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MG MGF Technical - ENGINE BLOWN UP

I was reversing in my drive when i noticed my car had deposited a large amount of oil. I checked the boot
and to my horror, oil had gone into the water coolant bottle. The car is undrivable and according to the garage who will be doing the work, the engine has to be replaced, the total cost of a new vvc engine 35,000. No warning this was going to happen, temperature gauage remained the same, has anyone else experienced the same nightmare!!! The car had done close to 60,000 miles.

jeanne
JEANNE DYSON

Sorry typing error on engine blown up article, the cost should have been 3,500 .
JEANNE DYSON

Sorry to hear about this diaster Jeanne. Sounds as though the head gasket has let go in spectacular fashion.

I am surprised though that your garage is recommending wholesale replacement of the engine? This is not usually necessary - I think you need to get further explaination as to the reasons why the mechanics feel this is necessary.

Head gasket repairs are usually a more reasonable 500 quid fix (depending on whether the head needs skimming or not).
Rob Bell

Jeanne, I agree with Rob.
This doesn't sound like a complete engine failure; more likely the garage doesn't have confidence in it own work.

Although I'm also worried about your comment about the engine depositing a large amount of oil - a head gasket failure alone should not do this.

A replacement engine from a breaker may be cheaper.

Steve
Steve

Rob,

Thanks for your quick reply, the dealership said they could repair it for a lot less but they could offer no guarantee. The head had pitted on the engine and the valves were unrepairable as the engine had got very hot, and had melted and warped the head.
JEANNE DYSON

Ouch! That is very very unlucky. The head is almost certainly beyond repair - and has probably been softened. And if the head got so hot to damage the valves, one does start to wonder whether the block too remains true, and what the condition of the cylinder liners are in.

Based on that information, a new engine is almost certainly the way to go. 3.5 grand is the right price (cost price is not so dramatically less) for a new engine. The alternative, as Steve suggests, is a second hand unit from an mg specialist or Rover autobreaker.

Has anyone else experienced similar problems? Head gaskets are known to fail on K-series engines, but it is very unusual for the engine to be so comprehensively destroyed by it. For most, a straightforward replacement is sufficient - or if unlucky, a head skim is required. As I mentioned before, the catastrophic failure you've suffered is incredibly bad luck.

I can only imagine how bad you are feeling right now... :o( Any warranty cover?
Rob Bell

Rob,

No warranty, the car is five years old, hense 60.000 miles on the clock. I use it everyday to travel to work 50 miles per day. Last year I experienced a water leak, luckily for me the gasket did not blow, I had new pipes fitted and had no problem until last week. BIG TIME!!!!!!!
Jeanne Dyson

Sadly, thanks to the age and the mileage, the chances of getting any part-payment from MG is next to nothing Jeanne - but maybe worth asking anyway?
Rob Bell

First of all Jeanne, I'm sorry to hear of your misfortune regarding your car and please forgive my question:

But, whilst we are on the the subject of head gaskets can anyone recommend to me (being a new F owner) how often head gaskets need replacing ?? A friend of mine mentioned to me recently that they do have problems from time to time and just wondered after what mileage they should be replaced. Mine has just completed 42k.

Any information would be gratefully appreciated, and Jeanne, hope you manage to get things sorted out with yours ok.

I've become smitten with my VVC after only 3 weeks ownership so can imagine to some degree just how you feel.

The very best of luck.

Tony

P819 JJA
T Lynch

Jeanne

Sorry to hear about the engine blow up.


If you are looking for a low mileage used replacement engine, MGF Centre in Wolverhampton are worth contacting. They've recently replaced an engine in an F for significant less than MGR have quoted you for the unit.

Neil
Neil Stothert

Statistically the head gasket tends to go at around the 45,000 mile mark, symptoms of a failure generally start with steam/white smoke eminating from the boot lid. This is caused by the coolant boiling in the expansion tank, when the water level gets low the temperature guage will start to rise, if the guage gets near the red then you are likely to have 'cooked' the engine resulting in other damage.

The secret to minimising the effects of an HGF is to spot it happening early, ie before the guage starts responding to the lack of coolant. This is not an easy feat however given the location of the expansion tank (ie, on a UK spec car, behind the driver's head).

