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MG MGF Technical - Hmmm - RAC Report just in....

Ok, some cause for thought, I just had a phone call from the RAC man who checked my potiental car over, he sounded like he knew a fair bit about 'F's from knowing what is common on them, i.e. HGFs!

Anyway, there's a few things that he said, for which the report will be with me in the morning...

1) Front and rear disks heavily worn.
- OK, it has done over 40K on the disks, they where changed not so long ago, but should the disks themselves wear out so quickly? Pads I expect to wear, and disks to a certain extent, but how long to disks last for on average?

2) Oil leak from Sump (he did say where, I can't remember) and Cylinder Head Gasket (!) - Yes, I paniced when I heard that as well. Kinda answers the question about getting the CHG replaced at the service.

3) Oil leak from Differential Gaiter. I hope that means something to someone!

4) A problem (a hole I think) in the exhaust either near or in the cat. (Ouch - Steve's Wallet).

5) Now, the owner did admit, to what is probably a common thing, loosing the 'F and spinning into a hedge, which required *all* the panels on the car to be replaced (he said he span along the hedge, denting and scratching the wings, bumpers etc.). Now, that doesn't sound all that bad, but apparently the bonnet is slightly out of alignment (which I think you can see on the pictures on the site http://www.mg-rover.org - reader's cars section). The RAC man said that this was probably just from the repairs not being done quite right and shouldn't be an indicator of anything more serious....

That's basically it, withholding a few stone chips here and there. Apart from the brakes, there's nothing there that to be honest, I didn't expect anyway, after all, it is 5 Years old and done 63K.

I was just wondering if anyone could pass comment on it, should I still go for the car anyway. Having to replace the brakes could be (and would be) a good excuse to fit a big brake conversion or just better brakes, the exhaust - well, I wanted a Sports exhaust anyway. The oil leak is the only bad thing, if its from one of the main sump gaskets, that sounds potientally expensive.

TIA


Steve Childs.
SteveCPS

It really all depends on how much the owner is asking for it. Generally I would stay away from any car that was involved in a serious accident especially one that required all panels to be changed as the subframes/suspension could be damaged as well. If the cat is damaged (could be from the spin) it is expensive to replace. Then you have to add at least another 500 for the HG. Adding new brakes and a full service (cambelt change?) and new driveshaft gaiters it will set you back quite a lot. Why not look at some other Fs as well?

Spyros
Spyros Papageorghiou

While it is true this one is cheap (6000), I don't believe it was because of these things. I honestly believe that he just didn't know how much it was worth.

Perhaps I'm wrong, if so he will say as much when I tell him what the RAC man said.

And the spin was 6 months after he had the car, he has kept it for a further 18 months after that, so that says to me that he wasn't worried about the state of the car.

Steve.

BTW, I've seen a few brake kits, anyone got any suggestions, ones that will fit into the standard 1.8i wheels? Currently looking at Motobuild for the disks, BG for the pads & steel hoses (yeah, not needed, but I want them!).

Do you think the Rover garage will fit them if I supply the parts, I'll ask them tommorrow, but is it normally the case that they will do so?

Regards

Steve.
SteveCPS

I bought a 96 F mpi (65K) last July for 6000. It was in pretty much the same state as you mentioned above, but had not been in an accident, it also needed a new radiator.

I ended up getting some money back from the seller so the F actually cost me about 4,500.

Use the RAC report to try and get a better price. I also don't think that it is worth getting a car of that age and price serviced at a dealer. I found a very competent mechanic who charges 20 per hour rather than the 55 per hour the dealer charges. I also think he does better work.
Ralph

Unfortunatly the big brakes don't fit in the standar 1.8 wheels. you need VVC 15" wheels or 16" wheels.

But B&G sell standard size discs that are better than standard items. with these and green stuff pads you should be sorted
Matt

Ralph, the problem is that he got a quote from a dealer who would buy it from him at 6K to 6.5K, so needless to say, he won't budge, and I don't blame him, I would have done the same.

