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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Quality Problems on Z Cars

What problems have been experienced by owners of Z cars in terms of poor quality control?? Obviously it is critical to the future of MG that these cars are nothing short of perfect - it is evident that this is not the case judging by some postings on this bulletin board. What are the main problems and what models do they affect? It seems the ZS is the worst. What about the ZR and ZT?

Also, could previous owners of brand new cars enlighten us as to the sort of problems experienced on other marques?
John G Hackett

My job is to track and deal with problems on Opel cars imported into Australia (as Holdens).

I can tell you that none of the problems mentioned are news to me. Generally the car companies will work on problems statisically based primarily on warranty data.

All the car companies I have worked for deal with IPTV's (Incidents Per Thousand Vehicles).

You then rank the problems by how many occurances (we only deal with a problem when it reaches a set level) per thousand cars sold.

I could give you raw figures as to how many problems we get on our cars (which I won't because it will pretty much give you Vauxhall's figures!), but the problem is really one of separating the Subjective data (like you all mentioning you have this problem or that problem) from the objective data (warranty claim / cost)

The problem is I have no way of comparing how we fare against other manufacturers since they keep their warranty data close to their chest. The only real way of judging is by consumer surveys such as JD Power. These too have limitations, but they are the best we have.

So perhaps your questions that you ask can be best answered by looking at JD Power results for the equivalent Rover versions of the MGs. The part of the vehicle which typically account for the most warranty costs, engine and squeaks and rattles, really haven't changed that much so perhaps this might be a good starting point.

My own view is that I have seen a lot of dogs of cars over the years, and from what i have seen of the Rovers, they do not fall into this category. The 75 is a magnificent car.


John, I think it's still very early to tell true figures relating to the entire Z range. I believe there will be lots more issues reported with the ZT than any other model, purely because it appears to be the most popular by miles.


Kieren Gibson

> Also, could previous owners of brand new cars
> enlighten us as to the sort of problems experienced
> on other marques?

Seeing as you ask! I've had four new cars, including my ZS180. In order of level of quality control:

Honda Civic
1) Internal boot release stopped working
2) Err... that's it

MG ZS180
1) Ventilation control poorly adjusted
2) N/S headlamp unit 3-4mm out of alignment with bodywork
3) Disconnected spring on passenger seat adjustment mechanism
4) Bumper loose behind O/S rear wheel

Mazda MX-5
1) Passenger side window seal needed replacement (after the dealer tried the 'it's a rag top, it's bound to leak' excuse!)
2) (Dealer fit) alarm needed replacing
3) Bolt on steering rack UJ needed tightening to stop clunking!
4) Other minor things that escape me

Vauxhall Corsa
1) Stereo needed replacing
2) Driver's seat needed replacing
3) Outside temperature sensor failed
4) Loads of other minor stuff - it seemed to be at the dealer every few weeks for the first six months

I have to say that I'm happy enough with the quality of my car so far. The headlamp unit alignment should have been caught at the factory but the other things will just be categorised under 'other minor stuff' once they've been fixed. I just hope that I get nothing worse.


Steve H

Long live Honda...
Kieren Gibson

>>>>Long live Honda...
hear,hear. My Civic VtiS (aka 'ZS170') has not missed a beat in 37k miles and 18 months.

Here's a few over the years:

1962 MGB - faulty dynamo(remember them?) - replaced - no other troubles 70,000 miles.

1970 Mini 1000 - front brake adjuster kept on backing off - Dealer unable to fix under warranty (dummies) - I fixed it with a 30/- (remember them?) backplate to avoid further messing - thereafter 100,000 miles no probs apart from wet electrics during cloudbursts, standing water etc. Rectified with 75p plastic shield mod.

1977 Mini 1000 - replaced drivers window glass which was chipped on delivery by dealer. Lazy clutch slave cylinder dealer unable to sort - (again sorted myself with a bit of fine wet and dry in the cylinder as cant afford all the time cars spend in dealers for silly details).

1978 Morris Ital (yes seriously)- nothing went wrong - very hard level of use - high mileage company car. Some of my point to point times in this car you would not believe if I'd told you I'd done them in a Jaguar!

1983 MG Metro - Very notchy reverse gear selection - dealer again unable to rectify despite engine and gearbox out and spread all over clean workshop floor. (Again sorted myself similar to previous - another lazy clutch dragging slave cylinder fault not helping non synchro reverse selection. I rectified slave cylinder bore same way as with Mini). Bonnet rusted through after 5 years - replaced with new bonnet under 6 year corrosion warranty. Very hard used and very reliable over 15 years.

1990 Montego 1.6 LX - radio/cassette faulty(German made) replaced under warranty - 600 "seam bleed" paint rectified under corrosion warranty.(That's main dealer charges - more like 150 by competent bodyshop - bit of a con sometimes these corrosion warrantees). Still have this car 11 years and 110,000 miles later - reliable as old boots and still economical. Pleasure to drive and quite nippy.

I also used Princesses 2000(wedges)Allegros (1750 special; real "q" car by then standards - thus great fun) and other BMC/BL/ARG stuff for shorter periods all without problems.