Once steam is spotted, pull over and switch off ASAP, let the engine cool sufficiently before removing the coolant cap (Scalding hazard) and checking for 'mayonnaise' (a coffee and cream emulsion caused by the oil and coolant mixing). If it is not present, then there is a good chance that you have not suffered a HGF, check the valve in the underside of the coolant cap for missalignment (a common failure on earlier cars) and also check the fuses for the radiator fans as if oner of these blows then the radiator may not be cooled properly.

SF

P.S. If the head gasket has failed, consider getting a performance spec replacement from someone like Mike Satur.
SF

Tony,
They only need replacing when the engine is taken apart (other than that they _should_ be OK)
Will Munns

>> Statistically the head gasket tends to go at around the 45,000 mile mark <<

According the the H.O.S.

SF
SF

Tony, the head gasket is not a service item. The only time it needs replacing is when the head is removed, or when - as is the case here - it fails.

Quite a lot of info in the archives regarding HGF, and how to avoid it. There are also potential remedies to the problem - especially relevant if your head gasket has failed:

1. uprated head gasket (the latest spec Rover item or Mike Satur's HG).
2. Steel head locator dowls.
3. Replacement thermostat (you'll see reference to 82C thermostats, drilled thermostats and remote thermostats, but interestingly, Power train have come up with a new pressure and temperature sensitive thermostat that negates the HGF problem - apparently).
4. Oil/water cooler (reduces the thermal gradient between the head and the bottom end of the engine.

If your engine shows no signs of problems, then sensible maintenance will avoid problems:
1. Make sure that the coolant is topped up and the correct concentration and type of antifreeze is used. Similarly, make sure that the oil levels are correct and the oil used is of sufficiently good quality.
2. Make sure that the 'joggle valve' that clears air from the coolant system is clear and works.
3. Ensure that the coolant system is properly bleed.
4. Keep an eye for coolant leaks - such as from a corroded radiator or under-body pipes (relevant as the car passes its 5th year).

And drive the car with some mechanical sympathy - ie don't rev the nuts off it from cold!
Rob Bell

Gents,

Thanks for your comments, again very much appreciated. Sorry to ask one more question:

As my VVC has done 42k and approaching the 45k mark but not experiencing any of the symptoms Rob mentioned, when would you advise a change of head gasket ?? In the next thousand miles or the sooner the better ??

I had all the necessary parts, fluids etc inspected by my dealer a few days after I bought it and all seems ok. I have also familiarised myself with the points you mentioned Rob, to ensure this does not occur.

Again being a new F owner I have no clue about any of this, and not being mechanically minded doesnt help either !! But I'm certainly learning !!

Again, your thoughts valued !!

Cheers,

Tony

T Lynch

No don't touch it, lots of people have not experenced HGF, as Rob says it's not a service item....
(evil grin) but if you really want to replace it, then some head porting work would be an ideal oppertunaty

Will
Will Munns

>> but if you really want to replace it, then some head porting work would be an ideal oppertunaty <<

You read my mind Will! :-)

Scarlet had a HGF at 92,000 miles, whilst the head was removed i took the opportunity to have a stage 1 gas flow conversion done as well as replacing the HG, dowells, uinderbody coolant pipes and radiator with uprated versions.

My advice is to wait until it happens, then sort it out in one go. You never know, you may not have one. Unless you want to go down the gas flowed head route in which case, replace it (just in case) whilst you are having the head work done.

SF
SF

Gents,

I'll take your advice !! I'm not touching it !!!

Cheers again to everyone !!

Tony
T Lynch

Will, you really are becomming a 'Dark Lord' aren't you? LOL

Been idly thinking about getting a VVC head ported - but all rather depends on finding the right casting at the right price... :o)
Rob Bell

Rob, you don't know the worst, my thoughts have been on midgets recently...
Will Munns

Are we looking at the wrong problem here?

If the engine has a ruined head and the valves have been bent by meeting the pistons then surely we are talking about a cambelt failure and that the horrible forces of this failure have also caused the head gasket to go. I am not sure that I see how the reverse could have happen. (i.e. the head gasket failure causing the cambelt to fail).

