Head gasket - should I worry - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 15 Old 30-06-09 Thread Starter
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Head gasket - should I worry

Hi,

I noticed a wee bit of mayo in my filler cap the other day, so I did the chemical block test to see if there were any exhaust gasses in the coolant....and there was.

The car's not using any water, isn't over heating, and I don't do many miles in it (maybe 30-40 a week, mostly short journeys).

Can I leave it until it either gets worse, or the next belt change comes around (or I sell it)...or am I risking disaster. Belts were done approx 5 weeks ago.

Cheers,

Iain
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If its head gasket it will get worse and you risk coolant in the oil, which I believe can very quickly destroy bearings and if your not careful it will overheat and warp the head. However if your happy to keep an eagle eye on the temp and run the risk of more work if the bearings go or it over heats then its your risk to take. You seem handy with a set of spanners and if I were you I'd probably risk it, but taking risks is a taboo subject around here
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I had mayo in the cap when I had a broken thermostat and was only doing short journeys. It was condensation that wasn't evaporating as the engine was never getting up to temperature. Have you ruled out the thermostat?
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If the only sympton is the mayo, I'd be leaning to condensation based on your usage.
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(Post Link) post #5 of 15 Old 02-07-09 Thread Starter
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Thermostat was replaced not long ago, and as I say the gas-test didn't yield a happy result!

Anyway, based on yesterday's MOT, I think the engine will outlast the bodyshell!!!

Cheers,

Iain
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Try flushing and changing the oil and filter. Then keep an eye on it. Oils can deteriorate a bit if not up to running temp often.
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I'd run it to be honest based on your mileage etc. I had a 1.8TS 145 that had your symptoms for about 9 months, then she spectacularly went pop when I was doing in excess of the limit officer.

After all the smoke and commotion had cleared it was a simple head off, skim, and gasket change, and I still reckon if I hadn't been giving it some it would have still been fine today....
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I always thought that this was quite common if you only done short journeys, as said above could be condensation. Normally with a HG failure you experience an increase in noise from the engine and also poorer performance can you not do a compression test or get a garage to do one for you? and that should give you a fuller picture.
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(Post Link) post #9 of 15 Old 07-07-09 Thread Starter
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yep, I've got a compression tester. Haven't got around to doing it yet though...been busy making it MOT-proof
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i've been told these 'block testers' ar enot 100% reliable.

if the temp is good & no air bubbles in the resevoir then you should be ok.

as a test, from cold fill the reservoir & leave the cap off.

now let the car warm up looking at the reservoir opening for bubbles.... if the gasket is gone the hotter the car will get the more bubbles.

to figur eout which cylinder, just remove a spark plug, if the bubbles contine then its not that cylinder or remove all 4 & pllace them back in 1 at a time..... thats how i figured which of the 6 cylinders of the v6 i'm currently working on blew the gaskets...... cyl 2, middle rear bank
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Doesn't really achieve much knowing which part of the gasket has blown on a 4 pot. If its gone, its gone
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If it was right and properly gone you wouldn't get down the road from your driveway without it boiling over. As the lads said you are running the risk of killing the big ends with water but if it's not using coolant etc. It should be ok for a while yet. A HG change aint too bad once you get someone who knows what they are at.
 
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Get a mechanic to check it but with your driving it seems like standard condensation on the oil cap....
 
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It could be condensation but it's more likely to be the head gasket. I've had several head gaskets go over the years and the symptoms have ranged from simple "mayo in the oil" to just using water (no mayo) and the air-lock in the rad'/fully-monty overheating.

Which symptom you get depends where the gasket has gone.. but as has been stated, if it's gone it's gone.. no use waiting for different or more spectacular symptoms.

Your beast seems to be hanging on for now so you could still use it but I'd go easy on it. If it gets too hot or you use too many rpm (which will increase the pressure of the coolant and oil respectively) your poor gasket may let go altogether and then you will get a rather terminal DNF.

Bear in mind too, coolant in the oil is going to attack the very shiny metal-metal interfaces (crank journals) and once you get a bit of corrosion in there, then the Grim Reaper will have one hand on your fella's nuts. I'd change the gasketo as soon as you can basically. It's a "one hour job" on the 4-pots, innit?

Ralf S.

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Yours probably isn't this bad yet..


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