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MG MGF Technical - Possible big probs???

Oh dear, we get to 5 years old & things start to get a little bit dodgy..... So we found out what the funny engine rattle was (not the engine at all but a bracket that holds the oil filler reservoir, for want of a better description, in place had broken. & we topped up the hydraulic fluid for the clutch & that seems better (for now.) But my other half has always felt that there was something amiss with the cars' performance & now it is definately getting worse.

There is no power, the car has certainly got noisier of late & sounds very laboured when running @ around 3000 rmp, it seems to be drinking more fuel than usual, getting to running temperature (water) far quicker than it should be & the oil temperature seems to get excessively high when running & 70 - 80 rmp for extended periods (motorway driving.) In addition to this, when trying to locate the source of the rattle we popped into Burnden park motors (who did our 5 year service) so of their more senior engineers had a look at it for us & he did think that the engine seemed lumpy & was vibrating more than it should but he wasn't able to pinpoint a reason as to why.

We checked the oil last night & it's clean, no signs of mayo or even burning. The water was a little lower than usual but there was still plenty in the tank.

Oh I also forgot to say that the engine cooling fan seems to be very irratic @ times when you assume it should be on it's not & @ times when it needed be on it is.

Any suggestions are as always appreciated!




Good news - it was only the dipstick tube bracket!! Much cheaper than an engine rattle to fix.

When was your car serviced? Were plugs & leads changed? Was it connected to TestBook and diagnosed and possibly retuned?

What temps are being reached on motorways? I recently blasted to South of France on m/ways and temp never passed 120.

Engine cooling fan? The one at the front or the one at the back? The rear one is an engine bay cooling fan and can get stuck; also doesn't come on until the engine compartment is quite hot.
John Ponting


the car last serviced in April of this year (5 year) we have been quite fastidious about servicing the car as it came from a less than reputable source (Conshaft, now there's a whole other story for you) & it has actually be serviced more frequently than recommended by MGR. I don't have the invoice to hand but I would certainly hope that they did replace the plugs & leads. As for the tuning I am not sure that they did that.

The Oil temp runs pretty hot @ halfway (130 or 150 can't remember without looking) & upto red after sustained periods at high speeds.

The fan in question is the one to the rear on the driivers side so I am assuming that's the engine bay fan.

Not sounding too good is it ;-(




Fan is probably jammed or the temp sensor could have failed. Not huge jobs.

Even though it was recently serviced it would be beneficial paying for it to be hooked up to TestBook for a good diagnosis.

Not sure that plugs & leads are replaced automatically at 5 year.

Have a look at the service schedule - see Tony's site

I see you are in as non-member. Worth taking the few minutes to register and then search ARCHIVE but you sometimes need to be a bit creative with keywords. Titles don't always tell the true story!
John Ponting

It's very hard to diagnose or fault find this way, however I am a great believer of take the easiest and cheapest route first.

I would take out the air filter and look at that, although you have said it was serviced in April and you seem to take care of your car, maybe the garage forgot to replace it, I assume you have a standard air box, certainly some of your faults could point in that direction so a good place to start I would say.

Adrian Clifford

Adrian, I am with you on that thought! The airbox is standard, unfortunately (or fortunately) having just bought our first house we don't have the cashflow to head on down the slippery slope to the darkside! I take it I can find the info on how to do that on Robs site ?

John, thanks also for the info, I checked Tonys service schedule & if I am reading it right then the plugs & leads should have been done @ the last service. Shall book the car in for a diagnostic though & see what shows up. I have been a registered user of this site in the past but haven't been here for a bit so consequenetly can't remember my password!



I don't think Adrian was suggesting removing the airbox-only checking that the filter in there wasn't dirty. This would cause some of the symptoms you have-i.e. poor fuel consumption and poor performance.

Always worth a look there first.


