Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - NeilB74

Hello all.

Looking for some help and recommendations. The story so far...

Started off with huge amounts of pressure in the coolant when cold. When I would undo the coolant cap, when cold, a huge rush of air would escape and cause the coolant to drop. Also had dark discolored coolant with soot particles. Took it to Dees Of Wimbledon Ford Dealer, and they (without investigation) said I need new engine for £8,000,told them to stick it. Went into local garage and they suggested could be oil cooler, egr cooler, or head gasket. After investigation they changed egr cooler. This stopped all soot particles in coolant, however the air in coolant persisted.

Since then I have replaced the thermostat and water pump. Still air bubbles from top rad pipe into expansion tank and pressure in coolant.

Can anyone recommended a genuine repair service in London/South east as fixing head gasket would work out cheaper for me in long run as still have 2 years left to pay on car.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Joe tuzzer

Hello mate, don't know if this will help or not but there is a little kit/test tool you can use too see if there are exhaust gasses in the coolant. You can get it on ebay for about £10 and you put it on the expansion tank and if the solution turns a different colour it means exhaust gasses are present which could be your pressure problem. It's worth a try?

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - NeilB74

Yea should have said that a sniff test was done and result was a very mild liquid colour change

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Joe tuzzer

Oh right, is there any coolant in your oil or coming out of your exhaust?

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - NeilB74

No oil in coolant whatsoever. Did notice the exhaust had a sweetish smell on a cold morning few weeks back. No more smoke than any normal diesel though.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Joe tuzzer

Very strange, tbh it is hard to know with the exhaust because the weather at the moment is cold so it's normal too see a fair bit of steam. Have you tried bleeding the cooling system too see if there is an airlock?

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

No oil in coolant whatsoever. Did notice the exhaust had a sweetish smell on a cold morning few weeks back. No more smoke than any normal diesel though.

That wasnt the question.

Oil in coolant would confirm hg leak, though given history that doesnt seem to be in very much doubt.

Coolant in oil would do the same, but it would also wreck your engine if not addressed.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - NeilB74

Also temp gauge goes up and down like a yoyo. No heat in car until temp gauge has risen to operating temp then drops. Soon as temp gauge drops then the heat appears inside the car

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - NeilB74

Yes this has been going on for fair few months. Bleed the system time and again and unfortunately this is more than an airlock.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Railroad.

If you have a rapid build up of pressure in the cooling system when the engine is cold then you have a blown cylinder head gasket or cracked cylinder head. It's as plain and simple as that.

There's a lot of talk about airlocks, mostly by people who lack an understanding of the cooling system and how it works. If the cooling system is bled after being disturbed then it is impossible for air to get in and become trapped unless it is being forced in. This is because coolant is much heavier than air, and cannot be misplaced by air on its own.

When the thermostat is closed the cooling system is effectively divided into to compartments. The most effective way to bleed it is to remove the coolant temp sensor which is usually located on the engine side of the thermostat, and fill the system until coolant comes out of the hole. It is impossible for air to be trapped because the heavier coolant will force it out. Then replace the sensor and top up the coolant. Running the engine will not assist in bleeding. This is because the water pump is a centrifugal pump and needs to be completely immersed in the coolant. It cannot and will not move air. Coolant is drawn into the centre of the pump and thrown outward. Hence the term centrifugal. If you are consistently finding air in the system after having bled it properly then air which is being compressed by a piston is entering the cooling system via the cylinder head.

Sorry for the bad news but you're not going to get away without taking the cylinder head off.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

Theres a lot of talk about airlocks not being an issue, mostly by people who havn;t had an issue with airlocks.

On my current car ive found the most effective way to clear airlocks to be allowing the coolant to boil. i assume the steam displaces the air.

i agree this does not sound like an airlock, though they can mimic hg failure pretty well. Everyone and his dog ont internyet diagosed my airlock as a hg failure, but hg failures dont go away

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Andrew-T

Also temp gauge goes up and down like a yoyo. No heat in car until temp gauge has risen to operating temp then drops. Soon as temp gauge drops then the heat appears inside the car

Assuming the temp sender is working correctly, I guess that gas may be collecting round it to cause fluctuating readings. The only likely recurrent source of gas in the coolant circuit is a leaky head gasket, as long as coolant isn't being lost.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - skidpan

We had a 2005 1.6 TDCi 110 PS Focus C Max (different car, different engine but still a Ford) and from day one the temp gauge acted in an odd way. On a cold day when sat in traffic instead of getting hotter the gauge dropped and virtually no heat came out of the vents. I took a chap out in from the dealers over my normal commute to prove it and he was confused. We tried another 1.6 TDCi over the same route and it did not behave like this.

