MG ZS 180 advice please.

MG ZS 180 advice please.

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Discussion

RussH91

Original Poster:

344 posts

101 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
Be kind please PH

Looking at buying MG ZS 180 facelift.
What do I need to look for heard about clutch and manifold being a pig after 50,000 and that there is a shortage of parts due to MG Rover being defunced.

Any knowledge welcome. I do realise that it is a design from early 90's which has just been tarted up for 10 years +, and at the end of the day it is still an fwd rover 400.

If you having nothing nice to say about it please recommend another vehicle of similar spec which I can afford to buy and insure for 5k (20 year old, 3 years no claims on company van, no points, no criminal convictions).

Russ

Rob_F

3,961 posts

205 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
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Reputed to be a fantastic handling car and from my experience with a ZT the V6 is very sweet and sounds ace. I can't see why anyone who loves driving wouldn't enjoy one. Lots of very good info and helpful people here: http://forums.mg-rover.org

Cheers,
Rob

RussH91

Original Poster:

344 posts

101 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
Cheers Rob, will have a look.

Russ

Spanna

3,613 posts

117 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
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Thing I would be thinking about is "do I really need a saloon?" I've had a ZS albeit a 1.8. They do handle very nicely and the V6 sounds good (I've driven a V6 one) but I have a child with which I needed car seats and pushchairs.

What other criteria are there, such as annual milege or will you need it for work etc.

Mr2Mike

20,143 posts

196 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
The clutch itself is ok, but the bracket that mounts the slave cylinder is prone to cracking and the slave cylinder (and master cylinder) is made from plastic and it can break without warning. The Freelander suffers from the same problem.

Either regularly inspect the bracket to ensure it's not cracking (I believe the Freelander bracket can be used) or convert the entire system to proper metal bodied slave and master cylinders using Honda Civic parts. This requires a custom made mounting bracket, but it only took me an hour or so to modify the standard one to fit. I used a flexible aeroqip type hose to connect the slave up to the new master cylinder. A chap known as "Sheddist" on the X-power forums was selling a kit of parts for this modification, I don't know if he still is.

The clutch release bearing is operated by a steel shaft that rotates directly within holes in the alloy gearbox housing. Corrosion can cause the operating mechanism to become very stiff, greatly increasing the chances of a (plastic) slave cylinder failure, and makes the clutch feel nasty. Since the lower bearing point is inside the bellhousing, fixing this can involve removal of the gearbox.

The inlet manifold suffers from two separate issues, both related to the VIS (Variable Induction System) which has two motorised sets of butterflies, known as the "balance" valve and the "power" valve.

1) The two motor assemblies that operate the butterflies are known to fail. These aren't terribly expensive to buy, and faulty ones can often be repaired pretty easily anyway. The most common problem is that they get full of oil, and that two PCB mounted microswitches get broken solder joints. The symptoms are non-operational VIS, so the engine usually feel pretty flat without the characteristic "kick" at around 3700RPM.
2) The "power" valve has 6 butterflies within the manifold connected together by a glass reinforced plastic linkage with moulded in ball joint sockets that clip onto balls on the butterflies. These ball joint sockets wear to the point that the linkage becomes disconnected, resulting in one or more of the butterflies being free to flap open and closed. This results in a distinctive rattle from the manifold, and reduced performance. The bad news is this is nearly impossible to fix as the manifold is ultrasonically welded together so you have to physical cut the entire thing open to expose the worn parts. New manifolds are still available from a few places, but they are very expensive (£500ish) given the value of the car. Secondhand ones are obviously sought after, so the price of these in inflated and you always take a risk with s/h parts.

It's been proposed that oil within the manifold accelerates wear of the linkage, though I have my doubts about this. The oil does however get into the motors, so reducing the amount of oil is a good idea. This can be achieved by simply fitting an oil catch tank between the engine breather and the manifold.


Edited by Mr2Mike on Saturday 26th May 20:37

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Paul671

255 posts

148 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
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Cambelt change is relatively expensive, around £500 I believe, factor that in when buying.

