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Discussion Starter #1
Very first post and it's quite a biggy. I drive a Lag II 2.2 dCi Sport Tourer on a '52 plate with 54k on the clock (mechanic raised his eyebrows at the mileage but the documents line up ok so who knows?) which I bought from a trader about 12 mths ago with around 42k. Had a couple of fuel injection warning lights around Christmas time which after a trip to dealer resulted in a free replacement EGR pipe and a valve clean up. After intermittent fuel injection warning lights every now and again which dissappear when I switch off the ignition and back on again and blowing the dipstick out a couple of times along with some dirty exhaust when changing gear (especially if my timing was a poor), I drove around for a couple of months like a grandad (didn't like to go above about 2200rpm). My 54K service is due so I took it to a local independant Renault specialist that had been recommended. Thats where I got the raised eyebrows. I realise there aren't too many causes of blowing a dipstick, it comes down to blocked breathers or too much blowby past the rings. Bad news was it turned out the breathers were clear. Worse news is one of the cylinders was holding virtually no compression. Valves then? maybe the hydraulic lifters (I'm told) were not operating correctly. Not great but OK lets have a look. Cam Cover and Intake Manifold off (all one unit) and an exhaust valve looks in a bad way. I got a sinking feeling. Cylinder off and the picture is revealed. Detonation on a big scale. The Piston Crown is burned away quite badly including some land. The Bore is scored and may not hone sufficiently to get a good seal in future. One of the Exhaust Valves is burned through around 15% of the circumference and so too is the valve seat. It appears the head itself is too affected to risk trying to fit a new seat. The best guess is a dodgy injector spraying fuel in such a way that detonation occurred. So I may well need to replace either whole engine or might get away with just the head. This is where I need help (apart from being told to look into warning lights a litttle sooner) has anyone any ideas ref where to source good used or recon from? I don't want to give Renault £4k for an Engine or £2k+ for a new Head (excluding fitting). The web wants around £2k for a used engine and I can't track down a cylinder head. Any help would be appreciated on the sourcing and any advice on ensuring the mechanic finds and rectifies route cause and warnings of anything else that might have been affected by this unfortunate failure. Sorry for the essay but it might help someone avoid :eek: hefty bill.
 

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Schmooster- Those guys couldn't help - which is a shame if you look at my update below!
Update on this problem - Didn't go well. My mechanic sourced a cyl. head from a Master van which had thrown a rod. Head costs around £250 plus his time to check and swap etc (changed cam belt while he was about it). He first ran up the engine one evening and let it idle with no problems. Next morning ran the engine again for a few minutes but engine started to slow and squeek at which point he keyed off. It now appears the intake cam has siezed in the head. Unfortunately, it was a second hand head with no warranty. He managed to get an agreement to get the money back for the head but not his time - D'OH! He's going to take it appart to investigate the route cause of the failure. before I try to source a recon head (I've located 2 sources both with 12 months warranty - one at £558 and the other at £704 - if anyone is interested) I would be very interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar seizure. alternatively, any advice on what to look at would be welcome.
 

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An original suspicion turned out to be correct. There was debris in one of the cam caps which according to an engineer the mechanic consulted did no permanent damage - good news. So the head was put back together and the engine restarted or rather, the engine would not start!. Why not ? you might ask (as I did). Don't know was the answer. Lots of investigation ensued including the replacement of crank and cam sensors, after which still no joy. So the local diesel specialist was drafted in to take a look which included compression and leak tests. Several days later I got a call -- Good news, the engine started.... Bad news, we had to tow it to get it to start. Worse news, this replacement head (from a renault master van) is not compatible with my engine due to differing combustion chamber form in the head altering the required compression ration (or something like that - it wasn't fully clear to me). So if I would be so good as to buy one of those recon heads I found on't thinterweb they will fit it for me (no extra charge). I don't really understand why it started ok when the head was first fitted (before seizure) but won't now -- any ideas? Is the margin for error so small? could the ratio be put right by skimming the head/block (ensuring valve clearance to piston is still safe) or going the other way, using a different head gasket (thicker)? Would these be ticking timebombs until a major failure resulted?
All the best. PJD
 

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I would bite the bullet and buy the correct head for the engine,then get shot of the car.:(

It sounds like 'one of those cars',if you know what I mean,and if you can afford to,part ex it against something else.There is still no gaurantee that if you spend all this money to repair the engine that the original cause of the failure is fixed and that it won't happen again.

Just my opinion,mind.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Probably not much benefit to members, but the saga continues. Eventually, I got the mechanic to talk to the recon head supplier to ensure there were no problems with the spec of the head and after requesting some measurements which the mechanic sent, I ordered the head. £610 later, the head turned up at the mechanics. I then got a call to say the head was fitted but the injectors didn’t fit!! The mechanic wasn’t best pleased, he’s had to try to claim his time and the cost of a new cyl head gasket. The supplier have accepted responsibility and were supposed to send the correct head plus a replacement gasket but that was yesterday but the mechanic won’t be able to get around to fitting it until Monday but nothing had turned up. I was supposed to get a call when the head arrived but haven’t heard anything. I just hope the mechanic measures the injector holes before fitting the head this time. It’s been over 8 weeks since the car went in for a routine 54K service with admittedly a fault appearing but I’m thoroughly fed up with the chain of events. I need a good excuse to get a trader to swap the Laguna for something similar without smelling a rat…. Any suggestions?
All the best. PJD.
 

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Update - The recon head was fitted monday with injectors and intake manifold yesterday. I got a call yesterday tea-time to say the engine will not start under it's own power. When tow started, it starts OK and runs perfectly with no problems showing on the diagnostics apparently. This is a recurrence of the problem after the first replaccment head siezed and was then 'freed' and re-fitted. I was told that was due to slight differences in the combustion chamber size/shape. I fear he's going to say take the thing away and don't come back..... by the way here is a bill for £1500. The local diesel expert is to be consulted again today so I've got everything crossed that he can identify the cause. The mechanic does not belive going to the Renault dealer is going to help as the local man specialises in Bosch diesel systems and has more equipment that th edealer would have. Plus at £90/hour the bill could sky rocket. Has anyone any ideas I can pass on to the mechanic? During a conversation with an aquaintance last night, he told me the problem sounded very similar to a frind of his who had a diesel Galaxy and spent nearly £2K trying to fix it only to find the replacement of some simple and inexpensive component fixed the problem (only it was quite right after that so he PX'd it.
 

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Next installment.... The mechanic informed me that the supplier of the recon head had the intake and exhaust cam sprockets switched around the wrong way as they are almost identical. This lead to the timing being slightly awry just enough to prevent normal starting but not enough to to be obvious when running after a tow start. I pick the thing up tomorrow a total of £1510-00 lighter and still hoping that someone has a great way of pursuading a large dealer to 'swap' it for something similar. By the way any recomendations for the 'swap' I can't affords to put much cash towards the replacement... maybe £1k tops If I assume an approximate trade in or private sale value of £5.5K, whats good to go fro £6.5k? I'd be sad to see it go as there are good points to the car but the poor reliability worries me. I fancy a Mazda Xedos 9 2.3 Miller for much less money (much older too -1998-2000ish) but would hazard a guess that the running costs (excluding fuel) would be even more nightmarish than the Lag. I'm one of those people who like to drive something just a little different, but not exotic, otherwise I'd have bought a Mondeo TDCi 130 instead of the Lag.....Ah well, you live but rarely learn (well I probably won't anyway).
All the best. PJD
 
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