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The dreaded head gasket or just poorly maintained coolant?

Old 14 June 2019, 03:50 PM
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Ash Webster
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Default The dreaded head gasket or just poorly maintained coolant?

A few days ago my engine temp slowly went above 90 (hasn’t done this in a long long time). Wasn’t far from home so pulled over instantly and drove it back the next day .

opening the coolant filler cap (passenger side near the front ) there was a lot of brown ish sludge ....

header tank same situation.

usually I would just be like yup head gasket. But since I couldn’t remember the last coolant change I thought **** it let’s flush the whole system what’s the worst I can do

i took the whole system off opened the header tank (full of rusty coloured crap and rust on the lid . Cleaned it out fully seal was in great shape though

many many litres of water flushed through both radiator and rest of system until it finally ran clear.

started engine got upto temp heaters on full. Can’t get it to go past 80 degrees. Even sitting with foot half on accel the oem temp gauge won’t go above half, the fans however don’t seem to come on (usually they come on around 90 while hard driving)

reflushed the system as again brown rust coloured crap coming out . Started engine again same situation. The water in the header tank was steaming (and brown/orange ish again) but gauges weren’t showing overheating (both oem and defi)

what should i do? Head gasket fail or just keep flushing until it runs clear? Is the brown/ orange colour simply head gasket or just rust and very poorly maintained coolant?
The oil level is just under max and there is nothing under the oil cap .

Last edited by Ash Webster; 14 June 2019 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 14 June 2019, 03:51 PM
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Old 14 June 2019, 06:05 PM
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That looks like it has had no coolant, or the wrong coolant, which prevents rust. When you flush it, the thermostat prevents you from flushing the whole block, so you are only getting out a small proportion of the rusty old ****e. Are you refilling the correct way, slowly through the header top hose at the back, to prevent air locks?
Like you said, no harm in getting it all cleaned out, as long as you do it the correct way with the correct coolant. Then you can start looking at head gasket issues.
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Old 14 June 2019, 06:13 PM
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Aye I’m using the tried and tested method of the pipe going to the turbo . Just done another full flush and the water getting slightly less orange but the first drain is always deeper colour.

is there any way to get around d that thermostat thing or just keep flushing it till it runs clear?

The first time I flushed it it took like 10 buckets to go clear but this time it took 4
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Old 14 June 2019, 06:37 PM
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Yep two 10mm bolts and take it off. Then run the hose pipe from as many directions you can find.
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Old 14 June 2019, 07:03 PM
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Looking at the corrosion on the header tank, I don't think there will be a lot left of your water pump impeller.
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Old 14 June 2019, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MOTORS S GT View Post
Looking at the corrosion on the header tank, I don't think there will be a lot left of your water pump impeller.
Thanks for the input pal - where is this located is it a simple fix?
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Old 14 June 2019, 10:29 PM
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Timing belt off and its next to the thermostat. Get one with the cast wheel if it hasn't got one.
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Old 15 June 2019, 06:43 AM
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Ah ok, so not something I can do on the driveway... thanks for the heads up. Another day flushing the last of the rust out today
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Old 15 June 2019, 11:12 AM
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I suppose it is exactly what you can do on the driveway if you wanted to. Wish I had a driveway. Good luck got my fingers cross for you it is not HG. I am in the same boat.
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Old 15 June 2019, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Ash Webster View Post
A few days ago my engine temp slowly went above 90 (hasnít done this in a long long time). Wasnít far from home so pulled over instantly and drove it back the next day .

opening the coolant filler cap (passenger side near the front ) there was a lot of brown ish sludge ....

header tank same situation.

usually I would just be like yup head gasket. But since I couldnít remember the last coolant change I thought **** it letís flush the whole system whatís the worst I can do

i took the whole system off opened the header tank (full of rusty coloured crap and rust on the lid . Cleaned it out fully seal was in great shape though

many many litres of water flushed through both radiator and rest of system until it finally ran clear.

