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1.9 2006 T5 125,000 miles.

Hi All

I've read through the other coolant issues and mine sounds very familiar. I'm here for confirmation of symptoms really and wondering if what the AA dude did has caused further damage.

When I had an MOT and service the garage noticed the Intercooler was bowing and recommended I have it replaced. So I did.
A couple of days later my coolant light comes on and my coolant starts to disappear. Not on small running around town type trips but on longer journeys.
Called AA man out to a trip from Penzance as I was leaking a reasonable amount by the time I hit Exeter.
He didn't find any leaks after pressure testing but thought the expansion cap was popping far too early. Though he did test on a cold engine by this time. In hindsight I think I should have gone a junction up and back to then let him look at it.
So he filled the expansion cap with sealant so it wouldn't pop and told me to keep an eye on my temp and if it goes up pull straight over (as a get you home type fix).
A couple of top ups within half an hour and I needed a new radiator (unsure if its related to the AA dude's fix or just coincidence) as I found a definite leak which he didn't but then he did pressure test on a cold engine and it was fine. Though of course I did actually have a leak as I'd topped up 3ltrs from Penzance to Exeter
Radiator was replaced the following morning and expansion cap on tank replaced as well.
From Exeter I got most of the way through France and my level warning light came on again :eek:
Topped up and didn't get very far before it came on again.
Topped up again and drove slower and all was well with the world and I made it to Italy with no more issues.
When in Italy absolutely no issues at all, though this was small journeys only.
Naively thinking everything was fine and dandy (don't really know what I was thinking) I headed back to UK and after a few hundred miles I had to top up again, and this continued all the way back every 200 or 300 miles.
Took it back to the original garage that did the intercooler and he thinks it's either:
Water Pump
Cylinder Head
Head Gasket

So this is where I am now trying to figure out what's the best way to go. These are what I think are the relevant symptoms:

Water is flowing from both pipes back into the expansion tank ok. I'd like it to be the water pump but as there is flow from the pipes does that mean that the water pump will definitely be OK?
I have a grey 'discharge' of some type floating in my expansion tank
I have pressure in the expansion tank first thing in the morning which I can release (is that normal?)
I get some white smoke out the back on starting cold in the morning
No residue on oil cap or expansion cap threads

I have the issue now of not being able to release the van over Xmas to be worked on as I've loads of running around to do.

1. What's the best way forward from here?
2. Did the AA man's fix cause some of my issues or were they there anyway? I don't suppose there is any way of actually knowing but I wondered if the sealed expansion cap caused more than showing the leak in my radiator to be definite?
3. I'm no mechanic by the way so if terminology is incorrect I apologise in advance.

Any help would be very much appreciated.
 

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Hi, mine was losing water with only a small trace of sludge on the inside of the oil cap it was losing about the same as yours. The water pump was one problem as it runs through an oil gallery, hense some water in the oil. It was also leaking water from the tubular manifold which runs over the top of the engine. Had both replaced and its been fine since. Hope this is of some help.
 
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