If it is a cambelt failure then the next question has the car had the 5 year service and did this include the cambelt change. If the answer is "yes" then surely their is a very good case for getting the garage that undertook the cambelt change to carry the can for the failure. Could the garage be blaming the gasket becuase they are aware of this?

If however the car is over 5 years old and the cambelt has not been changed then thoughts of sh*t creek and barbed wire canoes spring to mind.

Cheers

Patrick

PS Couldn't Jeanne get her mates at work to "breathe" on the engine. Surely I am not the only one to spot the name of her employers!
Patrick Beet

A faulty cam belt will not allow any greater pressures inside the system than a good one, the effects would be a tinkle tinkle noise and no power, rather than oil all over the drive.

Will
Will Munns

>>PS Couldn't Jeanne get her mates at work to "breathe" on the engine. Surely I am not the only one to spot the name of her employers!<<

Why would a vacuum cleaner co want to breath on a broken engine. Even the legendary dyson vortices would have problems here ...

Steve
:->
Steve

Are we looking at the wrong problem here?

If the engine has a ruined head and the valves have been bent by meeting the pistons then surely we are talking about a cambelt failure and that the horrible forces of this failure have also caused the head gasket to go. I am not sure that I see how the reverse could have happen. (i.e. the head gasket failure causing the cambelt to fail).

If it is a cambelt failure then the next question has the car had the 5 year service and did this include the cambelt change. If the answer is "yes" then surely their is a very good case for getting the garage that undertook the cambelt change to carry the can for the failure. Could the garage be blaming the gasket becuase they are aware of this?

If however the car is over 5 years old and the cambelt has not been changed then thoughts of sh*t creek and barbed wire canoes spring to mind.

Cheers

Patrick

PS Couldn't Jeanne get her mates at work to "breathe" on the engine. Surely I am not the only one to spot the name of her employers!
Patrick Beet

Patrick - loved the play on words
JohnP

Patrick - so good you said it twice.

We know a song about that don't we.
JohnP

>If the engine has a ruined head and the valves have been bent by meeting the pistons then surely
>we are talking about a cambelt failure and that the horrible forces of this failure have also caused
>the head gasket to go.

Errm she didn't say this, she said this :
>The head had pitted on the engine
Presumably superheated steam (or garage telling the worst that could happen)

>I am not sure that I see how the reverse could have happen.
> (i.e. the head gasket failure causing the cambelt to fail).
the head gasket could leach oil and water onto the belt and cause it to slip...

Will Munns

So far none of the above failures HGF or cam belt would cause a oil slick as far as I know. Maybe a crack in the engine block.

I must admit I with Patrick here for getting some work mates to look at the engine before you get taken for an expensive repair bill, as there should be a few who have a bit of mechanical knowledge.

Tom
Tom Randell

>>PS Couldn't Jeanne get her mates at work to "breathe" on the engine. Surely I am not the only one to spot the name of her employers! <<

Uh, oh.... Williams F1 Patrick - and you know where they get their engines from don't you?

Will - start thinking of K-series powered Midgets. I had a go in one, they're mind blowing (a Midget weighs less than an Elise...!!!)
Rob Bell

That was where I was going....
Buy midget 1.2L
Over winter buy old 216 and upgrade brakes on midget
in spring strip out 1.6K from old 216 and fit to midget
Begin 'tinkering' with 1.6
Will Munns

Jeanne, try getting a second opinion from another engineer, have known a few cases where incorrect diagnosis have given owners' cause for concern.It is often 'easier' for the garage to swap a complete unit than strip and rebuild simply because of lack of time. If they cannot offer a warranty on a rebuild then your car is parked in the wrong place.HTH.
Mike.
PS replacement VVC engine is about 2k so why 3.5k ??????
mike

My '97 VVC head gasket failed at only about 12,500 miles while driving home one evening. No warning or symptoms of overheating - just no water and a sky high temp gauge. I've heard other stories from chums about this and wonder if it is a built in factory option? I must add that 300+ to replace a head gasket is extortionate. I can do the same job in 20 mins on both the TC and PA.
Geoff Rawlings

Jeanne,

Mikes suggestion is spot on! Get at least one more second opinion .... and another wont go amiss. I too speak from experience.

