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MG MGF Technical - Engine stutters when trying to accelerate

I have noticed recently that my 1998 1.8i has developed an intermittent problem where it "stutters" when trying to accelerate. It only happens when the engine is hot. Typically come off a motor way journey on to small twisty roads stop at first roundabout, try to accelerate away - stutter. When I get up to high revs it goes away. Often if I stop the car and re-start it the fault goes away.

My initial thoughts were the ignition system. I am going to start with replacing the rotor arm and distributor cap. If that does not cure it I will move on to leads and sparkplugs. While I have got the engine cover off I might also check and clean the ECU water temperature sensor.

1) Are the rotor arm and distributor cap replaced during any of the regular services? ( I know the spark plugs were replaced during the big 5yr service)
2) Any benefit in fitting anything other than the standard rover parts?
3) Any other suggestions?
Steve Ratledge

1) two years IIRC
2) Magnacore leads are gauranteeed for life - rover parts wear out after about 5 years. Plugs should be replaced at 5 year service, very expensive plugs, but it is commonly said that better performance would be got from using 'standard'* plugs and changing them every 2
3) Is the engine running fast, if so then strat with the temp sensor, otherwise sound like you have id'd all the obvious bits

*Look up Rover 214 in the halfords catalogue
Will Munns

The engine does not run fast.

Hmmm, its not done many miles since the 6yr service - I wonder if I have a duff rotor/dizzy cap?
Steve Ratledge


Had the exact same problem few months ago. Cleaned all the sensors but stuttering continued, in the end changing the rotor arm and dizzy cap cured the problem.

Dave Allen

My money is definitely on the rotor arm and distributor head. The parts are cheap, and the job easy to DIY. :o)
Rob Bell

Had the same problem (or at least it looks like)... invested a fortune in replacing parts and thye problem disappeared when a new head and MEMS were fitted (due to 2nd HGF).

Have a look at my page about this problem:

Check the wiring to the MAP sensor, when mine showed a problem like this the testbook suggested a wiring glitch. I believe later cars have gold plated contacts or a more watertight connector to prevent the connection from going intermittent.
After taking the connector off and replacing it the problem seems to be solved.

The MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensor is the one on the end of the inlet plenum opposite the throttle body.

Alan Brooke

@Alan: As Steve is talking about his 1998 1.8i I think he has an MPi and not a VVC engine. This making the difference of the position of the MAP.
- VVC: MAP in the inlet plenum/inlet manifold
- MPi: On board/on the MEMS connected to the plenum by a vacuum hose.
However it could well be that there is a vacuum problem and this can be diagnosed by the Testbook.


This thread was discussed on 24/02/2005

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