started engine got upto temp heaters on full. Canít get it to go past 80 degrees. Even sitting with foot half on accel the oem temp gauge wonít go above half, the fans however donít seem to come on (usually they come on around 90 while hard driving)

reflushed the system as again brown rust coloured crap coming out . Started engine again same situation. The water in the header tank was steaming (and brown/orange ish again) but gauges werenít showing overheating (both oem and defi)

what should i do? Head gasket fail or just keep flushing until it runs clear? Is the brown/ orange colour simply head gasket or just rust and very poorly maintained coolant?
The oil level is just under max and there is nothing under the oil cap .
take the car for a very long fast drive and you'll know if it the head gaskets or not
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Old 16 June 2019, 04:38 PM
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bighead What do you expect if the head gasket has gone. Tricky to do a long fast trip on public roads.
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Old 16 June 2019, 09:03 PM
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well , your coolant will boil very very quickly and overheat in no time at all, you also might see water in the oil ,..if it anything else like a coolant fan not turning on then it will still overheat but takes a lot longer .
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Old 16 June 2019, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by siluro View Post
bighead What do you expect if the head gasket has gone. Tricky to do a long fast trip on public roads.
just take it on the motorway for a few miles when the car gets up to temp.
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Old 16 June 2019, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ash Webster View Post
A few days ago my engine temp slowly went above 90 (hasn’t done this in a long long time). Wasn’t far from home so pulled over instantly and drove it back the next day .

opening the coolant filler cap (passenger side near the front ) there was a lot of brown ish sludge ....

header tank same situation.

usually I would just be like yup head gasket. But since I couldn’t remember the last coolant change I thought **** it let’s flush the whole system what’s the worst I can do

i took the whole system off opened the header tank (full of rusty coloured crap and rust on the lid . Cleaned it out fully seal was in great shape though

many many litres of water flushed through both radiator and rest of system until it finally ran clear.

started engine got upto temp heaters on full. Can’t get it to go past 80 degrees. Even sitting with foot half on accel the oem temp gauge won’t go above half, the fans however don’t seem to come on (usually they come on around 90 while hard driving)

reflushed the system as again brown rust coloured crap coming out . Started engine again same situation. The water in the header tank was steaming (and brown/orange ish again) but gauges weren’t showing overheating (both oem and defi)

what should i do? Head gasket fail or just keep flushing until it runs clear? Is the brown/ orange colour simply head gasket or just rust and very poorly maintained coolant?
The oil level is just under max and there is nothing under the oil cap .
if your fans are not turning on when engine is getting hot , it might be the fuse has blown , so check that first then test drive and see if it over heats , this happen to me a few weeks ago , notice my oil was getting in th 90s when it is normally at 70-80 (i have a oil cooler ), then it start to creep up to the 100 mark and the Defi water gauge was showing 110 so had it check out by my local garage and they could not find the cause , I then check on the fuse myself and found one of the cooling fan's fuse has blown ...replace the fuse and everything is back to normal......
sometimes it always the simple things that fail .

Last edited by bighead; 16 June 2019 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 17 June 2019, 12:37 PM
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Reflushed again on sat and it went pretty clear after 2 runs. Bought some coolant and filled up. Ran upto temp, then topped up header tank and took for a quick run. No overflow no overheating so left for the night to cool down. Checked coolant level + colour in the morning was pink with a slight orange tint but nothing major.

I took it out for a good 25 min blast yesterday (not motorway) and the temps never went above 85. Couldnt tell if rad fans came on or not.

No overflow from the header tank.

Hopefully crisis averted but will keep on top of it over the next few weeks.
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Old 17 June 2019, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Ash Webster View Post
Reflushed again on sat and it went pretty clear after 2 runs. Bought some coolant and filled up. Ran upto temp, then topped up header tank and took for a quick run. No overflow no overheating so left for the night to cool down. Checked coolant level + colour in the morning was pink with a slight orange tint but nothing major.

I took it out for a good 25 min blast yesterday (not motorway) and the temps never went above 85. Couldnt tell if rad fans came on or not.

No overflow from the header tank.

Hopefully crisis averted but will keep on top of it over the next few weeks.
Well done -- good result..!
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Old 17 June 2019, 03:24 PM
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Good news; but that old coolant was shocking! Hope your other fluids, esp brakes, aren't as old
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Old 17 June 2019, 04:00 PM
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aye i know! but better out than in! i changed the rad about 4 years ago but i dont think i flushed the system at the time just a rush job and blocked off the hoses... shocking maintenance tbh and it has sat for a few years in the garage. I've had so much to attempt to sort out over the years i neglected it...

engine - replaced with v expensive millers nanotek 2 months ago
brakes - not sure! but im replacing all the hard lines soon as they are rusted so the brake fluid will be getting done too obviously
gearbox - not sure again >.<
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Old Yesterday, 04:18 PM
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Russell38
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I wouldnít expect the coolant to look like that in four years are you sure you havenít something causing it to go off like that 👍
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Old Yesterday, 06:28 PM
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scoobiepaul
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Probably just refilled with water last time? and then left to rust.
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