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    Head gasket?

    Hi Ant

    Have just been using van for 1.5 mile commutes recently. Starts & goes OK but a bit rough on starting, which I'd put down to cold weather.

    Checking fluids before taking 93 C15 XUD7 diesel away at Easter, found oil down (below min. but didn't need much to come up over min.), water down (don't know how much yet - need more anti-freeze), and some grey watery emulsion under oil filler cap.

    This all seems to spell head gasket - but are there other things to suspect too? Should I get a compression test done? And how much should I expect to pay for a garage to do gasket replacement? Haynes says it's 'involved', 4 spanner job, with need to measure piston protrusion, length of cylinder head bolts, and choice of gasket thicknesses. Been many years sine I took a head off, on simple petrol engines.

    Many thanks
    Bill

    #2
    Hi Bill.
    Don't panic yet, the gunge under the oil cap may just be an emulsion formed by condensation that has formed in the cam cover. Your short trips would have been the likely cause. I would drop the remaining oil out and if it looks like the head of a pint of stout you're in for a head gasket, if its nice and black you're ok for water is not getting into the oil. Low water and low oil is rarely a sign of head gasket, normally one or other is over full. If when you top up the coolant and leave it to settle you can't see or smell oil or fumes in the header tank you're probably ok.

    C15's don't do well on low coolant I'd advise adding a radiator stop leak to the system until you can establish where the water is going. The oil level will tend to drop if you're doing cold starts and short trips, check the levels and get out and get the thing properly hot, then check again when its cooled down. A blown head gasket is quite likely to manifest itself while the engine is hot.

    Thanks
    Ant

    Comment


      #3
      Short runs can lead to condensation in engine giving emulsified oil.

      If both levels (oil and water) are down are there any external leaks?

      Rough starting - could this be a heater plug as XUDs are indirect injection and need heat to start when cold. One plug off means a lumpy start, 2 plugs off and a real struggle, any more and no start.

      In really cold weather our old car with the DW8 engine would need 2 goes with the heater plugs to get a clean start (turn key to heater position, turn off, turn on again and heat then turn to start). A really good battery helps.

      Before taking the head off have someone do a proper compression check and a pressure check on the cooling system.

      I am sure Ant will come along with more advice.

      Peter

      Comment


        #4
        Many thanks Ant & Peter

        The oil on the end of the dipstick looks fine. Nice and black; (takes deep calming breaths, stops panicing...)

        It had been losing coolant slowly a while back with small visible leak at bottom of radiator, so put Stop Leak in which stopped that leak. It will still be in the system - don't know if it will still be active.

        Had problems with glowplugs a year back; IIR either 3 or 4 had gone before it stopped starting. It starts immediately even with frosts, but a bit lumpty.

        Battery is probably low due to short runs, mostly with lights on. (Had to charge our Escort's battery for same reason.)

        Will top-up and monitor, and decide whether to drive 600 miles this weekend...

        Thanks again guys.

        Comment


          #5
          Stop leak only lasts so long and isn't really meant to be a long term solution.
          Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

          Comment


            #6
            When I was young ( only yesterday ) we used to stop leaks in radiators by putting a raw egg or mustard powder - or both for a bad leak, through the filler in the top of the radiator!! I don't suppose it would pass scrutiny these days!
            derek b and Babs

            Comment


              #7
              Radiator Leaks

              [QUOTE=derek b;66373]When I was young ( only yesterday ) we used to stop leaks in radiators by putting a raw egg or mustard powder - or both for a bad leak, through the filler in the top of the radiator!! I don't suppose it would pass scrutiny these days! QUOTE]

              I use rhea or emu eggs from my neighbour

              Alf

              Comment


                #8
                C15 radiators are a bit fragile and are not expensive or difficult to replace. Buy new nor 2nd hand. can be a bit difficult to get all the air out so just persevere. It might be the opportune time to replace the antifreeze.

