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MG MGF Technical - No gears!

Well. The other week I got in my F and could not select any gears at all. So I switched the engine off and was able to select a gear. On starting the engine the car wanted to move immediately. So I switched off the engine and pumped the clutch and tried again. It worked, the car operated as normal for three weeks before it happened again. But this time pumping the clutch didnt work.

My F is currently at the local garage who have just replaced the master cylinder but this hasnt worked and they now want me to have a new clutch at ₤348.

But could it not be the slave cylinder? Should I take it another garage for a second opinion? Any advice on this matter would be appreciated.

Cheers
Pete
P Sherratt

If the problem is not being able to select gears, the likely cause is the cables or their connections. There a roll pin at the back end that occasionally can fall out and it only costs 40p to replace. Another common cause is a break in a cable close to the bellcrank. Dieter's website has some good pictures on where to look and howto repair.

Chris
Chris

Can select gears when the engine isn't running. Just won't go in if it is. Do you think i should get it back from the garage before jumping in and getting the clutch done.
P Sherratt

This is not a clutch fault.

Peroid.

A failing clutch loses grip, not gains grip.

With the engine cover off you should check the movement of the slave arm against the pedal, if it moves freely with the pedal then you may have to take it apart to see what the fault is internally, if it fails to move properly then the fault is with the new master, the pipework, fluid or the slave, and these are all external to the clutch.
Will Munns

There was no clutch slip prior to this fault. If i start the car in gear it drives normally i just cant change gear. Does my garage know whats its on about?
P Sherratt

How will i know if the slave arm is working correctly i.e moving the correct distance to operate the clutch?
P Sherratt

There is a clevis pin connecting the slave cylinder actuating rod to the clutch arm; remove this and see if you can move the tip of the clutch arm by hand, 1cm or so. If you can, seizure of the shaft into the gearbox can be ruled out. Will is right, this doesn't sound like a clutch plate failure, much more like an airlock in the hydraulics. Is this a garage that know the F well? Bleeding the system isn't without its pitfalls, well worth getting them to give that another go before swapping parts.
Mike Hankin

Pete ,it is most likely that the operating lever for the clutch is partially seized in the gearbox casing, unfortunatly it is a gearbox out job to rectify.The slip can be caused by the lever failing to return correctly. HTH mike
m j satur

Have picked the car up today and nursed it a short distance home in second gear. Think the garage are a little annoyed that i've collected the car without having the clutch done because they have given me the car back minus the engine cover. Boy is it loud driving it without the cover!!! Will get on to them first thing.
However it's good in a way because i can see the Slave cylinder. The Slave looks ok with no visable signs of a leak. All retaining pin on the arm appear to be there. When i press the clutch the arm that is attached to it seems to work ok although there is a little play it the bracket supporting it. It is also quite squeaky in operateration.
Dont know what to do next?
P Sherratt

Hi Pete,

Ruling out the possibility of air still being in the system would be my suggestion. Worth investing in a pressure bleeding kit, one that runs off the spare tyre pressure will do fine and they're usually around 15. Just be careful to reduce the tyre pressure BEFORE connecting it all up... The traditional method of topping up the reservoir after every couple of pumps of the pedal will work too, but ONLY if you keep the fluid at almost-brimming-over level, any less than that and air can be pulled into the system and you're back to square one.

Also, peel off the rubber shroud around the slave cylinder rod and check carefully for even the tiniest amount of fluid. Only if it's bone dry everywhere can the slave be assumed to be working as it should. Whilst you're at it, undo the clevis pin linking it to the clutch arm and check how easily the clutch arm can be moved by hand. Is the squeak coming from that area or the pedal linkage? Either way, dribble some penetrating oil down the clutch shaft where it enters the bellhousing, while working the arm to and fro by hand. There is sadly no more effective way of lubricating the shaft, and as Mike Satur says it's a gearbox out job to replace if it seizes.

It's quite possible that replacing the master cylinder has rectified the fault, but incomplete bleeding is still giving the same symptoms. Let us know how you get on.
Mike Hankin

first of all can i just say thanks for the response everyone, this really is a great resource. today i had a quick look at the slave. I peeled back the rubber and there was a small amount of fulid although i can say what it was. so i dabbed it up and tried pumping the clutch to see if any fulid appeared but couldnt see anything. So I took the pin out of the clutch arm and the rod on the slave shot forward by 1cm approx. I tried moving the clutch arm back and forth which it seemed to do ok. It moved by say 1-2cm. So i thought i'd put it back and scratch my head not being very machanical. so i put it back and went to try the clutch just incase. The clutch isnt there. No resistance, the pressure gone. WHY? Must be something i did cos the pressure seemed ok before. Have i discovered the problem or have i done some school boy mistake?
Going to have to admit defeat soon and take it to another garage.

Cheers all

Keep the advice coming, thanks

Pete
P Sherratt

The slave actuating rod shooting forward when released confirms there is air in the system. You'll find that after repeated pumping the clutch pedal will begin to get resistance as you re-compress the air pocket, but it'll only return to its previous 'suspect' state.

Bleed that air out, and I'm pretty sure you'll be sorted. We did exactly that on Mike Channin's car at Castle Combe on Monday, and within half an hour he was out on track again giving his passenger sphincter spasms ;o)

The small amount of fluid you've found in the slave suggests the seals are past their best, but will probably keep going for a while yet. I've seen slave cylinders still working when there's fluid dripping out of them... You can get a new set of seals for a few pounds from a dealer and fit them yourself sometime, it's a straightforward job.

