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Old 26-11-2006   #1
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Unhappy Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

Hi,

I've come here because I am feed-up. My first car has turned into a money pit, and this was before the head gasket broke (if it wasn't broken in the first place). I’m gutted because I was defrauded by the dealer who essentially sold me scrap (I have the paper to prove it). I bought the car 4 months ago. Now it will use up half it value in repairing and servicing.

I'm a first time driver so I don't know that much mechanically (learning by the minute though, http://http://auto.howstuffworks.com/ is a great help)
I need some help and advice on what to expect and what to do.

The punto engine overheated on the road about 2 months ago and I pulled over immediately. When I checked the coolant level it was low. The engine cooled down and I manage to limp home without it overheating. I topped it up with coolant. The day after I topped it up, I noticed that it looked like coolant was leaking from the car because there would be pools of red liquid under the car when parked. I’ve had to top it up intermittently. One day the car wouldn’t start so I got it down the garage.

The garage initially mis-diagnosed the problem. They say the performed a pressure test on the cooling system and found nothing so concluded that the overheating was an air-pocket. I was charged for a £180 service. The hour after I took the car it overheated and took it back. They done a sniff test and said that the head gasket had gone (water leak into cylinder) and they would do a quotation.

The nationwide garage chain has quoted approx £820 to fix the problem. This includes the following items with approx prices:
£85, Head Set (includes head gasket)
£235, 4.8*Hours of labour
£8, Oil Filter
£28, Oil
£25, Anti freeze drain and refill
£20, cylinder head strech bolts
£110, cylinder head skim and pressure test
£250, Cambelt (i suspect this is a cambelt kit)
£60, Water pump

I have a dealer (3rd party admin) “guarantee” that I find only covers about £300 of this bill.

After looking through some post here, I feel that I have not received accurate information from the garage and warranty people. My questions are as followed:
  • 1) Is a quotation of £800 reasonable to fix the HLX head gasket problem in the London area?
  • 2) Do I need to change the water pump and cambelt (no reported problems on either, 44k on the clock) when fixing the headgasket?
  • 3) Does it need a head skim? The warranty company says this is not required.
  • 4) Does it cost £250 to change the HLX cambelt? It has air-con so does this impact access?
  • 5) Should the problem have been spotted immediately? I now have steam coming from the exhaust that I now know indicates this specific gasket problem?
  • 6) Can I drive the car for a 10-20mile trip to exchange at a dealer or get to a garage? Or would the gasket problem become immediately worse because of usage? I am not going to use the car for anything else.
  • 7) Is there anything that would indicate that it is the cylinder block that has cracked or the cylinder head? How much would these scenarios cost?

Apologies for the long post and many thanks for any response, it is much appreciated.
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Old 26-11-2006   #2
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

£110 is a bit much for a head skim, usually around £30
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Old 26-11-2006   #3
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

Wow... it is a bit long. I just wanted to get the information across. Doh!
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Old 26-11-2006   #4
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

Thanks for the reply...

Quote Originally Posted by Alex-R
£110 is a bit much for a head skim, usually around £30
I thought it sounded hefty when I saw the other prices here although this includes a pressure test (I think for the cylinder block, head or both). Would this bump up the price too or have they spotted me for a chump?
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Old 26-11-2006   #5
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

well if its skimmed i dont think you need a pressure test, i think its a way of getting more money TBH, and you don't need a new water pump etc if your just doing the head gasket
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Old 26-11-2006   #6
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

£250 to fit a cambelt on 1.2 i think they only cost £40, it shouldn't take 4hrs to fit as there's plenty of room
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Old 26-11-2006   #7
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

id get a second quote from a backstreet garage
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Old 26-11-2006   #8
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

1 I paid £300 including headskim I supplied parts.
2 cambelt yes water pump maybe
3 yes yes and yes the warranty company are wrong - the head will have some minor or major damage skim it.
4 cambelt is usually a straightforward task
5 spotting a blown head gasket on a punto isn't easy -sometimes its obvious sometimes only pulling the head off reveals the awful truth.
6 your car my advice is don't
7 only taking it apart and checking and loadsa dosh
1st one I had go I took to a local garage (wifes car) £300 but they didn't skim the head.

