Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - Dean Loughlin

My Dads automatic Mk6 Astra suddenly seized up over the weekend, no warning signs, just heard some slight metalic rattling, drove it about a mile to his nearest garage and it completely seized up en route with smoke pouring out of the engine. It only had 60k on the clock. Our local garage is saying it is a suspected head gasket but will cost over a grand to investigate it further. To repair would be around 2 grand to change the head gasket, but they reckon more significant damage was done and recommend an entire new engine, at roughly 3-4 grand cost. Does this sound about right? They had a quick look, no real investigation so far. The car is worth maybe 3 grand and I am recommending he scraps it over replacing the engine but just want to make sure the garage is quoting a reasonable price and we make the right decision. I just went back to the garage now, managed to start the car and it sounded okay now the engine has cooled down, if that means anything. Any help would be appreciated.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - thunderbird

To repair would be around 2 grand to change the head gasket

Last head gasket I changed was on a Mk 1 Focus 1800 petrol. Had never done a 16 valve DHOC engine before but armed with a copy of Mr Haynes manual we did it in a Saturday morning including changing the cam belt, daft not to whilst it was in bits and had done 95,000 miles.

If £2000 is the going rate for 4 hours changing a head gasket (the parts bill was probably £200 including new pulleys) I must have been in the wrong profession all my working life.

They are having a laugh.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - elekie&a/c doctor
Modern engines are becoming a non economic repair if a major event has occurred . Don’t even bother trying to repair it . It will be more than just a head gasket repair . I would go down the s/hand engine route , or sell it on the ‘bay for spares or repair .
Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - Andrew-T

About 1992 my daughter's 205 snapped its cambelt, damaging the engine. She had a new one fitted for (I think) £550 all-in. I guess the best option is to consult a recommended independent who can find and fit a s/h engine. 3 to 4 grand sounds rather OTT.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - John F

.....suddenly seized up ....... no warning signs, just heard some slight metalic rattling, drove it about a mile to his nearest garage and it completely seized up en route with smoke pouring out of the engine. It only had 60k on the clock.

Hard to believe no warning signs. Engines can go for miles with a leaky head gasket and oil looking like custard. I strongly suspect neglect at this low mileage. Did it actually have more than a pint of oil in it? If it didn't, the smoke was indeed smoke, not steam from a leaky head gasket, and the rattle was probably knackered bearings. It certainly sounds as though a new engine is needed.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - Dean Loughlin

.....suddenly seized up ....... no warning signs, just heard some slight metalic rattling, drove it about a mile to his nearest garage and it completely seized up en route with smoke pouring out of the engine. It only had 60k on the clock.

Hard to believe no warning signs. Engines can go for miles with a leaky head gasket and oil looking like custard. I strongly suspect neglect at this low mileage. Did it actually have more than a pint of oil in it? If it didn't, the smoke was indeed smoke, not steam from a leaky head gasket, and the rattle was probably knackered bearings. It certainly sounds as though a new engine is needed.

Fairly certain it had oil in it, although it is possible there was warning signs. My Father is getting on a bit, he might not of noticed them. He did say that he had previously been topping up the coolant, every couple of month's or so when a message had popped up on the dash to do so, however the message hadn't come up for a few months so he had forgotten to check. I am now wondering if he was running the car without water somehow. It had, for its entire lifetime been going for yearly services, but in recent months he has dropped the ball on a few things so it is possible he forgot certain things. Ah well thanks for your replies, I am going to send it to be scrapped then.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - Big John

I am going to send it to be scrapped then.

How about selling on fleabay?

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - edlithgow

You say the engine is running?. In that case I would'nt consider scrapping it without some minimal investigation.

Checking and replenishing coolant and oil would be a start.

I'd use the thickest oil I could find, though in the UK these days that might not be very thick.

(In fact in this last-chance-saloon-scenario I'd probably use the oil from my last oil change, but most people won't have that, and if they did it wouldn't be very thick.

I'd probably take the plugs out, dribble a bit of oil down the plug holes, and turn it over a bit before putting the plugs back in and starting it, but you probably dont want or need to do all that.)

Then I'd see how it goes. You don't appear to have much to lose.

