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Old 22-08-2010   #1
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is it the Head Gasket?

After many hours of tears and self-contemplation I think I'm just about ready to face the bad news I think people are going to tell me...

I was driving back from a couple of days holiday yesterday in my 1.9 MJet Sporting when, coming up a hill about 4 miles out, I suddenly got the "Engine over heated, etc..." warning message. I parked, got out of the car and water was literally pi**ing out of the left hand side of the car. I opened the bonnet but couldnt see where it was coming from so I let it cool thinking maybe a pipe has come loose or burst and rung my road side assistance.

When they eventually turned up (3 and a half hours later) we filled the water back up, as it was totally empty, and started the car. While it was cold the car held all the water with no leaks anywhere but when it was warmed up you could actually feel flecks of water spitting in your face but neither myself or the mechanic could see where it was coming from.

We decided that the best action would be to tow the car to my local garage and let them deal with it, so we put it on the truck (which when i manoeuvred the car into position you could see a trail of water where i'd been) and took it the 200 miles back.

Sorry for the long post (I wanted to get as much detail in as possible) but can anyone allay my fears that the head gasket has gone? It really seems the most likely option to me because the water was held when the engine was cold, but on a 57 plate 20,000 mile modern engine?!?

Also, if this is the case, does this fit with some other symptoms I have been seeing? such as a drop in mpg, an increasing struggle to get the thing started and occasionally some hiccups (so slight I though i might have imagined them, which is still very possible)
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Old 22-08-2010   #2
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Re: is it the Head Gasket?

I wouldn't start pulling heads off yet.
the thing you need to do is pressurise the system when it's stone cold, The reason i say that is because when cars heat up the heat tends to make any splits/cracks/gaps seal up or make it harder to see, also the hot coolant tends to evaporate quicker so it's harder to spot or might not even show up.
Head gaskets don't normally tend to leak out coolant it's not impossible but not as common due to the cooling galleries tend to be as close to the cylinders as possible to remove the heat.
Also make sure when you pressurise the system the right amount of coolant/antifreeze mix is present, because antifreeze reduces the surface tension of water, if there is any leaks antifreeze will find it! so if you use straight water it might not even show a leak.
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Old 22-08-2010   #3
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Re: is it the Head Gasket?

Thanks for the quick response. To be honest it isnt me who is doing the work, it has been taken to the garage where I got it from less than 6 months ago. They WILL do the work without cost to myself either through FIAT or themselves.

I was really wondering what the damage could be, because the water wasnt really spraying out like it was under any pressure when it first happened. It literally, for want of a more descriptive word, fell out (it emptied the entire contents of coolant in less than 30 seconds) so i was expecting there to be a big hole somewhere either in a pipe or at the bottom of the radiator.

To be honest I expect your right however (I certainly hope so!) I dont know that much about this stuff but just wanted to have a general idea what people thought before I talk to the garage tomorrow morning.
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Old 22-08-2010   #4
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Re: is it the Head Gasket?

Ahh i see i thought it was maybe out of warranty.
Well nothing to worry about then, it'll be fine. What ever they need to do will get done and you'll get it back good as new
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Old 23-08-2010   #5
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Re: is it the Head Gasket?

I have heard of grandes having coolant leaks but as someone as already said here, its getting sorted free of charge so wouldn't get overly worried but when its your pride and joy its very easy to stress!
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Old 23-08-2010   #6
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Re: is it the Head Gasket?

Quote Originally Posted by steve119 View Post
I have heard of grandes having coolant leaks but as someone as already said here, its getting sorted free of charge so wouldn't get overly worried but when its your pride and joy its very easy to stress!
Exactly! unfortunatley, well fortunate for everything except my bank balance, when looking at it this morning the mechanic has found a "get whole" in the bottom of the radiator. I couldn't quite understand him but I think he said he has ordered a radiator pack? to fix the car.

Does anyone have an idea how much this is likely to cost me?
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