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MG MGF Technical - Buying a MGF 1.8

Hi, hope ok to ask:
I am considering buying a high mileage MGF 1.8 year 1996. Driven 110000 miles. Done some research re: engine cooling issues and suspension. Is there anything else apart from the things like service history, camshaft belts change and clutch to consider.

Any response would be much appreciated
/Moss from Denmark(no connection to Moss Europe what so ever)

Hi Moss,
I have a 1998 model 1.8, owned from new it has 190 000 kms on the clock. Driven constantly long distances of 100 kms or more per day from 1998 till retirement in 2011 due to buying another car. I live rural near Sydney Australia so it is very hot in summer and air con used extensively and car driven long distances.
Things I have fixed or upgraded in my car:
changed shocks to adjustable konis as the originals were the worst.
Changed seatbelts due to recall.
2 blown headgaskets - 60 000kms and 110 000kms. Would have helped if the mechanics fixed it right the first time. Been perfect ever since - no problems...
Serviced at regular intervals of 20 000kms with belt changes and adjustments if necessary.
Tyres need to be regulated if staggered sizes. The rear has no camber adjustment and the tyres wear out on the inside edges if not changed over and air monitored. The rear tyres are wider than the front.
Upgraded spark plugs and spark plug leads at 100 000 kms with belt changes if not already done.
Keep suspension level. I have the original hydrolastic suspension and have only ever readjusted it twice in 16 years - just lucky I guess (touch wood) BUT I do check the height every couple of months & it never seems to need doing. A cheap hydrolastic suspension hand pump off ebay is a must and just buy the hydrolastic liquid off your local Mini supplier - too easy!
leather seats got worn on drivers side and had to be retrimmed.
The steering wheel does not adjust up or down.
The plastic 'wood' molding on the dash slid off and faded due to summer heat. Moldings taken off and 'aquadipped' as per similar process to Mercedes Benz interiors.
The oval bit of the dash near the cowl has cracked.
New master and slave cylinder replacement.
The headlights were 're-metallised' due to the 'milky' look and very hard to see at night. No reflection.
EPA steering needed to be adjusted and reset electronically due to car wondering for no apparent reason - EPA fail.
Need to keep an eye on the coolant water level so you do not get head gasket failure and change if necessary. A coolant level sensor kit is a must but always check and don't rely on the sensor. Also make sure all fans and sensors are working to cool the car down. Also change the coolant level cap so the coolant bottle keeps pressurized.
I also re-bleed and upgraded the brakes and changed the disc and pads when it was due. The MGF stops on a dime now better than when I First got it.
Please note - Only likes 98 unleaded premium petrol! The car should have the '98 unleaded premium only' warning label pop-rivetted on the flap of the petrol filler cap. (Maybe that's an Australian thing only, who knows?)
No body, electrical, hood, air con, cabin heating or hard top problems as yet.
WORST THING IS - NO cup holderS! This job is for your passenger...
BEST THING - INSTANT PIZZA WARMER! Keeps pizzas warm and hot if placed in the boot for the long journey to get home. Also boot has been used to make yeast rise quickly in winter. Perfect temperature. Just place yeast dough in boot and go for a little drive and 'wella' ready for baking...
The MGF is a chameleon and has many talents and uses. It is not just a CAR!
Other than that, Just little things really that you need to consider over time. Also please consider your environment where you live as my car loves the cold but hates the heat. Its like anything, if its maintained it goes forever. The MGF is an easy car to fix if you are mechanically minded and like to tinker. If you like cars you do not have to worry about, an older MGF may not be the car for you. Maybe consider a later model mgtf that came out with less issues and different suspension and also in automatic option...
Other than that MGF are a fun little car to drive. They handle like a go cart and they do go hard...
Maybe the UK guys can add their experiences to this for your consideration...cheers and enjoy!
Sue Wilson

A good synopsis Sue leaving me with little to add. My onlt real concern is the lack of replacement hydralastic spheres for the suspension. The Suplex spring units are expensive and appear not to have a good reputation with many who have changed to them. Maybe replacing the nitrogen in the spheres is the way to go if I can find someone able to do it.
Anyway good luck Moss; if you do buy one your motoring life will not be boring!
T S Day

Sue has just about covered it all, but is one of the lucky ones to still have reliable hydragas units. Mine started to fail after about 100,000km and needed pumping up more and more frequently. I had heard about the Suplex units being developed at that time and ordered a set from the UK to be supplied when they became available. The availability date kept getting set back, so I finally cancelled the order and installed similar units made by MG Centre, Sydney. These have been on the car now for about 30,000km and are superb. Most of my driving is for pleasure through mountainous terrain on the New South Waled - Queensland border and the car handles perfectly. If you buy an MGF and ever need to ditch the Hydragas units, consider the Aussie made replacements - they are worth it.
Pete Cornell

This thread was discussed between 18/06/2014 and 23/10/2014

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