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MG MGF Technical - New wheels - tramlining and tyre pressures

Some may recall that I recently bought a set of TF 16" 11 spoke wheels to fit to my '96 VVC. The rain held off long enough for me to fit them yesterday (actually it didn't and I got soaked, but that's beside the point).

First driving impressions - predicatbly, the steering is quite a bit heavier and the ride is firmer. On the other hand, the car feels much better planted on the road and at speed the wandering which made me almost buy a splitter seems to have totally gone. Overall I'm very pleased - but I have one nark with them. Tramlining.

The wheels are shod with Eagle F1 GSD-2 tyres in 215 at the back and 195 at the front, yet the car really gets chucked about on bad road surfaces. If I'm unfortunate enough to need to brake on a bad surface a pretty firm hand is needed on the steering wheel to keep the thing straight and true. Now, since 195 isn't that much wider than the 185 I had before this doesn't seem right to me. I'm running tyre pressures of 30psi all round at the moment - would changing this help reduce the tramlining? Is it possible that my 8 year old suspension bushes are causing the problem? But it was nowhere near this bad on 15" rims!

TIA as always!

Tim.
Tim Jenner

Tim,

I've run 16" Trophy alloys shod with 205 Bridgestone SO2's all round on my '98 F for some years now, without any tramlining problems. I wouldn't have thought your 195 F1's would have caused a problem. I've run anything from 26-28psi front and 28-30psi rear as normal on the road, without much difference in behaviour.

Not sure this helps you, but ...

Dave
Dave Livingstone

You could try dropping a couple of psi from the fronts Tim, and see how you go. IIRC, the pressures that the TF uses is something like 26 psi up front...
Rob Bell

I found that wheel alignment is critical in this instance, after having mine re-aligned to the recommended settings the tramlining was much reduced.
Mike
Mike (Mersea Office)

Thanks for the rapid replies, all! I'll try dropping the fronts to 28psi and see if it makes a difference...I wasn't sure if the TF pressures would apply to the F given the different suspension setups, hence using 30psi all round as a start point. Interesting what you say about wheel alignment, Mike - Brown and Gammons pumped up the suspension on Monday as part of the service (before I put the new wheels on) but said the alignment didn't need to be redone!? Beforehand the car was pretty much riding on the bump stops (height was 330mm...). What are the official recommended tracking settings (and do they still apply with the new wheels)?

As an interesting aside, I asked B&G about the modified Rover bumpstop kit for 16" wheels and they said it wasn't needed.

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

They're quite wrong about the need for re-alignment. As a rule of thumb WHENEVER you reset ride height, the tracking needs to be checked. So this could be part of the reason why you've got tramlining now as Mike suggests.

Regarding the bump stops - not got them on my car either; I don't think that they are strictly necessary either.
Rob Bell

Hmm...I thought it odd that they didn't do it at the time, which is why I asked them. Is accurate 4-wheel alignment something that the likes of KwikFit can manage without screwing it up or am I better off using a specialist or main dealer? I'm only down the road from Trident in Ottershaw who I gather have a good name as far as main dealers go (and they have a rather tasty SV outside!).

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

I wouldn't use Kwik Fit Tim - but rather a tyre specialist. Dealerships usually farm this work out too - but if Trident can offer you a decent deal, then go with them (and it is a great opportunity to poke around that SV! LOL)
Rob Bell

At the weekend I also fitted a set of TF 16" 11 spoke wheels to to my '98 F. Its shod exactly the same as Tim's.

My inital impression was of a slightly harder ride than my old 15" wheels. Previously I had 195s on the front and it did tramline a bit. I have not realy used the car in anger since the change. To be honest I don't know if I can give a direct comparision as I have also fitted new suspension and rear tie bar bushes.

The tracking has not been done yet but its off to Tech-Speed next week for some LTC, including the tracking ~ could be an intresting drive up.
Steve Ratledge

Steve,

A good opportunity to see if the 'before tracking' and 'after tracking' is significant for tramlining, assuming you can find some suitable ruts!
Dave Livingstone

If you need to find some suitably poor roads, just try round my way! :( I'll have a ring around and try to find somewhere who'll do the tracking on a Saturday...any recommendations in the Woking area? Have only just moved and am therefore having to start finding reputable garages etc again from scratch!

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

Tim, a fellow F'er recommends JA motors on Board School rd. (the problem is he hates mgf's)
Mike
Mike (Mersea Office)

Tim and Steve, My advice, having been there myself,is to get the tracking done, it costs pennies (actually got mine thrown into the deal when buying two new tyres) I too swapped my 15s for 16s (TSW Fusions check this out for those who havent already seen LOL. http://www.fpower.co.uk/images/zoom/BGPTTU/thumbs/!CID__i1_picture539.jpg)

The ride was firmer as expected, but it did seem to tramline to an extent that i was a tad worried as it felt dangerous! I put up with this for a week or so as i couldnt get round to getting it sorted, until one day i noticed all the tread was scrubbed off the inside of my BRAND NEW Yoko A520s. Not good at all.Hence the trip to my local tyre place to get them replaced and the tracking sorted.The guy said he was suprised it went in a straight line ( i didn't tell him the truth, which was the fact it didn't!) Needless to say as soon as i took the car back out it was 1000 times better, felt so sturdy and handled like a dream.