The fractured bracket would suggest that there is a mechanical problem that excites (vibrates) the bracket.
You may consider coming down for MGF 10 early and have Techspeed look at it as it appears to be beyond your Service garage's capabilities.
TestBook may find electronic problems but not those that are mechanical.
Geoff F.
G. Farthing


Little trick i did to sort out the filler/dipstick bracket.....,, Get some QUICKSTEEL, metal putty. fill the area with a small amount, then oil the bolt and turn it three turns into the putty/gap leave for 2 to 3 hours and it will be sorted did mine 2 years ago and its now fine!!!!


Thanks for the advice guys, I must admit when we popped the car up to Burnden Park they were snowed under & weren't actually taking any more on. The engineer who took a look at the car suggested much the same as you Geoff with regards the diagnostic & mentioned that the engine 'moved' alot more than it should! Not sure if we will be able to get to MGF10 (it would be nice though.) & there's us worrying about HGF at least you can see when something might be going wrong there!!



If you can't get it down to MGF10 or tech speed (Leamington Spa) and your local garages can't help can you speak to Mike Satur, Barnsley, not too far from you.

Adrian Clifford


Oh where to start - I'm just looking for some help and direction before I personally take to a field, with a large can of petrol and lighter, park my dear little MGF and TORCH the ruddy thing!

Brief history; Searched for over a year for a nice little low mileage late MGF,mint conditon, blah, blah, blah. Husband and I found and purchased what we THOUGHT was 'the one' and have had ongoing problems ever since.

Long and the short of it: Had the Head Gasket done just over a year ago, initially caused by yet another water/coolant leak hence water pump failure (since found out via various reviwes that it's a common problem with them) Been ticking along fine ever since that hefty bill,only doing about 5k a year, but at the weekend I overheated (both me and the car in the end!)

It's now back at my local Rover dealer/garage for another session of pressure testing to discover what's wrong...Oh let me guess!

But, and there are several....My biggest issue is that when it was fully serviced back in March this year, the garage replaced the Water Pump(again) as they (quote) "weren't happy with it"....So three months on and less than 2,000miles travelled, they're now saying it's (quote) "not their problem" and because they simply changed it FREE OF CHARGE during the service, the original warranty of the pump relates back to the first time they fitted one - oh, which just happens to have been a year ago in July05, oh which just happens to be OUT OF WARRANTY now!

Therefore, it looks like I have a battle on my hands with what I thought were a smashing garage. They've had over £1,000 out of me over the last 18months and I just don't think it's reasonable that it's all going wrong again. I'm awaiting the results of the pressure test of course, but they're very likely to either say a)the water pump is knackered again or worst case senario b) the head's gone again!

Where do I stand folks? At my whits end. Really can't afford to keep throwing money at this but what's my option(s)

Ok I'll wrap this up now, rant over, apologies.
Help and advice REALLY appreciated.
Many Thanks

Karen Gordon

I think they may be trying it on with you, just a thought.

Is it an MG garage or a local.

Keep note of all of their words, receipts, names of people you have spoken to, surely in my view if they have fitted a water pump, irrespective of cost, the warranty belongs to that product, not the original.

When you have their latest diagnosis, if you are not happy, I think you may need to take it up with the local trading standards office, you may like to contact the local paper, enquire if they have received complaints, they may not say, but they may like a qoute from the garage over their policies.

Whatever you do, keep a detailed note, write it in their prescence where they can see, get the workshop manager to sign it, but don't lose your rag or get abusive, they could hold that against you. Are they a national company with a head office, get those details and somebody to talk to.

See if they change,don't threaten them with the TSO but make it clear they leave you no option.

Use your local Citizens Advice Bureau, they could help you with your rights on this issue.

Adrian Clifford


Thank you for your advice. I will go down every avenue possible if it helps.

Sadly we had a call from the garage this morning (sorry, didn't mention, they're our local Rover Dealer, located at the top of our road!) and it's really bad news;

The Head Gasket has gone again, apparently caused by failure of the fan to kick in, resulting in overheating, blah, blah, blah...They advised that if it's been caught early enough (can't they tell then?) it a £600+ job, worst case £1000+...

