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MG MGF Technical - MGF Newbie

Hello again, you might remember me from my posts earlier in Feb, I'm working on an MG-Rover "fansite", (MG-Rover.org). Anyway, I'm changing my Rover 220iS (Diesel) for a 'P', 96 MGF 1.8i.

I was a little shocked when the 220iS I paid 11K (with emp. discount) for is now worth 6,250, in a little under 2 years. At least the MGF won't dive in value as my 200 did. (I hope!)

Shocks aside I test drove this little Red Gem (www.mg-rover.org/images/mg60mgf/maggie.jpg) (yeah, I managed to get the plate "M60 MGF" for it :D ) around Litchfield (along the A38 and some wicked wide, "safe" lanes), I was told by the Rover guy to "Stick it in 3rd [as we joined the A38] and floor it and don't change until 6,000 RPM." A little concerned about doing this a) because I drive a diesel and anything over 3,000 seems dangerous(!) and b) I was told (as a youngster) never to go near the red line.

I did as I was told and I was doing 90 in 3rd before I knew what has happening!! Anyway, as I changed into 4th the car pulled to the right, not severly, but a little disconcerting.
It was suggested by my Dad (he also test drove it) that it was probably becuase the left rear tyre was looking like it was a little under pressure (i.e. nearly flat). - Is this the likely reason? I know the easist way to tell is pump it up and drive it again, but they didn't have a pump to hand at the time(!), besides that was the 3rd test drive, first one was at night and in the wet, not ideal conditions (and my dad's drive being the 2nd).

Overall, both my dad (who is restoring a Triumph Vitesse and knows a fair bit about working on cars, hence why I asked him along!) left the dealer with smiles from ear to ear following the test drive. Suffice to say, it was the best car I have ever driven. Seems I'll have a problem keeping my dad out of my car! ;)

*ANYWAY*, the reason for this post is that I have a few things I want to do to it, but not being a competent mechanic, I don't want to screw something up.

1) Fit a performance airfilter.
- Is the K&N 57i the best one to get.
- If so, where is the best place to put the induction pipes? I don't like the idea of under the car, a) because I want to lower the car and b) it could suck up all sorts of crap off the road, stones, water, the odd hedgehog(!) - how easy is it to put the pipe into the air intake(s)?

2) Lower the car.
- After reading the various stuff on the web, the best way of doing this is seems to be with lowering knuckles. However, the talk of tyre wear / tracking problems are a little concerning, as decent tyres for the MGF aren't cheap. What should I do to prevent any additional wear? My local ATS are great and getting the tracking checked every so often is no problem, but would they need to set the tracking to anything else than the Rover defaults?

3) Get Poly bushes fitted. After reading about these things, I get the drift that they are a good thing. I like good things, so I would like to get them ;o) Would it be advisable to get these fitted at the same time as the lowering kunckles, so that any tracking can be sorted at the same time? (incase these could cause tracking issues)

4) Get some 17" alloys for it.
- I'm still unsure if 17"s or 16" look best, some 17" seem to overpower the car somehow. I'm looking at the Alessio Alaskas (http://www.motionstyling.co.uk/alessioalaska.html) as they look 99% like the new alloys for the MGF Trophy SE. However, after a scare story from my boss about some alloys he got that caused his wheel studs to snap off as he was driving around, I'm a little worried about "offsets", "PCD", etc.. Anyidea what the MGF needs? In particular, what width rims can the MGF take, personally I would like to get some wider tyres on the rears, to help cope with my lead right foot(!).
- Secondly, I assume if I get the right profile for the tyres (looking at the Eagle F1s) because the wheel diameter will be the same, the fact that the car is lowered shouldn't cause any problems?

Also, I've read the terms "Rolling the wheel arches" when talking about big alloys and "tramlining" when talking about wide wheels, what do these mean?

Sorry to ask what are probably simple questions, but I don't want to damage either the car, myself or my bank balance through doing something stupid with the mods.

I've also joined the MGOC, so does anyone know of any clubs in the Walsall / Birmingham area? I can't wait to get my car onto a track, any idea how easy this is to do through a club? I wouldn't mind also having a go at the odd hill climb and generally having a bit of fun. After a 1.6 Maestro, Rover 216, 418, 220SDi and a 220iS its about time I had a car I can throw around without rolling like a ship and sliding out of the seat.(Whilst observing the law, naturally) :)

TIA


Steve Childs.
Steve Childs

DOH! typo in the picture URL. Here it is again, incase you want to check it out....

http://www.mg-rover.org/images/m60mgf/maggie.jpg

Oh yeah, windstops are really, really good. We drove around yesterday, in near freezing temperatures with the roof down and we could still hold a conversation and we were not cold at all. Actually, it was colder walking from the car back to the dealership than it was driving about at 70 in the car.

I can't wait to get my hands on this car. Out of interest, I get about 400 miles to the tank on my 220 Diesel, obviously I wouldn't get anywhere near that from the MGF, what should I expect to get on average to a tank ??

