Head gasket & manifold fail?
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! Big Frog's Avatar
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    Default Head gasket & manifold fail?

    Hi all
    Trying to figure out what has transpired with our Berlingo engine.
    A couple of months back the temp gauge would skyrocket for no apparent reason ie not driven hard. A trip to the local dealer mechanic and they said they hooked it up to test equip and that the temp sensor had recorded minus 40 degrees - and therefore the sensor was faulty and was replaced.
    Within a week the car was running rough and another incidence of the high temp reading, back to the garage and they say they can't replicate the rough running. They test for head gasket ( gas in water) and say it may have a head gasket failure.
    Upon disassembly of engine they call up and advise the exhaust manifold is cracked. This is a cast iron piece and it has a crack right thru where the sensor screws into it and another crack that runs around one of the tube arms 180 degrees. So it turns out that a replacement manifold costs $550, for quite a small uncomplicated lump of cast iron!
    A friend has ground out the cracks and brazed them, I await to hear from the mechanics as to the condition of the head.
    I'm thinking that the engine has gotten hot - overheated - but not sure why or how. Can a faulty thermostat valve cause an overheatingsituation sufficent to do such damage?
    And would an overheated engine cause a manifold to crack?
    It's not a water cooled part of the engine.
    Any ideas?
    BF

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    Last edited by Big Frog; 28th November 2013 at 07:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    A blocked catalytic converter could build up heat, as could an improperly bled cooling system. There are thousands of Berlingos so I can't understand why you'd ever buy a new manifold. Used should be easy to obtain.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Is this one of the engines with the electric assisted thermostat? See if there is an electric lead going to the thermostat area. Look for other posts on this topic.

    Ken W

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger
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    Early Berlingos often had a cracked manifold and it had no relationship to the engine having been cooked. If you buy another manifold, ensure you are able to remove the oxygen sensor from your own as the hole tends to distort and seize the sensor in forever. I would expect some of the used manifolds on wrecks might be cracked too, so you'd need to check carefully before accepting a used manifold.

    The coolant temperature sensor can fail open and then the fans go to high and an overheat warning is displayed. If you unplug the sensor, on the head outlet tank, you should have the same response.

    Another common fault is a leaking/broken bleed cap, which can cause a genuine overheating problem. The thermostat would normally be a regular thermostat, so also easy to test if necessary.

    Head gaskets certainly can fail, but you should be able to test that easily enough with a compression test. In bad cases, the top of the liner can be slightly eroded where the failure was.

  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger! Big Frog's Avatar
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    Default progress?

    Thanks for the replies.
    Spoke with the dealer today, head is off and has been sent to be checked for flatness. They say they can identify coolant marks on the piston tops, but they are thinking it wasn't overheated from their visual inspection.
    They said the head gasket material is quite fibrous and said it is difficult to see a definite failure point.

    I have located a replacement exhaust manifold as they were not keen on using the repaired one.

    So at the moment it doesn't sound catastrophic, but the cause is still not identified. The thermostat had been replaced earlier after the temp gauge episode (but I don't think they tested the one that came out, they most likely don't have a pot, hot plate and thermometer)

    The flatness testing will take a few days.

    Cheers
    BF

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger! Big Frog's Avatar
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    Default Result

    Hi all
    Just thought i woul post the result of the Berlingo head gasket failure. After 3 weeks in the workshop - appears that there was no over heating, the head was checked and had new valve seals installed and a light skim. Gasket had failed near cylinder one . Coolant had beem found in this cylinder when disassembled. Total cost was $1990.00 from the mechanics plus 250 i paid for another manifold from a wrecker. Head bolts are the one use type (10 x $22 ea)
    They charged $400 odd for the head skim and overaul by third party - i know they have marked tis up by 100% , as i had the same guy do work on another car.
    So im not entirely sure why the gasket failed, is 120,000 a fair expectation ?
    The manifold being cracked in many places was a surprise as well?
    Im sure cars are designed to fail these days.
    Despite this hiccup, the Berlingo is a great vehicle, it has been driven on dirt roads for 4 years and has been incredibly robust - no under body damage etc
    Cheers
    BF

  7. #7
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Having an engine apart right now with a persistent slight overheating problem I have an affinity for your thread. Mine is a 1951 Renault 4Cv though. In my case, I think the main issue was also a slightly leaking head gasket, not enough to show on a compression test on an old engine. But one sleeve was sitting lower relative to the block face than the others, not the 2-5 thou protrusion needed. This is a critical matter with wet sleeve engines and is why the gasket leaked where it did.

