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MG MGF Technical - Smell of Petrol VVC

When entering my prize possesion 98 model VVC there is a slight but distict smell of petrol, is this normal ??

After 40 years I managed to convince "Her Indoors" it was time to acquire one before it was to late, guess what, now its my fault that we did not do this earlier, but hey, its great fun!
graeme arnold

Hi Graeme..and welcome!
The smell of petrol is just the beginning...
You can go to a rover dealer and have it checked ...i think for free since is an original defect!
If you have never had an F before or if you have never heard of F problems before i will give you some advices:
1- Always check the coolant expansion tank for any coolant drop (i always do that... dayly!)
2- If you ever notice the water temp gauge going high youll have to turn the heat in max.
3- When driving in motorway youll notice oil readings of 120c.... if reaches 130c - 135c you should slow down.
4- You will have to look under the car to check if the seal of the gearbox is leaking oil into the floor (there have been a big number of faulty gearbox seals included)
5- You should review your car tracking...incorrect values will eat your front tires (the inner part) very fast.
6- Always use high quality oils (fully synthetic ones)
since the MGF is mid mounted engine car the air wont have the cooling efect as it has in a front engine car.
7- You should check you windows for leaks....

And remember...this is just the beginning...
But i sure love my F....mostly when i fly away from Mx-5 1.8 , MR2 , Z3 2.0 ...and Civic VTi...wont fly away from me!
Bruno Valadas

Or alternately you could have none of these problems like to be prepared though.

Just a thought, When do you get the smell?.. I get a petrol smell in the car but only after it has stood with a fullish tank, once i've emptied the tank a little its not a problem. Apart from that i think some people have had work ranging from a new tank to untwisting the breather pipe for this problem.

Glad you like the car


My 1997 VVC has just come back from the Rover dealer with a new petrol tank (free of charge as the warranty covered it) after I complained about the smell of petrol inside the car.

This appears to be a common problem with earlier MGFs and is covered extensively in the archive section, its worth having a read of the previous threads on this topic.

Angela Hartnup

I also got one new 'ff'.

Graeme, a new tank is not a must in each case. A dealer should check the car before you purchase it. May be that only the clamps at the sender unit/fuel pump are loose or anything is wrong at the purge valve.
If the tank should be change 'not for free' then count in a discount of app 300 to 400 GBP.

- MGF 1.8i, BRG, built 1996 -

Thanks looks like a visit to a "Friendly" dealer
Thnx to all
graeme arnold

I mentioned the petrol smell to my dealer and he said something I am struggling to understand. He said that the tank was permeable, and though it wouldn't leak it is not uncommon for it to smell.

Hmmm.... not sure.

Rajeev Gupte

1.8VVC 75LE G11PTE
Rajeev Gupte

Own Japanese import MGF 1996 new only done 12,000km when bought. Has that small of petrol. Rather annoying. No one here sems to know anyhting about it . can anyone shed some information as to soem technical stuff which the dealers here can lock onto and solve my problem. Many Thanks David
david Richards


Yup my brand new MGF came with the annoying petrol smell regardless of how full the tank was or whether its been sitting overnite. With the top down, it got worse! Its either the tank or the breather. Mine had to replaced. According to the Tokyo Rover Service Center, my car had the older unlined tank. The replacement has some kind of lining. All the work and parts were done under the original warranty. You mention yours is an import from japan, so I presume its not covered by any guarantee down in NZ? Give the person or importer you bought it from HELL! Wondering why the original Japanese owner didn't get it fixed.

As recommended earlier in this thread, look through the BBS archives and you'll find tons of info on this problem. Its a common fault and most rover dealers should be aware of it, but you'll find as I do sometimes, the overseas Rover dealers, especially on this side of the globe, are not always up to date on the MGF... Don't know about dealers in Oz...

good luck,


I bought my P reg 96 vvc this month, I also got the smell of fumes, so I contacted my Rover dealer and they had a look at it, and say they are going to fit a new tank and seals FOC.
I wonder who pays? Rover or the dealer as the F will be 4 years old this August.

keep smiling ()


just to add what I was told and know from a talk to a german Rover Service guy, just before they changed the tank of my 1996 MGF two month ago.

Some, only some tanks built until 1998 ? have the problem of getting porous.
Its a process depending on pressure inside the tank and high temperature.
(My guess is that the tanks wall was to thin 'blown' (according to the manufacturing process)).
Anyway, this thin areas get micro creaks on the inner surface under heat and pressure and then fuel diffuses through this partial area of the tanks wall.

I was also told that Rover did 'gas'-measurements at infected cars in the end of 1997 but found nothing un-healthy (No Benzol). They tried to solve the smell problem by an improved quality control or manufacturing control.
A load of tanks (here at the BBS known app. 20) where changed 'silent' and without existing MG bulletin only if customers complained.

The last known changed tanks (mine too) are the tanks from the MKII model. It carries only app. 36 Litres fuel instead of 40 l.

But again, no case to panic. Your dealers know some more places where fuel smell can occure. This should be checked at first.


This thread was discussed between 20/05/2000 and 31/05/2000

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