Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.



MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG MGF Technical - Head Gasket problems

Have a 1997 R Reg MGF VVC, with low mileage 23K, had it for a year now. Just suffered my first problem and anxious to know how/why it may have occured. Suddenly noticed last week coolant leaking out of bottom of engine and steam out of boot air vents. Quickly got it in to a garage and was told the head casket had gone.

Sounds serious, if left Im sure but it wasnt and immediately replaced. Got the MGF from a Vauxhall dealer and was blessed with extended Network Q warranty, LUCKILY !

My question is :

Is this a common problem for a car this old and mileage and am I likely to have more serious knock on effects.

Plus just out of curiousity how the hell do the engineers get at they work from inside the car with the roof down or is it all just from the rear inspection area ??

Appreciate any comments, even as to a guess how much this would have cost if no warranty ?

Common ???

*g* try the archives with keyword 'HGF'....

Will be from 300 quid upwards. More often 500 quid though.

Ahhhh, and see that you get it done with the new gasket AND steel dowels.
As well best done bleed of the coolant system is vital to prevent from more troubles.

Dieter << crap looking data base, so use the brown couloured search entry field.
Dieter Koennecke

Steve to access the engine you unclip the 5 over-centre clips holding down the back edge of the hood from inside the car (whilst hood is up), then unzip the rear window, pull up the rear of the hood and fasten up with a hook and strap, remove parcel shelf cover, remove sound proofing, release 8-ish bolts holding engine cover plate, remove engine cover plate. Well thats the way i do it...*s*.

Hmmm.........other one bites the dust!

I have a boring car, 35,000 and no trouble, i wish MGR could build them like this.

I wonder if MGR KNOW WHY they have so much hassle from the head gaskets?


As Paul says access to the engine compartment is under the rear section of the hood - full details on how to do this (with images) can be found on my website in the new MGF FAQ....

Also home of the MG Dealer Guide and F'ers Gallery. :)

Mega - try reading the archives there's plenty of info regarding the main suspected cause for HGF's and it does not appear to be one of intial weakness of the engine. I don't suppose you really care but the main problem seems to be one of poor servicing and more importantly failure to ensure all air has been purged from the cooling system following a coolant change. Hence *most* HGF appear to take place following a 3 year service.
Paul Lathwell

Yes Paul
I do care, i wish that it was a great car. It is NOT!
Other cars are mid engined but don't have this trouble. I was wondering if there was a such a thing as a "Bleeding rig" i seem to remember Fiat dealers using one ref the X1/9.

I believe there was some discussion as to why the F seemed to suffer more than the Elise with regards to HGF's and there was I believe a techincal difference between the two car's cooling systems that pointed towards a possible problem. ISTR is also being mentioned that MGR had indeed looked into the HG problems so I guess all we can do is wait and see if the MK3 does prove any stronger in this area. Thing is this could potentially equate to waiting three years after the MK actually hits the market and a coolant change has been performed. Who knows. <shrug>.

As for the F being a great car it depends largely on your personal opinion as stated many time here already. Likewise I think you'll find there are very few people who will actually say the F is well built, clearly experience of owners expressed here have show a number of areas where the F has been let down. However, you also have to consider that problems do get disscussed at length here and new owners often find this site and basically ask the same questions over again. To take the view that everyone has or is about to suffer all or any such problems themselves is ridiculous quite frankly, but sadly this seems to be the opinion people form.

I also think to say the F is "unreliable" is a VERY missleading word to use. "Unreliable" suggests just that - that a car is prone to non-starting problems or other such failures that lead to the car being undrivable. This is certainly not the case when you look at the more common *problems* people experience with their F's. My own F has only ever proved "unreliable" when the battery prematurely failed, even then I was able to continue using the car until a new battery could be sourced - not great problem.
Paul Lathwell

Yes Paul
Thats my point! The same faults keep coming up, new owners come to this web site hopeing for answers.

Again and again its handling and HGFs i wonder when the penney will drop with you guys, do you think Honda has a BB anything like this one!