You live and learn, i have so i would get this done and save yourself a hundred quid that i scrubbed off my tyres in one week!


GC
GC

Yikes! The main dealer want 69.50 plus VAT to do it and the only other place locally which will do it is 65 plus 11 per wheel if they need to adjust the camber. Am I right in thinking that the camber can only be altered by fiddling with the ride height on the F and I therefore needn't be worried about that? Are these figures about right?

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

You're right about camber - you can't adjust it, so no need to worry ;o)

For me to get my car tracked at Feltham tyres near Heathrow, it costs 40 quid, so 65 seems rather a lot to pay to me.
Rob Bell

Tim,

I had my car worked on at Brown and Gammons a few weeks ago. They also pumped up the suspension but did adjust all the tracking. Cost for this was a little steep at 75 inclusive, however i thought i'd get it all done in one go.

Must say i was very pleased with the service there, even valeted the car :-)

don
don k

For the second year running they didn't have time to valet the car because of the other work which needed doing. :( This year it was new rear pads, a new clutch slave cylinder and an oil leak from the cam seals (fixed for free under warranty after my head gasket change). A warning that next year I'll probably need a new rad and coolant pipes too - but I suppose the car's getting to that age!

Will ring around a bit more tomorrow for wheel alignment - the front tyres are down to about 3mm tread so I may just get them changed at the same time. Groan...more money - and that's if I can find some GSD-2s!

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

GC
I need a magnifing glass to see the photo, let alone pick out the wheels!.
Andrew
Andrew Regens

I thought I was suffering from myopia, but Andrew's right, that image is just a tad too small to see the wheels GC ;o)
Rob Bell

I tried dropping the pressures on each corner by 2psi - I didn't enjoy the drive home yesterday much at all - and it's much improved! Still not quite right, I don't think, so I'll get the wheel alignment done tomorrow afternoon. Might try 26 at the front and 28 or 30 at the back - any more input on these pressures?

Thanks again,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

Keep playing Tim until you've found a set of pressures that work for you - but I think that I wouldn't go below 26psi...

Before playing the with the tyre pressures any more though, get the tracking re-set, otherwise you'll be playing with too many variables at once, and won't know where you stand...
Rob Bell

Dont worry, no need to go to Specsavers just yet

http://www.fpower.co.uk/images/zoom/BGPTTU/!CID__i1_picture539.jpg

http://www.fpower.co.uk/images/zoom/BGPTTU/!CID__i1_picture535.jpg

GC

Oh how i miss the summer! look how nice it was in that day :(
GC

GC
Good looking wheels, can't find decent 16" wheels down under at a fair price so I will stick with my highly polished VVC rims and will have the Toyo Proxes T1-R's fitted next week.
Andrew
Andrew Regens

A hansome looking car you've got there GC :o) Yes, roll on the summer... only a few months of grey to go... :o
Rob Bell

Well, thanks to all who replied to this thread! I had 4 wheel alignment done on Saturday and my baby now drives better than ever! :)

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

Tim,
Glad we could help :-)
Mike
Mike (Mersea Office)

As you fit lower profile tyres so the ride deteriorates.

16" wheels have lower profile tyres fitted than the 15"

"Honest John" continually rants on about this often advising against optional extras such as larger diameter wheels.

Cambelt replacement is of course his other 'bete noir'

jt
John Thomas

Well I have fitted the Toyo Proxes T1-R, 205/50x15 on all 4 wheels and a full four wheel alignment as per Rob's site. First impresions a much smoother and quieter ride, cornering grip improved the real test will be a track day on 21st November so I am being gentle until I've done a few more km's.
Andrew Regens

Had my suspension pumped up and 4 wheel alignment yesterday.Driving home I began to wonder if I had the same car.The laser computer showed all 4 wheels were pointing in different directions and the suspension had to be pumped up by 14mm on each side.The difference in the steering and cornering is huge.The car feels a lot more positive and I never realised the steering could be so good. Just goes to show how 40 can be well spent. Although the downside is now a trip to etyres for 4 new Toyo's, the set I have on at the moment have done nearly 40K in the last 16 months and the wear tread indicaters are showing up like beacons.I have been using 30psi all round and have experienced no problems.
James Forbes Simpson

James,

What tracking settings have you had your car set to? Also, what size wheels are you running on?

Cheers,
Tim
Tim Jenner

Hi Tim

Running on on 15" wheels. The standard fit for a 1996 F.

