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Suspect Head Gasket, Any Suggestions?


gsdude
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Hello all!

I'm relatively new to the site after purchasing a 51 plate IS200 a number of weeks ago, already found this place to be a great resource for fellow Lexus owners so thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and see if anyone can give me a little bit of help or advice! Anyway to the point...I have had the car serviced by a Halfords autocentre over the weekend and they picked up a number of issues, some of which I was already aware of but most worrying was that there were 9 codes stored in the ECU, they listed some of these on a report for me as follows:

Random multi missfire

Cylinder missfire 3

Intake air temp sensor 1

Igniter circuit malfunction cylinder 1-6

They also mentioned the car has had a water pump replaced and looks as though it has overheated badly in the past. In my own experience of using the car in the last few weeks it has been relatively running OK other than the following:

1. Never starts first time on a cold start and always needs me to give it some gas while turning it over to get it going, although if the engine is warm this isn't an issue. From the sound when turning the key it appeared to be turning over OK and at first thought this mightve been the plugs but had those changed as part of the service over the weekend and its no better.

2. When I first got it I noticed a whooshing sound behind the dashboard when starting/pulling away which went away after filling the radiator coolant tank, which was empty. I haven't actively been monitoring the coolant levels yet but the fact that the tank was empty and there doesn't appear to be any obvious leaks anywhere was a concern to me when taking everything else into account.

3. Poor fuel economy - OK I wasn't expecting this to be nearly as good as the 1.6 petrol Peugeot 307 I've just migrated from but after adding roughly 1000 non-aggressively driven miles to the clock I've spent over £200 in petrol with a fair bit of motorway driving. This works out to about 50 pence per mile but using the manufacturers combined mpg rating of 29mpg and current fuel prices of around 135 pence per liter i've worked out it should be around 22 pence per liter, ignore if this if I'm wrong but this did seem a a lot to me!

The verdict the garage gave me is that the head gasket is probably on its way out due to low engine pressure, they suggested replacing the coil packs as this may be where the problem lies but taking into account my own experience as well as what they'd told me I'm not sure if this will be the solution; in my eyes everything seems to point to the head gasket. In all honesty I was taken aback by everything I'd heard and the prospect of potentially having to fork out big bucks on after paying a hefty premium for the insurance! So I left to mull it over for a couple of days without talking it over properly with the garage. I am going to go back to them this week to do just that but thought I'd share my problem to see if anyone here could give me any advice. I'd like to think I know a little bit but at the end of the day I don't really have much experience when it comes to motors and the many perils which can sometimes be involved! The car is a 2001 IS200 with 48000 miles on the clock, had the car checked on autocheck.co.uk which came back all clear an the mileage checked out.

Quite long I know but there's my story, I just wanted to know if anyone could give me any advice on whether this is definitely the head gasket, how much this is likely to cost (guy from the garage didn't give me an exact quote but said about 7-800 quid, is this reasonable?)and what otehr options do I have ie is it worth trying to change the coil pack or possibly look at a new engine. I've heard of a product called K-seal which from what I've read could possibly be a fix, a relative of mine tried it on his 1.4 astra though and it didn't work but then again his problems were much worse than mine and he had a bad oil leak...any help would be much appreciated as I'm understandably gutted after being so happy to get this car :(

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Best way to check for a head gasket gone is to take it to a proper mechanic and they will do a gas check on the radiator. Phone and ask a local garage if they do them. Another tell-tell sign is oil in the water or water in the oil - the latter resulting in an emulsion on the underside of the oil filler cap.

Although you may have got a service done, with the error codes and them not knowing what the cause is ( just making possibly expensive suggestions ). I'd be inclined to take it to someone who knows Lexus ( or Toyota ) for rectification of the error codes and maybe head gasket.

Where are you based? Somebody may be able to reccomend somebody near you.

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did you fill the radiator or the coolant bottle??theirs two places the is200 needs coolant...

and fcking Halfords!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you mental???????their is no way on earth they could tell if its been over heated or not!!!! go to a proper garage itll save you money in the long run...

and those codes could be old codes..the repairs might have already been carried out...

also the is200 dont like cheap plugs so check what ones have been used..

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much appreciation for the replies guys...ormi it was the radiator coolant tank that was empry, the other one still had plenty in it, also forgive me for sounding like a noob but what kind of plugs would you recommend for the car?

I'm going to speak to the garage again and also try and get a 2nd opinion this week from somewhere else. I'm based in Peterborough Cambs if anybody knows anywhere within a reasonable distance that they would recommend to have a look at the car. I'm fearing the worst though and bracing myself and my wallet :S

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Im a vehicle technician so will try to give you some advice . the codes found in ecu as already said could be from previous faults and not erased from memory . the way we test this is to clear all codes and get customer to drive for a few days to see if any re-appear . the random misfire code could also be a cause of headgasket failure due to coolant in bores and this could also be the cause of your starting issue . when it starts from cold is the engine smooth or seem a bit misfirey then clear after a few seconds ?

I also looked at an is200 on a 51 plate when i was looking and this also had a new waterpump fitted and i could tell it had been previously overheated due to the crumbling plastic vvti cover on top of rockercover due to excessive heat !

It sounds like Halfords have had a good look at car and given good advice and im suprised they even code read it but good on them at least they didnt fob you off . 700-800 sounds right if gasket gone as its labour/head skim and pressure test/gasket set/cambelt/oil and filter/headbolts etc etc . first thing i would do is get a headgasket test done first via a sniff test , this will let you know where to go from there . if it has gone then it could be a case of someone drove it with pump leaking and cooked engine , fitted new pump and sold it on . hopefully not but it does happen . i wouldnt really use k-seal as its not permanent and could end up blocking your rad or heater matrix . we only use it if people ask us to ie on a leaking rad or matrix . i would imagine they used ngk plugs but do check it should say on invoice , if so nothing wrong with ngk .

let me know how you get on ! and yes they are very juicy on petrol !!

