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MG MGF Technical - Starting
|My MGF is Dec 1996 delivered in Australia March 97. This last week I have experienced difficulty starting - in fact it won't start and if left for 10 -15 min starts and operates normally. The local dealer is lost as he says the engine management system does not record any malfunction. Warm starts are generally OK but not always. Latest development is that the engine missfires a couple of times.|
Has anyone experienced a similar fault or has any suggestions on how to overcome this most annoying and inconvient fault.
|Yes Nick, my brother had this too. The frequency of problems was reduced drastically when the battery was replaced. But the same day it didn't start, then it worked fine for 3 weeks, but he told me yesterday it refused to start again.|
Errr, sorry, can't help more than that, dealer didn't find anything during 1 week... it's just an MG :p
|I echo what my brother noted. Problems got from bad to worse a couple of weeks ago. Never had this before on my July 1996 MGF Mpi. In the end, the battery was replaced, and all went back to normal again, except for only one bad start one week later. But the last two days, car is 'ill' again: cough-cough-cough but almost no start. I lock the car, give it a rest for a minute or two, and then fire up again with more chances of success. Stinking grey clouds evaporate from the exhausts when I manage to fire up the bitch...|
Dealers don't know the cause: "This really could be anything". No malfunctioning whatsoever indicated on/by the Testbook. New battery, new sparking plugs. Starter motor was repaired (not replaced) a couple of months ago (June or July 2000).
Now, what I know is that my K&N air filter urgently needs to be cleaned. The pink-coloured K&N-airfiltercone is currently completely covered by a black layer of filth, because I never took the time to to go out to the shop to buy the K&N-cleaning-kit and to subsequently clean the K&N57i-kit (despite the fact that I already drove it for quite a couple of thousands of miles...). Yes-yes-yes, I know folks, I'd better should take good care of that K&N-filter. This can't wait much longer.
So my question: could it be that some filth-particles of the 'overcrowded-by-filth' K&N-filter are (related to) the cause of the bad starting, or is that rather an unlikely hypothesis ? From my recollection I thought it was an almost impossible hypothesis, but I am not sure ?
Any help is welcome.
|i DONT KNOW WHETHER THIS WILL HELP OR NOT. i HAVE A SUBARU 250 T WHICH RECENTLY REFUSED TO START. i TRIED TO FORCE A STAT BY KEEPING THE STARTER MOTOR TURNING OVER. THE RESULT WAS THAT IT STARTED BUT RAN ON THREE CYLINDERS. A mESS THE COMPUTER TOLD ME TO CHECK THE ENGINE. LIFTED THE HOOD AND TH ENGINE WAS STILL ON ITS MOUNTS. CALLED THE SPECIALIST AND WAS TOLD TO ORGANISE TO HAVE IT DELIVERED ON A TRUCK. THE PROBLEM WAS PERCEIVED TO BE A FAULTY SENSOR WHICH DETERMINES THE AMOUNT OF FUEL WHICH SHOULD BE DELIVERED. FF THIS SENSOR IS FAULTY THEN THE ENGINE RECEIVES TOO MUCH FUEL AND WILL NOT START. THE PROBLEM IS THAT BY THE TIME THAT THE CAR IS DELIVERED WHAT EVER WAS SITTING ON THE SENSOR MAY HAVE BEEN DISLODGED AND THE WHOLE THING GOES LIKE A TRAIN AND YOU ARE LED TO BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE AN IDIOT. GET ASSURTIVE AND TELL THEM TOFIX THE PROLEM BY REPLACING THE ITEMS WHICH COULD CAUSE THE PROBLEM. AN INTERMITTENT FAULT MUST BE DEALT WITH BY YOU PUTTING YOUR FOOT DOWN,/. DO NOT BELIVE THAT YOU ARE WRONG. YOU EXPERIENCED THE PROBLEM|
|Wow David that was a little heavy on the capitals, not easy to read, but I understand what your saying.|
The problem here points towards a weakened spark, in fact to Luc's as well. The fact that a 'rest' period sees the engine starting and then running a trifle rough, shows that combustion is not clean.
