Car problems, how much is this going to cost me?!

Silverfisher

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So couple days ago the heating packed up on my car (9 yo 1.2 corsa) which I initially thought was a thermostat issue. Then today the temperature warning light came on just as I got to work and then again just as I got home. Got me thinking it was a coolant problem and sure enough the coolant had gone. First thought was right where's that gone so went straight to the obvious place of looking under the oil cap and sure enough there was that creamy/milky substance that suggests the head gasket has gone! Engines not running badly so hoping it hasn't been compromised it but won't find out until I get to in the garage on Wednesday ?

So the question for any of the mechanically minded on here or just anyone that's had similar happen is how much do you reckon this is going to cost me? Guess there's two prices one if it's compromised the engine and one if it hasn't ?

Another blow is that I obviously can't drive it fishing tomorrow which means I'm dragging my dad along and whilst he's happy to come with me when it's good the recent rains and frosts mean it's not likely to be good tomorrow ?
 

satinet

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The cream stuff around the cap isn't always to do with head gasket. My Mrs' car does it. It's also a GM engine (astra 1.4). It happens when you do a lot of short journeys rather than long trips. Mostly she drives it one mile to work and one mile back. If it's the head gasket on hers it's been gone for the last 5 or 6 years!


Sounds to me more like you have got a water leak. E.g radiator. Which is quite common.
 

Dave

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Before you go spending money get the cooling system pressure checked to see where you are losing fluid from/to.
You don't say how much mayonaise there was under the cap but you can get that from short journeys in cold weather as the engine doesn't get hot enough to burn off condensation that finds it's way ito the engine oil.

Fill the coolant back up, get the engine running, check the exhaust for excess water vapour, lift the oil cap and see if it is pressuring up, and check underneath and the passenger footwell for leaks
 

carphauler

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Does look like all the signs of HG failure, mayonnaise under the oil filler cap is not a definitive diagnosis but in conjunction with no hot air and coolant loss does point that way.
Check for any coolant leaks as I looked at a 208 recently and the bloke thought it was HG failure as it kept overheating, turns out a thermostat leak was causing the problems.
 

satinet

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Tbh I'm not sure looking under the coolant cap is the obvious place. If my engine had no water the first place I would look is the radiator which often get damage from stone chips. Then hose joints etc

There's quite a lot of water in a cooking system on a car and it would take some burning off.
 

drw

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I would recommend a pressure test to check for external leaks and a cylinder leakage (block test ) to check head gasket both 3&4 cylinder versions do like a cylinder head gasket
 

Silverfisher

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Thanks that's reassuring that it might not be as bad as feared. Was quite gunky under the oil cap but will give it a proper look tomorrow when it's daylight as was just a quick nosey around this evening in the dark. The oil cap was more the easiest place to check in the dark rather than necessarily the obvious place but will check the radiator in the morning as well. The hoses seemed alright though.
 

davylad

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Fitting a new head gasket was a doddle in the old days, it would take hours just to get everything else out of the way now.
 

Silverfisher

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Need a new car tbh but can’t really risk the expense at the moment until it’s completely necessary. Got this one about 3.5 years ago and had to do the breaks within 6 months then new set of tyres the year after then the coil pack a couple months ago and now this coolant issue. Plus it’s proper thirsty and slow. It is comfortable, roomy and handles well though will give it that ?
 

OldTaff

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Need to consider the rules of bangernomics - when they start costing more than they are worth then the car has to go.

On the bright side it could be a water pump leak / failure rather than head gasket failure (with luck)
 

Silverfisher

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Need to consider the rules of bangernomics - when they start costing more than they are worth then the car has to go.

On the bright side it could be a water pump leak / failure rather than head gasket failure (with luck)
Indeed it’s nearly at that stage now. Will all depend how this problem turns out. Would like to eek a bit more out of it yet just so I can get a bit more financially secure before shelling out for another one.
 

satinet

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Could be the water pump. Deffo another common leak culprit.

Post a picture of the gunk. When i bought the Mrs' astra I actually had to change two hoses on it that were full of it. Think to do with exhaust gas recycling.

As I say had the car at least 5 years and it doesn't use water.

As said above it's bangernomics. The car has virtually no value tbh. I would fill it with water and see if any comes out.
 

Godber

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The Corsa 1.2 is a relatively easy engine to work on with easy access. A competent home mechanic could do it in a day. There are a couple of alignment tools you need to buy/hire though but not expensive. Check out Youtube.
 

david white

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Tbh mate many of us ( more than care to admit at a guess ) will have been in your situation running an old(er) car is fraught with ‘ what ifs ‘ and a bangeronimics regimen is an art in itself
In all honesty a Corsa is at a certain age a prime candidate for bangeronimics cheap to buy often unloved and not much to go wrong other than the normal time to scrap issues on bangers ( head gasket, snapped cam belt, clutch dmf failure, dpf or some such valves )
From past experience don’t fall into the ‘ we’ll get you a new car no matter what your credit rating ‘ yes it’s tempting but after the 60 month repayment scheme ends assuming your purchase lasts that long you’ll be back in the same boat ( running a banger )
either run as many bangers as it takes whilst you put by the equivalent monthly repayments for as long as you can, then buy the best you can afford or take out the extra finance over as short as time as possible and trade your purchase in before it hits banger classification
alternatively look at long term hiring ( pcp ? ) of a newish car changing it regularly whilst it’s still a viable forecourt saleable car

Regarding the current car clean off the oil filler cap and filler neck, top up the oil, refill the coolant run the car until normal operating temperature to ensure no obvious leaks then either rectify any leaks or partially drain coolant add antifreeze run the car one eye on the temp gauge/coolant level and regularly check oil filler cap

Fingers crossed you get a favourable outcome ( nothing worse than having car troubles )
 

stikflote

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nothing worse than having car troubles ),
yes there is Bike troubles?️?️:D:D
 

mickthechippy

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Need a new car tbh but can’t really risk the expense at the moment until it’s completely necessary. Got this one about 3.5 years ago and had to do the breaks within 6 months then new set of tyres the year after then the coil pack a couple months ago and now this coolant issue. Plus it’s proper thirsty and slow. It is comfortable, roomy and handles well though will give it that ?

A Corsa, ROOMY !

WTF are you a MUNCHKIN !
 

RedhillPhil

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I had exactly the same on one of my previous Saabs years ago (circa 1985 in reality). Heater stopped working. Turned out it was the water pump at fault. It had the double fault of leaking and not working. Fitted a new pump one afternoon. Cars were so easy to work on in those day and a non-turbo Saab was a doddle.
 
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