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Oil/coolant contamination - timing belt fault?


New Member
Sep 23, 2019
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To cut a long story short, I purchased a 1.6 THO 2011 plate RCZ back in January next year and I love it to absolute bits but dear god, has it been nothing but trouble!

Less than a month after I purchased the car it went in for a whole host of issues including a new fuel pump and various other work that cost the dealership over £2k! (Thankfully that was covered by warranty)

The day I drove the car off the forecourt the dreaded engine management light came on and after much time and expense on trying to resolve the issue, the engine management still flickers on and off to this day.

Now the car has gone in again for the second time relating to a contamination issue and oil leak. Now when this was last the problem, the garage resolved it (we think) by glassing it and replacing the coolant. Either way the warranty paid up and the car was back on the road in a matter of days.

Here comes the problem, a week or so before Christmas the oil light came on and after lifting the bonnet we noticed that the coolant had yet again become contaminated with the oil.

Naively thinking the process would be as straight forward as last time (although no less irritating), it now appears that the garage want £266 to run a diagnostics test on the timing belt and the dealership I purchased it from are refusing to pay for this to be done.

Now, my late father was a mechanic, I am not. However my father in law is a hobby mechanic and he does not see the correlation between contamination and any issues with the timing belt. He thinks, and I'm inclined to agree, that the garage did a bodge job last time the car went in (April, 2019) and they're not willing to own up to it.

Nonetheless, the car is still there several weeks later while I am faced with no option but to fork out for these tests to be run, with a likely outcome of either;
A. Having wasted time and money, it has nothing to do with the timing belt.
B. It is a timing belt issue - and this is not covered under warranty.

For reference purposes the car has done approx. 82,000 miles on the clock. I'm reliably informed that RCZ's are common to have timing belt issues around this age.

Can anyone explain how or why the timing belt could be the cause of this? And if so, is this likely to be an expensive job?

I'm inclined to take the car somewhere else for a second opinion but risk validating the warranty and obviously I don't want this to happen.

Any advice would be so much appreciated.



Staff member
May 7, 2014
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Firstly sorry to hear of your problems 😢 the THP use a-timing chain not a belt and they are a weak area of this engine but I just can’t see how a timing problem can create oil / water contamination most obvious cause is a blown head gasket which isn’t uncommon on this engine.
I think your probably right by saying the original fix was a bodge, probably with a radiator leak sealant.
Hope you get a resolution soon keep us informed on how you get on.


Apr 4, 2012
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Hi there,

It could be a blown head gasket. But it doesn't have to be that way. Blown head gasket can be verified quite easily (open the coolant reservoir, start the engine and see if air bubbles come up when revving up. This is a cheap do-it-yourself test).

The other reason for engine oil in coolant could be the oil cooler. When it leaks, it does so into the coolant. Not uncommon this kind of issue. A check is also easy to accomplish.


Well-Known Member
Sep 7, 2014
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I concur with the above comments.

There is no way that a timing chain issue can be causing oil contamination of your coolant system. To my knowledge, there is no direct connection of the oil lubrication system for the timing chain to the coolant system for the car.