They never got to the bottom of it but after 5 years it had no caused no issues, the car had always performed perfectly other than this odd behaviour.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - bathtub tom

My first diesel behived like that. I remember a journey in January when i realised I was on untreated, icy roads. I dropped my speed to around 30 and the car became colder, with the temperature gauge dropping. I just put it down to the efficiency of diesel engines with enough air passing over the engine to cool it. I did replace the t/stat to be sure.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - skidpan

My first diesel behived like that. I remember a journey in January when i realised I was on untreated, icy roads. I dropped my speed to around 30 and the car became colder, with the temperature gauge dropping. I just put it down to the efficiency of diesel engines with enough air passing over the engine to cool it. I did replace the t/stat to be sure.

We owned 5 other diesels (only one was a Ford) and none of them exhibited that behaviour. I seem to remember that the dealer changed the Stat on the C-Max (and made on incredible mess under the bonnet - the service manager was not happy, fetched the bloke, told him to sort and loaned me a new car for the day - Fiesta TDCi which did not do that). The new stat made no difference.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - galileo

My first diesel behived like that. I remember a journey in January when i realised I was on untreated, icy roads. I dropped my speed to around 30 and the car became colder, with the temperature gauge dropping. I just put it down to the efficiency of diesel engines with enough air passing over the engine to cool it. I did replace the t/stat to be sure.

We owned 5 other diesels (only one was a Ford) and none of them exhibited that behaviour. I seem to remember that the dealer changed the Stat on the C-Max (and made on incredible mess under the bonnet - the service manager was not happy, fetched the bloke, told him to sort and loaned me a new car for the day - Fiesta TDCi which did not do that). The new stat made no difference.

In the olden days, when I were a lad (and winters were always colder than nowadays), most cars had North/South engines with a mechanical fan: in winter we used to blank half the radiator with a piece of cardboard. Affluent motorists bought special radiator muffs. Mind you, heaters were an optional extra for about £21 on many cars in the 50s/60s.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Andrew-T

<< Mind you, heaters were an optional extra for about £21 on many cars in the 50s/60s. >>

Just imagine fitting an optional extra heater to a car for £21 ..... but I suppose there would have been lots more space in the engine bay to do it :-)

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - galileo

<< Mind you, heaters were an optional extra for about £21 on many cars in the 50s/60s. >>

Just imagine fitting an optional extra heater to a car for £21 ..... but I suppose there would have been lots more space in the engine bay to do it :-)

There was lots of space under dashboards, the heater matrix/fan was a box that was bracketed on the bulkhead or parcel shelf above the pedals. Hoses poked through bulkhead holes (closed with bungs at the factory if sold without heater) and connected to the head with connectors replacing blanking plugs.

Having a car with no heater in the freezing winter of 1962/63 as I did certainly discouraged non-essential journeys

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

No heater on The Skywing.

Took me quite a long time to realise that, since not much call for them here, (unless you live up in the mountains), though it has been a bit chilly the last couple of weeks, with winds coming off the Tibetan plateau.

Possibly the aircon can provide some heating (?), but I havn't used that for about 7 years so daren't try it now.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

We had a 2005 1.6 TDCi 110 PS Focus C Max (different car, different engine but still a Ford) and from day one the temp gauge acted in an odd way. On a cold day when sat in traffic instead of getting hotter the gauge dropped and virtually no heat came out of the vents. I took a chap out in from the dealers over my normal commute to prove it and he was confused. We tried another 1.6 TDCi over the same route and it did not behave like this.

They never got to the bottom of it but after 5 years it had no caused no issues, the car had always performed perfectly other than this odd behaviour.

Airlock?

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - skidpan

We had a 2005 1.6 TDCi 110 PS Focus C Max (different car, different engine but still a Ford) and from day one the temp gauge acted in an odd way. On a cold day when sat in traffic instead of getting hotter the gauge dropped and virtually no heat came out of the vents. I took a chap out in from the dealers over my normal commute to prove it and he was confused. We tried another 1.6 TDCi over the same route and it did not behave like this.

