Head Gasket? I think I already know the answer. - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 2011, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Head Gasket? I think I already know the answer.

Hi all,

I recently became the proud owner of a 2003 Mini Cooper S. Only 40,000 on the clock Recaro leather interior and Harman Kardon speakers, thought I had picked up a bit of a bargain.

So the other half drove it to work the other day and while I knew there was a slight leak on the expansion tank I deemed it OK to use as long as I checked the water after every trip and had ordered a new expansion tank ready for the weekend. Unfortunately the leak must have got worse and on the way back from work the car overheated without her noticing?!?! 15 miles later she gets home and tells me it wasn’t running correctly. I went to take a look!!! the temp was in the red and there was no water in the expansion tank. I let it cool down and checked the oil, there was a slight creamy residue on the oil cap but not on the dip stick, I was hoping we had got lucky.

I replaced the expansion tank Yesterday and went to take it out for a drive. Seemed OK got it warm and didn't overheat. Parked up nipped into the shop and went to start it again. Fired up but was running on 3 cylinders. Turned it off and fired up again same thing, limped a mile towards home. pulled over turned off and back on and seemed to be running fine on all 4 cylinders. Back home on the drive a lot of smoke out of the exhaust (White/Blue) turned it off and checked the oil again..........slight cream again on the oil cap nothing on the dipstick. Coolant clean. Let it cool down and started again. No smoke......................until it got warm then same story.

Now I am pretty sure the head gasket has gone if not the head. Would this seem to be the correct diagnosis? would appreciate anyone’s input before I take it to the garage or decide to replace the engine.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 2011, 10:19 AM
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The definitive answer would come from a CO2 test - if the cylinder is blowing into the coolant, then there will be CO2 in the coolant which this sort of test can detect:

So it might be worth asking a local garage if they can do this test for you, to decide one way or the other.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old Dec 17th, 2011, 12:14 PM
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Yeah I would check with your local garage! I had this problem too, took it to my local place and they put it down to a small but steady leak from the rad! I was thinking headgasket too as my car is on 105K! You really shouldn't have that problem at 40k!
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