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MG MGF Technical - New power steering too light IMO

I recently became the happy second owner of a low mileage March 2001 MGF VVC. This is not my first MGF, having had a '96 MPI for 3 years and a 2000 VVC for 2 months.

One thing I always liked about the F was the steering feel. I always found it perfectly weighted and quite communicative (with the correct ride height and tracking).

Now in this 2001 MGF the steering is very light indeed, even at speed. I don't think it's a fault with my particular car because it feels exactly the same as on the 2001 Trophy and the 2002 TF I test drove recently.

Is it a known fact that the electrical power steering system was changed/upgraded on all F models from 2001? I have been reading that the TF's steering was upgraded from the F's but to me the 2001 F and the 2002 TF feel basically the same.

I would personally rather have it set as it was on the older models, with more weight. Does anybody know if this can be done? The steering being electrically operated perhaps it is just a "software" updgrade, so it could be "downgraded" too.

Thanks in advance for advice.

There isn't any dicernable changes in steering weight on any model of MGF through to the introduction of the TF, Anthony. Most changes were made to improve steering feel.

Actually, I agree with you that the steering does feel too light with the EPAS system. Will Munns engineered a simple EPAS 'girlie switch' that enables the EPAS to be disengaged to increase weight at speed, and improve steering feel. See for more details on this mod.

Another Dark-side mod is to swap the steering rack for the faster TF item, which both increases weight and the speed of the MGF steering. Not especially cheap, but I am delighted with it on my '96 MPi. :o)
Rob Bell


How easy is it to change the rack over for a TF one??
Mark Catterall

Piece of cake Mark :o) You just need to uncouple the steering wheel, split the ball joints on the steering arms either side, undo the two brackets retaining the rack, and slide out. The TF item looks all but identical, and slides in easily.

Obviously the above is a gross simplification (access is a little tight in places), but you get the jist. :o)
Rob Bell

Thanks Rob, I assume you have actually driven cars of all those model years. I know that "impressions" can be misleading, and that having owned two Audis between my last 2000 VVC and the current 2001 VVC, my references may have changed.

But I am absolutely certain that, when trying the Trophy back in 2001, my immediate impression was of a very light steering. I even told the salesman and he replied "yes they have changed it".

Could this possibly be another Swiss eccentricity, rather like ABS brakes, which were standard on all Trophys imported to Switzerland whereas for the UK ABS was unavailable on Trophys (except on the later series). The fact that the mechanics are identical does not mean that the amount of assistance is the same.

Incidentally I have also noticed other small differences in the 2000 and 2001 cars. In the 2001 version there are extra warning lights on the dash. one for engine bay temp and one for the oil temp. I could swear I had neither on the 2000 model, and I know I didn't on the '96 MPI.

I am now really curious. Problem is, there seems to be no reliable source for this info in Switzerland. The salesmen are incompetent and the workshop people are stupid. I'll keep looking nevertheless.

Perhaps it's a left-hand drive thing (though unlikely) - maybe Dieter can help.

I am POSITIVE that the steering was a good deal heavier on both the '96 MPI and the 2000 VVC.

nothing got changed over the years regarding steering response or parts in that. (IMO)

Tolerance of parts is one term, though I never tried to compare.
Individual car set up due to tracking and tyres is almost plenty of differences. I wouldn't try to put it down to make years.

Some minutes more toe in or out, more or less space at the rear bushes and you mean you got a different car regarding steering behavior.

Just my 2 pence (cent)

Dieter K.

Have you checked the tyre pressures? After a recent 4-wheel alignment my steering was noticeably lighter but that was only because they had over-inflated the tyres by 10psi! Reduced them back to normal and the steering weight was restored.
Alister Louis

... nice sample :)
Dieter K.

Fair comment there Alister - I was kinda assuming that Anthony had correct pressures and correct tracking settings.
Rob Bell

Thanks for the info chaps ! All right, I give up. It must be the tracking and/or the tyres. And me, probably.

Funny however that the steering should feel lighter with the big 215/40 ZR 16 tyres than with smaller the 205/55 15 ... . Tyre pressures are as recommended, about 1.8 bar.

I'm getting the tracking adjusted to 0 deg 5 min toe-in on each side (today). It must have been toe out until now because the front tyres are worn on the inside (but only slightly). I'll see if that makes a difference.

Ride height is a bit on the low side at 345 mm but I'd like to keep it that way.

A short update, to let you know that sorting out the tracking DID make a difference, and a big one too.

At low and medium speeds the steering is definitely meatier and also more precise. I would never have thought that a small angle difference at the front wheels could affect the steering so much.

The big 215 tyres at the front still tend to "tramline" a bit but that's normal. 215 is just too big for the front. The ideal setup with 16" wheels must be 195 front 215 rear, as on the Trophy and TF.

Happy F/TF-ing

This thread was discussed between 08/01/2003 and 10/01/2003

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