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MG MGF Technical - Intermittent starting problems

Happy New Year to all!

I have been having starting problems and wonder if anyone has experienced anything like this before. Apologies for War and Peace here but I am at my wits end with this one.

I had the ECU on my 97 F replaced along with a major service back in December. When I got the car back, all was fine for a week then the green light would come on with the accompanying shrieking warning for what I discovered was the coolant level. Around the same time I started experiencing intermittent starting problems where the car would turn over but the engine would cut out pretty well immediately. Over the next few days this became more regular (the car would eventually start) and I took it back to the mechanic. They looked at it, said 1) they topped up coolant and couldn't find a leak and 2)didn't experiece any problems starting so off I drove. Then 2 days later on Xmas eve it died big time and would not start for love or money. Called the RAA who took one look and said 'workshop job'. So after a number of calls with me getting progressively grumpier it ended up being towed back to the yard. After phoning the mechanic several times I was told they could not find a problem. So I gave it a couple of days and after no more reponse from them I went to pick it up. Talking to the service manager, I was gain told they couldn't find a fault. So after querying what I was supposed to do when it happened again, off we went to the car -I am sure he was thinking I was making this all up - sure enough the problem they hadn't been able to find happened again and it wouldn't start. So it's still there and their story is well we can't do anything til it happens again. Not a promising diagnosis from my standpoint.. With all the public holidays and close down it has been the worst time to happen but I really don't think they have much idea and I think this may be one of those 'you have to have experienced it' problems.
I had a look at some threads and saw mentions of starter solenoids, wires and fuses shorting, and lambda sensdors (don't know what they are?) but I think this is something else, either related to the ECU replacement (by the way they connected again to testbook and couldn't get a fault code) or something they replaced/damaged during the service.
If anyone has any ideas I can't tell you how much I would appreciate feedback.
A Steventon

What workshop did you take it to?
Are you in Adelaide?

I bought my F from Prestige Motors in July 08 and was not impressed with their Service Dept.


Well I wasn't going to name any names but perhaps I could say that's an extremely good guess. As the ECU, and hence car, died I went to the only place in Adelaide who have testbook.

After spending 4 grand all up (also got suspension done) I expect better service than this, hence posting here. I get the feeling I am going to have to end up taking it elsewhere to be fixed and try to bill them for the work. Maybe you haven't had any work done yet but have you used anyone else in Adelaide?

A Steventon

I have recebtly had some work done, lots of minor stuff that was meant to be done at the time of sale!!!

Anyway went to AA Automotive
14 Nightingale Avenue, Magill
8364 4988

They saw the car immediattley and kept it for a couple of days it just wasn't driving right.
Ended up change leads plugs etc.

Very good service, but a bit pricey but I think he knows his stuff.


Thanks, I have heard good stuff re AA on the grapevine.

PS Of course I am kicking myself now as back in November I grumbled about getting any extras at all done until the new ECU got the car up and running and I told them so.. The thing is that I was assured that it would work and that a major (vs reg) service (earlier this year it rolled over the 100k's) was worth it as all the sparkies, leads, distrib cap and timing belt are replaced. So - although I' m hoping not - spending the extra $ will probably end up costing me the diff PLUS the cost to fix what's come out of it! sigh...

A Steventon

I had a very similar 'undetectable' intermittent fault with a Rover 400 which was rectified by a new shaft encoder. HTH

First question must be 'Why did you have the ECU replaced and was it with a new one'??
Geoff F.
Geoff Farthing

The ECU had to be replaced as the fob and car had died big time. No communication with testbook could be established. I bought in in May and have had ongoing problems and been stranded a number of times due to it failing to 'de'-immobilise. So that left me loath to lock it and it was just all getting ridiculous. The ECU was new and had to be freighted from England. The amount of time waiting for parts and for a diagnosis has stretched out to 2 return visits and less than 2 weeks driving time since late November. I think the frustration is definitely kicking in.

I have rung them again and given them a bit of a blast this morning. We'll see if they can diagnose, otherwise if I take it elsewhere and find the problem came out it of their work I have told them I will be sending them the bill.

Really I am thinking that it's just a bit too hard for these particular guys :(
A Steventon

Just an update, late last week they eventually found a problem when a fault code decided to (finally!) appear. The problem was with a part that connects to the Engine Control Management system and was basically cutting the fuel supply. The residual pressure was enabling the car to fire but then it would immediately cut out due to lack of further supply.

I will post the full info on exactly what that part is called when I get the replacement. At the moment I am driving with the 'spare' that the mechanic keeps on site. So if it continues to start ok - now on day 5 with it starting 1st time every time so far - we will be ordering the replacement part from England. Another 2 weeks wait, but I am keeping the spare on in the meantime..
A Steventon

Is this part perhaps the security module which immobilises by cutting the fuel off from the engine ?

Its a bit confusing really because you would expect the red light and bleep to come on if the immobiliser was active, but, it doesn't you just get the fuel starvation and think its a different problem. I believe it cuts the injectors so you still get the whine of the fuel pump when turning the key for the first time.

My wife seems to upset the immobliser on my F, last time I got it going by locking and unlocking.
Jon Baker

This thread was discussed between 04/01/2009 and 19/01/2009

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