Edited by edlithgow on 26/03/2020 at 04:17

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - edlithgow

IF it ran without too many horrible noises I'd do a compression test.

IF the news from that didn't seem too terminal I'd just drive it, with a fairly early oil and filter change (assuming you just topped it up after the incident) using the thickest oil I coild get.

I MIGHT put a very small amount of 2-stroke oil in the fuel as an upper cylinder lubricant for a few tankfulls.

I can't remember how much is suggested for that, maybe something like 1:250

(If interested you could look it up).

Not critical for me since I don't have a catalyst, but if you do you shouldn't use a lot.

Edited by edlithgow on 26/03/2020 at 07:16

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - John F

You say the engine is running?. In that case I would'nt consider scrapping it without some minimal investigation.

Checking and replenishing coolant and oil would be a start.

I'd use the thickest oil I could find, though in the UK these days that might not be very thick.

(In fact in this last-chance-saloon-scenario I'd probably use the oil from my last oil change, but most people won't have that, and if they did it wouldn't be very thick.

I agree. If after being 'completely seized up' to 'engine sounding OK' is true, then run it till it dies, keeping a close eye on coolant and oil levels. But I wouldn't go thicker than 10-40 oil. If losing lots of coolant, just replenish with cheap water till next winter if it lasts that long. Might be worth a gamble with a can of coolant sealant?

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - edlithgow

But I wouldn't go thicker than 10-40 oil.

Why not?

Here in Taiwan obviously cold weather performance is never an issue, so I can go as thick as I like, and I'm currently using a mix of 20W50 and straight 40.

Cold performance IS an issue in the UK, but not for a few months. 20W50 is probably available (?) and was in any case used year-round even before global warming.

Engines in general havn't really changed that much in the basic mechanics, but THIS one might have.

If (as I suspect) its been run low on oil, the bearings might be quite roomy, and would probably benefit from the extra cushioning..

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - thunderbird

Problem using an oil thicker than the one specified by the manufacturer is not one single issue.

Whilst many think a thicker oil is better for an engine based on years of using nothing but 20/50 oils (like we all did before 1980) there is far more to oils than there was back in those days.

Take the original Ford Zetec, the one we had in an 1800 Mondeo petrol. The early ones came specified to use 10/40 oil and hydraulic tappet problems were quickly noted as an issue. As a quick fix Ford changed to specifying 5/30 oil and problem solved. Even when they changed to solid tappets in the revised Zetec used in the Mk 1 Focus they still specified the very same 5/30 oil.

One other issue is the oil pump. As these wear as the miles pile on their ability to pump oil diminishes and a thicker oil is obviously more difficult to pump especially at cold start up. So the oil takes longer to circulate to bearings and camshafts etc and this is at a time most wear takes place. On an engine that is already worn its not really desirable.

Personally I would stick to the manufacturer specified grades, they do know a thing or two about their engines and if an older engine required thicker oil they would specify that in the books.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - edlithgow

Possibly something in the hydraulic tappets issue, though I dunno if iit applies to this engine, and even if it does, it may be the lesser of the evils if the engine has sustained bearing damage.

I'm afraid the rest of it is (IMO of course, but based on quite a lot of reading and discussion) fairly standard myth with little visible support.

In particular, within the pumpability limits of the oil, which aren't going to be exceeded in the UK, a standard positive displacement oil pump delivers an almost fixed volume irrespective of oil viscosity.

I say almost because I think I've read somewhere that a worn pump will deliver slightly less of a low viscosity oil because some of it drains back.

Re specifying a thicker oil for an older engine, thats of limited commercial value to the maker, and they probably wouldn't be able to predict how worn an engine of a given age would be anyway, still less an engine that has seized.

If they don't do it, that doesn't mean it isn't the right thing to do, especially in a potentially extreme case like this one.

Vauxhall Astra - 2010 Astra Mk6 engine seized, worth repairing? - Dave Coombs

Exactly which engine is it?

1.0L turbo petrol? 1.4L turbo petrol??

Has it suffered an LSPI problem? If so it would restart cold, idle a bit rough and drive with a light on in limp mode.

Repair due to piston damage and bore damage is not likely to be economic.

Car should have a bit more than scrap value ?????

 

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