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 HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?

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4x4camperman
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Home City : Stamford, England
Model and year : 1990 hiace custom wagon touring cabin camper
Registration date : 2009-11-02

PostSubject: HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?   Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:24 pm

Hi
The head gasket blew on our camper yesterday(2.8l diesel non-turbo auto, 3L engine 2/4WD). The RAC did a great job of relaying us back home and the van is now at a workshop in Peterborough (diesel engine specialist). My wife was on her own and the RAC did look after her well... thanks all round

The temp gauge was reading normal before and after(!) so perhaps that's shot and maybe we've been running hot for a while. The van doesn't burn/loose oil but she has used/lost a little water for a while (c. 1litre in 1500miles when I checked on a recent trip to the Outer Hebrides) but that didn't seem urgent ....may be it should! MPG consistently c. 28. The engine does still run but rough, no power and lots of water/steam (partly from the rad cap etc). Current mileage is 190,000km

Anyway, the mechanic (they seem a pretty good bunch and come recommended) says it needs a new head which with new belts, gaskets etc comes in at c£1000-1200 back on the road. However he is unsure about what damage may have been caused or exists in the bottom of the engine so he can't give a guarantee beyond workmanship for the head (seems fair). For a little more money he can do some investigative work (sump off, pistons out, check block, crank etc) he then points out that while out it seems odd to not replace shells, polish(!) the crank etc. Before you know it we've cranked up to potentially £1600-1800. Given that, he points out he could fit a fully guaranteed reputable recon engine for c.£3000! The escalation seems so easy, logical and natural!! I haven't dared stand up since his call this morning! The mechanic is not pressuring us at all and has also suggested we check out the forum and maybe secondhand engines etc.

We love our van and they are better than so many others. We still see ourselves as remaining in the hiace camper 'club' so any thoughts / ideas from you guys would be very much appreciated on next steps.
- Anyone done a head only and survived!
- Anyone got a nice 3L engine or a good head!
- It's also been suggested that the hiace cooling system is overly complicated and prone to clogging/blocking, if that's true did it add to the failure and what might need doing?

On the bright side it could have happened in the Hebrides last month or in the Dordogne next month (or Germany... sympathies Simongd). No-one got heart and my wife's safely home AND you guys might have some wicked ideas of what next... here's hoping

Cheers




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Clive
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?   Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:26 pm

Right it could just be the head gasket, or more likely the head is cracked.

What happened to make it a break down will give us clues to what other damage could have happened.

On the plus the bottom end is quite robust.
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4x4camperman
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Model and year : 1990 hiace custom wagon touring cabin camper
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?   Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:43 pm

thanks for the possible optimism!
Not really much to go on as to why it failed. something not working right in the cooling system and potentially not noticed due to faulty temp gauge. The only other info I can add is that I never did seem to be able to completely fill the radiator and sometimes you could hear water flushing round. but when I tried filling it, it never took much. I tried idling with the cap off and heaters on and off to try and evacuate any air but to no real gain.
A while back (6months) I put some rad weld in it as there was a very slight blue furring in the corner of the radiator.
otherwise its always been a good runner.

Any help?
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entwistlea
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?   Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:47 am

cracked heads not uncommon on those blocks i'm afraid, also head stories of porus heads. But agree with clive. Think a head rebuild and a proper flush should do the job.

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4x4camperman
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Home City : Stamford, England
Model and year : 1990 hiace custom wagon touring cabin camper
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?   Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:45 pm

thanks for the comments chaps, I'm feeling more optimistic

I've spoken t a couple of others who also suggest the bottom of the engine is typically robust.

I will speak to the mechanics on Monday and get them started on removing the head. Once off we'll know more - gasket only, distorted so re-skimmed, cracked so replace etc.

The original importer of myt Toyota (Welhouse Leisure) said he had only ever known one that had got hot enough to cook the bottom end which melted some plastic components (oil scoop or something) in the sump. For the small extra cost I thought I could get the mechanic to drop the sump off, after we see the head, just for a look/check. Does that sound reasonable?

Thinking ahead anyone got a good secondhand 3L head?
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Clive
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! please - 'very' blown head gasket, what next?   Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:13 pm

May be a good idea to clean the sump anyway as there is often a build up of gelled oil, which displaces proper oil.

May be a good idea to get the rad changed/recored while you are at it.
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