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MG MGF Technical - (*&*^@!!! Inlet manifold gone...

Rob Bell

Okay... I'll expand...

Driving up to Aylesbury for the RR shoot out when Tim, who was following, spotted steam eminating from between the exhaust's tail pipes barely a mile into the journey.

Stopped, opened the bonnet. Practically no coolant left; no pressure in the expansion tank. Spotted coolant splashed over the drive shaft and a minor puddle on the road. Happily, no mayo on the dip stick etc...

Looks like an inlet manifold gasket failure. :o( Bug-ger :o(

Original black inlet manifold gasket for sale - 8 years and 73k miles, one careful(?!) owner - offers

REALLY IS time for me to replace all the coolant pipes etc etc - it's that 8 year thing I guess.
Rob Bell

Would happen today eh Rob, hard luck mate ,Dave.
DC Morris T6 DCM

Flippin' typical! :o(

Still, it could have been a lot worse: imagine if Tim hadn't spotted the problem and I drove all the way to Aylesbury with next to no coolant.. 8oO
Rob Bell

looks as though you were living on borrowed time with that gasket eh Rob?? Should have been done alooong time ago. Tut, tut.;-)
More on the road maintenance?? Imagine the cost of that gasket in Germany 8-{
Still no damage done, eh?

>>Imagine the cost of that gasket in Germany 8-{ <<

Probably would cost its weight in gold Mike! LOL

Spent a somewhat fruitless afternoon trying to pin down exactly where the coolant was leaking from (ie confirm whether or not the leak is inlet manifold or head gasket).

Here the mystery gets deeper, because try as we might neither Tim or I could figure out where the leak was occuring. Whereas when we spotted the problem there was a huge 'splash' of coolant in the area under the inlet manifold, there was no further evidence of a problem later in the day in the same area - although there was coolant on the ground under the car, and splashed on the underside of the subframe..

Spent some considerable time looking at the head/block interface - again to no avail.

We even removed the spark plugs looking for evidence of water ingestion - but nothing.

There is a still a strong wiff of evaporated coolant - otherwise this would be the case of the self-sealing gasket failure - because there no fluid to be seen!!!

I think that the IMF will get replaced in any case as soon as possible. Whether the head gasket needs any attention remains to be determined :o(
Rob Bell

Bad news Rob :(
Might it be a good idea to get the head gasket done anyway? Usually after a minor warning like this it may pay dividends in the long term. I wish i had done now and mine wouldnt of went in June. If your car is getting on for 8 years, i cant imagine the present gasket being in that good shape, and especially with the coolant disapearing. Hope everything works out fine.


>>>Imagine the cost of that gasket in Germany 8-{ <<

LOL...!! that would have been a cheap break down option... but a longer ride to pick up the part. I have one at home, including the plastic plenum.

50 quid, any offers ?? :)

Anyway, I think you'll go for a VVC ally Plenum, will you ?

Dieter K.

>>> Anyway, I think you'll go for a VVC ally Plenum, will you ? <<<

To have more benefit of the 52mm TB, isn't it?

You missed a fine event
next time eh!


>To have more benefit of the 52mm TB, isn't it?

Nope, but to prepare for a mod of the head... ported head ... :)
Dieter K.

I hope that I don't have to have the head gasket replaced - not just for the usual expense aspect of replacing the gasket, but because I'd rather not have to make a decision regarding porting (as you guessed Dieter, LOL!) just now, what with two more speed events still to run before the season is complete...

VVC plenum? I think I'd rather go for multiple, direct to head throttle bodies! ;o)
Rob Bell

Was just going to suggest that rob!

Hmm the 'Darkside' pull is strong here...

Can you resist ? Feel the force Rob :-)

(go on ! ya know you want too!)




Borrow a std car for the last two events?
Lloyd borrowed mine for Silverstone one year without problem.

Paul Nothard

Problem is Rob really needs a car with the Techspeed set up but with a standard MPi engine. So..... who do we know with a car like that.....? And who is willing to lend it for a hill climb....
tim woolcott

Tim, my brother has just such a car. Std MY2000 1.8 MPi with Techspeed suspension to the same specification as mine.

But no, he's not willing to lend it to me! LOL

I guess the decision can't really be made until I know what the problem is - and I won't know that until the engine has been dropped at Techspeed...

If I get home early enough this evening, I may have another go at trying to figure out where all that coolant is escaping from!
Rob Bell

Rob, I'd trust you enough to lend you Jackie's - but she would see it somewhat differently :-(

Thanks David - I appreciate the offer :o) Don't worry, I won't be after stealing Jackie's pride and joy! ;o)

Currently arranging for the F to be AA relayed up to Techspeed. Spoke to Roy, who offered a couple of other 'potential' problems that could result in similar fluid loss that I was completely unaware of. In any case, they're hopeful that they could get the car turned round for Friday, which would be perfect: all depends on what is found I guess.

