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MG MGF Technical - Cambelt Replacement - When?

My 1995 1.8i now has 36,000 miles on the clock. Does anyone know when the Cambelt should be replaced?

It says 96,000 miles in the manual, but I don't really believe it can be that long, or can it?

Thanks Alan

60k miles or 5 years whichever comes first.
Spyros Papageorghiou

Alan, its changed at the 60K service, hence why the cost of that service is around 450.

I've just had it done :(

Steve Childs

That's a good quote Steve! S&J were quoting me close to 600 quid for the 60k service!!!

Alan, Spyros is quite right- 60k or 5years. No getting out of it I am affraid. Better to pay for a new cambelt than for a new engine, and although there is a significant margain of safety with this service schedule, is it worth taking the risk?

Rob Bell

Yeah, as I said in another thread, the Litchfield dealer quoted me 450 + VAT (528 inc vat) and the Walsall dealer was 441 inc vat.

It must be different Labour rates, unless the Litchfield dealer adds one hell of an margin onto the parts.

Steve Childs

Cheers for all the comments.

Now all I need to do is find someone competent to work on my car.

I take it with a cambelt replacement you need to get the oil changed, but what about the coolant? I get the feeling that once the coolant has been touched I can expect a HGF if not carried out properly?

Any advice on garages in the Wimbledon/London SW area would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Alan

I've only covered 3,000 in the past year, so my service bill was minor.

Moto-build just quoted me 150+VAT for a new cambelt. I've heard their name appear many times over the past few years with good reports.

Is the price to good to be true? Any advice appreciated.

Thanks Alan



I've got the same service coming up.... would like to know your conclusions... where are Motobuild located?

I've used Keens of Battersea with no problems (and they did a coolant change).

N837 OGF


Is that Motobuild in Kingston upon Thames?

If it, they claim to be Rover specialists, but actually work on almost any car. When I had an MG Montego I had it serviced there. It was OK, but not brilliant. This was a few years ago mind, and so things may have changed.

For my main servicing I use G. Kingsbury in Hampton. They are a bit expensive, but generally do a good job. My 5 year service is due in August and I was quoted 535 in VAT and parts. (Having changed the plugs (see another thread) myself, it should be 52 cheaper though)

Cox and buckles(?) in Wimbledon is an mg specialist and may be able to do the work for less. Never tried them so I can't say one way or another how good they are.

Let us all know how it goes.

David Mills

I've used Cox and Buckles for fitting new brake discs and a set of new shocks. No complaints.


Re Motobuild they are in Hounslow, so not too far and right opposite a tube station.

Their website is as follows:

Re Cox and Buckles, they are on Russell Road near the cinema? If so they do lots of work with old MGs, don't know about the MGFs other than the owner has one.

Oh well, I'm going to take it to a garage I use for general work and see what they say.

Keep you informed, Alan

>> Re Cox and Buckles, they are on Russell Road near the cinema?

Nope they are off Worple Road heading towards Raynes Park ... they do MGFs and I know they have done at least on HGF.


Alan, that's their older car site, the MGF & Rovers are on this site :


Steve Childs


Can you give me an idea where about Cox and Buckles are?

I live just off Worple Road! Thanks Alan


Good call with Cox and Buckles. I just when down to see them.

Met three very friendly and helpful guys who will put my MGF right. They had one MGF just coming out from a HGF repair, and would appear to have the experience with all the common "f" problems.

I'm booked in for the 17th April (easter break etc).

What luck only three steets down from me!


>Now all I need to do is find someone competent to work on my car.

Tried the MG Dealer Guide?
Paul Lathwell

I've recently had my 5 year service carried out by an MG-approved garage. 12 days later the head gasket blew - cylinder head currently away for skimming. The garage (may be named subsequent to final bill negotiations!) are giving me the 'such is life' response. Any comments?
In The Dumps

You could ask to see the mechanic who worked on your car and ask him to write down the procedure he carried out.

Don't give him time to check up his manual first, and then compare it to the guidelines set by Rover, or may be even someone else on this BBS.

After paying 500+ you do not expect you engine to go bang 12 days later. If you go to a petty claims court (cost 80) you would win your case on EVIDENCE:

1) Known fault - Service not carried out properly. They would have updates on this correlation between servicing and HGF.

2) How can a court let you fork out 500 to blow up your engine. If they won that would be cool, then all garages can deliberately carry out bad work and get some extra business later?????

3) You paid (invoice as evidence) to make your car work properly not worse.

4) You can give them a very bad name by having a summons against them. They know they did wrong let them pay the full amount.

Best of luck, Alan

A very emotive and subjective issue!

