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MG MGF Technical - Engine seems to stutter till warm

My 96P reg 1.8 VVC seems to stutter for the first few minutes till the engine is warmed up. When applying smooth acceleration, the engine feels like it is staggering i.e. inconsistent power level being applied. It goes away after about 5 or more minutes once the engine is warm. The local dealer mentioned something about a spindle that can get warped on such earlier models and may help if replaced but can anyone else shed some light on this? Thanks.

My '96 VVC does that as well now it's colder in the mornings - but it goes after a couple of minutes. Never heard of this spindle, but would be very interested to find out what's wrong! My suspicions were falling on the HT leads, but for no better reason than the fact that they're getting on a bit.

Tim Jenner

I've no idea what this 'spindle' is either - never heard that word on this board in the last 6 years!

I'd think along the same lines as Tim - HT leads. My '98 VVC used to suffer with this sort of problem before I switched to magnecore leads.

I got the impression from the guy at the dealer that there was some component on earlier models that could warp (aluminium?) and was now made of a different material. Since I was about to rush off on holiday when he was explaining it didn't fully sink in. I guess I'll try and track down the same person and seek a fuller explanation this time.

Many thanks for the HT leads thoughts, sounds like a cheaper fix if that is the cause.


I get the same. And I have read many posts on this issue (no resolve though).

Lots of people including myself have been down the 'must be HT leads' route.
Then its the coil.
Then the engine sensors.

Then it still occurs. Costs a lot to guess like that.

I found, with mine that the car feels a lot better (though not totally cured), as a result of servicing it myself and putting the best sparks, oil, air filter and fuel injection cleaner I could find in.
Neil H

I'm guessing that he ment:
The early cars had a plastic throttle body, which has now been replaced with an ally version, the plastic body can be warped out of shape, usually by overzellos use of a jubile clip on the airfilter. The spindle is the throttle.

My money would be on leads, then plugs /rotor arm/cap (these last two are service items, and they may look OK, but be junk)

Neil, have you tried squirting carb cleaner into the IACV?
Will Munns

In my case I've already changed the plugs (to the expensive platinum tipped ones) and since it's a VVC there's no distributor cap or rotor arm to worry about. Leads are standard black MGR ones and are at least 2 years old. I would have thought a warped throttle body would give a sticky throttle rather than uneaven running at a steady throttle opening. Is there any point in changing to 8mm Magnecore leads rather than the standard 7.5mm ones?

Tim Jenner

Use the standard Magnacor leads. They are a bit of a sod to fit as they are already larger in diameter than the originals.

Cured my "stuttering" three years ago and still going strong.

As above, cold and damp morning stutters were resolved by replacing HT leads and plugs on my 98VVC.

Neil Stothert

Think I'll order some today, stuttering was quite bad this morning (very cold though). B&G are doing a set for 54.95 - anyone know of a cheaper supplier?

Tim Jenner

This thread was discussed between 19/10/2003 and 21/10/2003

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