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MG MG Y Type - Possible Engine Rebuild?

As a footnote to our experiences on EEOTY the head gasket failure is rather more than that! There are two small holes about 2 x 1 mm on the side of the piston top in pot no 4. The gasket had 'blown' adjacent to the water jacket on the same pot.

This is a bit of a bugger as it means an engine out job and sending it to an engine builder. I am intending to contact Coventry Metal Boring for an assessment, cost and time span for the job.

As I have no idea when the engine was last looked at by the previous owner (s). The options seem fairly apparent to me after removing the engine.
These are (1) Have the bore and crank checked and have new pistons and bearing fitted (2) Have the bottom emd rebuilt with new cam followers etc (3) Have the engine completely rebuilt.

I think the third option may be the route to go.

Apart from Coventry Boring is there anywhere in the Midlands (UK) that anyone can recommend.



Depends - if the bores are reasonable then drop the sump and replace the piston .

That is what we did with Ratty the twin cam - a quick hone in situ, new piston on just the one cylinder.

Chris at Octarine Services

Try to check the condition of the cam and followers. If they are worn, you'd better make it a full rebuild. If not, why not try Chris' fix?

I don't know how ambitious you are, but I finished successfully a home rebuild of my XPAG.

When patient these engines are quite easy to dismantle and assemble. All the machining work will have to be outsourced of course.
I was very pleased with the result but very disappointed by the parts and especially the machining bill.....
Willem van der Veer

Full rebuild, economic sense if you got remove pull apart pay labour cost to overhaul the lot. If one section worn the rest must be equally worn. Aside do research on who to use avoid any one on eBay if claims are they cheaper retired In France. From fact I ended up with bent push rods a rogues rebuild ended up paying twice.
Good luck, at least take heart it be winter when being done.
R E Knight


You have e mail please give me a ring.

Cheers chris
C A Pick

Have a go at it yourself Jerry. The XPAG is a very easy engine to re-build and you need no "special tools", and you have a wealth of experience and advice available through the forum here.

I'm about to do a partial re-build myself.

Your type of piston failure is usually attributed to the compression rings breaking up. There are a number of reasons why rings break, but you will only find out in the strip down.

Examining the other pistons may reveal the cause of the failure in #4. It may have been the water, maybe not.

You can send out all the machining and even the measuring if you need to.

Only you will do the best job on your engine.

Thanks for the advice.

I will be taking out the block and then will have it checked and remedial work recommended - reboring, etc, etc hopefully undertaken by Coventry Metalling and Boring.

I have attached a photo of the head. I am probably being very silly here but can any of you advise/tell me why there is a screw head flush with the surface evident? Is it an earlier rebuild and is it anything I should be concerned about?

Thanks chaps




It is possible that at some stage this head may have been stitched so I would have it flux tested. So long as the stitching has been professionally done I wouldnt worry about it as I stitch castings frequently.

Paul Barrow

Thanks for all your help and advice apologies for not getting back to you when you emailed me off line Chris. Very remiss of me.

Well the saga continues. I am taking the head over to Dave Knight an engine rebuilder and engineer near Weedon in Northamptonshire.

My good friend Brian Rainbow used him on the refurbishment of the head from his TA. I had a long chat with him (Dave) and he outlined his services.

My progress was unfortunately hindered when I was sidelined for a few days with an unexpected stay in A and E. This followed some over enthusiastic celebrations of my youngest daughter's engagement some 12 days ago. This included a tad too much drink and a reaction to the 'hottest chilli in the world' ( as claimed on the menu). I overheated, collapsed and was taken to hospital. The outcome was a very high blood pressure and numerous EEG's, blood tests, etc etc and being placed on medication to reduce my BP. I was released a week ago and following a visit to my GP this morning found that my BP was down to more acceptable levels. I will have to have a 48 hour ambulatory fitted next month to check my heartbeat. All a little scary. The NHS were brilliant.

Anyhow I have now removed everything necessary to lift the block out, except for the manifold and starter motor. Thereafter, its just removing the g/box securing bolts and front engine mountings, ensuring that the box is supported and taking the lump out. I followed Neil's guidance in his excellent blog on the Y Register website. Of course I am abut ten times slower than him!

Will report back after my visit to Weedon on Friday.



Sorry to hear about your unfortunate stay in Hospital, it sounds like a good night that went a little wrong!!! The problem is we all think we are still 18 are our bodies can cope, until we learn otherwise.

I am glad you have found a trusted engine builder, it a pity I don't live closer I would have come down and helped you getting the engine out.

Let me know if you need a hand getting it back in and I will come down and give you some assistance. Now the YA is finished I am always on the look out for some spanner work to keep my hand in hahaa

Cheers Chris.

PS it looks like I will be organising the northern Y gathering next year as Andrew and Arlene are taking a break. So next year it will be held at Doncaster in July instead of Ripon. I will let you know the details nearer the time.
C A Pick

Yes get well soon Jerry and good luck with the engine rebuild.

Thanks guys for all your concern which is much appreciated. You are absolutely right in your analysis Chris!!

I took the head to Dave Knight (Knight Engineering Services< Nether Heyford near Weedon ) this morning and he is hopeful that it should be reasonably straightforward.

Once I have taken the lump out and I have a neighbour who has an engine hoist as does Brian so hopefully that ought to be okay. I will then take the short end over to Dave, He reckons that with his current work load (and he is very busy) it ought to be around 6 week turnaround from when he receives the lump. Both the block and head will be crack tested etc, etc.

