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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - ZR Rattles

I feel so much better now there are clearly more problems with the mini than the ZR160 ! Since the cooper was dare I say the second choice...

The main annoying little problems I have had with the ZR are similar to Rob, Yorkshire. The passinger side sill extension came away and was rebonded and there where several poor quality painted areas on the front and rear bumpers, which is down to poor inspection at MGR. The outstanding problems are rattles, one is from the gear knob vibrating against the plastic insert at the top of the cover. The other is from the rear. Mainly when I have a passinger in the back seats there is an annoying loud rattle. I think Rob had a similar problem ?

I am also considering installing a Kenwood CD Changer, would this originally be fitting in the boot and if so where and where are the wires best run ?

<<Mainly when I have a passenger in the back seats there is an annoying loud rattle>>

Hmmm. Was the passenger in the back seat your mother-in-law??
Paul Daykin

My 200 BRM started rattling at the rear,it turned out to be the rubber stops each side of the tailgate which were not contacting the the bodywork causing the tailgate to wobble from side to side,it was making a terrible din!.Easy to sort,just turn them clockwise until they make contact with the body when you shut the tailgate.Pretty crap build quality though for a car that cost 18000 new!,no wonder they could'nt shift them.Great car though,hope you enjoy your ZR,you made the right choice.
Kevin Davis

The interesting thing about the side sills is last week MGR sent a letter out about a fixing kit to fasten the things on and a revised adhesive pen to bond the edges down.

Another top tip for the radios sell a steering wheel remote for the radio for 19 pounds.

by the way passingers teeth may be a source of rattling with the ZR160

Nigel, i found my rattles were just as Kevin mentions - the rubber stops were adjusted and voila!
The leather still creaks on the rear seats but i can live with this.

I fitted an alpine radio/ cass and changer, with the changer Rover sell a bracket which fits under the n/s speaker in the boot, fitting into holes already there. This fits perfectly and looks very neat and is out of the way if you have anything in the boot.

Today i had my car in the dealers to have my battery lead modified as the positive would not tighten on the terminal. While the car was in i spoke to a mechanic and he told me about a procedure they can do on their testbook. He seemed to know what he was talking about so convinsed me - in five minutes my car had been re-configured and is nowrunning in "police mode".
Coming home i'm convinsed it pulls better lower in the rev range, and i'm hoping its released a bit more power too


I have a ZR 120. There is a noise from the gearknob, but I think it is a rattle caused by the exhaust or heatshield vibrating - anybody else noticed this??

My rear bumper skirt needed rebonding after only a week.

Otherwise, although a "little slower" than my Maestro turbo which I have decided to keep for extra thrills, I am very pleased with my choice of opting for the MG. A thought echoed by most of my friends who prefer VW's!
Ian R

The vibration I get from the gear knob is a result of the plastic clip on the end of the gear stick leather cover vibrating with the neck of the gear knob when idling. Pushing the cover down a little cures it for a while. I did get some noise rasping vibration from the rear of the car after a week, this was particularly noise when starting from cold. It turned out to be the exhaust heat shield touching the body work.

Picked up ZR TD.
No rattles as yet.
Side skirts are attached by a braket to the wheel arch inners on both ends, as well as bonded.

Running in at min but the turbo pulls it from 1500rpm upwards so Ive still got loads of power.

My wifes ZR has developed a rattle which seems to be coming from somewhere near the radio (which the dealer fitted).
Can't be more specific at present but a trip to the dealers is in order.


I seem to have the same rattle - seemingly deep within the dash, behind the (dealer fit) radio. Did your dealer sort it?

David Coulthard

rob, yorkshire

What do you mean by police mode and can it be done on my zr160. OH and is it free

Paul Jackson

Paul, yes the mod can be done to your car, mines a 160 as well. It does make some difference lower down the rev range. The power now comes in at just over 2000rpm (rolling road report to confirm) wheras before it came in at 4000rpm ish.
The mode is a 5 minute job, testbook plugged into lead under dash. If your local dealer is ok then he shouldn't charge, some dealers have been told to do this if the customer complains of poor performance.

Nigel, if you feel the gearlever shaft you should notice a slight ridge under the gaitor, this seems to be a stop of some type. Pull this higher up the shaft so the plastic on the gaitor sits up to the gearknob to stop it rattling when its loose, if you see what i mean


hi all, i hava zr160, all my skirt r on very well HOPEFULLY.BUT iv had headlight bulbs changed. air con changed. alsorts but i luv my mg. does any1 no can u get this car tuned up easyly??? eg a chip? this police mode suds intresing, how much different does it make?

