Hi - I am a new user and apologies if this point has already been covered elsewhere. I have also had a related discussion on another forum elsewhere on the internet.
My car apparently has a problem with HG. I had water leaking from the exhaust in Feb 2009, and at that time simply added some 'Bars Leaks' or similar, to the coolant. The water loss seemed to go away, however the engine is now starting to sound rough again.
If we assume for a moment that there is an HG problem, my question is, what is the best way forward?
Should I go ahead with getting the HG changed? If so when, and is there a recommended firm (or one of several) who could do this work in a reliable way? I understand one of the problems with K series engines is their reputation, ie they are thought to have head gasket problems so they get into a vicious circle, including where HG problems are not fixed correctly, they recur, and this is unfairly blamed on the engine itself rather than the quality of the work carried out.
One proposed solution is to get he HG fixed properly, using an MLS gasket instead of the standard one. Is this liklely to be much more expensive - or have any other, non-financial downsides - compared with the standard HG? Again should I be looking for a specialist firm to do the work, rather than simply buying an MLS gasket myself and asking a generalist mechanic to fit it?
Incidentally I should make clear I have no mechnical ability myself!
If for the time being I simply add more 'Bar Leaks' liquid, am I just storing up more trouble for the future? Will it actually make the long-term situation worse, or will it simply delay my having to replace the HG?
If I wait until HGF actually happens, are we talking about my engine being wrecked and needing to be replaced? Or is HGF a status - which can last weeks/months, ie where I am now - rather than a single catastrophic 'event'?
HGF isn't normally catastrophic although it does depend upon the nature of the failure.
your HG has failed and you do want a guranteed repair your best option would be to contact your local X-part service/repair centre. http://www.xpart.com/RVE108069b1ad2f...c3b60da,,.aspx
They should be experts with the K-series HG's and know what they're doing.
Don't automatically assume that the MLS gasket is superior to the original, the MLS gasket requires perfect mating surfaces and also the cylinder liner height is an important factor too with less toleance than the SLS gasket. It's impossible to tell exactly which gasket will be the best for your engine until the cylinder head has been removed.
The price difference between the MLS and SLS gaskets is minimal. As with all mechanical work, the labour is the most expensive part of the repair.
All the above is assuming that you have HGF and I don't think you have. Judging by the information in your post I would be more inclined to replace the inlet manifold gasket, it's a known weak point. When the inlet manifold gasket leaks it can leak internally (also externally) into cylinder 1 and/or 4, the coolant will exit the exhaust as water vapour/steam. Rough running can also occur due to the coolant entering the cylinders.
Many HG's have been placed over the year through being wongly diagnosed by so called 'expert mechanics'. Don't fall into the trap of having your HG replaced when it may not be the cause.
Are you experiencing any other symptoms?