Mike Hankin

Hi

Just tried pumping the clutch its seems to of re-pressurised abit but no where near where it was earlier today. will try bleeding over the weekend. Do you know a lot about the F then? Seen this problem before?
Itching to get back on the road, may be even catch the last dying days of summer before the harsh british winter holds us in it's icey grip.

A bit dramatic be you know what i mean.

Cheers
Pete
P Sherratt

Running a road MGF and a track MGF on a shoestring budget means you learn about them, whether you like it or not ;o) I've dealt with a fair few clutch issues over the years, and like many tasks on the F it's simple when you do it the right way but unbelievably frustrating if you don't.

If the bleed exercise works, which I'm now convinced it will, you can spend some of the money you've saved (incidentally 348 is remarkably cheap for a new clutch on an MGF, I can only presume your local garage haven't actually done one!) on a place at an MGs On Track day. The sun usually shines for us, and if you like your car now you'll be wanting its babies after a day on a circuit... The other attraction of track days is the paddock, it's full of people oozing knowledge about the F and more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Mike Hankin

Sounds like Fun. Might have to do that. Was thinking of may be adding an induction filter thingy.

How often do you have these track day and where?
Typical cost of doing it?

Would be nice not to worry about the old bill or Mr Gatso!

Cheers for all you Help Mike.

P Sherratt

Hi Pete,

A K&N certainly adds a bit more fun, as a bhp per upgrade it's hard to beat.

Have a look at www.mgs-on-track.com for all the info on track days, the next one is Donington on 6th October, 140 for non-MG Car Club members. All you need is a crash helmet (can be hired on the day), you, and your car. Oh, and a fair bit of petrol ;o) An alternative is the North Weald day, which at 35 is pure bargain - you can find out what your F can do in perfect safety on a disused airfield, and get coaching from Andy Walsh, one of the best respected car handling authorities that ever drew breath. He'll show you it's possible for an F to do a 90 degree left turn at 80mph...

We await your report that lots of air bubbled out of your clutch, and it's now all sorted. Happy motoring! ;o)

Hope to see you at a MGoT day sometime. I'm fully addicted, couldn't say no even if I tried...
Mike Hankin

Well Hi. I have tried bleeding the clutch but it has made no differnce still cant get it in gear. May be it is the clutch. Going to get it booked in a garage that apperently knows the F well but has quoted me the unbeliveble price of 230quid for a new clutch! To good to be true??
P Sherratt

The saga continues......

Took the car to another garage who have fitted a clutch, but to my horror they rang to say it still isnt working and that the master cydlinder a have had fitted at the first garage must be at fault. For chirst sake the system cant be that complicated.

So the second garage want me to sort out the first garages mistake somehow.

Its an absolute nightmare, just want my F back on the road. someone must be able to fix it. Thats why i take the car to the garage, i'm paying 30quid P/H for someones expertise.

Sorry i'm ranting.

Pete
P Sherratt

Pete,

>>Thats why i take the car to the garage, i'm paying 30quid P/H for someones expertise.

If it's a normal service garage (ex main dealer etc.) then you're probably paying a darn sight more than 30 quid an hour. My advice is to go to a specialist. You have a choice not a million miles away from you. I drive 80 miles from Bucks to Warwks and take advantage of Techspeed Motorsport's expertise for a very reasonable 35 quid an hour - plus I get to talk to Gavin as he works on my car and learn about the greasy bits.

You are closer to the MGF Centre. Further north is Mike Satur.
Dave Livingstone

Pete,

Sorry to hear the saga continues. Have the second garage actually tested the master cylinder and proved it to be faulty, or is it just their 'best guess'? Beware them trying to cover their own mis-diagnosis by pointing the finger at another garage, that sadly is all too common. You need to ask the second garage a lot of questions -
1. Why did they assume it was the friction plate that had failed, and what further diagnosis did they do before wading straight into the most expensive procedure,
2. When they removed the original clutch, they would have immediately been able to see whether the plate was within its wear parameters. Ask to see the old clutch, since if they replaced an obviously still perfectly serviceable item then you would have a strong case to a. not pay, and b. start threatening to involve Trading Standards
3. Have they thoroughly pressure-bled the system, just to rule out air still being trapped somewhere,
4. Bearing in mind you found evidence of a leak on the slave cylinder, have they ascertained that this isn't contributing to the problem. If so, how?

As Dave suggests, even if it seems more expensive on paper there's often huge savings (in both time & money) in taking your car to people that have been working on nothing but MGFs since they first appeared.
Mike Hankin

Well

The car is now fixed after the first garage decided to changed the slave. But on picking the car up the there is coolant every where in the engine bay and my front indicator lens is broken. Lodging formal complaints against the garage. I've also been adviced by the garage that my coolant pipes are leaking and need replacing.

I was over the moon when they said it was fixed but i've picked it up and its staying in the drive because i'm too scared to drive it. If the pipes go instant HGF! The pipes are corroded i've seen for my self.

So thats it decision made. I' going to get rid of my F before it costs me another penny. I just cant take anymore. I dont want to see it go its a great drive.

I fell in love and have been hurt by the F!

A very sad Pete

P Sherratt

This thread was discussed between 05/09/2006 and 23/09/2006

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