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Losing coolant - Head Gasket ?

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shero101 | 22:15 Thu 22nd May 2008 | Motoring
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I have had my car for a year (03 Citroen Xsara 1.6) and have topped up the coolant with water just a couple of times. I mentioned it to the garage today when they were servicing it as I wanted them to check for a slight leak. They say it failed a head gasket test and that was the problem. I am shocked by this as I have had head gasket problems on previous cars and the symptoms were always white smoke from the exhaust combined with loss of power. My car has not showed any of these signs and the temperature gauge always shows normal. What are your thoughts on this ? Can you have a head gasket problem without the engine overheating ? Hopefully the head won't need skimming as I don't think it ever overheated. TIA

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it depends on where the water leaks to, whether it goes to a piston, a water cavity or an oil cavity. If the leak goes to a piston it will create excessive pressure in the water system thus expelling water from the header tank, the amount may be slight but it would show up on a compression test.
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Thanks caz for your answer. Do you think the head will need skimming ? Can they do a check for this ?
Its always a good idea to have it skimmed, most garages do it as standard just to rule out the risk of any problems.

they will check it when they strip it down
I really hope the garage is not kidding you here - we had a similar problem recently, it was simply the plastic plug on the radiator drainage hole. Very cheap and quick to fix. That was a Xsara Picasso 2.0Hdi Diesel. See my post about a week ago.... Of course I may be wrong and it really was the head gasket.

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Losing coolant - Head Gasket ?

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