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Help and advice please. Very worried ST220 owner

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#1
Jo k

Jo k
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  • Hinckley
  • Mondeo ST220
Just to start with many thanks for accepting me in the group.

I really need some advice as I don't know what to do.

I have owned my ST220 hatchback for 16 years. I bought her when she was 18 months old. She's on a 03 plate. As you can probably tell, she's a car I can't part with. My husband thinks I want to be buried with it I love her so much!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was driving her home when there was a very loud and strange noise coming from the engine. Luckily, I was just round the corner from home and managed to coast her home but the temperature gauge in the dash shot up instantly. Lifting the bonnet it became very clear that the water tank was like a kettle steam everywhere and very very hot. I left the car to cool on its own. once inspected the water pump belt had frayed and came away in my hands so that's what's caused the noise and overheating. I called the RAC to get me to the garage. After 4hrs they came and I left her at my friends garage. The belt was replaced but I asked if they could check if the head gasket was OK as it was really hot. I then got the heartbreaking call that the head gasket was going and could only drive it very short distances and would have to either get it repaired or scrap the Car. They didn't tell me what checks they did to confirm 100% that it was going. I bought her home and she's now left on my drive as I really don't know what to you.

I don't want to scrap the car as she's been well looked after and she's only got 76,000 original miles and she's untouched. No upgrades or boy racing.

Do you think I should take her to another garage for a second opinion and if so, what tests would you suggest so I can make sure it's confirmed correctly. I really don't want to scrap her as she's been with me 16 years and I'll be gutted if I have to let her go. Repairing myself is not an option as I can only do basics and 3 garages I've called have already refused to do it as it's about 15hrs work so about £2,000 and they can't make space in their workshop for days and can't guarantee the work either.

Any help and advice as to what tests should be done would be very much appreciated.

Thankyou.

#2
markjlev

markjlev
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There are various tests to see if the head gasket has gone

But I may be wrong. A gasket either works or it doesnt. There are a few different areas it can go. But my first port of call would be a pressure test.

To test the coolant system, do a coolant system pressure test. This is similar to the leak down test. Pressurize the coolant system, and see how much pressure you loose. If you loose pressure, it means coolant is leaking out somewhere.

I would also ask the garage what test they did and how did they come up with their diagnosis.

Oil, air, coolant which one did it fail? If none and there is still an overheating issue I would say there is more likely an airlock/blockage in the coolant system somewhere. Cheapest and easiest way to go forward on that one would be a complete coolant system flush and replace the coolant.

Hope that helps
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#3
Jo k

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Thankyou so much for your advice. I drove it back from the garage about 5/6 miles at a sensible speed and it didn't overheat and no change in the engine or pulsing on the idle. No loss of water or oil, No smoking either from the exhaust. Need to find myself a decent garage who will do what you've said and thoroughly. Thankyou again. I really do appreciate your advice. If I can save her I will. I'll let you know how I get on.

#4
Sparkey321

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  • Shanklin, Isle of Wight
  • Mondeo ST24
I had exactly the same happen on my st24, essentially a similar engine.

Mine snapped, and overheated, and I probably drove 2 miles without noticing ( happened during the storms last October, thought it was a stick hitting the bonnet 🤷‍♂)

I replaced the belt and the tensioner, and refilled coolant, and it all seems well.

If the car is on your drive, belt changed, filled with coolant and no leaks apparent, Start the car, with the heating on hot, and running, and just allow it to idle.

Watch coolant temp, and air temperature from blowers, should get warm, but if the coolant temp shoots up, turn it off.
If it doesnt, and stayS around 90deg, keep it running until the cooling fan comes on.

Look for leaks, even remove the undertray under the bumper, turn it off and allow to cool, then check level when cold.
Repeat this several times, then take it for a gentle block run.


Mine was fine 👌
Note dont ever open the coolant tank when hot!!!!