Loved my ZS, excellent car, cheap as chips too.

Parts are generally available and inexpensive, though I believe facelift body parts may be getting rare.

Mr2Mike

20,143 posts

196 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
Spanna said:
Thing I would be thinking about is "do I really need a saloon?"
The ZS180 came in either saloon or hatch forms. The saloon is by far the better looking car (IMO) and has a large boot with folding rear seats, but obviously the hatch is more practical in many situations.


Edited by Mr2Mike on Saturday 26th May 20:34

Mr2Mike

20,143 posts

196 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
Paul671 said:
Cambelt change is relatively expensive, around £500 I believe, factor that in when buying.
There are three timing belts, and it's a tricky job so labour charges push the price up. However it's perfectly DIYable if you have some skill, but you do need the locking kit (which can be hired by the day).

A timing belt change should always be accompanied by a new water pump, and preferably using a quality after-market part with a metal impeller (original MG part was plastic).

Edited by Mr2Mike on Saturday 26th May 20:39

RussH91

Original Poster:

344 posts

101 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
Mike
Thank you for your time, I'll try absorb that fountain of knowledge, if you don’t mind me asking how long did you keep yours for and was there any reason for selling?

Spanna
No particular reason for saloon like the look of them been driving a berlingo van with two seats for 3 years after passing my test. I like the idea of having extra seats without mates having to getting and out 2doors. Also saw one the other day giving it some which made me start looking, I think they are also more achievable for me to get insured and buy then other ideas I’ve had. would use for work but at the moment I live on site and the van did all of 6 miles today and that’s only because I drove to get lunch.

Paul
For the amount of car you seem to be getting they seem excellent value for money, if you have someone like Mike at hand when things go wrong.


Mr2Mike

20,143 posts

196 months

Saturday 26th May 2012
quotequote all
RussH91 said:
Mike
Thank you for your time, I'll try absorb that fountain of knowledge, if you don’t mind me asking how long did you keep yours for and was there any reason for selling?
I had mine for about 18 months and enjoyed every moment with it. Handling is genuinely excellent, and to my mind is a testament to the ability of the Rover engineers that worked to a very small budget to develop these cars. The engine is a lovely sounding thing, and begs you you keep the tacho needle well up the scale for both performance and aural reward. However, if you are the kind of person that likes to stroke the interior plastics to feel the quality, the ZS probably isn't for you. That said the interior stayed screwed together well with no squeaks or rattles, though the leather on the front seats is not of great quality and you will find wear here on many cars.

There were two reasons I moved on to pastures new:
1) Due to the shape of my steep and very narrow driveway, I had to leave the ZS's bum protruding onto the pavement slightly otherwise the drivers door would hit the steps leading up to my front door. The hatch would have fitted, but the saloon is an infinitely better looking car.
2) The performance is good, but I owned a Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo at the same time which was in another league. Unfortunately the fuel consumption of the ZS was slightly worse than the Fiat. I got 26-27mpg from the ZS on a spirited 60 mile commute, the Fiat would return 27-28 whilst being quite a bit quicker. If I hadn't been spoiled by the Coupe and my commute was shorter this would have been a non-issue. The ZS was the better handling car by a long margin however, and given a suitably restrained driving style it would exceed 30mpg, but I found it difficult to restrain myself biggrin


FWIW I sold the Coupe as it was simply getting old and very tatty on the bodywork (though mechanically I spent a fortune keeping it nice), and now have an EP3 Civic Type R. Another car I can recommend but much less refined than the ZS, and quite honestly the ZS is the better handling car especially when pushing it hard.

EDIT: If you do buy one, or want to ask any specific questions then I strongly recommend you join the mg-rover.org forum where you will find a wealth of advice and information from enthusiastic owners.

Edited by Mr2Mike on Saturday 26th May 21:35

pitbull turbo

663 posts

122 months

Sunday 27th May 2012
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Main thing that causes really issues on the mk2 Zachary is the alarm system it's hard to obtain and costly and can break at any moment and you can't replace them with a aftermarket. Alond with the normal Zs 180 issues