I feel literally sick about it all. As previously mentioned, back in March it had a full major service (timing belts, etc) costing £691 total, now here we are in October with this news.

We're caught over a barrel - it's sat there, undrivable and needing major work, but I am appalled that we should be in this position so soon after having had the same problem. Irrespective of the timescale, the car has only done approx. 3k since - it's just not acceptable. Every review site I've checked on the net talks of the 'common problems' with MGF's of Coolant Leaks and Head Gasket Failure, so why are they SO dismissive of it at the garage?

I've got various contact number's for MG Customer Services so I will call them today - I just KNOW this is a road to nowhere though. What a headache, I'm carless now until we can make a decision on what to do!
Will let you know any further developments.
Thanks again
A Very Narked Karen Gordon

Karen Gordon

Karen - where are you in Hampshire please?
Mike Hall

"caused by failure of the fan to kick in" Did they say why it hadn't 'kicked in'?

OK, here's the latest - no real developments as such.

Please bare in mind that I'm writing this following my husband explaining to me what the garage have said to him each day, third hand info (and I'm blonde!) He's au-fey with car's generally, but this is beyond what he could deal with, so he's particularly narked about it all, feeling as if he's been 'done' as he puts it....

Pooles Rover, Fareham, Hants (the garage in question) said that they tested the power to the fan and that was all live&kicking, but that the fan was obviously "duff" as it just didn't "kick in" - now my understanding is that there is a sensor (by the rad in most cars?) that tells the fan to kick in? So something somewhere along the line is not talking to something else!

At the end of the day, they could tell us ANYTHING and we'd have to go with it. The £600+ service that it had back in March obviously didn't pick it up either....yeah right, like they'd check all that.

Last conversation with the garage was that "they wouldn't really know what's going on until they removed the head". Either way, the pound-signs are kicking-in bigtime.

It's not like we have the time to consult someone like the AA for an inspection to be carried out or anything? We've had to give them the go ahead as various parts need ordering. A new fan alone I believe is £300 - hope it's gold plated for that price!

I'm just so worried that even a couple of months down the line again (if I've not go shot of it by then) we'll have further problems and be back in the same position, as lets face it, the garage aren't likely to turn around and say it's their problem, it's bound to be something different yet again.

No win situation isn't it?

Thanks for listening.
Kare Gordon

Kare, something that may help you to figure out the fan operation problem:

Can you tell us a little more about what the problems you are experiencing right now with your MG?
Rob Bell


Thank you - that's fantastic, but do you suggest I hand this information to the MG garage where it's currently being dismantled? (then run like crazy!)

I can't really explain a lot more than I already have in recent details in previous emails above, but here's a brief history;

Less than 6 months after purchasing the car, we noticed small amounts of what we thought was oil on the garage floor (just a dot, drivers side by the back wheel) - turned out to be coolant (not the usual colour though?) and the waterpump was to blame....had that changed then weeks later the Head went, apparently caused by the original issue with the water pump, knock on effect?

Had the head done (skimmed also I believe) happily poodled along for the last 13months, only doing approx 3k though since it was done...

Last weekend I sat in a traffic jam for 20mins and it's the first time I'd seen the temp dial creep above it's 'normal' position (oil pressue moved a tad, but not much). It didn't even make the red when I turned around to reverse into a parking space and saw steam coming from the grill in the boot!

After carefully lifting the flap/cover I knew not to go any further, I could see the expansion tank (is that right?) literally bubbling like a kettle, ready to burst!

Since then it's been at the garage. I actually had to drive it a couple of miles to get home eventually, but it had sat for about 4hours 'cooling' and all dials returned to their normal position. It started and ran fine...

