more like £4K, so definitely not worth doing that repair!

I would get it out of Arnold Clark’s workshop and find a trusted local mechanic to have a look and re-quote. 
 

Alternatively, if you like the 1.6 TDCi 115 then you will love the newer 1.5 TDCi 120 - the engine is incredible. I think Ford are still running a scrappage scheme, or might give you £3-4K on trade in?

Yeah, I would still need to pay them something though and there is still finance left on the car... Nightmare! Æ

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51 minutes ago, The Finance Guy said:

I would be a bit surprised if that car is worth £6k. Probably more like £4K, so definitely not worth doing that repair!

I would get it out of Arnold Clark’s workshop and find a trusted local mechanic to have a look and re-quote. 
 

Alternatively, if you like the 1.6 TDCi 115 then you will love the newer 1.5 TDCi 120 - the engine is incredible. I think Ford are still running a scrappage scheme, or might give you £3-4K on trade in?

Even the We Buy Any Car value is £5380 and they are normally less than anybody else. Æ

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44 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

My advice would be absolutely do NOT accept that repair.

If it is the headgasket, or even the head, there are much cheaper repair options but they won't be available through the main dealer.

We rarely see headgaskets fail on these, I'd want either the EGR cooler or the oil cooler to be checked very carefully before assuming it's the headgasket.  (Depending on whether it's oil or exhaust contaminating the coolant, that's not clear in your post)

The Service garage a couple of weeks ago said the coolant was water contaminated, but the AA man thought it might be water mixed with oil, making it black in colour. Æ

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8 minutes ago, AndrewErroch said:

If it makes it any clearer, this is the main part of the AA report: -

Patrol found the following fault code/s:System : Engine control 1 - 9FA / Diesel CR/EDC SID 807P051200 - Starter actuation. Error Message : Malfunction.P228C00 - Fuel pressure regulation. Error Message : Pressure too low.P086B00 - Neutral position sensor. Error Message : Outside specified range.loss of power and eml light on. Basic checks ok. Coolant showing signs of contamination. Checked codes found code relating to fuel pressure issue. Carried out road test. Fault occur on two occasions with live readings dropping out of spec. Followed to dealer for investigation. Member has breakdown repair cover for this vehicle. Member must arrange for the vehicle to be taken to a garage without delay if it cannot be fixed at the roadside, any delay or continued use will affect the validity of a potential claim. Any repairs need to be authorised prior to repair, to make a claim contact AA claims department 0344 579 0042.

That doesn't say what the coolant is contaminated with unfortunately.

Fuel pressure is completely unconnected to the headgasket.  That's usually just a blocked fuel filter.

Just now, AndrewErroch said:

The Service garage a couple of weeks ago said the coolant was water contaminated, but the AA man thought it might be water mixed with oil, making it black in colour. Æ

Coolant is mostly water...it can't be contaminated with it which is why your first post didn't make much sense.  

Do you have a report from Arnold Clark confirming their diagnosis?  We need some sort of proof of what is contaminating the coolant before we can advise what may or not need to be replaced.  I wouldn't trust an AA man's cursory suspicions for a £4000 repair! 

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51 minutes ago, Albert27 said:

Agree with Tom. Get it away from Arnold Clark (don't they have a terrible reputation?) and to a reputable independent garage.  

The problem with that is Genuine Ford Parts. I had a repair done in Halfords Autocentre where they needed to replace 1 of the 2 switches on my clutch. They said aftermarket should be just as good, but it wasn't. There must be some sort of chip in Ford parts, as this switch did not communicate with the car. Æ 

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1 minute ago, TomsFocus said:

That doesn't say what the coolant is contaminated with unfortunately.

Fuel pressure is completely unconnected to the headgasket.  That's usually just a blocked fuel filter.

Coolant is mostly water...it can't be contaminated with it which is why your first post didn't make much sense.  

Do you have a report from Arnold Clark confirming their diagnosis?  We need some sort of proof of what is contaminating the coolant before we can advise what may or not need to be replaced.  I wouldn't trust an AA man's cursory suspicions for a £4000 repair! 

If wasn't the AA man who suggested the £4000 cost. That was Arnold Clark Ford this morning. Æ

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Just now, AndrewErroch said:

If wasn't the AA man who suggested the £4000 cost. That was Arnold Clark Ford this morning. Æ

The AA man suggested oil in the coolant but we don't have any proof of that...that's currently the only thing pointing towards a potential headgasket issue (but could just as easily be the oil cooler leaking).  What we need is Arnold Clarks diagnosis of what it is in the coolant.  

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22 minutes ago, AndrewErroch said:

Yeah, I would still need to pay them something though and there is still finance left on the car... Nightmare! Æ

Is it PCP or HP? If you’ve been lucky enough to end up on HP you might be alright. If it’s PCP then you’re in the trap unfortunately 

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Just now, TomsFocus said:

The AA man suggested oil in the coolant but we don't have any proof of that...that's currently the only thing pointing towards a potential headgasket issue (but could just as easily be the oil cooler leaking).  What we need is Arnold Clarks diagnosis of what it is in the coolant.  