Please understand i have the greatest repect for MG owners, but i think that i this day and age moden cars should not have this level of hassle.

What's the point of discussing this with mega, he obviously understands very little about what he is talking about, all he want's to do is go on and on about the MGF being crap without even understanding a thing, it gets very boring after a very short time, it's like the anoying little brother who you wish would just piss off.
Tony Smith

The J.D. Power is wrong, Top gear is Wrong, EVERY owner i have met is WRONG and you guys are right, its all a big con by forces unknown........Wake up and smell the cofee Pal!

", its all a big con by forces unknown"
like nicking your tags :)

>Thats my point! The same faults keep coming up, new owners come to this >web site hopeing for answers.

Yes, and you point is what exactly? They come here for help and usually they find an answer - better than relying on the word of a daler don't you think. i.e. the answers here are free and unbiased.

>Again and again its handling and HGFs i wonder when the penney will drop >with you guys, do you think Honda has a BB anything like this one!

Well over the three or so years I've been reading the BBS it's not struck me that there is a high number of posts regarding poor handling. HGF's do come up a lot I'll grant you (too much TBH), but I say again evidence shows that HGF tend to follow a three year service where the coolant has been changed. This points to poor servicing with regards to ensuring the cooling system is free of air-locks NOT that the HG itself is too weak to start with.

>Please understand i have the greatest repect for MG owners, but i think that i >this day and age moden cars should not have this level of hassle.

Perhaps had Rover had enough money to throw at the project (rebirth of the MG brand and intoduction of the F) then perhaps there would indeed be fewer problems. I doubt very much if there's any F owner here who would not be happier to know the F had less problems. From the sound of it you seem to have the opinion that we should not come here and discuss our F experiences whether they be good or bad. Seems to me you'd rather have us sit here and keep quiet about problems we have. Either that or you expect us to all sell our F's and buy a car YOU think we should buy. Get a grip mate we are all capable of spending our money how we see fit, I'm afraid it's just tough if you do not agree with that decision.

Have a great xmas and new year all.
Paul Lathwell

What i would like to see is the MGF owners getting a grip on MGR! If you lot would only get together and "KICK OFF" big time with MGR than they would HAVE to do somthing.

You guys are the MG Taliban, anything MGR do is great, well i am sorry it is NOT! If you could get MGR to sort the Problems it would be not only good for you but there would be a large number of NEW MG owners. That must be good for everyone surely?

Or may be you like Pissing about with a crap car, well 99% of other people DONT! and would rather buy that nice MR2 or Z3 and have a easyer life.

Think about it Please!

>You guys are the MG Taliban, anything MGR do is great

In one breath you say to look at the BBS as proof that the MGF has problems because we are always talking about them, and in the next you are saying that we have been taking crap from MGR and wre not talking enough about problems.

No, everything MGR do is not great by any means but on the other hand what MGR have done in my case has not been too bad. They paid for most of the problems I had and the car has been pretty much fine for nearly two years now.

When it comes to cars you will get pretty much the same treatment from most mass producers. They don't like to talk about problems as it is bad PR.

The real serious problem is the lousy dealers and I have been calling for some time for MGR to pull their finger out and purge these parasitic apes from their dealership network. I do agree however that getting people together on these points is not an easy task. Also in my experience I have found large Ford and Vauxhall dealers who have the same sort of disregard for the customer.

Lets face it the whole car industry is a big con with lot's of people putting your money in their own pockets all the way along the line, why single out MGF owners for something that is industry wide. The only car I ever owned that did not cost me any money was a Renault Twingo, and only owned it for four months. Would I rather have the MGF than the Twingo, yes, I bloody well would.

In the UK you have it easy as you have many speciallists, these are few and far between in Holland, you can't even buy decent automotive parts and tools in Halfords unless you want to fix your bike that is.

After I have spent so much money time and effort getting the car how I want it with better components I would be really stupid to sell it and get another car. No, it did not come out of the factory perfect but very few cars do, whoever makes them.