If the rough running last for just 5 secs or so then this could be residual unburnt fuel upsetting the cylinder mixture until burned. If it lasts longer or if it is a regular miss, which points to one cylinder not firing, then there are other possibilities.
I will look at those possibilities that wouldn't show up on Testbook. (which incidentally is due for replacement by a new device early in the new year) The plugs are a common source of problems, especially when over 20k miles, irespective of the 60k service life cycle.
The HT leads affect both when they age and here 4 to 5 years is old for HT leads. Internal resistance is quite likely to be rising and above the accepted levels. VVC engines have much longer leads that tends to offset their advantage of not having a distributor cap and rotor arm. The MEMS 3 systems have the coils mounted above the plugs on top of the engine.
The MPi engines retain a dizzy cap and rotor arm which in previous Rovers has been the sourcee of problem. Especially the rotor arm for suffering an internal short to earth. The caps used to suffer from regular propogation of cracks from the internal terminal posts, but recent caps are more resiliant.
The engine managment has voltage correction built in to cater for the variations in system voltage, but if that variation is significant then the correction range will not be enough. Starter motors can be classic cases for drawing far too many amps.
I used to use a Cryton Tuning device which would read the cranking amps drawn by the starter motor. If it were around 200 to 250 amps then fine, but some would read over 400 and it explained why some bump started at the first hint of the engine turning this way, but would crank till the battery was flat and not start on the starter.
A good test would be to do a bump start and see if the engine comes to life any more readily. If your worried about fuel in the cat, just remember that the cranking and misfire puts far more in the cat that a short bump start would.
The battery can be a source of problem, but I would pout this way down the suspect list. The altenator too can be a source of start problems, but again it is a long way down the list.
As to a blocked airfilter I doubt that the blockage is sufficient to cause the engine to not fire. In cold conditions this will actually be a bonus during initial cranking. I have also seen K&N's with a fur about hal an inch (12mm) deep all over it and the effect was remarkably limited.
|I've just (4 days ago) got a '96 VVC 37K miles - and am having the same, or at least a similar, problem. Currently, if left overnight, it won't fire on the first attempt - but then goes, with a couple of misses, on the second, and is then fine. I've tried switching on and waiting before hitting the starter to give the pump a chance to get some fuel moving, but it seemed to make little difference: the weak spark idea seems believable to me, but it's been serviced in the last 6 weeks - wouldn't that have been checked? Would the HT leads have been tested? I don't know. I shall investigate further...|
Fortunately, I have a warranty, so I'll report back if i get it fixed.
|My 1996 MPi has also become difficult to start in the last 2 days. When it is running the engine idles at up to 1100rpm even when hot. Could these 2 symptoms be at all related? I have booked the car in at the dealers, although they cannot see it until January, so let's hope that it keeps going.|
The car has done 27k, so is it worth changing the spark plugs anyway, I don't know if they are original, but suspect that they are.
|I always think of that character from 'Dilbert', (you know, the one who always talks loud), when i read upper case postings.|
Anyhoo, just to add to this thread,
The first time in three years, yesterday she finally let me down. Nothing major, in fact my own fault. Over the past couple of WET months i've only had the car out for maybe three or four runs. I do potter down the garden and start her up for a twenty minute idle every sunday if i'm not taking her out. But yesterday, was the first time she wouldn't start. Trustee Astra diesel to the rescue and followed by a darn good thrashing round the block (A249-M20-A229-M2-A249, it's a big block!) and the battery is tip top again.
Whoa, they said the weather was going to be bad, sounds like my roof is about to take off!!
|Ed, your service would not have had anyone look at the ignition side of things. The plug change is officially another 23k away and in my book it's already about 17k too late for optimum efficiency. Add to this the weakening of HT leads insulation, increasing resistance (connected age related issues)and your into the simplistic feature of HT energy finding the route of least resistance. That is not by jumping the spark plug gap to get to earth!!|
Kris, the sudden onset of difficult starting and the high idle speed is far more characteristic of a sensor failure. A common one for these circumstances would be the coolant thermister. MEMS is able to detect the failure and will then substitue a default value that allows the engine to run, but not at it's best.