                You could have a sticking injector if it clears when running. Try giving several doses of diesel clean or similar. I see,m to remember that Ant once said about tipping it straight into the fuel filter. I tend to put it in the fuel tank but ignore the instructions. I put one bottle to half a tank full of fuel and drive it fairly aggressively with plenty of revs. Might get lots of smoke but seems to work it passes the MOT smoke test first time.

                Peter

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by peterholden View Post
                  C15 radiators are a bit fragile and are not expensive or difficult to replace. Buy new nor 2nd hand. can be a bit difficult to get all the air out so just persevere. It might be the opportune time to replace the antifreeze.

                  You could have a sticking injector if it clears when running. Try giving several doses of diesel clean or similar. I see,m to remember that Ant once said about tipping it straight into the fuel filter. I tend to put it in the fuel tank but ignore the instructions. I put one bottle to half a tank full of fuel and drive it fairly aggressively with plenty of revs. Might get lots of smoke but seems to work it passes the MOT smoke test first time.

                  Peter
                  When I'm servicing a vehicle I always fill the fuel filter container with neat diesel cleaner before putting it back together and put the rest of the tin into the tank. This ensures the sulphur deposits on the injectors are disolved quickly and the spray pattern improves.
                  Eggs and mustard and any other breakfast item is fine to try and stop a C15 radiator leaking as it doesn't have a thermostatic heater control. Berlingos and Relays do, so you need to be sure any radiator stop leak is the kind that remains in solution until it reacts with air otherwise you'll be replacing the heater controls as well as the leaky radiator!
                  Ant

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Diesel Cleaner

                    Hi Ant do you do this for all vans

                    Alf

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This thread seems to have gone well off track, but "canned cures" seem to have crept in for various things. I have never favoured things like leak "cures", exhaust bandages and similar "quickies" or "economies" in place of a proper solution.
                      As a mechanic years ago. Quite a lot of my emergency call-outs were to cars boiling or suffering from a problem "cured" at home out of a tin! Or even MADE out of the tin!
                      Often a simple remedy, only intended as temporary had been forgotten and had turned from an inconvenience into an expensive catastrophe.
                      Don't use eggs or mustard or anything else to put off a "proper" cure for a cooling system or a quick remedy for anything else. At the very least it could ruin a holiday. But maybe even far worse.
                      Jim.
                      Last edited by Twolitre; 28-03-2013, 10:48.
                      Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by alf39 View Post
                        Hi Ant do you do this for all vans

                        Alf
                        Alf.
                        Yes whenever I change a fuel filter I prime the system with Diesel cleaner, that includes all vans I see here.
                        Ant

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Twolitre View Post
                          This thread seems to have gone well off track, but "canned cures" seem to have crept in for various things. I have never favoured things like leak "cures", exhaust bandages and similar "quickies" or "economies" in place of a proper solution.
                          As a mechanic years ago. Quite a lot of my emergency call-outs were to cars boiling or suffering from a problem "cured" at home out of a tin! Or even MADE out of the tin!
                          Often a simple remedy, only intended as temporary had been forgotten and had turned from an inconvenience into an expensive catastrophe.
                          Don't use eggs or mustard or anything else to put off a "proper" cure for a cooling system or a quick remedy for anything else. At the very least it could ruin a holiday. But maybe even far worse.
                          Jim.
                          Jim.
                          I agree, any "Stop leak" is only ever supposed to be a get you home cure and the danger is always there that once the leak stops you forget the problem. Having said that the products available to the trade these days are getting very good and have had reports from people who have stopped in my yard on their way to Cornwall with a stream of water spurting from the radiator that the leak never re-occured for some years afterwards! Dangerous I know but I get asked for temp' cures more and more in these harder times.
                          Ant

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Interesting to note that modern rads often come with some form of stopleak product in them from the factory, as a means of making them last longer I suppose - or at least until the warranty runs out!
                            Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                            Comment

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