I would think it is definitely a head gasket, if it was the water pump, the bearing in the pump usually goes as well due to the water ingress and makes a hell of a noise. I wouldn’t think a head gasket job would be more than half a day. Cost would depend on who does the job.
Forget the white gunk on filler cap ,have you had the dipstick out ,if thats showing higher than normal and is white and creamy chances will be you've cooked it .if thats ok then check inside footwell of car for heater matrix gone .if none of those youve got to have a hose gone or water pump which will leak through tell tale ,you'll need engine up to temperature so the thermostat opens and water circulates
2 to 3 hundred to put right if head gasket gone
Ran the engine for a bit and no sign visible sign of a leak anywhere yet unless it’s very slow. Theres a little gunk on the dipstick which probably isn’t good but wouldnt say it’s showing noticeably higher than normal. My dads quite mechanically minded and he thinks it’s in the engine but he is a proper pessimist so I’m hoping there’s another explanation. If a head gasket is just a half day job then it shouldn’t be too expensive as the guy who’s doing it is pretty reasonable. Still hoping it’s not that but I can’t find where else it could be coming from ?
The ways to check the head gasket without stripping it apart are:
Run the engine until warm, stop it, take all the spark plugs out and check each one in turn to see if there are any rusty deposits on it or if it looks unusually clean compared to the others.
Leave the plugs out for an hour then get someone to crank the engine over and see if any water comes out of the plug holes.
After that, a compression test on each cylinder to establish if one is leaking out. You can also pressure test the water system to see if it's losing pressure.
Water pumps sometimes only show signs of losing water when the engine is stationary after it has reached temperature as the water is forced past the bearing seals and forms a drip.
As said a few times, check the footwells for sticky damp patches which will indicate a leaking heater matrix.
If all else fails and everything looks right - when is the last time the water level was checked? It could just be a tiny leak that has been there for a while but just got to the point where it's noticeable, ie not enough fluid in the system to keep the heater matrix from air locking.
Didn’t notice anything in the footwell but will give everything another once over in the morning as it’s getting a bit dark out again now.
Sounds like I need to give it a longer run to see what happens. Was just a bit nervous to do that initially in case it pushed it past the point of no return but I don’t think it got it warm enough to really find out earlier.
Yep terminal indeed. Was indeed the head gasket gone and turned out the abs was stuffed as well and the timing belt was on the way out. The bill would have been potentially 3/4 of the cars value so scrapped it for £700 instead.
Carless now until lockdown is lifted as obviously can’t do test drives at the moment. Not really much of an inconvenience under lockdown conditions but will need to get one pretty quickly once the world opens up again as will quickly become a pain being without then.