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I recently experienced a sudden loss of power while accelerating and on looking at the dials, saw the temp gauge bouncing rapidly between the normal 90 and max. Other lights and warning flashed on/off rapidly too inc stop overheating etc. I stopped as soon as possible (within a minute) and by that stage the temp had resumed a steady 90. On opening the bonnet, the expansion bottle had emptied itself all over the engine bay and was clearly boiling hot.

I have searched as many similar terms as I am think of but can't find a definitive answer - the nearest I could find (pure guess) sounds similar to the symptoms if another user with a water pump failure? Car is on 71k and due a cam belt + pump which has made me seriously worried its about to seize the pump and/or throw the belt.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated - is it likely to be safe to drive to the garage?
 

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Check to see whether you have (the remains of) a plastic bleed plug in coolant rail, front LHS engine; search this forum for pictures. The scenario you describe can be caused by this failure. If the top of the plug has been separated from its threaded body you might be left with a small hole you can temporarily screw a self tapper in, but don't drive without coolant
 

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Thanks for suggestion, I am familiar with that screw as that very problem happened to me on the m25 about a year ago! It has been replaced with a metal part and I've just double checked and it is intact and in place.
I have filled coolant again, it appears to be holding
 

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When you filled the coolant did you run the car to temperature with the top of the water tank off ? I would always do that , to ensure there are no air locks within the head ie. let it run till no bubbling occurs then top up and close tight.
If that's done then I'd drive it very steadily to your usual expert for his oppinion , once you've told him of the previous senario etc. He may do a cylinder head pressure check (head gasket ?) and look at the cam belt .
 

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Rob - I have done as you suggested. No major bubbling or anything untoward, took a hell of a long time to come up to temperature but I guess it would idling on the drive with the bonnet open. Ill be speaking to mechanic ASAP thanks for your help
 
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