MG-Rover.org Forums banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
mg_tf
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All, As the Title suggests, What are the Reasons for the K-Series Head Gasket Failing and Just how common is it?

This was my biggest worry when buying an MG and i'm almost scared to drive her properly in case i literally "blow a gasket" (excuse the pun)

I had my car to three garages i use regularly and they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair.

What i'd like to know is what percentage of these engines are liable to fail?

What should i be looking out for as an indicator that the Head Gasket has blown / is about to blow.

Is there anything i can do to limit the chances that it will hapen to me, precautions i should take etc

If the head gasket was to blow, how much would i be looking at £ wise to have it repaired/replaced?

Also, this is the first car i have ever had that has an oil temerature gauge. Most of my other cars have had oil pressure instead? Is this relevant in the head gasket issue?

Cheers

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,042 Posts
Hi All, As the Title suggests, What are the Reasons for the K-Series Head Gasket Failing and Just how common is it?

This was my biggest worry when buying an MG and i'm almost scared to drive her properly in case i literally "blow a gasket" (excuse the pun)

I had my car to three garages i use regularly and they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair.

What i'd like to know is what percentage of these engines are liable to fail?

What should i be looking out for as an indicator that the Head Gasket has blown / is about to blow.

Is there anything i can do to limit the chances that it will hapen to me, precautions i should take etc

If the head gasket was to blow, how much would i be looking at £ wise to have it repaired/replaced?

Also, this is the first car i have ever had that has an oil temerature gauge. Most of my other cars have had oil pressure instead? Is this relevant in the head gasket issue?

Cheers

Peter
As a rough out line and this is by no means a be all and end all check out this little gizmo I have on my website

http://www.roughluckracing.com/hgfcalculator/

hope it helps a little

and as for how reliable, well mines done over 250,000 miles

I must admit the early gaskets do cause issues but the MLS ones make them as good as any other car on the road, I won't say it will never go but I've had a BMW an that had HGF so it can happen to any car
 

·
Registered
mg_tf
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for that John

Mine has came back as very unlikely with the info i've put in so i feel a little better.

When you say early gaskets, would you be talking MGF gaskets or would my 2002 MG TF come under the heading of early?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,925 Posts
Dont Panic Peter, all the experts (& some knowlegable non experts will be along soon)

Chances are one day the gasket will go, some go as early as 20,000 miles some have over 120,000 miles on the original gasket. Saying its an unreliable engine is total rubbish though as any engine can blow a gasket. The good news is that a blown gasket, 99% of the time is an easy fix for our resident experts on here (who will be along soon) for well under £400 depending where you live.

Just dont thrash it till its upto temp & keep an eye on the coolant level - better still, fit a low coolant alarm :broon:
 

·
Registered
mg_tf
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Cheers Slippy.

I tend not to thrash the car anyway, my MG is really to potter around in under normal circumstances but if i need to overtake something in a hurry, it's nice to know if i dorp a gear and blast it i'm not going to pop my top end. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,042 Posts
Thanks for that John

Mine has came back as very unlikely with the info i've put in so i feel a little better.

When you say early gaskets, would you be talking MGF gaskets or would my 2002 MG TF come under the heading of early?
Early F's started out with a single beed of like silicon round a single layer gasket and where held in place by plastic dowels at either end of the head

I've even seen the above on 2002 cars, after that came the replacement of plastic dowels with steel to stop the movement of the gasket

Slightly after the gasket was upgraded, more silcon was put on the gasket in like a castle ridge effect, combined with the steel dowels and if required an upgraded oil rail, these are still known as a good alternative to the new MLS gasket, and can handle more imperfections on the surfaces

The newest is the MLS and is all steel with a shim that has a heat actived bonding agent thats coated over all the surface,

Either way the days of having to bin an engine or car because of head gasket failure is well over, years ago the job could cost anywhere from £1000 to £1800 these days £250 upwards from a specialist and includes so much in it, its just like paying for a main dealer service at the same time
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Peter,

When I got my MGF the fact that it had a recently replaced head gasket was one of the things that made me decide it was the one for me, I'd heard so many horror stories about HGF and one of my friends had a very early F which had HGF early in it's life but outside the warranty.

The more I found out the less I worried about it and when I pranged the F and replaced it with a TF I was quite happy buying one without any history as everything looked good and I knew that there were people out there who could deal with the worst at a sensible price.

