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MG MGF Technical - Best Shocks

Ok, I'm getting a loud sort of "POK" sound (sorry but it's the best I can describe the sound) from my front left wheel when going over bumps at more than about 5MPH. The car also bounces more.

This would suggest to me (as the hydragas all looks ok) I have a busted shock absorber (if any other possibilities please let me know).

So what I want to know (as I have no access to Techspeed) what are the best price / performance shocks to get.

Techspeed do AVO shocks as in competition Fs. These are also available at B&G and cost 240 quid for a set of four. Are these shocks widely available? Are they any good?

B&G also do Koni sports dampers at 380 quid for a set of four. Are these any good.

Some of you have Spax shocks, are these ajdustable and are they any good? anyone have any prices on these? I think Mike Satur sells Spax and Koni as far as I know.

Are other makes available that would suit the MGF? Has anyone tried them?

I would also like to know about the adjustment on these shocks, are they all similar and what sort of setting do they require for safe use. I expect the mechanic who fits them won't have any idea either.
Tony Smith

Techspeed sell non-adjustable Eibachs Tony. What are the best adjustables on the market though?No idea I am afraid. :o(

AVO and Spax are reasonably cheap- and one wonders whether this is reflected in their quality? Konis may be better. Bilsteins?

Could be that you'll be covering new ground Tony

Rob
Rob Bell

I just had a look over the internet and can't find a site for AVO. Only SPAX and Koni gave me part numbers for the MGF.

AVO -
Part No. Unknown
Price. 200 Quid (4) B&G

SPAX -
Part No. G2058 for both front and rear
Price. 220 Quid (4) MS

Koni -
Part No. 8041 1218 Front and 8041 1219 Rear Price. 380 Quid (4) B&G

I see from the pictures in the B&G catalogue that the AVOs have an adjuster on the side of the shock, I would imagine tuning these would be hard with them in place. The Konis adjust from above so no need to remove them to adjust them. I understand the SPAXs have similar adjustment to the Konis.

I still don't understand the price difference, the AVOs and SPAXs are between 200-220 quid a set of four, the Konis are 200 quid for a pair, twice the price. All of them can be stripped down and repaired as far as I can tell so I don't think the life is an issue here.
Tony Smith

Tony,

AVO do have a site www.avouk.com
They have recently moved and the site details are incorrect.
*F* model is TA1031
Cost 153GBP + VAT for a set of 4 direct from AVO.
AVO can be contacted on 01604 708101.

Gaz
Gaz

Tony,
check the archive. If I remember well, Carl from Sweden bought his Koni shocks in Holland and he gave prices ...
Isn't Koni a Dutch company ??
Fabrice
I had adjustable yellow Koni's on my previous car and was very pleased with them.
Fabrice

I think B&G include VAT on the price and MS don't, so that the SPAX are somewhere between the AVO and Koni in price. Maybe Scarlet can tell me about SPAX as I think she has them fitted.
Tony Smith

Ok, I can't justify the cost of Konis at the moment, so I just ordered a set of four AVO adjustable gas shocks from B&G (as it was easier and I know they can deliver quickly). I will get them fitted at my favorite tyre place.

Questions. I assume the avos are adjustable via the square adjuster on the side. Has anyone used these shocks who can tell me if the adjustment is possible without removing the unit from the car?

Can anyone tell me at what sort of firmness to set them at as I don't want to put too much stress on the mounts. My car has not been lowered and sits at around 355mm in height (on the hydragas only).

Sorry, but the last time I changed a shock absorber (or had anything to do with selection) was in 1979, it was a 1972 Vauxhall Viva. If I had the cash I would have gone for the Konis, for the ease of adjustment if nothing else, but are they realy good enough to warrent almost twice the price of the AVOs. I get the impression they are a quite respected make.

Funny how things always tend to bust when you can least afford to fix them :-(.
Tony Smith

Tony,

I have the AVOs but have not fitted them yet. The adjustment can be done on the car but you either have to remove the wheel or jack the car up and slide under.
Settings - someone on this BBS had them set to position 2 on the fronts and 3 on the rears.

Mike Satur recommends not going above 6 at all.

Gaz
(surprised u did not go straight to AVO - they are alot cheaper than B+G or Mike Satur)
Gaz

Be a bit cautious about fitting stiffer shocks to the F. It has been known to punch out the rear turrets.
There is a competition mod which MG Roversports may help you with. It involve welding and can be quite expensive.There is also a cross brace mod which stiffens the body but involves engine removal and costs around 2.5K.
Hugh Findlow

>surprised u did not go straight to AVO - they are alot cheaper than B+G or Mike Satur

Sorry brain gave up on me...Again. I was thinking more about the price of Konis and a job interview at the time and forgot all about your post..Doh!
Tony Smith

It's ok, I don't intend to have it too stiff because of this, I just want something that gives a little more control. So I don't think I will be putting much more strain on the suspension.

