Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.



MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG MGF Technical - Difficult to start

My 2000 VVc sometimes refuses to start. Usually it's in the morning, It fires and immediately dies, following which it eventually starts but very roughly (as if its running on 3 cylinders), accompanied by loads of grey smoke and smell of petrol. Other times it's fine. It's done this since new and the dealer has fitted new plugs. Any ideas (and will it have done the cat in).


Has it proved any more problematic due to weather conditions? ie. does it have more problems when it's been left in the rain? This is a bit of a known issue though normally on MK1 VVC's.
Paul Lathwell


Normally it's when it's not been driven for a few days, but, as last week, it wasn't raining. It's usually parked on the drive which has a slight incline (Front end of car up). Normally it starts, you back off the drive, it stalls (in the middle of the road), that's when it's a pig to start again. What was the problem with the MK1's (I had one of those and it started every time).


HT leads have been a common problem on the VVC's or at least on the earlier ones.

Tom Randell

This does sound to me like an ignition system fault. As you are still covered by the manufacturer's waranty, it is worth going back to your dealership to get this sorted. Could be anything from the coils, to the spark plugs (correct gap?). But an arcing HT lead certainly has been one of the commoner causes of starting problems in VVCs over the years, Keith, as Paul and Tom say above.
Rob Bell

Thanks guy's, I'll check the HT lead first.

My VVC doesn't stall but it you crank it over and release the starter before it has actually started. Then when you try and turn it over again it really takes an age before it fires up, as if it has flooded.
Is this just a feature of the engine management?


Mine used to do that Andy.

Changed coolant sensor / new HT leads 8.5mm magnicore / and new spark plugs solved all my starting problems.

It's turn and go.
Hanah Kim

>My VVC doesn't stall but it you crank it over and release the starter before it has actually started.
>Then when you try and turn it over again it really takes an age before it fires up, as if it has flooded.
>Is this just a feature of the engine management?

I beleive it is, the solution is to take the fuse out of the fuel pump circuit, crank again and then put the fuse back in, alternativly tap the inertia sensor untill it pops up instead of removing the fuse

Will Munns


Where's the inertia sensor, or shouldn't I ask


This problem used to happen when it it wet rather than when it was cold. On VVCs it was something to do with the coil (or coils) getting wet. This happend less on the MPI because the coil is in a different place which is less likely to get wet. The VVC uses a fully electronic ignition system compared to the more traditional setup of the MPi (as far as I am aware).

Some have cured this problem simply by waterproofing the coil.


>Where's the inertia sensor, or shouldn't I ask
if you open the boot, and look on the Left hand side, inside the engine bay, attached to the body of the car you will find a black box with a rubber button, depress the rubber button to reset the switch, tap the switch with something hard (eg. back end of a screwdriver) and the switch pops up, from memory you can't see this but can feel it under the rubber jacket.
You may have to remove the bay grill to reach the switch

Will Munns

I had the same problem. A change of HT leads solved the problem instantly.

Will, which fuse is the fuel pump one?

I recall this was discussed last year on a thread at some length. The conclusion we came to was the same as Andy / Will.

Also the VVC is worse for this problem as the coils are right under the vent in the boot, so rain can trickle through to them.

i found that the car would start fine in wet weather, and in cold weather.

It seems to be that in damp weather (i.e. misty or foggy conditions), it's easier for the charge to dissapate from the leads, leading to a poor spark (or no spark) at the plugs.

The engine floods really easily, and once it's flooded there's no way you'll get it started unless you can get rid of the fuel, even if you're then getting a 'good' spark.

I had this happen to me last year, and was at the car for 1/2 an hour before giving up. If you leave the car for 1/2 an hour, the vapour seems to dissapate, and then you can re-try. If the car doesn't start within 5 minutes, it'll definately be flooded, and you need to clear the fuel.

Changing things like HT leads will hopefully mean the car will then start regularly, which reminds me, I'm probably due for a new set of leads!

Will's info on clearing the fuel is well worth remembering in case this happens to you in the middle of nowhere.


L Reid

This thread was discussed between 28/10/2002 and 02/11/2002

MG MGF Technical index

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