Blown Head Gasket (was:Power loss and white smoke)

George Fairbanks fairbanks at
Tue Apr 11 16:51:35 EDT 2006

If indeed it is a blown head gasket, what do I need to tell my mechanic 
about our cars specifically?

  - A couple people have recommended using a metal gasket instead of the 
stock paper one -- is this an Audi part that replaces the old one or an 
aftermarket upgrade?

  - The old postings on the topic indicate that the motor mounts are 
easy to change at this point and I'd be happy to have those replaced too.

  - Anything else while it's all apart?

  - Or any gotchas for him to look out for?

I know a lot of us have cars with around 200k miles and a fair number of 
them are chipped.  I hope this won't be an increasingly common topic on 
the list.  I've had no serious problems until now and have been super 
happy with the car's reliability.  And I don't get to drive the car hard 
except for about once every three months.

Regarding the questions about the grunk noise and power loss, it was 
more like a hesitation or dip in power, not an cutoff.

Consider me admonished for driving the car after the white smoke.  Off 
list, Doug sent me these scary pictures:

> Ahh, here we go:
> and  Now, these are
> only the 10valve motors, but the same theory applies.  Sorry if I
> scared you too much.

Thanks again for all of your helpful responses,


Ben Swann wrote:
> You have a head gastket leak.  I've seen this before and although the car
> seems to run fine now, at some point things will blow catastrophically.  You
> have been lucky so far.  The extra pressure on the system will likely blow a
> few things out and everything goes down hill quickly - busted open heater
> valve, blown hoses, and last but not least -  warped head!  All of this will
> happen at once when engine is hot and the rapid loss of coolant will do
> damage.
> Don't take any more chances, tow it to someone who will do the job if you
> can't and get it fixed before it goes critical!
> You should probably have the head pulled and checked as there may already be
> a problem.  No need to have the job done twice.
> Ben 
> benswann at
> 83 urq, /[][] =oooo= [][]\ alpine and Inga
> '90 Coupe Quattro (==\ oooo /==) ES2 Conversion
> 91 200qa20v, [ =!\=oooo=/!= ] avant and sedan
> [Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 10:09:59 -0400
> From: George Fairbanks <fairbanks at>
> Subject: Re: Power loss and white smoke
> To: Peter Schulz <pcschulz at>
> Cc: 200q20V mailing list <200q20v at>
> Message-ID: <443BB8B7.2020000 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> I've checked the coolant this morning and the level is low (it was full 
> Thursday) and it looks dark.  Since I didn't check it earlier, I don't 
> know if my 240 mile drive Sunday evening (where the car was driving 
> fine) contributed to the decline, or if it was a one-time leak.  It's 
> weird that I haven't seen any smoke since that first time Sunday at noon.
> I started up the car this morning and the exhaust is clean and I'm not 
> seeing any bubbles in the coolant tank.  I've made an appointment for my 
> mechanic to look at it tomorrow.
> Looking through the archives it seems that a couple other listers have 
> replaced their head gaskets.  I'm not completely without mechanical 
> skills but doing a head gasket myself is not going to happen.  The car 
> has been running great otherwise and I'm hoping that even if it needs a 
> head gasket I can justify the price.
> Thank you all for your help,
> -George
> Peter Schulz wrote:
>> IMHO, I would not agree with Bernie about the longetivity of the 
>> headgasket, especially the non metal ones..
>> Over time and multiple previous owners, who can ensure that the head 
>> has not overheated?  Are you going to trust the MFTS? LOL
>> Increased boost pressure with an upgraded cheap can reduce a 
>> compromised headgasket's life even further...
>> Audi eventually went to a metal headgasket, but I still observed that 
>> as late as 1995 they still used the paper type ones on the S6 AAN motor.
>> I've observed a number of failures first and second hand...ask my 
>> friend Ray Tomlinson....
>> -Peter
>> At 11:17 PM 4/10/2006, Bernie Benz wrote:
>>> Alan,
>>> My post copies are not going to the list, so if you wish to repost this
> for
>>> list FYI, OK.
>>> IMO, I5 head gaskets are bullet proof and not age dependent, unless the
>>> engine has been overheated enough to warp the head, which can cause
>>> immediate failure unless the head has been planed.
>> -Peter Schulz
>> Chelmsford Ma, USA]

More information about the 200q20v mailing list