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I also looked at an is200 on a 51 plate when i was looking and this also had a new waterpump fitted and i could tell it had been previously overheated due to the crumbling plastic vvti cover on top of rockercover due to excessive heat !

i am a licenced tec for toyota/lexus and work in a main dealer....crumbling plastic covers mean nothing and working day in day out on these cars/engines i see this all the time...that doesnt mean its been run hot the plastics just deteriorate mine inc...most peeps dont change the water pump because its leaking they change it when the timing belts changed..

whats the engine pressures??do you mean a compression test? could you post up the values and i'll check the data sheets at work

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Thanks again for the responses, sorry ormin my bad I meant radiator pressure not engine pressure. I spoke to the autocentre who changed the plugs and as it was part of their major service the plugs themselves weren't on the invoice, they told me that they only use Bosch Champion or NGK spark plugs.

I've today taken it to an independent garage who performed a sniff test, pressure test on the radiator and also a compression test. THe sniff test seemed to be ok the liquid hardly changed colour although maybe a very very slight tinge of green it was difficult to tell. The pressure test on the rad also seemed to be ok the pressure went down ever so lightly but seemed to hold fairly well. Results for the compression test were as follows:

Cyl 1: 155 PSI

Cyl 2: 130 PSI

Cyl 3: 135 PSI

Cyl 4: 135 PSI

Cyl 5: 135 PSI

Cyl 6: 145 PSI

The mechanic said that according to a book they had the correct figures should be between 142 and 181 PSI but to expect them to be on the lower side on an older motor. So as you can see 2-4 were below this although not what I would say drastically lower. Ormi you say you could check these at work it'd be much appreciated if you could give me an idea if these are anything to worry about mate. Also he pulled up the ECU codes and these were as follows:

P0110 - Intake sensor

P0115 - Coolant temp

P1300

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Thanks again for the responses, sorry ormin my bad I meant radiator pressure not engine pressure. I spoke to the autocentre who changed the plugs and as it was part of their major service the plugs themselves weren't on the invoice, they told me that they only use Bosch Champion or NGK spark plugs.

I've today taken it to an independent garage who performed a sniff test, pressure test on the radiator and also a compression test. THe sniff test seemed to be ok the liquid hardly changed colour although maybe a very very slight tinge of green it was difficult to tell. The pressure test on the rad also seemed to be ok the pressure went down ever so lightly but seemed to hold fairly well. Results for the compression test were as follows:

Cyl 1: 155 PSI

Cyl 2: 130 PSI

Cyl 3: 135 PSI

Cyl 4: 135 PSI

Cyl 5: 135 PSI

Cyl 6: 145 PSI

The mechanic said that according to a book they had the correct figures should be between 142 and 181 PSI but to expect them to be on the lower side on an older motor. So as you can see 2-4 were below this although not what I would say drastically lower. Ormi you say you could check these at work it'd be much appreciated if you could give me an idea if these are anything to worry about mate. Also he pulled up the ECU codes and these were as follows:

P0110 - Intake sensor

P0115 - Coolant temp

P1300

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Woops somehow posted that one before finishing it...anyway I'll carry on:

The remaining codes were P1300, P1305, P1310, P1315, P1320, P1325. These all came up on his machine as manufacturer specific but he suspected they were for each of the cylinders and that many of these codes may have come up as a result of the test he carried out. Also as egg suggested he cleared them all for me and told me to drive it around as normal for a week or so and then bring it back to see if any of them reappear.

(P.S not sure what happened with the post above, hopefully a mod could sort it out as I haven't figured out if i can do it myself!)

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i will check at my work mate but i dont think you need worrie all of the compressions are around the same so they are fine.....one thing you did say is they use bosch or ngk you need to ask if they were irridium if they are not the lex will start to fire lights on etc..

could you please post a pic of your engine bay up......just need to check something....stand at the passengers wing and take a pic...

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Sorry didnt realise i had to be a licensed toyota/lexus tech to post a comment/advice . ive been at audi for 8yrs , porsche for 11yrs and now 2yrs spent mapping performance cars , does that count ? hope so

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i was only stating this was a common problem with the plastics....you said you could tell it had been over heated due to the plastics crumbling just because the plastics are in a bad way doesnt mean its been cooked i only stated i worked for toyota/lexus so peeps knew were i get my info from....

i put new covers on mine i service mine every 3500k every 7 k the diff and box oil get changed....done my timing belt and water pump at the same time(save greef later)temp needle never goes above half way and the new covers...........theyve started perishing already...

i couldnt tell you comon problems of an audi or porsche..

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dsc0107g.jpg

ormi this is the picture you asked me to take, what is it you were looking out for? I'm going to get the ECU codes read again tomorrow...hoping that theres no nasty codes waiting for me

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some times people leave the sensor wire off but yours is on..

youll prob find some ones changed the plugs at one time and started the car with the sensors unplugged..then plugged everything back in and not erased the faults..

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  • 9 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

@MATT: that means your engine is leaking pressure in the cylinders... either the piston rings are gone or the timing is completely of resulting in bend valves... very expensive... your best bet is to get yourself a replacement engine and drop that in also expensive but way cheaper then having the engine overhauled

@Everyone: is it just me or does it look like the airbox isn't attached with the rubber grommet on the throttle-body

dsc0107g.jpg

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