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MG MGF Technical - Front suspension steering advice


Hi all,

Funny noise coming from the front suspension at low speed when steering. Can feel it through clutch pedal etc.

Checked (as best as I know how!) all visible bushes and wiggled wheels and stuff.
Can see/find no loose or noisy joints. Cannot diagnose any ball joints or bushes being at fault. Wheels feel solid. At a bit of a loss...

My next guess is a problem with the steering rack.

How best to diagnose this?
Any other suggestions?

...

And while on the topic... some more general questions to the collected masses about the front suspension...
- Advantages / disadvantages of poly bushes?
Not sure the advantages that I've found in the archive justify the costs involved.
- How much difference do the bilsteins actually make and how much is down to the techspeed fettling done at the same time?
- Has anyone found aftermarket brake pads wearing unevenly? ie. Slightly more on the outer edge of the pad (makes sense if you think about it, but never seen it before!).

Ok, so I snuck a non-suspension one in there. :-)

Any help appreciated. Oh, and will it be fine at Donnington do people think? ;-)
(I'm 95% sure it'll keep me on the black stuff just fine... but I'm reserving it as an excuse if I spin off!!! <grin>)

P.
Paul Nothard

Hi Paul, couple of questions
a) If it only happens at low speed what happens when you go faster? Could it be that you just cant hear it due to other noises?

b) You say it occurs when steering - do you mean on a left or right hand turn or both.

c) Is it continuous ie lasts for duration of the turn until you straighten up or does it just happen while you move the steering wheel?

d) Can you reproduce the problem when going around in a circle in a car park?

e) 'Feeling it through the clutch pedal' suggests to me possible worn front subframe mounting bushes. Look for signs of metal/metal contact adjacent to the mounts.
This could transmit vibrations to the bulkhead and pedals.

Cheers, jt

John Thomas

Hi John, hope you're keeping well!

-- a) If it only happens at low speed what happens when you go faster?
Not as sure. Can't hear or 'feel' anything through the pedals. Have tried with and without PAS to try and hear it at hihger speeds.

-- Could it be that you just cant hear it due to other noises?
Yes, highly likely.

-- b) You say it occurs when steering - do you mean on a left or right hand turn or both.
Yes. I can 100% provoke the noise by coming off the drive in either direction (left or right). Drive is sloped and coming off it at an angle twists the car slightly.
This is one of the reasons that I'm thinking that it may be the rack.

-- c) Is it continuous ie lasts for duration of the turn until you straighten up or does it just happen while you move the steering wheel?
Continuous. Wheel can be held turned and as the car moves and twists coming off the drive it groans at me.
This is one of hte reasons I'm not sure that it's the rack!

-- d) Can you reproduce the problem when going around in a circle in a car park?
I tried a few months back when the noise was quieter and couldn't reproduce it in this way. Will try again, but I suspect not.

-- e) 'Feeling it through the clutch pedal' suggests to me possible worn front subframe mounting bushes. Look for signs of metal/metal contact adjacent to the mounts. This could transmit vibrations to the bulkhead and pedals.
Had a look yesterday and didn't notice. Will have another look this evening.

Thanks for the pointers JT. Give me an engine or ECU problem any day. That's more my field!! :-)

Cheers,
Paul
Paul Nothard

My knee jerk reaction to this Paul is that one of the front wheel bearings may be on the way out :o(

But certainly worth getting more opinions - certainly with a fun day at Donington fast approaching! :o)

Regarding the other questions:

>>- Advantages / disadvantages of poly bushes?
Not sure the advantages that I've found in the archive justify the costs involved.<<

There is certainly a theoretical advantage to using poly bushes Paul: better suspension and geometry control being one - and a longer service life another. But worth the additional cost? Not sure, but I suspect that it is given the use you like to put your F to these days - plus of course, your existing bushes will be on their last legs anyway...

>>- How much difference do the bilsteins actually make and how much is down to the techspeed fettling done at the same time?<<

Big difference: Tim can answer this more completely as he fitted Tech-speed dampers to his car. Tech-speed doing the work is worth while though not least because it saves you time, but also you know that they'll do the job right. And pick up on any nasty problem that you may not have picked up on... like worn ball joints etc...

>>- Has anyone found aftermarket brake pads wearing unevenly? ie. Slightly more on the outer edge of the pad (makes sense if you think about it, but never seen it before!).<<

Not really no. Both EBC and Mintex pads I've removed have all worn evenly across the pad face. Sounds as though your pads have been moving in the caliper?
Are these the pads in your HiSpec front calipers - or the ones in the standard rear?
Rob Bell

Hi Rob,

If it were my wheel bearing would I not be able to feel it by jacking the car up and wobbling th wheel about?

Having said that I have had to have a hub replaced at the rear because when the "faulty rear wheel bearing" was replaced... it simply fell out!! The interference fit was no more as the hub had given way!

I'm sure I'm going to pay a visit to Techspeed - if they ever call me back with prices!!
Pretty sure Bilsteins will be on the list. Not sure about the poly bushes yet.

