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  1. Hi, firstly I apologise if this is in the wrong forum and/or I sound a complete thicko. I have a 2000 model Ford Focus 1.8 and it's been driving absolutely fine until this morning when suddenly it seemed to struggle in first and second gear and began to sound like a bit growly (think old VW Beetle). A few yards further on I began to smell the distinct smell of burning oil and saw masses of blue smoke coming from my exhaust and also (less) blue smoke coming from under my bonnet but no warning lights were on my dash and although the engine was hotter than normal at that point of my commute, it wasn't overheated. I pulled over and let the car cool down for 15 minutes before driving it to a garage which was luckily only a few yards away and as I got out of the car, he said immediately that he could smell oil and accused me of driving with my oil filler cap off (now I may be blonde, but I'm not that dumb) and he said the engine was "pretty hot" but didn't ask how long I'd had the engine running and spent less than a minute looking into my engine bay and said "I think your head gasket's probably gone" and when I asked for a quote he said "Don't bother, get rid" .......I'm reluctant to do this for a number of reasons, main one being I'm disabled and can't afford another car yet plus this car has been perfect until today and has never given me any issues and it's totally rust-free despite its age. He put water in my coolant (which admittedly is halfway between the two indicator lines and I should have topped it up - stupid me!) and told me not to bother putting coolant in and only use water but it was obvious he didn't want to actually deal with my car ........ I drove it to work which was literally 2 minutes away and left the car for 4 hours - I then checked my coolant bottle (no sludge) and checked my oil (no mayo and oil looks fresh and clean) and the engine sounded smoother although still a bit growly - I drove for 10 minutes with my dad driving behind me and although it didn't judder as much at first and second gear, it did judder at 30mph - not a lot, but enough to shake my hands on the wheel but there wasn't any smoke from the bonnet this time and only a bit from the exhaust which my dad said looked like "normal exhaust fumes" and the smell of oil was nothing like it was this morning. I also checked my temperature gauge and dash lights again and my temperature gauge was registering as normal, the engine was ticking over fine (it only seems to growl and whinge when I'm driving) and again, no warning dash lights. I'd checked the engine bay on Tuesday evening and it was all spotlessly clean and there is now fresh oil down both sides of the central block - not loads but noticeable and the dipstick isn't showing low oil (although like my coolant it's inbetween the notches). To me, this makes me wonder if it's something simpler such as the rocker cover (not sure if that's it's name), or an oil ring etc and not actually the head gasket? Something definitely "went" during the drive this morning but would an oil ring/rocker etc also cause the exhaust to burp blue smoke when it first goes, but then calm to almost nothing once it's cooled? Obviously, I'm now not going to drive the car now it's back home safely until I can get a mechanic to look at it, but that will be a couple of days and I'm hoping some of you lovely lot could maybe let me know what you think? I'm really hoping it's not the head gasket but I'm clueless about this :/ Thanks in advance
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