Fiat punto 55s head gasket - james_60

i have a friend who lives next door who has a m reg fiat punto 55s

its done 66 thousand miles so far

i was looking through the service records with her and i noticed the head gasket was changed at 44k

what would cause that to be changed at such a low mileage she bought the car 2nd hand she has told me she doesent understand what a head gasket is so i explained and she was shocked as i told her it isnt a service item

and apparantly the clutch was changed also at 44k as well

All help apreciated
J Stephenson
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - Dynamic Dave
what would cause that to be changed at such a low mileage....

Could be any number of reasons.

Neglect by previous owner failing to keep water level topped up, hence overheating and warping the head.
Neglect generally.
Previous owner could have regularly thrashed the living daylights out of it.
Cambelt could have snapped, thus requiring a strip down to check for bent valves.
Being made by Fiat ;o)
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - lordwoody
I know that Fiat stands for "fix it again Tony" but I have to defend their honour and say that I've had 6 Fiats ( currently a Punto HGT) and had very little trouble with any of them, in fact my other choice of car, Saab, has given me more expensive problems than the Fiats have ever done.
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - jc
It probably failed because it didn't have the living daylights thrashed out of it;my last Fiat I only got rid of because the doors were no longer repaiable-mechanically the car was excellent-178,000 miles on original(well thrashed)engine.Ford 10w/30 in winter-20w/50 in summer.
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - paulvm
We have owned a Fiat Punto 55SX since buying it nearly new 6 years ago. The head gasket failed in the most serious way possible at 43,000 miles. The car was always regularly serviced at a main Fiat dealer, and this failure was 6 days after a service for which I highlighted the overheating of the engine. No problem they said, tests show nothing wrong.
After the failure the main dealers response was that the only option was a replacement engine as "they could not be sure of the amount of damage done".
I had a stand up row in the dealers and wrote endlessly to them and to Fiat but all to no avail.
Having decided that we would have to keep the car longer than anticipated because of the huge cost of replacing the engine what should happen last year?
Yep the head gasket on the replacement engine failed. This was replaced without the need for another engine this time. Then last month what happened? Yep the head gasket failed big time, no warning, and the solution? You guessed it! Another replacement engine!
So my advice is ditch your Punto before it ditches you.
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - lordwoody
I think that ( as seems increasingly common with all makes of car) the issue here may be the poor quality of Fiat servicing rather than any innate unreliability of Fiats. I always have my car serviced by an independent I trust 100% , where the 2 partners do all the work themselves to a very high standard, rather than trust it to employees of a franchise who have less interest in maintaining the reputation of the garage. I'm sure it would be possible to focus on any make of car and discover horror stories about reliability, build quality etc, but I think Fiat is often unjustifiably saddled with a reputation for unreliability.
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - maxpower
Ihave a Punto made in 2000 and the head gasket has just blown at 36,000 miles. It's been serviced to shedule at a Fiat Dealership and I have looked after it. I have complained to Fiat Customer services but they are as bad as the car.
I think it is down to poor quality manufacturing of this car that is the problem - solution - don't buy a Fiat.
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - Big John
I have a theory on Punto coolant systems, I beleive when the coolant is changed if extreme care is not taken a large air lock remains in the engine causing cronic localised overheating.

The filler cap fills a SMALL expansion tube on the side of the radiator which feeds into the cooling system at the bottom the radiator, bleed vents are provided at the top of the radiator
and on the top heater matrix feed pipe. It is very hard to bleed the air out of system as the height of the filler is below the height of the heater matrix bleed vent, also the thermostat plays havoc when shut with the flow of air/water effectively trapping air in the engine block! Even when the engine started the themostat may still not open due to the trapped air.

This is why abused, unservised and thrashed cars seem more reliable (initially).

I wonder if the best way is to temporarily add a higher expansion/filler tank to the filler neck, start the engine and run till warm, fill with water initially to flush followed by antifreeze, keep the engine runnig and open bleed valves, keeping the filler tank toopped up, until clean antifreeze mmixture runs from the bleed vlaves? No air should enter the system, all the antifreeze would be changed as the water pump is still circulating and the thermostat will not get in the way.


Fiat punto 55s head gasket - Rampant
Our head gasket on our Fiat Punto year 2000 blew at 36500 miles. Our temperature gauge never showed overheating, we never needed to fill up with oil and the car was serviced on a regular basis. The independent garage we took it to said we had an air block in our system which meant the filler tank looked full but wasn't. We had heard a 'sloshing' water sound from behind our heater but had ignored it. Apparently this was probably the water sloshing around because of the air block.
Fiat punto 55s head gasket - Sooty Tailpipes
I would say it IS a 40,000 mile service item, unless you want to wait until it does blow. The fire rings on the factory gaskets were of very poor quality, this allowed the engine to consume it's own coolant.

Nevermind, it's a simple job, £35 in parts (including cambelt and head bolts) and a couple of hours on a sunday afternoon.

Ask Honest John

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