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MG MGF Technical - Water, water everywhere.......

When I eventually get my F back (it's been out of commission for over a month now following a HGF and engine meltdown), I would like to address a few more minor problems I have with it.

1. Occasionally if the car has been laid up a while, and I suddenly take off in it a flow of water (not just a few drops) pours into the passenger footwell.

2. The boot carpet is constantly damp (this is really annoying and a major pain in the ass when I want to go a long distance in it and carry luggage).

3. When I put on the hardtop, it seems crooked. basically there appears to be a gap between where the drivers door, window and body all join, big enough for me to stick my finger in. When I look out the wing mirrors, the roof appears to line up perfectly with the body on the passenger side, but on the drivers side, it hangs out almost over the body by about 1cm.
Although for a Nov 95 MGF the soft top is quite waterproof, I have noticed that the passenger roof clasp is harder to use whilst putting the roof back up, maybe this could be related.

4. I didn't get a tonneau cover (bought the car privatley), how much is one of these and does anyone have on they would sell me secondhand ?

Also I am not much of a mechanical guy, but am interested in learning a lot more about mechanics in general and the MGF in particular however, I can't find a hayes manual on an MGF, do they exist or is there any other book worth looking at ?

Thanks for any help.

david quigley

Also, although I bought the car privatley, I still want to have a moan to Rover. No way should a car with 29k on the engine, in pretty much showroom condition inside and out which has been regularly serviced, blow a gasket in a spectacular cloud of smoke in a supermarket car park at 5mph and require a whole new cylinder/engine block. I don't expect anything from them, I just want to vent some spleen. Does anyone have an address I can send my complaints to ?
david quigley

well, god knows how the p/o drove it, could have rung the life out of it every mile.
Previous owner

I have a spare tonneau cover in perfect condition which i have never used. It's 6 months old and you can have it for 20. I'll also throw in a free Nylon MGF delivery cover which came with the car. e-mail me if you are intrested.

One thing to note is that it's a MK2 Cover which i know are better than the MK1 covers since people always seem to complain about the MK1 covers. What i'm not sure about is if the MK2 covers retro fit on MK1 cars but i'm sure they do.

Oh and there is NO Haynes Manual for the F but there is an offical manual out there. I don't have the part number though i'm sure someone else does? HTH.


Did you end buy back your MGF?


No John. Sorry.

The bastards led me on for a couple of weeks to believe that they would sell me the car back but i then got a call from them saying they were keeping the car themselves.

Here is an adress for an MGF Breakers that someone posted. Hope it helps but it's somewhere in Wolverhampton.


Cheers Matt.

Just had a look at my last post - complete and utter gibberish - DOH.

I've decided to get the parts from Mike Satur - hopefully turning up soon


In repsonse to Previous Owner.
Indeed the previous owner(s) could have driven it to hell and back. However, I have also in my time owned an MR2, with 7 previous owners 120,000mls on the clock, the previous owner admitted driving the crap out of it, but it was so cheap I still bought it. Did it give me problems ? Yes I once had to replace a bulb, you can't go wrong with a Toyota. Theres no doubt about it, good engineering does not just mean performace, it's also about reliability (Japs and Germans are better than most), an MGF is a sports car, it is designed to be driven hard. If someone floors it and drive a few miles top speed in first gear and blows the engine fine. I have put 6000 miles on mine since I got it, if the previous owner had seriously damaged it, I ought to have had problems before now. It's fine for an F1 car to blow up after a few miles, or a rally car, or a car thats not looked after but there is absolutley no excuse for a production car to require a new engine after 29k, if this was an isolated case then perhaps I could attribute some of the blame to the previous owner, however, every second message on this board is about HGF. There is no ambiguity here. It is a design flaw full stop as far as I am concerned, and although, I will keep my MGF and probably get myself an old midget too, I have paid enough money to be entitled to have a moan at Rover. That said, you gotta love the car and I'd still buy another MGF, but it is very frustrating for me as in my part of Ireland an MGF is rarer than an honest politician, therefore parts and mechanics who even know where the engine is are at a premium.

PS. Can anyone confirm that Matts mk2 cover will fit my mark 1, in which case I will definitley take that cover off your hands Matt.
david quigley

Correct me if I am wrong (and I am sure Dirk will) but a five and a half years old car is just that. If it does not go wrong that is fantastic but if it does go wrong - tough - thats life.

