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MG MGF Technical - Clutch pedal problem

During recent spell of very cold weather, just before New Year, experienced problems with clutch pedal - when first starting up (cold), pressed pedal to floor and it stuck. After a few mins and a bit of gentle working it springs back up but sticks again when depressed. Repeated a few times and eventually it eased off enough to drive, coming back to normal after a while.

Car sits overnight two or three times - extremely cold and icy/frosty - and problem recurred three consecutive days, easing off each time.

Eventually gave up (used second car instead) and left it for a few days, hoping milder weather would solve problem.

Now that milder weather here, when I depress clutch it feels VERY light (previously felt gentle resistance when pressing) and drops to the floor once it passes half way. Will not spring up at all. Can lift it back toward steering wheel and when it gets near the top it then springs into its normal position.

Any help to diagnose and cure problem gratefully received!

Hi David,

sounds as though it could be a clutch release problem? The MGF's clutch is hydraulic with a spring in the master cylinder to return the master cylinder to return to it's normal, resting and "engaged" position. Thus, with the pressure in the system released, the clutch diaphragm 'fingers' returns the friction surfaces back into opposition for re-engagement.

So where could your problem lie? I guess anywhere between the clutch master cylinder to the clutch release fork or bearing...

I don't think that this is an especially common problem, but I have heard of a case (!) of problems with the clutch release arm/bearing - so perhaps this is the place to start checking??? Sorry I can't be any more helpful than that - but do keep us informed as and when the problem is identified.
Rob Bell

David.I have been getting the same problem, Happened two or three times recently. not as much as yours but my clutch did feel very heavy and when i first started the car i could dip the clutch, take my foot off the pedal and it would take a second or so to return to the normal possition. i put this down to the temperature being below zero and the hydraulic fluid or rubber seals etc being cold,it hasnt been that cold in the morning recently and the problem seems to have gone..... who knows but i'd say its definately a temperature thing.


Yes, happened last week on our 1.8i too. A trawl through the archives revealed that it's not that rare. The problem is usually where the clutch release arm goes through the bellhousing casing. It's just a plain bearing and it seems to suffer a lot of road muck plus high temp variations. I took off the engine cover and liberally doused the release arm (or the bit I could see) with WD40 for about 5 minutes as SWMBO depressed and released the pedal continuously. Seems to have fixed the problem for now, but have started enquiring into cost of lightened flywheel and close ratio gearset ;-)
David S


I had the same problem recently. I found when I pressed the clutch down is was becoming very stiff and released in its own time. When I came to try to sort out the problem a few days later I couldn't even get the car in gear. I had read that its a common problem but I ended up asking a local garage to have a look because I couldn't move the car to get under it. The garages first impression was I needed a new clutch, Łouch, however a few hours later it was returned in full working condition and only cost an hours labour.

The problem is a rod which opperates the clutch in the gear box (as I underatand it, sorry i'm not the most technical guy, as it enters the gear box it is prone to rusting and seizing up over time, if you can get to it and grease it up and make sure its moving then it may resolve the problem.

Obviously it may not be the same problem as mine but its worth a look. The rod is deep within the engine and best accessed from underneath. There are quite a few archive details that are worth a look that explain posible other solutions.


D Parr

Snap! I had the very same problem with my 1.8i a couple of months ago, highlighted down the page on this very forum. Ample use of WD and oil solved it. However the same problem returned with a vengence last week, the usual(pedal stuck to the floor, got better when warmed up) but this time it was causing clutch slip. This morning I braved the icy winds and with my trusty sockets and tins of lube set about dealing with the thing. Only this time SNAP! whilst giving the clutch pedal a mid-lube pump the thing seemed to err break. Now I am in the same position as David at the top of the page, a rather floppy pedal with no resistance once it reaches half way it drops depressingly to the carpet. I'm not going to muck about anymore the main dealer is picking it up this afternoon, my relationship with my 1.8i is at an all time low, what with the head gasket affair and now this. When I get the bill it could end in divorce!
S Callaway

Thanks to all for advice so far, will set about having a squint at it over the weekend and report back on Monday.
Fingers crossed!

Update - had a potter around at the weekend, though could see bugger all to be honest!
Further advice from an expert pal agreed with master cylinder suggestion above, and also suggested gently applying heat (hairdryer!) to see if expansion freed up the clutch. A good hour out in the p*ssing rain, no further forward.

