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mg_tf
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
XPart supplies ‘ultimate fix’ for MG Rover K-series engine

Mods : I accept this is a sort of duplicate thread, but considering the number of HGF threads about at the moment, and the numbber of people who don't venture out of the MGF/TF section, I thought it was worth a link. If it breaks too many rules then obviously remove it, or possibly close it so people on here notce the original thread. Also apologies if a similar thread has been started.

Have a look at the linked thread for some interesting HGF news

MG Rover parts specialist XPart now offers the best known aftermarket solution for head gasket repairs on K-series engines

Interesting that MLS HG, new oil rail and head bolts are specified.
 

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The interesting quote to me is.....

The Rover 25 we used to trial the latest MLS gasket has now covered many miles as a heavy use courtesy car and I have complete confidence that in line with all of our other MLS gasket equipped cars, it will continue to give reliable service for the remainder of its life”, explains Patrick Warner, Managing Director, Sterling Automotive. “We have been using MLS head gaskets for over two years with a 100 percent success rate. The latest kit from XPart helps make this even more affordable for customers. We would recommend fitting the MLS gasket set which comes with a strengthened lower oil rail and new head bolts, as well as a water pump.”

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The F/TF has always been more prone to HGF due to the engines location and extended cooling system, it's also fair to say a TF160 for Eg is going to be driven very differently than a 1.4 Rover 25 shopping cart.....

I've read about all manner of 'cures' down the years for the K-Series woe's. back in the early 2000's I remember the pant wetting excitement when the steel head locating dowels and newer gasket were introduced "HGF is a thing of the past!" came the cry from these forums yet countless owners were still left at the side of the road with an engine full of coffee and a large bill looming. since then we've had yet more gasket designs, PRT's and coolant alarms - not to mention all manner of DIY solutions like changing/drillling the stat etc, etc.

HGF is a fact of K-Series life, there is no magic bullet - accept it - plan for it, and the ownership experiance will be all the better for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The F/TF has always been more prone to HGF due to the engines location and extended cooling system, it's also fair to say a TF160 for Eg is going to be driven very differently than a 1.4 Rover 25 shopping cart.....

I've read about all manner of 'cures' down the years for the K-Series woe's. back in the early 2000's I remember the pant wetting excitement when the steel head locating dowels and newer gasket were introduced "HGF is a thing of the past!" came the cry from these forums yet countless owners were still left at the side of the road with an engine full of coffee and a large bill looming. since then we've had yet more gasket designs, PRT's and coolant alarms - not to mention all manner of DIY solutions like changing/drillling the stat etc, etc.

HGF is a fact of K-Series life, there is no magic bullet - accept it - plan for it, and the ownership experiance will be all the better for it.
Mark, agreed about the excitement over the re-introduction of steel dowels etc - too many false dawns - and MLS IMHO is still not proven as a fix. However, this is the first real attempt at dealing with the issue, even if the mule is inappropriate.

As for your last statement, well there are dealerships offering 5 year guarantees on their HG repair, so I'm not convinced it's a fact of life, or un-fixable.
 

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The higher tensile bolts are interesting; recognising that the MLS can be clamped with greater force.
- As long as it doesn't cause problems with liner seats that is.
 

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As for your last statement, well there are dealerships offering 5 year guarantees on their HG repair, so I'm not convinced it's a fact of life, or un-fixable.
I've not read the small print on the offer you mention but there have been similar offers in the past, ie they offer a guarantee on the gasket itself failing, but as we all know HGF is nearly always the symptom of the problem - NOT the cause, so it's all to easy for the garage to say 'your heads cooked M8' or 'Your rad/water pump/coolant pipes are ****ed' I realy can't see how any garage can say a k-series will last 5 years or circa 60K more miles and guarantee the gasket will not fail.

As we know the reasons the 'K' is so prone to HGF is it's low water jacket and type/amount of alloy used in it's construction. the above gasket (just like all the other cures) addresses niether of these issues, so once again it's only going to treat the symptom of the problem - not the cause.

This New gasket may well last a little longer (only time will tell) but the only real cure would be a total re-design of the engine which of course for existing owners is impossible therefore sooner or later the gasket will fail..... sadly!.
 

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Looking back, the original design had plastic head dowels that didn't adequately control head shift, a SLS gasket with neoprene stuck on either side that was prone to rubbing off, low torsional stiffness in the bottom end, a lower grade aluminium than originally specified by the designers, unusual thermostat placement to allow faster warm-up, water jackets very close to the combustion chambers in the head face, as well as the fact that aluminium is not as stiff and has a lower melting point than cast iron so there is a greater chance anyway.

