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MG MGF Technical - 1st mgf, advice kindly needed

Hi all, we just got our 1st mgf for my wife its a98 vvc,the interior and exterior are all in great condition for a 10 year old car but the brakes reind me of the flintsones.. and the acceleration for a 145bhp car I feel is very timid. I drive a bmw 330ci and and have until now only owned bmwz and alfas so I might be comung in from the wrong angle when I compare the MGs performance to these brands but I did expect a kick when I put my foot down and its simply next to nill compared even to an alfa 156 from the same year. Is this normal, or have we just bought a trashed engine ? I also find the ticking noise of the engine when cold a bit wierd.. Is that common ? My wife is very pleased with the car, Im just worried we got tricked.. Any advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a mill,ati : )

ps sorry about the spelling, been a long day... :)

hi all, again, I just read back a couple of threads and there is mention of a failed vvc mechanism.. our engine revs hmmm for lack of a better word "okay" but more sluggish than not until 5k and is so loud that I didnt have the heart to rev it out full.Could that have something to do with a failed vvc mec. and if yes what is the cure ? I live close to oxford is there a specialist close by in the area that anyone knows of ? thnx again..

ive got a mgf trophy 160 and the speed of them is nothing to write home about and they meant to be the fastest so im told
pd dixon

hi pd, thnx for the reply:) so youre saying that the sluggish acceleration is normal, her previous car was an alfa 156 1.6twin spark, driving it was dreamy and the acceleration rocket like compared to the MG, the brakes were wop to a bmws but a brick wall compared to the MG.. so all this is normal ??

Hi all, just to make sure that Im not trying to slag off the MG or offend anyone that isnt the case at all, I think its a great car, fantastic heritage an experience to drive which is why we bought one instead of a newer/older alfa spider, I am a bit reserved with the performance of in any case ours which kinda belittles the myth surrounding the brands sports heritage and is in all honesty very sad.. sorry for having said that and advice would still be very appreciated : )

The VVC engine pulls smooothly from surprisingly low revs but feels a bit limp wristed untill you get the engine into the 5000-7000 rev band thats why it has a low ratio final drive and as with most high performance small capacity engines you need to use the gearbox to get the best out of it. It,s unrealistic to expect a 1.8 litre engine to have the low-down torque of a 3.5 litre BMW engine (twice its size).
But worth checking that the vvc mechanism is working correctly tho. Cheers Alan
A.J. Mackew

Hi Allan, thanks for the advice, I was more comparing it to a 1.6 litre 12obhp, 12ookg alfa which is notoriously fast at high revs and like all other alfas that Ive had (75,33,164,156)very weak on the brakes : ) How would I go about detecting a faulty VVC mech ? Are there any typical tell tale signs ?
cheers, ati

my main concern having had ackowledged that the brakes are what they are.. is that for an engine thats supposed to rev 7250rpm its willingness to get there is more of a struggle than a purrr, again Im comparing to a 1.6 alfa, not a 3 litre bmw.. Were new in the UK and therefore Ive not yet found my "trusted mechanic" and are totally unexperienced in the world of MGs which is the reason for all y lame questions, sorry again if they sound dumb, Id just like to get more info from experienced MG owners to somehow try to make up for the lack of brand experience.
thnx, ati

It should be very easy to hit the rev limiter on a VVC - the torque curve is almost flat. The engine doesn't give a punch in the back like, for example, a VVT-i engine because the VVC system constantly varies rather than simply switching between two compromise camshafts. It's more a steady surge - the VVC really comes alive above 4-5000rpm but it will put very easily from idle. You really need to try another F (did you test drive any others to compare?). Rob Bell's website (search the archive) has details of how to check you have a real VVC rather than a 1.6 or a 1.8 pretending.

When was it last serviced? How many miles has it done? How old are the plugs (they go downhill long before the specified service interval of 60k miles)? How clean is the air filter?

