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MG MGF Technical - Corroded Heater box and bulkhead

Hi All. I recently purchased a fairly old MGF - 1996. It is in excellent condition and has low milage. It did have a few things wrong with it so I took it to an MG dealer to have a full 60K service and have the cam belt replaced just to be sure.

One thing that poped up is that I noticed this ash looking stuff coming out of the vents. They said that the heater box and bulkhead are all corroded even though the rest of the car is fine. They think it could be because of a long shipping journey from Japan(Imported back to the UK). They also said that it isn't really a long term car as to fix it would be costly.

Can anyone tell me if this is really going to be a problem for my car in the future? Everything else is perfect - drives nice, interior hardly used, everything works etc... The engineers said they hadn't seen anything like it.

What problems could I expect later on? How long should the bulkhead really last? I thought that it was one of those things in the car that lasts years - and I mean like 50 plus years.

I'm just worried about my car falling apart in 6 months or something.


Who has told you that John? Not come across this problem before - and mine is a '96 F that's always parked outside!

Have you seen the corrosion yourself and if so, where is it? In the heater, or on the bulkhead panel?
Rob Bell

All sounds a bit strange. Ash like material sounds like ali oxide. If it is coming out of the vents then possibly the ali fan has had a nice dose of sea water and is corroding away in the heater box. I think the whole heater box and fan can be easily removed (thanks to no engine in the front) and replaced. Need to ensure that any new box is well sealed into the car body with silicone as the heater box is a source of leaks into the car if not properly sealed.

The bulkhead is a different issue. This is part of the main structure of the car and should be well protected against rust.

If it is rustly then some quick attention seems important again the lack of an engine in the snout should make this reasonably simple.

I think all cars these days are well protected against rust and I have not heard or seen any Fs with structural rust indeed the body was guaranteed for six years from new.

It is ironic that as we scrap cars more quickly as we become for affluent, the cars are designed to last longer! We have had our F from new and hope my executors will be left with the problem of disposing of it in (hopefully) many years time! While the body and engine should last a long time, there must be concern that the many microchips running the car might fail and it be impossible to get replacement due to the speed with which these devices become obsolete and cease to be available.

Good luck.

There are lots more knowledgeable than me on the BBS so hopefully you will get lots more advice!



I think Patric is correct, but I doubt the fan, much more lightly the heater element (has wafer thin fins on it). The F can get the drain holes bunged up on the heater box, but this usually causes a damp footwell rather than corroded heater.

My money would be on a trip to the MGF centre for proper diagnosis, they can source second hand bits as well (from stock) if you want to save a few bob.
Will Munns

Hi Again. Thanks for all your responses. They have been really informative and Pro.

1) Where is the/a MGF Centre for maybe a proper diagnosis? I live in London.

2) The ash like material that flies out the air vents is grey/white in colour and slightly crispy - so not soft like ash - and a quick taste(Yes I tasted it!) is really bitter.

The guys at the garage also said they hadn't seen anything like it. They said it was the heater box AND the bulkhead. Atleast that is what the girl at the front desk said. She didn't have the manual to hand to show me.

Would you guys have any ideas for costs of a) replacing the heater box, b) the bulkhead(This i guess would be expensive).

One other thing, Patrick, you say that some quick attention might be important. Why? Could it cause major problems later on? It was suggested that it might cause problems with the dash electrics as they all run through the bulk head.

John, if it is the heater matrix that is corroding as Will suggests, you could end up with the footwells full of engine coolant - which could be somewhat unpleasant.

The nearest mg specialist to London is Brown and Gammons. They deal primarily in new parts.

The MGF Centre mentioned above is based in Wolverhampton. A little trek from London I grant you, but I've made the trip in the past and it is well worth it. The MGF Centre do both new and used parts - so if you specify a second hand heater box, you could certainly save yourself a few pennies! :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed on 25/03/2004

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