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Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 petrol, losing water into the oil rapidly

Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by MeldrewsMate, 19 Jul 2021.

  1. MeldrewsMate

    MeldrewsMate

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    This is not my car, I'm doing a favour for a mate.
    This car (2003 reg) has started losing water, no external signs but the oil looks like mud and the rocker cover is plastered with white goo.
    My first thoughts were that the head gasket has failed (the only way out from their drive is a 1/4 mile climb up a 1 in 6 hill), however after advising them to keep the water filler cap loose (to keep the pressure down) they still reported losing about a litre every 3 days, even though the car was doing only 5 miles per day.

    Today I started the onerous task of changing the cylinder head gasket and, on inspection, there were no signs of it having failed. There WAS evidence that the rubber seal between the engine and its front cover (cams driven by simplex chain in oil bath) had failed, allowing water into the cam chain area.
    Tomorrow I'll put it all back together with new seals and gaskets, followed by a thorough oil system flush, but in the meantime I have some questions:

    1. Is this a common failure mode for the 1.2 litre petrol engine?
    2. There seem to be no timing marks on the crankshaft pulley, though each cam has an off centre slot at its non-drive end. How do I re-time the camshafts?
    3. The cam drive sprockets do not have a positive fixing - are they simply held by the centre bolt?
    4. The inlet cam has a timing disc attached, I assume this actuates the cam sensor, but again this revolves easily once the centre bolt is loosened. Does this disc need to be accurately timed too?

    Regards, MM
     
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  3. sxturbo

    sxturbo

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    You need these tools for the timing

    Special tools
    Camshaft locking tool – No.KM-953.
    Camshaft position (CMP) sensor disc setting tool – No.KM-954.
    Crankshaft locking pin – No.KM-952.

    Head gaskets on these engines weren't particularly popular, but failed timing chains were.

    From what you describe I would say head gasket aswell, but to not see anything when ripping it apart, it's a tough one but it may just not be an obvious failure
     
  4. MeldrewsMate

    MeldrewsMate

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    I replaced the head gasket, and there were no signs of it having failed, however the end cover gasket had a severely distorted rubber insert seal, allowing water to readily leak past it and drip directly into the oil sump. I replaced the end cover gasket, and the crank pulley seal, changed the oil, and eventually took it on a 200 mile trip to boil off any remaining water.
    At the end of the trip the car left a significant oil slick on the drive, lots of oil pooled at the pulley end. Bu**er!!!
    My bit was OK, that bar steward of an oil pressure switch was leaking oil at a good rate (renewed only 12 months ago). One new OPS and a couple of litres of oil (and a 200 mile return trip in pouring rain to clear the chassis) and she's as right as, well, rain.
     
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  5. Thats the lovely thing with head gaskets - b****red or not, as soon as the heads off youve got to replace it anyway....
     
  6. Londoner2

    Londoner2

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    time to replace the corsa.
     
  7. MeldrewsMate

    MeldrewsMate

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    What?!! She's a lovely old bird, and too good to let go.

    My feeling is that there was nothing wrong with the head gasket, all the water was going directly from water pump area into the oil sump via that dodgy end-cover gasket. The OPS replacement was a mere trifle of a job, and completely unrelated to my hamfisted handling of the cylinder head:whistle:
     
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