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MG MGF Technical - Excess play in steering

Our 95 MGF 1.8i has some play in the steering. At the centre point, you can turn it an inch either ay before the front wheels react to input. The steering is also stiffer the more you turn it towards full lock.

I would be quite happy to keep the non-pas system if it wasnt so heavy, but how hard would it be to retro fit the electric motor and system?

Gareth
Gareth Kidman

Gareth,

never heard of this IMO not impossible retro fit.
However, I think it might work, but _economic_ only with second hand parts. The new will be about 1k++ quid.

May be the http://www.mgfcentre.com/ or other breakers is the right where to ask ...
for main components like...
Steering column, complete with motor and wiring harness and EPAS ECU.
Not sure about another instrument pack due to the speed signal supplied from a reed contact inside the instrument.
http://www.mgfcar.de/epas/epas_2679.jpg

I put some official stuff and pics here some years ago.
http://www.mgfcar.de/epas/

The electricals for older MGF like yours.
http://www.mgfcar.de/schedules/sb14.jpg
Your car will miss some wires included to the different main loom though.

Regards
Dieter
Dieter K.

I can't add anything much more to what Dieter's already said Gareth regarding retro-fitting EPAS. In some ways it ought to be pretty simple, as 'all' you need is a EPAS steering column (you don't have to change the steering rack, although this is advisable) and the EPAS ECU - but getting hold of the parts and integrating the parts into the existing wiring loom may not be a job for the light hearted.

What got my attention though was your original problem: "Our 95 MGF 1.8i has some play in the steering. At the centre point, you can turn it an inch either ay before the front wheels react to input. The steering is also stiffer the more you turn it towards full lock."

MGF steering, whether powered or not should NOT feel like this. It sounds as though the steering rack is at fault, although that doesn't exclude other problems elsewhere in the steering system.

I'd highly recommend you get this attended to quickly.
Rob Bell

>>>>What got my attention though was your original problem: "Our 95 MGF 1.8i has some play in the steering. At the centre point, you can turn it an inch either ay before the front wheels react to input. The steering is also stiffer the more you turn it towards full lock."

MGF steering, whether powered or not should NOT feel like this. It sounds as though the steering rack is at fault, although that doesn't exclude other problems elsewhere in the steering system.

<<<<

I will be having a closer look at this soon. Is rack replacement relatively simple and inexpensive? Assuming it is the rack of course.

We bought the car like this from a dealer and i will have to check the terms and conditions with regards warranty, it did pass an MOT like this... TBH i didnt notice it on the test drive which was on some bumpy roads, at crusing around 70 in a straight line its most obvious, requiring constant correction to keep it inline.
Gareth Kidman

>Assuming it is the rack of course.
>requiring constant correction to keep it inline.


I think the rack change is relative simple..... in comparision with other works at the MGF.
The front suspension subframe needs to get lowered by some inches.
Rob will know cause he had swapped an old rack to a new mgtf rack.

Regarding the play. Another option for a failure would be the track rod ends, wheel bearing or upper and lower suspension ball joint.

Take attention to probably unequal wear of the front wheel profile also.

Dieter K.

>> Regarding the play. Another option for a failure would be the track rod ends, wheel bearing or upper and lower suspension ball joint. <<

Would definitely agree with you there Dieter. But would this give the stiffness that Gareth describes?

Gareth, before anything gets replaced, this steering problem needs investigation. If it is the rack itself, then it is a comparatively easy change - and in fact you don't have to disturb the subframe to do it. I followed Techspeed when they replaced my steering rack for the TF one - and it is certainly within grasp of the competent DIYer :o)
Rob Bell

>But would this give the stiffness that Gareth describes?

Nope, it woun't. So the steering rack is the subject, IMO.

Rob, I think the rack change is worth a DIY site :)
Either on mgf.ultimatemg or the other.

Call for pictures.
Who can supply images of a steering rack ?
I'v only one not so good of a broken.
http://www.mgfcar.de/steeringwheel/steering_rack_broken.jpg

reference from anglo-parts catalogue to see the difference between EPAS and none EPAS.
http://www.mgfcar.de/data/28steering.zip
Dieter

"At the centre point, you can turn it an inch either way before the front wheels react to input"

Not sure if you mean when you are driving at speed - or stationary?

