Choosing the correct K Series Head Gasket Kit

You're probably on this page because you're wondering which is the best K Series Head Gasket Kit to fit - there are a lot of options available, varying massively in cost, and each with their own merits.


I can find a kit on eBay for under £40 with bolts - why are they so cheap?

It's a question we're asked a lot - quite frankly, we have access to the same 'budget' suppliers from the Far East, but choose to stick with known good items and brands. There have been reports of cheap head bolts snapping on torque application, water leaks externally from between the head and block, and countless other issues. With the complexity of the work, it's not something worth saving £30 on (in our opinion, of course). 

There's the added issue that if a cheap kit fails in some way, there's a risk of overheating the engine due to coolant loss - and the consequences of this could mean additional expense (sunk liners, indentations in the cylinder head, to name a couple). 

The old adage applies - 'you get what you pay for'. Even our cheapest kits contain Head Gaskets from UK suppliers, and top-quality UK-made Head Bolts. 


Which Head Gasket should I use - MLS or the Elastomer (Payen BW750 or similar)? 

This is a question we're asked a lot - and the answer is that you need to choose the right kit based on the health of your engine. 

The MLS (Multi Layer Steel) gasket was developed by Land Rover as a fix for the Freelander 1.8 K Series application, but fits all capacities and models due to the shared engine platform of the K Series between Land Rover and MG Rover. It's a great gasket, and on paper a lot more resilient to overheating-caused failure as it has no temperature-sensitive elastomer beading. 

The problem with the MLS design is that it requires 'perfect' liner heights, as per new engine specification. A lot of K Series engines suffer with slightly dropped liners, a problem caused in part by overheating (or in some cases, poor tolerances when the engine was built). To use the MLS successfully, the liners must all be 3 thou or above proud of the deck face, AND all even. If one is even slightly out, the MLS may not seal. 

The Elastomer design (Payen BW750 etc) is a lot more flexible when it comes to low liners, or uneven liners - and can quite happily work even when liners are flush with the block, or 1-2 thou out from each other. 

To summarise - if you have 3 thou or above of liner above the deck face AND they're all even, you can use the MLS design of gasket. If not, use the Elastomer gasket. 


I see you have the new N Series Head Gasket Kit available - what's so special about it, and should I pay the extra over the other MLS kits?

The main differences between the 'standard' MLS design and the new gasket from NAC MG are the Head Bolts (higher tensile rating, 10.9 over 9.8 of the originals), the improved Oil Rail is included in the kit, and the gasket itself has a modified coating to help it seal more effectively.

The N Series engine as used by NAC has a very good service record - and is a slightly modified K Series engine (additional block rigidity) with the N Series gasket, bolts and rail. 

The N Series gasket still uses Multi Layer Steel (MLS) technology, so the MLS tolerances mentioned above must be observed. 

You can view the N Series Kit here - Click Here


I want to fit the MLS if my liner heights are OK, but I won't know until the engine is apart. Can I purchase an MLS kit and an Elastomer kit, and return the un-needed item?

Of course you can - simply purchase a full kit for one of the gaskets, and then add a standalone gasket of the other type. All other parts are compatible (but don't do this with the N Series gasket kits, as the bolts are a different tensile rating). 

Once you've fitted the gasket that's right for your car, email us on to arrange return of the gasket you didn't use. This must be returned within 28 days of purchase. 


I hear many arguments for and against skimming a cylinder head. What do you recommend? 

In our eyes, skimming a perfectly good cylinder head is a no-no, as the surface is hardened.
If you have fire ring indentation you can physically feel, a very light skim should remove these. You can usually get 2 light skims (or one heavy skim) from a K Series cylinder head. 

We don't recommend the use of separate head saver shims, as they're another potential point of sealing failure. If your head is below the minimum height (118.30mm) we'd recommend scrapping it, and finding another. 


You have lots of options listed; which is best for me? 

Here's a quick, non exhaustive guide to our kits. Each underlined sentence is clickable - click to view the relevant kit. 

Elastomer Gasket only - ideal if you already have the other gaskets etc.
Elastomer Gasket Kit - OEM-Q (Non VVC) - our most popular kit
Elastomer Gasket Kit - OEM-Q (VVC) - our most popular VVC kit
Elastomer Gasket Kit inc Lower Oil Rail - ideal for strengthening your engine with the stronger Oil Rail
N Series MLS Gasket Only - ideal if you already have the other gaskets etc.
N Series Head Gasket Kit (Non-VVC and VVC) - Fully customisable
Victor Reinz MLS Head Gasket Kit (Non VVC)
Victor Reinz MLS Head Gasket Kit (VVC)

All of our Head Gasket Kits are listed here - Head Gasket Kits (All Models)

Alternatively, view our Gaskets category here - All Gaskets


If you need a hand choosing, please email and we'll help out as soon as we can.