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Lighten up dude
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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Hi all

I've put this post together over several hours because I hope to help others who will face the same problems as I have trying to source a ZS saloon exhaust in 2010. It relates to a Mk2 180 although the solution will work for any ZED. Note the ZS hatchback and Mk1 saloon are different around the back section length AFAIK.

I'm not a mechanic or affiliated to any garage and I don't have a mate who can weld - just a normal person looking for a simple, professional solution. This came from Tony Banks in West Yorkshire (Longlife franchise across the UK). I've tried to be objective and fair to all suppliers and contributors but please don't flame me if you disagree with my conclusions or your trade contacts are better than mine - just add your own comment at the end. I've included lots of pictures and information to help everyone including those new to the ZS. Links to suppliers at the end of the post.

Thanks in particular to Typhoon180, DemonPaul, R8NMG, Kelvin, Dan 1971, Talkingcars and Raptor for their invaluable input. :grouphug:

A bit of history
The OEM system (unless you went for Janspeed at the dealer/point of purchase) fails at around 4/5 years. My car is a late 2005 and the back box went last year. I cobbled this with a second hand OEM box from a forum member for £40 but really it was a temp solution - it went last month and an inspection showed both the centre box and flexi pipe were shot too. The image below is a very common point of failure.





System breakdown
The exhaust system essentially breaks down into four sections, excluding the cast manifold bolted to the engine. The diagram below (courtesy Rimmer Bros) shows these clearly - 1) a flexipipe, 2) connected to the catalytic convertor 3) the mid box and intermediate pipe 4) and the back box.





Availability
Essentially the OEM back box is now extinct for the 180 saloon (according to Rimmer Brothers and Xpart, the two primary MGR suppliers). A centre section alone is available and I was quoted £140 + VAT + Fitting (Xpart via JCT the originating dealer for my car in Wakefield). I declined partly because this did not solve my duff flexi pipe and back box. I also excluded the common franchise people like KwikFit - some said they could not get the parts, others tried to take advantage of the MGR downfall in the price.

I would add that having decided to keep the Zed, a mild steel system was out - I cannot see the point in doing this all over again in 2/3 years time, so I was now looking for stainless steel parts. Also my catalytic convertor is fine and I'm still undecided on where I am going with the tuning (see below for more), so I wanted this left intact.

Having asked the board for advice I spent a good deal of time chasing down a lot of mail order bits and bats to make up a system - products from Piper, Jansport and others and I considered AA Autosport in Shipley, West Yorks to fit these (thanks Bilbo). However, apart from the drag of waiting for the bits to arrive, the potential fitting issues and then living with a (too loud) system I did not want, the cost was starting to look silly - Motobuild wanted over £200 for a back box for example and a Janspeed cat back system from PTP was over £400 (£550 with flexi/cat) for the parts in stainless steel + fitting (approx £100). I needed to sit down.

Solution - Tony Banks Custom S.Steel Performance System
Dan 1971 came to my rescue suggesting that the Longlife franchise could help - they did a great job on his car (link to Dan's post at the end) and were cheaper than the similar Powerflow build to order alternative. I tracked down a Leeds office and spoke to Tony Banks who immediately instilled a lot of confidence in me - knew the car well and explained the options and costs thoroughly - for example there is no point going above 2.5" pipe on the 180 unless some serious mods have been completed. The fixed price quote was LESS than I could buy the off the shelf parts myself, and the experience of dealing with them face to face was, frankly, the best garage visit I have ever enjoyed - exceptional. Here is the story in pictures.



Stainless Steel system has a life time guarantee but if you are really pushed for cash Tony can still build you up any part of the system in 2/3 year mild steel.




Lucille looking good - just done a 450 mile trip to Glasgow the previous day and not washed yet.




Nice clean yard





I wasn't the only Zed there. very nice Mk1 120 saloon with only 23,000 on the clock having same treatment as mine.




Very clean bay - this was at 8.00 am so they must clean up night before - good sign.





