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MG MGF Technical - Which cooling modification best to avoid HGF

I have a 1998 VVC MGF with 20,000 miles. The original head gasket failed at 12,000 miles and was repaired by Rover using the steel dowels. I want to do all I can to prevent re-occurance.

I am going to fit the updated TF remote thermostat and the B+G coolant level sensor but was wondering which one you would recommend doing first as I dont have time or funds to do both right away.
Paul Robertson

That's a very low mileage for a 1998 car!
Coolant sensor should be your priority. As any failure in the cooling system is likely to lead to a HGF.
Leaks can easily develop in the complex system leading to slow or rapid loss of coolant.
Lots of us do not have remote thermostats and have no problems. I tends to follow the old adage if it aint broke don't mess with it.
Although I did have a precautionary head gasket change at 50k miles when my inlet manifold gasket failed, spotted by a coolant sensor!

Your car is due to have the cam belts replaced this year and if they have not been done already you should consider changing them as a priority.

If the belts should break, the engine repair bill can be of the same order as that for HGF.


Definitely with Dave on this one,the low level alarm is a must - and is a very easy DIY fit (hour and a half), unlike the PRT.

Thanks for the comments. I did the cam belts when it was 6 years old (13,000 miles) and will likely do them again at 12 yrs old. I know they should have been done every 5 yrs or 60,000 miles but it was getting such little use I took a chance on it as I don't expect the cambelt to break under the above circumstances but do expect an HGF under the same circumstances.

Have plenty of experience changing cambelts on CVH and Zetec Fords and also VW/AUDI TDIs. Changing the cam belts on the MGF is a bit like working through a letter box, not the easiest thing to get at.

It interests me that Rover specify age and / or milage for change intervals on the cam belts as many other car manufactureres specify only milage and I doubt the Rover belts are more likely to suffer age degredation than other manufacturers (belt made of the same material) unless it would be related to the Engine bay temperature being higher on the MGF than other types of cars. Any ideas on this?
Paul Robertson

hi Paul

When you replace the belts replace the water pump, as the cost is small and is easy to do if you are doing the belts. Also when the car is refilled take your time and make sure the coolant system is weel bled as this has caused a few HGFs.

My Trophy 160 has a 3mm hole drilled in the thermostat flange at 12 o'Álock in lieu of the PRT. This was done when it was fitted with the Landrover multi-layer head gasket and strengthened oil rail after initial signs of HGF. I also have the B&G coolant level sensor fitted. No problems at all since this work was done 20,000 kms/2 years ago. However, the engine takes a few minutes longer to warm up.

See the link below for further info:
Mark Hughes

This thread was discussed between 26/11/2008 and 20/12/2008

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