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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Modifications? Yes already!!

Me being me means that wahtever I have I look at ways of improving it or personalising without taking any retrograde steps away from the original spec.

I took the opportunity today of putting the ZS180 on a ramp and going over the underside.

Firstly - useless fact of the day. The 17" 'Straights' are made in Poland!! Yes that was quite an unexpected country of origin.

Now the air filter is a cracking design from the point of view of simple servicing. I believe that it can be achieved in around 10 seconds flat.

It will have a degree of standard efficiency but the long thin design requires airflow to follow a 'Z' route through the element. The air is fed into the filter assembly from the bottom from a tube that connects to a large plastic container, that I expect will be called the resonator, located under the front nearside wing, below the lamps and in front of the underwing weather shield.

Bearing in mind that much of the ZT190's extra power comes from a 10mm larger air intake it follows that this should be a productive area to look at, especially since it is both simple and non intrusive. I have seen that there is a quite reasonable space for a purpose designed filter system, such as the ITG induction system for the Elise and MGF, which I believe will surpass the gains seen on the 1.8 engines.

On the exhaust front I was initially a little dissapointed to see just a single tailpipe, especially since both the other top line Z models both feature a twin tailpipe along with some interesting internal valving in the rear silencers.

Having had a look underneath I see there is clerly room for a second silencer and tailpipe on the left side of the car and having spent 10 minutes with a paint programme and a quickly taken rear image I can confirm the effect is quite striking. I shall investigate this some more. Anyone interested in a copy of the 186Kb jpeg image is welcome to have one.

Another question I have is why has the 45 got clear front indicators and the MGs orange. Not that this is a bad contrast with the Blue, just that the tendency for clear or smoked shows this to possibly be a little retrograde. Interesting to see that the headlamp lens's are plastic and the indicator is an integral part of the outer headlamp lens.

I know of ways of making the engine breath so it will easily push 200plus bhp but I have no intention (yet?) of fitting a pair of modified cylinder heads. However the use of normal VVC valves and throats means there is as much scope for improvement as I have already shown in both MPi and VVC 4 cylinder K series engines.

Anyone else had similar thoughts, or different?

Roger Parker

You're getting as bad as I am!
Gary Boxall

It must have been frightening when you to got together! Mind you, 12,000 miles hasn't slowed you down much. LOL

Roger, I think that ZS180 needs to come down to NZ for some serious testing! Just hide it from Gary, it'll be a dragster before you know it :-)


Daniel / Rog
I think that bringing the ZS180 over here is a great idea. We'd then have a car for next year's Targa! :o)

ps Wait until we get that injection onto your Monty - I've got big plans for that - LOL
Gary Boxall

Who cares about waiting until next year, I want to play with it now! Come on Rog, we'll have free room and board, oh and somewhere for you to sleep

Now why does that not surprise me Gary :-)


The indicator lamp and the air intake mods sound straightforward enough Rog- go for it!

Regarding the tail pipe design, I take it you've already investigated the fitment of the ZT back box to the ZS? If not, mighten it not be an option?

I haven't studied the throttle body design of the ZS. Is it the same item (same diameter choke) as the MGF? If this is the case, then replacing it with a Vauxhall/ Opel TB as Dieter has done on the MGF may yield more impressive results than it has on that car...

Regarding the gear linkage, is it a cable arrangement? Would a Mike Satur gear lever selector mechanism fit? Certainly rose jointing the linkages will have a positive effect (ala Techspeed).

Oh yes, I think the ZS180 is fertile ground for modification- and that's before the Extreme model goodies become available for aftermarket fitment... :o)
Rob Bell

On the topic of indicator lamps, I was looking at mine last night and realised that it has clear, smoked and orange indicators, all on the same car! Now the smoked side repeaters look the dog's danglies against the anthracite paintwork so I would love to be able to change the front indicators for smoked items - or, failing that, clear ones as the orange doesn't really look too good with Anthracite. Does anyone know whether it is possible to change the inner indicator lenses without replacing the whole headlamp unit?


Steve H

This thread was discussed between 05/09/2001 and 07/09/2001

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