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MG MGF Technical - Odd Noise

My 96 VVC is through it's 6-year service (or first year again if you like), which B&G kindly found time for on Friday; since when car's been to Cardiff, Truro, London, Cambridge and back here. Apart from the usual, have replaced all discs and pads, and alternator belt.

The belt sqeaked a couple of times on starting when really new, but that stopped within a day. There is however, a very odd noise, which is't going away. It's a kind of ticking sound, but very fast - the nearest I can get to describing it is if you had a leaf tapped in the front forks of a push-bike which was catching against the wheel spokes as you went along.

It feels like it's coming from the RH rar of the car, but of course I'm sitting closest to that bit so it would sound like that.

First thought was that it was something to do with the pads/discs change, especially as the sound increases (only in volume) under breaking; but I can't see anything amiss at all, and then today I noticed that it appears to stop when the clutch is disengaged, or when the car is in neutral.

It's a pretty quiet thing, I only really hear it when driving alongside a surface that will reflect the noise, so I may be missing some accurate information, and it doesn't sound dangerous, just exactly as though something is catching against something else: it's just the way it alters and disappears that's confusing.

Anyone had anything similar, or have any ideas?

Ed Clarke

Could just be your engine ticking the VVC seems to be a bit rattley but only to be expected with all alloy construction of engine plus all the components moving in the cylinder-head.

The fact that it disappears when clutch depressed suggests gearbox or clutch noises though,

Alan Mackew

Is the noise's frequency related to road speed or engine rpm?

Since it appears to come from the outside, check the wheel nuts! Loose wheel fasteners will make more noise with the engine pulling and of course when braking. When coasting will more or less disappear provided they are just slighthy loose. However, if it is the case that will not last long.

Its probably no help to you at all because you say it stops in neutral, but I had a couple of big stones caught in my tyre treads and it ticked like mad until I spotted them and took them out.
Now it seems fine, until I pick up somemore stones :-).


I have exactly, I mean EXACTLY, the same problem. Car went for work at B&G and now I've got this ticking noise. I am pretty sure it's the pads and discs. I bet you had Greenstuff front discs and pads, huh? Well I reckon it's the grooved discs that cause the noise. Gets louder under braking and gradually eases off as you pick up speed again. I had the discs replaced at B&G a while ago and the car recently went in for the 6yr service. Told them about the problem and they stripped all the brakes as part of the service and found no problem. I therefore assume it's an inherent characteristic of those discs. I'm going to speak to B&G again about it. I'll let you know.


Thanks all - and especally Gordon. The grooved discs were my first thought too - but the disapearace of the noise when in neutral confuses that idea. It is, given the quietness of it, possible that that observation is mistaken. Have driven the best part of 800 miles since the service though, and a good part of it along the Nort Cornwall/Devon coast, thus plenty of braking.

Oh well. Be good to hear how you get on.

Yeah, it was green stuff discs and pads - all round. I'd be surprised if it was an installation error, as they really had to work to get the old discs off.

Ed Clarke

Ed,Yes, I have the faint leaf in the forks and the purring when the brakes are applied.I think we can safely put it down to a quirk of the grooved disks.
Tim Sanders


Just spoken to Peter at B&G. He hasn't come across this as a characteristic of the discs but then agrees that it could be highly likely. The guys test drove my car after service and didn't report any problems even though I know the noise was quite evident. I think I can put that one to bed now!

Yes! I fitted EBC grooved discs and greenstuff pads about a year ago and immediately noticed the "purring" sound.

I didn't worry, as the instructions said this would disappear after about 600 miles. It didn't. In fact it seems to have become louder and I have now done 9000 miles! I am not best pleased.

I have noticed an improvement in braking effect especially under hard braking, but I have also found that if the car is unused for a day or two, the brakes are really poor the first few times they are used.

With the original discs and pads the exact opposite used to occur i.e. "early morning sharpness"

If the discs ever wear out (and there is no sign of this!) I shall revert to standard but probably still use greenstuff pads as they seem to produce less dust.


Andrew Dear

I suspect there is a difference between the 'purring' sound and the fast ticking noise we're talking about. The purring - almost felt more than heard, has gone from mine, but the ticking is still evident.

And after listening more carefully whilst driving over to friends' this evening, I can also confirm that I was mistaken about the disappearance in neutral - seems not to be the case.

Odd, but not worrying. I was concerned lest the alternator belt was catching on something, but it's pretty clearly an EBC thing.

