Daihatsu Sirion 1998 - head gasket or bust?


I have a problem with my car. It broke down recently and I was told it probably needed a new engine which would cost more than the car is worth to repair. It has noxious smoke/steam billowing out from the engine, the exhaust and in the interior of the car through the floor. Before I decide I have to scrap it I was wondering if it could be that the headgasket has gone and needs replacing? Has anyone had a similar problem? Also, I'm unsure how I get to the headgasket? Any advice/ opinions would be welcome. Thank you.

Sorry to hear about the car

Sorry to hear about the car trouble. One of the signs of headgasket failure is white smoke billowing out of the exhaust when cold and also the water in your radiator would have gone low, also the temperature gauge would be hitting it's highest temperature. Another sympton would be a white/yellow gunge showing under the oil filling cap. If this has been running for a long time then more damage could happen to the engine, such as melted pitsons. Does the car still sound like it's running on all cylinders? You could try a new headgasket, but you may find that you may be throwing good money away.

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your advice

Thank you very much for your advice. The car doesn't really sound like it's running on all cylinders, it has a 'knocking' noise coming from the engine which I think I forgot to mention and the temperature gauge is the lowest it can be. I haven't noticed any gunge under the oil cap (it's clear). I'll have another look and then decide what to do. Thanks again.

The correct way to diagnose a

The correct way to diagnose a head gasket issue is to perform a sniffer test, this tests for hybrocarbons in your coolant which proves exhaust gas is getting into the coolant chambers.

The other method/signs and symptons jpor has very well pointed out although some signs can be missleading,for example many older engines show a bit of a creamy residue under the oil cap when the weather is very damp.

The other simple test is a leak down test which pressurizes each cylinder and measures loss as a percentage, a bit different and more telling than a compression test.


The correct way to diagnose..

Thank you for your advice James, I will have to investigate further and then decide what to do for the best. Thanks.