#5
Neil

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    Mr Data

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I would do what Sparkey suggested.


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#6
Jo k

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Thanks so much for your help. This afternoon I've managed to book it in to my local garage who are decent mechanics for tomorrow morning.(I have only just read your message and didn't realise I could try that) Apparently there is a liquid that they can put in the engine and if its the gaskets the emissions change in the exhaust and that should indicate whether they are going or not. Have any of you guys heard of this. I've got to drive her about 4 miles to get her to the garage. What you said about your st24 sounds exactly the same as what happened to me. The belt went about 1 mile away from home.

#7
markjlev

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Hope its ok for you 😊😊
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#8
Sparkey321

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  • Shanklin, Isle of Wight
  • Mondeo ST24

Thanks so much for your help. This afternoon I've managed to book it in to my local garage who are decent mechanics for tomorrow morning.(I have only just read your message and didn't realise I could try that) Apparently there is a liquid that they can put in the engine and if its the gaskets the emissions change in the exhaust and that should indicate whether they are going or not. Have any of you guys heard of this. I've got to drive her about 4 miles to get her to the garage. What you said about your st24 sounds exactly the same as what happened to me. The belt went about 1 mile away from home.


Ive not heard of that, the general feeling I get with this engine is the head gasket doesnt usually go between coolant and or any other lines, mixing, as it were.

A fella who I dealt with who has been working with the v6 for a very long time mentioned that the engine chuffs, if the gasket has gone.

My general thoughts on it, is if youve got a blow between -

1 - coolant and oil - milky residue on oil cap, and oil floating in coolant tank.
2 - port to coolant - Exhaust gases present in coolant tank (sniff tester - garage) also will over pressurise and push coolant out of tank (pressure overflow directs behind coolant tank) Also white smoke possibly present.

3 - port to oil - burning lots of oil
4 - port to atmosphere ( chuffing sound )

I personally wouldnt put anything in the coolant to diagnose issues, especially stuff like rad weld etc,

I hope this helps, and anyone feel free to update me or correct me, and keep us updated 👌👍

#9
Jo k

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Firstly, I Just wanted to say a big thankyou for everyone's help and time replying to my post. I really do appreciate it.

Update. Took car to garage, they carried out a couple of tests. Firstly they did a combustion leak test the one with the blue fluid that they pump from the water tank and if it turns yellow then the gaskets are going. It stayed blue. Great result. Secondly, they did a pressure test. No loss of pressure and no leaks so a great result again. Been told to run it round for a couple of weeks and keep an eye on the water level and check oil. As far as they are concerned, its definately not a head gasket failure. I'm over the moon that its looking good. Considering I was going to sell her as spares and repairs when there's nothing wrong with her (so far). Will be calling the other garage to have words I think.

Will give her a few weeks to see how she goes before I need to ask you guys again as to what exhaust you would recommend for her. Shock. She's still got the original exhaust from new.

Thanks to all. X

#10
Mart200bhp

Mart200bhp
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👍👍

#11
Sparkey321

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  • Shanklin, Isle of Wight
  • Mondeo ST24
👌👍

Glad its not nothing serious,
Just watch the gauges, look for puddles, check levels and carry some coolant with you 👌👍

#12
markjlev

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Exhaust is personal preference to be fair. There are some really good ones out there. I personally have had MIJ (Birmingham) and a custom one built by a local firm.

Heard the miltek wasnt quite to my liking sound wise but many love it. Looked great tho.

These engines are pretty solid to be fair. Either the garage just assumed or they didnt know what they were looking at. Glad you have the all clear so far 👍🏻👍🏻

We always try to help on here when we can 😊
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#13
PeteST

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Great news 👍

#14
Helieandgareth

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  • Gareth
  • Mondeo ST200
Been off for a few weeks so just read the above, great outcome for what is obviously a loved st :)

We love pics on here :)

#15
markjlev

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As above lets see some pics of your beaST
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