Ed Clarke

Scarlet had the purring when the EBC discs were fitted, this stayed until i changed the pads to Red Stuff, now it purrs a little when the pads are cold, but not at all when up to temperature.

This could be down to the pads being a harder compound and therefore wearing the discs more (filing down the grooves).

Just a theory.

Scarlet Fever

Erm, how much does a 6 yr service cost at
M J Smith

130. They'll also have a very good look round your car for corrosion problems and other stuff.

Ed Clarke

Mine cost abot 720 !
(But it did include a new Head gasket and Inlet manifold gasket)
Will Munns

Will, my 5-year cost that - including new HG.

The 6-year is the same as the 1-year of course, about the cheapest one on the sched.

Ed Clarke

Well just to add to the confusion and just as I was convincing myself that it was a characteristic and not to worry about it - I sent an email to EBC technical dept and got a reply which has reseeded my worries:



I have EBC Greenstuff grooved discs and pads fitted to the front of my '96 MGF and greenstuff pads fitted to Rover standard discs at the rear.

Since fitting I've noticed a ticking effect coming, I think, from the front discs. The sound has been likened to a leaf caught in wheel spokes. The sound is proportional to application of brakes and disappears as I release the brakes and pull away. The discs and pads were fitted by Brown and Gammons mg specialist in Baldock, Herts. The car went in for service recently and the brakes were fully checked out and no problems found.

Since then I have found several other MG owners on the MG bulletin boards that report exactly the same effect. I enquired back to B&G again but they had not come across this problem. It would seem that this is a "characteristic" of the grooved discs? Is this something you can confirm? The discs and pads certainly give an increase in performance over the standard parts but this ticking noise is worrying several of us. If it can be explained then I'm sure we'll all be happier. Some of the owners I've contacted are talking about refitting standard discs to get rid of this "problem".

There was also a purring noise as you applied brakes and this has eased off with time but is very different to the ticking noise we are experiencing.

I refer you to the bulletin board:
Go to MGF technical - current thread entitled "Odd Noise"

Any advise or reassurance would be much appreciated.

Reply from Bart []

we are sorry to hear of your problem
but are unaware of this ticking
the purring you refer to is the
grooves contacting the pads but ticking
would normally indicate something is loose
the purring is also due to the extra friction
it would be useful to fit std discs to see
if the ticking disappears


So now what? I'm confused and again puzzled by the noise. It's curious that we've all got this effect after fitting EBCs at B&G. Neither B&G or EBC are familiar with this problem. So what is it? I'm tempted to drive back down to B&G and take Peter out for a spin to experience it for himself. If it sounds loud to me inside the car - no wonder people look at me a bit puzzled as I go by! What do you suggest we do now Ed?

Hi all,

As usual I found the answer, before I could ask it on the board. After having replaced the brakes and pads by ebc grooved discs and greenstuff pads, I heared a ticking noise from the car, especcially when driving through a tunnel. But having seen so many replies of owners with the same experience I'm relieved again to know it's no serious problem but just a result of the new brake combination.

Thanks again


I've done about 1300 miles since the brakes were changed, and the ticking is still there: I'm still convinced it's not a serious problem, but it certainly isn't going away. I'm going to go and have a damn good look at the car now, to see if I can see any problems.

I wonder if there might be something just catching on the discs, and the 'ticking' is it catching on the grooves of the discs. More later.


PS. Still confident it's not serious though.
Ed Clarke

Well I'm damned i I can see anything that should cause this. All I would say is that with new pads AND discs, the rear pads' surface is very very close to the disc: perhaps just enough to flick gently on the grooves?

Really can't see anything else. The car behaves entirely normally - there's no permanent contact with the pads: at least, if I lift off from 70mph at the 50mph sign on the way into town on the M11, the car just gets down to 50mph in time for the gatso!


Ed Clarke

Isn't that entirely normal about the pad to disc gap. Isn't it the case that the pads are effectively always just in contact with the discs - for any type of disc/pad. It's not like bike brakes where the pads stand off the rim. But then again I might be talking out of my ......

Er, don't know; but would have thought so. It can only apply to absolutely brand new discs and pads though. There does seem to be a very little clearance on the front discs.

What's your thinking now Gordon? I'm inclined to live with it for a while longer, see what happens; although I've done a fair few miles with the new set-up, a lot of that's been motorway cruising and thus pretty easy on the brakes. Maybe a few of the Essex lanes on the way to the roadsters meet tomorrow is in order...

Ed Clarke

This thread was discussed between 25/04/2002 and 02/05/2002

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