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MG MGF Technical - Accident damage repair?

My daughters MGF has just come back from accident damage repair with large uneven gaps around the bonnet. The wing was also replaced and I think this has caused the problem as the position of the bonnet looks like the best compromise and couldn't possibly fit the space evenly. Anyone got any suggestions or had any experience of a similar problem.
Also the mechanic told her the wheels couldn't be changed around because they were unidirectional and can only run one way, is this true, I've never heard of them.
One more thing is the steering. If you slightly steer either way the wheel doesn't return to the centre by itself and the car moves to one side, is this normal with the MGF? The car is a 96 P reg.
I would be grateful for any ideas

It would sound like they haven't fitted the new wing correctly. There shouldn't be any uneven gaps.

Depending on the tyres, they could well be unidirectional: look for arrows on the sidewall indicating "this way only". I think Goodyear F1's are, I know Bridgestone S02/3's are - can't remember about Goodyear Eagles...

Also sounds like they didn't reset the tracking correctly. It'll need a full 4-wheel alignment - if you don't you risk handling problems and tyre wear. Also check they've left the ride height correct (standard = 368mm from centre of front wheel to arch above (though they may have not put the new wing on at the correct height either!!). Its about 400psi (check its the same on both sides.

Good luck


John, I'll let other more experienced people discuss accident damage as I luckilly haven't had one for over 25 years.

Some tyres are directional but not wheels (unless they have a spoke pattern that looks stupid spinning the wrong way).

I think you're right about the wing, they've been fobbing her off with 'all MG's are like that'.
Do I measure the ride height from the centre of the wheel to the top of the wheel arch or the bottom edge?
I'm not sure what you mean by 400psi.
Sorry to be a pain but I'm new to modern cars, much more used to old Maestros, bit of a culture shock all this

I'd take it back to the repair shop and get them to sort it out and refuse to pay or sign the insurance claim form. Panel fit should be uniform, either by adjusting the wing or hinges on the bonnet. It sounds as though you had a front end accident so, as Neil says, it will need a 4 wheel alignment, as it will have been knocked out of true, thus the wheel not to centre and causing the steering to wander to one side, usually caused by the tracking being out .
Goodyear F1's and SO2 tyres are directional. You can't change the wheels around only the tyres. Near side front to near side rear wheel is okay but near side to off side you can't unless you first remove the the tyre.

Don't take it, I had the same "just take a look at the MG's in the car park" story,
a bad job is a bad job, done at the factory or done in a bodyshop. After complaining a lot they put right the work, call the insurance co. and they will probebly tell you that the bodyshop gets first stab at any repairs.
Take it to a recomended bodyshop for a quote - get them to take their time,
Look for any buff marks where the pain has been buffed down to primer.
Look for where the paint meets the edge of the panels, there should be no noticeable lip in the paint.
All gaps should be even (basic fitment)
As the car is BRG(you didn't say) the metalic paint will have been feathered into adjcent panels, so check around panels which weren't dammaged as well.

Tyres can be unidirectional, but they are more lightly to be marked as 'this side out' the outer side having a stronger sidewall, this will mean that if you have inner tyre wear then you could swap the left tyre for the right, but the wear will still be in the middle!

Remember that the repair shold be as good as new- you shouldn't be able to tell it's happened.

The garage may have broken the indicators(easy and common) and glued them back together - change the indicaror bulbs to check they arn't dammaged (be careful not to dammage them youself - Read the *F* manual) take them back if they are dammaged.
If the garage fails to repair the job to your satisfaction then take it elsewhere (after checking with the insurance) - I didn't I gave up and paid for the dammaged windscreen, the new indicators, the door linings etc.

Will Munns

Ride height should be centre of wheel to the bottom of the arch, vertically above it. Go to the metal, not the plastic wheel arch lining (when you look at it, you'll understand what I mean!).

The hydragas system is pressurised (wasn't the Maestro like in the Maxi, and have hydragas too?). There's usually a pressure guage on the pump. The typical reading to get the correct height (as above) is about 400psi, though really, as you don't know the calibration accuracy of the gauge, the only thing you can do is to compare the reading on the two circuits - left front is linked to right rear and likewise for the other pair.

Make sure the car has stood for > 1 hour, and roll it back and forwards a couple of feet to ensure that you're getting a correct height reading (reading is temperature dependant - 17C is the "standard" temperature, I think its 0.4mm/degree correction that should be applied if the temp is different.

Most seem to set to 360mm height, which is on the lower side of the acceptable range.

THEN get the tracking checked, as this is dependant on the suspension height.

Hopefully, this has made it clearer!


PS you might want to check out:

(I'm sure its somewhere on Rob's new site, but I can't find it just now!!!)

They can do the job properly if they want to.

I had a new wing fitted a couple of years ago and it was an accident claim job but the body shop manager would not let me have the car back until he was satisfied that the car was correctly repaired and as a consequence when I did collect the car I could not tell the difference from before the accident.

Remember the old saying 'it is poor mechanic that blames his tools'.

Take it back and DEMAND they do the job properly.

Ted Newman

Thanks everyone for the advice on bodywork. It was a front end smash with all the damage on the passenger side, the driver side was OK. We will be in touch with the insurance and the repairers again.
As for the steering it doesn't actually drift to one side or the other but stays slightly to whichever side you last steered to and it's the same on both sides, I normally expect the wheel to centralize itself after steering. If you are driving in a straight line it will stay there without drifting anywhere.

Will the car is red and the paint job is good it's just the uneven gaps all round that we're not happy about.

>>(I'm sure its somewhere on Rob's new site, but I can't find it just now!!!) <<

Cheers Neil - now located at

(or simply go to and from the main menu, go to the technical menu and select suspension)
Rob Bell

>the car is red and the paint job is good
Well thats good, the wing panels bolt on, as does the bonnet and the bumper, so with a little fiddleing that shold be able to straighten them (on mine the pannels are now perfect)
Will Munns


Can you give anymore details, as to where bolts are etc. Some are obvious, others aren't.

My drivers side front panel, is just slightly offset, could do with being pushed in a bit.
paul weatherill

Paul I didn't do the moving of the wing myself, I was told by the garage it was bolt on (and some are obious under the bonnet) The bumper one I can tell you about because I have fiddled here myself.

Will Munns

When I had an accident a few months ago, B&G said that the F was an easy car to set up the panel alignment on - they gave me the impression that it was just a question of playing around with the points at which the panels bolt. I had to get the work done at a Rover garage (Mantles) and it was all done fine.

Sorry for lack of technical detail in the above, but I'm sure the job can be done perfectly.

Oh, and ask to see the printount from the wheel alignment they did! The standard Rover alignment parameters are fine if set up correctly (B&G did mine), but it seems that many on this BBS prefer different settings - perhaps these settings are more 'robust' or something - I don't know.
David Bainbridge


My 'F' exhibits similar steering characteristics. I put it down to the size of the tyres! If when the steering wheel is centred the car's going straight ahead, it's a good sign. If you take your hands off the wheel and it continues to go straight, fantastic.


My advice is to contact your insurers and tell them you want an engineers report on the quality of the work done, list all the faults/driving problems you are having also tell them not to authorise payment until the work is satisfactory,give them a time limit as well.HTH

This thread was discussed on 18/06/2002

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