Fingers crossed then! :o)
Rob Bell

If anyone can do it techspeed can

Rob, you can borrow my car with pleasure.....standard MPI bar the K&N. All you need to do is take it to Techspeed, they'll do the rest! ;-). I wish! Sorry to hear about the hassle with the car...hope it's sorted soon. What's Scarlet Fever upto that weekend?

LOL thanks Rob ;o)

>>What's Scarlet Fever upto that weekend? <<

Actually, funnily enough, already spoke to Andy regarding the problem! However, this looks to be one of those jobs where dropping the engine in its subframe from the car is going to make replacement a whole lot easier...

>>If anyone can do it techspeed can <<

Here's hoping Kingsley... a very nice man from the AA relay will be collecting the car at 5pm. I think that this is the first time N7 RMB has ever travelled any distance not under its own power since it was delivered to the supplying dealership in 1995! :o(
Rob Bell

>where dropping the engine in its subframe from the car is going to make replacement a whole lot easier...

for the inlet manifold gasket? shirley you can just get at the 7 nuts with a wobble bar and some deep sockets (13mm)
Will Munns

Rob - fwiw when my F's inlet manifold gasket went it was close to no 4 cylinder.

Having removed the manifold you could see that it was also leading to slight dampness in no. 4 intake overnight.

Mind you I only had a very gentle leak that I spotted from drops of coolant on garage floor.

If its off to Techspeed that's fine however swapping the gasket is a fairly easy diy job - doing the full change to next size up nuts/studs as per Service Bulletin takes a bit longer.

Re finding the leak - can you borrow an illuminated fibre optic scope thingy from theatre and inspect manifold to head (lower) joint :-)

Failing that try a tiny mirror and torch.

John Thomas


I could send you a copy of our Supplies Catalogue - lots of torches, mirrors, stethoscopes etc but no manifold gaskets.

That sounds good JohnP - might come in useful!

Will, JT - the IMG is easy DIY replacement? D'oh! I thought about it, but wondered that it would prove to be something of a nightmare due to access problems of those seven retaining nuts. Hey ho. Not really got time this week (can't get time off work) to do this before the weekend. I think that the TS route is probably the speediest option under the circumstances - and especially so if the problem proves not to be the IMG.

A leak around cylinder 4 was what I was expecting JT - but nothing was really obvious on inspection - but there certainly is plenty of moisture blowing out of the exhaust until the system warms through.

Happily, the car is currently being loaded onto the flat bed. Apparently the AA man was overheard by Yimmy muttering something along the lines of "%*^&! That's &^*&^ing low!" ;o) LOL
Rob Bell

I send my condolences to the OAP RMBXXXX - old age is having its affect on us all now and a little incontinence must be expected at our age:-)

Green Squirrel

I'll pass on the sympathies Green Squirrel - RMB is currently somewhere on the north circular headed for the M40...

Rob Bell


Good news: car is fixed. Problem was indeed the inlet manifold gasket - which has now been sorted. Am going to make arrangements to collect the car tomorrow - result! :o)

Roy also tells me that there was also a slight leak from the water temperature sensor. A bit of a surprise that...

Will be arranging for the yearly service in the next month or so - at which time I'll be fitting Mike's alloy coolant tubes, and will be seriously considering replacing all those rubber pipes in the engine compartment... Oh, and a new clutch. And a lightened fly wheel. Bum. Another cheap service then ;o)
Rob Bell

Rob, I'm pleased for you - it could have got quite expensive.

Mine is about the same age as yours and I am starting to think about rubber hoses and metal pipes etc

Roy also tells me that there was also a slight leak from the water temperature sensor. A bit of a surprise that...

That'll explain the puff of steam from the exhaust manifold then....!

We should have spotted that one....
tim woolcott

Thanks John - I was getting worried as at 75k miles there is another 'HGF peak' according to the figures from !!!

Tim - I was surprised by the news regarding the water temperature sensor too... I guess we didn't look that closely at either of them - but previous inspections of these sensors have never indicated water seapage. Oh well - glad that another problem has been spotted and sorted :o)
Rob Bell


I have an AP Racing Clutch gathering dust in my conservatory (bought but never got round to fitting). Intersted ?

Gaz R

Yes - very possibly Gaz... :o)
Rob Bell

And Rob, i have a spare lightened fly wheel if you want :)

Rob, you coming over tonight?
Can't get on X-power forum to check my PM so drop me an e-mail.
Steve White

Wow - this site is better than eBay! LOL! Yup - potentially interested Davey :o)

My email is robert-dot-bell-at-ucl-dot-ac-dot-uk

Steve - just emailed ya :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 04/10/2003 and 09/10/2003

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