From what you say, I strongly suspect that garage no. 1 are simply NOT up to the job anyway. Only when the problem has been correctly identified can the best decision be made.

If, or should that be when, the problem and cause is identified, please let us know the full story.

JMcF
John McFeely

Geoff

20 mins to change head gasket on PA Cresta / Velox!

Don't believe it! Where's me beer?... ;0)
chris

Hi,

sorry as well about the trobles :(

Though, back to probabble reasons. I think Patricks ideas seam quite near !!
Another one could be the well known cam wheel bolt problem at the VVC engine.
I think if the timing gets slightly out of specs cause the mad pin got bend, then the overheating would have an explanation.

Remind you on former discussions.
http://www.mgfcar.de/hgf/mikecowardcamwheel.JPG
& http://www.mgfcar.de/hgf/cam_bolt.htm

Should have been checked at service also.
Any thoughts ?


Rgds
Dieter
Dieter Koennecke

Thanks guys for all your advise, but I have looked into this problem, I have had 3 quotes from various places for engines. Brown and Gammmons said their was nothing I could have done to stop this from happening and their is no pattern when this happens. They could supply me with a engine but have not got one in at present, MidlandsMGF can sell me a engine which has been involved in a crash for 700.00 and the garage where I bought the car will happily fit it but their would be no warranty if anything was to go wrong so I have decided to go for a engine which will be around 1500.00 plus V.A.T. with warranty the labour rate is high at the dealership 65.00 per hour and this will take 12-15 hours to complete, Brown and Gammons charge around 35.00 per hour but will take longer. The total cost, engine, labour 3,500approx the collant systems might also have to be replaced, pipes etc, but I won't know still the engine is put into the car . The lads at Williams would only be too happy to help me, if it had happened at work, I'm sure a F1 engine would squeeze into the car and I would certainly be able to burn BMW drivers up at traffic lights.
Jeanne Dyson

Jeanne, still doesn't add up ? Engine at 1500 plus vat plus labour say 975.00 plus vat doesn't add up to 3.5k.
It is easy to assess if the cooling system,rad and pipes, requires replacing prior to fitting the engine and this should be around 300-350 plus vat.
The time to change a bare engine over for a fully equipped garage should be around 8-10 hours. If oil is in the water then this could be longer due to the messy job of cleaning the emulsified oil from every oriface!
Good luck with the work and hope the comments have helped.
Mike.
mike

If the deal from the breakers is for a complete engine/gearbox unit then you could save some money on installation charges - it is a much, much simpler job.
If not, then could they quote you on a complete unit ?

Depending on the age of your car, you are considering spending between 30 and 50 percent of its trade-in value.

Steve
Steve

Rob Bell wrote:

"... Power train have come up with a new pressure and temperature sensitive thermostat that negates the HGF problem - apparently)."

Sorry to be obtuse Rob but do I take it that this thermostat is currently being fitted to all new K series engined cars?

Or is it yet to reach the production stage?




JH Gillson


Hi all,

"pressure sensitive " would IMO mean that the thermostat is affected by the dynamic pressures inside the system and not the pressure diff. between inside of cooling system and outside world... If so this could be no more than a small springloaded "jiggle valve" that opens up when the waterpump revs up above a certain limit regardless if the thermostat itself is closed or open. This would then give a more steady regulated flow thru the system instead of the more "digital" on/off with the orginal thermostat.
If so clearly a re-invention of the wheel. Those jiggle-valves of diff. constructions have been around for along time ! Any chance of a picture ? Rog, are You out there ?

BR, Carl. (3 weeks of steady high pressure over Scandinavia = now even the MX5s have their tops down !)
Carl Blom

>Rog, are You out there ?

I think he's pi**ed of all the mega crap here on board from the last couple of month.
Should be contacted direct by email to roger.parker@virgin.net

Dieter
Dieter Koennecke

IIRC, Roger P explained his less frequent BBS visits a while back was due to more demands now on his time elsewhere ...