This default value will be middle of the road setting, so for a cold engine the setting will not be quite close enough for a full enrichment cycle, and when the engine is hot the value tells of a cooler engine and so the setting allows more stepper motor opening and a higher idle speed.
|Roger, thanks for your information. Since Tuesday the car has been fine and is running as I would expect. Would a fault with this sensor be picked up with the dealers diagnostic equipment or do I have to wait for it to happen again?|
|Roger, thanks: really informative post.|
Aargh!! Looks like plugs/leads are not covered by my warranty (don't they always find a way out?). Anyhow, on another thread here someone suggests that it's a fairly easy job to do for yourself... can anyone enlighten me if that means easy for me (a reasonably technical person, but no mechanic and very new to the MGF...)? And if it's tricky, where in East London in best to get parts / get the job done?
|I am puzzled.|
I did not change anything, atmospheric circumstances are still the same, but however my MGF Mpi has no hiccups whatsoever any more since a week. Continuously smooth starting for days now ?
So it seems to quickly come and quickly vanish as a some Summer storm.
Why does my car seem to have "her period" ?
-- Luc -- (touching wood...)
Me too - for the last two anyway. Maybe she just likes to know that you care...
Going to do te plugs and leads anyway tomorrow.
|>>Maybe she just likes to know that you care...<<|
Well, I gave her a good "go" at the highway recently. Squeezed her out. Must do for some time, and I assume she'll be coming back for more ;-)
-- Luc --
Which car/engine has the MEMS 3 system with the coils on top?
|I also had problems starting my MGF in the wet (29k miles), I took it to the local MG dealer and asked them to leave it for a day before starting it so that the problem would be evident and they could run a diagnostic to find the cause. 2 hours later (!!!) they phoned my up to say that they had found that it had a corroded ignition coil which surprise surprise wasnt covered by my warranty, (yes Ed they do always find a way out) fortunately the garage I purchased it from paid for the work out of courtesy. They replaced the coil but as soon as it rained or was damp it failed to start. |
Every time i took it back to the dealer they found nothing wrong. I gave up with the dealer and took it to a local sports car specialist who changed the plugs and its been fine ever since, even in the monsoon that we have been experiancing recently. Is changing the spark plugs supposed to be part of any service?
|Plugs changed at 60k miles - they are (supposedly) long life plugs but others have reported the benefits of changeing earlier.|
The other area that has been catalogued as a problem area are the plug leads.
BTW these problems seem to appear primarily with the VVC due to a different layout.
|>>>I am puzzled.|
I did not change anything, atmospheric circumstances are still the same, but however my MGF Mpi has no hiccups whatsoever any more since a week. Continuously smooth starting for days now ?<<<
Uh, seems like I pushed my luck, because last week another hiccup appeared. Ran fine again ever since.
Seems like a jo-jo problem (pendular). I just don't get it (the cause) ?!
-- Luc -- (touching other wood...)
|So... plugs and leads not chnaged yet, due to lack of time and appropriate socket etc., but I have had a new battery: left her in the garage for a couple of days and it was utterly dead when I got back. No apparent short circuit, everything (like map lights) switched off. |
So far, starting feels much more secure, but then she hasn't had more than a day off yet.
Stll planning on changing plugs and leads though.
MEMS 3 was first seen on the Stepronic and is being filtered into all applications as time passes to meet new emission standards. The same applies to other Rovers with the K series.
|It's getting worse again. It seems like I'm off to a neverending story with the starting trouble.|
- sparking plugs: have been replaced;
- battery: has been replaced;
- starter motor: has been "revised" a couple of months ago;
- HT leads: are still the originals - not replaced yet;
- starter sensor: is still the original - not replaced yet;
- K&N 57i filter kit: is filthy and needs to be cleaned very-very soon.
Tried for fifteen minutes to start the engine: to no avail - continuous hiccups. Stinking fuel smell. Engine just lacks that final push to say VROOOM. Even llocked and unlocked several times my MGF (to possibly reset any electrical things), but engine was stubborn: no starting :(
I can tell you that this really gets you nervous.
So I finally connected the battery of another car (with running engine) to the battery of my MGF and guess what: VROOOOM: my MGF fired up at the first attempt.