Regards


Steve.
Steve Childs

The pulling could be due to tyre pressures, or it could be due to incorrect balancing on the car. Incorrect balancing is not an uncommon problem for F's, and some cars seem to get through tyres at an alarming rate.

Strangely enough, lowering the car might actually be doing it a favour as you'll hopefully get someone who knows how to set up the geometry properly (unlike most "Rover"/"MG Car Co" garages).
Dot

Just to add to what i said in the previous post, the pulling only occurs when i changed gear and was most obvious at faster speeds & high revs.

HTH

Steve.
Steve Childs

>> 1) Fit a performance airfilter.
- Is the K&N 57i the best one to get.
- If so, where is the best place to put the induction pipes? I don't like the idea of under the car, a) because I want to lower the car and b) it could suck up all sorts of crap off the road, stones, water, the odd hedgehog(!) - how easy is it to put the pipe into the air intake(s)? <<

At the moment the K+N is the best one to get as it has been independantly proven to give the best performance benefit. However, there are a number of other filters that were not tested at the time, the ITG cone filter being one. Also, there is work on the go with cold air boxes by a number of people, Mike Satur's version is looking (to me) the most promising. My advise is get the K+N 57i kit & then after a year or so, think about it again. The best place for the induction pipes is in Tom Randell's (a BBS user) bracket, suspended from the underside of the rear subframe. There is no point mounting them by the side air intakes as they are effectively useless whilst the car is moving (i have video evidence using paper streamers!!). Also, the passenger side one is 90% blocked off by the fuel tank.

>> 2) Lower the car.
- After reading the various stuff on the web, the best way of doing this is seems to be with lowering knuckles. However, the talk of tyre wear / tracking problems are a little concerning, as decent tyres for the MGF aren't cheap. What should I do to prevent any additional wear? My local ATS are great and getting the tracking checked every so often is no problem, but would they need to set the tracking to anything else than the Rover defaults? <<

The best way to lower the F is with Techspeed's lowering kit. However, this is the most expensive of the three main lowering options. This method is supposed to remove all the tyre wear problems & therefore will probably pay for itself in the long run. Scarlet has had the lowering knuckles fitted for coming up to 4 years / 50,000 miles now with no real problems. From experience, the tyre you buy is more important to inner rim wear than the tracking settings, with Goodyear NCT's & 16" Eagle F1's being the worst of the bunch. Try Bridgstone SO2's if you have standard 15" rims or my personal favourite, Marangoni Zeta ESC's for 16" wheels. If the car is under warrantee there may be an issue about using non-Rover tracking settings, but tyres, being consumables, aren't covered under warrantee anyway so Rover are unlikely to replace them unless the tracking was proven incorrect at the time of delivery.


>> 3) Get Poly bushes fitted. After reading about these things, I get the drift that they are a good thing. I like good things, so I would like to get them ;o) Would it be advisable to get these fitted at the same time as the lowering kunckles, so that any tracking can be sorted at the same time? (incase these could cause tracking issues) <<

Poly bushes are supposed to be superb. They are also expensive however & a good "2nd best" is the 10.00 rear compliance washers sold by Brown & Gammons

>> 4) Get some 17" alloys for it.
- I'm still unsure if 17"s or 16" look best, some 17" seem to overpower the car somehow. I'm looking at the Alessio Alaskas (http://www.motionstyling.co.uk/alessioalaska.html) as they look 99% like the new alloys for the MGF Trophy SE. However, after a scare story from my boss about some alloys he got that caused his wheel studs to snap off as he was driving around, I'm a little worried about "offsets", "PCD", etc.. Anyidea what the MGF needs? In particular, what width rims can the MGF take, personally I would like to get some wider tyres on the rears, to help cope with my lead right foot(!).
- Secondly, I assume if I get the right profile for the tyres (looking at the Eagle F1s) because the wheel diameter will be the same, the fact that the car is lowered shouldn't cause any problems? <<

Talk to Mike Satur as he is (to my knowledge) the only person who has 17" alloys specifically for the F for sale. He also does a PCD conversion kit which will enable the majority of aftermarket alloys to fit. Personally, i feel that 17" rims are a little too big. 16" wheels fill out the wheel arches nicely & look in proportion to the rest of the car IMO.

>> Also, I've read the terms "Rolling the wheel arches" when talking about big alloys and "tramlining" when talking about wide wheels, what do these mean? <<

Rolling wheel arches: At full lock, the front wheels can rub on the plastic inner wheel arch. Easy solution is to remove the wheel & take a hot hair dryer to the plastic liner & re-mould it in the areas it rubs.

Tramlining: If the road is rutted (ie grooves caused by HGVs in the tarmac), then a car with wide section tyres is more prevalent to follow these grooves making steering tricky. This is known as tramlining & it feels like the car is steering itself. Normal front tyres (ie 195 section), do not usually have much of a problem with this, however, larger section tyres make it more noticable. I have 205's on the front of Scarlet & she can have problems on some motorways because of this. Solution is to drive in a non-rutted lane!! QED :-)

Hope this helps - have fun with your new F.