Those small built in holes/ball valves in Thermostats (if that's what pressure sensitive means) have indeed been around for years. Hopefully, this may be something completely new and and at least reduce HGF freqencies if not cure them entirely. We await more info IF it ever becomes available. Bit too good to be true IMHO. But, there's always a first time.

JMcF
John McFeely

Hi,

My classic is a tr6 but i often read your threads with interest.You may like to know that i have just had an engine done on my london taxi(black cab). the engine that was taken out was the nissan 2.7 nissan diesel,the engine fitted is the rover 1.8 petrol/lpg.the obvious advantages are that the engine runs smoother quieter faster and cleaner, lpg is 37.9 a litre.reading your thread regarding hgf i hope it does not happen to me,as i cover approx 30 k a year in London.

Simon
Simon

Yep, I bet R-P got pee'd off with all the crap & needles flaming here, it's sure put me and many others off. (For good)
pissed off

Dont think you're right about that ..... yet another anonymous poster .... for good?

JMcF.
John McFeely

>>"... Power train have come up with a new pressure and temperature sensitive thermostat that negates the HGF problem - apparently)."

Sorry to be obtuse Rob but do I take it that this thermostat is currently being fitted to all new K series engined cars?

Or is it yet to reach the production stage?<<

These are the new thermostats that are apparently being installed in new LandRover Freelanders equipped with the 1.8 K series. I suspect that we'll get to see the spread of these thermostats into other K-series applications in due course.

Simon, don't worry for your Taxi: these HGFs seem to afflict the midengined cars far more than the front engined applications (smaller rad circuit, better sump cooling etc).

Keep us posted with your opinions of the LPG K series though - this is an interesting development :o)
Rob Bell

Jeanne, I have been following your thread with interest - I work with Marc, your son! Sorry to hear of all the trouble, you may know my wife's MGF had HGF about a year ago, cost 500 to sort but has been OK since. (However, car had only done 10,000 miles!)
I guess a warranty is worth something, but for 3500 you could replace the engine four times anyway if it cost 700. So personally I think I'd go for the secondhand one and take the risk, as long as it was fairly low mileage.
T Green

Tim,

Thanks for your advise, but the new engine will be put in the MGF on Wednesday, I'v gone for the safer option as I will be keeping the MGF, at least I will have warranty on the engine for a year, which will definately give me peace of mind.
Jeanne Dyson

The dealership can not get me an exchanged engine, a new one will cost 600.00 more, can anyone help me track down a engine. Brown and Gammons have not got one at present. I hope MidlandMGF have still got the one for 700.00.
Jeanne Dyson

Midland MGF certainly will have whole engines available - they had a couple of crash damaged wrecks there the weekend before last.

You could also try Wolverhampton MGF spares (number in the archives, or check yellow pages)
Rob Bell

Rob,

Have you got the number for Wolverhampton MGF Spares as directory enquiries has not got it listed.
jeanne dyson

Jeanne, found the number on http://www.nationalbreakers.com/finddealer.asp?area=Midlands

It is 01902 403045

Hope this helps
Rob Bell

Rob, Thanks for the telephone number, my husband drove up to Midland MGF Spares yesterday and collected an engine for 700.00 pounds, and took it to our dealership to put in our car. Hopefully our car should be ready on Tuesday if all goes according to plan. Labour should be around 916.50, my husband will take our old engine and rebuild it himself. So at a later date we can put the original engine back into our car.
Jeanne Dyson

Just to let everyone know that I will be collecting my car on Saturday after three weeks, the dealership is telling me that the engine is only running on 3 valves instead of 4. They have done a pressure test and my husband took it for a test drive and got up to over 100 miles an hour. It was certainly running on all 4 but my husband noticed that when the car is idling it only runs on 3. Whilst the car is drivable we want to get it out of the dealership as we cannot afford their labour rate at 65.00 per hour. We are hoping the more we drive it the better it will become.
Jeanne Dyson

Jeanne,

Great news !! Glad you've got it sorted.

Been following your thread with interest over the last few weeks and pleased to hear it's back on the road and hopefully will be running on all 4 valves soon.

Tony
Tony Lynch

This thread was discussed between 08/08/2002 and 23/08/2002

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