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MG MGF Technical - I am Considering buying an MGF

Im considering buying an MGF as an every day (light use <10K per anum)... just a bit perturbed by the tails of HGF doom I see on here...

Any thoughts / pointers and advice welcome from those of you with with experience... of driving / owning an MG F...

I own a 79 1500 midget but She's not for daily general use... would like to stay with MG and an F seems like the obvious coice.... however comments on here raise a bit of concren...

seemingly HGF is something of a birth right for the MG F....

Comments welcome....

Yours in MG

Darby Allen

We may have dented our MGF two or three times since buying it new 8 and half years ago, and we may have thrashed it few times on the Nürburgring, plus we may have done a few 'hairy' continental trips and last year she blew a radiator hose BUT to date she still has her original head gasket....

So Darbs take heart they make an excellent every day car, our was for 8 years our only car and is still our car of preference.

AND do remember that these 'boards' attract people with problems - so if every MGF was a problem car, with over 70,000 of them being built there would be no room for any other BBS on the internet!

Just buy one and enjoy it.

Ted Newman


< HGF doom >

That phrase sounds very familiar, since I headed my current thread with it. Having said that, I'm not sure at this point if I actually do have an HGF, and at this point the car has done 80,000+ miles, every one of which, since I bought it at 45,000, we have enjoyed.

2 major trips on the continent to the Cote d'Azur (2100 miles) and the Italian Tyrol (2500 miles) with no problems at all. Roof down, wind through your hair, etc, etc. We have never had so much enjoyment from a car, and I've had a lot. Don't be dissuaded. They are comfortable and fun to drive. Enjoy! No car is perfect, but this one is great.


Thanks Ted,

fair comment any Ideas on prices and specific things to look out for....

Some how buying the Midget didnt seem so daunting... body work solid.. millage original.. stacks of history etc.... basic and nut & bolt engineering...

The TF however has me wondering if you dont know specifically what to watch out for it may be easy to land a bad one....

also what are the pit falls common faults if any... specific to the F's also will being an F driver some how cause me not to wave / give the customary MG salute or flash of lights.... that we drivers of the older marques seem to freely exchange...

flashed / waved about 5 TF / F drivers.... nothing but looks of astonishment... But a passing Triamph stag flashed ME !!... Am I too old for my age is this tradition dead... can vividly remember it being a dailly exchange as a child late 70's early 90's as a passenger in my Dads BGT... Sorry digressed a wee bit.

Yours in MG

Darby Allen

Sorry correction thats child in late 70's early 80's

Obviously no offence meant to F / TF drivers... mearly an observation.... anyone else agree ?
Darby Allen


Have a look at.........

and select the FAQ.


Also.... and select Buying Guide from top left options.


The subject of waving or not waving comes up here regularly. If you flash or wave to someone who is a member of this BBS, then more than likely you will get a response. The tradition is not dead. Even in NZ we get F drivers who wave and those who do not, even though the F/TF is not at all common here. I try to wave at any MG however old it may be.
Neil Courtney

Nothing to add ??

You will like it or you'll hate it.
Who knows if you don't try ???

I recall what a former works colleage said whilst I was thinking of buying a convertible (MGF) exactly 6 years ago:

*How long will you wait ? Consider just having _went away_ and resting in the *dark black* box. You suddenly wake up and knock on the _cover_ from inside, shouting 'let me out, I missed to own an MGF !!'.

... that's to late ;)

Pleased to having met Ted and Tony and loads of more BBS guys on some of their continental rides.

Dieter K.

Buy a MGF its fun,very good value,buy one of the last F's before they started to started cost cutting.
Joe one

The MGF is a very nice looking car however very poorly finished. But if you can live with a few hood leaks and replacing parts often, you will be fine. The real problem is the engine which is the world champion of head gasket blower. You will have to be specifically insured about. After two MGF´s and three HGF in a row I would recommend you to think it twice.
Andrew Lloyd

Hood leaks Andrew? Neither my F or the TF have leaked a drop of water through the hood. Except when it is down and it is raining hard, of course. Then the water gets wiped off the screen, onto the drivers side window, then over the top into your lap. Thems the breaks.

HGF may never happen. But the F is getting a bit long in the tooth now. Go for a TF instead. Many people do not like the little slatty things on the nose, and prefer the F's looks. A TF may have a few less 'options' compared to the F, but if you can do without the net in the boot, net for maps behind the passengers seat (I never knew about this when I had the F), twin horns, bonnet light and a few other odds and sods, then a TF must be the way to go. And the TF engine has (to date) shown a lot less propensity to suffer HGFs.