SF

http://www.hometown.aol.com/ap1000000/
Scarlet Fever

Thanks alot for your help, I hadn't heard of the Tech-Speed service, I'll be sure to check them out. I'm still concerned about having the air pipes mounted below the car, we do get a fair but of flooding around here. Last thing I want to do is breath some water into the engine. - Has anyone had this happen? Perhaps its me just being paranoid, its most likely.

Yeah, 17"s do look a bit much for the MGF, esp. when the car is lowered, 16"s will probably look just fine.

Thanks for your explanations, even if tramlining does seem damn obvious when you have had it explained to you ;)

Regards


Steve.
Steve Childs

Well done on your recent purchases.

I feel a bit jealous as I was very serious about buying M60 MGF from the same chap, how much did you pay??

Regards

Sunil

1.8i BRG N440 GYG
Sunil

Steve,

I hasven't got the K&N (yet...) but I understand that the fitting procedure is to remove the existing air filter box. The induction pipes lead up to the new filter, but are not attached to a box in any way. This means that air is pushed up the pipes whilst the car is travelling, not sucked up by the draw of air.

It should be pretty much impossible to force water out of the top end of the pipes by driving through water.


...I could be wrong, so experts speak up!

Nigel
Nigel Hannam

Hi, Sunil, I paid 445 all in from Midland Registrations, the plate itself was up for 350, a bargain in you ask me.

Nigel, yeah, that thought crossed my mind, I was assuming that it sucks the air up, but after reading other threads, it appears that it is just the ramming of the air through the pipes as the car goes along that actually does the business, so I doubt there would be enough suction there to pull any water up the pipes.

Regards

Steve.
Steve Childs

This may sound stupid, but does your car have power steering? What I am getting at is that sometimes when I change gear, as I press the clutch, the movement of my body can cause my right arm to move therefore slightly turning the wheel... this is magnified by the 'intelligent' power steering...

I'm probably talking a load of balls, but might be worth trying to keep your right arm as still as you can when you change gear...

As for the wheels, I have 16" 215x40 all round on my abby and it looks mighty fine! They were a huge jump up from the skinny things on my cavalier. You can get a fair amount of tramlining on the inside lane on motorways, but it is not too bad. I had major hassles when I first got it cause the back end was all over the place, turned out to be the tracking on the rear wheels. Once that was sorted out, it's nowhere near as bad.

Chris
R585 ERO

PS they are great fun aren't they!!!
Chris George

The 57i is the nuts as said above, and its easy to fit yourself. Even if water did somehow get up the pipes, it would then have to jump a gap to the filter, which will then also stop the water itself (unless its submerged!)

I have been looking at wheels, and those wheels you found are the closest match i've seen to the new MG wheels - good work. as for 17" i was looking at some of the pics on mike saturs web site. IMO only one of the pics looks good. It is with the car that is really really low (red car i think), the others with cars that are lowered but not too low don't look right i don't think. Personally i wouldn't want to lower my car as much as the one that looked good. 16" all the way IMO. but 15" will do for the time being
Matt

Steve, I agree with Chris above.

Chris, you're not talking balls. I noticed the same thing when I recently bought my VVC. I consciously made the effort to relax my right arm and now no longer do it.

Cheers, Pete
Pete Bragg

Hi all, yeah it has got power steering, but so has my current Rover 200 and I have never noticed it before in that. Besides, when my dad test drove the car, it did the same to him.

We'll soon see anyway, when I pick it up :D

Regards


Steve.
Steve Childs

I agree with the above comments about involuntarily moving your arm when changing gear - it takes a while to get used to relaxing your arms when driving the mgf! As you just want to hold on in shear delight!

I thought the car wobbled all over the place when I test drove it, but I read the manuals and drove differently the next time I took it out and it was totally different! - just so used to forcing a car to go where you want it to go, the mgf's drive themselves!!

Good luck with your new toy!
Lara

>> Also, I've read the terms "Rolling the wheel arches" when talking about big alloys and "tramlining" when talking about wide wheels, what do these mean? <<

Hi Steve,

welcome to the MGF club! I see that all your answers have been ably answered by the folks above- but regarding "Rolling the wheel arches". This has nothing to do with plastic wheel liners, but is a reference to the modification to the wheel arch lip that is required when fitting very large wheels (usually Vauxhall Novas ;o) If you look at the wheel arch, the lip is bent over into a flange at 90 degrees to the bodywork. To fit larger wheels, this lip would rub against tyres/wheels, and therefore is to be bent over further- "rolled"- such that the lip is effectively thinner and will not cause problems.

Enjoy the car Steve: you may end up keeping it for a lot longer than you expect!

Regarding hill climbing, join the MGCC and join in the MGCC speed championship- details @ http://www.mgcars.org.uk/mgccsc/ Maybe see ya there! :o)

Rob
Rob Bell

>>, the odd hedgehog

Only ever had a squirrel. Just had to re-attach the ends of the pipes to the underside of the car.
(Squirrel didn't make it.)
Gareth

This thread was discussed between 04/03/2001 and 07/03/2001

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