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MG MGF Technical - Can I kick it? (yes you can!)

MGF = crap, that's all I think of after another fine experience on Friday when I picked up my brother's F.

It was at the dealer for several niggles, like rear mirror heating not working, frontlight going out when opening boot, gearknob loose but especially the bloody starting problem. The car doesn't wanna fire up at random. So during the whole week they did all tests, cleaned all connectors, doublechecked battery, testbook etc etc etc. THE CAR ALWAYS STARTED IMMEDIATELY! Aaaargh, so you're driving with an unreliable car, and no-one can help because it doesn't happen at dealer.

So pretty pissed off I took the car and guess what, it wouldn't start! Haha, so back to the reception, guys were hiding already under the desk, but had no choice of getting car in workplace to check out what is wrong. Technician was swearing at this car saying "Argh, this car never works ok, always something wrong with these". Battery looked ok from measurements, but sustained quite a big drain when trying to start. So finally they decided to replace the battery just to be 100% sure. And yes, now it fired up as many times as you wanted, with all correct readings. Old battery was 4 years old, of course made by Lucas, the prince of Darkness, so no big loss, just your wallet getting lighter. Technician who did works said "If I see you back tomorrow I'll go hide in the toilets"!

Now guess what happened 4 hrs later in front of the pub where my company gives free drinks on Friday eve...



(headlights worked all fine and shiny)

I tried 4 times, and I yelled really hard towards the car and hopla, 5th try & it fired up!
Brought it back to (closed) dealer, took my own car, went back day after (technican of day before came creeping out of toilet, head nodding and wondering if anything can be done to make us not come back to dealer next few months (huh huh, no I don't think so)
Tried it... it worked all the time!
Dealer is getting nuts of this, could be starter engine going loopy, somewhere excessive drain or immobiliser doing electronic stuff it shouldn't do. For moment all my poor brother should do is clean airfilter, go for a good trash at highway to clean inside of engine and add some cleaning fluid to fuel to clean injectors etc. (any comments on latter? Does it really help). Then replace starter engine (still under warranty, is already 2nd one) and if that doesn't help, MEM$ will be targeted. So bro took it now home, starts fine for the moment... fingers crossed, but stressed every time!

ps: now the dealer urged my brother aswell to get rid of it asap! (Come on bro, save yourself a lot of future headaches & invoices, order a new car, but not an MG anymore pls, or I'll come over and smash your brains out ;)


Stop fiddling with the car and get someone who knows what they are doing to deal with it.

>4 hrs later in front of the pub where my company gives free drinks on Friday eve...THE F***IN' PIECE OF CR*P WOULDN'T START!<

Just as well or I would have given you 6 months hard labour for drinking and driving!


Judge Dread

At least he wouldnt have had to hire a lawyer...

I presume your engine is otherwise mechanically sound. If you are absolutely sure (confirmed by tests) that there was a massive amperage draw (starters always draw huge amounts of current, by massive I mean more than specifications allow) check to your battery cables/ connections(esp ground cable) - they will get very warm if not hot to the touch. Instead of the electrical energy working to spin the starter it is being directly transformed in to heat energy. Check voltage drop across all connections/connectors that feed starter and that the starter itself is not contaminated with oil/crud. Check starter windings resistance. Does this by chance only happen when the engine compartement temps are high? If, however, there was no massive amperage draw check all connections that signal the starter to engage and spin. I have no wiring diagram to reference, but I presume that the starter signal originates from the ignition lock to the ignition switch to onboard computer to an alarm/imobilzer to the clutch neutral safety switch and finally to starter solenoid. Simply backtrace signal if possible to find your problem. I know intermittent problems are harder to diagnose by nature, but a no start condition is one of the easiest problem to remedy on a modern vehicle. Good luck.

I was talking to someone the other day who'd taken the head off an Astra....

He couldn't get it to start for love nor money...

Eventually, someone suggested that they tow start it. Vx/Opel engines (like K series) have hydraulic tappits. IF the oil drains out of them (in his case because the head had been off and the valves removed!), then the valves don't open. Hence the engine doesn't start...

The recommendation was that in tow starting it, eventually the tappits would refil and everything is back to normal. Aparantly the starter motor alone doesn't generate enough oil pressure to refil them from empty.

Maybe there's a problem with the oil supply/tappit mechanism so that its NOT an electrical problem at all??

Comments from people who've dismantled K-series engines invited....




I know you mean well and I would agree with what you say but Dirk is a lost cause! I am sure he knows where the door is and may even know where the engine is but trace an electrical circuit! No way.

Ted Newman


Whilst the oil in the tappits does make a difference in noise and possibly a thou or two in clearance the lack of it is not going to stop the valves from opening just make them clatter a bit.

Ted Newman


<clutch neutral safety switch>

Joaquin, this is something I've been harping on about for years. You may be surprised how many people are killed or injured in Europe by their cars being inadvertently started whilst in gear. Why manufacturers don't fit this cheap electrical interlock I don't know, I'd have thought it would be a selling point. It's hardly difficult, bikes and lawnmowers have had them for years.

Oh yes, batteries and starting. My 2d (2p or 2 cents) worth is that if the battery is thowing the engine over OK with the lights undimmed then all the power connections, and the battery itself, are fine. For an intermittent fault like this, when the engine's completely dead, I'd go for poor/loose/corroded electrical connection somewhere on the ignition or injector circuits. A devil to find however, and being intermittent a devil to prove that it's cured.

Good luck, Dirk, regards, Kes.

When the problem next appears, which I am sure it will try and bump start the car. For the purpose of this test the negative effects of a bump start and the cat are of a minor issue. If the power supply is a problem, be that a battery, lead resistance, starter draw or other problem that is apparent during cranking when the electrical supply is under most strain, then by simply bump starting you can indicate whether the problem is starter related as all battery power will be available for the engine management.

Do you know what the starter draw is (in amps during cranking) and what level does the system voltage drop to during cranking. Both are important pieces of information and can be gleaned by any normal Crypton, Sun or similar tuning device.

Roger Parker

I have to sympathise with Luc as it was starting problems that led me to this BB.
Again, I shared similarities with the car always starting when the garage had it or starting first time after it had been left alone for a few hours.
I think my starting problems were due to the Engine flooding instantenously due to a fault in the MEMS/wiring harness.
The garage eventually discovered on a Rover 200 VVC that if they wiggled the wiring near the camshaft position sensor or the crankshaft position sensor (I can't remember which) with the ignition on, then the injectors would fire and the same thing happened on mine. The car was sent back to MG where a new MEMS and wiring harness were fitted and it has started perfectly ever since (except when the battery started to die).
Jon Baker

I had this problem on another brand of car and it really pissed me off. All those trips to dealers to find nothing wrong when it was actually towed in.

Eventually when I was installing a stereo system I came across the wiring for the the alarm/immobilser. I was being nosy and started to investigate to see just what was being cut off.....the main two were the starter and fuel pump.

I rewired, removing the immobiliser from the curcuits. Guess what, never had a problem again.

The real point is that the alarm/immobilser has really tiny relays which come on/off. They can stick - like when you see a car with it's indicator on permanently.

Well whether it's indicators blinking or the electrical curcuit its still the same junk which if it jams will prevent you from starting!

Have a go at not setting the alarm/immobiliser (if possible) and see what happens.

Good luck


This thread was discussed between 30/10/2000 and 01/11/2000

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