Fuego Cooling Problem
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Default Fuego Cooling Problem

    For the last couple of months, the Fuego has had a problem with the cooling, namely overheating. (Not good in the middle of winter)
    What's causing this is that the cooling system is building up pressure and blowing coolant into the overflow bottle. When the motor cools, the coolant is not being sucked back into the radiator. Consequently, next time the motor is run more coolant goes into the overflow bottle and this goes on until the overflow bottle is at bursting point (and has blown the hose twice) and the coolant circulating is insufficient to adequately cool the car. The car's okay while cruising (gauge reading just below half way) but as soon as it gets to anything resembling heavy traffic the temperature gauge shoots up, and quickly, until it's almost in the red. The problem is much worse if the motor is stopped when hot and restarted before it cooled down to ambient temperature.
    I can control this by undoing the radiator cap and the cap on the overflow bottle, lifting the bottle up above radiator height and letting the coolant run back in the radiator. But this isn't fixing the problem and doing it on a daily basis is a pain in the arse.

    NOTE, my Fuego has the overflow bottle on the inner guard above the battery, not in the plenum. The thermostat has been checked and works fine, cooling system has been flushed and bled. Doesn't really lose any coolant apart from what gets spilt when bleeding back to the radiator or when hoses split but there could be some blowing out the exhaust but it's not noticable.

    Is the coolant overflow bottle supposed to have a pressure release valve on it, If so, at what pressure is it supposed to work?

    I'm thinking that there' may be a blown head gasket problem here, any suggestions anyone?

    By the way, at what point on the temperature guage should the cooling fans come on. Mine goes almost into the red zone before they start.

    Ren


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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Europa's Avatar
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    Check for any air leaks around all coolant hose connections, the system can "suck" air back through this and cause the effect you describe. Normally you'd probably see some light corrosion or coolant around a leak. It can help to check all hose clamps, ensure they are tight. If in doubt, remove the hose and clean up the connection point. I've used "gasket-goo" in the past on dubious connections.
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  3. #3
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    Ren

    I would normally start with checking out the upper thermostat, remove it completely and see what effect this has on the system, most upper thermostats are fail safe in that they fail open, but there are some that fail in a closed position. While the thermostat is out put in a can of cold water and gradually heat can and using as thermometer check at what temperature it opens and closes (on cooling) From the sound of what you say, you have done that allready.

    The other things are giving the system a good reverse flush and seeing if water flows through all the hoses in the system, making sure also that the air bleeding points both work correctly to get air out of the system.

    From what I have been told the water overflow bottle should only have about 4 lbs pressure at most and the only thing that I have ever found to elevate that is a blockage in the system. Your fan "trigger point" to start both fans appears high, but I take it that you have checked that the temp switch in the radiator is turning on at 180 degree (temp should be marked on the side of the brass portion of the switch) - Both thermostat and the switch unit are available new at Caravelle if you have any doubts.

    Lastly I suppose is the head gasket/or head for compression leaks into the system, usually accompanied by oil and discolouration and sometimes noticeable bubbling of coolant when the radiator cap sealer is open. Check if that cap is a good fit and seals properly and that the overflow bottle seal is also in good condition. Both should seal the system. Check for leaks in the vicinity of the water pump, any leak there will upset the balance of the system.

    Ken

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Thanks for your replies.
    The system (hoses etc.) doesn't appear to be leaking any more. There were some air leaks from loose hoses and a dodgy radiator cap seal but these have been fixed. When I undo the radiator cap or the cap on the overflow bottle there is a hising noise, not unlike opening a stubbie. This happens even after the engine cools which would indicate to me that there aren't any leaks but I could be wrong.

    When I said I checked the thermostat, I didn't actually check at what temperature it opened, only that it opened and that it was closed at ambient temperature. I guess I should check the actual opening temperature.

    I suspect the temperature switch for the fans is not working properly although they did switch the fans on when is checked it. I will replace it eventually just to make sure but for now I've put a bypass switch on it so I can turn the fans on manually if required. HMMMM, maybe I'll try leaving the fans on all the time as see if that makes a difference.

