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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Probs with ZT 160 engine

Any one heard of any problems with the ZT V6 160 engine. Mine died two weeks ago the dealership are claiming lack of oil in a new car and I'm not a happy bunny.

Is it the KV6? If so they are known to consume oil for the first 5-10K ish. MUST check it on a weekly basis (not easy with the black tip to the dipstick - 2003 models have a green tip).

Scarlet Fever

Love your new ZS paint job, engine needs more poke.......coming in the Autum i hear ;)


Common ZT problem...........suggest you sell it ASAP!

Sorry to hear about your problem; you are supposed to check the oil frequently on any car, especially so with a new one. There seem to have been a few isolated cases of high oil consumption with the KV6 during the bedding in period, you'll find more details in the Archive (need to register first, it's free). However although I still check my ZS180 often it has hardly used a drop since 2k, on 6k now. IIRC I topped up twice in first 2k...

As far as I know, the few reported instances of engine problems on these boards and others were with the 190. The 160 has generally been assumed to be ok. My 160 V6 is up to 24k miles in 12 months, and has never used a drop of oil although I had an unscheduled oil change at 3k miles as I didn't fancy going to 15k miles on the same sump of bedding-in debris!
My service indicator seems to run in 12k mile intervals yet I do a lot of long distance motorway mileage.
After the first 3k miles, I have not been afraid to run to the redline.

The dipstick is difficult to read, and despite whatthe hand book says, it is best done by letting the car stand for at least an hour or more, and then removing and wiping the stick, and then slowly re-inserting it (not too fast as I gather that can push the level up the stick) and withdrawing to read. The 2003 cars have a better coloured tip , the 01/02 cars had a black tip which is awful to read!

Thanks for the feed back strange thing is the car was serviced only 8000 miles ago, with no oil loss according to the dealer. The dealer is cliaming it lost 3L in 4 months and 8K miles. I can't believe it!

>> engine needs more poke.......coming in the Autum i hear ;) <<

I heard this too, a TOCA tour limited edition, with (depending on who you talk to), between 200 and 225 bhp. Personally i feel that the KV6 should have a minimum 200 bhp, it is a 2.5 litre after all, but the 180 i have is effectively a runabout (although not a very fuel efficient one) and as such 180 bhp is more than adequate.

How can i justify a ZS 180 as a runabout? Well i was looking for a ZR 105 following the accident in February. Being 6'2" tall and rather generous in the waistline department i quickly dismissed the 105 due to an uncomfortable driving position (Civic has the same problem for me). This problem effectively ruled out all the ZRs so i started looking at a ZS 120. The LeMans Green ZS 180 i ended up with was an ex-demo car with 3.5K on it, this meant that it was an exceptionally good buy and one that was comparable with a new 120. I really couldn't say no.

I was unsure about the colour when i bought it, having a soft spot for Trophy Blue. If i had bought new, then this would have been the colour i'd have chosen. Also the brochure does LeMans Green no favours whatsoever, being quite a long way off a true representation. If i hadn't seen the car in the flesh i would never have chosen LeMans Green from the brochure. Having lived with it for a while now it really has grown on me, the green inserts on the seats make the interior look understated which goes well with the conservative dash, whilst the exterior, especially when clean and in the sun, really turns heads. It is also fairly rare on a ZS, having never seen another one (Silverstone is nearly here though, so i suspect there'll be some more there).

Mods so far have been limited and of an inexpensive nature. This is how it is likely to remain - with another MG to rebuild i really can't justify any expense on the Zed, and to be honest, despite the fact that it is a fantastic car to drive, it's role is a daily runabout and it will eventually be traded for a newer model as and when.

Overall, i'm very impressed with the car - it does the job it was given and also produces the obligatory MG grin on the driver's face. :-)

Scarlet Fever

Andy, my Silverstone ticket arrived this morning. So, there will be at least one other LMG ZS180 there - mine's a hatchback, though.

Perversely, my ZS used hardly any oil to start with. Now it seems to be drinking it like all the oilwells in Iraq are on overtime!


Hi Ralph,

Mine hasn't used a drop... yet. I'm checking it on a weekly basis and at 7.5K the oil is still at the same level as it was when i bought it.

See you at Silverstone (my tickets are in the glovebox, waiting to be used) :-)

Scarlet Fever

<Rubs hands....thinks of all the oil sales....>

My ZT190 has now done 20,000 miles and uses about 1/4 litre of oil every 4000 miles which is when it gets changed. It gets driven around town and gets driven hard on motorways and B roads etc. Never shown any concerns of heavy consumption and is taken to the red line on fast roads.
Has anyone else tried different oil grades?
Steve Tyler

I am running Mobil 1 0W40 since the 12 k service, no consumption whatsoever. It is the 160 KV6, though, but driven like yours. It goes in this week for the 24k service and will again have Mobil 1 (now with Super Synth, whatever that is!) Mobil 1 is alos now API SL (top spec). Car is also fuelled 99% of the time with Shell Optimax.

There was apparently a conflict with liner and ring materials used in a batch of KV6 engines (no I don't know the batch details!) which promoted heavier oil consumption on some engines.

On the dipstick front, Fraser Winton, Powertrain MD, siad recently to me that he was less than impressed with trying to read the oil level on his own car, so a change of material to enable it to be read is on the way.

Roger Parker

This thread was discussed between 11/06/2003 and 25/06/2003

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