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I need help - I have serious car trouble.

Posted by Star-193452 - Created: 14 years ago
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Dear All,

I wonder if you can offer any help or advice, I am deperate.  I live in the Var region and bought a Seat Ibiza 1995 six weeks ago for a very reasonable price of 850 Euros.  Once registered et al it has cost about 1500 Euros in total. What is my fault is I accidentally left the cap off the water cooler and was driving it, which dryed up the engine, steam came out the bonnet and I managed to get it to a garage.  It conked out, outside the garage.  The garage then proceeded to pour water into the hot water cooler, it was crackling and steam shot out of the car. They drove (so it worked) the car round the back and started to clean it about 15mins later.  Following this, the car now does not work.  They say it needs a new engine.  I left that night without my car.  I have since learned that you should never pour water into a hot engine as it will crack the engine.  This has now happened and I am told I need a new engine which will cost over 1000Euros. I have no job and have not worked for three months but I have manged to get a job, starting a week on Monday and have no car to get to it.  I have discussed holding the garage responsible as they were instrumental in the breakage of the car but that does not help me with my job in a couple of weeks.  My future here is in jeopardy, does anyone have any ideas at all?

Many thanks.

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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 14 years ago

quote:The cap I left off, I'm not sure what it's called, but it is the cap off a plastic ball that holds the water, if that makes any sense. 

It's the cap off the header tank for the cooling circuit which is pressurised when the engine is hot and it is therefore rather important - as you discovered to your cost!

Just read all this through,  you've had lots of good advice and I hope you've solved the problem, but often when you buy an oldish car it gets to the point at whch there is no point in throwing more money at it and maybe you should cut your losses rather than, as someone said, constantly worry about it.

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Posted by Dukeboy - 14 years ago

G'day Star, haven't heard from you for a while. Just wondering what happened with your car, at the end of all your troubles. Did you manage to get it fixed? What was the problem in the end? how is the new job going?Cheers,Earl

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Posted by Star-193452 - 14 years ago

Thanks for the advice.  I'm actually worrying a bit that the car won't last the distance when I do this job and I can't afford for it to break down.  The cap I left off, I'm not sure what it's called, but it is the cap off a plastic ball that holds the water, if that makes any sense. 

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Posted by Dukeboy - 14 years ago

Great advise Andy, and well worth consideration Star. Keep your eye on things, and as Andy has suggested, don't hesitate to cut your losses. At the end of the day, you haven't lost too much, and the important thing is you are safe!If the car plays up soon after then get rid of it. It'd probably be worth more if you sold each individual part!As other guys have pointed out, if it doesn't work then get yourself another little run around, and start again. Just remember to keep the Radiator cap in place.One thing I was wondering was that - did you forget to put the filler cap on the fluid container that leads to the radiator, or did you forget the radiator cap itself? Just interested, I would have thought that if you had left the filler cap off then it shouldn't have been a big deal(but I can't say for sure). This then leads me to think that perhaps that is why they sold the car cheaply in the first place.Had they ever replaced the Head Gasket before? As Andy said, perhaps it only lasted a few months and it decided to go on you!My advise - buy yourself an Austin Mini. Great car, and a buzz to drive. I won't say that they are more reliable, but at least i'll be able to help you out a bit more!Modern cars, I don't have to much of a clue about!Cheers again,EarlAlways remember :-"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself."

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Posted by Andy G-190935 - 14 years ago

Yes good luck with your new job Star. I hope the car doesn't let you down again, but if the head gasket fails again, my advice is to change the car as quickly as possible. I have had many many old cars (my current one is 19 years old!) and I remember having this same trouble on at least 4 of them, a Golf, two Renaults and a Vauxhall. In each case I ended up replacing the head gasket more than once, and with the Vauxhall I also had the head skimmed. None of the cars lasted more than a few months afterwards (albeit they were already old). It seems that 'modern' alloy heads never really seem to go back properly after a serious overheat resulting in a blown gasket.

I don't want to be a prophet of doom, and I hope yours will be ok, but my advice is not to go down the road of repeat visits to the garage, your boot full of water bottles and you anxiously staring at the temperature gauge each time you stop in traffic. I have been there myself many times - running the heater full blast in the middle of summer to try and keep the gauge out of the red, a constant smell of antifreeze...!