    I know I suggested a blown head gasket but this was grasping at straws. There isn't any water in the oil or oil in the water and there isn't any emulsified oil in the rocker cover but this wouldn't conclusively prove there isn't a leak in the head gasket. I haven't done a compression test, that's the next step and I'm hoping it's not a blown head gasket. It just seems to me that there's too much pressure in the cooling system to be normal and a slight blow between the cylinder and water jacket would explain it.

    I think this week-ends project is to make up a pressure tester for the cooling system. I'll pump it up to around 20PSI and see what happens.

    I'll also try to find a overflow bottle that fits in the plenum. It shouldn't make any difference but maybe having the overflow bottle higher than the radiator will help. There must be a reason why Renault moved the bottle up there, there doesn't appear to be a shortage of space where it was.

    If all else fails, I'll have to throw vast sums of money at an 'expert' and see if they can come up with an explanation.
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  5. #5
    1000+ Posts Europa's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, on my Mum's Feugo, the fans only kick in after the needle is quite close to the red.

    Moving the bottle right up into the plenum assists with bleeding, as it becomes the highest point of the system. At least, that's my observation anyway!

    Oh, if/when you do this, protect the bottle from exposure to the sun via the air vent in the plenum. I've seen quite a few UV destroyed bottles.
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    Ren

    I always carry a short section of wire fitted with two male spade clips to bridge the wiring to the temperature guage (you just pull the two wires off and insert the wire between them) this then runs the fans as soon as you turn on the ignition. I had to use this fix when a coolant bottle gave way while I was in Sydney on a hot day (rare in sydney I know!! ) I actually used a paper clip, but the wire is a better fix and takes up little room in your tool kit.
    As an aside I find that most tools for the Fuego will fit into a small cosmetic style top zip case that will fit easily in the rear compartment on the offside and out of sight under the mat - mine cost $3 new a few years ago.

    Back to the bridging out of the temp switch - Of course this is only a get you home fix, and detrimental to the engine if used constantly particularly in cooler weather as it defeats the fast warm up provided by the thermostat and would increase wear in the engine.

    The hiss that you hear when opening the bottle is probably the vaccuum created by the system trying to suck the coolant back in the system, similar to the syphoning effect that some cars use on their overflow bottles. If that hiss is there long after the system cools, this is probably an indicator there is a blockage as it trys to balance pressures.


    Ken

  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego
    I always carry a short section of wire fitted with two male spade clips to bridge the wiring to the temperature guage (you just pull the two wires off and insert the wire between them) this then runs the fans as soon as you turn on the ignition. I had to use this fix when a coolant bottle gave way while I was in Sydney on a hot day (rare in sydney I know!! ) I actually used a paper clip, but the wire is a better fix and takes up little room in your tool kit
    That's a really excellent idea - I would even consider going one step further and add an "emergency fan" switch inside the car, which can really help on hot days. I got that idea from my Europa, which had one fitted from the factory. On a 40 degree day, it gives you an extra "buffer" and helps keep the engine temp a little more manageable.

    On Fuegos, you sort of have a bypass switch already - just hit the A/C button and both fans will run permanently. Of course, you'll get a little more heat from the airco, but drop the temp setting and it won't work so hard...
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  8. #8
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Europa
    Oh, if/when you do this, protect the bottle from exposure to the sun via the air vent in the plenum. I've seen quite a few UV destroyed bottles.
    Yes, therein lies the problem. There aren't a lot of plenum type overflow bottles around. I tried French Car Care here in Brisbane and they don't have any 'pre-loved' bottles. They can order a new bottle but at around $190 I think I'll pass. (The overflow bottle from the Volvo 240/260 series is very similar in size and shape although the pipe entry in the bottom is bigger and in the wrong place. With modifications, I could probably make one fit. For around $5 and an hour or two it's probably worth a try.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego
    The hiss that you hear when opening the bottle is probably the vaccuum created by the system trying to suck the coolant back in the system, similar to the syphoning effect that some cars use on their overflow bottles. If that hiss is there long after the system cools, this is probably an indicator there is a blockage as it trys to balance pressures.
    Ken, I don't think it's vacuum. If I open the overflow bottle, more coolant or bubbles get blown into the bottle.
    I used to carry a wire link around too but the temperature switch isn't that easy to reach and none too clean either. If found it easier to run a couple of wires back to the dash switch.
    One could always tun the aircon on, this switches the fans on too.