My 2002 TF had been losing an increasing amount of coolant all year, but it started to get worse over the last few weeks, oddly only on short runs, it never lost a drop on a long run. Russell Walsh was booked to come and look at it and after he pressurised the cooling system we saw the oil level rise - the dreaded HGF! My response was almost 'so what, we'd better get on with it' as it's not the disaster everyone tells you it is. When the old gasket came off, there it was, a tiny area of the sealant on the gasket lifting, probably leaking only as the engine heated up or cooled down, hence the lack of loss on long runs.

Just a couple of hours later Russell was on his way and everything is now fine with the car, just my pocket is £320 lighter!

HGF in most cases will cost you about the same as a cam belt change service at a main dealer if you get one of the mobile mechanics on here to do it for you, it's not the worry all the 'experts' at the garages will tell you.

Anyway - don't trust garages who don't work on K series engines regularly, my local garage wanted £650 to replace the HG on my son's Rover 200 1.1 after my wife took it in while I was away from home. When I got home I diagnosed it as a leaking coolant cap - £5 to fix!

Martin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
i am in the middle of doing one rght now on a mgf its just the head left to come off is there anything to watch out for on reasembly? and what are the head bolt size?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,646 Posts
"I had my car to three garages i use regularly and they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair."

You might want to change garages Peter ;) Most F/TFs on here have had the head gasket done at some point, i havent heard of one having to be binned yet :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,775 Posts
I had my car to three garages i use regularly and they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair.
just a note to add about that

garages only see cars when they are broke

so naturally they are going to assume that it's a really bad/common thing

by saying you need to bin the engine and saying it's a real pain what they are actually saying is

"give me lots of money"

the fact that Mr Norris can travel to you, do the HG and go home for £400 and that most garage charge more than that when you bring them the car shows how much they price gouge rover HG replacements

and if they fail again it's because the garage did it wrong when they repaired it (9 times out of 10)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,126 Posts
If you think about why a head gasket may go faulty and look at the causes you well are on your way to preventing it happening.
Usually the "hgf" is due to an external cause such as coolant loss causing the engine to over heat, loss of pressure in the cooling system allowiing the coolant to boil and then causing steam pressure pockets in the cooling system.
Other external causes can be the heating up of the engine too quickly causing stresses in the head and dowels (some of which are the early plastic type).
So... by checking the coolant system, including rad, underfloor pipes, rubber hoses, water pump for leakage, carry a spare cap, fitting a coolant alarm (So water loss is detected before the engine starts to over heat), keeping the rvs down untill the engine oil is starting to get up to temp. should all help to prolong the time until it does go.
However some people ( including myself have done all the above) still suffered hgf, this can be due to the gasket breaking down due to age and nothing can be done to prevent this.
Look at it this way, some time during its life it will probably have hgf, put your 350 nicker away in a drawer and forget about it, it doesnt exist any more,and when the time comes for the head gasket to shuffle off its mortal coil then you will be able to have one of the fantastic mobile mechanics that frequent this forum to come and fix it for you. not looking after the coolant system will bite you on the bum sooner rather than later, especially as the radiators on the "F"s where made of cheese.
Hope this helps some not so familiar members understand the F/TF hgf problem.
Whatever you do, before you take it to a garage, ASK on HERE first, it may save you an un needed hg change and save you a few squillion quid in the process....
 

·
Registered
mg_zr
Joined
·
98 Posts
Thanks for that guys. At least I know it can be repaired at a relatively decent cost.
Make sure you get someone decent, mine was done in April at a cost of £529, (before I bought the car), and again last week as the head bolts weren't tight enough, the water pump wasn't replaced, the head was soft and had fire ring indentations after 3k as was a soft head.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,981 Posts
Hi All, As the Title suggests, What are the Reasons for the K-Series Head Gasket Failing and Just how common is it?

This was my biggest worry when buying an MG and i'm almost scared to drive her properly in case i literally "blow a gasket" (excuse the pun)

I had my car to three garages i use regularly and they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair.

What i'd like to know is what percentage of these engines are liable to fail?

What should i be looking out for as an indicator that the Head Gasket has blown / is about to blow.

Is there anything i can do to limit the chances that it will hapen to me, precautions i should take etc

If the head gasket was to blow, how much would i be looking at £ wise to have it repaired/replaced?

