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Head gasket?

22 Dec 2019 07:01 #216690 by 2013gary
Head gasket? was created by 2013gary
Hi all I have a 2003 M13A hardtop Jimny.

A couple of months ago while driving I noticed the temperature guage creeping up and could smell coolant so I pulled over. Expansion tank level was fine but radiator had lost coolant so I let the car cool down, topped it up with water and gingerly drove it home.

My Jimny isn't my daily driver so I stopped using it until I had time to sort it out. After having a look around I noticed that coolant was dripping out the bottom of the radiator. The rad was in bad condition so I replaced it. Unfortunately the Mot has expired so can't take it for a good run so I've had to warm it up by leaving it to idle, but when doing this there was quite a lot of white steam coming from the exhaust. Is this likely to be the head gasket failing or could it just be because the car hasn't moved in a couple of months? To me it seems a bit of a coincidence that the head gasket and radiator could fail at the same time, but I'm not sure if a failed head gasket could cause the radiator to break or not. Just wondering what people think before I have to start paying professionals for tests etc.


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  • Lambert
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22 Dec 2019 08:56 #216692 by Lambert
Replied by Lambert on topic Head gasket?
Head gasket failure is not a common issue on the m13a, not impossible obviously but not something that is reported here very often. I would therefore support your idea that it is probably just a lack of use thing. When the car is running are you seeing a continuous stream of bubbles in the top of the radiator or it pushing coolant into the expansion tank even when cold and most obviously id there any signs of emulsified oil and water on the inside of your oil filler cap. If all these are negative then you shouldn't have a failed gasket.

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22 Dec 2019 09:05 #216693 by Jimx5
Replied by Jimx5 on topic Head gasket?
Highly likely it's just condensation.
A cold engine, cold cast iron exhaust manifold and hot exhaust gasses will create condensation within the system which will pool water at the lowest point, an engine at tickover speed will not boil the pooled water off, hence plenty steam.
You need to run the engine at higher driving speeds for a good 20 minuets.
Even if you find mayo (white sludge) under the oil filler cap or even if the engine oil is lightly emulsified it still does not mean your head gasket has failed, again this could be condensation due to the engine not getting hot enough.
A compression test is the sure way to test your head gasket.

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07 Jan 2020 12:03 #217080 by 2013gary
Replied by 2013gary on topic Head gasket?
Thanks both for your helpful replies. I ran and drove the car for a while and had no problems at all with overheating. It still smokes a little, but not as much as it did and it passed an MOT with no issues so I'm happy.


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