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MG MGF Technical - mgf japanese re-import

I have bought 1996(nov) mgf reimported from japan.It has a load of extras such as air/con,duel airbags etc but does it differ from the home market model? One obvious difference is that it has a kilometre odometre.Can anyone help?
john ruddock


I have a Jap import also and like yours it has all the extras which I suspect are standard on the export models especially the air con.

Other obvious differences are the radio will have a restricted FM tuning band so it is best to change the head unit completely.

The alarm remote control operates on a different frequency but spares can be obtained through the UK dealer network. Also the alarm does not have the internal sensor so the car is not protected with the hood down. All the other modes of the alarm are available.

Dashboard warning lights have extra facilities like cat and seatbelt warning.

When I purchased my car the dealer who imported the car had already changed the speedo which I asumed was a legal requirement. The car also had a British National Type Approval Certificate of conformity for a motor vehicle which was tested by the Rover Group Vehicle Certification Agency, again this I assume is a legal requirement.

This type of question seems to be asked on the BBS quite frequently now so I guess more imports are coming in from Japan. Look in the archives for similar threads.

Hope you enjoy the car.


If the speedo hasn't been changed John, then assume that the headlamps wont have been either- they are not UK legal, and replacements will need to be purchased.

Brown and Gammons sell them rather cheaper than Rover- about 58 quid plus VAT.

Apparently the alarm modes can be altered(?) I seem to recall that someone achieved this some time ago. Required rather alot of messing around, but you should find the details in the Archives.

Rob Bell


you mention that in the Uk the Japanese headlights are illegal. what is the difference? The Japanese lights are legal here.

to John

You will also finds that you have a passenger air bag

Pays to check the ride height - the Japanese had a habit of lowering their cars for styling purposes, mine had been lowered by 20mm by reducing the gas pressure.

Havwe loads of fun

david Richards

UK-spec lights are unique (I think) in that they dip to the left. All others (?) dip straight on. Somthing to do with not blinding oncoming traffic.

Anyway, this means that if you drive a British-spec car in continental Europe, the lights dip strainght into oncoming traffic! Hence sticky 'cut-outs' have to be adhered to the lights to limit this. With the inevitable outcome that you can't see where you're going when driving at night on the continent.

N837 OGF

I have a Jap import F and recently had a headlight smashed - the replacement UK light had the same part no. sticker as the original Japanese one, and I couldnt see any difference in the reflector patterns.
At my last MOT I enquired as to different beam patterns between the headlights, and the tester could not see any difference. So I do not think there is any difference with the MGF headlights, as there is with other imports like Eunos/MX5.


As it is a legal requirement to have the head lights dipping left were your headlights changed by the importer as a matter of routine and therefor the broken one has the correct part number?

Ted Newman

Having lived in Japan for eight years I can assure you that they drive on the left like us and indeed their headlamps dip to the left like us too!

The only major differences between the UK and Jap spec cars is aircon as standard, dual bags and a KM speedo - plus the fact that when I was last there in 1998, a new MGF from a Rover Japan dealer cost 11,800!


Thanks for all the info to everyone. Oh by the way ,does Rover produce anything to remove a silly grin induced on my face when I'm driving the f?


>> Oh by the way ,does Rover produce anything to remove a silly grin induced on my face when I'm driving the f? <<

<vvvbg> Hmmm, you suffer from that too?? I was told when I got the car that this is a common fault, but that after years of driving the F it sorts itself out and disappears. I've had my F for over two years and it still appears every time I drive, so I'm not sure there is anything that can be done.

Stefan Gibney

Speedo in kph only isn't a problem. I used to own a Saab which had been imported secondhand from Cyprus and re-registered here. The only MOT problem I ever had was that it didn't have a rear foglight.

Mike Bees


I believe its called HGF!


Had a similar problem with the MGB when Australia went metric.

The answer is simple

1. Work out the KMPH equivelant of the english speed limits and taking a piece of coloured lable tape cut a long thin taper which you stick onto the face of the protective glass of the instrument panel, so that it indicates the MPH speeds. With the MGB I had two one at 60kph and one at 100kph. The end result was quite unabtrusive and quite professional.

2. The other alternative, for cable driven speedos is a KPH - MPH step down/up gearing. Quite small and goes between the dial and the cable. Last one I fitted was very cheap and worked a treat.

Hope ths helps

david Richards

This thread was discussed between 28/01/2001 and 01/02/2001

MG MGF Technical index

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