So is something bothering / misleading the ECU of my MGF ?
HELP! Anyone out there knows what I should do to remedy this deeply annoying starting problem ? Any input is welcome, because I don't trust that car anymore as long as the trouble is not remedied.
-- Luc --
|Change the leads Luc. I am sure Roger mentioned that the orginals breakdown with age and your are both quite old and have a high mileage (kilometrage?) if they are orginal. |
I got mine from B&G (the red ones) and even leaving out car our in the reason monsoons for a week did not stop it starting first turn after a wek idle.
The car needs the biggest "belt" to start and this is when poor electrical connections will show.
Good luck and I claim the first Christmas post!
Happy Christmas to all my Fing friends
You are sad :-)
What are you doing in front of a monitor screen at Chri...
|Where is santa?|
If changing the plug cables doesn't solve your problem, you should have a look at your coil (where the fifth cable on the distributor is connected to). I think Dave Gregory mentioned it as the ignition coil.
A while ago, I had the same problem as yours with my Land Rover which is cured after replacing the faulty coil.
|Thanks Patrick and John.|
My kilometrage is over 115K kms and car-age 4.5 yrs, so HT-leads must be getting Alzheimer-ish.
My F is going in for its 120K kms service at around 117K kms (Jan-Feb 2001). In the meantime, I'll try to store my *F* as much as possible indoors to preserve good starting (no guarantee, but it helps) and fire up the engine once a day at least.
-- Luc --
|i have an mgf that had a battery changed as being the third owner, i saw not given the original set of keys|
and hand book, after the battery change the alarm light has come on, and i can"t start the car. the
starter wont turn and a beeping sound comes on, please help.
try pressing your 'unlock' blipper(remote) button. when you tried to start your car with the beeping sound audible, didn't it set off your car horn?
|in addition, the alarm(red) light will come on in a while everytime the car is switched off. you must press your blipper to turn the light off & only then will you be able to start your car.|
|Douglas, I think you have to "re-synchronise" the blipper vs. alarm ECU.|
From memory, it's pressing the blipper 5(?) times ... anyway, it's explained in the owner's handbook.
|4 times, and then unlock.|
So, finally a moment to get on with things. I've changed the plugs, and this seems to have made all the difference. We start first time, every time so far (now where's that plank...?)
Luc, if you crank it ovr and over without it starting you'll just fill the chambers up with fuel and drown the spark: here's a trick to get past that. You know the fuel pump disable switch, on the left-hand side as you look from the back, opposite the oil dip-stick? If you unplug the connector from the bottom of this switch and then try to start again, no extra fuel is pumped and you may well find it starts then. Obviously it then stops again as the last drops in the lines are used up; re-connect the pump cut-off and you should be fine.
Not great for the Cat., but then neither is cranking it for ages...
Haven't changed my leads - can't see how you're supposed to get at the distributor end without being double-jointed or having an inspection pit :-)
Rog wrote earlier on in this thread:
>>>A good test would be to do a bump start and see if the engine comes to life any more readily.<<<
My MGF failed to fire up again this morning: no cure whatsoever, just a "view-view-view" sound but no final "vrooom"-sound. Good occassion to try a "bump start" as Rog suggested:
- put the car in second gear;
- keep clutch pushed down;
- ignite engine (damn "view-view-view" sound);
- two people pushing the rear of my MGF;
- when car is moving forwards: suddenly release clutch;
Result this morning: car immediately fired up: vrooom + stinking smell.
Drove to the court. And after an hour or so I drove from the court to my office: no problem whatsoever to start (no hesitation).
I have the feeling that we are closing in on the symptoms & diagnosis (cause) & remedy (solution) to my MGF's starting problem. Kudoes to you all !
So therefore my question: given the fact that a bump start immediately DOES result into a 100% satisfactory result (because it immediately causes the engine to fire up), can I conclude that there is nothing wrong at all with the starter motor and that everything is rather pointing into the direction of:
a. HT leads which need replacement (4.5 yrs - 115K kms)b. corroded ignition coil which needs replacement (idem)
c. both a. & b.;
Yes, this can happen to all of you, as soon as your MGFs are getting a bit older (4-5 yrs - over 100K kms). "Granny MGFs" have to be taken care of ;-)
Any input is welcome.
