I had the STOP flashing light and audible alarm come on. Tried to limp home but lost power and finally conked out. On inspection I've had a leak from one of the hoses on the coolant system and the car will not restart even after putting more coolant in. I fear the worst - cylinder head/gasket. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Ideas? Sure. STOP means just that. A tow is cheaper than rebuilding a motor.
As someone who regularly gets up to their elbows in automotive escapades, I suggest (without any knowledge of the year, or engine, or mileage, or pre-history) that you have knackered the head gasket. Damage beyond that will reflect which engine you have; a wet liner block may have suffered at the liner bases or experienced bore scuffing. I saw a Toyota van motor the other week which had melted some sensors on the block as it overheated. (It's back on the road now.)
A thorough machine shop will test the head to see if there's lost hardness, but this defect is uncommon. At the very least, budget for a skim, new gasket, head bolts and a bottle of Forté stop leak additive at the end of all recovery procedures.
Cooking a motor makes the oil leave nice deposits on overheated parts, so an oil flush is something worth considering. Similarly, the coolant passages often release material when run dry and hot, so power flushing/backflushing your radiator is also good to do.
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As above, probably cooked the head gasket and possibly cracked the head now. Get a compression test before you rip the head off. May be a simple fix
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