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MG MGF Technical - Geometry??

my car has been pulling to the left since time immemorial even after 3 trackings. Rover MG garage now tells me that the geometry is out and the only cause is the car hitting a kerb etc and will cost me £120+vat to have it reset. Are they taking me for a ride??
Jody

If your car's tracking has been set, then you should have a print-out, showing you before and after settings. The print-out should also show you what the settings should be.
Any decent tracking centre would be happy to explain these readings to you - especially if any values are outside the 'should be' settings - my car's rear near-side camber is out (and cannot be corrected) - this has always been pointed out to me.
A full geometry check / resetting should be available for about 40 - 70 UKP.

Do you mean it pulls left under braking, or just under power ?

Steve
Steve

Jody

If this is something that you have complained about before then you should ask them why they have only just discovered the reason plus if you have NEVER kerbed the car then be emphatic and say so, after all for such damage to be sustained to the geometry by hitting a kerb would also show damage to the wheels.

Ted
Ted Newman

It pulls under power not braking.

Thanks Ted but they said since I had it retracked elsewhere, it is no good for me to argue that the tracking was out before that.

And yes they want £129 to reset the geometry. Bunch of s***s
Jody

>>It pulls under power not braking.<<

Dieter had a good take on this. It sounds like a problem with the rear subframe; the 'thrust axis' from the drive of the rear wheels should be in line with the long axis of the car. If the rear subframe is slightly off, then the car will 'crab' long the road, as the rear wheels tend to send the rear of the car off in a different direction to the rest of the car.

If sub frame alignments are to be checked, then this would include alot of labour time, and may (and i say 'may' under advisement) go some way to justify the price that you have been quoted.

Rob
Rob Bell

So,

Has anyone worked out what the 4 wheel laser alignment thingy is missing that Techspeed are able to pick up with a piece of string and a plastic ruler?

Paul
P9 VLS

Paul

>>It pulls under power not braking.<<

Three possible reasons IMO, and depending on the age of your car.
1. subframe mount if to weak. Was changed in 1997.
2. rear suspension failure (tie bar, wishbone bearings subframe bearing etc.
3. a very small amount of early MGF (as mine) had a problem with the steering joints. There was a special one availiable if the rightÄ/left syndrome was found by a kind of suspension analysis routine.

Jody, can you place additional try to check wether this weird steering happens also when
- slightly accelerating/decellerating in a low gear and low revs (speed at out 50 mph)

or only
- under hard accelerating/decellerating in low gear at high revs (also speed about 50mph)

The case is that the car lifts and dives in the second case and the front suspension works up and down, while in the first case only the rear axle area gets forced in driving direction.

Front suspension lift and dive and weird sterring in this case indicates on a probbably failure at the steering itself.

A weird steering under slightly speed change without up/down movement indicates probabbly failures at the rear axle, as Rob explained above.

Paul,
I know a guy here who presets the toe angle at his MGF in a homework manner. He recently changes to PU-bushes from Powerflex and had checked the number of turns at the wishbones adjustment screws to get the toe angle corrected some weeks ago. That is possible in his opinion if both sides are nearly equal when the homework setup starts. He talked about 80 degrees turn at both wishbones sides to get a toe change of about 10 degrees. His target is to get the car run straight.
Anyway, a string setup will surely work. That all is only 'some' calculation ;-) .. Tangens alpha etc.

HTH
Dieter
Dieter


Hi Dieter,

Sorry to be a "besserwisser " but 80 deg. turn on nut should give about 10 MINUTES change in toe ..

4 stands , about 10m of good string and a steel ruler still is what´s needed to check geometry. No automatic printout thou...

Regards , Carl.
Carl

Hi,

I managed to kerb my car quite severly, and the camber at the back is now way outside tolerance on one side (the wheel is in fact exactly vertical). Is there anything that can be done to resolve this or do I just have to grin and bear it as Steve suggests?

Cheers, Rob.
Rob

steering wheel the advice guys. Will try it on the way home.

After
Jody

And another thing, when I first collected the car from new, the steering wheel was not straight - the MG badge was askew when you have the front tyres dead straight. Do you think this is related to this current problem?
Jody

The steering wheel can be straightened up when the track-rods are adjusted to set toe, so it is a simple job to correct this.