However, really speaking, even if I get it serviced & get the things fixed (excl. brakes), its still going to be a good buy at 6.5K (effectivly). Besides, there's nothing dangerous with it and I've already spent 195 on the examination.

I wanted a car to "do up" anyway, so if the bits I was going to replace are worn anyway, does it really matter?

But I take your point about the mechanic, however I still personally think (wrongly or not), that its better to stick to a dealer, as the work is warrentied, should anything go wrong. Saying that, does anyone know a MG specalist around Birmingham - I'm not totally in favour of a Rover dealer if I can find someone that specialises in MGs?

TIA

Steve.
Steve Childs

Matt, yeah - I remembered from somewhere that big brakes don't fit the normal wheels, I remembered after I posted though!

I'll probably just go with the EBC disks & Greenstuff pads, unless the Dealer says that the disks should last for another 6 months or so and I'll save up for some new alloys & get the disks & alloys at the same time.

How easy / hard is it to change the disks & pads yourself, I'm not very experienced in DIY, but my Dad is restoring a Vitesse and is very usefull mechanically? ;)

Regards

Steve.
Steve Childs

The 195 you spent on the examination shouldn't bias your decision - this money was spent to gain information, no act as a 'down payment'. By spending less than 4% of the value of the investment up front, you get to understand your decision options better.

Bit like a structural survey on a house (although the %ages are different there!)

N837 OGF
Hugh

Hugh, I agree, but I can't really afford to look around at other cars, spending 195 each time. (Who can?) - This is the main problem with the inspections, if you are really unlucky (or lucky, depending on your point of view), you could spend 800 on inspections before you find a decent car.

By feeling before I had the survey done was that as long as nothing seriously dangerous was revealed, I would go for the car. The inspection was mainly for peace of mind and to highlight any potential problem areas, which it has done.


Regards



Steve Childs.
Steve Childs

Steve

I guess there are times when you have to say bugger it and take a chance. The F might cost you a bit of money but you will have fun.

People are constantly telling me to sell mine and get a "sensible" and "reliable" car but they have never had the sheer joy of barrelling down a nice road with top down, sun shining and the noise of a K&N roaring every time you put the foot down.
Ralph

Ralph, I couldn't agree more! There are risks in life, and this I feel is one worth taking. Well, I wouldn't really say it was a risk, I know what's wrong with the car, I know its going to cost some money to put right.

However, I also know (from a few test drives) how much fun an 'F is to drive.

Besides, I've already ordered my K&N 57i and front splitter together with new plug leads et al. - I need a car to put them onto ;p

Regards


Steve Childs.
Steve Childs

Steve,

I wish you luck my friend. With the problems that many of us have to face in addition to the known problems with your car I think you're going to have an expensive time. I believe that if you buy cheap then you pay more in the long run.

However, you appear to have made up your mind so I really do hope it goes well for you. Let us know the full story as it unfolds.

Regards,
Herod.
Herod

Just a word of caution against Rover Dealers, if you have the option don't touch them with a barge pole, unless they come recommended by several owners.

There charges are extortionate with a service costing you upto and past a grand changing for things like the indicator bulb as it was faded.

And don't feel you have any come back if something they fix like a head gasket doesn't last longer than a few 1000 miles and the engine breaks.

Jon
Jon

Hi Steve,

Just looking through the report...

1) Front and rear disks heavily worn.

Average use usually sees the discs in the bin at arround 40k miles. Had they really been replaced? Ask to see the bill for confirmation. As you plan to upgrade these parts anyway, this isn't much of an issue anyway. I would add to your list of brake upgrades anyway: get replacement s/s brake braided hoses to replace the old soggy rubber items, and consider fitting the servo support bracket, as the bulk head mount becomes less stiff with use.

2) Oil leak from Sump (he did say where, I can't remember) and Cylinder Head Gasket (!)

Again, if you were going to prophylactically replace the HG, not to much of a worry- but I'd be very keen to discover whether the engine had suffered from an HGF which *could* warp the ali cylinder head. Could be a cause of bad seating of the HG can oil leak?

