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Help with 1.8 engine problems please


ASummers
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Hi,

I shouldn't really be surprised but my engine seems to have packed up again. Here's a brief history of what happened:

I bought the car in Feb 13 and everything was fine until Sept 15 when the car started overheating. Eventually it packed up and I got towed to the local Halfords. Halfords replaced the head gasket, water pump, thermostat and timing chain/belt. Total cost £1.2k!

The car never ran right afterwards and would stall on the clutch at junctions until the oil temp was up to half way. I took the car back but Halfords said there was nothing wrong, despite it being in for a week at one point.

The MOT ran out in Feb this year and (despite me having to pay £500 for various suspension gearbox things) the tester said the engine was not right and the compression was not consistent over the 4 cylinders (140/140/140/120 I think but not sure if they were the exact figures). I took the car back to Halfords who again looked, said a fuse or the thermostat needed replacing, which they'd done and it should be ok. If it wasn't that it could be the cylinder liners dropping and the bottom end of the engine going which was nothing to do with their repair on the head gasket and if so it'd need a new engine.

It's been running lumpy since and using a lot of water and oil. It finally started overheating again and now if I put water in the tank it simply comes out of the bottom of the engine.

Does the problem stem from the repair or it is, like Halfords say, another problem and a new engine job. I've just about had enough with the car and have had a nightmare getting to work and back. Any help on the above would be more than gratefully received. Car is an 04 1.8 petrol 3 door.

Alex

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Short version it sounds very much like Halfords f**Ed the job up originally and are avoiding admitting it. Since then, whatever they did has probably knackered a few more things.

If you want a guru's advice (on fixing it properly or for example for submission as part of a claim against the fluffy dice emporioum) talk to Dave Andrews of DVA Power.

I'd try not to drive it as you'll only make it worse, if it's not already beyond repair.

Halfords are only just up to fitting headlamp bulbs, I wouldn't let them near anything mechanical.

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Short version it sounds very much like Halfords f**Ed the job up originally and are avoiding admitting it. Since then, whatever they did has probably knackered a few more things.

If you want a guru's advice (on fixing it properly or for example for submission as part of a claim against the fluffy dice emporioum) talk to Dave Andrews of DVA Power.

I'd try not to drive it as you'll only make it worse, if it's not already beyond repair.

Halfords are only just up to fitting headlamp bulbs, I wouldn't let them near anything mechanical.

Perfectly summed up, the K series engine will only be reliable if repaired by those who know - that would not include Halfords...
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When these engines overheat the liners move (like some RV8s). Most likely this happened first time around and was not picked up.

Sad to say but I think you should cut your losses.

If you do get it repaired - have the liners checked and ensure you have the modified thermostat and head gasket kit fitted. Another way to stop the problems on a new engine is to remove the thermostat - no such an issue in warm climates but a problem when it gets colder.

Local used car sellers used to always remove the thermostats on the 1.8s they had in their yards just in case the engine went bang when they had them - put the thermostats back in when sold.

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They also anneal the head when they overheat, so you MUST replace the head if it's boiled or it will have gone soft and will never seal properly on the head gasket again.

I'm sure the highly skilled fluffy dice technicians at halfords keep up to date with all relevant technical bulletins from manufacturers :lol:

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'water comes out of the bottom of the engine'

Water can only leak down the back of the engine (under the inlet manifold), or the 'front' (drivers side where the timing belt is). 3 things on the back of the engine. Inlet manifold gasket where the small bleed off pipe is, The thermostat housing, which is held in place by 3 8mm head bolts the thermostat has a rubber ring around it's edge to make a seal when the 3 bolts are tightened. There is then a large steel pipe that curves round from by the battery, round the back of the engine, and then is a push fit onto the thermostat housing (being then held in place by 2 x 10mm head bolts into the block). A seal is affected by an O-ring on the housing. It's also possible that a lack of anti-freeze in it's life has caused the steel pipe to corrode through. The water pump is driven by the timing belt, so any water coming out of the timing cover at the bottom would indicate water pump failure. Be careful of this as the water pump bearing will deteriorate and may throw the timing belt off - causing damage to some or possibly all of the valves (the K-series engine is known as an interference engine). Overheating is not a typical symptom of head gasket failure on your engine (water in the oil is, which is known as emulsion). The correct repair is check for liner protrusion, skim the head, then a head gasket repair kit, which comprises of an MLS head gasket, head saver, and 2 steel locating dowls. Head bolts can be re-used as long as they are within spec, but a new set isn't expensive. Tightening predure is important - set all at 20nm, 180 deg, and then 180 deg again. Some gasket manufacturers recommend 90 deg x 4, but I refer to Autodata for my specifications.

If it's gushing out, I would suggest that the thermostat has been fitted incorrectly. It is a bit of a bugger to locate properly even with the manifold out of the way.

Les

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