Go for it. You know you want to.
Neil Courtney

I've seen TF front and rear put onto Fs, so it must be possible to put the F front and rear onto a TF and therefore enjoy the "Better" styling. Personally however I think both look great. The best car I have ever owned is my 99 V reg F.
John Dickson

A prime motivator for swapping the bumpers TF to F is the headlamps. The TF lamps are a lot better than the F ones (from an illumination aspect) and thus if you want the lamps, the bumper comes with it (TF lamps don't fit in a *standard* MGF nosecone).

This is not the only reason to do this, having the current styling, actually preferring the look of the TF, just fancying a change - the list is endless and entirely subjective as these are personal preferences and everyone has thier own. But on a dark rainy night, TF projector lamps are a definite bonus.

Scarlet Fever


I bought a MGF in May. My previous cars were big saloons like the S type Jag and Rover 75 and I thought it would be time to drive something a bit more interesting.

I don't regret the purchase for a minute. The HGF issue can be handled if you look at the fluid levels regularly. I keep a bottle of water in the boot and top up as needed. (this is as technical as I get)

The MGF is fun to drive (make sure you have good tyres though) and yes there are a few annoying things - no aircon for one, but if its that hot put the top down.

Personanally I feel the MGF has more style than the TF but its a choice thing. The MG is one of those cars to be seen in and people always comment on it. You are buying a pedigree and style not just buttons and knobs on the dash.

I paid £7.5k for an R reg but it only had 20k miles on it - I think that was a good deal. A lot of old MG's have been 'loved' all their lives and I actually feel a bit guilty driving mine up and down the motorway each day!

If you don't go for an MG what else are you considering? Go for it, you wont regret it.

Blimey - where did this passion for a car come from - do I need help?
K Ross

Like K Ross I also moved from big saloons - my last Jag was an XJR but the F is miles more fun. I bought a 98 Abingdon model and I have already started the mods. I don't even think about HGF but I always check the fluids on all my cars weekly so no change there.

I bought the car for fun, I drive it every day and it can be modified to whatever level you want - a few cheap mods or change almost everything.

I also enjoy this BB and the exchange of views with other people not to mention the help with How do I?? type of questions.

Buy an F and wait for Rob Bell to fit TF projectors in the F lamps!!! Any joy yet Rob????
Kevin s

To be honest, I haven't done any more work on that Kevin :o( Thoughts of a 200+bhp MGF are currently occupying my imagination! ROFL
Rob Bell


I know that the wing and bonnet is the same from F to TF, and the bumper is different!! Do you know if the TF lights would fit inside the F front bumper, i.e. the indicator portion not seen? or is there more to it than that?
Kevin s

Sadly not, for a couple of reasons all involving the shape of the TF lamps relative to the F items:
1. the TF lamps are not as tall as the F lamps - so you'd end up with an unsightly gap beneath the lamp
2. the TF lamps protrude further forward than the F items - meaning that there is no way they'd fit under the F bumper


The best result would be to fit the projectors inside the F lamps - but I am kinda stuck, and not sure how to move this project forward - certainly not in an economically viable way anyway :o(
Rob Bell

I don't suppose the TF back with the projectors mounted could be grafted into an F back - if that makes any sense? Sorry if I sound pushy but this type of mod would make a lot of sense.
Kevin s

I agree it would look superb - but I tried that as the first thing I did -- it didn't work :o(
Rob Bell

Sounds like a body shop may be needed to modify the bumper to fit the lights? - probably the easiest option, don't know about cost though:0((
Kevin s

Gerry used an a highly modified F bumper with TF lights on Golden Wheels. It was a small bodyshop near Alloa (where he lives) that did all the work on the car for him. Have no idea how much it cost -
David Clelland

Not sure that I'd describe it as being the easiest option Kevin - certainly not from a stylistic point of view: the challenge is getting the new lamps to blend well with the curvy MGF styling. But perhaps easier from the perspective of actually fitting the lamps to the car...
Rob Bell

Exactly, What is easier? blending bodywork to easily installed lamps or modifying lights to fit? It seems to me that the modified lamps route is not easy at all?

How big is the gap under the TF lights to the bumper, and how much light is behind the bumper (the indicator part of the light)?

Kevin, the TF indicator is incorporated in the light unit not separate as on the F. Other than fogs, there are no TF lights in the front bumper/valance.

Kevin - I didn't measure it, but it is a considerable difference - 15mm?

On balance, yes, doing a 'golden wheels' is going to be the most practical option (actually, let's face it, doing a TF front end conversion is the easiest option). What this boils down to is whether you want to keep the MGF face, but employ TF headlamp technology.

I wonder whether there is a 'third way' - commission one of these companies that specialises in 'Lexus' style rear light clusters to build up a head lamp unit for us? Trouble is that we are looking at a limited market for the product, and I would not be in the least bit surprised if they decided that they were not interested... :o( But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying :o)
Rob Bell

>>we are looking at a limited market for the product

Limited, but I'd say a mod with potentially a much larger market than most. People who want to mod for performance are a niche, as are people who want a particular look (maxpower or otherwise), but there must be a large number of people who would swap poor headlights for good headlights without impacting the F's friendly face.

