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MG MGF Technical - Rattle driving me insane!

Now I've had some cars with rattles ... most of them I got to the bottom of and were intermitent ... but, the rattle behind the dash of my trophy is driving me mad and i guess the reason the previous owner decided to trade for a diesel focus (I honestly can't think of any other reason to trade from a MGF trophy 160 to a coal-burning focus, unless something has driven you mad).

I've had two days of an auto electrician poking about, taping cables together etc... trying all the relays etc. but now the noise is worse.

It seems to originate behind the dash, moreso on the drivers side. It does sound like a relay, and happens when one drives over a uneven surface - like any typical road! its like a never ending clicking sound (i had something similar in an old porsche, but it turned out to be the second hand on the clock that had become stuck).

Aswell as a public rant, I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar rattle / noise and cured it.

the only solution for me at the minute is to turn the volume up on my new Kenwood headuint (an excellent purchase), but then I get strange looks from other road users when blasting out 'me and my teddy bear' from 'top20 toddlers hits' (my 3-year old was in the car and insisted).

Please help me before I find myself down at the local ford dealer like the poor chap before me.
N McNamara

Not something under the bonnet striking the other side is it?
Russell Parslow

thanks for the reply - I checked there last night, but couldn't find anything.

It seems since the wiring behind the dash has been tidied up the noise has got worse.
N McNamara

Sounds like the crossmember weld issue - but I thought they'd fixed that by the time the Trophy came out??

Tim Jenner

Is the noise regular, or does it occur at random? Is it worse around corners?

Tim, I was wondering about the cross member too - it is a very rare problem on later cars, but presumably it can occur...
Rob Bell

Probably not the right location but worth a quick check -
Open the bonnet and on top of each headlight lens is a retaining steel clip, that clip should have a small "foam" cap on top of it. One of mine was missing and I could see where with the bonnet closed it had just started to rub. A small piece of self adhesive foam on top cured it.(I assume there were two at one time, it was the drivers side one missing - anyone care to check on theirs?)
John Mac

>Sounds like the crossmember weld issue - but I thought they'd fixed that by the time the Trophy came out??

Almost, only for almost.
There was another breakage of the steering assy bracket later than with the early MGF.
Can't recall who had this ?

Worth to check the both fixtures at the cross membber, RH and LH of the steering column.

A second could be the play of the bonnet hinge(s).

Oh yeah, I know this feeling ....
Another *driving me nuts* happend with my 1999 MGF.
A bad weld dot of the vertical sheet metal attached below the Driver Side Wiper arm was the reason.
A fellow craftsman in a MGR workshop found this after _month_. He *crumpled* the metal lead with a gripper and the damn noise disappeared.

btw. don't try all suggested curing options at once.
Do one after the other and see what it does.


Rattle/knock behind the drivers dash... don't even go there!

I've had one for 18 months now and still haven't figured out what it is... I had the dash out again at the weekend and tightened my two U-clamps up fully on the cross member... still there... put a missing bolt back in the fuse panel... tidied and taped up a few things... still there..

Now I found another possibility this evening... when I grab the top corner of the bonnet just near the driver sides and waggle it up and down theres a clearing knocking noise... I've tightened all the hinge bolts I can "see"... but its still there so there must be bolts I can't see...

This all started post-accident (small front impact) so I think I may actually pop it back to the body-shop where it was fixed so they can take a look...

Chris Tromans

>but its still there so there must be bolts I can't see...

broken weld dots ....

Mr McNamara,

The Trophy I had rattled over ripples in the surface, which I was fairly sure was the ARB or the drop links but everything checked out OK. By jerking down on the bonnet I was able to reproduce the noise, but decided further diagnosis would require a stethoscope. And there's never a doctor around when you need one...

Listen to the wise man from Hersfeld... the owner of a pre-launch MGF I was chatting to confirmed that before a journalist was let near one, it was stripped, seam welded, and everything bolted up with fibre washers etc etc. Sadly robots that spot weld seem to be cheaper then humans who can seam weld :o(

I have the same symptoms, but I opted for an ITG induction roar and a T-bar speaker upgrade rather than disgorging the contents of the cockpit at regular intervals ;o) Judging by the way the binnacle cover has sheared off two of its mountings there's certainly some movement in the bulkhead, due possibly to my missing an airfield circuit apex by several yards, launching over the opposite kerb, then hitting a mound and for a brief moment having a very good view of rolling Welsh countryside. The landing was a bit heavy, too, might have been that actually...
Mike Hankin


Will a body-shop (nope, not the one that sells stinky perfume, the other type) be able to sort these spot welds out for me?

Chris Tromans

Sounds like the crossmember weld issue ...
what does this sound like?

ALSO I have a rattle at about 3000 rpm from behind my head and I'll be blown if I can find it!
been there for about 5 years buzzing away!