But the question is- why, after the garage set the suspension geometry, is the steering wheel still squew?
Either is tracking is still off, or the tracking is correct, but with the steering sheel offset.

If the former, they haven't done the job properly, or if the latter, then one seriously wonders how much time and attention was paid when the geometry was checked. It certainly doesnot give one much confidence in the level of workmanship now does it?

Rob
Rob Bell

If the steering wheel is off centre then they might have adjusted the tracking but it must have been way out to knock the wheel off centre by that much. As for "it is normal for all cars to pull to the left. " that is complete bull. It reminds me of a few years ago when Ford issued a similar statement. It transpired that the suspension was geometry was all cocked up. I think it was on Mondeos. I'd take it back to them, give them one last chance then get in touch with Rover and complain.
Insist on a complete and proper print out, stating angles before and after adjustment. Don't be fobbed off.
By the way which garage are you using?
John.
JFK

You really need to get a copy of the printout and also find out what sort of allignment checker they are using. My car was pulling and it took ages to get the car correctly set. I am not sure of the makes but Rover only recommend 2 allignment checkers - both computerised laser systems. Apparently it is impossible to set allignment correctly on a conventional system. (mine was out of tollerance on something like half of the possible settings - now in tollerance and handles like a different car). I also had sticking rear bushes - these were cleaned and lubed as well.

The original symptoms were the car always pulling to the left whilst driving and pulling viciously under breaking.

Hope this helps.
Dave Driver

>>
I am not sure of the makes but Rover only recommend 2 allignment checkers - both computerised laser systems. Apparently it is impossible to set allignment correctly on a conventional system.
<<

Sorry Dave, thats complete and utter crap.

Paul
P9 VLS
Paul

I hate to have to say but my geometry checks/adjustments cost £56.00 inc vat, makes the £129 look a bit sick.

Mind you, I have to say it didn't correct my problem!!

Maybe the laser was an inferior quality!!!

I'm putting my money on Tech-Speeds 'string and ruler' jobby

Its amazing when reading thru these messages the amount of crap that garages think they can get away with isn't it.

The comment 'They said that whilst you are driving in a straight line and you momentarily let go of the steering wheel it is normal for all cars to pull to the left', is utter crap.

The only thing that should happen (and this is dependent on the amount of camber on the road) is that it will very slowly drift to the left. If the road is a dual carriageway or other large main road with no appreciable camber then the car should continue in a straight line. Bloody garages, one wonders how they stay in business. Mind you, charging £129 is one way I suppose
Mike Wall

>>>He talked about 80 degrees turn at both wishbones sides to get a toe change of about 10 MINUTES. >>>

Carl, many thanks for your correction !! No 'Besserwisser' but 'Schwachsinn' from my spelling side. First think, then write, then check and at last hit the enter button. I promise to learn it at any time, may be in my next live ;-)

According to the computer based alignement I would like to say. I have seen myself now three different MGF setups at different workshops and alignment equipment.
My conclusion is as ever:
Depends on the offered System and the workmanship that deals with that equipment.
Most of the systems indicate only red and green lights (good and bad) while the setup routine runs. Often very poor systems with no feedback regarding the actual values that are just adjusted.
No 'short closed loops' or visible feedback for the craftsman, but programmed for cheap wages anones !!!

Most of them are not able to preset the system with individual values or they are not allowed to change the internal preset so called manufacturers recommended values.
Guess the only one satisfying system is the one from 'Hunter'. (see John Thomas comment in the archive)

The only tyre workshop I trust to do a good job here is the one in Neuss where I led our friend David L. some month ago. That workshop guy does nothing else then set the car to 'run straight' and front toe slightly toe out and rear toe slightly toe in (or was it toe out?, sorry, I forgot it).

David, if you still read here, what about your setup from that time ?