Next step is to get it up on a ramp and get a good look underneath - though have been warned we may need to drop the gearbox (?) to repair/replace the rod/bearing in question.

Apparently this is a big job, and could cost a right few quid. Does this sound reasonable??

Also, suggested fitting a new clutch while we're at it. Again, does that make sense??

David from Livingston

I just got a phone call asking how my clutch was. A case of confusion - as my name is David Livingstone!

It turns out that Tech-Speed have seen a couple of these problems recently. Now I'm no mechanic and can never remember all the correct terms, but the gist of the problem they have seen is that dust from the clutch plates is clogging up the bearing. So the difficulty is that the problem is coming from the inside rather than, say, road dirt from the outside. I'm told that it is difficult to clean up from the outside and requires everything to be dismantled :-(


Dave Livingstone

Dave - ROFL - I too thought it was you when I first saw the thread - and it wasn't until I re-read the address line did the penny drop!

David, sounds expensive :o(

Does a similar problem beset R65 gearboxes does anyone know? (Roy?)
Rob Bell

Well, there's been plenty of PG1 boxes in all the Maestros and Montegos and they are not afflicted thus. I'm not sure I subscribe to the clutch dust theory - as I previously posted, lots of WD40 on the outside , where the rod goes into the bellhousing, has fixed ours for now - still OK (touch wood).
David S

I logged on this afternoon to ask about the exact same problem. The clutch sticks down when weather is very cold, comes up again when car is warm. Now I have read all of these comments I am ringing my garage as I still have nine months warranty. While i am on I wonder if anybody knows if and where I can get a complete cover for my little F as I am off skiing for a fortnight and want to put her to bed. I do have a cover for the roof but it doesn,t stay on properly so wish to cover her totally as the neighbours cat likes to live on my f,s roof. NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS.


I have had this problem before and WD40 then a spot of oil has cured it.
You need to remove the engine cover (no use putting it up on a ramp) and look down on the left hand side of the engine with an assistant pressing the clutch pedal up & down, you will see the slave cylinder and a rod that should move. Spray plenty of WD40 where the lever pivots and it should free up, once moving better, put some 3in1 or engine oil on it as the WD40 will evaporate off after a while.


Alastair McLeod

Are you talking about front or back engine cover (I assume front as we're talking about the pedals here?)

I've had the front cover off but could see nothing moving when pedal moved up and down (by devoted wife!)

Exactly where is the cylinder in question?
Is it roughly at the same height as where the brake lever is but over at the left hand side near wing, or is it lower down at wheel/arch height? (Don't want to spray the wrong thing!)

As you'll gather I'm no expert at this!


I recently fitted a new clutch and had no problems at all with it until I drove thru a flood plain. The very next morning after a freezing cold night I had the same problem and more or less still do.

So I presume that water has managed to ingress the hydraulic actuator and washed away the lubrication that was put on the arm / bearing. Interestingly when replacing the old clutch the clutch housing was fairly well contaminated with dust as expected and the bearing and arm were stiff to actuate by hand but not the pedal.

Of greater concern with this problem is the effect on the release bearing. A poorly operating clutch couldn't be good for this.

No doubt the WD40 will be out this afternoon along with some 3 in 1.
S Laithwaite

David, we're talking about the main engine cover under the parcel shelf behind the seats. Once you've flipped the hood forward and yanked out the carpet and undone the ten (or is it twelve) screws to remove the metal cover, if you work from the lefthand (passenger) side you can see the slave cylinder and it's actuating rod, the cranked lever, and the outer end of the thick rod that goes into the bellhousing and works the release lever. Initially when my wife worked the clutch pedal the resistance from the clutch was enough to make the slave's mounting bracket bend under reaction! After about 10 minutes of constant WD40 spray and working the clutch pedal it eventually freed off enough to be almost back to normal. HTH
David S

Well got mine back from the main dealers today. Paid main dealer prices but I was told that the clutch master cylinder had "blown" thus causing the failure and worse still because it had only been partly engaging the clutch, it was akin to driving around with the thing partly depressed, a bit like me, I was told this is because "crap" gets into the cylinder and causes the piston to slowly cease up. Its time to design some sort of weatherproof covering for this little &*&~@~ something heat resitant and flexible that stops the "crap" getting in, any ideas!!!
S Callaway

This thread was discussed between 08/01/2004 and 16/01/2004

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