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MG MGF Technical - Possible HGF

Maybe, maybe not... Difficult to say, 'cos there's no mayo on the dipstick. First sign was a stong smell of burning rubber so it might only be a blown coolant hose. Hopefully I got it early & limited the damage - although I was just hitting 7,000 in 2nd...

Either way, spent 3 hours waiting for the AA & the car's now sitting at a dealer waiting for a bit of attention.

For information, its an early 2001 VVC with 21k on the clock. Thankfully there's still plenty of warranty left.

Will let you know the diagnosis in due course!

sorry that you have to walk for a while now. I hope you get it fixed soon, togethert with the steel dowels add on.

Don't forget to register then ;)
Good for the statistic.

Dieter K.


If you caught it early enough, there wouldn't be time for the oil and water to emulsify and cause the mayo. As it happened on my HGF a few weeks ago. If it is you may see signs of some mayo after the repair! I did, but it has now all gone. A few good long runs does the trick.

If it has gone, because you were so diligent, it should only need the head whipping off and the gasket replaced. No skimming or anything. Fingers crossed.

Rob Bell has mentioned something about a new thermostat as fitted to new Land Rovers which could be advantageous to have on the F, however my dealer did not have any info on this. You might want to persue this further.

Good Luck and hope it is just a hose.
Billy Bob

There are several variants of Head Gasket Failure.
Only where water enters the sump will you get 'mayo'
The F's gasket may fail such that coolant escapes to the outside of the engine - so the oil is not contaminated.


Yesterday I too had a possible HGF on my 364 day old F 1.8i, Luckily it happened while stuck in traffic and was able to pull up immediately. It appers to have gone on the off side of the engine but am awaiting a reply from my local mg dealer.
I had the tell tale stench in the coolant res but no "mayo"

I too had a non-mayo HGF on an early 2001 VVC. The head was knackered enough to be irreparable. If it's under warranty just get everything done that you can!

If you intend to keep it long term, is it worth asking for a cambelt change at HGF repair to delay the 60000 mile one? Answer on a postcard...
David Bainbridge

Tell-tale stench is the odour of evapourating coolant. Might be something as innocent as a failing expansion bottle cap or leaking hose. I had similar with both an overheating episode (failed MEMS temp sensor) and following a radiator corrosion related leak (coolant system presumably depressurised allowing the coolant to boil off). Another cause of this is a failed inlet manifold (often this leaks into a cylinder, but can also leak outwardly). This most frequently affects early cars, with the 'black' gasket (newer cars have 'green' gaskets).

Hopefully the news is good - keep us posted.
Rob Bell

Sure enough - HGF. Head is warped too, although not enough to be irrepairable. Dealer sent it out for skimming plus pressure testing last Friday, so wait and see on that one. The good news is that they've got all the parts so it should be back mid-week. Fingers crossed!

Just glad it's under warranty...


'tis the season of the dreaded HGF again. Now I have been running for coming up two years now I have noticed a definite pattern to the rate of failure. HGF's drop off during the warm summer months but as soon as the weather cools off and people start using their heaters the numbers jump, let me give you a quick run-down:

May - 1
June - 2
July - 4 (2 of these from south of the equator so are winter)
August - 6 (1 from Australia)
September - 4
October - 3
November - 6
December - 5

January - 9
February - 12
March - 2
April - 3
May - 6
June - 2
July - 4
August - 0
September - 8

These figures obviously only represent a very small part of the MGF owning population but they do seem to show a cold weather jump, maybe people should be looking at the heating system rather than just the cooling system?

Now I'm wondering if I am going to have to change the form to include an option to select MGF or mgtf soon. :-(
A Lowly B Owner

One in the eye for those who espouse the 'leave the heater on despite the hot weather' method of HGF avoidance...

Heater use might be a factor Mike (although mine is often on late of an evening - too cool here in the UK for complete heater-less top-down motoring, unlike in your neck of the woods!). Another would be to look at the coolant return temperatures as the thermostat opens - cooler weather means cooler water returning from the rad = potential for a greater thermal 'shock' to the cylinder head/block interface...

Mike, is there any way of keeping on-line averages and totals on the site (a bar graph of the incidence per month as you've just described would be good - as would the display of the year of registration/manufacture)?

Rob Bell

I could do that manually Rob and update it once a month or so, how about people give me an idea of what averages they would like to see then I can work something out?

A Lowly B Owner

Your seasonal variation would be good Mike, plus:

Number total of failures for each year of manufacture

Mean mileage to 1st/2nd/3rd etc HGF

Mean mileage to 1st failure for each year of manufacture might be useful too - but I'll leave that to your discretion! ;o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 25/09/2002 and 30/09/2002

MG MGF Technical index

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