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Old 19-07-12, 10:47 PM   #1
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Default Ex-police expert hdi, head gasket? Warranty

So I've bought an ex-police 2003 expert hdi 110. Cracking van, especially when I've been driving a 1.9D Scudo about for the last 12 months.
Van comes with a long list of history, cambelt done ~20k miles ago, serviced every 10k, things looked sweet. No problems at all on the test drive. Goes to pick it up yesterday, 20 mile run home was fine. After letting it sit for an hour and taking it back out, low coolant level light comes on. Oh dear.
Searched through all paperwork and found a letter that stated that when the police got rid of the vehicle (they were the last owners), it had a failed head gasket. Having never driven a vehicle with HGF before, I assumed it had been fixed as it runs very well. However, after topping up the coolant last night and only doing under 20 miles today, I've had to top it back up again tonight.
When the van is first started, the coolant light comes on for maybe 2 minutes, then goes out and runs fine. I can't see white smoke from the exhaust, there doesn't seem to be any oil in the expansion tank and the oil is beautiful, no contamination there. It is not leaking coolant onto the road so can only assume it's finding it's way through the engine somehow.
There does however seem to be what looks like copper grease in the coolant tank, on further reading I think this maybe k-seal or similar to disguise the problem...correct?
Given that a lot of typical symptoms of HGF are absent, how likely is it that this is the case? I have 30 days warranty on the van so would like to get as much info before requesting it fixed. In fairness, the guy who I bought it off is now aware of this and has said he will fix it.
I'm not worried about the cost of the fix as such (although a couple of days off is painful to the self employed), but being as the coolant system isn't something I've ever had to work with I'd like to hear people's opinions on the matter and maybe become that little bit more knowledgeable!
Lets hope you guys on here are as helpful as the chaps over at the Astra owners club!
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Old 20-07-12, 10:26 AM   #2
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Are you sure enough coolant was put in,in the first place could have been air pockets?
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Old 20-07-12, 01:19 PM   #3
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It might be a cracked expansion tank cap, I've known this be a common fault on other cars and cause unnecessary worry of the dreaded HGF.
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Old 20-07-12, 01:28 PM   #4
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Wouldn't bother to find fault, it's got warranty take it back tell them what's wrong and ask them to sort it or money back time!!!

I know being without a vehicle is a pain but better now than in 31 days time....
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Old 22-07-12, 03:47 PM   #5
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Update...the guy has been very good dealing with this problem, can't fault him. Got to take it to a garage he uses during the week and if it is HGF then they'll fix it under warranty! I did consider whether it could be a naff cap but other things are making me suspect HGF e.g little water and oil puddles around where the head meets the block.
Would be brilliant if it is that as I plan on running this van for as long as possible and it eliminates one item of the list of 'things that can go wrong with a used vehicle that cost a bloody fortune to fix!'
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Old 24-07-12, 12:30 PM   #6
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It gets better. Took it to the garage of the dealers choosing this morning, making sure I took the letter that stated the gasket was fooked. The guy there seemed like he didn't want to know at all, stating that the letter (which is on police letterheaded paper) means nothing as it's not signed. Tool. Trying to suggest that it's probably something else. Take him outside to see that the coolant had leaked out all over the tank and the puddle of oil/coolant around the cyl head. His face was a picture.

I can imagine it now...
Dealer...'do as little as you have to to get this guy off my back, as cheap as possible'
Mechanic...'no worries, will try temporary fix'
*sees engine*
'shit'

Gonna be without van all week now, I can understand the job maybe running into a second day but a full week is pants. At least I know not to go there if I ever have to pay to have work done!
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