Also please lets be factual, head gasket failure with the *F* is certainly more common than with some other cars but - 'every second posting is about HGF'? No way! Yes there are a lot of postings on this subject but that is what a technical board is for to seek information on problems and to discuss these problems. Go to any BBS and you will find that the 'object' being discussed has problems. People just dont come onto these boards and say 'what a lovely day I have no problems with my XXXXX!

And whilst the *F* has its quirks it is still just another motor car and the K series engine is extremely common so any competant mechanic should be able to fix it - if he can't then suggest that he goes off and finds a boggy field and digs out sods for a living.

The workshop manual for the *F* can be obtained through any Rover dealer and only costs GBP 35.00 (approx) plus P&P if your mechanic is too far from a Rover dealer.

Ted Newman

Sorry Ted, but an MGF is not the cheapest car in the world, we're living in 2001, not 1972, so why do you have to be a technician, buy a workshop manual or like Tony does, a whole toolbox in your boot all the time just "in case it breaks down". If I spend so much money on a car I don't want to have all that, the car just has to do what it is supposed to... WORK! Peace of mind!

And David: my invoice total for new VVC engine with all the bells & whistles included:
202.435 LUF (65 LUF = 1GBP)

So you can imagine how PISSED I was about this...

I'm not going to get into an argument here, but a 5 and a half year old car is not an old car, this car has spent 2.5 years (97-99) untouched in a garage also so effectivley it's only been on the road 3 years, with low mileage. Are you suggesting that if I bought a showroom car today and put it into storage for 5 years, that in 5 years time it will be more liable to failure than a new one also with 0 miles on the clock ?, I know metal suffers degradation over the years, but this is negligible to the point where mileage is a far better measure of age. Still my dads 1971 B, hasn't had a head gasket failure yet and it's thirty years old, so I'll be expecting it to crumble into rust any day now shall I ?

"Every Second etc....." is a turn of phrase (much like not a literall statement, but I take your point about the nature of these BBS's.

Trouble is because there are very few F's around here, although any mechanic worth his salt (and I have luckily found an excellent one who is an MG enthusiast) will be able to fix a K-series engine, none of them want to touch the MG because it's too much hassle for them to actually get to work on the engine or so they think. Lazy sods if you ask me who only want to make a bit of easy money doing simple things, like oil changes on a fiesta. Even my Rover Dealer down here said that they wouldn't have anyone who could work on it. Which is something else I'd like to take up with Rover. No wonder they went bust. Shame really cos they were very nice cars. Not sure about sticking MG grills on the new ones though.
david quigley

I knew Dirk would not be able to resist!! However he seems to have been reading whilst under the influence of alcahol or drugs or both - I never even mentioned price or cost I simply pointed out that a 5.5 year old car can go wrong what ever the make - yes even a BMW and there is is a W plate 3 series outside my office at the moment awaiting the tow-truck after the AA said it was not on-road repairable - he did not say what it was but the car wes enveloped in a huge cloud of steam and no signs of bust hoses or radiator.

And BTW David any car standing around for 2.5 years without being used is likely to suffer from that and yes I would say that if you bought a car and left it unused for 5 years that it would give you trouble, fluids can become contaminated, seals and gaskets can dry out and crack - in fact I would want to strip the whole car to ascertain that things were not perished or more likely to change those things that had perished.

I am sorry David but if you think otherwise then like Dirk you are going to very disapointed with any car that you own although in Dirks case a lot was down to his misuse and abuse.

I would love life in general and cars in particular not to go wrong but I am a realist and I know that they will - so if they dont then I am very happy but when they do I just get on and repair things.