Also, this is the first car i have ever had that has an oil temerature gauge. Most of my other cars have had oil pressure instead? Is this relevant in the head gasket issue?

Cheers

Peter
Hi Peter, i think most people have answered your questions, But, in regards to the "they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair."...

What a laugh, once the head gasket has been repaired, and done properly, these cars are just as reliable as any other car. You don't have to bin the whole engine if the head has been affected by the head gasket failure, you can just get a replacement cylinder head and have that fitted to your original engine instead. And they are not a real pain to repair either, i'm 22, female and have been doing these head gaskets with my husband since i was 19!!! They're pretty easy to do, just sounds to me like they are either incapable of fixing mg/rover's or were just trying to put you off buying one. Lol.

Things to look out for, most common signs of failure are:

Oil and water mix (in the expansion tank, on the oil cap or dipstick).
Coolant loss and white smoke/water from the exhaust
Overheating

But, there are other signs... have a look at this link: (it's about how to diagnose a head gasket failure)

http://forums.mg-rover.org/showthread.php?t=243523

We specialize in head gasket replacements, our prices include cambelt, waterpump and inlet manifold gasket replacement, as well as lots of other things too.
See our website: http://www.dave-mgrovermobilemechanic.co.uk for more information :)
Best thing i can advise you to do, is stick some cash to one side with a few contact numbers for head gasket replacement specialists/garages in a safe place, and keep an eye on your oil and water, if you do suffer head gasket failure then, at least you have the cash there ready and waiting, and you can get it done :)
Head gasket failure really isn't nothing to worry about. Just enjoy your car! :)
 

·
Registered
mgf
Joined
·
19 Posts
I had my car to three garages i use regularly and they all said pretty much the same thing about the engine. That they are totally unreliable and if the head gasket goes you may as well bin the whole engine as it affects the head. Plus they are a real pain to repair.
Hi Peter

You should thank these garages as they have literally saved you ££hundreds through sharing their lack of knowledge of the K series engine as you now know not to ever take your car to any one of them!

I'll also offer my reassurance to everyone elses. The K series engine can be fantastically reliable (and economical) given the right treatment, the same as any other engine.

Many other manufacturers have engine issues but seem to attract less press (Vauxhall cambelt failures?, Mercedes diesel 'black death' for example)

Yes, ok, some MG's have had HGF, but at the same time, I wonder how many of these HGFs can be attributed to the attitiude of the garages you mentioned above who immediately diagnose HGF without actually bothering to investigate properly (fuel cap expansion cap, inlet manifold gasket etc are all overlooked by garages running their hands together to get the labour for an unnecessary HG change).

There are several excellent mobile mechanics on this forum who in the event of HGF will do a repair for less than the cost of an interim service at a main dealer of a eurobox, and will also look for the root cause of the HGF and not just replace gasket to have it fail again in a few thousand miles.

As others have mentioned, get yourself a low coolant alarm fitted, then go out and enjoy your car and don't let the doomsayers (who undoubtedly will never have driven an MGF/TF), try to curtail your fun.

Dave
 

·
Registered
mg_tf
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Speaking of Coolant, I'm wanting to get mine changed for the winter months. Is this a job that any garage can do or is there a chance they could mess something up that could inadvertantly cause HGF?

The reason i ask is that i've seen posts relating to this, where air in the coolant system or blockages in the coolant system cause problems with the Head Gasket and other issues.

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,042 Posts
Speaking of Coolant, I'm wanting to get mine changed for the winter months. Is this a job that any garage can do or is there a chance they could mess something up that could inadvertantly cause HGF?

The reason i ask is that i've seen posts relating to this, where air in the coolant system or blockages in the coolant system cause problems with the Head Gasket and other issues.

Peter
A lot of garages still only think there are either 1 or 2 bleed points, If they know there are 3 then you have a good chance they can do the job

If your car is a very early one and hasn't been looked after it may not have OAT coolant in it, make sure its filled with OAT (PINK STUFF) and if you have ordinary green/blue coolant don't mix it with OAT in extreme cases it can cause a reaction which looks like your old primary school frog spawn pudding
 

·
Registered
mg_tf
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Cheers Jon. Sio in short, it needs to bled from 3 points and needs to have the Pink OAT coolant in it? Where are the 3 points out of interest?
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top