They never got to the bottom of it but after 5 years it had no caused no issues, the car had always performed perfectly other than this odd behaviour.

Airlock?

Never had a single issue with airlocks in any Ford we have owned. The cooling systems are well designed and self bleed very quickly. When I fitted the Zetec into the Caterham I followed Fords design as closely as I could replicating the coolant runs to the radiator and return together with air bleeds back to the reservoir and have never had an issue. Others have decided unwisely they know better and have done it differently with poor results.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

We had a 2005 1.6 TDCi 110 PS Focus C Max (different car, different engine but still a Ford) and from day one the temp gauge acted in an odd way. On a cold day when sat in traffic instead of getting hotter the gauge dropped and virtually no heat came out of the vents. I took a chap out in from the dealers over my normal commute to prove it and he was confused. We tried another 1.6 TDCi over the same route and it did not behave like this.

They never got to the bottom of it but after 5 years it had no caused no issues, the car had always performed perfectly other than this odd behaviour.

Airlock?

Never had a single issue with airlocks in any Ford we have owned. The cooling systems are well designed and self bleed very quickly. When I fitted the Zetec into the Caterham I followed Fords design as closely as I could replicating the coolant runs to the radiator and return together with air bleeds back to the reservoir and have never had an issue. Others have decided unwisely they know better and have done it differently with poor results.

Just sounded like a possible explanation for your and the other mystery heater inconsistency. I suppose if it was ""permanent"as opposed to eventually blowing out of the coolant reserve tank, you woudn't necessarily know it was there.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - NeilB74

This is what also happens. Air bubbles from the rad into the expansion tank causing coolant to blow out of the cap

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - skidpan

This is what also happens. Air bubbles from the rad into the expansion tank causing coolant to blow out of the cap

On every system I have seen the pipe from the top of the radiator to the expansion tank does not enter that tank below the water level. Because of this it does not blow the water out of the tank.

However, the pipe form the bottom of the expansion tank that normally feeds into the bottom hose is obviously below water level, but unless there is a serious issue with the cooling system this will not blow out the water.

Only once on a Ford Zetec have I seen water blown out of the expansion tank. Off with the head and there was evidence of a small leak on the exhaust side. New gasket fitted, engine self bled all the air out (just like it should) and about 6 years later it was still fine.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - Andrew-T

<< On every system I have seen the pipe from the top of the radiator to the expansion tank does not enter that tank below the water level. Because of this it does not blow the water out of the tank. >>

It's probably an old design, but the expansion tank on a 205 was several feet of hose away from the rad, and the connection was from the bottom. The tank was held in a thick rubber band, so it could be demounted easily and raised well above the engine while changing the coolant.

On the 306 the top-up tank is a separate part of the rad so there's no pipe connection.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

This is what also happens. Air bubbles from the rad into the expansion tank causing coolant to blow out of the cap

On every system I have seen the pipe from the top of the radiator to the expansion tank does not enter that tank below the water level. Because of this it does not blow the water out of the tank.

However, the pipe form the bottom of the expansion tank that normally feeds into the bottom hose is obviously below water level, but unless there is a serious issue with the cooling system this will not blow out the water.

Only once on a Ford Zetec have I seen water blown out of the expansion tank. Off with the head and there was evidence of a small leak on the exhaust side. New gasket fitted, engine self bled all the air out (just like it should) and about 6 years later it was still fine.

Well, the OP almost certainly has a blown head gasket, as (I think) we all agree, so blowing coolant is not incompatible with the above.

I almost certainly did NOT have a blown head gasket (since it got better, and since on several refills since using the boiling coolant technique, I havn't had a recurrance of the problem) but I did have blowing coolant, which IS incompatible with the above.

Of course that wasn't on a Ford.

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

To add the obvious further implication:

If you don't typically get blowing coolant from an air pocket on Fords, then it makes an undetected air pocket more likely, which in turn makes it seem a more likely explanation for mystery heater inconsistencies

Ford Focus - Ford Focus 2015 1.5tdci Blown Head Gasket - edlithgow

DP

Edited by edlithgow on 28/01/2021 at 00:25

 

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