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MG MGB Technical - Quality of parts

I have just had a very painful lesson in ensuring you use quality parts, but how do you know what is good.

My cylinder head gasket failed, allowing the combustion gases to pressurise the radiator and push coolant out. Approx 2000km. after a cylinder head rebuild

On pulling off the head I easily saw the problem, the "hard" stud washers had recessed where the nuts had pulled into them, the washers had also spread jamming onto the stud threads.

I refitted the head with a new gasket (Payen) with washers sourced from a local bolt specialist but retaining the original studs, they were new at the rebuild.

On retensioning the head after the initial warm up a stud snapped?

I won't repeat the exclamation!!!!!!!! I let out. Back to square one, I won't be ready for the motorkhana this weekend

All the parts were from a major MG parts specialist.

Can any of my Aussie mates recommend a reliable supplier

I need a beer (or three)

T J Malloch


I use Fel-Pro head gaskets on the B (and other cars) and never had one fail. They are a little bit more expensive but well worth it. Also, they do not require re-torquing.

Have a few beers while you order one.

You can even get one on ebay:

Steven 67GT

@ Steven: Payen = Felpro, just a different brand name.

TJ, I've just succumbed to the temptation and have an ARP head stud kit on the way (from, who ship to NZ/Aust.). A DPO had previously fitted soft washers on one of my cars, and I had one of the original 40 year-old studs break on me last year, and a couple of the others were looking a little corroded - so time to pony up for some of the good stuff!

I'm assuming you've also head the head checked for cracks and flatness and the block checked for flatness, as both of these can result in ongoing problems with head gaskets blowing.
Curtis Walker

Terry. I have had good experiences with Heritage MG Parts in Sydney.

97 - 103 Victoria St
Smithfield, NSW, 2164
02 9609 3988

I hope this isn't the mob who supplied you with the crook goods!

Tony Oliver

The ARP studs will solve your problem. The old studs, and the new ones available today, will fail more often then not. This happened to me after I installed a supercharger. The engine had less than 10,000 on it when it blew a head gasket. I chamfered the stud holes in the block, installed a Payen head gasket, ARP studs, washers and nuts. I torqued the head and the engine has been flawless for the past 3 years of spirited driving. RAY
rjm RAY


Bruce Smith at Sportsparts Pty Ltd
Normanhurst NSW
phone 02 9875 1144

Very good reputation in our local Club and an MG sports/racer driver. Knows his stuff and happy to spend time talking through issues.

Heritage, yes. Have supplied many parts for me over recent years but I have not yet bought studs.

MG Centre of Sydney
phone 9682 6655

A club member recently restored his B through them in the main. Is very happy with service from them.

Healy Factory

Often mentioned for cars, service and parts.

For head studs I would think any quality local machine shop would have access to reliable suppliers.

I used a Payene head gasket. As noted above, no re-torquing. So far so good.

Good luck

Roger T

The usual issue with head studs is that people overtighten them into the block - they should be done up to no more than 4 ftlbs.

The problem with most aftermarket studs is that the treads are machined - this can leave a stress raiser in the vicinity of the top of the coarse thread.

I have my studs threads hot rolled to avoid this issue.

Chris at Octarine Services

Worth checking the block is still acceptably flat. I once surfaced one and it was pouted by several thou around the studs. The next gasket lasted until the big valve haed went on 20 years later. This had to be PO overtightening the head bolts. re studs As Chris notes, just nipping them so they stay where they are put is all you need to do.
Stan Best

This thread was discussed between 03/11/2010 and 06/11/2010

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