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Loss of Water

Jon W

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On behalf of a friend was just wondering what else to look for.

Coolant needs topping up once a week as the water level goes down.

Has replaced hose which looked like it was on its way out.

He was told to suspect the head gasket. Yet there is no water in the oil, and no emulsion in the rocker cover. The exhaust gases are normal, yet i did not ask him whether he has checked for bubbles in the expansion tank.

All hoses seem ok and there doesn't appera to be an air lock anywhere in the system.

Engine runs fine and runs at a normal temperature and you can see when the themostat opens.

If he replaces the head gasket he is tempted to skim the head and use a bigger gasket as is worried about the head distorting slightly.

If he finds anything else wrong with the head how much is a new or reconditioned head likely to set him back

Engine is at 140K (miles)

Any other thoughts?



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check the P gasket if this goes water escapes down the block behind the alternator.

the water could be entering the combustion chambers and disappearing out the exhaust

more likely a small weep under load from a rad hose IMHO

there is a long way to go before considering a new head.

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What engine is is Jon? It could be the head gasket. Mine went on my 200Tdi and the only symptom was loss of water - there were bubbles in the header tank too towards the end - I drove it for months like that. I had an ongoing water loss issue after that. It turned out to be water weeping from behind the timing chest and evaporating never to be seen dripping. Top tip for finding such water leaks: Run the car at night until it is really hot. Turn off the engine, open the bonnet and shine a torch about in the engine bay. Any steam will be very obvious. If your "friend" still suspects the head gasket then most garages have a device for detecting combustion gasses in the header tank. You know Diesel Dave don't you? Drives "The Beast"? He runs D&P autos in Upper Beeding. I have his moble number if you need it. He checked mine for me.

Your "firend" could always try a bottle of Bars Leaks.


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Its a 300Tdi in a discovery.

I'll pass on that information, are you and tony tlaking about the same gasket kind of area. Is this near the water pump? Just remember someone saying about a gasket there being prone to leaking?

Yer i have heard of diesel dave. I see if he can find any other symptoms.

Cheers for the help


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'P' gasket replacement means removal of the timing front cover, water pump, timing belt, tensioner, all sprockets, and then rear timing cover. A lot of work if this is where the leak is. Pressure leaks can be hard to detect, but a high concentration of cheapo blue anti-freeze in the cooling system will possibly show up your leak as it crystalises as it leaks out and you can then see where the leak is even if it's not leaking at that particular time. Washing powder will do the same thing, but take a little longer and produce a white crusty deposit (as well as getting your whites right!) :P . Chris' trick is a good idea too. On a cold night the steam is quite noticeable.

I have a cylinder leak test kit, but there's a dye you can get that goes in the cooling system that changes colour if there's traces of fuel or exhaust gases in the water. If water is getting directly into the cylinder, then when the engine is running - compression will be getting into the water jacket of the engine. As the leak gets worse you will get very quick pressurising of the cooling system and overheating - normally within a few minutes of starting the engine. I wouldn't recommend replacing the head gasket on the off chance that this is the problem.

Erm scrap the removal of the timing case - hung over yesterday - getting old and forgetful and 200 and 300 are similar numbers.

Sorry about that.

Les. :)

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