01 1.6 head gasket repair quotes - dawnyb111
I'm hoping someone can advise me a little on this so that I can decide whether the quote I have received is fair and all the work necessary.

I took my car to the garage on Saturday as there was a kind of hissing noise coming from the passenger footwell when I was using the brake and clutch in traffic. The brake pedal didn't seem to come all the way up and I was tugging it the last bit by putting my foot under it and helping it back up. I looked online for advice and thought it may be the servo. I took it to the garage, not mentioning what I thought it could be as I don't want to seed thoughts and would rather they make their own judgements based on the years of experience they have (and I don't!).

They called back on Saturday to say that it looks like the head gasket has gone and had I experienced a loss of power. The answer is no. They then said that they'd get another mechanic to look on Monday. I've now had a phone call to say the brakes are fine (50% worn and they'd replace if I insisted) but that the head gasket is broken.

They've told me that I'm fine to drive it for now,a s long as I top the water up regularly, but not to leave it too long before getting the work done. They advise a new head gasket, cam belt and thermostat all at once as they'll need to overhaul the engine so may as well do it in one go. They have quoted £1300 for the work.

I don't drive much since I moved to London, probably 10 miles a week tops with long trip once or twice a month for weekends away, usually 100 - 400 miles round trip. The car has just clocked 80,000 miles. I'm planning to drive to Manchester this weekend to visit my dad and the garage seems to think that that will be fine.

What I want to know is:
1 - do I need to get everything replaced?
2 - should I mention my thought that the servo is the problem on the brakes as they've just looked at discs and pads?
3 - is £1300 a fair price for what they are proposing to do?
4 - is it really safe to trundle the car from London to Manchester and back with a broken head gasket??
5 - should I get a second opinion from another garage?
6 - if anyone knows any good, reputable and honest garages in north London? most convenient postcodes for me are: N14, N11, N21, N13, N10 and N22 as well served by public transport or walking distance for me, anything else is likely to be a struggle!

Thank you very much in advance for any advice you can offer.

Edited by Pugugly on 23/02/2009 at 13:46

2001 1.6 Head Gasket Quotes - DP
What I want to know is:
1 - do I need to get everything replaced?

The expensive part of this job is the labour. Head gaskets themselves are not expensive things (a good quality top end gasket set should be no more than £50), and a new cambelt and thermostat will add no more than £50 to the total - it is good practice to replace those too, by the way. Many manufacturers insist cambelts are replaced whenever they are disturbed in any case. No problem in my view with the work proposed if the car has a failed head gasket.
2 - should I mention my thought that the servo is the problem on the
brakes as they've just looked at discs and pads?

I would be very interested to learn how they went from diagnosing a braking fault to finding a blown head gasket.
3 - is £1300 a fair price for what they are proposing to do?

In London, it's probably about the going rate, given the high labour component of the overall cost. Any garage worth their salt will break down the quote for you and explain what they are charging you for, and won't mind you asking.
4 - is it really safe to trundle the car from London to Manchester and
back with a broken head gasket??

I wouldn't, personally, but there are varying levels of head gasket failure from a slight leak, to a catastrophic failure and various stages in between. Bear in mind that small leaks can develop into catastrophic failures fairly quickly, and at 70 mph on a motorway, that could spell curtains for the engine. That said, I've also known people drive cars around with failing head gaskets for years, and just topping up fluids as needed. There are no rules with this. You are taking a risk by doing this journey though - that much is fair to say. Bear in mind on a long motorway run, everything is going to get properly hot, pressures are going to build and the gasket will be tested.
5 - should I get a second opinion from another garage?

I would actually ask more questions of this garage which, if they are straight, they will have no problem answering. How have they diagnosed head gasket failure, and where do they think the gasket has failed? My only concern with this diagnosis is that unless you never check your fluid levels, all head gasket failures have some symptoms, whether it's "loss" of coolant, water/oil mixing (mayonnaise effect on dipstick and oil filter cap), overheating, poor starting, lumpy running, loss of power or something.

Sorry, can't help with no 6.

Cheers
DP

Edited by DP on 23/02/2009 at 12:48

2001 1.6 Head Gasket Quotes - lordwoody
My daughters's 206 had exactly the same symptoms you're describing regarding brakes-a new servo fixed it.
As for the head gasket, last one I had fixed was a Freelander, which was about 5 years ago and cost about 7/800 pounds (can't remember exact price) £1300 sounds a bit high to me, although I am no expert. I'd agree with the above as to how they discovered it though.

Edited by lordwoody on 23/02/2009 at 13:39

2001 1.6 Head Gasket Quotes - thomp1983
£1300 sounds ridiculous, to do a timing belt is book time of 1.40 hours so the engine is obviously fairly accessible (don't have a book time for headgasket), i can't see it being more than a days labour, so say £150 for parts and maybe another £100 max for having the head checked, thats £1050 in labour and vat, id be very surprised if you couldn't half that by getting the work done outside of london say somewhere like high wycombe then get the train home.

as has also been said id be concerned how they found headgasket failure from looking at a brake issue, the servo is likely vacuum assisted so if the engine was seriously struggling the brakes may not get enough vacuum, but if it was that bad id expect even an amateur to notice there was something seriously amiss with the performance.

chris
2001 1.6 Head Gasket Quotes - TurboD
what evidence do they offer for the head gasket failure?
The most obvious sypmtom is a lack of coolant, big time. have you had this?, white exhaust smoke?
The pedal stuff is nothing to do with a HG failure. Surely at that milage Pugs do not suffer HG failure, I would expect double that . Sounds highly dubious to me. Most garagas are gusessing nowadays, the skills of yesterday are long gone to be replaced by spotty erks who talk crap,
2001 1.6 Head Gasket Quotes - dawnyb111
Thank you all. I collected the car from the garage today, in looking at the brakes they say they noticed a water leak so checked head gasket as matter of course and that was how they identified the problem. They still seem to think it fine to drive to Manchester at the weekend as long as keep an eye on water level and temperature but I have cancelled as I'm not convinced.

I'm going to get a second opinion but wanted to thank you for your advice so far. They have been unable to answer my brake problem - which I still think is the servo.

 

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