I had all the symptoms of a head gasket issue in my Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 ltr (2012) A14XER Engine.

  1. Mayonnaise like white/light brown sludge everywhere. Rocker cover, Oil Dipstick, Oil Filler Cap. Attached an image of the rocker cover gasket after removal.enter image description here

  2. Coolant loss. I would have to basically top up coolant every trip because every time I check the next morning , the coolant level would be so low as almost empty from the Coolant expansion tank and coolant isn't leaking outside as Ive never encountered any coolant drips externally.

  3. Steam coming out of the tailpipe even after a long trip. Would be really visible on colder nights especially.

That being said, the car ran smoothly, no issues whatsoever except for an engine oil light indicating low oil pressure.

So I removed the engine head today and inspected the head gasket and to me it looked fine. There was no visible damage to the gasket so Im wondering what could have cause so much coolant leak/burn/oil mix in the engine to give me all of those symptoms. Attaching images of the head gasket from 3 different perspectives.

Gasket right side up view: enter image description here

Gasket upside down view: enter image description here

Gasket horizontal view: enter image description here

It could be a warped head which I need to get it tested, but if the head is not warped or the engine block is not warped, what else could cause the above symptoms.

  • You need to check both the head and the block to ensure the mating surfaces are flat. Also, just because you don't see any issues with the gasket, doesn't mean there wasn't any. Other than that, is there an oil cooler on the car? That could have cause the issue, possibly. If you were seeing constant white smoke out of the tailpipe, it's usually a VERY good indication there's a problem at the headgasket. Feb 28, 2021 at 13:29
  • Lots of short trips with the engine never getting hot could easily cause all the white mayo... And there could be a coolant leak - best way to check is a pressure test but you will need to check all the pipes during reassembly now.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 28, 2021 at 14:17
  • Have you identified which of the holes in the gasket are for water and which are for oil?
    – HandyHowie
    Feb 28, 2021 at 16:56
  • The tan mayo is oil + water /antifreeze emulsion . So oil and water are being churned up together. Feb 28, 2021 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


Not sure if this is the right answer but I took my engine cylinder head to the machine shop and they said that the head was warped between cylinder 2 and 3. I skimmed the head flat and put it all back together and I am no longer having coolant loss and my issue seems to have been resolved.

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