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Head gasket problem - in need of guidance!

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Honey | 00:39 Fri 26th Mar 2010 | Cars
10 Answers
I have an 2007 1.4 petrol vauxhall corsa and have found a lot of emulsion on the oil filler cap and on the dip stick. its only done 35000 miles and am surprised that the head gasket is gone already - i rather assume its the head gasket as I've lost a bit of water too. Can anyone tell me if the engine needs to come out for me to replace the head gasket and also if there is a work shop manual for this aged corsa as cant find one anywhere! Thanks.

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I take it it is not in warranty. If you have had it correctly serviced, it may be worth returning to the dealer anyway as a head gasket should not go on a 2007 car with such low mileage; The dealer may pay between half and up to 90% of the repair as good will
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Question Author
Cheers for your answers guys - well I'm guessing its the head gasket, the symptoms seem to point to this diagnosis but am open to suggestions? I've been servicing it myself so I don't think its under warranty any more but plan to ring up and see what they say. Was wondering if this is a common problem with Vauxhall's in general? At no point has the engine over heated, i.e. no warning lights, not had to stop the vehicle to cool down at any point in the past. And you're right, this cant be doing my engine any good in the mean time so will get it sorted asap.
Older Vauxhalls often suffer emulsion due to failed thermostats. They fail in the open position, so the engine overcools. This leads to a build up of condensation in the oil.

It may not be that, as yours is newer.
However does your temperature gauge stay on cold, as this is one of the symptoms.
See if the radiator is getting warm very early in a run. The thermostat should be holding hot water in the engine until it gets nearer to operating temperature.
all vauxhalls seem to do this (mayonaisse) - i had a headgasket fail at 20k on a 1.6 astra (98) also my last 06 corsa had the same gunge on the oil cap - but it was OK
i think & done 250 miles a week, every week didn't loose water though.
no workshop manual available other than CD version.
Question Author
gsr600 thank you, a few questions though! - did you have to replace your head gasket on your 06 corsa? was it a 1.4 engine? If this is a common problem with vauxhalls' head gaskets I will fight to get it done free of charge (if you dont ask you dont get!). Where do I get the cd rom from and is it worth getting?
Panic Button - I dont have a temperature gauge on my display so don't know what my engine is doing with regards to the temperature; certainly I've never had warning lights come up on the display so I'm guessing that I don't have a problem with this? I must admit I don't fully understand your answer due to lack of knowledge on my part. Is there anything else I can be looking out for?
You don't have a temperature gauge?

I'm sure you have. You would not have any warning lights come on for this fault, if it is the thermostat, as it would be running too cool, not too hot.

You will have 4 major dials - Speedometer, revcounter, fuel gauge and temperature gauge.

If you are not sure, get someone trustworthy who knows a bit about cars to see if the engine is heating normally or running cold.

If it is the thermostat it is a lot cheaper to replace than a head gasket.
You will get a lot of white smoke if the head gasket's gone.
Question Author
I don't think the head gasket is totally gone, but it's letting by and hence water is getting into the oil causing the emulsion. And Panic Button, you have got me thinking now! I will have to check, but unless I am going mad I am very sure I don't have a temp gauge. I have the speedo, rev counter, fuel gauge, but nothing else at all on my display. All I have to rely on is if a warning lights comes up to say if anything is wrong with my engine. My car is not running 100%, though has improved since changing the oil but the emulsion is building up again.
The good news however, is that Vauxhall have agreed to do it all under Warranty, and I didn't even have to fight for it. Fingers crossed they don't change their mind! Cheers guys.

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