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MG MGF Technical - HGF or not HGF, that is the question

Just got back from an amazing drive in the sun today - ragging it around a bit, I must admit. Got back with the engine steaming + about half the coolant left. Let it cool + just checked the oil - clean as a whistle. Same for the remaining coolant. Opened the coolant bottle + loads more coolant started flowing out the bottom of the car (must have released the pressure in the system. Does this sound like HGF or just a burst pipe or something? I am not technically minded so dunno what to look at in the engine.

RAC are on their way, so should be able to give a clue - but any advice welcomed!


PS Engine temp normal when i switched it off...

Sounds like a burst hose. A bit like the science trick with the hose and the thumb on top.

There is vacuum in the system, caused by cooling of the coolant. As air came in when you took off the cap, the coolant could flow again.

Johan Slagter

OK, took the F to the local MGR dealer who have how said that as well as the burst hose there appears to be another bigger leak in the cooling system, possibly the head gasket, and also the car is running very rough. Thing is though, the oil is squeaky clean and when I gave it to them it was running fine, so im just hoping it isnt HGF. They have said it'll be 200 to investigate the problem, and if it is HGF im looking at a bill for 800+. Just wondering what everyone else has paid for this, as I was expecting it to be more around the 500 mark. Please help, it's at Bristol Street Rover in Poole at the moment. If anyone knows anywhere locally cheaper please let me know


Mike, is your car an early(ish) MGF 1.8 MPi? If so, then the rough running and coolant loss could be due to failure of the inlet manifold gasket (IMG).

Don't necessarily assume HGF.
Rob Bell

Hi Rob,

It's a 1998 VVC


Makes the IMG failure less likely - but still possible (VVC IMGs do fail, but much less frequently than the MPi version).

Worth checking all the other possibilities before pointing the finger at the head gasket, but I am afraid that HGF is looking more likely as a diagnosis :o(
Rob Bell

To the point of the price 800+ sounds rather steep, just for the gasket to be replaced, IMO.

Get another quote!

Mine went to Brown and Gammons for it's HGF (clean oil, just lost an expansion tank full of water). Cost about 500 including a pair of cambelts whilst the head was off.

Tim Jenner

Still waiting for MGR to come back to me with the diagnosed problem, though i've paid 175 so far for the privilege! The trouble is that now it's in the garage, I think it'd probably be too uch hassle and money to get it towed to another - especially without a recommendation from anyone to ensure the new garage was actually cheaper. Has anyone had the work done by MGR before - and at what cost? They said the 800 is because if it is HGF, the head will need to be skimmed. Is this right? Is it worth getting the 5yr/60k service done at the same time to save the longrun cost?

Looks like i'll be in for a FAT bill :(


PS Any suggestions of a good mg specialist in Bournemouth/Poole appreciated - cos the guys at Bristol street don't really seem too bothered with getting it sorted in a hurry...


Just got quote from MGR. Worse than I thought:

Cracked coolant pipes under car lead to head gasket Failure. Head needs to be sent to an engineering company to get skimmed. New pipes, gasket, Water pump (also on the way out), cambelt and other bits n bobs:

1268 please!!!!

Ar*e. Might just get rid of it after this. Only had it a couple of months and am paying out about a sixth of the worth of the damn thing

And to top it all off I got given one of the new city rovers (aka metro) as a courtesy car! Nice!

Anyway, rant over, for now...

Sorry to hear all this, Mike. :( If you do keep the car I'd strongly recommend a warranty (paid for my HGF but wouldn't have for you because the cause was the coolant pipe). When B&G had mine, they said they check the heads and only skim them if they need it - it would have been an extra 100 and they said it's rare if the car hasn't overheated. For 1268 I would definitely go elsewhere - as I say, it cost me about 500 with cambelts.

Tim Jenner

>> Only had it a couple of months and am paying out about a sixth of the worth of the damn thing <<

If bought from a garage, then surely it'll be covered by the 1 year warrantee?

HG replacement costs do rapidly stack up once other things are found to be wrong (I'd be surprised if the rad didn't need replacing as well) - partly because each job is itemised with it's own labour charge attached (usually optimistic in favour of the dealership).

So must you get the repair done at an MGR dealership? B&G, Techspeed, Mike Satur and MGFC would all be capable of performing the repairs for rather less - and if you have AA relay or the RAC equivalent, then your transport headache is sorted too.
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 15/05/2004 and 20/05/2004

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