Ted Newman

Point taken Ted, I am no mechanic. But I still think perishables are on thing, an engine block and cylinder head is another. I fully expect all cars to go wrong, my girlfriend bought a new megane and has been bringing it back to the garage on a weekly basis with electrical problems / brakes / exhaust. My previous cars have all given various spots of bother, batterys exhasuts, leaky radiators, but none of them required a whole new engine whilst still comparitively youthful. The point I am making is that if the clutch went bang tomorrow or a water pump/radiator/exhaust or whatever, I would just say tough sh*t dave and get on with it. I don't buy new cars often, prefering the better value offered by secondhand ones. My dad has had about 20 cars in the last 15 years, all old and secondhand, he has only had a blown gasket once on a 12 year old escort with about 100k on it. I think that still the K-series engine, although common is flawed and the statistics show that. I would like Rover to add my name to those stats so they do something about it and the next MG I buy I won't have to worry about it.
david quigley


The modern car is extremely complex made up of thousands (yes thousands) of seperate components so it should be no surprise when some go wrong. Older cars such as the MGB were much simpler and even sturdier than their modern counterparts which have all the parts machined to their limits in an effort to save weight and I have owned or been responsible for several *B*s and I never experienced a HGF with them either - all sorts of other problems but no HGFs.

In fact I have to say that I have had more problems with vehicles in the last few years than I ever had in my early days and I am referring to all the modern vehicles I have owned British, Japanese or German but of course it may just be 'memory fade' or perception because I can now afford to buy new or relatively new vehicles and dont expect them to give me problems.

Still what ever the problems enjoy your motoring whilst you can because what with new legislation and the fact that petrol just wont exist in a few years time motoring will not be the fun that I have enjoyed over the last 50 years.

Ted Newman

Again Ted, point well made. My dad was a mechanic up until the early eighties. Although he still knows a great deal about cars, he would concur that todays cars are indeed infinitely more complex, being in computers I know what happens when you try to add various things into systems, the more variables you produce the more potential problems you create and this is a nesscessary evil in the quest for motoring perfection.

I would still contend though that if a Ford Mondeo melted an engine block for no especially good reason at 29k or even before (looking at Dirks hall of shame), that it would not be accepted. Ford would take a hammering. The nature of the MGF means that the manufacturers can pass off some of the blame on the way the car is driven, and to an extent I suppose this is a huge factor, but it is a sports car, and sports cars through the years have been designed to be driven hard (And by hard I don't mean crucufied at 5500 rpm every day). If the engine (block) is not capable of doing this and remaining in reasonable order for a reasonable time span then that engine should be in a family saloon like the Rover 400 where it is liable to be driven more sensibly. When all is said and done though, MG still has something that when the top is down on a sunny day and you're cruising along, I can't put my finger on that makes you forget all the bad times and money you spent. I am hoping that the next MG roadster, be it an F or a new generation address's the problem. After all Mazda, BMW and now Toyota all have roadsters that don't seem to blow gaskets with as great a regularity (although the new MR2 it's too soon to tell). I'm sure that MG can follow suit. Fingers crossed.

Dave Quigley

1. This is no doubt because the heater seal where it goes through the bulk head, easy to fix with silicone I hear. Having said that two Rover dealers have not been able to fix it in three and a half years From New.

2. The rubber seals have been a problem on some F's and in others the boot lid weld was not good, both problems can be fixed. I have never had this problem.

3. The hard top takes some lignin up, I put it in place, connect the two front clips, I then walk round the car moving the hard to in to place. I then undo the front clips and pot on the side clips (a little hook on each side by the soft top frame). When this is in place latch on the front clips again making sure they close fully, this can be a little tricky until you get used to it. The soft top sometimes needs adjusting, I have had mine tightened up once in the last 3.5 years.

On early hard tops they used different rubbers which required the windows to be adjusted when the hard top was fitted. These can be replaced if this is the problem. Also check if one of your side windows is higher than the other, this could suggest one of two things, either your windows need adjusting or a window stop has broken. These are reasonably cheap and easy to get fixed.

4. If you mean a full tonneau cover then you don't get one with the car, if however you mean a hood roll cover, then yes one should have been supplied with the car, otherwise you need a new one from Rover, Brown and Gammons or Mike Satur who can offer you various options here. Maybe you could call the previous owner and ask if he has it.

I would suggest getting a Rover workshop manual from an MG Rover dealer for a start, Rover part number RCL 0051 ENG (for English). Also see the MGF FAQ for more a link to this is at the top of this page. I can guarantee that you will learn a lot more about cars having an F. :-)

HGF is a problem on some cars but most that have been fixed seem to be ok now. This has been a problem on some cars but by no means all. In most cases the engine was fine, just the outside of the gasket blew so the symptoms were loss of cooling and green fluid on the floor, this only required a new head gasket and not a new engine.

