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Discussion Starter #1
My lads 2003 MGZR 1.4 arrived with us last July, no service history. I replaced the water pump and cambelt etc and the miles piled on. Circa 14000 in a year. Form day 1 it had used a bit of coolant. Coolant loss started to increase, no visible signs and 'yoof' didn't keep an eye on it and the inevitable, it got a bit warm and since then has been pressurising the cooling system. No coolant in oil and no oil in coolant, car ran fine until the air lock develops.

Took the head off today, it has a MLS gasket fitted at some time, OMG, the MLS has deteriorated quite badly, eroded away significantly. I would also guess someone has chucked a can of coolant stop leak in the thing at some time looking at the grunge in the water ways.

I've never replaced a K Series gasket before. I will clean it all up and check the liner protrusion.

Not sure if to go for another MLS or an Elastomer gasket and a head shim to protect the head face, which has probably had a skim at some time it it's life. Is it common for the MLS gaskets to deteriorate ?, don't know how long this one has been fitted or how many miles.
 

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What's reg on car out of interest we sold our 1.4 in July which had the HG etc done. Seems to be a few MLS gaskets failing but ive done loads personally and never had any problems or come backs but i only fit good kits and check liner heights Was the correct long life coolant in the car?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is an EJ in the reg, Trophy Blue.

Car has had correct OAT coolant in since i replaced the water pump last year, what it had in it when it came to us, all I can say is it was red/pink."

I'll get a couple of foto's
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here are some pictures of the MLS Gasket. The car ran fine and has done some 14000 miles since we acquired last year. It has always sipped a bit of coolant and oil, but no watering oil or oil in water. Got a bit warm cos 'yoof' didn't keep it topped up, since then it has been pressurising the cooling system and air lock boiling.

K Series MLS Layer 1 to block http://t.co/ePqk1DJbGh

Rover K Series MLS layer 1 to block close up http://t.co/xzQPLQ58En

Rover K Series MLS layer 2 http://t.co/ycazjHL6wx

Rover K Series MLS layer 2 close up http://t.co/3gt0tR1al9

Rover K Series MLS top head saver shim http://t.co/fAerMXyNNj
 

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Crikey, that looks pretty horrendous!

I don't think many people have had the head off quite that long after fitting an MLS - most of the MLS ones that have had to be changed a second time have failed fairly soon after the first replacement was done (usually due to incorrect fitting, or damage to the gasket during fitting). I haven't heard of anyone else having had a later repeat failure and finding the gasket eaten away by corrosion, so I don't think it is a common issue for the MLS type gaskets.

However, I do recall from a few years back that Russell Walsh (MG Rover Solutions in Kent) had a couple of MLS gaskets that he had to replace again after a repeat failure and found they had corroded badly (though not completely disintegrated like yours). The reason given was that there had been a badly manufactured batch from the supplier.

It is certainly the case that some of the very cheap unbranded MLS gaskets that are around are of dubious quality, and most people will recommend only using a good quality one from XPart, Payen, Victor Reinz or FAI. It could be that your car had been fitted with one of the bad ones, or it may just have been a poor quality one.

It is also the case that if the car had been run for an extended period of time with no proper coolant in the system (or coolant at a seriously depleted concentration), then corrosion will take hold of any ordinary steel gasket. The K series should normally have a 50:50 mix of coolant and water.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't know how long the MLS had been on the car before we got it. It looks as though. Cambelt has let go at sometime in the cars life as there are tell tale marks in the piston crowns, this little ZR has had a hard life, mind you, I didn't pay a kings ransom for it. I was short on time or I would have bought a 'spares and repairs'. Mind you, since getting the car 'I've dealt with a cambelt and tensioner, water pump, clutch release bearing failure, cv boots, track rod end and now the headgasket.........what you might call spares or repairs :yawn

I've fitted and elastomer gasket as I had it to hand and I fear the liner heights are not as proud as a MLS should have. My 1993 414 is still on its elastomer gasket from 1994 after some 130k miles so they can't be that bad.
 

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I don't know how long the MLS had been on the car before we got it. It looks as though. Cambelt has let go at sometime in the cars life as there are tell tale marks in the piston crowns, this little ZR has had a hard life, mind you, I didn't pay a kings ransom for it. I was short on time or I would have bought a 'spares and repairs'. Mind you, since getting the car 'I've dealt with a cambelt and tensioner, water pump, clutch release bearing failure, cv boots, track rod end and now the headgasket.........what you might call spares or repairs :yawn

I've fitted and elastomer gasket as I had it to hand and I fear the liner heights are not as proud as a MLS should have. My 1993 414 is still on its elastomer gasket from 1994 after some 130k miles so they can't be that bad.
Is that heavy duty modified type
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It looked well made to me, wasn't one of the blue Payen ones, just an aftermarket one from my local parts factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The gasket I used was a BGA Elastomer.

I know there is a lot of technical knowledge on the net ref headgaskets and cyc heads, I've been reading it. A chap I work with was with Rover in the early years of the K Series. His view is the BGA gasket was the best and claims that they were the only supplier who made the fire ring the right way up. He reckons the OE supplier wouldn't change the tooling and that the OE gasket caused fire ring "chatter' and this is what marks the head. He reckons the BGA gaskets are best.

Anyway, 300 miles last week on mine, no coolant loss, no oil in coolant or vice versa, car holds temperature steady. I took quite a time to clean the head, block and fire ring faces so they were spotless and free from oil residue (brake cleaner). I also dressed the dowels to 10.5 mm above block face after reading an article on said.

Our MG 1.4 looks to have had a hard life, evidence of valve marks in piston crowns, so looks as though a cambelt has let go at some time. I thought the head face looked quite good, only slight marking from fire rings. Given there was no mixing of fluids despite the state of the old MLS gasket, I figured we would give the new gasket a go without any more than a really good fettle.

Hope our experience is of use to someone
 

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Discussion Starter #11
An update, share my experience, it might help someone.

The BGA Elastomer gasket now has circa 1600 miles on it since fitting, all is well. Engine is not using any coolant, there is no coolant in the oil and there is no oil in the coolant. Temp guage sits steady at just below normal and is stable around town, A roads and Motorway. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Two years and 31,000 miles further on and all is well. The BGA Elastomer Gasket has held up well. The car has required only about two or three minor coolant op ups in the last two years and 31000 miles. Lots of Motorway work and some spirited driving. On a hot day id stuck in traffiic I will spin the heater to hot and put the fan on to help keep things cool.

Goes to show how these K Series will go on if they are prevented from getting too hot.
 

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Thats good news mate the Landrover PRT thermostat is a good mod to help them stay cool done that to my daily and track car both stay nice and cool
 
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