3) Oil leak from Differential Gaiter. I hope that means something to someone!

A peculiar problem with early Fs in which the drive shaft oil seals could fail. They're usually rather expensice to replace, but Stu posted on the BBS that he had a source of reasonably cheap parts. Worth considering.

4) A problem (a hole I think) in the exhaust either near or in the cat. (Ouch - Steve's Wallet).

Could it be a leaking cat to exhaust gasket? No really a problem, readily replaced, especially if the exhaust were to be replaced with a sports system anyway.

Body panel replacement becomes less of an issue on cheaper older cars, just so long as the job has been done properly, and the chassis is straight (take extra careful care to inspect tyre condition- and if they're spanking new, be suspicious).

Steve, if you are budgeting engine work anyway, then you can buy this car with your eyes open: the problems could be seen as a blessing in disguise depending on whether you planned to undertake tuning work on it. Either way, use this as a lever to negotiate an even lower price as this is all work that clearly needs to be done.

Good luck

Rob
Rob Bell

Rob, thanks for your reply, just to answer a couple of things...
-------------
2) Oil leak from Sump (he did say where, I can't remember) and Cylinder Head Gasket (!)

Again, if you were going to prophylactically replace the HG, not to much of a worry- but I'd be very keen to discover whether the engine had suffered from an HGF which *could* warp the ali cylinder head. Could be a cause of bad seating of the HG can oil leak
-------------
It was one of the first things I asked, and he said no, as far as he knows. He is the second owner, so it is possible it had happened before.

-------------
Body panel replacement becomes less of an issue on cheaper older cars, just so long as the job has been done properly, and the chassis is straight (take extra careful care to inspect tyre condition- and if they're spanking new, be suspicious).
-------------
erm, the tyres are brand new F1s. Well, probably 6 months old. I would have hoped that if the chassis wasn't straight the RAC should have picked that up...?
The repairs where done by Stephen Palmer, a name I understand is familiar amongst the MG community.

And yeah, the Disks where replaced, I saw the reciept myself.

As you say Rob, I do see these problems as a kind of blessing in disguise, and I don't doubt I will spend more on this car in 12 months than I spent on my 200 Diesel in 18. However, my 200 was brand new, the MG is 5 years old. The 200 can be fun to drive, the 200 however doesn't compare to the 'F' in fun stakes when compared.

Besides, after a Maestro, Rover 216, Rover 418, 220SDI and a 220iS, I think I'm overdue a sporty and fun car to drive. - One I don't mind paying for.

I have to give Brown & Gammons a mention here. I orderd a splitter, K&N kit, Clear lamp kit, Ignition Leads, Hartop Wall brackets, and a few other things (including Union Jack flag badge & MG Keyfob, I need to replace my worn Rover Fob now :D), I placed the order over the net last night. I rang up today to enquire if I could have the splitter painted and they had shipped the order. Talk about quick service, 5 stars so far for them. Even if I am going to have to get the splitter painted elsewhere now! - I suppose a dealer will charge the earth. :(

I also ordered a competition head gasket from Mike Satur to replace the one in the car, so all in all, this will be an expensive introduction to the MG world, but this is one world I intend to stay in for many years to come. :)


Regards


Steve.
Steve Childs

Steve, perhaps when the engine is apart, get an engineer to ensure that the head and engine block faces are true. If not get them skimmed. UK petrol is broadly good stuff, so an increase of compression ratio is no bad thing performance wise ;o)

If you could afford to have it done, whilst the motor is in pieces, you might want to consider getting it blue-printed, and the head breathing sorted... Your wallet will not be keen on the idea though! LOL

Steven Palmer was a well respected MG dealer, but over stretched itself with MGF mods to the extent it upset BMW-Rover, lost the franchise, and became financially insolvent. :o( They had great ideas though- commissioned the excellent SP exhaust from Miltek and the Supercharger (Cheetah) conversion from Turbo Technics. Ahead of their time I guess.
Not sure whether they had a top notch body shop though? One would hope so.

