Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - laronald22

I would appreciate some advice on some problems I've had with my fiesta. On Sunday afternoon I was driving and the engine unexpectedly and very quickly began to overheat. I stopped driving when the temp gauge shot up, and we put warm water into the coolant tank and that seemed to solve the problem sufficiently for me to get the last mile or so to my parents' house.

I had a long journey in front of me so I called the RAC to come out and look at it. The engineer took the car a short drive and concluded that it seemed to be fine i.e. it was no longer over-heating. I was a bit uneasy about driving it, despite his assessment, so after further discussions, he agreed to follow me into his garage (about 10 miles away) and he would check the car over there again before I continued my journey to Glasgow (over 100 miles).

  • When I got to the engineer's garage the engine was over-heating again and a pressure check showed a small hole in the radiator, at the front. At this point I thought I'd have no option but to ask him to recover the vehicle back to my home address in Glasgow - but the engineer said the radiator problem could possibly be fixed in the short-term by putting in Radwell. He didn't guarantee it would work but advised that, if the engine had not over-heated again within the first 20 minutes into my journey, it should see me through the whole journey and I could arrange to get a new radiator fitted once back in Glasgow. I agreed to this fix on his recommendation and on his assurance that the RAC would come out again if I had any further problems. I asked him what I should look out for, to ensure I picked up on my vehicle overheating straightaway, and he said the heating in the car would stop working and temperature gauge would start going up again.
  • I had no further problems until just after I made a stop in a small town (Inveraray), about 75 miles into my journey. A few minutes after I left Inveraray, I noticed a change in the gauge. It was very slight initially so I carried on tentatively for a few minutes - but it seemed to be creeping up further, so I pulled over into the driveway of a house off the main road, about 3.5 miles from Inveraray, and called the RAC again.

    For reasons which I still don't know - and won't go into further here - after several hours the RAC advised that they couldn't attend my breakdown. By this point I was alone at 11pm on a Sunday evening, in a remote place in the freezing cold - so I took a chance and drove the car back to Inveraray. It had been sitting cold for a few hours so it didn't appear to overheat on that small journey.

    I checked into a hotel and the next morning a recovery vehicle finally turned up. The engineer asked if the car could be driven and I explained that I'd been forced to drive it the night before, to get back to Inveraray, but it had driven ok. He asked me to drive it up the street to where it could be loaded onto the recovery vehicle. The car drove ok (it was only about 100m). The engineer then took over, to get it onto the recovery vehicle. He had trouble driving it up the steep ramps onto the recovery vehicle and there was a lot of white and black smoke coming out of the exhaust as he did so. Afterwards, he said the lack of power in the car suggested it had blown a gasket. I hadn't noticed a loss of power before that. My worry, therefore, is that I am now dealing with a burst radiator AND a gasket problem. Any ideas?

    I got my car dropped off at my usual Ford garage in Glasgow but they have not yet fully assessed it. They called initially to say that I needed a new coolant hose only (which I couldn't believe - given I'd already told them I had a radiator problem!) - and they then backtracked and said they couldn't check the radiator etc because they couldn't get the system to hold water, so they need to fix the new hose first. This is apparently going to cost £173.

    I feel very unsure that I am being given good service by the garage and I also feel like, due to the terrible service from the RAC, I might have ended up causing more damage to the car than I started out with - but I'm not at all confident I can prove that. Apologies for such a long post - I'm not very technical when it comes to cars, so I might have got some of the terminology wrong and I found it quite hard to explain without telling a big long story!

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - Cyd

    £173 for a hose replacement? On the face of it, sounds a right rip off!

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - Peter.N.

    Head gasket failure won't in itself cause the engine to overheat, what does is that the pressure in the cooling system blows the coolant out through the overflow or filler cap. The overheating you experienced because of the leak could have caused gasket failure but not necessaraly, it could be that the thermostat has failed, a relatively minor job.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - Simon

    To summerise it, it sounds like you have had a hole in the radiator which had led to the water loss, then you have ran it three times there after where it has got to the point of overheating. I wouldn't be surprised if the head gasket has now gone.

    Its too late now, but you should never have driven it until the radiator was replaced, putting in Radweld is just a bodge. At what point it may have blown the head gasket is anyones guess.

    The Ford garage need to fix the water leaks and get the car running before they will be able to assess the full extent of the damage, but if the engine has been that hot it may be include damage to a hose or two. £173 does sound expensive for a hose though.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - laronald22

    Thanks all, for replies. Simon - I think you've summed it up. I shouldn't have been daft enough to take the advice of the original RAC guy with the Radweld. My own fault for not knowing enough about this kind of thing - but equally you do rely on the professionals to keep you right, so I'm not terribly impressed! Will just have to await the outcome of the garage assessment once they get it up and running again.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - thunderbird

    If the engine has been overheated several times and run without water it will be a minor miracle if its only a couple of hoses. The modern fiesta engine is all allow and when these overheat they tend to warp and generally become very difficult to sort.

    Considering you were given poor advice by the RAC (I guess it was a garage rather than a patrol) it may be worth trying to get some compensation from them.

    Best of luck, you will need it by the sounds of what happened.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - edlithgow

    4WIW, in the circumstances I don't think you behaved unreasonably, though you got bad advice.

    Dont beat yourself up about it. You'll find plenty of people happy to do that for you, but they're probably English.

    My parents come from Tarbert Loch Fyne and I know what that road can be like in winter.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - lordwoody

    "Dont beat yourself up about it. You'll find plenty of people happy to do that for you, but they're probably English."

    Was this meant to be amusing? If so, it isn't.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - edlithgow

    OK then, it isn't

    To the OP, while the Radwell suggestion was very questionable, I'd say your strongest complaint is against the recovery driver. There seems to be no excuse for driving the car in that situation. Pure laziness. Did he make any checks, for example, of the coolant level, before he started it?

    Taking a chance on a short trip when stranded by the roadside in winter is much more reasonable, though it would have been a good idea to check the coolant level. In an emergency situation, short term use of tap, or even ditch water to top up the system would also be reasonable and far preferable to running it potentially dry.

    Due to my sloppy maintenance, I once had a Lada water pump break up, taking out the radiator in the process and completely emptying the cooling system. I ran the engine in short bursts, coasting with engine-off in between, to limp a few km along the hard shoulder and get off the motorway.

    I got away with it, so it is possible, but its a big gamble, and I probably wouldn't have got away with it with a more expensive (or perhaps a more fragile) car.

    Ford Fiesta (2008) - Fiesta - overheating, radiator leak...gasket gone? - TeeCee

    Was this meant to be amusing? If so, it isn't.

    I thought it was, but then I am English with both English and Scots friends and am very used to the good-natured ribbing that goes each way.


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