I'm surprised that Mr. Satur hasn't had a go. I can only assume that it is too expensive. With the right price tag it would sell in relative volume.
Dave Livingstone

I agree, Rob have you tried speaking to Mr Satur? Does he read this BB?

Are you there Mike?

Mike definitely reads this BBS (hi Mike!) - but whilst I agree that there is a market (of indeterminate size), he'd be the one risking his hard earned in commissioning the lamps and then buying stock, so he's the one you need to convince...
Rob Bell

Has anyone tried the Osram Silverstar bulbs? They make big claims about 50% more light on the road.
Ken Waring

In addition the Osram site says this.

Can I replace my halogen lights with XENON lamps.

Yes. OSRAM has lately introduced a XENARC system that fits almost all cars. This system consists of two Xenon lamps with two ballasts. For further details, please contact us.

I am waiting for an answer.

Ken Waring

I agree with you Rob, its all down to cost, I know you can buy second hand TF lights for £150 a pair + £9.50 for a bracket and they will fit and work, its just a case of a bit of filler!!!!!!!

How much would modified F lights cost?

Would people be prepared to pay the money - probably upwards of £250???
Kevin s

>> Would people be prepared to pay the money <<

Exactly - the crux of the issue at hand.

My initial thoughts were to re-use as many parts as humanly possible to keep costs down. Unfortunately, that simply not possible - probably the only part that could be kept is the polycarbonate/glass cover - almost everything else would need to be designed/tooled/manufactured from scratch = £££ :o/
Rob Bell

Hi Derby. re if you should buy an mgf.

OH yes very much so. I had my first last year as a (coff) 50th bday pressie. its been used every day since and although i had a prob with a starter motor connection ( nuther story) it has been great.

Advice i was given by an AA service engineer was always ( ALWAYS ) wait till engine has warmed up before thrashing it. the head gasket prob is in his humble op is one of unequal expansion and has been noted on other cars using the K series.

This was mentioned some time ago on this site when locallised boiling was discussed. I have spoken to prev owner of my love and who assured me that although he had used the car he also waited till temp was up before thrashing life out of it.

Im still waiting for a problem to hit me!

regards Brian
B D Nicholls

Hi Rob, yes I do read this BBS as often as I can (but don't live on it;-)glad I don't pay your wages.LOL)
I am developing a headlight conversion for my own use and if it pans out as I want it to then I have the option to put it into production, maybe.The ones I am fitting will have gas discharge dipped beams, the cost of these units are not a cheap option so it isn't going to be cheaper than buying new/s/h lamps just better lighting and maybe a nicer look.
BTW we do have a e-mail address so suggestions can be posted.

What style would those lamps be Mike - TF or F? I guess the 'style' of the TF lamp cluster would lend itself easier to a gas discharge application.

PS since you're a Yorkshireman, I'm glad you're not paying my wages ;o) ;o)
Rob Bell

Rob, "PS since you're a Yorkshireman, I'm glad you're not paying my wages ;o) ;o) ""
'Aye lad i'll pay thee for what thas done' is my motto' lol.
The lamps (the theory) will be the basic F lamps with better light units fitted, this may need a new moulding but retain the F outer glass. Still to be done as I am on the same wavelength as you at the moment.."Thoughts of a 200+bhp MGF are currently occupying my imagination! ROFL "


LOL Mike ;o)

If you're building into standard MGF lamps, then I think that there could be a lot of interest in what ever solution you come up with. Would a cheaper projector lamp be possible?

Look forward to reading/seeing your 200 bhp monster... Have you taken Gerry's Honda VTEC engined beastie to the Nurburgring yet?
Rob Bell

A reply from Osram

>You have picked up a web site in Lebanon.

>These conversions are not road legal in >Europe and are therefore not available >here. European legislation requires >automatic levelling and headlight washing. >These are not easily retro-fitted.

So Osram do have a kit in some form or other.

Ken Waring

Haven't got there yet Rob, although the car has been mechanically finished for several weeks, we have been waiting for an electrical component for some 7 weeks after it was promised to be returned within a week!!!
Yes I am smouldering about it!Apart from that the space Gerry's car is occupying is preventing me from preparing my own s/c version.
Re the headlamps if productionised the Gas discharge lamps are the dimensions as the standard halogen units so a cheaper version would be possible.
Ken, wonder how many F's in the Lebanon have got them fitted;-)

H'mmmmmm that's a good question. On reflection probably the same number as the UK, none.
Ken Waring

This thread was discussed between 11/10/2004 and 23/10/2004

MG MGF Technical index

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