It could just be a coincidence and BTW if you go to court you have to prove that they WERE negligent and as was shown recently that is a lot harder than it sounds.

The main are to concentrate on is:- Did they do a coolant change during the 5 year service? If so then was it done correctly because it has been shown time and again that HGF and coolant air locks are very closely related!

BTW I totally disagree with Alans comments about winning a court case.

Ted Newman


Fair point Ted, and I can't guarantee a win, but remember this is petty claims not hard core courtroom drama, you can use almost any means of evidence to prove your point, all in layman's terms.

As rover dealers would have a memo pointing out the correlation between coolant service and HGF, so do these magistrates on dodgy repairs/garages, and how to deal with cases.

Seriously though imagine what would go on if dealers could not carry out the work properly, only to get extra work form subsequent repairs, every garage in the country would try that scam.

I had a similar case on my Land Rover engine two years ago. OK I won because the garage did not agree with their own invoice - stated rebuild, in court they said no rebuild. I won, but the magistate did say that he didn't have much of a choice when I paid near enough 1.5K for a rebuild only to have it break on me two weeks later. I paid for my engine to go another 100K

Services are requested to make a car run, not breakdown. When you hand over your hard earned cash (500) to the dealer you pay to make the car run up to 100k. Otherwise why bother.

OK we have to prove that they did not carry out the work to standard, but at the same time they too have to prove they did. DRAW.

I think a threat of a claim through the courts is enough for them to sort out the problem. Imagine, parts, spare labour, no VAT, probable payout from Rover and it will cost the dealer a mere 50 - 100.

P.S. Just been reading Mg World and those new MGs based around 75's 45's etc should be blown up by Jeremy Clarkson, they are another rework of the Metro/Montego era, and we all know what a waste of brand image that was!



Re: Motobuild,

I got new cams and pulleys and belt all for 700 quid about 18 months ago. Can't fault them at all. Great service and they had it all done in about 3 hours!

I can't see the logic in paying almost 600 for a service including the belt.

Motobuild have got loads of expereince with the K engine and i would prefer them to do this sort of job on my car than a dealer!


saw the heavy duty cambelt in mike satur's site. has anyone used them? what advantage does this have over the standard cambelt?



>P.S. Just been reading Mg World and those new MGs based around 75's 45's etc should be blown up by Jeremy Clarkson, they are another rework of the Metro/Montego era, and we all know what a waste of brand image that was!

I would wait and see, personally I think there have been major changes to the car inside and out and not just the mainly cosmetic changes done with the Maestro, Montego et al.

At the end of the day, if they help to keep MG-Rover alive, its all for the better.


Steve Childs


A dealer cambelt is 60, how can the heavy duty one from MS be 25?


For precisely that reason - i.e. 'dealer' :-)

They make their living out of the people who don't have the time/interest to get involved with their cars, and just take them straight back when there's a problem.

Ed Clarke

I mean once warranties etc., are expired.

Ed Clarke

60quid for a cambelt??? That's ridiculous. Piper's own one is 25quid (maybe it's the one MS sells?) - that's cheaper than an oil filter and a can of Mobil 1 (cheaper than just the Mobil 1 come to think of it) so I treat it as an annual service item.

I'm told that Halfords own-brand cambelts are very good, tougher than OE items to cope with hamfisted DIYers.

Mike Bees


A cambelt for my 214 was 28.85 from Rover (10p more expensive than the head gasket). I believe that they're common across the range (the gasket is), or near enough to be comparable in price. I also ask for discount, and get 20% on the belt and 5% on the gasket.

The old belt, at 60,000 miles, looked like new, with just a slight side rubbing on the crankshaft pulley inner edge. The belt is steel reinforced and looks as tough as old boots, I can't see the need for a heavier duty belt on a road use car. Belt failures are, I believe, extremely rare.

It's a pain to remove the belt covers, with the limited room and inaccessible bolts. As for the tensioner pulley bolt, an allen key, a two-foot length of steel pipe and all your strength is required!

Regards, Kes.

Maybe the tensioner bolt was Loctited in? It's only into the (ali) block so it won't stand a huge amount of torque without stripping the threads. Spec. is 33lbft. Good idea to Loctite it I reckon.

Cambelt failure does seem rare on the K compared to some other makes (Vauxhall springs to mind), although a friend has had 2 failures on a 1.4K resulting in bent valves each time. His wife's Astra broke it's cambelt literally a few hours before the warranty expired - it didn't just bend the valves, it trashed the cylinder head.

Mike Bees

This thread was discussed between 02/04/2001 and 06/04/2001

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