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MG MGF Technical - Funny lights & not starting!

Hi everyone,

Yesterday whilst driving, all the lights started flicking on the dashboard of my F, and the rev counter and speedometer started having a mind of their own.

This morning I just tried to start my car, and it won't. It just makes a loud farting type noise when you turn the key. On listening to the engine, something whirrs for a bit after trying to start it.

Does anyone have any idea what may be up? Sorry for the slightly rubbish description - I'm not over good with cars!

I only had it serviced and MOT'd 2 days ago!!!
Andy Holliday

Check the battery connections ! Fitted but not tightend?
Any particulare work noted at the service that would indicate need for battery removal ?

Hi Andy,

The farting noise will be the starter solenoid trying to engage the starter motor but not having enough power, i.e. flat battery, the whirring is probably the un-engaged motor spinning down. A re-charge or jump start should have the engine running again, but bear in mind that a battery is never 100% again after a complete flattening.

When you say the speedo & rev counter had a mind of their own, was it a case of dropping and then picking up again? And can you remember which dashboard lights in particular were flickering? As Carl says, likely suspects are the connections on the battery, or possibly a poor or broken connection at the alternator end.
Mike Hankin

Thanks guys... called the RAC out... it's the alternator. He tested the connections to the alternator as best he could from underneath the car, and reckons there is probably power to it, so it must be broken. No battery light comes on at all on the dash at any time.

Any other things I should look for before I have to give in and get it towed to a garage?

Power should come from the alternator not go to it surely?Can you test the battery voltage?Can you recharge it?

don't call me shirly...

The alternator does not have heavy magnets inside, it has a 'field coil', which is a whopping great electromagnet, the car needs to energise this before the alt can start generating electric, and it's this current draw that runs thru the lamp on the dash making it glow red. Once the alternator is making voltage the alternator feeds it's own field coil and the lamp goes out. If the feild coil burns out then the light never comes on and the alternator doesn't charge, so a lack of light before starting is as bad a sign as a light when running.

Will Munns

Thanks Will.

I guess it's off to see Mike Satur for the second time this week! I hope it's not an expensive part. (Mike/Trish, if you happen to be reading this, I'm having it towed to yours first thing Tuesday morning!)



You mention that your F was serviced recently.

I'd contact the folks who did the work and see if they will investigate and fix it - for free if it's something they caused.

Sam Murray

P.s. luckily it broke down as my dad was bringing the car back from the church, not on the way as myself (best man) and the groom drove there for the wedding using wedding cars tunbridge wells!

This thread was discussed between 16/04/2006 and 17/04/2006

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