Two inches of play before the tyres move (when stationary) is incredible and I've only ever seen that on non rack and pinion vehicles.

If you have that much play when stationary take it straight back to the garage who sold it to you, and report the MOT testing station to DoT as MOT testers are normally very strict about any wear in the steering.

If its only an issue when driving, then what tyre pressures are you running at.

Cheers

jt
John Thomas

wandering at high speed is usually caused by worn bearings/bushes _then_ tracking, I would get these investigated by a local garage before you spend any more time on the stearing.

Actually I would jack the car from the front central jacking point and get someone to hold the s-wheel and try to move the road wheel. Then I would try moving the stearing to see if there is any stiffness.
Will Munns

>>>"At the centre point, you can turn it an inch either way before the front wheels react to input"

Not sure if you mean when you are driving at speed - or stationary?
<<<<

I mean it takes approx 1 inch ish depending on which way you turn before it reacts, this is more noticeable at speed.

The tyres pressures are 29-30psi at the front and 26-27 at the back.
Gareth Kidman

I can't say much about steering behaviour of MGF without EPAS. I'd say it's to many also.

Is this one-inch usual then ??

IMO front pressure is OK, but increase the rear to 32 ish.

Back to the roots:
Apology, long post in *German Englisch?* ;)
I hope you get what I mean. Rob may 'translate' please, if not.

On first hand the rear axle has influence on the steering behaviour.
You said it's wandering when driving. So I think it's better to investigate the tracking _from the beginning_ and this is the rear suspension.

Well known points of attraction are the rear steering control arms.
The car past MOT, why ever, but may be the car has a tracking failure which could not be seen when the car rests static.

I mean the upper ball joints, suspension knuckle joints and the excessive play within the big rubber bushes link to the rear tie bar.

You can easy check this play.
- Engage the hand brake
- Open the boot
- Strong grip to the rear wall and
- Push the whole car forward/pull it backwards and so on.
Have a look from top on the movement angle of the right and left wheel.....

Does it toe in/out more than 2 or three mils ??? Any noise to notice ??
Is the right versus left wheel movement different ??
If so, than there's to much play and this can easy get balanced with 3mm compliance washers.
(Get back on the matter if you have this. We will explain more)

The second is play in bushes and bearings or loose bolts:
Lift the rear and shake the wheels with strong grip
- Right to left, horizontal
- and do the same in vertical direction (top inwards/outwards)

Any play or noise you notice can be put down on usual failures
- Play in all directions => wheel bearing
- Right/left play => the rear track control arm or the mentioned big rubber bearing

Then over to the front suspension check.
- Lift the front
- Shake wheels like at the rear (vertical and horizontal)
The latter will be more difficult to analyse, cause you transfer force to the steering, though.

At third a driving test with two main checks to be accessed on a smooth straight road.
Don't use the brake unless you must brake and hold tight the steering wheel while this test

1 Go with low speed in high gear
2 accelerate/decelerate most sensitive careful and see what the car directs to.
The front of the car must not go up and down in any way while this speed changes only with the accelerator pedal

A- Notice any self steering of the car,

Then over to the second test.
1 Same road, same speed, but do in low gear.
2 kick down the accelerator, and release it quickly.
The car must shake up and down at the front.

B- Notice any self steering of the car.

Looking at the results:

Case A-
- Car is wandering right to left with smooth force to the rear wheels,
Failure at the REAR suspension according to unwanted Toe angle change at the rear axle from lowest engine force to rear wheel.
- Car runs straight. Everything OK (I daubt)

Case B-
Car is steering right or left when the FRONT dives / lifts from hard acceleration.
This can be put down to unequal working FRONT suspension.
Unequal steering rack play/one of the track rod ends, one of the lower ball joints, or a well known other failure at early MGF until app. VIN 006000.

Reason: the front toe angle changes dynamic when the front moves up and down.
The rear toe angles do not change (nearly not)

May be you get behind the
Dieter

This thread was discussed between 09/05/2005 and 11/05/2005

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