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Engine Block, Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Botch Job

Back Street Mechanics:

Last year, my sons car, a Vauxhall Corsa VXR decided it didn’t want to live anymore. On investigation by a number of mechanics, I was informed that the cylinders were heavily scored and that pistons were damaged. The cylinder head had also sustained damage. Following advice, we were resigned to scrapping the car.

Then, after making contact with a local engine &  gearbox services ‘specialist’ who took a look at the car, it was declared that the engine could be fixed. Brilliant.. Or so we thought!

The car was towed away and we sat in eager anticipation for the work to be carried out. After a week or so, we were duly informed that the car was ready to be collected. Then, things started going awry. The car became difficult to start, and was collected. We were told no problems could be found. This went on for a number of occasions.

The mechanic was advised that there was a bubbling noise coming from behind the dashboard. After having the car for a few days, we were informed that there was nothing wrong with it. The problems persisted, so we decided to get a second opinion from another garage. We were told:

  • Cylinder one bore badly scored
  • Cylinder two and three bores scored
  • Excessive play in the Turbo
  • Cylinder head gasket failed on bridge between cylinders three and four
  • Head damaged on bridge between cylinders three and four
  • Cylinder head cracked on bridge between cylinders one and two

It was explained to us that:

When a piston moves in a cylinder that it moves up one side and back down the other, and blackens the cylinder. The marks are within the cylinders and are indicative of a car that has done around 50,000 miles. The cylinders in the VXR had not been re-bored and that the damage was still there, from when the engine failed previously.

The mechanic showed me the cylinder head gasket, which had a section missing from where it sits between cylinders 3 & 4. He showed also showed me a crack on the head between cylinders 3 & 4. This is what has caused low compression and the cooling system to pressurise – the bubbling which had been reported to the original mechanic. The work on my sons car was a disgrace.

My advice to anyone looking for work on an engine or gearbox in West Cumbria is to steer well clear of back-street mechanics and to use reputable firms.

The car is now fully operational, thanks to a local firm of engineers that knew what they were doing.

About @Sean


I’m a constant work in progress, and easily distracte…

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