Cracked Head - Does this sound right? I was gifted a 1996 Holden Commodore VS V6 Equippe 18 months ago by my employer (he was getting a new car). It currently has 290,000km on the clock. This is for use as a family car (three kids). I drive very conservatively at all times, putting minimum stress (as far as I am concerned) on the car - it has to last as we are a single income family. Daily work/school roundtrip is 80km or so. Over the last four months we have had many issues with it. Over three seperate incidents, the serpentine belt has failed twice, the pulley tensioner (?), all pulleys, harmonic balancer, power steering pump, some other pulley mechanism (I forget) have all failed and been replaced with new parts. Two weeks ago while driving down the freeway, I pulled over when the heat gauge moved to 5/10 bars (instead of the usual 3/10). As I did, I heard a "thwack!" and steam poured out. RACQ towed me to a different mechanic than my usual, who diagnosed a failed heater/water tap (vacuum pump) and replaced it. From that point on, the car started to idle rough for 5-20 seconds on cold start - ran smooth after that however. I took the car that same day to my usual mechanic, who said the repair was OK, oil/coolant were OK but he topped them to full anyway. Booked for a service in a weeks time. It never made that week. Five days later, the heat gauge crept to 6/10 bars. I pulled over, let it rest then drove off with the aircon on (to force the radiator fan to go). Over 20 minutes, it ctept to 7/10 bars. At that point I pulled over and got towed home by RACQ. Having had a blown head gasket previously in another car, I checked the oil for milky residue at home - none. I checked the coolant for signs of discoloration, none I could see. I took it to my regular mechanic again, who tells me he did a compression test - bubbles in the coolant, he says the engine has a cracked head - and he recommends scrapping the car and getting another one. Or getting a second hand engine replacement (which is the path we have opted for) but the cost for this is pretty excessive. I don't understand how the engine of our car has a cracked head - I never let the heat gauge climb all the way up to full, I understand its an all cast iron block and head, and apart from the brief rough idle on cold start and the heat creep it runs fairly smoothly. I generally think the mechanic I am dealing with is fairly honest, but this is alot of money (already spent, and to be spent) Does the diagnostic (and recommendations) I am getting here sound right?