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MG MGF Technical - Brakes ( again ! )

I am at the point of replacing the brake discs on my 1.8i and would like to know the routes forward in improving the discs and calipers.

One other question. Recently during all the wet weather a strange thing happens to the brake pedal. The stiffness increases dramatically and there is a strange gasping noise like a set of bellows. This only occurs when it rains so obviously water is affecting something but what I don't know. I will investigate this weekend but any ideas would be useful.


S Laithwaite

Rain can really only affect one area of the braking system :- the caliper and pads. Could the pads be sticking within the calipers rather than sliding ? If so, I would expect the brakes to bind - so does the car roll properly when you release the brakes ?
It's pretty easy to check over the front calipers and pads.

When I had problems with my brakes, the strange noises came from the seat and rear bulkhead as the driver strained to push the pedal very, very hard !

Does your car have ABS ?


Three main principles in improving braking performance:

1. Increasing the coefficient of friction of the pads
2. Increasing the leverage of the brakes
3. Increasing the disc/pad surface area.

Cheapest solution to improving your brakes is to change the pads to fast road types. These have a much higher coeffiicient of friction than standard pads - but usually only when they get some warmth in them. A good buy are the EBC green stuff pads (that also produce little in the way of brake dust) or better still are Mintex 1144s. Mintex sell even mightier pads (1177) that start to chew up brake discs - the unacceptable face of excellent pad performance...

Leverage - well this can be achieved by swapping the discs for larger diameter items, with spacers to move out the standard calipers. Look good, but the problem with using standard calipers is that the contact area is reduced as the caliper doesn't have the depth to envelop the edge of the disc with the much larger radii.

Better is to get matched calipers with larger dics. 4 pot calipers increase the available force to clamp the pads onto the discs, and the pad surface area can eb significantly increased. Certainly the best option! Also the most expensive by a long way :o(

Only really scratched the surface of brake mods here, but as with engine tuning, your budget and your requirements define the best options for you.

Oh, I haven't mentioned braided brake hoses (that'll improve feel) and the servo support bracket - see - a very worthwhile modification on any MGF more than a couple of years old.
Rob Bell

Thankyou very much. Rob I like the sound of the 4 pot calipers. Could you point me in the direction of a supplier and a rough idea of price to soften the blow.

Thanks. ( In a good mood today for a change )
S Laithwaite

4 pots about a grand ? IIRC

I noted the new TF 160 features the AP-Racing brakes and calipers (? same size at least), but with "MG" written on them.

Is it possible to fit these to a 1997 MPi with ABS, or would the ABS not be able to cope with improved brake power?
Andreas H


I upgraded mine 2 weeks ago with superb results. After posting a similar question on here I went with EBC Turbo grooved and spotted disks coupled with Greenstuff pads.

The results were phenomenal, the car now stops in half the distance, OK so I exaggerate slightly, but very impressive progressive braking, compared with the sponges which were my MGR standard.

In terms of cost Disks and Pads were 100 including VAT and delivery from and I got my local MG dealer in Basingstoke to fit them for 75, which was cheaper than having them replace with standard disks!

At the end of the day when it comes to it, its your cash, but in terms of brake for your money, I'm well impressed with my new set up.


D R Johnston

I had greenstuff pads on my VVC.
Doing emergency stops at N. Weald, noticed that my ABS no longer worked - and pedal pressures were very, very high (which caught my attention in your opening post).

Dealer said that I had non-standard tyres (Bridgestones) and non-standard pads (EBC Greenstuff).
The pads are still non-standard - but are now Mintex 1144 (EBC Greenstuff on rear), and the bridgestones remain.
But now the brakes work - nice low pedal pressures and the car really does stop.
The Mintex pads squeal at low pressure, but no way will I go back to greenstuff on the front.


I changed to roversport discs all round ( grooved and pited) mintex 1144 all round and braided hoses all round.
The difference was amazing, the car stops so much better you can belt up to a corner with confidence you can slow the car down before you get there.
the pads to squeek at slow speeds and there is a slight purring when breaking hard (from the grooves) but the performance is so good i could never go back

>>Could you point me in the direction of a supplier and a rough idea of price to soften the blow.<<

Stephen, I believe that Brown and Gammons are selling the MG big front brake conversion from the Trophy/ TF160? I think that David is in the right ball-park for the price.

I also gather that Mike Satur has been working on getting some big brakes and suitable calipers together - but I am not sure how far this project has progressed...
Rob Bell


I have EBC discs on the front and green stuff pads all round. I have the same problems as Steve of Farnborough
plus an irritating whirring sound from the disc and pads which is not uncommon with this set up.
I am sorry to say I do not rate them and don't belive the claims of less brake dust.
I am thinking of changing over to the new AP racing TF kit, has anyone costed this option yet?


Rob,you are right about the 4 pot calipers we have developed,check out.
Err, less than a grand;-)

Mike, did you ever get around to making an improved larger rear disc brake set? Something I believe we talked about many moons ago!?

Fitting the Trophy 4 pot setup would be nice, but a little too effective for the rear? Something that looked as good as that but perhaps not as good at braking!?

btw, wouldn't you be able to fix that by balancing the brake force to be more to the front than rear?


Steve Childs

This thread was discussed between 11/07/2002 and 16/07/2002

MG MGF Technical index

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