I also wanted to use something better than the standard Rover jobbies, unfortunately, as usual, the budget did not extend to "The Best" at the this time. I think the main difference in price between these shocks and the more expensive ones is down to them being adjustable from the top.

As for adjustment, as long as it can be done while they are fitted, that's all I care about.

>Mike Satur recommends not going above 6 at all.

By going above do you mean a lower number setting? I assume postiton 1 is the hardest position from this information. I think I better ask B&G.....
Tony Smith

Tony,

The lowest position is the softest as you go higher it gets harder ...

You can try it yourself. On the higher settings it becomes more difficult to manually extend and compress the damper.

Gaz
Gaz

Ok, according to B&G..

MGF Avo shocks, set fronts to setting 5 and rears to setting 7 or 8
Tony Smith

Had a word with MS and he reckons the B+G numbers are more or less OK. I'll probably start at 4 on the fronts and 6 on the rears and go from there.

Mike mentioned he had a car in at the moment for re-welding the mounts (owner had the settings at the top end of the range 15+ I think)

Gaz
Gaz

Well it looks like I'm going to have to fit them myself as I can't find anyone else to do it sooner than 7th Feb. Anyone have any instructions for fitting shocks on the F. I am finding the Rover manual a bit vague on this point.

I love the way the Rover manual has numbers all over the drawings with no reference to any of them :-).

So all I need now is for the weather to clear up so I can get on with the job. Does anyone know how important tightening the shock mounting nuts the specified torque is, short term anyway. I just need to get the front shocks changed so I can go out and start looking for yet another MG dealer. What use is a dealer who can't replace a set of shocks for over a week.
Tony Smith

There is also a cross brace mod which stiffens the body but involves engine removal and costs around 2.5K.

Join the Q for this one!!
mike

I think I will wait until someone finds the solution where we can weld the brace direct to air! I think the same person is researching into how to knit fog too!


Rog
Roger Parker

I will never understand why this kind of work cost so much?

Anyway, will try fitting the front shocks ones today as it is reasonably dry outside. I have no torque wrench so I am going to have to do it by feel. Maybe the existing fitting will give me a guide. As soon as the front is OK I will at least feel happy driving around to find a new Rover dealer.

Tony Smith

The brace mod is found on MGF Cup cars. I don't have any pictures (have you Dieter?), but involves a fair bit of fabrication in the relatively confined space of the engine bay: not a nice job. The cost probably reflects the length of the job, the complexity and the lack of desire to be enclosed in a box with ricocheting red hot weld splatter...

Rob
Rob Bell

If you had all this stuff done, it would be cheaper to buy a Ferrari in the first place :-).

I notice that B&G do strengthend subframes, do these require modification to the bodyshell? Are they strengtend to cope with harder shocks? How much are they?
Tony Smith

I suspect that the uprated B&G subframes came about through Malcolm Gammon's racing activities. They are fully seam welded, so stiffer than te OE spot welded items. I am not sure whether they car Cup Car standard (but wouldn't be surprised if they were)- as these come with addition triangulation braces to the hydragas mounts. Dieter has some pictures of a Cup car subframe in situ.

Bad news for up rating shock absorbers though- these mount directly to the body work, so fitting new subframes will be of no benefit in this regard.

Rob
Rob Bell

OK boyz,

The AVOs are on and ... whoa what a difference. The last time I felt a significant change to handling was changing tyres (NCT3 to F1). Along the way I have changed to the alternative tracking settings and had the rear poly bushes installed. However the modestly priced AVOs (180GBP plus 60GBP fitting) have made a welcome improvement (set at 4 for the fronts and 6 on the rears - I may up each by one later).

Over the last year I have noticed a general decline in the *F*s handling ability. Wallowing, skittish and a looseness (especially felt thru the steering) that wasn't there 2yrs ago. Changing tyres, tracking and tyres made very little difference (each however has helped in other areas tho). But the new shocks have done it. I can only summise that the stiffer bushes on the shock mounts coupled with the fact that they are harder have given my car a new lease of life (I was really getting fed up with it). My car is a 96 VVC and has racked up 55K miles.

I have one final task to sort out - fitting the poly bushes to the front. As always time and money are the deciders ...