    Re the cracked manifold and failed head gasket issue, early Renault R8s did both until they beefed things up with the R8 1100. Nothing to do with new car designs vs old ones by intent I reckon. I'd always go for cock up ahead of conspiracy.

    I presume your 3 weeks in the workshop was waiting for things like the head repair and someone with time to actually work on the car? It sounds like a short, fairly straightforward job.

    Hope it all works out OK.

    Cheers
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Head gasket & manifold fail?-4cv-head-gasket-block-face-lower-surface.jpg  
    JohnW

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  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger! Big Frog's Avatar
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    Default Repairs

    Hi John
    Thanks for yr reply
    Yes the mechanics were slow to order parts required and the head took a week or so to turn around from the 3rd party. They said Citroen had the head bolts on back order at tje mechanics as well?
    Labour was $700 plus so that gives an idea of actual wrenching undertaken.
    In was chatting with a friend who remembers that cars had to go in for a valve grind and other work at 30,000 miles and other regular servicing that we dont do wkth our newer cars. Maybe i have lead a gifted life of car ownership with the cars i have owned.
    Good luck with yr 4cv
    BF

  9. #9
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Frog View Post
    Hi John
    Thanks for yr reply
    Yes the mechanics were slow to order parts required and the head took a week or so to turn around from the 3rd party. They said Citroen had the head bolts on back order at tje mechanics as well?
    Labour was $700 plus so that gives an idea of actual wrenching undertaken.
    In was chatting with a friend who remembers that cars had to go in for a valve grind and other work at 30,000 miles and other regular servicing that we dont do wkth our newer cars. Maybe i have lead a gifted life of car ownership with the cars i have owned.
    Good luck with yr 4cv
    BF
    Thanks for that. So 10-12 hours' labour perhaps. Seems a fair amount of time if, for example, they are charging $60-70. If they are charging more, as well they might, only 8 hours' labour which seems even more reasonable. It isn't as if something has clearly broken and needs replacing.

    Yes, valve grinds etc. Aaarghh. I think better oils and better filtration (air and oil) has helped. My 4CV is really 1940s technology at best and without an oil filter, and I've had 100,000 reliable km since rebuilding it properly and no decokes or such horrors needed. Maybe it was Austin A40s that needed these things!!!!

    My R8 hasn't been touched since I last rebuilt it in 1988.

    I'll be interested to hear the final outcome, and I'll let you know mine.

    Merry Xmas.
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1951
    Renault R8 1965
    Renault Scenic 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic 2007 (mine)
    Renault Scenic 2006 (daughter's)
    CitroŽn CX Pallas 1980

    National Co-ordinator, Renault 4CV Register of Australia

  10. #10
    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Dumb question time.

    Is the cooling system on a Berlingo 'sealed' and perhaps needs bleeding of all air to pressurize the system? Is it possible the system needed bleeding because of the cracked manifold, admitting air and causing the boiling point to drop? I'm guessing coolant could also escape this way, compromising the system further.
    The measure of your character isn't what you do when people are watching- it's what you do when they aren't watching.

  11. #11
    Fellow Frogger! Big Frog's Avatar
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    Default Manifold

    Hi
    The exhaust manifold is just bolted to the head and does not share any coolant with the engine, so here isn't any way for the air or exhaust to depressurise the cooling system.
    Cheers

  12. #12
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    For comparison, my outgoings on a Berlingo head service were $780-odd, exclusive of labour. That got me new timing set with water pump, new rocker arms, plugs, gasket and bolt set, head skim and clean outsourced, timing cover sandblasted (I resprayed in hammer finish), PCV breather elbow in blue silicone hose, aux belts, Nulon radiator flush and new coolant. If you added a workshop's margin to the parts and apportioned labour for the job it's very close to what you paid - assuming yours also included a timing job.

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