MGF Head Gasket Failiure

My MGF (98 s reg) cut out in a cloud of steam whilst on the M20 on Christmas Day.
The only indication that anything was wrong was that the heater wasnt
working (it worked ok the day before). At the time of the failiure I was checking the temp guage (the dashboard one, not the central one) and it was definately normal. After the engine had cooled I checked the water level and it was empty.
My dad came along with 4 lts of tap water and we filled it up. We watched it for several minuets and it didnt leak out so we started the engine (in hindsight I know this could have been a very bad idea!) - the engine started on the second turn of the key and ran fine, my dad was watching for steam/smoke etc and there wasnt any so we switched the engine off and checked the coolent again which had gone down quite a bit.
At this stage we took a look at the oil and although we couldnt see any water mixed with the oil it did look a bit more cloudy than normal. We decided it wasnt worth risking driving it and got it towed (eventually!) to the MG garage.
From a quick look online it would seem likely that this is a head gasket failiure and I have a couple of questions...
1) What is the likely cost... ...If I can get away with just a gasket being replaced? (900?) ...If the cylinder head also needs skimming? (1800?) ...If the engine is a write off and needs replacing new or recon? (3200?/????)
2) What are the chances of each of the above scenarios given that the engine ran ok after it had cooled?
3) The car is only worth about 5000 and I was planning on selling it anyway, would a new engine reduce the value or increase the value?
4) Would 4 lts of tap water reduce the concentration of anti freeze enough to cause freezing whilst it sits on the garage forecourt waiting for the garage to open after Xmas? (we have had quite a lot of frost but no snow)
Thanks for any help!
David Bevan
http://www.davidbevan.co.uk
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Head gasket failure at low mileage does seem to be very common with the MGF but those prices can't be right? I don't know much about your engine but I would have thought that 300-400 including a head skim would be more like it.
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Paul Giverin

British Jet Engine Website http://www.britjet.co.uk
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writes

As for a normal Rover with K series really, but add about 100quid as you have to take apart some of the luggage area to get access to the engine, and refilling is a real nightmare cos they airlock like you wouldnt believe- stupid radiator is lower than the engine!
Tim..
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You're not considering using the main dealer for this are you ?
Richard
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Er I was considering using a main dealer - would I be better off at an independant? Will they be qualified to do the work? It sounds quite complex, not only has the whole engine/rear axle etc got to be dropped down, but the head needs to be skimmed down and measured etc etc. It all sounded a lot more specialist than a simple service. Thanks
David Bevan
http://www.davidbevan.co.uk
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You're probably best off getting the mechanical work done by an engine reconditioners (which is who the main dealer subcontract the machining to anyway). Google for the FER Federation of engine remanufacturers to find one locaal to you
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Would an MG main dealer be able to offer any kind of warranty for this work? - I need to change the car very soon due to new baby, but am now scared that im going to sell it, it does a few hundered miles with the new owner and blows up! Then the new owner turns up on my doorstep demanding his money back!
David Bevan
http://www.davidbevan.co.uk
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snipped-for-privacy@davidbevan.co.uk wrote:

You don't know the head needs to be skimmed or the engine dropped until you remove the head. My K series just needed a gasket and bolt set...
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Teal'c: "Dr Jackson's preliminary electroencephalogram proved anomalous"
O'Neill: "I dare you to say that again"
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Nearly everybody I know who has a car with the K series engine has suffered cylinder head gasket problems at some point. I imagine a good quality independent garage will have done loads of repairs of this type. It seems very common.
Richard
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In

Garage I use (Ferrari - Porsche specialist, but I know them so it's cheap) refuses to do K series heads nowadays. "Do the whole job properly and the bloody things still go again. Can't guarantee the work, so we won't do 'em"
Not as though it's a crap garage, I've seen them get stupid amounts of power out of Lamborghini V12s for offshore powerboats with total reliability, yet they won't go near a K series...
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Pete M

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Grimly Curmudgeon wrote:

OK, how many you had?
I'm convinced it's nannying that does it - I thrashed my K series from the day I got it, checking the oil and water regularly. Head gasket went after losing all the coolant when a hose split on the M1, never failed again - this was on a H reg 414 16v.
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It was somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember "Tim S Kemp"

Haven' tushed a drop oshifeir

Nothing quite like a sound thrashing. That, and cold baths at 6am.
--

Dave
SE6a

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saying something like:

No no, K-series! :0

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Of the half dozen K-series owners I know of, those that drove it hard day in, day out, never had any problems. I expect yours, Tim, spent most of its time at or over 4,000 rpm? :)
Those that are fannied about tend to go...
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DervMan wrote:

It had no go below 4000, so why run it below that? It was only about 22mph/thousand in top anyway so motoray cruise was 5000rpm.
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uNkulunkulu wrote:

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David wrote:

Happens all too often I'm afraid. See here:-
http://www.shame.4mg.com /
--
Ian Edwards

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On 27 Dec 2004 00:55:38 -0800, David wrote:

Take the car to an independant garage and half or less the above prices is more like it. Lass I knew got her gasket sorted, head skimmed and a plug Helicoiled for 500 on a similar car....
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