Pads: It's the fronts. I'm sure they're not moving. They're very well fixed (will show you at Donnington). Thinking about it, it's to be expected as there will be more work going into the outside of the disc/pad. I don't think it's unsafe... but it's more that I'd expected.
Will check with the guys at HiSpec to be sure.

Cheers,
Paul.
Paul Nothard


>Yes. I can 100% provoke the noise by coming off the drive in either direction(left or right). Drive is sloped and coming off it at an angle twists the car slightly.

Paul can you get someone to listen as you come as you come off the drive and the car twists?

If they are adventurous lift the bonnet and sit them on the spare wheel :-)

They could possibly narrow the problem to left/right side, upper/lower front/rear of bonnet/bulkhead area.

What is it that you 'feel' through the pedals? A sharp crack or a drawn out grating?

One might expect a rack problem to be felt through steering wheel but you never know.
Though if rack mountings were loosening you'd know about it as you drove.

Hope it's not the dreaded crossmember weld :-(

jt

(luckily no engine/ecu probs - touch wood)
John Thomas

I have an intermittent noise/vibration coming thru mine also at low speed. Initially I thought it was coming thru the clutch pedal, but after lifting my foot off the carpet so it was only on the pedal I couldn't feel the vibration. Might be a worth a try, but I would guess this would point to worn subframe mounts as John says.
As for the brake pad, I know the pads are designed generally that the outer portion of the pad is in contact with the disc face during the start of the application. This is to compensate for any flex in the caliper and to make sure when max pressure is applied the whole of the pad is sitting on the surface and the pressure even. I guess it depends on your driving style if you use the brakes heavily or not.
If you want to check the rack, just jack up one side of the vehicle, put the steering lock on and move the wheel about. You should be able to feel any play!
Not sure this helps too much thou. Good luck!
R Baker

Paul - phone Roy again :o)

Regarding the bearing, thinking about it - they never let go at the front (well, not commonly anyway)

Makes this odd sensation through the pedal box all the more strange... In fact, Roy might be able to give you a good idea as to what the problem might be, given his huge experience with racing MGFs...

Hope you're able to get this sorted by the weekend!
Rob Bell

After months of messing about the noise and knocking coming through the pedals on my F were resolved by changing the rack. When you're on the phone to Roy ask about a TF rack. The perfect excuse:-)

Neil
Neil Stothert


Quick update...
Have convinced myself that the noise is coming from the rack. Possibly the bearing where it goes through the bulkhead.
Either way it has (surprisingly?) got much quieter. Annoying isn't it? Grrr!

I'm sure that it will be fine for Donnington tho. :-)
Hey, I can get many 2nd opinions!!! :o)

But, yes... a replacement rack is on the list that I've asked Roy to give me a price for. <grin>

Updates as they happen so that the archives will tell all.

P.
Paul Nothard


Have the prices. Like them. Booked in. :-)

That will 'cure' the noise once and for all.
See you all at Donnington. :-)

P.
Paul Nothard

Well done Paul! Is that the suspension and TF rack or just the rack?

Look forward to seeing see you sporting the TechSpeed badge at Donington :-)
Dave

Shocks, TF rack, 'suspension investigation', 60k service, oil leak and gear lever fix.
Decided against the 'nipple job' and the poly bushes.
And I'll be bunging on new fronts the day before too.
An expensive month methinks.

But this will happen post Donnington.

Donnington... yes... mmm... I'll still be fast without the extra TS stuff and have a ball!! :-)
Paul Nothard

Really looking forward to Donington :o) Getting the tyres swapped from side to side - both LHS tyres showing the damage of two track days and a season of sprints and hillclimbs. Will cost circa 60 quid - quite a lot for no new rubber - but cheaper than scrapping two tyres that are otherwise in okay condition...

Shocks and rack - yup that's what I've got - very very happy with them. Also have a pair of TF ARBs to play with - which I'll get Mick and Greg to drill holes in so I can test the roll stiffness and set the chassis up for the F :o)

Paul, might be worth considering the hydragas pipe restrictors ala Trophy? Also, which subframe bushes have you got? Black or green? Had mine changed to green.
TF uses blue bushes - which I think are the alloy ones? These would be the ones I'd go for if I ever decided to change class in the Sprint championship...
Rob Bell


You sure you don't just go round and round rounndabouts Rob? ;-)

Am planning to kill my fronts. Have a bit too much inner wear for my liking and I suspect Donnington will kill them. So new rubber after Donnington for me.

Just a thought... if you suffer from inner tyre wear, is there any reason why you can't swap the fronts over to even it out? Not free but, as you say Rob, cheaper than new tyres.

TF ARBs... Tart! That's all I have to say to you! ;-)

Not sure about the restrictor... I have a feeling the shocks will stiffen the car up enough. But I may be wrong.
Anyone care to correct me?
(Decided against the full nipple job as I believe that there are still advantages from the connected pipe setup. Restrictors might be a good compromise. Hmmm...)