    I suppose the other possibility is that the pipe to the overflow bottle is partially blocked and acting as a one-way valve.
    Last edited by REN TIN TIN; 22nd July 2004 at 01:24 PM.
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  9. #9
    1000+ Posts Europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN
    Yes, therein lies the problem. There aren't a lot of plenum type overflow bottles around. I tried French Car Care here in Brisbane and they don't have any 'pre-loved' bottles.
    Checked with Caravelle? I seem to remember boxes of those bottles there, but maybe they were R25...
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  10. #10
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    Ren
    Ken Bailey at Caravelle did have a replacement overflow bottle, they need to be adapted as they have an inlet and outlet connection. Bottom one needs reducing in size and the other blocking up, but easily adapatable and the same shape etc as the one fitted in the Fuego plenum area.

    If my memory serves me well they were very reasonably priced. When my overflow bottle leaked I found the back of the bottle had gone chalky and there was crazing and cracking of the plastic due to stray UV light coming through the grille above it.

    I removed the bottle and ran a hot soldering iron close to the powdery surface and it melted to a smooth surface (be careful not to breathe the fumes, as i have the feeling they could be a bit toxic!! ) this gives you a good surface and exposes the extent of the cracking and crazing in the plastic under the surface.

    I then coated it with Araldite two pack and sank some cloth into the araldite, wrapping it around the rear of the bottle. After it cured a bit, I wrapped duct tape several times around the whole rear section of the bottle.

    This temporary repair is still in place in the car 40,000km later, and no sign of weakness or leaks. I have since done a spare bottle taken out of another car just in case. All my other cars and my kids cars have had aluminium foil or duct tape added to shield the bottle from sunlight.

    So I guess that if you can get hold of a bottle from your local pick-a-part or wrecker and give it the same treatment, it should be o.k. for use.

    Ken

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego
    Ren
    Ken Bailey at Caravelle did have a replacement overflow bottle, they need to be adapted as they have an inlet and outlet connection. Bottom one needs reducing in size and the other blocking up, but easily adapatable and the same shape etc as the one fitted in the Fuego plenum area.
    OK, that'd be a R25 bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego
    I removed the bottle and ran a hot soldering iron close to the powdery surface and it melted to a smooth surface (be careful not to breathe the fumes, as i have the feeling they could be a bit toxic!! ) this gives you a good surface and exposes the extent of the cracking and crazing in the plastic under the surface.

    I then coated it with Araldite two pack and sank some cloth into the araldite, wrapping it around the rear of the bottle. After it cured a bit, I wrapped duct tape several times around the whole rear section of the bottle.
    That seems like a lot more work than converting the R25 one!

    In the R25, the system is actually filled via the expansion bottle - the radiator has no cap.
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    I had a similar issue on my 17TL(which appears to have led to its current state :\ ) , the thermostat had failed in a closed state (the car had been sitting for a few years before I reserected it) , I removed the thermostat while awaiting a replacement but the had issues bleeding the system after refilling leading to trap ped air in the block (which again allowed the engine to get into a unhappy state due to the temp gauge not working due to lack of water around the sender yet the water was boiling in the block ....)

    In the end I run the car up a loading ramp (jack/ramps would have sufficed also ) removed the rear bleed screw in the heater hose and filled until I had a contant stream and no air coming out the bleed ...once nipped up carried on until the radiator was fill as per normal ..(being that the radiator was then the highest point so the air "should" (tm ) escape to such and the block was already fill) , this alevated my issues .....

    I guess this rambling is leading to make sure the system is bleed well prior to running for long periods .

    Cheers
    Dale.
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    have you checked with the car running at operating temp to see if there are any bubbles coming through the coolant in the radiator ?

    i'd be nearly inclined to think you may have a blown gasket and you are pressurising the coolant system

    we have exactly the same thing with the 604 at the moment and it has a blown gasket (read: building new engine to change out at the moment)

    the car will run fine when cruising but as soon as you come into traffic the temp guage will shoot up as there isn't enough coolant in the system to keep everything cool and the expansion bottle fills up with coolant

    it has got to the point where the car will now have 2-3 cylinders fill up with coolant when the engine is stopped
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    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Pugrambo, Like you I too suspected a slightly blown head gasket pressurising the cooling system. However, I decided to leave the cooling system alone lately and the weird thing about all this is that the problem is intermittant. As an example, I was driving to work the other morning at around 4.30AM and it was bloody cold (yes, it does get cold in Brisbane) and, after the motor warmed up, the temperate gauge shot up until it was nearly in the red zone. Now, this was crusing at 80k/h to 100k/h on the highway so there was plenty of cold air passing through the radiator. The temperature eventually dropped until the guage was just below the middle of the range.
    Since then, the car has behaved itself and the temperature hasn't gone above around half way. This is in a mixture of cruising and stop-start traffic and starting from hot and cold.