You get your own choice of rear pipe AND how you want the overall system to sound. You can have it built without the middle box if you like a lot of noise. I wanted things muted on the motorway and sporty under throttle (Mid sports). Tony will also do a decat/sports cat and the duplex twin back box if ordered in advance (rear bezels getting thin on the ground).




3 hours later I was back to see them finishing off. Above you get an idea of how the whole system runs - you can just see the new flexi-pipe in front of the cat.




This is how helpful Tony and his colleague Kelvin were - the flexi-pipe is attached to the catalytic convertor as a piece but they cut my old one off and welded in a new section as part of the cost (i.e. FOC) meaning I could stick with the original cat for now - fantastic service.





New performance mid box.





The intermediate run through the suspension was fun (they said laughing)






Lovely new back box.




On the ramps for a final clean up and the fuel tank undersealed whilst she is up there. Great service again and all done with a smile.

Wrap
The custom stainless steel performance system I now have on the ZS has a Lifetime guarantee. It improves the breathing and potentially unlocks some BHP. It cost me less than I could buy the parts and fit myself. It cost approx' £60 less than a similar Powerflow system - I don't want to say the actual price because that's up to you and Tony to agree.

It sounds throaty without being over the top ( I will add a video I have taken to Youtube as soon as I figure out how) and I love the tailpipe design - fits the bumper space well. The car feels better in the mid to high range running high octane fuel - enough for my wife to comment without prodding her. Tony suggests the system will release more once the (standard) induction is upgraded to a cold air feed induction. He will offer forum members a heavily discounted price on a Wolfrace carbon filter system to the inner wing if pre-ordered with any S.Steel exhaust system - way cheaper (and potentially better) than a BMC/ITG and the price includes fitting (mines booked!).

Overall, a bit of a journey but I'm over the moon with the solution. Cannot say enough about Tony and Kelvin except I would send my mother there which is enough I guess. Don't forget to mention the forum if you contact them (for a discount maybe?) and allow 3/4 hours for fitting.

Links/Contacts
These are just a few to get you started;

Tony Banks Performance Centres Leeds 0113 2798966
M.078438 36544 Web. WWW.TONYBANKS.CO.UK Email. [email protected]

Dan's original Longlife post
http://forums.xpowerforums.com/showthread.php?t=53344&highlight=Longlife

Rimmer Brothers section on ZS exhaust
http://www.rimmerbros.co.uk/Item--i-GRID003507

Another xpowerforums board post on ZS exhausts
http://forums.xpowerforums.com/showthread.php?t=48072

Powerflow (similar service but about 20% more expensive)
http://www.powerflowexhausts.co.uk/

Roadrunner from Paul for mail order MGR tuning parts
http://www.roadrunnermotorsport.co.uk/index.asp

Motobuild who do many upgrade parts for MGR
http://www.moto-build.com/

Ditto PTP for Jansport (but expensive)
http://www.ptp-ltd.co.uk/shop/55/mg_rover/mg_zs__rover_45/exhaust_systems/index.htm?

I sincerely hope that this streamlines your search for a ZS exhaust solution and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to support the board with it.


P
 
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R.I.P [The Red Zed] MG ZS 180
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Great Post:yup:
 

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Lighten up dude
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Discussion Starter #3
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Thanks Paul - you and Nigel in particular, and the xpowerforum have saved me a fortune and helped me to enjoy the Zed. I've even got back into doing stuff on the car myself which I'm really enjoying. Just giving something back. Good karma all round. Hope it helps people.


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Lighten up dude
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
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Talkingcars - I'll PM to discuss if you like. It's not fair to the garage to say the price publicly. He did me a great deal after a bit of haggling but I said that I would not disclose the details to protect his official price lists (he is part of the Longlife franchise). You can get a quote by emailing him. Mention the board and I'm sure that you will get a discount of some kind.

Here is the Youtube video for the sound - finally managed to work it through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zVQuEVkvPk




P
 

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R.I.P [The Red Zed] MG ZS 180
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19,410 Posts
Very nice :rockon:
 

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I had a similar system hand crafted £300 from cat back @ prospeed exhausts in Cardiff.
 

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Point taken - what is his official price for this so we know where to haggle from.
 
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