Fiat coolant leeking - please advise

Hi folks, your much needed advice please:
I have a problem with my Punto loosing coolant and wanted to know the checks to carry out. Here's the symptoms:
1. Coolant needs topping up every 50 miles or so. 2. In car heaters have been blowing cold sometimes (dired result of low coolant I think) 3. When car overheats - all systems seem to react accordingly, i.e. light on dash, power dies, fan kicks in (all be it a little late). 4. This happens on both long and short journeys, although now I'm keeping mileage to a minimum until this is sorted.
Here's what I've done:
1. Treated with Radweld 1 week ago, but level has dropped again 2. Checked for head gasget problems but cannot see it is that, as in no 'mayonaise' on the oil filler cap, cannot see water on the dipstick and no signs of water vapour coming out of the exhaust. 3. Had a machanic check the radiator for leeks but to no avail.
Has anyone got anymore suggestions please before I fork out for a new head gasket?
Thanks
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Check the waterpump.
I'm assuming this is the 1.2 FIRE engine? - waterpump on those is a known weakness and caused me no end of issues with our Cinquecento.
However, if you're confident to tackle a cambelt change, then it's a couple of hours work to replace the pump.
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Providied there's no external leaks visible, then it's likely the head gasket. From experience the head gaskets go between a cylinder and the water jacket (ie. no water/oil contamination). Does it show signs of a slight misfire at anytime?
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Head gasket.

No, no, no, never, ever use that stuff. It just blocks up everything.

Nope, you may well not.

If you can't see any obvious leaks, then it'll be the head gasket. last place I worked, we were doing three a week. I'll bet it's done about 30k miles too?
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Thanks for the advice. The car has done 80k miles, alot for a W reg. I'm not a mechanic so don't know about the waterpump type or changing the cambelt. Any ideas how much I should expect to pay for a head gasket and fitting? I know a couple of people who could do it, but don't want to get ripped off. IT is my speciaility!!
Thanks again folks Matt
wrote:

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I paid 230 all done IIRC. Al
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Wow, 80k!!!
Definitely overdue for a gasket to go, and lucky you've never had the belt break too.
Main dealer may charge around 350. Don't go for a skim unless it's absolutely necessary, these don;t run well after a skim.
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Piffling. That's about two years use for many drivers.
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Not in a 1.2 Punto it isn't.
Although I managed it in a 1.1 Cinq, so it is possible.
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Yes, a W reg Punto is about expired at 80k. An old Punto 75 or 85 is a better bet - *if* you really have to choose a Fiat at all.
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On Mon, 25 Oct 2004 22:09:00 +0100, Andy Hewitt wrote:

Are Fiat's really that dire?
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Okay it's all about personal preference but I really can't agree.
I've had 3 Uno's and 2 Punto's ranging from 87E to 97P and the only one that gave any real grief was the oldest. The first 2 years was good but the last 4 months it spent all it's time telling us it wanted to sleep. By the time it died it had 162k on the clock. There was rust on the rear arches and the bottom of the doors had been eaten away.
We then had a 88F for 6 months (bought for 50 with 6 months test, sold for 180 with 12 months MOT).
The last Uno was a 93K with 26k on the clock and in the 3 years we had it I changed the battery. Nothing else (apart from servicing), and it went through the test first time.
The two Puntos we've had have not been as much fun to own but have been reliable and economical and cheap to maintain/service.
We're now looking at the newer style for a bargain, 1.2 probably but diesel 1.7 if cheap enough.
krystnors
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I wouldn't if I were you.
Build quality and reliability took a dive with the MkII Punto.
I was very tempted to buy one, until Andy told me all about the problems he's seen on them. Mainly related to the 'body computer' which seems to control everything from interior lights to the girlie steering button.
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Oh yes, first sign is a failed L/H headlight. They are about 450, only available from Fiat, and only programmeable by Fiat, they are double coded so the body computer has to match the main ECU, and they get ordered from Italy to VIN number and take about a month to arrive. If you're really lucky they will even programme in first attempt, and you won't have to wait another month for another one to arrive.
Not to mention they never fixed the head gasket problems, some had a second failure by 30k miles.
Oh, and the leccy steering will almost certainly fail, another 500 please sir.
The handbrakes still don't work, and the shoes get replaced at 20k miles.
Need I go on? It's why I specifically sought a Honda dealer to work for when I moved.
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Lazy barsteward ;-)
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from snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net (Andy Hewitt) contains these words:

It must get very depression, trying to explain to punters why their car's a heap of unreliable nuts and bolts.
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You have no idea, it was this period of time I left the newsgroup. Last year I was all but prepared to leave the motor trade altogether.
The old Mondeos are not a patch on these things for crapness ;-)
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diesel
We had a MKI Punto for a while with next to no problems. The MKII we only had for a short while - not long enough for any problems to rear their head really. The MKII paintwork seemed very 'thin' and the interior more plasticy, but we never put that down to a general deteriation in build quality.
What specific faults did he mention - or is the list too long to bother with?
krystnors
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See his post....
MkIs are very solid and reliable cars, IMHO - saw _loads_ of them in various states of repair in Portugal last week, some looked very worse for wear but were still working. Probably ex-holiday hire hacks.
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Agreed, although I don't like Fiats, the MK1 Punto isn't a bad buy for the right price. They do get head gaskets go, but they are easy to fix. The cambelts break, but they are a safe engine, and it takes less than an hour to fix. The rear arm bushes can get expensive though, but only after about 60k.
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