Possible head gasket issues?

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Possible head gasket issues?
#1
Hey all, I've got a DW8 powered 306 which I'm having some strange issues with - I bought it off a chap (who was on here I think at one point...) knowing that the car had a suspected head gasket problem, now it would use water quite slowly and wasn't smoky from the exhaust nor was there any mayo from the oil cap, what I did find when pressure testing was a split in the hose going to the back (heater matrix, possibly?) of the bulk head, I cut this and repaired it and a pressure test was carried out again and it was as it should be - left for some time on idle it got to good temperature and didn't use fluids.

a couple of days later we drove it 40 miles up the road and got stuck in some traffic, the car perhaps raised the gauge to between 95-100c and the fan kicked in bringing it back down to around 80c it had used some coolant, but certainly not all of it, just enough to notice a difference though.

I sent it off to another garage who did a pressure and chemical test on it, which came back fine - one of the rear hoses was hard which my mechanic suspected the head has gone but this actually sorted itself out, which led him to believe there was a block somewhere which had perhaps shifted. I had the timing belt and water pump done on it.

Taking it out the other day, I gave it some welly around town where the roads were clear and it stayed at about 75c consistently ( 20-25 minute drive).

We have found that the coolant bottle seems to stay at around a quarter of fluid each time we've checked it / filled it up.... 

Is it new head time? Or is there something else going on?

Thanks in advance.
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#2
These can be quite difficult for getting all of the air outside the cooling system. As far as I know when a head gasket goes on an XUD (or DW8 for the matter) its quite dramatic and I don't believe it has repaired itself by any chance.


Also, the electric earth issues can cause all kinds of a erroneous temp readings on the gauge. Just to be sure, connect additional ground wire from the negative terminal of the battery to position that is close to the temp sensor for the gauge. At least you will know the temp indicated is not influenced by the voltage drops on the earth system.
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#3
From a little more time with the car, what I have found is that if you top the coolant all the way to the maximum indicator, it'll use/lose the fluid down to a quarter of the expansion tank, it'll stay here without losing any more - I assume this is pressure in the system?
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#4
Tank sitting at a quarter full when cold sounds normal to me.
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