Have the green subframe mounts already. Unless they break I'll stick with them for now.

Roll on Donnington - with what's looking to be good weather!
Paul Nothard

>>You sure you don't just go round and round rounndabouts Rob? ;-)<<

only if they are Magic ones Dougal. ;o) ;o)

>> Just a thought... if you suffer from inner tyre wear, is there any reason why you can't swap the fronts over to even it out? Not free but, as you say Rob, cheaper than new tyres.<<

No reason why not. Sounds as though you need the tracking attended too - but that's something that TS will sort for you anyway :o)

>>Not sure about the restrictor... I have a feeling the shocks will stiffen the car up enough. But I may be wrong.<<

I've no complaints, and I've not got the restrictor or Nipple Job. But as you say, the restrictor is a tempting compromise :o)

Not got the ARBs sorted yet... The front one is a straight swap. The rear needs, er, some loving care and attention from a lump hammer... No idea how much impact it'll have on roll stiffness - going to take a fair amount of trial and error to sort out I think. Hopefully, when done, it will be tart-astic. :o)

See ya bright and early on Sunday!
Rob Bell

You want magic roundabouts eh
Try this one somethime :-)
http://www.swindonweb.com/life/lifemagi0.htm
John Thomas

Been there, done that, didn't fancy the T-shirt.

It's the world's stupidest traffic junction IMO: where would Ermintrude sit?
Rob Bell

Dooh, this can't be true ?
:))
Very funny. I think it's a very strange experiance for LH drivers on their first ride on the *right* side.

Dieter
PS. I remember Rosi shouting always *LINKS !!* each time we reached a roundabout some years ago on our first visit to the UK :)
Dieter K.

Paul

I noticed a couple of drivers at Donington expressing a concern about your steering;-)

I've a feeling that a visit to Techspeed is going to make things worse.

Neil
Neil Stothert


Thanks for that Neil. I hope their concern was friendly. :-)

I think you can see why I'm not surprised about my car making odd noises. I treat it quite harshly.
Examining the car afterwards I found some noise coming from the anti-roll bar mounts (one got mashed a year or so back and was re-made/welded by my local MGR dealer) which were very dry.

So the "suspension noise" is so far been tracked down to ... anti-rollbar mounts, the 'bush' where the strering goes through the bulkhead and a.n.other source.

The brakes are being investigated. I'll get back to one and all with answers as soon as I have them.

Stay tuned...!

Stupidly I didn't get any 2nd opinions on the suspension noise and/or the pads. I guess we were all too busy on all our track stories. :-)

P.
Paul Nothard

I had the noise and rumble coming through the pedals recently, it turned out to be a worn track rod end.

I had a good look over the whole steering & suspension and didn't find it at first. There was no play apparent when trying to rock the wheel, even when it was off the ground.

Try turning the steering to full lock, grab the track rod and REALLY heave on it to move it around, the movement only need be slight to give a horrendous amount of noise.

Al
Alan Brooke

Will do. Thanks Alan.
Paul Nothard

I've recently being having a similar noise from my front suspension/steering. Same/similar symtoms as some of you may remember from my thread a couple of weeks ago. Was not too bad then suddenly got a lot worse after being parked for a week. Took it to B&G's yesterday and had the inner bushes/joints (me thinks i should get a manual) on the steering arms taken apart and greased. This has greatly reduced the noise but not completely. B&G are convinced that it is the rack and a new one is needed to completely cure the problem.

However, I am a bit concerned with all of these other suggestions (track rod ends etc etc) as I can this getting a trifle costly if the rack does not cue the problem.

Also, whats the advantage of getting a TF Rack?

cheers

rich
Richard Rowland

Richard,

> >Also, whats the advantage of getting a TF Rack?

It has less turns from lock to lock - I forget the exact figures, but makes for sharper turn in to corners.
Dave

2.8 turns versus 3.2.

The other advantage is the improved 'precision' of the rack that comes from reducing the ratio: motorway stability is noteably improved for example - an advantage that I hadn't considered before the 'transplant'! ;o)
Rob Bell

I had a similar problem with a metal knocking noise coming from the front. The garage (non MGR)I puchased the car from could not rectify the the problem as there attitude was can't hear it so don't know where to look basically.

I took my it to my local MRG dealer as it was due for its 48 k service and they investigated the problem at the same time. Even though they couldn't recreate the noise, they noticed that a bar was hitting the subframe. It turned out to be the displacers on the front shocks that had been fitted in the wrong position(these had obviously been replaced before I purchased the car). They also reported that the trim heights were low, these were reset and wheel alignments adjusted. After having these two corrections made, I have not heard the knocking noise since (fingers crossed). Even though no new parts were purchased my bill came to 150 + VAT not including the service, but at least I can now drive my MG without that dam knocking noise, as it was starting to seriously -iss me off.
L English

Good to hear a happy ending there Linda :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 19/08/2003 and 04/09/2003

MG MGF Technical index

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