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MG MGF Technical - Head Casket

I have just got off the phone to the garage, following a problem with a coolant leak. I should tell you some history here. Stuck in a traffic jam in Leicester, I suddenly noticed the radiator temperature going up and up and as I quickly pulled over, smoke started coming out the engine.

As I was mid journey, I filled up the radiator with water, and continued my journey without incident and booked into Keens in Battersea. They stated that the seal had gone on the radiator and replaced it for 4.00. A week later, notice coolant still leaking and so re-book it into Keens. They phone up this morning to say that coolant leaking from head casket and they think head casket may be damaged, and they need to replace head casket (7 hours labour) cost 1000+. Car is just over three years.

Firstly I wonder if anyone can comment on what Keens are telling me, secondly is there another Rover accredited garage (not dealership garage) who could assist.

Thanks for any help anybody can give as at the moment I am v.depressed.

Chris Sutton

It's obviously dead if they're suggesting a casket...

A grand to change the head gasket? Jeepers.

Mike Bees

Chris, you might want to try a mg specialist as dealers will always charge the earth. Even so,
Steve Childs

I should add, this is an MGF. Sorry for any confusion.

I am going for a second opinion at one of the garages recommended from the Garage page.

I just find it extraordinary that the problem has gone from a leaking seal to head casket. Not being mechanically minded I am in shock and was after others views
Chris Sutton

Chris, it could well be that the seal had gone on the radiator as well. The head *g*asket (not casket!!) is a known problem in MGFs and can fail.

Its not all that extraordinary really, both leaks could have been there at the same time, but they only spotted the radiator leak - although I would have thought that the first place they would have looked would have been the Head Gasket given the description you gave.

Steve Childs

There's a big problem here - the fact that the radiator and engine are at different ends of the car! You say smoke (presumably steam) came from the engine - and the dealer says it's a radiator seal! This is unbelieable ineptitude: try getting them to explain exactly how a failed rad. seal is going to lead to steam coming out of the engine... and expect some interesting replies. The failure of the gasket is quite likely to have been your origianl problem anyway, it's not unknown :-( and nor is it unknon to the dealers.

Any come back with them is very difficult though
Ed Clarke

I think the steam you saw would have been coming from the coolant reservoir filler cap (on the right side of the engine bay). The "radiator seal" that was replaced might just have been the seal on this filler cap (i think a bad seal here _can_ cause overheating due to a pressure loss in the coolant(?) (someone will correct me if i'm wrong...)
but when i saw steam from there it was because my head gasket was knackered (thankfully under warranty - especially when it went again after two months!!!)
John Philpott

I find the spate of HGF's nothing less than extrordinary and MG Rover are sitting on their ar*es doing stuff all about it? I find this attitude unbelievable and very worrying. How can these w*nkers produce a car with such a hideous latent defect? More to the point, how can MG Rover and their dealers sel a product ala MGF if they know this is a problem and are not doing anyhing to fix it? Isn't there a law against this sort of thing? Don't you guys in the UK have something like the Trade Practices Act?

I noticed that mags like MG World and MGE (for example) are seemingly quick to write stories that are very favourable about the new MG Rover company and the cars they have in the piepline (or pipedream) and how excited everyone is feeling very upbeat about the future of the marque. Well, I don't give a flying f*ck about the new cars coming down the track. What I do care about, is these w*nkers fixing the f*&cking problem that we have now on the MGF - how about the designers and engineers pull their fingers out, stop dicking us around and fix the goddam HGF problem first! Otherwise, they may just find that people won't be buying their cars because they don't trust these pr*cks to do the right thing by them.

How about MG World and MGE start writing stories about people suffering HGF's? Why not print the Hall of Shame? Why not get these co*k suckers at MG Rover (and their counter parts around the world) shamed into action and start lokking after their customers? Even better, why doesn't the F Register joing forces and and start ratlling some cages?

I bet you feel better now that's off your chest. : )
John Philpott

I'd feel a damn site better if MGR took the HGF problem more seriously than they do and actually look after their customers!

On a bit of a tangent, are there no MG specialists closer to London than Herts?

I've had my (second hand) MGF for about a month now and need to take it in for its 4-year service. Live fairly close to Keens but I've heard from a number of people that they're expensive. Any recommendations?



The best option is to do the job yourself. At least you know its been done properly and a 1000 garage charge is taking the "PISS" it would be cheaper to take a day of work to do the job i believe it should not cost no more than 250 to 350.
steven pipe

Jon - there are of course dealers in London, but they're a) expensive and b) few people have good reports about them. I've been told of an MG specialist in Muswell Hill who apparently also look after F's, but can't remember the name... anyone else know?

Ed Clarke

jb, Ive recently acquired a new F, and I'll be writing to my dealer and Mg Rover to see where they stand on HGF's, Im not going to hang around and wait for this fault to occur on my F and then have them turn their back on me. Bloody ridiculous! one told me about the extraordinary amount of HGF's when I bought the car. The press SHOULD take up this story and pressure MGR to get it sorted.

Chris,that garage who quoted you 1000,are they a Rover dealership?-if so,as all ready pointed out they are really taking the piss,I've just had a head gasket replaced on my 98 VVC,plus i had some other small jobs done while the car was in with Rover,which were a engine mount replaced,an alarm key fob re-programmed and also they checked out the temperature gauge and it "only" came to 520,-which also included a recovery charge of 50+VAT.

A.T.B Leo

JB, you are so right!


Well, when I was thinking of buying an F I asked Brown and Gammons how much the average HGF cost. They estimated 400-550, and they're not especially cheap.
David Bainbridge

This thread was discussed between 20/07/2001 and 21/07/2001

MG MGF Technical index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGF Technical BBS is active now.