HTH
Dieter
Dieter

to Rob, Windsor :-
If the rear camber is out as a result of kerbing, then a suspension part is probably bent - this could be replaced. On mine, it's just built that way (probably bent too !)

to Jody
I recommend that you take the car to Micheldever tyres (by Micheldever station). They will sort the car out and give you a before and after printout. Book it and tell them it's an MGF when you book.
You may then be able to claim some money back from this garage - who are they anyway ? They appear to have charged you for two hours work, with nothing to show.
At the start of this thread, the rover garage said that the only cause is hitting a kerb - now they tell you that all cars pull to the left (in the northern hemisphere only ?). Only cars from their workshop, I suspect !

Good Luck
Steve
Steve

>>now they tell you that all cars pull to the left (in
the northern hemisphere only ?)<<

Yeah, but only when driving east... ;o) ;o)

Rob
Rob Bell

Steve,

Since you live quite close, can you recommend anywhere to get the suspension looked at?

Rob.
Rob

To Rob, Windsor:-
I'm closer than you think - I work at Stoke Poges (sometimes) !

If your rear wheel is exactly vertical, then it's probably not too far out. The only places I would ask to check this is a good MG garage - I don't know any other local places that work on MGF suspension. Swain & Jones look after my car - but Micheldever tyres generally do the wheel alignment.

Is it causing problems, or is it something that shows up only on a wheel alignment rig ?

Steve
Steve

Hi Jody

It's probably of no consolation but I have had similar problems with my own 'F' from new (in 1997). However, initially my car only pulled (either to the left or right as the mood took it)on braking. Like you Rover/MG said I must have kerbed the car or even been involved in an accident which had put the suspension geometry out. However, after threatening the garage (and Rover) with legal action as well as bad publicity on the net they took the car in and some three weeks later it was returned.

During this time they had replaced all steering, braking and suspension components, including a whole new front subframe! In the end they tried to tell me that it was only a track rod end that had caused the problem, which any half decent engineer will know is utter rubbish.

Anyway, the car was better for a while but then the trouble started again and so back it went for further investigation. A new front lower wishbone was fitted and the suspension pumped up (it had dropped by several millimetres). This cured the problem for a further 12 months.

However, just before the end of the 3 year warranty (the best money I have ever spent with Rover) the car started to pull over to the right on braking and to the left on acceleration. It was so bad that on one occasion I almost hit the central reservation barrier on the M25!.

Back to Rover who had the car for over 2 weeks. It was returned with the comment that they had had to fit a new rear subframe and new 'control bushes' whatever these are. Result, problem cured (for the time being!)

The car now travels in a straight line under all conditions. It seems that if you, like me, had an early model we, the drivers, are being used as R&D guinea pigs. That's OK when we don't have to pay for the repairs but now my car is out of warranty I hate to think what the costs will be if/when I have to start picking up the bills.

If it helps, the garage where I take my car is Wicliffe's in Gloucester. They have had a lot of experience with this problem and even have other MG dealers sending cars with similar problems to them. You may want to get your garage to phone them for advice.

I believe this is a fundamental design fault which should never have got past the works engineers. I agree with JFK here and suggest you a) ask for a copy of the alignment printout (after all you have paid for it) and b)push for an independant opinion from a qualified Rover factory engineer, if there is any such animal.

Happy motoring!
David Gray

Steve,

I went to Micheldever for the alignment check because I could see the camber was wrong. I have had no real handling problems, except that the front wheels follow every bump in the road when braking any more than moderately hard, but I guess this is the price you pay for low profile tyres.

I go to Trident, Ottershaw for the other stuff, but they don't have the expertise to deal with suspension stuff.

Rob.
Rob

Rob noted:
>>the 'thrust axis' from the drive of the rear wheels should be in line with the long axis of the car. If the rear subframe is slightly off, then the car will 'crab' long the road, as the rear wheels tend to send the rear of the car off in a different direction to the rest of the car.<<

David noted:
>>However, just before the end of the 3 year warranty (the best money I have ever spent with Rover) the car started to pull over to the right on braking and to the left on acceleration. It was so bad that on one occasion I almost hit the central reservation barrier on the M25!.
Back to Rover who had the car for over 2 weeks. It was returned with the comment that they had had to fit a new rear subframe and new 'control bushes' whatever these are. Result, problem cured (for the time being!)
The car now travels in a straight line under all conditions.<<

I had *exactly* the same experience after my 1996 MGF unfortunately collided with a hazardous high road bump, at night in a totally unlit street, back in 1998. Quite a 'shocking' experience...

