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MG MGF Technical - 2 starting problems any ideas?

OK guys, my F has recently started developing some odd starting problems, they're both intermittent and seem to have no particular reason any ideas would be appreciated
1) when having driven the car for a while, stopped for a bit (5-30 mins) when restarting the car, wait for the warning lights to go of, turn the ignition, and the engine won't start, almost as if there's no battery power, turns the engine for hardly anytime then nothing.
do it again and the engine starts fine.

2) usualy happens after you've started the engine after 1 but can happen at other times, press accelerator to move off, the revs drop off and the car almost stalls. take your foot off the accelerator and it's fine.
if you gun the engine it's ok again.

They don't happen that much, but when they do it's annoying.

Any ideas?


Your first problem sounds similar tomy starting problem i've had over 16 months without solving it
it looked promising last week when a mechanic said he will definitely fix it, he had the car, the problem occured, he said it doesn't make sense and lost interest very quickly.
Much more and i will use my golf clubs not just for hitting golf balls

I first thought 1 could be due to my new amp, but even with that switched off it still does it.
I thought it might be a fuel pump problem?

does presing the throttle x times reset the whole engine management system? if not can this be done?

Second prob first : assuming the MEMS on the F is very similar to the Monty, there is a switch activated by the accelerator pedal (which sort of puts MEMS into Accelerate mode). If this switch is u/s then it is prone to stalling. Switch can fail, or the mounting get bent, or a connector fall off...
The first prob sounds like a starter motor getting sticky when hot, maybe an intermittent fault in one of the windings. Do you have warranty, remind us what year and mileage?

I've had both problems with my '96 MPI.

My mechanic thought the first was due to the engine immobiliser kicking in and suggested I lock then unlock the car next time I thought it was _going_ to happen. So I tried this (being psychic and all) and still had the same problem: engine turns over once then nothing happens, or it cranks for a few seconds before firing up. It could be due to a slightly flat battery since the cooling fan is either on when I stop the car, or on when I restart the car, and this could be enough to drop the voltage sufficiently to fool the MEMS into immobilising the engine. Having said that it hasn't happened for several weeks now. Perhaps I'm just more aware of it and am keeping the revs high so the alternator is charging the battery more often.

The second problem has also recently occurred, usually within a couple minutes of starting the car. Engine doesn't stall but idles quite roughly. Blipping the throttle almost stalls the engine as the revs settle back down. But once you open it up it runs ok. This only started happening after a major service (oil, plugs, air filter, cooling system). I had similar symptoms on my 325i and it turned out to be a leak in the head gasket with water entering one of the cylinders.

I hate to say it but both signs could point to an iminent HGF...
Alister Louis

No idea on this starting troubles. Flat battery, may be, trouble with the oxygen sensor (Lambda sensor) as well ?

>does pressing the throttle x times reset the whole engine management system? if not can this be done?

Yes, can be done with ignition switched on and key the accelerator 5 times to reset the stepper motor.
Dieter Koennecke

>> >does pressing the throttle x times reset the whole engine management system

Only the stepper motor NOT the whole system ... u need access to Testbook for that.

I'm sure both of these have cropped up before in the archives ...

Gaz R


I had starting problems as well.

I did.

1) Change HT leads to 8.5mm magnacore ones.
2) Change spark plugs to NGK ones
3) Change the sensor (not sure which one, but Testbook would show it) Sensor was only 15 pounds or so.

This fixed the starting problem fully.

Good luck!

I know it can be a real pain in the ass. I had that when I was 600km away from home. Not funny. Got it started by pumping the gas = and the car was bunny hopping all over the place. And yes I know you are not supposed to touch the accelerator.

Hanah Kim

It's got to go in for it's 4 year service soon anyway, so i'll get them to sort it out.
good job it's got an extended warantee. :)
FYI it's a 98R 1.8MPi 30,000miles

Hi Kingsley

It sounds like you have the same problem to both Rob and me. For me it only seems to do it when the car is hot and restarted within a few minutes. If the car is allowed to cool, then it kick's off without a problem.

On yours, when you turn the key and the engine turns and then stops, have you tried leaving the key turned on (ie still trying to start the car)?? I can do this and then the engine startes a few seconds later.

Mine has only just started doing it over the last few weeks and someone on Le Weekend suggested that the battery might be on the way out.


Stefan Gibney

I don't think it's a good idea to load on starter motor by leaving it on stage 3 (ignition) for long time. Nor it is a good idea to pump the guess during ignition.

Stefan, you will be able to tell if it's the battery by turning the head lights on, then heater fans, then radio etc, to see if any of them gets dimer / slower, etc during the procedure.

It would be ideal to just change the battery asap then pushing the starter motor.

When my battery ran out, starter motor just went nuts on me. It goes 'tick tick tick' in a very very fast way.


Kingsley, have you done any of the mods that i have on mine?

Hanah Kim

The radio and the fans are switched off when the switch is turned to crank- strangely the lights are not.

Will Munns

none of your mods. This happens with everything turned off, the car's never liked starting with stereo, lights, and fans on.
maked me look daft when i stalled at a roundabout in town on a cold dark day.

sorry, having an identity crisis here
that last post meant to read



oh What I meant was on stage 2, not when you are cranking. If there is any chance while you play with electrics, then there is definately a problem with battery. Meaning it's low. I had that too. Just see how fans turn and lights dim through out the usage for let's say 30 seconds.


Mine never liked starting again after washing the car (short start short stop), and it hated starting again after stalling the car. And guess what I started learning manual on my F, and it helped me a lot on the heel starts and traffic lights. :-D Nice bus drivers and people. Never heard a honk. Probably because it's an MG! The problem gets worse and worse by the time goes. The sensor was a coolant sensor or something like that. I will have a look into it later as I got the last exam tomorrow

Honestly Kingsley, this will definately improve your car. It's something that only costs around 100 pounds in total, and will be useful in the future, and you will never ever have to put load on the starter motor. Or worry about starting it!

Hope this helps, and get them done during your next service.

Your 21 year old fellow friend,

(F'ing since 18 yrs old)
Hanah Kim

it's booked in tomorrow, so will see what they do

Kingsley - also 21 been F'ing since 21st birthday!

This thread was discussed between 23/06/2002 and 25/06/2002

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