Fords - Vauxhalls, others - all had problems - no further comment...... :o))

John McFeely
John McFeely

ehhhm, yes.

viva la honda,

honda accord,

clutch went after 90K miles,

and, and, and,

hmmm, cough, nothing else.

see the other thread for the ZS180 list.....( but I still lurrrrve it )


Just to set the record straight, the 'loose bumper behind O/S rear wheel' is a 'feature' of the 45/ZS - a fact easily verified by poking a ZS in the showroom - so my list of minor niggles has dropped to three.

More importantly, the service I received at Mantles, Royston was great. The staff were friendly and responsive, they listened to what I said about the car and, when I picked it up, everything had been done. Now I know that this shouldn't be unusual but, in my experience, it is. The reason I didn't wait to try the Civic Type R was that I have had so much grief and bad service from the Honda dealer in Cambridge.

A car is a complex object and I don't expect it to be perfect on delivery, so long as the defects are minor and they are rectified quickly and efficiently by the dealer. So far I'll give MG 9/10 and Mantles 10/10. If this continues, between them they will have gained a very happy customer...

Steve H

(ZS180) Most of the things I have experienced have been minor, the major concern being the driving experience, which is excellent and highly enjoyable. I still look forward to driving this car every day. I contribute to this thread so that any minor problems may be picked up on and hopefully fed back to MG-Rover somehow so that they can take action to ensure that future cars off the line can be improved in these areas.

For instance, has anyone else got all the chrome coming off the handbrake button? The loose O/S rear bumper is a feature of mine too, it doesn't seem to be well supported at the bottom near the's not a problem for me though.

Steve H, I agree with you entirely. I too would expect niggles on a new car. Especially a completely new model. I didn't get great service from Herbert Robinson in Cambridge and swapped to Norton Way in Letchworth. I'm now on my fourth. I had a series 2 prelude from 50k to 100k over 4 years and it never missed a beat. I then swapped that for an older integra EX16 with 88k on the clock. This now has 100k, and in 2 years has had a new exhaust and clutch, but that's it.
I also had a new Integra Type R, took it up to 38k never missed a beat or had any niggles, a new Accord Type R up to 40k, never missed a beat and no niggles and most recently an ST200 estate Mondeo that I've had for 18 months and 48k miles, and that's never missed a beat or had any niggles.
I appreciate that i've been lucky and my level of expectation is probably too high for this to continue, but generally, with the level of technologies available, things should be getting beter all the time.


Kieren Gibson

ps of course I meant ZS in my first post, not ZT.
Kieren Gibson

I have had two problems.

1, two very small white spots in the paint under the rear spoiler - rectified.
2, a mark on one rim edge where the monkey who fitted the tyre was careless with his tyre lever - replaced.

The rear bumper issue is one amplified by the cutot for the exhaust which allows more flex.

A characteristic I found with ALL of the press V6 cars and which is apparent on mine and another demo car I have driven is that there is a degree of over sensitivity in the trottle when at a very light throttle when maintaining a steady speed. The condition can be found best when in second gear and in traffic at about 2000 rpm. There is a sudden on/off switching within the engine managment system, and when the engine is cold the condition is more obvious. Anyone else found this?


Roger Parker

I have had my ZS180 for all of a week now. I have noticed similar problems to those owners who have posted before me, and will take them up with the dealer where I purchased the car this weekend.

1) Rear spoiler, at least a two inch long piece of bare plastic that needs touching up. Quite how anyone missed that I don't know.

2) Rubber seals (where roofrack would go), kinked if thats the word. Really catches the eye and destroys the lines.

3) Passenger side door doesn't close well. As a matter of fact I don't know anyone who has got in it, that has closed it first time. Front doors need shutting

4) Radio reception poor. Glad I read the earlier postings I just thought I was going deaf.

5) Worst of all, and the main reason I'm going, somewhere the boot is leaking and filling up with water underneath the space save tyre. When I picked the car up I noticed some water and thought that it may have got there when the dealer prepared it. It quickly evaporated but it's apparent with the rain theres a definate leak somewhere.

6) I too was disappointed with the gear knob. Really cheaped out on the plastic top. Was expecting one like the brochure with metal insert. Plus isn't the hand brake lever supposed to be finished in leather.

However, I LOVE MY MG, and have absolutely no regrets.
The car is a dream to drive, theres some great lanes near where I live and the car handles really well. I opted for the red, which ties in very nicely with the reason I bought it, for fun. It hasn't disappointed on that score yet.

I'll let you know what I get fixed.



Egads - I have not ANY problems (touch wood) with my ZS120 but I am glad I paid extra for the leather gear knob and steering wheel.

Relating to my observation of the over sensitive throttle in the light operation mode, I have been back to my dealer, Trinity in Hinkley, and put the car on T4. (successor to Testbook) No faults recorded or seen and I had the pleasure of working through the various paramteres of the T4 system beyond the specific area of concern I had.

This is in fact the second session on T4, the first returned and 'Invalid Code' and the car refused to communicate with T4. Advice was sought from Longbride and the second session saw communication. After the first session the parameters of the engine management were disturbed and the throttle operation was more abrupt than before, but as the system is adaptive it had toned down in the short time before the second session.

After the second session, although there was only observation of the data and no atlteration of it, the operation was no altered. The point to make here is that being adaptive any changes immediately following a T4 session may take a couple of hundred miles to settle fully.

Roger Parker

This thread was discussed between 01/10/2001 and 21/10/2001

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

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