My MGF is fine, it handles, it does not continuosly leak oil or water, all levels remain constant. It is not as fast as many cars but it does not have to be for what it is. If you want real power you are really talking a 40k price tag.

I have a couple of problems at the moment and it is a burnt out resistor for position 1 on the heater fan. It has been like this for 18 months, it's just that I have not got round to fixing it yet, an easy DIY job and hardly a sign of impending doom. It looks like my creaking problem is down to me, being too lazy to reroute the cold air pipes for the K&N after I fittied Tom's bracket. Just waiting for a dry day to fix this.

I still have a shopping list but that is only for upgrades, nothing else needs fixing.
Tony Smith


don't forget, this is the technical BBS...
Discussing with a lame spammer like this sh*t guy is useless, cause he only wants 'interest'.

Back to the header.

If someone likes to fix a gone head gasket, then see getting the improved new gasket and the new hollow steel dowels to the head.

Part numbers are on or in the Archives of the technical subjects.


First of all happy xmas. Thanks for a good replie. I keep trying to tell people tha its the car i have a problem with not the owners.

Please let me explain a little. I am an engineer, for many years i worked in thr car componets surply network. I used to make Turbo bearings that ended up in everthing from trucks to RS turbo Fords. I know that a car IS the sum of its parts.

I now work for myself and in the next unit is a chap who repairs car hoods. I have helped out a number of times and i have driven a large number of cars. The best being a V8 Lotus Esprit.

I have talked to about Twenty diffient owners and driven about 12 MGFs. I was pissed off with what i found. No two MGFs drove the same, and they where very differant indeed. They ranged from so so to death traps every and i mean every owner had a sob story to tell. Not one of them said they would ever buy a MGF or Rover again.

I agree that the dealships are a problem, but come on they sell Hondas and they don't have this level of trouble.The problem comes from lack of R+D, bad parts and you guys letting MGR off the hook!

Anyway the mark 3 will be with use soon and may be jusy may be they have sorted it out. anyway i will soon have a MGF for the next few months or so.

one of my clients has "Decided" that i am to bulid him a hard top that he can take apart and sort in the boot!
Its one of those "Good ideas" that you can't say NO to.

I am hopeing to prove to him that there is not enough space in the boot. (could be an intersting project though!)
Thank MEGA

Ps Its Xmas so i am being nice to Dieter to day!

>I now work for myself and ...

Hyper ROFL !!
I wonder who would employ such case of madness.

>I have talked to about Twenty diffient owners and driven about 12 MGFs.

So it's OK and now go back to your
>one of my clients has "Decided" that i am to bulid him a hard top >

Sorry, can't get 'bulid ' hard top,
is it a bullsh*t hard top then ?

Dieter :)

MEGA engineer!

What type?

ROFL hahaha!!
John Birch

John, I guess on another spelling mistake.

Assume 'it' wanted to write :
I was an .... 'engine near'

Err, just forget it. Most useless to reply on any of that crap.
Dieter :)

Its still xmas Dieter, i was asked to attack you on this holy day. I agreed not to and i keep my word.

so Rover sell over 70,000 Fs and this idiot talks to 20 owners. Statistically insignificant, just like Mega.... yes it may be Christmas but Mega is still a complete to55er.
BTW has anyone recently analysed the rate at which HGF are being reported to the HoS or the BBS? I ask as my gut feel is that the rate has slowed a lot. This is what one would expect if almost all the early cars have gone through cr@p dealer coolant change and the later cars have the revised gasket and dowels which as far as I'm concerned have fixed the problem. Is there a documented case of HGF with the new parts?

Hello MEGA do you remember the Prisoner, remember the big balloon that chased and caught all the miscreants,remember its name.
IT will be seeing you.
I'ii gave you a clue it starts with R.
No 1

Till it HGFs!

This thread was discussed between 20/12/2001 and 26/12/2001

MG MGF Technical index

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