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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys and thanks in advance for any help.

My car is a 51 plate Astra. 1.6 ecotec, 16 valve. Recently was running a bit s**t with a misfire on cylinder 4 and burning oil pretty badly blue smoke from tailpipe intermittently.

I thought I'd go ahead and service it and hope for the best. Changed all filters flushed the oil refilled with new and better quality oil. Upon changing the spark plugs, plug 4 was broken with the white insulation bit at the spark end having a chunk missing I thought hey that was the problem all along. Replaced all plugs now it's running alot better engine is smooth doesn't tick and fairly good for its age just over 95k on the clock. Anyway cut the crap now it's running properly it's burning through oil like a b***h! (over 4 litres in 3 days which covered about 12 miles). My neighbour is a mechanic and he saying my head gasket it gone, but I'm not losing any coolant. I trust him as he's not out to make money and willing to help me by fitting a new head gasket for free if I buy the kit and get it compression tested and skimmed. Could a bad head gasket be the cause of such massive amounts of oil to be burned? And is there anything else worth replacing whilst we are in there, besides valve stem seals which will be getting done aswell as he said these could be the culprit. It's now running with engine light on giving a code for random misfire which I'm.guessing is because.of the oil being burnt. Just hoping for a few more opinions before we crack on and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance!
 

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I would guess* because I'm not a mechanic, the piston rings have been damaged in cylinder 4, by debris from spark plug, or cylinder/block is scored, or both, this is allowing oil into the compression side.

Just my guess though.
 

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Do s compression test first before going any further.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply guys.

I did suspect piston rings but was told I would hear tapping or some noise if.pistons or rings were bad.

It was really a small peice of spark plug that was broken off he said it probably came out when I flushed oil but he thinks it has damaged head gasket when it broke off. Is this possible? And are there any other possible causes of burning oil can it get into the cylinders.through.a.broken gasket?

Also will the compression test tell me what's wrong, I should definitely do the compression test before buying.gasket kit?

How much more work is.involved in piston rings as compared to head gasket?

Sorry for all the questions but I really wanna keep my car she has been good to me until now
 

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Cheaper to get a guaranteed engine and fit that than mess about with a engine rebuild.Just make sure it guarenteed not to but oil excessively. 1.2lt/1000 mile is what vx quote as average oil consumption for this engine so bear that in mind.
 

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Given the ammount of oil I'd say the valve guides need checking, valve stem seals need renewing, pistons taking out and grooves cleaned and new rings fitted. Then a inspection of the bore and re-hone. If your going to repair this engine then do the lot for a guarenteed fix. All bearing/shells should be checked and replaced and crank reground if needed. I suppose the cost depends on how far you want to go to inspect the engine. If it turns out to be just stem seals and rings then I suspect about £180 in parts. Guides would be extra cost.
 
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Also check cam shaft seals aren't leaking and any engine breather valves/hoses as these maybe clogged causing you to burn more oil, i wouldn't have thought it'd be as much as your losing though.
You could also check for play in pistons by bringing them to tdc and checking for play with a long bit of wood or screwdriver moving in a side to side motion through the plug holes.
It's not conclusive but if there's any play you can be sure it's a ring and it doesn't cost anything to check.
When my rings went on cylinder 1 it was undeniably loud tapping but i got the car after it had developed.
When i stripped the engine after replacing there were bits of ring everywhere, air intake manifold was full of metal the oil and everything.
Oil is a good place to start diagnostics on draining looking for shimmery metal shavings in the bottom of the catch pan.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi thanks for the replies. When I drained the oil it just seemed normal no metal or anything inside it just darker than it was when it went in.

Am I right in thinking it would be making some noise if there was a piston / ring problem because it sounds great for its age. Sorry to be a pain but I've one last question.

Here's my mechanics plan. Remove the head at home (I'm guessing at this point we will see whether there's any head gasket failure?) take it to get pressure tested and re skim. Clean up the mess inside engine. New head gasket and bolts or whatever on. See if it fixes her. At any point during this process will we be able to identify if it is piston rings? With us taking the head off to a rebuild centre to be tested and skimmed will they be able to identify if it's rings?

Sorry if it's a dumb question but I don't know an awful lot about cars hence coming to this very useful website.

Thanks again.
 

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IF hes taking the head off got him to drop the sump off and remove the pistons. Not worth not doing while the heads off in my opinion. 9/10 its just stuck scraper rings due to carbon build up.
 

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If you are taking the head off then you can certainly check the piston rings for play or degradation as they sit right below the head.

I would rather get a leak down test first though as that will tell you where you are losing oil. If your mechanic can perform this then it will be money well spent rather than shell out on parts you might not need.
Do the checks that cost the least first in your diagnosis.
If still going ahead with top end removal it might not need skimming if head not warped. You can check with a steel rule and feeler guages and also check if you need new head bolts after.
 

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Silly question did you use the correct grade of oil, I had a cavalier once that if I use Castrol GTX it would burn it, if I used a different brand it was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yea I use 10w - 40, did buy a more.expensive shell one than I.normally buy though.after the service but it was still 10-40.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok I also need to add that the engine is running bang on besides the oil guzzling, sometimes it jerks violently on acceleration like I'm dipping the clutch when I aren't. Does this point to piston rings just need the best idea I can before I start throwing money at it.
 
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