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MG MGF Technical - How can I improve my handling?

Hi all, I've come into a little biot of money and the bank don't want me to pay them back(without filling in lots of forms) so I want to know
1) How much diffrence do lowering knuckles change the car?
2) How much is other items (shocks/bushes etc)
3) I don't want to spend a lot - in what order should I look at doing things (prices etc)?
4) should I just go and buy a new computer?

Will Munns

Hi Will,
I had knuckles, rear compliance washers and 2 new shocks fitted at B&G last week.
Total bill around 450.00. This includes 4 wheel alignment too.
Knuckles 100, fitting, alignment and rear compliance washers 200 then 150 for 2 rear shocks including fitting.
The difference is amazing. HTH


Kieren Gibson

ps B&G told me the biggest and most noticable improvement would be knuckles and compliance washers. I looked into having the full set of Poly bushes, but that's around 350 with fitting, so I'll leave that for another day...


Kieren Gibson


Kierens advice will improve the car handling.

My advice would be to buy something nice for Beckie as this will improve your chance of living long enough to enjoy the improved handling :-)


Don't buy a new computer - it'll be obsolete in 2 weeks...

So, handling... There's a question to get one's teeth into!

The question as usual is how much you are prepared to spend, but here are the conventional routes to improved handling and better 'feel' (and a couple that are not):

Conventional MGF handling aids:

1. Tyres. You've probably read alot about this Will, but their importance cannot be over emphasised. Loads of recommendations in the archives, but the ones to go for seem to be the new generation of Goodyear F1 (GS-D3).

2. Lowering. Best achieved with lowering knuckles, as this maintains spring and damper rates intrinsic to the hydragas displacers. Means better ride, and better handling through lowered centre of gravity without compromising wheel control. Lowering also shifts the bump steer characteristics and increases negative camber, that in this case is a good thing. Toe - angles will need to be altered to compensate at the front: parallel (0 degree) toe or modest toe - in will prevent the tyres from wearing unevenly.

3. Upgrade suspension bushes. Several options here, and can be lumped into 2 categories: 1st are MG OEM parts and 2nd are poly bushes. In the 1st category you have compliance bush spacers (very good idea for push-on driving - gives more predictable control of the rear of the car). Also in this category you have the solid subframe bushes from the Trophy 160. Also from the Trophy 160 are the rotated rear lower wishbone bush, that increases toe-in on the loaded outer wheel to improve turn-in response. (see for more details). The 2nd category is the whole sale replacement of all the bushes with PU items that are stiffer, give better suspension control and last longer than rubber. Talk to Mike Satur about these.

4. Stiffer dampers. Available from all our MG retailing chums - usually adjustables. I went the Techspeed route, with high quality Bilstein dampers. Excellent choice, I am absolutely smitten with the decision. Highly recommended. Dampers will reward you with more secure handling, with reduced rates of initial roll. The whole car will feel significantly more composed and secure.

5. Restrict the fore-aft hydragas connection or remove it completely: advantage as this will limit suspension pitch under heavy braking or acceleration. Not absolutely essential on a road car, IMO.

Want to improve the feel and handling more? Okay:

1. change the steering rack for one from the TF. It's 30% faster, and has less play. Result, better communication, faster steering - solves one of my personal biggest problems with the MGF chassis - steering feel.

2. Want to get around corners faster? Look into uprating the anti-roll bars, front and rear. By careful specification of these items you can set your car to be neutral, to understeer or to oversteer. I image that Techspeed maybe able to help you out with this - but there isn't a huge amount about this in the archives.

Given about 800 quid to spend, I'd personally lower the car, fit rear compliance bush spacers, and have Techspeed install their Bilstein dampers (this is what I had done). If I had a few more pennies to spend, I'd also go for the TF steering rack (about 300 quid all in I think). Result: you'd be hard pressed to beat this car in a TF! ;o)
Rob Bell


<<Techspeed install their Bilstein dampers>>

Are you sure they use Bilstein?

<<5. Restrict the fore-aft hydragas connection or remove it completely>>

How do you actually do this because I have been unable to find the valves, the workshop manual wasn't very clear?


Neil Stothert

Hi Neil,

Tech-speed originally used Eibach dampers, but more recently have moved to using Bilsteins, built to an identical specification (they are not adjustable - picture at

Regarding restricting fore-aft hydragas connection, this is not something that is easy to achieve, and the recharging valves (are these what you mean??? have nothing to do with this function. Two options are to fit a restrictor valve, as fitted to the Trophy 160, or to remove these lines altogether, as Tech-speed will do for you if requested (the famous 'Nipple Job' - a similar modification to that used in the MGF Cup cars).

Hope this helps
Rob Bell

Hi Rob

I thought I'd remembered you saying that you had closed a valve on the suspension, it was a long time before you had the Techspeed Nipple Job. I've had a good look through the archives but cannot find anything about it. I must be going mad.

Neil Stothert

No worries Neil :o)

BTW I haven't got the TS nipple job - I figured that this contravened the MGCC Speed Championship regs... so I've got their lowering knuckles and dampers fitted, plus I had the subframe bushes upgraded to the 'green spec' (the early ones on my car were as per Metro - as indicated on the suspension upgrades linked mentioned above).

Very pleased with the result of all this work. Not sure whether there is more to be gained by adding the Trophy interconnection restrictor or not... I think Paul Sharpe's car may have this?
Rob Bell

Interesting Rob

I was booked into Techspeed for the works to the suspension prior to the steering rack giving up, which put a stop to that. Then I went and blew my bonus on a new interior, Oxford Leather seats etc so that's put further suspension mods even further back. However, I'm coming under considerable pressure from my wife to enter the sprints soon (wives like this are hard to find) so possibly not having the TS nipple job was lucky.

Neil Stothert


My car has the restrictor.

Having had my car originally without the restrictor, then with it and subsequently driving a car with the '4 nipple' job I can't say there is a lot of difference between any of them.

Certainly any difference is insignificant compared to the improvement gained by fitting the shock absorbers and getting the tracking right.


As Paul says, getting the dampers and tracking sorted really transforms the car Neil - plus the non-adjustable shockers that Techspeed use are Sprint regulation compliant :o)

And lucky you for having such a supportive wife regarding the sprinting :o) Is she keen to have a go too? Yimmy avidly supports me, but is certainly not keen (fair enough). Oddly though, my mother is threatening to join in for next year! LOL Maybe on the look out for another F in that case...

Mad family! ;o)
Rob Bell

She is certainly keen to have a go but somewhat concerned about double the damage to the car. The other problem is the embarrassment of being beaten by my wife which, if I'm honest, is inevitable:-)

Mind you, being beaten by my mother would be even worse!

Neil Stothert

This thread was discussed between 05/08/2002 and 07/08/2002

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