Bizzare thing is, I do remember hearing and feeling (through my back) the fan, or 'a fan' kick kick in, as I thought it was soon, as the temp dial was nowhere near the red?

Hope this helps...any suggestions from here on?

Karen Gordon

I feel so sorry for you on this issue, the fan behind you operates when the engine bay temperature increases, the fan draws cool air from the right hand side vent into the engine bay. It can run on for a few minutes after the ignition is switched off.

The rad fan is at the front, you probably wouldn't hear that one.

Adrian Clifford


Thanks again - but there was no fan running at all the minute I switched the engine off; hence I guess this is the one that's packed-up? (possibly whilst trying to cool the engine?)


Hi Karen,

By the sounds of things, you probably don't have anything more sinister than the radiator fan failing to come on - I've had this before (more than once!), and it certainly did not kill the head gasket.

The problem is either:
1. The fan itself has seized up
2. The fan fuse has failed
3. The temperature sensor either has dirty contacts with the loom plug, or the sensor itself needs replacing.

Each of these possibilities is covered in the web page linked above.

Unless there is any other evidence of a head gasket failure, I would not remove the cylinder head - it is probably unnecessary and will cost you a small pot of cash to do.
Rob Bell

Unless, that is what the garage want to charge you for ?

Adrian Clifford

Karen,do you think the head could have gone the first time because the cooling system wasn't bled correctly when the water pump was changed?

Karen, you have my sympathy. It's very frustrating when dealing with a garage that may be giving you information that is being related to you down a chain of command. The guy actually diagnosing the job and doing the work may have little interest in you as a customer or the car. In reality why should he so long as the job is done carefully, correctly and economically. However it would seem you have lost confidence in the diagnosis and after reading about the events above would have to concur. I would remove the car and take it to a local specialist, there must be one near you that is recommended by the MGCC or MGOC and get a report on exactly what is the problem.
The electrics on the MG can at best be a tad unreliable and a(working) cooling fan is an essential part. If you have been quoted £300 for a replacement then that alone would be enough reason IMO to remove the car. I would invest in a kenlowe cooling fan that has a independant switching sensor that can be adjusted, these are better quality and move more air than the 3 bladed effort fitted as standard, these are only £70-80 pounds from a decent car accesories shop.
I suspect, as been suggested, that the fan has either given up the ghost or a sensor is at fault. The quote "they wouldn't really know what's going on until they removed the head" is only partly true i.e. "they really don't know what is going on" and my advice FWIW is do not remove the head, find what the cause of the o/h is first.


Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. My husband has been particularly interested in all the various points and advice. It's helped in so many respects for when he speaks to the garage, I think they've taken a slightly different voew on us as customers, suddenly seeming to know what we're on about, as opposed to Joe Bloggs listening to their mechanical shpeil (let's hope the bill reflects it!)

There's no real update for you as such though today as we've have chosen not to speak to the garage too often.You get a different person every time, and with that, a different story.

They did say it would probably be 'done' by the weekend so I will let you know EXACTLY what they've done, as soon as I know.

In hindsight, it would have been better to go to a more specialised garage perhaps, but as my local dealer, and having had it serviced there since I bought it....

When the Head first went they seemed pretty knowledgable about various aspects of it (i read up on the net what it involved and they seemed to verify that) it's just all turned a bit sour since really. This time I can only go by their diagnostic 'pressure test' - as I understand it, the Head either 'goes' or doesn't, there's no in-between?

Anyway, update as mention after the weekend. Really appreciate all your comments, it does have a calming effect. The sadest part is, I love my little MGF! After searching for over a year for what we thought was a real gem compared to others, I know I'll be selling it in the next few weeks, and it'll leave a bitter taste. What could replace a nice little 2seater sports car eh?

Thanks again


Hello once again,

Just thought I'd update you now I have my car back and have almost recovered from the garage bill on friday (several large glasses consumed over the weekend I can assure you!) Here's what's printed on the invoice;

Investigate Coolant Loss; Carried out cooling system pressure test but found no signs of external coolant leaks. Carried out block test and confirmed Head Gasket Failure.

