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so my new job was going quite well so far. Traveller and Gypsy life is fasinating and the sites team with a whole different lifestyle (and lots of cute dogs). Even if I'm not being very successful with the work at the sites the work in the schools was going fine.

Then my car started belching smoke from its rear end.


Aparently, according to a local mechanic that one of the travellers recomended (and when they recomend a mechanic they MUST be good) its my head gasket. I'm only firing on 3 cillinders and I'm leaking water into the fuel line because of the gasket (hence the white 'smoke').

I've phoned a mechanic and he's going to pick up the car tomorrow morning and tell me what the damage is, but I have a feeling that its going to be a lot... and I can't afford that now.. but equally I need a car.

I love life don't you?

PS - I shall get around to writing and posting pictures from my stay with shineyquarter, just a little busy :(


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
30th Apr, 2003 05:53 (UTC)

Well - from a mechanical sort of guy:

If the smoke is white, and smells vaguely sweet, then you've got a blown head gasket.

The head gasket is the little bit of rubber and steel between the engine block and the 'head', or the top half of the engine where the valves are. This particular gasket doesn't blow very often, but when it does it means that water leaks out of the narrow channels cut for it in the engine block and your cooling goes all to heck. Additionally, the compression in your cylendars is often compromised (thus the 'running rough'. Now - /which/ cylendar has lost compression usually determines how expensive the repair is, but this one isn't cheap no matter what.

You see, to get the head gasket /off/ and then /replaced/, your mechanic literally has to remove the top half of the engine from the bottom. This is neither quick nor easy, I'm afraid, and usually requires some special tools and a /lot/ of work.

In the US, a head-gasket repair would run you about $1,000 or so, however, if somebody's doing a head gasket repair they'll often do some cylendar work and a few other tune-up things you normally can't do for free or low cost, as they were having to take the engine apart anyway. If your car isn't worth a grand, though, or is an older-model used car, that may not be economical. The car /cannot/ be driven with a blown head gasket. It simply can't - you'll do far more extensive damage. I wish I had better news.

If they charge you more than about $1500 USD, you're getting rooked. Anything less than $700 USD and they're not fixing the head gasket.

Would there was something I could do to help, m' friend, but at least now you know what you're up against.

30th Apr, 2003 09:05 (UTC)
urgh... yeah. Thanks for the detail, I knew some of it but it clarified it more.

The car is worth.. about £1500.. max. So thats about 2.5k USD. This problem only showed up in the last 24hrs, so hopefully it won't mean anything much more needs to be done.

I'll be getting a quote tomorrow anyhow.. I get the feeling that a lot of thinking is going to be involved. :/
30th Apr, 2003 06:54 (UTC)
I had to replace the head gasket in my vehicle in the fall of 2001 and it ended up costing me $900 or so. Not the funnest thing I've ever had to do... But I'm kinda lucky... It's the only thing I've ever had to pay for besides just oil changes/tires on my car and stuff. *shrug*

I'm sorry things aren't going so well for you, Greg... I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all betters. Just know you're in my thoughts and I'm here if you need anything.

30th Apr, 2003 09:06 (UTC)
yeah.. thanks hon.

omg its hailing ourtside! sorry.. random tangent there.

Atm all it comes down to is money... bah
30th Apr, 2003 10:38 (UTC)
I hope that you get big dents
Seriously. If the hail makes dents and UK car insurance is anything like US style insurance, you can get paid for having the dents fixed. Then, if you aren't too car proud, you can leave the dents and use the money to pay for the head gasket work.

Just a thought...
30th Apr, 2003 15:32 (UTC)
Re: I hope that you get big dents
not that strong.. hell I don't think I've seen hail that strong in years. Also for that to work I'd need fully comp insurance.. I don't have that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )