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MG MGF Technical - TF135 head on F

Just mulling over my options once I've sorted the cause of the overheating out..

Are there any porting or valve differences on the 135 head compared to the late model F heads? or is it just cams and throttle body on the intake side?

And if I change the head, or if it's ok just do a cam swap, am I right in assuming that my mems will cope?

It's a 2001 car with - i assume again - mems3, so does that mean i could get the TF135 map flashed on to it?

any help greatly appreciated - as ever


mike roberts

Mike, just put a TF135 head on my 1996 F. :o)

In answer to the questions regarding the head - it is essentially the same casting as the original 1.8i head - it even shares the same casting number, although there is one detail difference: it has a water channel deleted, which actually makes porting a little easier ;o)

The differences in power between the TF135 and the 120PS head lies almost entirely in the cams (9.5mm lift, 252 degrees duration versus standard 8.8mm lift and 244 degrees duration), the inlet plenum (unknown advantage) and 52mm diameter throttle body (worth an additional 1 bhp on a standard head and cams- probably no more than 2 bhp on a 135 head.

Regarding your fitting it to your 2001 MGF, you'll have fewer fitting issues than I have - so long as you plan to retain the automatic tensioner. It'll bolt straight on, and everything will come together easily.

You do have MEMS3 - so yes, you can have the TF135 map flashed on.

Job done.

Hope this helps
Rob Bell

Cheers Rob

it helps immensely!

Two further points though - is it just the inlet cam that's different? - I notice for example that MS's stage 1 cam kit seems to be inlet only plus vernier - or is the exhaust different too?

I know that it appears to be, having looked at Dieters EPC online, but I'm having trouble reconciling my engine number with that... mine starts 18K4FM104etc..

And secondly, when did the automatic belt tensioner cut in? what are the advantages - if any over the manual?

thanks again


mike roberts

Mike, the inlet and the exhaust cams are both the same (ie high lift and longer duration).

Not sure exactly when the automatic tensioner cam in. At a guess, it was introduced at the same time as the modifications for EU3 compliance - but the workshop manuals should reveal more infomation along this line. You've almost certainly got an auto tensioner. It's readily recognisable too - the large wheel is black plastic versus silver metal for the manual.

Advantage of auto versus manual? Been through this with DVA. Not much to choose - unless you are planning hairer cams in the future - in which case the manual tensioner will prove to be the most reliable. BUT the problem you will face if you decide to opt for the manual tensioner (as I did with my TF135 head) is that there are no tappings in the head for it. Fortunately, DVA sorted this out for me by drilling and tapping the head - he has a template to do this. Without the drilling template, it will prove tricky to get the holes in the right place...
Rob Bell

Thanks Rob,

I'll just leave the tensioner as it is - if I'm ever tempted by wild cams, I'll need porting too, so I'll cross that particular bridge if ever I get there ;-)

now you've gone to a 135 head, what intake plenum are you using?
Are you still the MPi fettled plastic one?
And are you still using the 820 modded airbox connected to the side intake?

planning to use uprated panel filter with direct connection from the airbox to the side intake - what are your thoughts? I know I won't get the Vroom of the K&N cone, but won't get the hot underbonnet air either...


mike roberts

The need for cool air outweighs the vroom factor for me too Mike. :o) Your plan for using a panel filter inside a twin-intake standard airbox is a good one - I am sure that you'll be directing the intake ducts into some nice cool air :o)

Regarding the plenum, yes, you're right - I am using a port-matched standard plastic plenum. There possibly isn't that much of an advantage going alloy - although there must be some, otherwise MG Rover wouldn't have bothered... it may flow better at the top end if what I've read is correct.

Filter set up wise, yes, I am sticking with the Rover 820 airbox modification. Cheap as chips - and it seems to work! :o)
Rob Bell

18K4FM104 K's got built into MGF since app January 2001.
So of course with automatic tensioner.

Thanks Rob, Dieter.

Mine was registered april 01, and from the serial number, manufactured about 2 weeks before the steel head dowels were introduced :-(


When I get round to doing the airbox I'll take some pics - just in case anyone else is interested ;-)


I'd definitely be interested in those pictures Mike! :o)

BTW are you planning a head transplant, or just the cams to your existing head?
Rob Bell

depends entirely on what my investigations into the overheating problem turn up - i'm not planning to replace the head if i don't have to...


That's wise. I would have simply swapped the cams over had the gasket not failed on my car. Since the head is FUBARed, the TF135 head has received some TLC from DVA... And why not? :o)

Mike, if you look through the archives, you may find some postings regarding a potential problem regarding the valve springs. I haven't confirmed, but it is possible that the 135 uses VVC valve springs. However, I do not believe there to be a problem retaining the standard 1.8MPi valve springs: Piper and Kent are both happy to sell cams with over 10mm lift for use with the standard valve spring, so 9.5mm from the TF item ought not cause any grief in terms of coil binding.

From my perspective of course, I have neatly side stepped this issue by using the complete casting... valve train and all ;o)
Rob Bell

I had thought about that - and my preference was always to follow the complete replacement TF head route if there was any hint of a problem with mine, especially as the price I was given by Bill at the MGF centre for a 135 head wasn't a great deal more than the cost of a pair of Piper cams and vernier....

Regarding the inlet manifold change from plastic to alloy - could this have been due to gasket sealing problems with the plastic ones.

many years ago it led to a Service Bulletin covering a new gasket and bigger bolts.

Just a thought.

John Thomas

That's a thought John, but I don't think so; the TF115 still retains the plastic manifold.

My guess is that MG Rover were chasing a head line power figure - and economics of the alloy plenum may have been more preferential if the part were shared with more engines?
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 16/08/2005 and 17/08/2005

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