    I don't know any more, I'm just going to leave it alone until something breaks and then I'll know what to fix. Good theory??

    Ren.
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN
    I don't know any more, I'm just going to leave it alone until something breaks and then I'll know what to fix. Good theory??

    Ren.
    Doesn't sound like a bad theory to me.

    At least that way if it seizes up you only have to replace one thing instead of having the hassle of pulling it all to pieces to repair it now :-)

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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    did you check the coolant level before the drive that day ?

    by the sounds of it it was low and that's where the temp looked normal while driving then went up when you slowed down

    when you get time just check in the radiator to see if you see bubbles

    best if the car is idling up a bit as well (1200rpm)

    the other trick is to get a coke bottle and cut the bottom of it off and hold it in the top of the radiator and 1/2 fill with water as you will see any bubbles a lot easier
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    Where abouts is the fan temp sensor located on the fuego ? in the radiator tank or on the engine ?

    Cheers
    Dale.
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    However, I decided to leave the cooling system alone lately and the weird thing about all this is that the problem is intermittant. As an example, I was driving to work the other morning at around 4.30AM and it was bloody cold (yes, it does get cold in Brisbane) and, after the motor warmed up, the temperate gauge shot up until it was nearly in the red zone. Now, this was crusing at 80k/h to 100k/h on the highway so there was plenty of cold air passing through the radiator. The temperature eventually dropped until the guage was just below the middle of the range.
    Since then, the car has behaved itself and the temperature hasn't gone above around half way. This is in a mixture of cruising and stop-start traffic and starting from hot and cold.

    I don't know any more, I'm just going to leave it alone until something breaks and then I'll know what to fix. Good theory??
    Oh, and how I know that feeling. I have just given up looking at the temp "issues" with my 505 STi intermittent random events with the temp gauge. Although I am not sure I *think* I have a timing issue, cannot actually hear the "ping" but when accelerating hard the engine certainly heats up quicker and higher. Then when driving is ummmmmm subdued then temp is slower to change and stays at an OK temp not too high.

    But I am NOT keen to have to get to and work on the dissy on the douvrin engine. well the STi "under the bloody intake manifold" type at least.

    I certainly agree, fix it when broken because I have replaced almost *everything* you can to work out the problem, temp sender, thermostat, wiring of fans (thermo), cleaned hoses, bled system many a-time, replaced coolant 4 times, radiator cleaner stuff, replaced Fuel filter, checked fuel flow, new spark plugs, spare set of HT leads, newish dissy cap.

    So now I am just doing 2 wise monkeys hear no evil and see no evil

    Good luck and be happy your not the only one.

    Jono
    Last edited by crosspug; 30th July 2004 at 12:57 AM.
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    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swishy
    Where abouts is the fan temp sensor located on the fuego ? in the radiator tank or on the engine ?

    Cheers
    Dale.
    The fan sensor on the Fuego is on the bottom of the radiator tank, below the hoses.

    Ren
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    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosspug
    Oh, and how I know that feeling. I have just given up looking at the temp "issues" with my 505 STi intermittent random events with the temp gauge. Although I am not sure I *think* I have a timing issue, cannot actually hear the "ping" but when accelerating hard the engine certainly heats up quicker and higher. Then when driving is ummmmmm subdued then temp is slower to change and stays at an OK temp not too high.

    But I am NOT keen to have to get to and work on the dissy on the douvrin engine. well the STi "under the bloody intake manifold" type at least.

    I certainly agree, fix it when broken because I have replaced almost *everything* you can to work out the problem, temp sender, thermostat, wiring of fans (thermo), cleaned hoses, bled system many a-time, replaced coolant 4 times, radiator cleaner stuff, replaced Fuel filter, checked fuel flow, new spark plugs, spare set of HT leads, newish dissy cap.