Removed cylinder head and refitted with new Head Gasket. Vacuum filled cooling system. Carried out engine and oil filter change. Ran engine until operating temperature reached and cooling fan cut in. Road tested. £465.00

Fan/cowl & Motor £159.17
Emery Cloth £.95
Gasket Cylinder Set £93.21
Bolt Adhesive £1.01
Anti Freeze 20lt (x3) £8.76
Oil Filter £4.42
Washer Sealing £.75
Relay £1.87

GRAND TOTAL £912.70!!!!!!!!!!!

Suprisingly it doesn't even really mention the failure of the cooling fan, which is what they told us had caused all the problems in the first place. The only thing I can see is that the cost of the fan wasn't as much as they first quoted? (£300!)baring in mind that the info above was kind of standard print on the actual invoice, it all seems a fairly basic explanation...

Spent most of the weekend looking for another car, but am in a bit of a catch 22 position as mine will only fetch £5k at most (px) and having paid just over £10k for it 18months ago, plus shelling out almost another £2k on probelms with it - I really am running at a loss!
Thanks once again for your support. Would like the whole situation done and dusted but have this fear of any further issues with it and having to go back to the garage again. I assume I have a years warranty on all the work they've carried out, and parts?



Sorry to hear of all your problems. Its not nice when you lose faith in your garage and your car.
I'm still looking for a reliable MGF specialist in the area but if I change my car I think I'll just get a newer F!
(Emery Cloth £.95 - they don't miss a trick, garages)
Russell Parslow


Good luck is all I can say to you, as you correctly assume, I certainly have lost ALL faith in absolutely anything to do with MG, full stop!

I've just put mine on Auto Trader infact, in hope of possibly getting a reasonable price for it privately?(It's in such good nick!)

As for the Emery Cloth... I'm suprised they didn't charge me for the sweat off the mechanic's brow too!

All the best

>> I'm suprised they didn't charge me for the sweat off the mechanic's brow too! <<

I thought that they'd missed something off that itemised list...

Sorry to hear that you're leaving us so soon Karen, but I can completely understand where you're coming from. Better luck with the next car!
Rob Bell

"I'm suprised they didn't charge me for the sweat off the mechanic's brow too"
I doubt he broke into a sweat;-)


Just feel the need to add my sympathy!

I also do not understand the message about the problem being caused by a broken fan that does not appear to have been fixed. We ran our car for AT LEAST 18 months with the engine bay fan not operating without any damage to the car and assuredly no HGF.

I suspect your garage is merely attempting to avoid responsibility for your HGF only 3,000 miles after they last “fixed” it.

MGFs can be wonderfully reliable transport (we have owned ours from new and in 8+ years has cost little more than annual service charges.) Using a garage that cares and where the staff do not wear 10 gallon hats is however key!

Good luck


We are all so sad for you, if you don't sell it, follow Patrick's advice and get it looked after by people that know and care for your car, it will be worth travelling for it's service if necessary, I'm sure people local to you will recommend a good garage.

During the year we always have a number of events around the country and Europe that will make you forget your woes.

Look in on the MGF Register site also, link to the forum here :

Meet some great people.

Adrian Clifford


Various big lessons learned here along the way, and lots of "if only" moments...

No responce to my ad for the car, but early days as yet, and there were zillions of them all in competition. Sadest part is, having spent the weekend hunting some form of 4-wheels, nothing comes close to my super little number. Massive lack of enthusiasm too!

Fully intend to stay in touch and check out the events. At least I'll be able to say "I had one of those"....

All the best and once again, Thanks for all your comments, suggestions, sympathy and support. I'd never realised what a network there was out there!

Karen Gordon

Keep it, you know it makes sense!
PA Beet

This thread was discussed between 08/10/2005 and 19/10/2005

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