Rob
Rob Bell

Rob, what do you mean by "you might want to consider getting it blue-printed, and the head breathing sorted... "

I have to explain this to the engineer, fine he might know, but I don't want to appear completely daft! (even if it is true =))

TIA

Steve.
Steve Childs

This kind of work should carry a wallet health warning Steve!

Blue printing is simply the term applied to an engine that is completely stripped down and rebuilt precisely to manufacturer's specifications. Remember that the K-series is a mass produced motor, so there are many 'rough' edges that can be removed to improve the effeciency and performance of the engine. Many people also take the time to ensure that all the reciprocating parts are also 'balanced' ie pistons, conrods, crankshaft masses are all equal. This will have the benefit of making for a smoother motor. And this also provides a firm grounding for any future performance modificantions- especially normally aspirated applications associated with higher engine speeds.

Porting the head is a very simple way of getting extra power from a 1.8i. The standard 1.8i head is identical to that fitted to the 1.4 litre K series, so breathing is not ideal for 1.8 litre engines. Again cleaning up the inlet and exhaust ports will reap advantages, as will enlarging the valves- VVC standard size valves appear to work very well. Dave Andrew's web site is a mine of such information- check out http://members.aol.com/DVAndrews/kengine.htm

There are plenty of companies that can carry out this work. But it isn't cheap: you'll be paying for a considerable amount of technical man-hours. A head, if purchased commercially, will cost 2.5k pounds. No idea how much blue-printing and balancing would cost. Might be worth while canvassing round local registered engine builders for quotes (even if only for general information). Dave Andrews may even be able to help you out there?

Ahhh, to dream... ;o)

Rob
Rob Bell

Rob, you summed it up well at the end there, oh to dream! :p

I'll get a warrenty out on the car anyway, so if anything does go pop, it should be covered.

Regards


Steve.
Steve Childs

Steve,

I know of an MGF that was reshelled by Stephen Palmer -its panel fits are also bloody awful. Perhaps its a signature of their work.

Other than that I think SP must have done a good job on the car as its spends most weekends haveing the guts thrashed off it on track days. The car now sports a 190bhp engine, sorted suspension, close ratio box, AP racing brake kit, full roll cage, sports seats etc etc.

>>
Saying that, does anyone know a MG specalist around Birmingham - I'm not totally in favour of a Rover dealer if I can find someone that specialises in MGs?
<<

Techspeed Motorsport at Leamington Spa are simply the best. Not cheap (but cheaper than Rover) but they are the best and its worth the drive. Phone 01926 632066 and speak to Marvin. Tel him Paul sent ya. Must talk to Marvin about some commission one day:-).

Good luck with the car at 6K you cant go wrong (IMO). At least you have been spared the woeful service that Hartwells in Walsall seemed to think was acceptable. Any ideas how Hamstead are getting on?

Paul
P9 VLS
Paul

Paul:

>At least you have been spared the woeful service that Hartwells in Walsall seemed to think was acceptable

Oh no I wasn't, I bought my current car from new from them, they suck. Well, they did, they had to move so that the new by-pass, or what ever it is can come through. If you know Walsall, there used to be a Renault garage around by the Saddler's museum, well that's now a MG-Rover garage. I know the chap in charge, he's a nice guy, hopefully the service dept. are up to scratch, as I shall soon find out, no doubt.

LOL, I just rememembered, I got a letter 3 days before they closed, saying that the nearest MG-Rover garage was in West Brom. What they *should* have said was that the nearest HARTWELL Rover garage was in West Brom. Tossers.

Oh well.

Are these techspeed the same as the guys who do the decent lowering service. I hope so, my wallet hopes not ;)

Regards

Steve.
SteveCPS

Steve, they're the same chaps. I'm in the process of getting my car booked in there myself- so might see ya there! LOL

Rob
Rob Bell

Rob, that would be nice actually, we'll have to try and arrange it. :)

Steve.
SteveCPS

This thread was discussed between 20/03/2001 and 21/03/2001

MG MGF Technical index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGF Technical BBS is active now.