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Old 03-11-2007, 12:47 AM   #1
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Blown Head Gasket

Okay, So ... Please forgive me if this is posted in the wrong section, I'm new to the site.

My roommate has a 2000 Focus ZX3, Zetec 4-cylinder, 5-speed. 96l miles

I had drove his car the other day and noticed it was low on coolant, because it was a bit chilly outside, and the heater was non-existent.

I had determined that the coolant was low, and informed him he needed to get a gallon and top it off. Keep in mind this guy knows NOTHING about cars, he just makes the car payment.

So, he kept driving it, and he went and picked up the other roommate's kid about 20 mins away, and on the return trip the upper radiator hose EXPLODED. He didn't know what to do, so he kept driving it. Well he told me he drove it until it lost power so bad that he couldn't hardly move it (i'm assuming the ECU put the engine into limp mode) ... and he eventually got it home to the driveway. The temperature gauge was buried on HOT for a good 20-30 minutes....

Well, He didnt' tell me this until I was changing the radiator hose for him, and refilling it with coolant. I had him start the car, and it immedieatly sucked up the gallon i poured in the resevoir. So, i kept pouring it in, just thinking it was bone dry. 30 seconds to a minute later, i hear splattering and smell burning coolant... Coolant is pouring from behind the coilpack, and the whole front of the block behind the exhaust manifold... EVERYWHERE.

So, I'm thinking blown head gasket ? Am I right ?

Now i'm very well aware of the fact that the head could be severly warped, or cracked, or unusable....

But, I'm gonna tear into it here iu the driveway and try to change the head gasket. I'm gonna buy the set, including the head gasket, intake and exhaust manifold gaskets, and valve guide seals, new head bolts, timing belt, oil change, (there's no coolant in the oil BTW) and whatever else I can think of while its torn down. I had planned to get the head magnafluxed and professionaly inspected just to make sure whether we're okay or not.

Does this sound like an accurate diagnosis to everybody ? or should I be checking other things ?

Any help, advice or opinions would be greatly apprecieated.



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Old 03-11-2007, 03:47 AM   #2
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Odds are if it was a simple head gasket failure you'd have cross contamination in the oil and coolant. Sounds to me that its more likely the head is warped from being driven with little or no coolant for that long...possible block damage as well, although there's less of a chance of that since the Zetec has a cast iron block. If the head is warped, you might be able to get it milled (assuming its not too badly warped) to level it back out, but realisitically if its warped you should replace it.
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