6 months later I had lots of strange problems, heater not working , airlocks, occasionaly would use a little water, overheating, Compression tests checked out fine, sniffer test was clear. 2 months later I lost my rag a pulled the cylinder head - head gasket gone.

£40 for a skim, headgasket £35, new bolts, anti freeze, cam belt and oil came to around £150. car now fine. 3 months after my son got his 106 the cylinder head gasket gone ...sighhh
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Old 26-11-2006   #9
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

I am really angry now ... I asked the manager of the garage if I could drive the car away. I specifically asked him if driving it would make the gasket problem any worse. He said no it wouldn't. I have now just gone down to the car to get my Haynes manual and I checked the oil.... Yes, you've guessed it, creamy coffee. I guess it is directly leaking into the oil now. I know this was not happening before because I checked the oil many times (it was the only thing I could do).

They just wanted me to clear it out of their garage. I am contemplating legal action now. Why tell me something that is patently untrue that causes material damage?

I paid for the service (that wasn't needed) on credit card so I think I will take it to them.

The people that have done the best work was a back street garage that fitted a lamp. At least I was able to watch them do the work, although the polish guy got pissed off a bit. I wasn't used to the brute force nature of his work .

Thank you for your responses.
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Old 26-11-2006   #10
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

Bit dear on the cambelt also, just mine done with the tensioner for £120 (mines an ELX but dont think there will be any difference!)
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Old 26-11-2006   #11
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

that garage is seriously over charging, you can see price of parts here www.shop4parts.co.uk report them to trading standards.
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Old 26-11-2006   #12
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

defo, 4hours to fit a cambelt is totally over the top!!!!
even if you have to support the engine to remove the engine mount (on some mk2 16v models?), in a garage there is equipment everywhere.

Yes your head WILL defo need a skim, as it HAS overheated, and more than once

no water pumps are fine. they should last the life of the vehicle, unless its been run without any coolant whatsoever, or been standing for a VERY long period of time (e.g, sat on garage forecourt for 6months won't do it any favours).


NOT entirely sure why they are charging you twice for head componants. Last time I check the gasket kit (inc the 'stretch' (cough bulsht) bolts) was £27.50 for a 1.2 8v in a mk1, and £33.07 inc vat for a mk2 1.2 8v. thats from a motoquip moto factor (car parts supplier).

skims are typically between £20-30. bigger garages *may* possibly be able to do them in house, so would be cheaper still.

4.8hours is mad to change a gasket.
I managed to:-
strip down head, remove,
take head to machine shop to be skimmed (£22.?? inc vat)
return to car (got a lift from a mate to the shop)
replace with new headgasket, thermostat gasket, inlet+exhaust manifold gaskets
replace cam belt and tensioner
replace head and bolts
put rest of the engine bay back together
, then redo the cam belt, as I had the crank 180degrees out .

took me 3hours 15mins, and I have a very basic tool kit, and working in a carpark in winter (no cosy garage here at uni).

so why the funk it takes proper qualified mechanics 4.8hours JUST to remove and refit head is a funking mystery
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Old 27-11-2006   #13
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

Quote Originally Posted by faster4_tec
defo, 4hours to fit a cambelt is totally over the top!!!!
even if you have to support the engine to remove the engine mount (on some mk2 16v models?), in a garage there is equipment everywhere.

....

took me 3hours 15mins, and I have a very basic tool kit, and working in a carpark in winter (no cosy garage here at uni).
I'm not planning to fit a head gasket myself now, even though I almost feel I have nothing to lose, but is this something a person with no or a little car mechanical experience can do?

I'm learning all the time by listening to you guys but I've not got down and dirty yet. I think I should change the oil filter first before tackling a gasket...
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Old 28-11-2006   #14
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

if you know that little, i wouldn't, up here it cost my mate £150 to get a Hg done on a saxo
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Old 28-11-2006   #15
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Re: Help! 2000 W 1.2 HLX mk2 Head Gasket! (and garage/warranty problems)

if you are going to change the oil + oil filter then you might as well do it all in one go.

because when you change the HG, dirt and debris from the old gasket may fall into the oil and coolant passages, which if it goes round your oil pump when engine is running will wreck your oil pump pretty quickly.
most used car warrenties are only major mechanical anyway.
And I would defo say that HG is a major mechanical, if they are saying otherwise you have my permission to kick their scrawny ass
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