300TE head gasket?

I've got a 1988 300TE 12 valve auto (UK model) and whenever the revs go over 4,000 (yes, I know - I drive it on Sport mode everywhere) I get a puff of
smoke.
Also, oil's being used up and there's a creamy deposit in the coolant reservoir.
Could the head gasket be gone? If so, is it serious? What sort of cost is involved?
Thanks
David
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Creamy Deposit... Thats water mixed with oil. Sometimes its just condensation if the car is not driven very often, although not if its oil in the coolant water.
Usually you will get water in the oil pan as the water side is presurised, but its not unknown to get oil into the cooling sytem. This could be a leaking gasket or a small crack somewhere. If its not getting water into the oil pan, it will run for a while. However too much oil in the water will make it more like glue than water and will clog the radiator if it gets bad enough.
Smoke out of the exhaust at higher revs, usually indicated worn cylinder bores, and or rings, its where the rings are losing contact with the cylinder walls and letting some oil into the combustion chamber.
Pistons have 2 compression rings and 1 (3 piece) oil ring, these work in different ways. The compression rings ( solid top ones) stop gases leaking past them into the oil pan. These seal best on compression stroke. Take the oil cap off an older engine and put your hand over it, and you will usually feel some pressure.
Oil rings consist of 2 very thin rails with a wavey spacer, this scrapes the oil off the cylinder walls and prevents it from getting up to the compresion rings. The oil drains back through the wavey part of the ring set. They leave a little oil on the walls to keep everything lubed up, but not a lot.
Oil is splashing about everywhere inside an engine while it is running, keeping everything slippery and carrying away heat. some con rods have little holes in them that will spray oil onto the cylinder walls. There is also a lot of oil going therough the bearings, that just leaks out the sides. If the con rod bearings or con rod journals of an engine wear into an oval shape, this actually pumps oil through the bearings. This lets too much oil get onto the cylinder walls, and the oil rings just can not keep up.
Short answer the more you lean on an engine the shorter lifespan they have.
David Lane wrote:

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Thanks. I know - but my belief is that an engine's there to be used. However, it does make running costs higher!
It's booked in for a check next week anyway.
David

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Your symptoms in a mazda I had led to the replacement of the complete head and camshaft, fix it ASAP.
cp
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Thanks. I've got it booked in for a check next week.
David

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Head gasket 300TE. In the left front of the row 6 cyl. block there are two openings, one for oil and one for coolage. If the the head gasket leakes in that spot you may get coolant mixed into the oil, giving the result you describe. This is a well known problem to the W124 and when it happens you have to change the gasket.
Regards Tve .91 300TE
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Thanks
The problem seems to have stopped but the head's coming off at the next service in 1500 miles.
David

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