AND a low down rattle in the engine bay once the engine is warm and on tickover
been there about 7 years and nothings blown up yet!
probably alternator.

Yeah these are very annoying!

my mates Porsche doesnt rattle at all!


I think so.
The problem is, they have two options to cure.
A. The *black / white* blind version
Strip all as Mike said, and re-weld plus re-spray _everything_. In hope to cure the broken ..
B. analyse what could be broken and re-weld/re-work only there.

Both sounds quite expensive, but IMO you could take some further analyse works yourself and decrease costs.

You made already sure, it's no bolt. You can reproduce the noise. That's great, cause you got already one half of the way to cure.
Btw See above internals of the metal work. The car had a front impact. So it should be possible to rule out which weld dot lines could have got _shear stress_ or _pull stress_.

The noise is almost from the paint work surfaces rubbing on each other. Not necessarily the broken welding itself.

The guy who found this at my car used a really big screw driver as lever. Put it between each visible weld dot line gap and moved carefully up and down to remove pre-stress. The crumple-line on the picture above was done with a simple gripper. Aswell to take away pre-stress from the materials.



Thanks all for your comments!! What would we do without these types of forums.

I must try and see if its related to the bonnet or headlights, although it does sound like it was coming from behind the dash.

It sounds like a relay clicking fastly on and off - one things that my mate noticed was when he took it for a drive before I bought it he had thought it was the headunit cause he pushed it in and the sound seemed to stop - but I've had the headunit and centre console out, wires have been taped up and its worse now.

My friend, who is more handy than me, will be coming over this evening to take the dash off .... but will try under the bonet first.

I'll keep you posted ...

(my induction to MG ownership hasn't had the best starts .. I've another tale of woe from this morning when the car died on me going into the carpark and wouldn't start for a minute or two ... buts that another thread.)

Thanks again - I appreciate the support!
N McNamara

"the headunit cause he pushed it in and the sound seemed to stop"

You dont have the infamous chafed wiring behind the stereo shorting something to ground do you?

I thought I had actually as I went through 4 10amp fuses in a week .. but the auto-electrician who had a good look around didn't find anything ... but after he had a look and tidied things up the rattle is worse.

Just checked the bonnet and headlights .. no luck there :(
N McNamara

< My friend, who is more handy than me, will be coming over this evening to take the dash off >

Er, I wouldn't say this is an "evening" job... there's a lot to do to get the dash off!! Believe me, its just taken me 2 days to take it 'nearly' off and then put everything back.

Here's a list of stuff to come off before the dash can come away:

air vents
steering wheel
steering wheel surround
instrument cowl
speedo set etc
t-bar (yes even that!)
centre console
centre tunnel
centre rear section
cubby boxes
fuse cover panel
glove box
air bag blank

See this great site for tips :-) then click rebuild then "dash part 1"

Have fun!


Chris Tromans

Well said. Better try everything else before going that way.

>"the headunit cause he pushed it in and the sound seemed to stop"

Make sure that plastic parts of the centre console don't rub at each other. Can't speak for the Trophy console (MKII with smooth corves) but for my MK1 only. These rattles where well known from earlier MGF. Some pcs of self adhesive foam tape applied between centre console and dash or/and heater control panel helped me getting rid of that rattles.

Did you already take off the head unit and compare ?

> ChrisT thanks for that - after reading I decided against taking the dash off!

> Dieter (excellent website btw) I took the centre console out - still the rattle - still baffled... but convinced it is behind and to the upper right of the instrument panel.

Mr MG Rover garage said they would gladly have a look for me - 'gladly' as they would charge the standard hourly rate until they found it.

Just going to have to live with it ... and turn the stereo up.

If your in Belfast and you hear childrens songs and nursery ryhmes blasting out from a yellow trophy .. that'll be me!

N McNamara


That does sound exactly the same position as I have my rattle... as I discussed with SF at the B&G open day and as I discovered after getting the dash 'nearly off' at the weekend - there's really not a lot under the back of the dash that could actually rattle... so I'm really guessing its under the bonnet hinge somewhere and the sound is vibrating through to the cockpit..

I popped to the bodyshop who did my repairs back in March '04 - they were happy to take a quick look for me... I'm going to take the black wiper grill off first so they can have more access... I'm taking it to them in the morning... I think think because the rattle is so prominent when you waggle the bonnet up and down at the hinge that they might find something quite quickly..

Also try, when you've got the bonnet up, move the driver side wiper connection arm (underneath) around and see if rattles against the bodywork - mine certainly catches on a bolt thats on the black metal plate that the wiper motor sits on... however, I know thats not my main rattle as I've cushioned that with foam..

I'll let you know if I find anything.


Chris Tromans

This thread was discussed between 09/08/2005 and 11/08/2005

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