Thanks for the tip Rob. The ridge under the gear stick gaiter is a 'tie wrap'. I managed to move it higher so the plastic insert on the gaiter is now firmly against the gear stick knob.

The latest little sound is a creaking seat anyone come across this yet !

I still have not managed to get the CD brackets yet !! Even with the part number.!

is it the leather creaking or the seat itself?
got my rattles back again - rear of the car somewhere.
has your dealer ordered the brackets for you?


Yep the dealer has order the parts but the part number is not on the spare part system, so they have to 'force the number through'...

Anyway I am going to the dealers tomorrow to have the cylinder head looked at and the see if they will switch the car over to police mode. I suspect that the demo car that I drove before I ordered mine may have been running in police mode because the pick in first gear was much better than mine.

The seat creaking may be a combination of highspeed cornering and my 13 stone weight !!!!


Listen Guys
Why don't you fit some Strut braces? I did on one of my fast Fords, it handled a bit better but also most of the rattles died as well.

Yo Mega, so glad you wern't banished to Hades.
I was going to write something acidic and witty, but decided not too.

I hate to admit this but you certainly add flavour to this board. I would really love it though if you were to buy a ZS180.
I'm sure if you did and fitted a pair of Recaro's (my friend is a senior manager at the UK factory - get you them cheap) then you might start a trend. Well in Liverpool at least.

Did you watch this weeks episode of Driven. Why wasn't the ZS180 included in the hot hatch test. I am not sure if it would of beaten the Honda (though I think it might of handled better, but it would of pissed on the Toyota and the Renault Clio.



Sorry Mega, with regard to my last post, just realised that my friend no longer works for Recaro - he moved to VDO. So if you want an instrument panel and clocks.

You can still buy an ZS180 anyway.

Hi Pro
Hows the Metro? and the wife;)
Did those copys of Autocar Help?

Your in a good mood this morning! I am just making a list of what to replace the 306 with. I wish that Recaro replacement was possable but if you do you loss the air bags and insurance get upset.

Never mind, there is the ST170 (18,000 for a Focus- bloody hell!)the type R the Mini-Cooper-s (Long wait, will it work with out faults)Skoda RS turbo (Very good car/ bad badge).
I will keep you posted.

Hi Guys 'n' Gals (not that I've spotted many Gals).

I'm about to take delivery of a new ZR+120 on Wednesday 20th Feb (hopefully).

Been reading this messageboard. Seems some very knowledgeable ZR drivers out there willing to pass their fixes and info on.

Got a couple of questions if I may, as a complete beginner to all this?

(1) Due to time constraints, I was forced to buy a ZR which my local dealer (SGL in Preston) had on site as couldn't wait for factory-built. The ZR I eventually chose (from the half dozen or so in stock) did not have side sill finishers and I kind of think they are cool. Is it poss to order these somewhere and fit DIY bearing in mind my CDT skills at school were laughable? SGL suggest that if they are not ordered with the factory built car their cost goes up dramatically and they get somebody in to fit them at their place thereby increasing cost too.

(2) Is this 'police' mode available on my ZR 120 and if so, would I benefit anything from having it done? Nigel - which dealer have you experience in Preston and did you have any luck?

Cheers Guys 'n' Gals

had my ZR in again for the rattles at the rear end, spoke to the mechanic when i collected later, "i couldn't find the rattles but does'nt your car creak a lot" he said.......:-(

didn't even bother to try to cure the creaks

Hi Rob
Listen, had the same trouble with a Nova. Get some strut braces front and rear and this will do lots for your problems.

Hi Mega - been looking for strut braces for a while, seen them advertised for thr R200/400 (upto 96my) but not for the later models

There must be someone making them Rob
Are u up to speed on the MGR thing. It seems MGR are about to have a punch up with the workforce!

yeah a punch up is what it needs, mgr keeping afloat just and the workforce are ready to strike - cutting their own throats aren't they.
Dont they realise if the factory shuts down they'll have no steady income for their familys, they seem to earn more than a lot of people (especially me), get regular pay rises (i haven't had one for 3 years) and still they aren't satisfied.
the greedy ones will put everyone out of work, then what?

This thread was discussed between 11/01/2002 and 24/02/2002

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

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