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MG MGF Technical - Help requested; creaking noises


I'm hoping that someone could suggest some simple
differential tests that might help me identify the
source of a creaking noise from the front of my 96 VVC.
As it stands, my local dealer will no doubt swap things
until I say the noise is gone, but I'd like to point
them in the right direction first. However, I've run
out of things to do/tests to make and still haven't
made much progress. Here's the information I do have:

The noise is extremely difficult to describe because
it sounds like nothing else I've heard. It sounds a bit
like something very heavy shifting back and forth by
a very small amount, and a bit like a rumbling squeak
of wooden floor boards. It is continual and irregular.

The car has made this noise for at least 12 months,
but has got slowly worse over time.

The noise appears to come from within the console. I
have yet to try listening for it from the outside.

The noise seems to be loudest after the car has been
left for a while, and all but dissapears after one
or two minutes' driving. It is difficult for me to
say if this is because my ears become less sensitive
in the mean time. It is really only heard when
travelling at less than walking pace, e.g. manoeuvering
in a car park.

The noise happens every time I set off, even when
driving on a very smooth & flat surface.

I can reproduce the noise with the engine off by
letting the car roll down a gentle slope.

The noise happens even if the steering wheel is held
still (in any position), providing that the car is
moving forwards. Movement of the steering
wheel, as the car is moving forwards, seems to produce
more of the same noise.

After jacking the car up, I can rotate both of the
front wheels normally. The front left wheel can be moved very slightly about a vertical axis; the play
is <1mm at the wheel rim (a very recent service
report stated that there was "slight movement in all
top ball joints").

Bouncing the car up and down by pushing above the
front shock absorbers produces some sqeaking; I don't
know if that is the same noise as is heard from inside.

The only other problem with this car is an
intermittent squeak when turning left; experience
suggests that this might be the rear brake pads
almost reaching the end (the front pads are very new).

So, does anyone have any good ideas for things to try?
Failing any tests, my "guess in the dark" would be
the steering rack --- is this something I can
easily lubricate? N.B. my mechanical ability is based
more on willingness than skill, and is in any case
limited by owning no tools other than four
screwdrivers and an adjustable spanner.

Many thanks for any advice, comments, etc..


Robert Harris

Hi Robert.

I'm having a similar problem diagnosing a funny suspension noise at the front. Conveniently, I have taken the plunge and and getting some work done on the car by Techspeed who will try and work out what's wrong at the same time. They really are a pain in the a*se to find.

My first guess is a wheel bearing. My reasoning is simple: it happens when the car is moving forwards no matter where the steering wheel is and it also is made worse/different when the steering wheel is turned and you change direction.

I don't think that a problem with the steering rack would make a noise when the car is rolling forwards in a straight line.

Does this fit with what you've experienced so far?
Has anyone rules this out, and if so, why?


ps. BBS is a bit quiet as many are running round the continent on the infamous Treffen tour.
Paul Nothard

My guess would be a wheel bearing too. When jacked up it wont make a noise but under load it will grumble. Check that left hand one first.

Bruce Caldwell

Thanks for these comments. Is it possible to
check the integrity of a wheel bearing in a simple

Robert Harris

And some extra exhaust clamps around cross-member beam just for the sake of it?
Not that hard to put on.
Hanah Kim


I have a very similar noise coming from roughly the front right side of the car. Only happens at slow speeds etc etc. Also get some noise from suspension by bouncing it up and down but think this may be different. I recently took it into B&G's when the noise either got worse or another noise started from the Rack. They stripped it down and greased the bushes on the end of the steering arms. This made the worst of the noise go away, but still original noise persists. They are convinced it is the Rack that is on the way out but I am not so sure (especially as a Rack is ~ 240 quid + VAT). I've had the bearing suggested before so am now waiting for some time to have a look at this. My intention it to start from the cheap things first (bushes, track rod ends) that I can fix myself, and only then move to a new rack if the sound persists. Fingers crossed its not the rack.

Good luck and if you find anything could you let me know.

Richard Rowland

This thread was discussed between 08/09/2003 and 15/09/2003

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