As a result of the collission, my *F* behaved in an unpredictable dangerous way at any speed above 120 km/h, and *very* dangerous at any speed above 150 km/h. Two times my car nearly swerved into the central reservation barrier of the E40 highway. I couldn't do anything but steering gently to the right, because suddenly 'correcting' the direction was even more dangerous.

It felt like both rear wheels behaved in a different way than both front wheels. As my brother Dirk described the steering in a very precise way: "it feels as if you were steering a tailhappy pudding on four wheels... a bad kart". Steer right, and the car goes to the right put wiggles a bit left-right-left as soon as you stop steering to the right.

Conclusion: both the front subframe and the rear subframe were replaced (lucky for me that my insurer covered the road bump accident, because the bill was... ouch!).

Ever since the replacement, my car drives perfect. The splitter further improves the driving-stability.

If you experience an uncomfortable 'pudding'-feeling, then replace the subframe that causes the trouble. Your personal health and life is definitely worth much more than the (expensive) price to be paid for the repairs...

Cheers,
Luc
Luc

Will try to get those guys to fax me the printout from their £129.25 job in resetting of the geometry on my car. They are FW Mays (Chiswick, West London)- formerly known as Chequered Flag and from whom I got the car. So now you know who to avoid like the plague.

Swain and Jones quoted £98 incl of VAT but FW Mays had apparently already started work on my car when I read your posts about Micheldever, so couldn't pull out by then.

I have not had time to go back to them for the test drive to check out the car re the pulling to the left. I cannot afford to take the time off work nor to have the car off the road again (they are dreadful at providing courtesy cars - have to book like weeks in advance) and they don't open on Saturdays or Sundays.
Jody

Been talking with Marvin at Techspeed today about what they seem to be doing that Rover with their 4 wheel laser thingys dont/cant/wont.

He seems genuinley perplexed as to why Rover dealers are making such a hash of things.

The only thing is that they set the traking using the sub frames as the datum - the famous piece of string is fitted to the sub frames. What datum does the laser thing use - the car body, the sub frames or something else?

Paul

ps
Jody, I think you need to talk to Marvin - they're open on Saturdays. They can do your gearchange as well.

Paul

Paul,

>>
>>
I am not sure of the makes but Rover only recommend 2 allignment checkers - both computerised laser systems. Apparently it
is impossible to set allignment correctly on a conventional system.
<<

Sorry Dave, thats complete and utter crap.

Paul
P9 VLS
<<

Just what I had been told - looks like I was misled on that one.

Dave
Dave Driver


> Just what I had been told - looks like I was misled on that one.

It is what Rover have said in the past.
In an effort to get inner tyre wear claims down, they were
insisting that garages invest in one of two machines.
Both expensive. Both 'computerised lazer' whatnots.

However, I think what Paul correctly said (quite succinctly too! :-) )
is that you do not *need* the machine to setup the car correctly.

With time, skill and some string the same results can
be achieved. Dealers have loads of time, can probably lay
their hands on some string............etc.

P.
Paul Nothard

Bit like this communications thing we are using, get your self a nice Bill Gates Electronic Wizard or do it the old fashioned way, pencil, paper and a pigeon

Ted
Ted Newman

Bugger. The inner edge of my mouse
ball has gone. I'll have to
get the tracking set up. Now where that string.
JFK

Jody,

All my sympathies for all your disruption and aggravation from you dealer.

I had similar tracking issues with my new 1.8I mk2 (oct99) including the issue with the 'wheel. The right solution came after talking and writing directly with the manager of MGF Customer Services, making them aware of how absolutely inept my selling dealer was, and using Trident Ottershaw (m3/m25) to do all the repairs. All work done under warranty and I was able to use one of their MGF courtesy cars as long as I liked until the repairs were to the excepted standard.

The result and effort was worth it.

Bad dealerships are just that and need routing out.

Francis
V272 ROH
Francis

http://www.bath.ac.uk/~ccsjst/mgf/suspension.htm
shows copies of the output from a Hunter alignment rig.

