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Old 31-05-2009   #1
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Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

(Long post alert)

I seem to have blown the head gasket on my 2002 Sei SX.

Around december-time it drank half a tank of water in one journey, and was puffing white steam out, but then hasn't been using any water or oil up until last week.

After one 15 mile journey the whole tank was empty, (I know it was full before as I just washed the car and I always do my checks just after i wash it!) It also gurgled after I switched the car off.

So I refilled the tank with warmish water from the kettle, waited for a few hours, went on another journey just 3 miles to the supermarket, and found when I got there, the water halfway between 'max' and 'min' marks. (It also gurgles now every time it's switched off) I drove home and when I got home it was under the 'min' mark again. So I topped it up, went to bed, got up next morning to go out and it started, sounded like it was running on 2 or 3 cylinders. Revving the engine didn't help, so I though maybe it's a dead plug, pulled all the spark plugs, and found plug no.2 (assuming cyl no.2 is second from cambelt end) covered in petrol, the rest of the plugs were dry. So I changed all 4 plugs for a spare (used) set I had, and it started fine.

After this journey I left the car for only 1 hour and came back out to it, started it and it was running on 3 again! Revving it high several times, it kicked in and started running ok again. I then rang my dad (handsfree, I might add) whilst driving around the block several times, and he said the water must be going through the head gasket into cylinder no.2 and that's where all the water's going, and when the car's switched off the water is filling cylinder no.2 up, so that's why it starts running on 3 when I start it.

It is using no oil at all, I'd just changed the oil a week ago so have been monitoring the oil level closely anyway.

Does this diagnosis sound correct to you? Is it worth getting it compression tested or is it definitely the head gasket? There's no visible water leaks, and there's never any puddles of water under the car.

Any help greatly appreciated,
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Old 31-05-2009   #2
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Sounds right. Do a compression test dry then wet (a small amount of oil in the cylinders) & look for a variance between cylinders. That should reveal if your diagnosis is right. If cylinder 2 is down on compression and it doesn't improve with oil the you've almost certainly got a blown HG & if it isn't any repairs require the head to be taken off anyway.
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Old 31-05-2009   #3
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Have you ever bled the cooling system when filling?

Cheers

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Old 31-05-2009   #4
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Quote Originally Posted by rallycinq View Post
Have you ever bled the cooling system when filling?
No.

Any advice on doing that would be great, I understand there are two bleed points, but where exactly are they? Is it done with the engine on? If so, would you recommend doing it with the engine only running on 3 cylinders? As I've heard that causes unburnt fuel going into the catalyst? Is it the same as bleeding the brakes, as in you do it until just water comes out with no air bubbles?
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Old 31-05-2009   #5
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Pretty much. Engine off. But point is the damage has probably already been done.

Get a compression test done first, chances are the HG has gone, so bleeding it now will do no good at all.

Then, after you've done the HG, see if you can find a cause other than the HG for the loss of fluid.

Point is, if you'd bled the system at the start, the HG going may well have been avoided.
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Old 31-05-2009   #6
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Quote Originally Posted by fingers99 View Post
Point is, if you'd bled the system at the start, the HG going may well have been avoided.
Didn't realise it could do this. Well I'll just have to deal with it now!
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Old 01-06-2009   #7
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Right well I've done a dry compression test, the results were:

219 PSI Cylinder 1 (Nearest to cambelt end)
189 PSI Cyl 2
169 PSI Cyl 3
219 PSI Cyl 4 (nearest to coil pack end)

All done with the accelerator pressed all the way down.

So does this kit have all the gaskets I'd need?

EDIT - I can't see an inlet mainfold gasket in that kit - does the MPI (187A1) engine have a reusable one?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/FIAT-PANDA-PUNTO-SEICENTO-HEAD-GASKET-SET-187A1-188A4_W0QQitemZ200343915731QQcmdZViewItem

Also, does anyone know of the correct order for removal and refitting of head bolts?
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Last edited by gp3000000; 01-06-2009 at 08:40. Reason: more info
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Old 01-06-2009   #8
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

https://www.fiatforum.com/cinquecent...ove-refit.html

The ogre custard will complain if you dont read.

If you have eroded the head it is sometimes possible to salve using aluminium loaded epoxy.

Probably I'm in trouble twice now...

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Old 01-06-2009   #9
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Head is unlikely to be eroded, but check. The link to the gaslket set doesn't work, but the inlet mani on the MPI has neoprene rings which are usually OK. While the head is off, cut in the valves and re-set the valve clearances (shims). I'm inclined to use new head bolts.

Remember, "alto" means "top".
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Old 01-06-2009   #10
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Aaaaah sorry Fingers

The the guide linked mentions reworking after erosion - one option may be epoxy, which with care you can do at home. Of course you may be able to weld aluminium, but it is well inconvient.

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Old 01-06-2009   #11
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

I've yet to see it, but that car was probably run without anti-freeze for most of its life, poor thing. It does seem to be pretty rare.
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Old 01-06-2009   #12
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Pep0 - I have that guide open in the other tab :-)

The link to the gasket set - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/FIAT-PANDA-PUN...mZ200343915731

Quote Originally Posted by fingers99
While the head is off, cut in the valves and re-set the valve clearances (shims).
Are there any guides or threads that you would recommend reading? I've done a search but I didn't find anything which explains how to do it, or what the valve shims are? The only thing I've found out is that the 899 has hydraulic self-adjusting and the 1108 doesn't.
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Old 01-06-2009   #13
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

That's everything. The green bits are the neoprene O ring (but not O shaped!) thingies for the inlet mani.

It's all in the Haynes Cinq book -- much easier to do than describe -- generally you'll need just a set of (metric) feeler guages, although some cheapo electronic vernier calipers (or borrow a micrometer) can be handy, a calculator and some paper.

Somewhere there's a lengthy thread with me explaining it to levimir -- search for shim or shimming should find it.

It's actually a 40k mile service item.............
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Old 01-06-2009   #14
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Well seeing as my car is at 61,000 miles! I will definitely look into that, thanks fingers.

I have a Haynes cinq manual, and a micrometer and some imperial feeler gauges, but I could easily get hold of some metric ones
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Old 01-06-2009   #15
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Re: Head Gasket Help - 1108 MPI

Hi

As well as the guides and asking questions here I'd recomment the Haynes manual.

The shims are like 2 GBP coins only thicker, ans silver metal, well steel then.

You head may be warped and need grinding flat again, etc. sometimes they go porous but your symptoms sound like a failed head gasket.

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