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MG MGF Technical - shock absorber fluid

I am writing to ask if there is a way to adjust the height of the car by adjusting the fluid in the shock absorbers. This is in order to pass MOT.
Do I have to find the genuine fluid or can I use the one Citroen has?
Can this be done with an ordinary pump in my "backyard" or it needs an authorised service dealer?
Finally do the shock absorbers only contain fluid, or any type of gas as well?
Answers to these questions cannot be easily given to me here, because there is not an authorised service dealer near my town.


I would not use Citroen fluid: the hydrogas fluid is likely to be different (I think that's an oil, isn't it?)

Any garage that is equipped to deal with (old) Mini's Maxi's and other British Leyland / Austin / Morris cars is likely to have a suitable hydrogas pump and fluid. Many "small" garages in the UK have one...

You won't need any gas, just liquid.

Correct height is 368mm from the centre of the wheel to the bottom of the arch vertically above it +/- 10mm @17 degrees C. Correct the value by 0.7mm per degree different from that temperature.

Good luck,


The Hydrogas uses a water based fluid (50/50 water/antifreeze) in the lower sections and the top of the spheres are charged with a gas but can not be 'topped' up. The fluid section can with the correct pump.

Ted Newman

More information on Dieter's web page regarding the hydragas sphere:
Rob Bell

I would not use the Citroen suspension fluid because being oil will have completely different characteristics to the water/antifreeze mix used in the Hydragas system. This would have a very good chance of damaging the hydragas units.

You should be able to get the fluid from a Rover dealer. I imagine many garages won't have a hydragas pump in Greece so you may have to take it to a Rover/MG dealer to get it pumped up. Alternatively, if you are mechanically minded Dieter will show you how to make a crude (sorry Dieter) pump.

How low is it? Why did it fail the MOT? Do you have to have your car at the makers recomended height settings to pass?. If this is the case you have around a 50% chance of failing with any MGF. With hydragas this could even depending on how it was parked when they checked it.

Fortunately in the UK and Holland the height of the car should not fail unless it was low enough to prevent the hydragas from working properly of when a unit had failed. With a hydragas system you can never be sure of constant ride height by it's very nature.
Tony Smith

I think one or two of us may be missing the point - Lazaros is in Greece where it is probable that MG dealers are not on every street corner - so he is looking for advice on how to correct his suspension that a non-MG man might understand.

Ted Newman

Are there any garages locally that work on or fix Mini Metros ??? they have the same set up
They will be equiped with the fluid and pump

Why did it fail ???


you will need the proper fluid and a proper pump - pressue is around 400psi

Thank you all guys for your comments and advices...

I have made my own pump and i will use the 50/50% antifreeze/water fluid you reccomended in order to try to achieve what I am after.
If it succeeds I will send photos of the pump and results to anyone interested..


I quote... "I imagine many garages won't have a hydragas pump in Greece so you may have to take it to a Rover/MG dealer to get it pumped up."

Regardless of if you have Rover dealers on every street corner, this is the fact, which is why I used the words "HAVE TO", I don't think I missed anything here.

My statement was intended to suggest the lack of Hydragas pumps in non UK country garages. Even in Holland it is hard to find an non MGR dealer garage with a Hydragas pump. Rover were never able to sell very well anywhere else but Britain so the need for hydragas pumps was not too great. We have metros, but not too many. I have never seen an Allegro here.

Remember, funny, not pompous.....:-)

The water antifreeze mix should work, much better than Citroen suspension fluid anyway.
Tony Smith

Hi Tony!
What do you think of the TF then?
I think MGR have come up with the goods!
Thinking of buying one?

>the 50/50% antifreeze/water fluid you reccomended in order to try to achieve what I am after.

I'm sorry for inventing, but please STOP !!
Not such mixture. It is much lighter. Measured myself with a coolant weight thing and found no relation to coolant physical data.

75 percent pure coolant and 25 percent alcohol (spirit).

This mixture gets used also in Taiwan !!
Dieter Koennecke

Oh dear aren't we all touchy tonight!

First I was just pointing out that the guy was not in the middle of the UK.

Second I was quoting the workshop manual - not actually recommending anything, having said that 50/50 water/antifreeze will probably be better than 'hydraulic oil' when just adding it to an existing system.

I know what I would do if stuck in the middle of a country that has not got any one to help me!

Ted Newman

Don't know how true but I heard that Motobuild used to use hydraulic fluid in a racing metro with good effect, less pitch and roll etc. Might try it before I fit the coil spring conversion.

I think this could work and prevent that materials from 'rusting away'. On the other hand, if a unit blows suddenly anywere on public roads, then I'd wonder what invironment enthusiasts would say about a quarter liter hydraulic oil on the road ;)

There was a discussion on the Metro BBS subject the other year.
Rog involved as well ?

I might try to testing any thin hydraulic oil compatibility to the lower rubber sphere from the dismantled rubber parts from the hacksawed unit in the cellar.

Can you or someone suggest any stuff I could easy get ?
Truck hydraulics stuff i.e. ?
Dieter Koennecke

Hmm........i see a fight coming here, i think i will slip away.

Hi Mega,

It's OK, it still looks like an MGF, I think the back looks a little silly though, it was fat enough at the back with the old rear end now they added a lateral line to emphasise it. It's like fat people wearing horizontal stripes.

The front is updated in line with the Lotus, more aggressive is in, cute is out, obviously. The MG heritage bit was only transitional anyway, as it was designed to put MG back on the map. Now they have our attention they can start to modernise a bit and change the look a little.

Having said that, some may say, this is how the F should have been in the first place. If they had used a closed headlight enclosure on the MGB the TF front would still be heritage :-)

I will watch for a couple of years before I spend money on a TF, it will take me that long to get the money together again and for a TF to be old enough for me to afford one. The main thing that would put me off another MG is the lousy dealer network.

To be quite honest I'm so upset about having to sell my F I'm tempted to throw everything MG out of the house, I really don't want any reminders once it's gone. I put a lot of time and effort, and some of my heart into that car to get it how I wanted it and it's all just going to be thrown away in a market that don't give a damn.

I have a repreve in that the rear screen cracked so it will be at least another couple of weeks before I can get it fixed and can sell it.

If I strike it rich I'm getting a TVR Tuscan...:-)
Tony Smith

>coolant weight thing

Hydrometer? to measure specific gravity?

Sorry I'm in MGR beta test mode, I have got so used to doing the testing work for MGR.

>Oh dear aren't we all touchy tonight!


>coil spring conversion

Tell me more, you never know, I may get a job next week...:-)


Where do you think your going? Come back here........

Tony Smith

Hydrometer. Tony, Cheers !
I'll put to my other 500 english words :)

Yes, an easy test. Suck hydragas-fluid to the hydrameter and try reading the 'freeze temperature range'.
Fails complete, the needle can't get up any mm cause that stuff is so full with alcohol.
(should be serious, even if it sounds different *g*)

PS. Tony, wait with ordering a screen, may be I can get one for app 125EUR from second hand.
Dieter Koennecke

This thread was discussed between 31/01/2002 and 02/02/2002

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