I'm not into YouTube, but this clip will give you an idea of how it should "go" (this is a TF160 but the VVC F shouldn't be far behind). In particular, note that the revs fly right up to the redline very easily:

Brakes on the VVC F are OK but not fantastic. Lots in the archive about this, the TF160 and Trophy models have much larger (305mm) 4-pot AP Racing brakes on the front and are terrific. Check the usual - pad and disc condition, age and level of brake fluid, etc.

Slight ticking from the VVC mechanism isn't unusual from cold but it shouldn't be intrusive - try changing the oil.

T Jenner

Hi Ati,

maybe contact your nearest M.G. car club, the members there would know of reliable/knowledgeable mgf service centres I would imagine, Cheers Alan
A.J. Mackew

I have to agree with the above my VVC pulls well and screams up to the rev cut out at 7250. I use Mobil 1 which is changed at 10000km. My car has travelled 158000km. With regard to brakes they do feel under braked, I use grooved rotors and competition pads which chew the rotors but stop. I have purchased a set of 16" Trophy alloys and 4 pot AP calipers which I plan to use next year.
Andrew W Regens

Hi, you guys are great :) I really appreciate all the attention thanks again:)
Tim, Ive checked and it IS a VVC, clock says 88k but since we bought it from a mechanic that doesnt really mean much.. The bodywork, and interior are in almost new condition so the car was either very well looked after or everythings simply been salvaged from a newer model, I honestly dont know. If it was put together from an other one the job was done well is all I can deduct. Im taking it down to the local workshop to get the plugs,oil,brakes etc checked so Ill know more by the weekend, Id just like to know what to expect as I really would like to be told it needs a total rehaul...
About the pull above 4k revs.. Anything above 5-5.5k sounds like its gonna blow so I didnt dare try before the service, and no unfortunatley I did not have the opportunity to try other Fs,as the seller for the 1st one we would have liked never showed and the second one we looked at had a blown gasket, which the advertiser "forgot" to tell us so the third one which really does look the part, and drives well besides the concerns Ive listed, we bought.

thnx so much for the help, it really does mean a lot :)

A ten year old car is ready for it's second "big" service which includes cambelts. Costly but well worth the piece of mind.

The F was never a strong drag racer, because it weighs over a ton, but it can beat most things through the corners.

If you post up your current tyres, you will get some advice on how they could be bettered.

If you post up your town as well, you might find someone on here lives within travelling distance.


The 'bite' of the brakes can begin to sag with ageing of the rubber lines, I'm a firm fan of replacing these with braided lines as they're inexpensive & very effective. Also read Rob Bell's study on the servo mounting issue, it varies from car to car and it could be that yours would benefit from the aftermarket brace bracket.

Presuming 'ox' is Oxfordshire, you're not far from TechSpeed near Leamington, or DVA in Milton Keynes, both recognised authorities on the K-series engine so would be able to give you a definitive assessment of the engine performance/condition. It does sound that yours is being strangled by something, it should be at least a match for the Alfa although it won't ever have quite the same glorious sound in the higher rev ranges...

Have you assessed your brakes under 'laboratory' conditions or is it just an impression that they are not as good as the saloons (albeit quick saloons) that you are used to?

The very first Austin / Morris 1100s with hydrolastic suspension in the '60s were recalled because customers said the brakes were cr*p, the brakes weren't cr*p, they felt cr*p because there was an almost total absence of nose dive under braking. The suspension was tweaked under recall to give a bit of nose dive and everyone was happy apart from BL (or whatever they called themselves at that time) 'cos they had to pick up the tab. The F is a sporty vehicle with not a lot of ground clearance and probably nose dives less than you are used to hence giving the impression of cr*p braking performance.

I would suggest that you find yourself a bit of straight road with a good surface and no traffic and bring the F to an emergency stop from, say, 60mph and then do the same with one of the other cars, hitting the brakes at the same spot and noting where you stop. I think you might be surprised.

btw, if anything goes wrong during the tests don't blame me... :)


A H Price

This thread was discussed between 21/10/2008 and 26/10/2008

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