I think we have to accept that the K-series is an engine that is more prone to HGF than some other engines, so check levels regularly, check the cooling system every now and then, change antifreeze when required and ensure it is correctly bled, don't drive it hard from cold, investigate any problems, don't drive round town in fifth all the time and if you suspect a problem, stop before it is too late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looking back, the original design had plastic head dowels that didn't adequately control head shift, a SLS gasket with neoprene stuck on either side that was prone to rubbing off, low torsional stiffness in the bottom end, a lower grade aluminium than originally specified by the designers, unusual thermostat placement to allow faster warm-up, water jackets very close to the combustion chambers in the head face, as well as the fact that aluminium is not as stiff and has a lower melting point than cast iron so there is a greater chance anyway.
Sorry, that's incorrect. The K series originally had steel dowels, but were replaced by plastic dowels prior to the 1.8l development. In FWD shopping carts this was not too much of a problem, but soon became one in the revised wet lined 1.8l K. So the steel dowels were RE-introduced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There's an interesting article about the K series and the facts and myths of it's perceived frailty on AROnline. Worth a read.
 

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Sorry, that's incorrect. The K series originally had steel dowels, but were replaced by plastic dowels prior to the 1.8l development. In FWD shopping carts this was not too much of a problem, but soon became one in the revised wet lined 1.8l K. So the steel dowels were RE-introduced.
Sorry, yes you're right. Does anyone know why they changed to plastic? I know it's easy to look back with hindsight but there doesn't seem any advantage yet there are disadvantages. Was it something to do with ease of production perhaps, or just cost?
 

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Sorry, yes you're right. Does anyone know why they changed to plastic? I know it's easy to look back with hindsight but there doesn't seem any advantage yet there are disadvantages. Was it something to do with ease of production perhaps, or just cost?
The change to plastic in the mid 90's was done in conjunction with a new head gasket design to try and solve the HGF problem, some have said that putting the blame on the plastic dowels was incorrect. The steel dowels were reintroduced at around the introduction of the TF and made the situation worse (most TF's from that time popped the head gasket at around 20K miles), the problem was helped with the introduction of slightly different design of gasket.
 

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I understood the introduction of the plastic dowels was to help engine assembly in the factory, making it easier to locate the head onto the block. Certainly when doing the HG on my F, the head was easy to remove on its original plastic dowels but a very tight fit on the replacement SS dowels.
 

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It does seem to be a serious design flaw in the engine, so many supposed miracle fixes that in the end just don't deliver. It would be nice if this was the one, but I reserve judgement for a few years on that.
 

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It does seem to be a serious design flaw in the engine, so many supposed miracle fixes that in the end just don't deliver. It would be nice if this was the one, but I reserve judgement for a few years on that.
My TF has the claimed HG fix fitted as part of the assembly process - I will keep you posted during my ownership/testing process:)
 

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Sorry, yes you're right. Does anyone know why they changed to plastic? I know it's easy to look back with hindsight but there doesn't seem any advantage yet there are disadvantages. Was it something to do with ease of production perhaps, or just cost?
From a factory source I've always understood the change from the original steel to plastic dowels was due to corosion, locking the head to the block - nothing to do with HGF or costs.
It proved a bad move and they went back to steel, but with the introduction of OAT coolant, it never became a problem again.
You may think the K is prone to HGF, but loads of other mfrs have similar runs of grief.
It is still a good engine, just let done by poor tolerances/liner heights/further research resources during it's life/accountants etc etc. If the money had been spent up front, it would have far less troublesome.
 

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I'm thinking a 1.4 shopping cart is a good test mule myself.

It is a loan car so people will not be particularly mechanically sympathetic as it isn't their pride and joy.

Also it will probably be used more than some customers MGF/TF which some folk have just for pleasure.

It also has to be worked harder being a smaller capacity engine and so in reality will be put through as much stress, probably more, than a TF/MGF.

I doubt that people will warm it up before thraping it and i also doubt that 99% of people borrowing it will be bothered about daily oil/coolant checks.

It will be interesting to see how its reliability spans out.

Personally I'm in the "you either get a good one or you don't" camp.
 

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IIRC the steel dowels were scoring the heads on the assembly line??

I fitted one of the first MLS gaskets to a 1.8 back in July 06, covered 30k. Engine ran well, had to remove the head recently due to a burnt valve issue (work in progress)

Post 65 in link below picks up the story thus far. Ignore the anti k-series land rover brigade!!

http://www.landyzone.co.uk/lz/f9/freelander-1-8-k-series-hgf-more-data-36863-7.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
IIRC the steel dowels were scoring the heads on the assembly line??

I fitted one of the first MLS gaskets to a 1.8 back in July 06, covered 30k. Engine ran well, had to remove the head recently due to a burnt valve issue (work in progress)

Post 65 in link below picks up the story thus far. Ignore the anti k-series land rover brigade!!

http://www.landyzone.co.uk/lz/f9/freelander-1-8-k-series-hgf-more-data-36863-7.html
In fairness to us Freebie owners, due to the unusual use and circumstances of a K in the Freebie, we do suffer a LOT more HGF failures than most. And with LR being a very, very expensive dealership and fleecing their customers for everything, it does become expensive and annoying. In realitty, the K was not well suited to the 4x4 market.

That said landyzone is a bit on the harsh side which is why I dont visit often.
 
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