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MG MGF Technical - My engine makes bad noises: varies with rev

I've got a metalic noise in my F 96, less than 20 000 Km.
This noise beguins after a few seconds, when the engine is cold. While it's idling, the noise seems to come from a part dissociated from another, and striking another one. The noise show that this part is turning.

When I accelerate, the nois become shrill, and the volume of it is function of the revs.

When the motor is hot, the noise seems to disapear. But I'm not that sure of it, because, it can reapear after a while!

Do you have any suggestion?
What can I check?

Thanks for answering!


Take the engine bay cover off, get a length of hose pipe and hold one end against your ear, now walk the other end around the engine bay.

Come back when you can tell us where the noise is located
Will Munns

Jean Michel - does the noise disapear when you press the clutch pedal?
John Thomas

Hi Jean-Michel,

which engine does your MGF have? 1.8MPi or VVC? If the latter, the noise could be eminating from the VVC mechanism. If that's the case, avoid driving the car and get expert opinion as soon as you can.

Good luck!
Rob Bell

A stethoscope with a fine tube at the end of it is an excelent tool. The best is to put the car on a lift with an assitant reving for you

My drive belt tentioner was bad, and I located it in this way. Metallic bearing noise, rev dependant. Independant of clutch or gear selection.

The noise came and went for a while, before suddenly dissapearing (together with the charging) when the tentioner sized and the belt snapped.

O Sander

No, I'm sure that the noise is coming from the engine.

Playing with the gearbox, or the clutch has no effect on he problem.
The noise varies only with the engine revolution speed.

As Rob says if your car is a VVC it maybe the dreaded loose cam wheel nut problem. Don't drive the car until you have it checked. Failure may require a new engine.

Spyros Papageorghiou

Hi everyone,

My F is a standard 1.8i, from the end of 96.
Sorry to don't have said it earlier.

Are we sure it's nothing simple like alternator drive belt - that would be more of a squeal made worse with heavy electrical load eg headlamps.

And it happens with car stationary - yes?

The follow Will's hosepipe test, or else touch running engine components with a long metal rod and put the other end in your ear.

If the Sander theory is right the sooner you fix it the better ;-(

Bon chance!
(In brittany next week)
John Thomas

The noise happens in every condition: moving or stationary...
The speed of the car, therefore the gearbox, has no impact on the problem. The only parameters may be the engine revs speed and the temperature.

I can't do this test untill thursday, I'll let you know about the specialist diagnostic and therapy costs...

thanks for the "bonne chance", I hope I won't need it!


Could it be the cam belt tensioner. This is on the right hand side of the car, near the side air intake.

I had this, changed the tensioner and belt and all was fine.

Johan Slagter

I don't know if that's it yet. But I saw threads about that problem, and it could be that.
But why this problem has the effect of doing that metalic noise? And why the noise stop from time to time?

Do you know the price of that intervention with the work hours?

I sow on Mike Satur, that the price of this part is 26 ?

thanks alot for your answers!


If it is the tensioner, it is the bearings that are worn out. There is probably no more grease in the bearing any more, causing a screeching noise.

Have you ever heard the noise of a completely worn disc pad, steel on steel. It is about the same, but softer.

Johan Slagter

What is the frequency of the noise? If a tap or 'click', then I wonder whether this could be the hydraulic tappets? And if tappets, then what is the oil level? I guess you've already checked all these items already JM.
Rob Bell

Yes, I've checked the oil: temperature, and level are really OK. Very normal oil consumation, and no hot water. The engine is terribly ealthy for the bad noise it does!

No, the noise isn't the one of a bearing without oil... it is more the one of somethink wich isn't turning corectly.

Does it sound like a tappet noise Jean-Michel? It's not unheard of for hydraulic tappets to stick, and make noise. Sometimes an oil flush will make a considerable difference. In other cases, replacement is the answer.
Rob Bell

Hi every one, and thanks for your messages.

I'm sure that the noise is coming from the right side of the car. A french specialist of the MGF (I know, it's comic!) told me that it is the water or the oil circulation between the motor and the front side of the car wich is doing that noise... (I've got a front oil cooler kit)
What a mess...

I'm going to do a flush, just to verify a few points before opening my engine and searching for troubles!

This thread was discussed between 08/06/2004 and 15/06/2004

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