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Is It The Head Gasket


rustneversleeps
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Van on a Y plate lost all its coolant and after RAC attending the operative said it was a cylinder head gasket that was the problem.He topped up header tank and followed me home (3mls only) Temp.needle was dangerously near the red and tank was almost empty .The thing is the oil is not contaminated at present ,so where does the coolant/water go.

Need the van desperately on Sat. for a return journey of 15mls,would it be safe to drive if I stopped a few times and topped up with water.

cheers ed.

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First off, topping it up with water should really only be a desperate "just get me home" measure. Really you need proper coolant in there.

If it's emptying that quickly I'd be surprised if it's the head gasket (not saying it isn't, but I'd be surprised!). The last time I had it empty itself that quick (on a Rover, which are famous for bad head gaskets), it turned out there was a hole in the radiator and it was coming out almost as fast as I could pour it in.

Any drips/puddles underneath?

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Not sure... it would have to be an epic leak to be draining itself empty in just three miles. But the upshot is, if it's not leaking onto the road, it's certainly going somewhere. The Mondeo holds about six litres, and losing that amount of fluid in the space of three miles, you'd definitely notice if it was leaking out from below, almost to the point of there being a coolant trail behind you.

Are you getting white smoke or water/coolant coming out of the exhaust? Also check for white foamy stuff on the dipstick as you could have a significant amount of coolant settled in the sump.

I know you say you need the van on Saturday, but beyond running with no coolant (water only), what you [potentially] have is contaminated oil which you really don't want swilling around in the engine. And I don't even know what might be the consequences of just pouring gallons of water in with it all leaking down into the sump.

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if he topped up the header tank, could just be a big air lock especially as you said it was hot after 3 miles.

when was the last time coolant was checked, before having to call out the rac?

if its been neglected for a while, could be the water has just lowered over a long period, once it got to the point engine couldnt cool then it just boiled off the remainder...if thats the case, then hell of a lot more than just filling the header tank is needed to fill the system.

if no water in oil, no sign of smoke out of exhaust, no sign of obvious engine/rad leaks..maybe change the stat, flush the system, then would just refill the system with water, bleed it, run it till fan kicks in..check it doesnt overheat..take it for a short spin, if no sign of overheating or over pressurising etc..let it cool, drain again and refill including coolant

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Van on a Y plate lost all its coolant and after RAC attending the operative said it was a cylinder head gasket that was the problem.He topped up header tank and followed me home (3mls only) Temp.needle was dangerously near the red and tank was almost empty .The thing is the oil is not contaminated at present ,so where does the coolant/water go.

Need the van desperately on Sat. for a return journey of 15mls,would it be safe to drive if I stopped a few times and topped up with water.

cheers ed.

The head gasket fits between the block and head, it seperates the water jacket, the combustion chambers, and the oil drain/ crankcase from each other

The gasket can fail or blow in various different ways, including the combustion chamber leaking/ pressurizing the coolant system - it can fail without the oil getting in the coolant or vice- versa - its forum BS/ misinformation/ an "old wives tale" that if the head gasket fails there will be coolant in the oil/ oil in the coolant

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Thanks bigD,wase and FOCA you guys are wasted on here you should be running your own businesses or maybe you are.Going to have another look at van start her up and watch for developments.Only need it for this wee job tomorrow so going to chance it unless it blows up in ma face today.

Have already got it on ebay as spares or repairfor a paltry sum ,what's really annoying is that I paid £250.00 fitted for complete exhaust system just a month ago.

ed.stewart (rustneversleeps)

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