    So now I am just doing 2 wise monkeys hear no evil and see no evil

    Good luck and be happy your not the only one.

    Jono
    Another issue with the Fuego which I'm not sure would also affect the 505 is that the guages are the moving coil type and are prone to sudden changes. For instance, when the thermostat first opens the guage can go from being nearly cold to being almost in the red in the blink of an eye.
    Likewise, the fuel guage go up when you go up a hill and down when you go down a hill.
    The bi-metallic type aren't prone to these sudden changes as they heat up and cool down gradually.

    Ren
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN
    The fan sensor on the Fuego is on the bottom of the radiator tank, below the hoses.

    Ren
    Ah yeap ...same as where I have mine in the R17 ...I found I was experiencing similar symptoms with the vapour lock ..., the temp sensor in the block was not reading acurate due to lack of water around it (due to air in the block), the water in the rest of the coolant circuit was relativley cool in comparasin as the thermostat wasnt opening allowing circulation ,the water itself was boiling in the block which was generating enough pressure in the circuit to force water out the overflow , by the time the entire cooling circuit had heated enough to trigger the fan things were not in a happy state.

    Cheers
    Dale.
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    Another issue with the Fuego which I'm not sure would also affect the 505 is that the guages are the moving coil type and are prone to sudden changes. For instance, when the thermostat first opens the guage can go from being nearly cold to being almost in the red in the blink of an eye.
    Likewise, the fuel guage go up when you go up a hill and down when you go down a hill
    Ah, didn't know the differences between the gauge types.

    But certainly knew that they moved quick!! No heat to BAM! HOT then kinda hot then HOT then...... (you get the idea)

    Funny things is that the fuel gauge seems to read lower no matter which direction the slope is.... Cant say fuel economy is its forte.

    Jono
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN
    Another issue with the Fuego which I'm not sure would also affect the 505 is that the guages are the moving coil type and are prone to sudden changes. For instance, when the thermostat first opens the guage can go from being nearly cold to being almost in the red in the blink of an eye.
    Likewise, the fuel guage go up when you go up a hill and down when you go down a hill.
    The bi-metallic type aren't prone to these sudden changes as they heat up and cool down gradually.

    Ren

    on the 604 we have the floaty type guage as well so if the car is at operating temp and you go around a left hand corner the needle moves over to the red side a bit

    with the thermostat opening though the guage when sitting normal should go back towards the cold side a bit then slowly come back to normal when the coolant is a uniform temp not the other way around

    the fan sensor in the 604 is in the lower part of the radiator and the temp guage sender is in the water pump just below the thermostat (later volvo ones changed to in the right hand head)
    3 x '78 604 SL

    1 x '98 306 GTi6

    1 x secret project

    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

    1 x '99 406SV 5spd wagon, time to burn more fuel

    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0


    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    One thing often overlooked is that when an overflow bottle fills right up (for what ever reason) coolant will enter the relief valve in the lid and affect it's performance - in a R17 the manual clearly states that the valve needs to be replaced if contaminated - have had this happen and a new valve sorted the problem

  25. #25
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
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    The saga continues.

    It looks like I'll get my wish sooner than expected. On Friday afternoon I made the mistake of going onto the Centenary highway and got caught in the usual peak-hour traffic jam at the Ipswich road roundabout. (The Brisbane westies will probably know what I'm talking about). Anyway, she cooked and even when I got clear of the traffic again, the temperature wouldn't drop. I managed to limp home with the gauge hovering just below the red. On opening the bonnet I was greeted with a full overflow bottle and (Presumedly) almost empty radiator. Unfortunately, I tried to open the radiator slightly to let off the steam an opened it too far. This resulted in the radiator cap blowing off and boiling coolant going everywhere.
    Since then, the car has been missing so maybe the damage is done.
    I did a compression test and the pressures weren't too bad. All cylinders were around 150-160PSI except for no.3 which was 135PSI. Don't think it's low enough to indicate a blown gasket but more than 10% variance from the highest reading so could be just wear. Still no water in the oil or vice-vera either.

    I know someone selling a motor reasonably cheap. Stuff it, I'll just swap it over. Probably be cheaper than doing the head anyway.

    Ren
    "I cannot help but notice that there is no problem between us that cannot be solved by your departure. Mark Twain"

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