I don't have any report from Arnold Clark yet. They needed AA approval to go to the next stage, which I only got yesterday evening. I'm tempted to accept that We Buy Any Car offer, but I probably should get the coolant changed first... Æ 

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Just now, The Finance Guy said:

Is it PCP or HP? If you’ve been lucky enough to end up on HP you might be alright. If it’s PCP then you’re in the trap unfortunately 

It's HP over 6 years... I think. I didn't buy it new. I got it for £12000 from Peter Vardy in January 2015. Æ 

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2 minutes ago, AndrewErroch said:

I don't have any report from Arnold Clark yet. They needed AA approval to go to the next stage, which I only got yesterday evening. I'm tempted to accept that We Buy Any Car offer, but I probably should get the coolant changed first... Æ 

Ok, I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic and rush into anything you might regret.  (If you were a regular on here, you'd note some irony in that coming from me haha!)

WBAC valuations drop dramatically when they do their appraisal, they'll literally pick up on every minor scratch etc.  

From what you've told us so far, it really looks like it could be fixed with a new oil cooler and fresh coolant.  And a new fuel filter if it's still throwing fuel pressure codes.  Obviously it could be much worse than that, but so far I haven't seen anything to suggest that it definitely needs a new headgasket.

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6 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

Ok, I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic and rush into anything you might regret.  (If you were a regular on here, you'd note some irony in that coming from me haha!)

WBAC valuations drop dramatically when they do their appraisal, they'll literally pick up on every minor scratch etc.  

From what you've told us so far, it really looks like it could be fixed with a new oil cooler and fresh coolant.  And a new fuel filter if it's still throwing fuel pressure codes.  Obviously it could be much worse than that, but so far I haven't seen anything to suggest that it definitely needs a new headgasket.

I agree - I can’t see anything to suggest there’s anything wrong with the head gasket, and that engine at 70k miles I wouldn’t expect there to be either. 
 

Get it to a garage you can trust and you might find it can be sorted for £500

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22 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

Ok, I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic and rush into anything you might regret.  (If you were a regular on here, you'd note some irony in that coming from me haha!)

WBAC valuations drop dramatically when they do their appraisal, they'll literally pick up on every minor scratch etc.  

From what you've told us so far, it really looks like it could be fixed with a new oil cooler and fresh coolant.  And a new fuel filter if it's still throwing fuel pressure codes.  Obviously it could be much worse than that, but so far I haven't seen anything to suggest that it definitely needs a new headgasket.

Arnold Clark have already said the Head Gasket is blown... If that was the case though, would the car still drive at all?... Æ 

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11 minutes ago, AndrewErroch said:

Arnold Clark have already said the Head Gasket is blown... If that was the case though, would the car still drive at all?... Æ 

They haven't proved it though, that's the problem we have currently.  What tests have they done?  If a roofer came round and said he needed to replace your entire roof because of a leak, you'd probably ask for proof as to why he couldn't just replace the 2 cracked tiles at much lower cost...  

Yes, you can often still drive with a blown headgasket, I've done a couple of months on one even!  They blow in different ways, causing different fault symptoms, some are worse than others and of course they get progressively worse over time as well.

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My local garage is the one that did the 'Full Service' and Engine Flush a couple of weeks ago... I'm not so confident with them though, to be honest... even though they are reccomend... Æ https://g.co/kgs/U1YiCq

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8 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

They haven't proved it though, that's the problem we have currently.  What tests have they done?  If a roofer came round and said he needed to replace your entire roof because of a leak, you'd probably ask for proof as to why he couldn't just replace the 2 cracked tiles at much lower cost...  

Yes, you can often still drive with a blown headgasket, I've done a couple of months on one even!  They blow in different ways, causing different fault symptoms, some are worse than others and of course they get progressively worse over time as well.

The car can definitely still drive. I drove it 12 miles from Beith to Linwood with the AA man following me... and that error didn't come up, although I was taking it easy. If I put my foot down or go up a hill, it does come up. Æ 

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48 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

Ok, I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic and rush into anything you might regret.  (If you were a regular on here, you'd note some irony in that coming from me haha!)

WBAC valuations drop dramatically when they do their appraisal, they'll literally pick up on every minor scratch etc.  

From what you've told us so far, it really looks like it could be fixed with a new oil cooler and fresh coolant.  And a new fuel filter if it's still throwing fuel pressure codes.  Obviously it could be much worse than that, but so far I haven't seen anything to suggest that it definitely needs a new headgasket.

I've found my latest HP statement. It was £12230 over 60 months and I still owe about £3000, which is well below the WBAC valuation of £5380 anyway. Æ 

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