Mike hurry up with that qwik shift mate !!!

Gaz
P15VVC
Gaz

I have to agree with Gaz about new shock give the car a extra lease of life.
Having lowered the car with knuckles without uprated shocks the car used to bump and bang over every bump and got to the stage where it was getting uncomfortably to drive especially with the car getting lower and lower due to the cold.
I decided to go to Techspeed and have there suspension kit with uprated shocks. I have not looked back the car is a joy to drive again and actually seams so much smoother other bumps.
The car is march 97 with 54000 miles and the old shock I must admit where on there last legs as all parts Techspeed replace they keep so you can see them.

Tom
Tom Randell

Not quite going to plan. My trolly jack failed on me and I can't get the car high enough for stands without it, that will teack me for buying cheap. So had to give up on the job for today.

I thought I'd double check the syptoms, so I tried to start the car, it turned once and I got 'tic tic tic tic'. Looks like the Battery has drained as well. So now I have a load of work on my car, the soonest I can get booked in is two weeks. On top of this, I either have a dead battery or something is draining it.

So if I get the car running I have to find someone to fit the shocks so I can drive to a dealer when I eventually get it booked in. Tomorrow, the duch answer to the AA will come round (I have this cover) and try to get my car started. I can then go and get another battery (to make sure I'm mobile) then find someone who can fit the shocks or will lend me their jack for 20 minutes. Then finally I get round to the service and other minor problems.

As always, if I could have been seen by my dealer in a reasonable time frame, (I informed them of related problems over two weeks ago by email) in this emergency situation it would not have come to this situation where my car cannot be used and I have to run around trying to sort it all out myself. Rover dealers seem to like to make MG ownership hard work.
Tony Smith

Ok, second attempt/failure. The jack was working I got it up on stands took off the wheel and tried to undo the top nut. Forget it for the following reasons

1. Nut will not budge (penetrating oil did not help).

2.Top of shock going round and round as I turn the nut.

3. The MGF uses metric nut sizes, the shock manufacturer does not. I have no imperial sockets so it did not help with one or two above.

The lower nut would go if I tried a bit harder but as I couldn't get the top one undone I did not bother. Maybe I try again tomorrow before I jack the car up, see if the penetrating oil has penetrated. I suppose I could just cut the bloody thing off as everything I need comes with the new shocks.

The shock is definately broken, you can see oily stuff around the top of the cylinder. The standard shocks do not look very good quality.

Anyway, I went to my local small garage who refused to do anything to the car because I would not be buying the parts from him (not that he could get the AVO shocks, anyway). I said, ok and told them it was very short sighted because I was local and would no doubt have put some business his way in the future. I left never to return.

All this trouble for a 15 minute job (with the right size sockets :-) for a skilled mechanic. If I was a small garage mechanic, it would be because I was an enthusiast, the chance to work on an MGF would almost be payment enough. Why do people get into the business if they have no enthusiasm for cars?
Tony Smith

Heres an interesting point ... I've always suffered with a little veering of the steering under breaking. Tracking usually sorted it out to a point it where it was very negligible. With the shocks changed I don't seem to have this problem at all ...

Gaz
Gaz

Wishing you all the success Tony- I hope you can get this job done sooner rather than later.

Interesting point about the damper- but as its just along for the ride, I guess quality ain't much of an issue!!!

Good luck

Rob
Rob Bell

AVOs can be adjusted on the fronts by turning the steering wheel full lock. Access is granted to the wheel pointing in the full lock direction. The rears can be adjusted thru the spokes of the wheels. On my VVC this is easy ... on multispokes probably not.

Gaz
Gaz

I have had Spax shocks at maximum stiffness (14 i think) on Scarlet for 3 years / 50,000 miles with no problems at all. One of my best buys IMO. Ride is a bit harsh, but, given the roads where i live, a harsh, low ride is preferable to a soft, bottoming out ride.

Also, Scarlet has slightly overpressurised Hydragas spheres - with the lowering knuckles, only about 20mm lower than standard. It is this fact that i attribute to the lack of suspension mount damage, ie: the majority of the suspension loads are still on the Hydragas mounts, rather than being transferred to the shocker mounts.

Lastly, the shocks are adjustable through the spokes of the wheels with a long, flat bladed screwdriver - easy peasy!!

SF
Scarlet Fever

>AVOs can be adjusted on the fronts by turning the steering wheel full lock.

Providing the dealer mounts them the right way round :-)
Tony Smith

This thread was discussed between 16/01/2001 and 05/02/2001

MG MGF Technical index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGF Technical BBS is active now.