WHAT TO LOOK FOR

RUST RE­SIS­TANCE

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

The good news is that rust shouldn’t be an is­sue, al­though it’s worth check­ing for any bub­bles that might have ap­peared as a re­sult of dam­age or stonechips. And look for the usual scrapes and scuffs on hard-used high-mil­ers; items like bumpers are pricey, even sec­ond­hand, while var­i­ous of­fi­cial body kits were of­fered for the MGs, so check they are un­dam­aged. One bodywork is­sue to con­sider, though, is blocked drain holes in the plenum cham­ber. It’s an easy fix, but wa­ter build-up can dam­age the en­gine ECU and pollen fil­ter, with ex­pen­sive con­se­quences.

WA­TER, WA­TER

Watch also for bro­ken bon­net cables, noisy boot locks, and wa­ter leaks from blocked sun­roof drains and around the rear light lenses. Wa­ter get­ting into the boot can cause elec­tronic grem­lins, so check for damp. The tail­gate on es­tate mod­els fea­tured a sep­a­rately open­ing rear win­dow, so it’s worth check­ing that the latch mech­a­nism works and that wa­ter hasn’t been get­ting past the seals.

EN­GINE MAN­AGE­MENT

In var­i­ous states of tune for the Rover and MG vari­ants, petrol en­gines were 1.8-litre K-Se­ries units in nor­mally as­pi­rated and tur­bocharged forms, and a smooth six-cylin­der KV6. The for­mer could suf­fer from head gas­ket is­sues at around 30,000 miles but most should have been sorted by now and trou­ble shouldn’t re­cur if re­paired prop­erly. Tur­bos can suf­fer from split hoses and there are re­ports of a dicky fuel pump caus­ing start­ing is­sues, while air leaks from the in­let man­i­fold gas­ket and a faulty mass air­flow (MAF) sen­sor will cause run­ning prob­lems. Nig­gling sen­sor faults will bring up warn­ing lights on the dash. The KV6 is a strong unit, but chang­ing the cam­belts at six years/90,000 miles is cru­cial as fail­ure will wreck the en­gine. Spe­cial tools are needed so check it’s been done. Ther­mo­stat hous­ings can crack on th­ese en­gines.

BMW OR FORD

The 75’s com­mon-rail 2.0-litre diesel, dubbed M47-R, is a BMW unit and was added to the ZT range in 2002. It doesn’t suf­fer from any real prob­lems al­though it’s worth lis­ten­ing for rat­tles in­di­cat­ing a stretched tim­ing chain (it’s a ma­jor job to change) and poor run­ning caused by a blocked EGR valve. Slightly less sen­si­ble, though, is the 4.6-litre Ford V8 fit­ted to the MG ZT 260. Driv­ing the rear wheels, it makes a great noise and is plenty quick enough, and it’s a re­li­able lump, too, with parts eas­ily avail­able from spe­cial­ists. A niche choice, it’s thirsty if pro­voked.

GO FOR TRANS­MIS­SION

The Ge­trag five-speed man­ual gear­box is bul­let­proof, as is the Tremec unit in the V8. Just lis­ten out for a rat­tling dual-mass flywheel, is­sues with clutch hy­draulics, and clutch wear on hard used ex­am­ples

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