The operator stressed that he first lined up the sub-frames before fiddling with the track rod ends.

The sub-frames have elongated locating holes to allow for body tolerances and to help assembly line workers fit them.

enjoy

jt
John Thomas

>Bad dealerships are just that and need routing out.

I'm not going to say anything! :)))
Paul Lathwell

Also, the camber is out on some F's because either the car was not jigged properly or the subframe is missaligned. I had this on my left front, problem was cured when I had a garage fit some polly bushes, Because they had to drop the front subframe to complete the job.

They seem to have put it back together again within specification so I nolonger have this problem. It looks like "you must have curbed it" seems to be the answer from a lot of garages recently when they all know it is a common problem.

My advice is to change to toe in at the front and have the polly bushes fitted. This will also give a (better) garage a chance to fix any subframe missalignment while they are at it.

Again, it seems that a garage is talking rubbish just to scar you into giving them loads of cash and thinking it's all your fault, this is a known problem with the MGF, don't let them tell you otherwise.

Always, Always, Always ask for the printour of the alignment and Always ask them to explain what they mean exactly when they say "the settings were wrong so we fixed them".

It may seem to be a little expensive for the full set of polly bushes, but it will give much improved suspension performance and allow you to use much better settings for your tracking saving a load of money on tyres.

Not all Fs have this problem, but those that do (like mine) really require some different settings and upgrades to preserve our tyres and improve our handling. My F is much more stable in a line and round corners now, so much so that I have decided I don't need a splitter to cure any instability :-).

I hate Rover Dealers except for the one that fitted my bushes, pitty they did not think to make him an official MG dealer because the two other dealers who I have used were useless (in their own unique way) and were given the official MG seal of approval at the start without a problem.
Tony Smith

Leaking windows/rubbers
Dealer just can't seem to get it right. I have a 99 mgf which has leaked through the window and mirror areas since new.
The electric windows when being raised seem to close in a judder unevenly as if they are not true in their guides. Are the windows supposed to seal on the outside of the roof rubber seal or seal into it. Mine seem to sit on the outside of the rubber and you can literally look through a small gap into the cabin.
Any similar problems? dealer is trying but doesnt seem to know what to do. We are a seven hour return drive to the closest dealer from home so it is abit of a pain.
Tom

Hi,
Licky !!! I'm back on the road with my uprated and repaired suspension.

- worn front ball joint changed
- rear poly bushes installed (Powerflex)
- hight set a bit lower then standard (Driver side 360 and Co-Driver side 358mm)
also the gear cable is fixed.

Oh, what a great drive feeling :)))))))))))))))))))))))))
I recommend this upgrade at last not only for friends who have got tracking problems.

The driving is really great, as far as I can explain it.
- No more direction change at load changes, special at top speed and in curves.
- No more visible Toe Angle change at the rear rims
(if I pull the handbrake and rattle the car to the front and back with open boot and strong grip to the rear panel)

The cars values just before the tracking (4-wheel alignment) was done, with description of the reasons for this totally out values:
Front toe angle FL -0°14' FR-0°13
(set it lower from 368 to 358mm and got a new ball joint at the front left)

Rear Toe angle RL 0°53' RR 0°40'
(PU-Bushes to the tie bar and rear wishbone, so the wishbone got about 8mm more out to the rear)

I recently did not install the front poly bush set and also left out the compliance washers.
These washers are IMO a useful ugrade for the standard bearings of the tie bars, but are not really rewuired if you get the poly-bushes installed.

In my individual case I let the tracking set to toe zero, rear and front
FL 0°0' FR 0°0'
RL 0°0' RR 0°0'

(FL = Front Left, RR= rear right etc)

I decided for this setup cause I'll try again to install the self turned short knuckle bolts.
After that works the car will get pumped to 340mm. The toe angles will get Toe Out for some minutes then. (hope on 5 to 8 minutes, value as known)

Cheers
Dieter
PS it got a cheap job. Only 240 quid for the works including the tracking and replacement of the gear selector cable. NOT at an MG dealer.

Dieter

This thread was discussed between 31/07/2000 and 17/08/2000

MG MGF Technical index

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