Donor / T-Car

After Silverstone , I needed a different approach to developing the car. My budget does not allow for me to just buy new parts in the hope it will improve the situation, then if not just replace with something else. I need to be able to swap bits an pieces out to find out which components are not operating at their intended level. I know the fuel pump is a little flakey so thats getting a new one and I have replaced the coolant expansion tank with a new one from Brown and Gammons. I am still not confident about the injectors, lambda, exhaust, catalytic converter and coil packs and to replace all of these would cost approx £500 and still the car may be sluggish.

So I have a new plan, I have purchased courtesy of eBay a 2002 MG ZR 160 with 59000 miles on the clock for the sum of £300 with a the rare K Series condiition of HGF (Head Gasket Failure) – initially the plan was to use this as a pure donor car but it is very straight with 11 months MOT so for those that remember Formula 1 20 years ago its to be a Test Car or ‘T car’.

I am going to use it to solve problems and improve the race car by using bits I know are good from a car setup correctly to get the race car back to its best as testing the race car is limited given its not road legal. Those that know me know that my Father and I own a rare MG ZR Express 160 but he’d kill me if I started robbing bits of that which is a little frustrating as it goes like a train!

So next is to get the T car back to its best, and as you can see from the photo below of my apprenticies William and Eddie in the workshop its run out of room until the TF is sold (yes that is a Maestro Turbo [no 219] and Metro Turbo under the dust) so curbside auto’s it is and making the most of the summer evenings to get it on the road ASAP.


Saturday afternoon the heads off ready, the heads been off before and there is an immaculate MLS gasket in place. Given two VVC mech bolts have sheared off in my hand the head itself has not been apart before and the head certainly has not been skimmed. The radiator is knackered so there is lies the cause of the coolant problems I guess, its a familiar story, the head gasket has gone and then someone has repolaced it without actually replacing the component that has caused the head gasket to go in the first place, so its just not been done properly.

So its off to ELB’s in Sudbury for a skim and two sheared bolts to be removed, I change the water pump as a matter of course and hit the web to find another rad.


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