Toe left -0.10 Toe right -0.10
Camber:Left 0.1 Right 0.0

Rear

Camber Left 0.30 Right -0.1
Toe Left 0.30 Right 0.10

It does'nt mean a lot to me but when I queried the difference in the readings the print out showed that they were within tolerance.The car does fell totally different and I have a drive from Cardiff to Dover tomorrow so hopefully be able to put her through the paces then.
If there is anything wrong with the above readings I would appreciate a pointer in the right direction.
Thanks
James Forbes Simpson

Thanks, James. Your rear left toe looks quite a long way out but the others are as per the book (and what my car's been set to).

The reason I ask is that although under most circumstances my car is driving very well, I keep coming across roads which never used to bother it but now cause it to veer to one side or grab at the steering wheel. Very disconcerting at 70mph! Wondering what more I can do. :( Any suggestions of alternative tracking angles, or is something else wrong?

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

Have a look through this Tim: http://www.mgf.ultimatemg.com/group2/suspension/tracking.htm
Rob Bell

Thanks, Rob - have already had a good read of that page! :) I'm on the standard settings at the moment, but I don't feel that the car handles as it should do - hence wondering if there's something else wrong. I don't think rear compliance washers would help, as the problem seems to be with the steering feeling "snatchy". As I say, most of the time it's fine but this weekend I came across several bits of road I drive regularly which caused a problem and never did before. They're all relatively fast but poorly surfaced roads - country lanes and poor motorway surfaces.

Tim
Tim Jenner

Difficult to judge how much of a problem this is over a text-based medium Tim - but this could be due to the wider tyres you've got now, versus what you had before.

Perhaps try taking off some of that toe-out you've currently got at the front: it promotes a degree of directional instability (a trade for quick initial steering response). The more toe-IN you have, the more directionally stable the front end of the car becomes, and more impervious to road imperfections...

The other thing to play with is our old friend tyre pressures. I know you've already trodden this path, but since the re-tracking, it may be time to play with these pressures again...

You'll definitely get there, it may just take a little time to get things exactly the way that you want them :o)
Rob Bell

Thanks, Rob! Part of the problem is that I changed from 15" to 16" rims at the same time as having the suspension pumped up and the tracking reset - so I don't know what's caused the problem!

I'm still playing with tyre pressures as you suggest - I'm now on 26/28 and have tried 30/30 and 28/28 so far.

An interesting aside - when I got the tracking set, the guy in the tyre place said that it might be feeling skitish in part because of the well worn front tyres. Anyone heard of this before? Regardless, I'll be getting a pair of new GSD-2s soon and will be able to tell. In the meantime, what toe settings on the front would you suggest? Maybe going from 10 minutes toe out to 5 toe out? Or straight ahead? How much difference does a small change make?

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

I'd probably go for parallel front. Small changes do seem to make quite a difference...
Rob Bell

I've gone for the 5 and 5 and noticed imediate improvments. I also run 30lbs all round for every day use but am still working on that, track days 38lbs min. But I am running 15" wheels.
Andrew Regens

I've been searching the archives for the BBS front tracking settings and they seem to be 5 minutes toe IN rather than the standard 10 minutes toe OUT. There's also talk of this being a revised setting sent out to MGR dealers - does anyone know if this is true? If so I'd like to go back to where I had the tracking done and try to get them to change it FOC... ;)

Cheers,
Tim.
Tim Jenner

>> There's also talk of this being a revised setting sent out to MGR dealers - does anyone know if this is true? <<

Unfortunately not, if you ask them :o(
Rob Bell

Pity! Looking at the before and after figures for my car, I was running at near enough 10 minutes toe IN on the front and it felt much worse than it does now at 10 minutes toe OUT. I think I'll get them to set it to either 5 minutes toe out or parallel as suggested - I hope there's a sweet spot somewhere between 10 in and 10 out I can hit!

Tim.
Tim Jenner

Tim,

Low Profile, wider tyres, toe out and high pressures all improve steering response and therfore also feedbake from road surface, so "Honest John" has a valid point unless looking for ultimate performance on smooth roads.

If still looking for tyres try MCP Tyres New Haw 01932 336334 as cheap as Micheldever.

I also use Trident

Paul
Paul

Thanks for the suggestion re the tyres - am still looking but have a cunning plan in the pipeline! Have you had generally good experiences with Trident, Paul?

Just had a look through the RAVE CD and the Trophy tracking settings are 10 minutes toe in at the back and 5 toe out on the front - anyone know if this lower toe out on the front is down to having 16" wheels or down to having lowered suspension?

Tim.
Tim Jenner

Can't say for definite Tim, but probably due to the lower ride height. Other MGFs with 16" 6J wheels are supposed to use the same tracking settings as cars with 15" 5.5J wheels.
Rob Bell

Two new Toyos on the back and I had to have the tracking sorted out in Dover as on the drive down there the car started to pull to the right quite severely. The tracking was not to far out but it made a noticable difference.All seems ok now but the front seems very light at speed and the steering a bit skittish.Prehaps a splitter would solve the problem.
James Forbes Simpson

This thread was discussed between 20/10/2004 and 05/11/2004

MG MGF Technical index

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