I am also taking the radiator over to Vintage Radiator Services in Litchborough, near Towcester to have it flow tested - probably next week.
Their address is

Thanks for your offer of help Chris I may well take it up!

Well done on taking over the Y Gathering!
How many years have A and A been running it?



Engine now out with thanks to Brian Rainbow and his hoist. Taking the limp down to Dave Knight on Tuesday and the rad for a flow test at VRS in Litchborough.

Lump on the garage floor awaiting a final external clean.

I'll keep you informed on progress but it will be around 6-7 weeks before the job can be done as Dave is so busy!

All the best


Tool the engine down to Dave Knight. He will be sending me some pics of the engine when dismantled and what course of action he suggests.

I also took the radiator across to the Vintage Radiator Company in Litchborough asmall village midway between Towcester and Weedon. The owner checked over the rad and suggested that I back flush it which I have done. It should be OK. Very helpful and had some wonderful Bentley Rads (red and black label) in the reception area!

With the lump out it has given me a chance to clean and enhance the engine bay. Photo to follow. Also have founded a small hole in the manifold which will need welding.

All work in progress.

All the best


A photo of the void!

Those of you who have taken out/restored or whatever will be familiar with this shot.



And another


Well the YT is now back on the road and I am gradually running the engine in and making the most of this fine weather.(Although I understand that it's turning this weekend!).

Great to be driving the car and I have to thank my good friend Brian Rainbow for his expertise and his patience with yours truly. Although, I did box up most of the ancillaries when the engine was taken out and stored them in the garage I still managed to loose/misplace key nuts and bolts. So at times it was one step forward and two steps back. All due to my incompetence!

In spite of this the engine is now running well. Very briefly I had a bottom end rebuild and the cylinder head converted to unleaded. So with new pistons, cam followers, etc I picked up the painted engine from Dave Knight Engineering Services in Northanptonshire. (To be recomended).

Dave was very helpful and had an excellent knowledge of XPAG's. I could have sourced all the parts myself but felt that it was more sense to let him provide the parts. I also had the radiator flow tested by a company near Weedon and they found no problems.

Brian and I fitted the lump in January but I was then away until late March so this added to the time factor.
Considering the carbs had been rebuilt last year and the car fitted with electronic ignition I ensured that new hoses were fitted through out and that everything was as oil and water tight as possible.

Whilst seeking some advice from this forum I decided yo get rid of the oil bath arrangement on the air cleaner and fit an adaptation that NTG have had manufactured for a TD. This of course fits a YT although the fixing bolt through the cover requires reducing in length by around 30mm. What is does have of course is a K and N filter. I'll report back on this in due course. The new arrangement is aesthetically pleasing (well as far as an air filter can be) in contrast, in my view, to the original.

We had some difficulty in ensuring that the oil pump was full of oil but Brian found a way around this. On running the engine no leaks were experienced.

Having achieved a satisfactory outcome Brian left me to complete a few jobs and then run the engine in. I have now undertaken 3 journeys including both distance and town driving and the car has run well which is very pleasing. Oil pressure when running id up to 55 and 25 at tickover. No leaks as yet - so I'm crossing my fingers!

When I have completed 500 miles it will be an oil and filter change. Dave recommended using a basic but good quality oil - such as the Classic Oil provided by Halfords (it looks very like Duckham's 20/50 but I believe that Duckham's no longer exist - is that correct?). The head will be torqued down to the recomended settings in the Workshop Manual and I shall follow Neil Cairns diary on the MGCC Y Register site with interest.

I hope to have reached the 500 mile mark before my first event at the Stratford-on-Avon Motoring Festival
over 5th and 6th of May, followed by the Y Register Spring Run a couple of weeks later,

One irritating problem has been that I have had to replace the speedo cable following much grovelling under the car!

Final thought - what oil would you guys suggest following running in?




Hi Jerry,

Congratulations on a good job done !!!!

I like to use Penrite HPR30 see link

Its expensive but does hold the oil pressure well, even on a hot engine. In the past when using 20/50 I have found the oil pressure tends to drop off when the engine is hot.

By the time I get down to Winchester for the spring weekend I should have 1000 miles on my engine, see you their mate.

Cheers Chris
C A Pick

I agree with Chris - Penrite is expensive ... but good. There is an entire page dedicated to which Penrite oil is suitable for your Y at and you can also locate your nearest dealer from the same page too.

Paul Barrow


Great to hear may bring my YT along for May spring run depending on weather and other commitments.

Personally I use straight 30 in both cars and so far "touch wood" no problems.

Could be 100% increase in YT attendance with usual owners Peter Vielvoye, Mike Silk, yours if the three in Winchester MG Owners Club attend too, will be total of 6 what thought, be record outside Australia I guess maybe.


R E Knight

Hi Jerry

Very interesting to read your excellent reporting of the rebuild of your YT engine. Sorry to hear of your 'hottest curry' episode leading to hospitalisation. Although I originated from India (came to study in London in 1961), I can only tolerate mild curries, with preferably no chillies!

Your rebuild story gives me some confidence. On Easter Monday,my 1934 Morris Ten Four engine flooded with water for the 4th time in around 18 months and a cracked block is suspected. I intend doing as much of the work myself & have managed to source a good block. May even use Dave Knight Engineering once I get the engine out and check all the working parts. I note on his web site that they collect and deliver, which is great when you live in Devon.

Many thanks for this really interesting report (and very useful & practical responses from other members) about your rebuild - it has certainly helped me in planning a way forward.

Best wishes

A K Koshti

This thread was discussed between 30/08/2013 and 25/04/2014

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