Rover will not take any notice with a car of this age so complaining would be a waste of breath. Almost Any other manufacturer would do the same. It sounds like it was not very well maintaind by the previous owner or it would not have all of the above still wrong with it. I think this is where your frustration should be directed but all of this can be fixed.

Unless it was Dirk who you bought the car from you should be OK, Dirk is biased because his car turned into a real dog which blew a few more things than a head gasket :-)

I would not suggest that driving at top speed in first for a few miles is a normal load for a sports car, and to expect it to stand up to this treatment for long is a little silly. I would hope here that I misunderstood and you meant something else.

As for Dirk and Ted, will you stop fighting I want a go. :-)

Also see to see what I have done to my F. Or see for my links page where you will find over 100 (and still expanding) MGF related links.
Tony Smith

Dirk, if your talking about me, I don't have a toolbox in my car all the time, I had one when I met you because I thought I may have to fit an exhaust at the time.

Again many of us have had problems, but nothing compared to you, I do really have simpathy with you, but my experience has been better than yours. I don't blame you at all, you had many more problems than you deserved and I respect your viewpoint.

The car is great at the moment I just don't have any money to get new rear tyres and the tracking checked after the new shocks were fitted, mind you with the better parts fitted to my car it's getting less and less MG all the time.
Tony Smith

The mark 2 tonneau cover will require two studs to be fitted to your boot lid. Otherwise it will fit.
Jon Baker

Simply parking a car up and not laying it up properly will lead to a series of interesting failures when it comes back on the road. These will be related directly to that storage, and of course one will be the degredation of perishable items.

Now in the MGF I can directly route this degredation of perishable items to a subsequent head gasket failure. Take the common item of a the inlet manifold seal for the MPi engines. Clearly a common issue for cars made in the first 2 to 3 years. The leaking that accompanies the hardening and failure to seal, often one that sees the leak inside the visible area and into one of the inlet ports. Often the only clue to this is a reducing coolant level and perhaps a slight misfire on initial start up of the engine.

One of the main areas of sensitivity for the K series is of air locks in the engine. The design of the engine is such to promote rapid warm up from cold via a small internal coolant volume in the engine. In turn this means that if an air lock is present then any restriction to flow will see a very rapid rise in temp that often results in a weakening of the gasket seal. Further loss of coolant usually follows with associated further increase in localised temperatures within the engine. It is at this point when potential engine damage can and often does occur. This is also somthing that may not show up on the temp gauge, either coolant or oil.

Incidence of gasket failure is apparently higher in the MGF than other K series engined cars. The positioning of the engine and runs of the coolant from back to front for both the normal radiator and the heater must be a major contributor to this increased incidence. It is also a factor to note that earlier cars are again more likley to see a failure of the gasket than later cars.

Issues of water ingress to the boot have been previously put down to faulty boot lip seal and water passing the rear light cluster seals. Additionally check that there are no open holes on the underside of the boot lid (the support structure for the outer panel. Watercan enter via these holes which should have rubber grommets to seal them.

Then there are incident where water enters via the engine cooling duct and should normally drain out either side of where the high level brake light is. If you park on a downhill slope then this normal drain path is not there and water can then find other ways to drian. Usually the previously mentioned grommets should stop water so trapped from entering the boot.

Hard top fits have been a subject of complaint for some time with poor fits and usually accompanied excess wind noise (and often water ingress.) There are also quite a number of hard tops out there which are distorted and have found their way into the market. All in all there is a probability of being able to do some adjustement, and probably fitting some later fixing bracket mods that were created to help reduce problems of poor hard top fit. However with some tops there will always remain unresolved issues.

Roger Parker

David ,your suggestion to get an old midget would be a good idea ,when working on the F small is definatly an advantage, BTW arn't they called Leprechauns in Ireland?

BTW, David have you asked Rover/MG for a contribution or discussed the problem with them? You may be surprised, I have known them contribute even with 70k miles on the clock, maybe they realise that they need customer loyalty. Give 'em a try, Mike.

This thread was discussed between 15/03/2001 and 17/03/2001

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