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Hi everyone, just joined the forum.
136230


As you can see I have a TF, I bought this car about two years ago, its been fun and reliable, I have bought the new head gasket kit from MG in China, this includes the multi layer head gasket higher tensile stretch head bolts the lower oil rail, I have also got all the gaskets, plus stainless steel water pipes.

I have read various things about updating with the improved kit, but I need someone with more knowledge than myself to advise me, for instance, many say the lower oil rail isn't required, it was designed for the Land Rover Free Lander.
I have spoken to Rough Luck Racing and they confirm this, they also wanted to fit a gasket they have made by a specialist, so I'm a little lost here what is best for the car.

Any advise would be gratefully received,
Thanks Mark 20170905_181526[1].jpg
 

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Welcome

I’ve moved your post to the F/TF section as it contains questions are more likely to be answered in that section.

The first question is, has the head gasket failed? If not, I personally wouldn’t change it pre-emptively. If it has failed do you know why it has failed, contrary to popular belief the K-Series HGF is often a secondary failure.

In any case the gasket set you have bought may not be suitable for your engine as it depends on the position of the liners and there is no way of knowing until the head is removed. It is also typical for the installer to use the make of gasket that they are happy with from experience.

The stainless-steel pipes are a must, the engine bay steel pipes should also be inspected and renewed if needed (this seems increasingly common as the F/TF’s become older).

Personally, I would fit the new lower oil rail if the new version of the gasket is fitted as it is an integral part of the system. I understand it is designed to stop the head and block resonating at different frequencies, regardless of where the engine is installed.

The new style gasket and rail was developed originally by Powertrain (not Land Rover) the manufactures of the K-Series engine and intended to go into the production engines sometime in 2005. However, production stopped when MG-Rover went to the wall. Land Rover then took the new design and used it as their standard head gasket repair kit.
 

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I cannot answer you specific questions as to whether to us the rail or not, but I worry about a Chinese kit by gut-instinct.
I wholeheartedly agree with what Chris T has asked-Why would you replace a HG as part of maintenance or fear-factor. You don't say what mileage is on your car. Mine had 60k on it when I sold it. I could trace through the service records that the HG had been replaced twice before I got it and once in my 4-year tenure due to it being blown (losing water from the expansion tank level and requiring weekly topping-up) I got Russell Walsh around who looked for reasons for the wreckage, and couldn't find any-so on the basis that OAT doesn't evaporate, the HG was replaced but the rail had already been done prior.
Underfloor pipes are a must-they rust through and fail suddenly, usually when you are away from home and prompt some to 'chance it' as it didn't look like it was getting too hot! That in turn wrecks the engine...
If a Garage agrees to do your head-gasket then let them do it and don't try to dictate what materials they fit unless you don't want them to replace your head gasket (you want them to fit some parts you have purchased)-there is a significant difference! The work will NOT be guaranteed.

I know it may seem strange to read- but I had a TF160 and because it was nearly 20 years old, I always drove it sensibly/carefully and was guage-watching because it was a TF! My son had one some years ago and he was the same, but being an accountant rather than an engineer- he enjoyed the thrills of the red like and VVC whereas i wanted to get from a-b at a decent pace, but with some consideration for the engine and as ever, on a budget! I sold it due to personal reasons and I was concerned as to whom i sold it too as it really drove well and if challenged, it was fast.
 

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'06 MG ZR +120 (HQM) '04 MG ZR 105 (IAB)
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I would wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions of 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it' - I would just keep a regular check on fluid levels and watch for any tell-tale signs before disturbing a currently sound head (coolant loss with no signs of external leakage, emulsified oil in the expansion tank or around/in the oil filler cap, or significant residual pressure remaining in the coolant system even after the engine has completely cooled).

There is a fair likelihood that it may have already been replaced and may even have the SAIC gasket fitted already, and it may never suffer an HGF in your ownership (or perhaps at any stage?).

The six layer 'Chinese' gasket (which I think sounds to be the one you have) was designed by ex-MG Rover engineers working for SAIC in conjuction with (I think?) gasket manufacturer Goetze (who are part of Federal-Mogul, and therefore also part of the same company that owns the original manufacturer of the factory fit elastomer gasket - Coopers-Payen).

You have the best head gasket, but the recommendations for fitting it do state a requirement for the cylinder liners to stand at least 3 thou above the face of the block, and to all be of even height, so you will not know for certain if it is suitable until the head is off. The suggestion is that where the liners are excessively low or uneven, the original type SLS/elastomer gasket may by more effective, although there is no definitive evidence that this is in fact the case.

Having said all that, I fitted the SAIC gasket (the Ultimate fix kit from XPart, part no ZUA000530) to my ZR in early 2013 in spite of the liner heights varying between 1 and 2 thou, and it has covered over 63k miles in the following eight years and is still solid (no coolant loss or topping up has been necessary apart from the normal 5 year OAT coolant change interval). I did after a couple of weeks decide to tighten the bolts a further 15 degrees beyond the total 315 degrees recommended for this gasket as I wasn't feeling happy about it, though suspect that as long as there is a reasonable liner stand proud, the 6 layer gasket will normally be a successful repair.

As you have the rail and bolts as part of the kit, I would not see any sensible reason not to fit them (but, as I mentioned earlier, the car may have already had a head gasket replacement and may already have the stronger oil rail fitted. As Chris T has said, it was originally designed to help stiffen the block to overcome a beaming (twisting) issue which was quite pronounced in the Freelander installation (and the K series, being originally designed to be only a 1.1 or a 1.4, wasn't therefore designed to cope with the extra loads involved with the higher engine cylinder capacity/more power and the extra torque resistance involved in moving a significantly heavier vehicle about).

Edit: something must have changed with the XPart kit (either a change to the specification one of the components of the kit, or a change of manufacturer/supplier) because ZUA000530 has now been superceded by ZUA000531.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your advice, I have lots of history, the car is 2003, the gasket was changed in 2005, the car car now has 65,000, its using a very small amount of water and the expansion tank looks a little off colour, the oil looks clean, I like the car a lot and want to get the basic mechanicals in best shape, as the engine is smooth and pulls well, I don't think its been mistreated. I do have OEM-Q Elastomer-BW750 Head gasket if the liners are out of alignment, this is an updated gasket that is bonded through the metal so it can't detach and leak, (or so I'm told!) I will as you recommend have the lower oil rail fitted, it dose seem a solid and well made. I will be having this done just before summer, so I will let you all know how this turns out.
Thanks again, Mark
 

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I agree with the above, if not broken, don’t fix. However you are losing some coolant, so if you are going ahead get someone who wants to do the job. If going MLS I would fit the strengthened rail, as it will do more good in the engine than on the shelf. It does extend the job as the sump will have to come off to fit it.

I would also measure the liner protrusion before deciding to go MLS. Tbh I have not seen an engine with level liners protruding more than 3 thou for a while, so my guess is elastomer would be the best.
 

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Just to add to this, the slight coolant loss and discoloration of the coolant could be from the under floor coolant pipes as they tend to corrode from the inside out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you, I will bare that in mind. I haven't spotted any damp anywhere, but the car is so low its difficult to tell.
 

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They often weep hidden under the centre pan that is bolted to the under floor of the car.
 

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Russell Walsh said to me 'Do you change your tyres in case you get a puncture?'

When it 'goes' do it, my TF took a while to ascertain it had gone
 
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