Good luck

Andy

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Posted by Star-193452 - 14 years ago

Brilliant advice! Read and absorbed.  I have learnt a tremendous amount over the last couple of days and feel more prepared for any probs.  I suppose these things happen for a reason. Just need to cross my fingers that it will be ready for next week.  Thanks again for your help, it really has been an asset in a very worrying time.

 

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Posted by Dukeboy - 14 years ago

....oh and one more thing. Carry some water in the boot with you(spare Evian bottle or something) and an old towel. And remember if it overheats, and there is water in the Radiator(recently checked), and you are stuck on the side of the road(or elsewhere for that matter) :-1. Let the car cool down a little. 10 mins2. Place towel over the Radiator cap. Caution - be very careful here Star, this water remember is a). Under pressure b). extremely hot. I cannot stress this part enough! Slowly and gently unscrew the Radiator cap to the first notch. This means that the cap is still in place, and you can't yet remove it. But if it's really hot in there, you'll feel the pressure and probably see the steam, and hear the bubbling.3. Let it cool down a bit again, another 10mins if you have to.4. Remove the cap. Let it cool down again some more5. By now, it should be cool enough(you'll know!), to add some more water in. But don't do this if the Radiator is completely empty - call the garage!* Remember, when you took it to the original garage, and they poured cold water into the Radiator. This could have been what's caused you the damage, that you now have. * The damage you have may have been caused beforehand, but in all cases don't add cold water to a hot/overheated engine. Let it cool down by itself first.cheers,EarlPS. Justa tip, if you get a spare second, go onto HowStuffWorks.com and type in Radiator/cooling system, and have a read. You hopefully would have already learned quite a fair bit over the past couple of days. Get into it! Now you own this car, be aware about what you need to do to maintain it - then it won't let you down, when you need it the most!

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Posted by Dukeboy - 14 years ago

Good news Star, as expected it looks as though it's a head gasket issue. Nothing too serious! Like I said I'd be pretty surprised if they charge you more than 1-2hrs labour. It's not really that big a job, to take the heads off. The only fly in the ointment would be if the head is also warped(due to the heat). If this is OK(as I expect, and you didn't drive for too long, overheated?). Then it really shouldn't cost you very much at all. You should be able to buy the headgasket for less than 20 euros, the rest is just labour! If on the other hand the head is warped then they'll need to machine the head or have it machine back to flush. This too is not a big job, but might take a little longer to be ready!I'm glad to hear that all should be OK, and I'm glad to hear also that DavidN went with you to help out - a true gentleman!In regards to the power loss. The head gasket(or warped head) will explain this. What it means is that you now have a combustion leak. In short this means that quite probably(just a guess, gaskets usually blow between middle two cyclinders), your middle two cyclinders are not firing at full power, hence quite a big difference in the power you notice when you accelerate. When you take the two away from the four in total - you get the picture!Good luck with the job, I hope it all works out OK. Not sure about AA down here, but keep your eye on things for a little while. Also any work that the Garage does should be guaranteed. So if you find it's overheating(and you've put the cap back on the radiator :rolleyes:) then take it back ASAP. Check the level of the water/radiator fluid (never do this hot!!!) regularly, and you should be OK.Take care,Earl

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Posted by Star-193452 - 14 years ago

Dear All,

I went to see the car this morning along with Davidn and we did some checks on it.  All seemed to be fine until we did the test drive and we went around the village and returned to the garage with the engine overheating again.  What seems to be the trouble is the top cylinder is overheating. Anyway, the garage are not going to take the engine out, it was perhaps a mistranslation, they are taking the top of the engine off to look at the head gasket to give me a quote (if that is right!).  Another thing I noticed when I was driving the car is that when I changed the gears upwards the car did not take off as it used to, it did not have as much power.  This may be cured when the cyclinder is sorted.  Anyway, I feel better about it now as we all seem to know what is wrong and hopefully it can be fixed next week, everything going to plan.  I just hope this is not the start of probs for the future.  Although I have road assistance, which involves picking up the car and towing it to the nearest garage, is there anything like the AA here?

Well, all I want to say is thank you to everyone who has helped, three days ago it seemed a tragic situation and I feel that it may be getting resolved now, so thanks to all who have helped, it's been invaluable.

Kind regards,

Star.

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Posted by jsey - 14 years ago

I agree with the points Dukeboy has mentioned, the colour and consistancy of the oil would be your quickest and best test, it reads as if you've had the misfortune to get tied up with 2 cowboy outfits, why on earth they have taken the engine out this early beats me.