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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all... Haven't been here in a while...
However, after 10 months of trouble-free alfa ownership, I got roadside recovery to bring me home yesterday. The guy said he was worried that it was the head gasket.
Anyway what happened... seems that the car had no water in it (I check it fortnightly when I check the oil, that routine has been ok over 90% of my ownership). It was my return journey from the beach... a forty mile trip. About 10 miles after I set off, I noticed the fan was on at a junction, and I looked at the guage and it was at 100 (mine normally sits between 60 and 90, or 90 if it's stop-start driving). The first thing I thought of doing was cranking the heat in the cabin right up to cool the engine bay, but I knew something was wrong when the air was cold. Anyway, I'm deep in the countryside, but I knew there was a service station about 5 miles back, and the traffic wasn't bad, so I turned around and headed straight there, a good run with only one junction. Just as I pulled in at the garage, it started sounding a bit rough, popping quietly, but I parked instantly and the sounds stopped. Called out assistance.
The guy arrived, asked a load of questions, then went to add some water. Engine was cool enough to accept the water without boiling it, then he stuck in a finger, pulled it out with gunk on it - said that the gunk was oil, and that his thoughts were a gasket has gone. The gunk didn't look so bad to me, but then I'm biased because I don't want it to be the head gasket, do I! The gunk just looked like the usual gunk, bit snotty. He checked under the oil cap and said there was no creamyness. He advised I didn't start the car, and then I was recovered home. I've started it since, and it doesn't run rough, but I haven't left it running for more than 20 seconds.
Any comments or advice, anyone? I've never experienced the dreaded HG.
I'm not working so I could be in the crap?

Additional comments: GTV V6 1998 67,000 miles
 

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Very hard to say really. :S

If the header tank seems to boil or appear to steam when it is topped to max and run until the fans come on then it could well be h/g.

The good news is that the fans are coming on so I ask what could have caused the faliure in the first place.

100 does seem a bit high though. Could just be silly as something like a Kaput thermostat :S

Best get an expert from a garage to come over or drive to a local place.
 

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Worth flushing the coolant system. I had a blocked core in the radiator that caused it to overheat. If you gat a load of kak in the water, it might indicate a blockage somewhere.

Its a cheap test before a garage talks you into a HG.
 

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Hi

You can buy kits that test for dissolved engine gasses in the water. You dip them in the header tank. Thankfully not had to use one ever, but I know that they are available and it is a good test.

Hope it turns out to be something else. To empty the car of water it would have to be a pretty big leak I think. Also I would think that the system would pressurise big time. Rock hard radiator hose even when the enginge is not so hot.

I am no expert tho.... I have seen those symptoms before tho with Head gasket failure... Hope that it is summat else!

Berni
 

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Just to expand on other Posters comments.

The only fairly sure ways to tell about a HG is a gas analysis and/or pressure check on the coolant system. Other tell tale signs are gunk in the coolant header tank and mayonnaise like crud on the oil filler cap. Neither of the last two suggestions necessarily mean a HG failure but should set alarm bells ringing.

Another quick check, as mentioned above, is to fill the coolant system up, leave the coolant header tank cap off and start up. When you rev the engine ( gently ) if the coolant immediately starts to bubble and rises up in the header tank then that's not a good sign.

If you have some of these symptoms then I would strongly advise that the car is not driven as this could cause other major problems - been there, done that, and it hurts - in the pocket. :eek:

Good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hello, righty oh - thanks for the replies. Ok, I have done the test that Nige said - ie, to look for bubbling in the header tank. and no bubbling occurred. my friend was gently revving, and we let the engine warm up to about normal running temp... just before 90. by that time, the water level was gradually rising in the tank, and when it got to 90, it came over the top - my friend switched the engine off. the fan hadn't kicked in. end of test.

is this sounding like a thermostat issue now, or a blockage? what to do now?

other friend said to remove the thermostat, top up, and do the test again.. does this sound a good idea?
 

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You need the system to be preassursed for the fans to kick in so no suprise there but a leak in the rad would pretty much empty your system out! Sounds like you've been relatively lucky!
 

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oh, just found a bad leak from radiator.... so i think i found the root of the problem.
:thumbs: Looks pretty much like you have found the problem. Rad v HG = No contest, settle for the rad any day !

Hope you sort it out without too much wallet ache.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is ebspares my best bet for a new rad? at £145 it looks good enough. what would be the postage cost? is there any discount for us people here?
 

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I've had a similar problem with mine. Initially it was a leak and I've temporarily solved that with some radweld but it still gets warm, around 90-93 when the fan kicks in. I am not niaive however and realise the rad is on the way out so will be getting it done soon. £145 sounds good to me. I was quoted nearly £400 from a dealer for the work but will be going with Black Cat on this forum considerably cheaper an quality work. Best of luck.
 
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