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MG MGF Technical - Engine doesn't start !!

Hi to everyone,

yesterday evening, for the fisrt time since August 1999 and 40000 Km I've had a problem with my F. I've tried to start the engine but nothing has happened. Everything was right, the door loking system was right, the alarm, the battery etc. etc. But when I was trying to start the engine nothing happened. No response also from the electric starter engine.
I've also tried to use KAC without any result.
Then, after 5 minutes trying it started up.
This morning I've had the same problem and after 10 minutes I've been able to start the car. Now the F is by my MG Rover dealer.

Anyone has noticed something similar ?!?!


I have experienced a similar problem. The small brown wire to the starter motor was loose at the connector on the motor. Make sure this is tight.
Could also be a problem with the starter motor itself, a loose connection inside?
Several owners have had problems with faulty starter motors.

Ciao (I hope I selt that correctly)

Bruce Caldwell

Sorry, I hope I SPELT that correctly!
Bruce Caldwell

Agree with Bruce

Loose starter motor connection or sarter solenoid is faulty -

do you get a click when you turn the ignition to try and start ??

thats a classic sign of faulty solenoid on the starter motor


I hope someone could give me advice me with my F.

There is a strong smell of petrol in the car particularly in the mornings after the previous evenings use.
The MG dealer said that it is the odour permeating the fuel tank which is apparently plastic?? It would need replacing at a cost of 700.00 approx. Well I have no idea if this is right but it seems a bit odd.

I would like to hear from anyone with there thoughts on this


I am not certain but have read threads on here about petrol smells and that early Fs had plastic petrol tanks that could leak/seep petrol - I think the dealer may be right - however I am sure 700 IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE

Anyone else with a cheap cure to this problem ?


slight off topic, but who cares.
Yes, the tank is made from plastic as at all newer cars.
Yes, it leaks fuel damp as at all newer cars.
Yes, one of the solutions is to change the tank to a new designed. It may work, but who knows ?

No, you need not order this change, but can try yourself to seal the tank behind the seats from leaking fuel damp and check also all fuell hose connections on beeing best sealed with strong hose clamps.

The archive contends tells the whole story and most of the hints can be found on

- rework the rubber hose under the brown gaiter between tank and filler pipe if it's kinked
- change the cheap clamps at that rubberhose to strong worm clamps
- change the green coloured cheap clamp at the fueltank sender unit hose to a strong worm clamps
- check the large sealing of the sender unit (tank to sender body)
- check also whether there is a non return 'flap' installed inside the filler pipes lower end.
- check the screws of the fuel tank cover plate behind the seats on the right torque. screws should be tightened starting from the centre to the outer screws.
- remove the tank cover plate behind the seats and re-align the white coloured shredder between the tank and the cover plate.
- add a self adhesive foam tape if the existing sealing material is not placed right.

Good luck and let us know how you got on.

Dieter Koennecke

Back on thread! - I had a similar problem when intermittently the car would not start - -Originally theought it was a faulty fuel pump, but it turned out to be a faulty ECU - a replacement one fixed the problem straight away.
Jason H

Many thanks to everyone,

the problem was the electromagnet of the starter motor. It's a part of the Lucas-Magneti Marelli starter motor with and interrupted circuit. I've changed it by myself and now everything it's ok. I've been advised that this kind of problem is very rare. Rare but .... it happens to me.


Thanks for letting us know the outcome. Glad it's fixed.

Bruce Caldwell

Glad to hear you sorted it

The faulty part is/was the starter solenoid - thats what we call it over here - as you say its a electromagnetic switch that allows the circuit to deal with very high voltages

It isnt that rare though - they fail alot on most cars

was it easy to change and did you manage to get a replacement solenoid or did you have to replace the whole starter - Just wondered as they are very expensive as a whole unit!

QUITE often a wack with a hammer directly on the solenoid (little tube piggybacked on the starter moter unsticks the switch and allows you to start the car)Course that is if you can get to it and always use the wooden end of the hammer!

The dealer asked me about 250 EU for the whole starter plus the work to change it. The "elettromagnet" of the starter motor is the part that push up and down the pinion (I hope it's the rigth translation of the gear that do start the engine). It's made of 2 solenoid and one was interrupted. I've been luky because this is a starter used by many factory and one of this is Perkins Marine Motors. My father works also with this brand of motors and had one starter to change my solenoid. He saids that the replacement cost not more than 30-40 EU.
To change the solenoid you need to remove the whole starter (just 2 bolts very hard fixed and not so easy to catch up), remove the solenoid (2 screws) and replace it.



So we now know that a starter moter could be fixed for less than 30 if they made the solenoid available!

Alberto - if you get a chance - could you let us know the part number you used for the solenoid!

No worries if you dont know it - I am sure i can find it out!

Yet again a car manufacturers dream - sell the punter a whole unit for 200 when it only needs a 30 part!!!


Alberto, that's a coincidence, I had exactly the same problem on Thursday evening! My F always starts with no trouble, rain or shine, standing three weeks or not. We drove into Dartmouth (on holiday) in the late morning, the day was fine and dry, and when we returned to the car in late afternoon the starter was as dead as a dodo. All the electrics were fine, the battery was fully charged, but no click, nothing. I checked the starter fuse (is the fuse holder supposed to swing in fresh air?) and that was fine. After fiddling a little the starter gave a kick for a fraction of a second. I removed the engine grille and felt the connection to the solenoid which waggled a little. Then the starter kicked a fraction more. I carried on fiddling with the solenoid cable and eventually the starter and engine fired. I had visions of holding the solenoid cable whilst Jane started the car, but I didn't really fancy the engine starting up whilst my arm was jammed down the back of it.

Annoyingly the car has started fine from then on, so much so that my confidence is returning. When it's a little lighter and warmer I'll have a look at the solenoid connection, but it's not in the easiest of places to get at.

Regards, Kes.

This thread was discussed between 26/10/2001 and 30/10/2001

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