-- Luc --
|I will complicate issues here as to me there are two possibilities, both perfectly reasonable. The bump start proves that the car will start when there is an unrestricted battery supply to the engine managment, including the ignition circuit. |
With the full battery supply being available to the ignition the spark generated will be as good as you get. As such it is more likely to find an alternative route to earth and so the engine would not be so keen to start. The lead condition and the resistances presented to the HT current will be the same on a cold start and the higher the HT voltage the more likely it will be to find weaknesses. The fact that it doesn't tends to show the HT components, leads, plugs cap and rotor are in serviceable condition.
This now actually points the finger of blame towards the starter circuit, which includes the battery, the starter motor and all heavy current cables, switches and junctions. If the battery has a low reserve supply, even if new, then the starter circuit can draw sufficient to lower the threshold voltage for the engine managment system below the point where it works. The cold engine requires the starter to work harder and so absorb more power which is why the car is a non starter when cold but fine for the rest of the day.
Add an extra battery via Jump leads and the overall battery reserve increases considerably. This then imitates a heavy duty battery, perhaps one usually listed for the 620 or 825 diesels. The battery being in the front of the car imitates the MGB in reverse where that car has battery(s) in the back. Both cars have long battery cable runs that can be the cause of higher resistances and so reduce effective power levels achieved at the engine. Other main connections being slightly loose or dirty will have just the same effect.
Another aspect is that the starter is drawing too many amps and is out of spec. Even if it still just in spec then it's draw on the battery connected with the possibility of a slightly weak battery or resistance in the starter circuit will drop the electrical system voltage during cold cranking below the firing threshold and no amount of churning on the starter will get it to fire.
Another reasonably simple test is to put a trickle charger on the battery overnight. Disconnect this about 5 mins before trying to start the car to allow the battery to settle before loading it. If the car then fires normally then this is a real confirmation that the system voltage is too low. Exactly what is the cause is another issue.
What is so annoying when I see people suffering from these problems is that to do a system test is so damn simple. There are so many mobile tuners in the UK whose 'Crypton' (or similar diagnistic units) can simply connect to the battery and other leads without breaking into any junctions and read off in five minutes cranking voltage, craking amps drawn by the starter, battery reserve and other system functions for a cost of approximately £25. I have some hand held tools that will achieve the same results in somewhat longer time, so why the hell can't the dealers find these problems.
This time when you visit the dealer you have virtually done the main diagnostics for him. He only has to isolate the cause of the low system voltage, and this should not be by way of 'lets try the starter by fitting another, and it will cost you...' and ' we can test the battery by putting on another one, and it will cost you...'If one man tuning operations running from the back of a van can do a full system check without the need to check by replacement then so should they.
It's a pity your so far away!!!
Thanks for the speedy reply, but I do not have a remote as being the third owner I was not given it
as it got lost at the used car. And no the alarm did not set of the car horn.
Thanks for the help also, but as explain earlier I do not have the handbook or blipper.
I would also like to find out if the alarm is fitted in the e.c.u.
thanks and please help.
|In addition to Rog's comments, check the electrolyte level in the battery.I have seen many batteries low even after an 'official' service. The result will be a lower output from the battery giving the above symtoms.As a service item I check this level and recharge the battery to ensure full cranking voltage.|
BTW our car is a Sept 95 model and is left out in all weathers and is running on the origional leads etc. and fires up first crank. I do spray the engine bay with a water repellant light oil spray (similar to WD 40) and keep the battery charged and checked for fluids.When spraying the engine bay try getting down to the starter/solinoid terminals as these have a habit of corroding and detempering due to the excessive heat generated by a poor connection.If in doubt pull off the spade connection and clean with fine emery paper (nail board file, ladies) use some petroleum jelly (vaseline ,boys) and refit connection.
Hope this helps, Mike.
You have three options,
1. Get the remote from the previous owner.
2. Get the four digit deactivation code from your rover dealer.
3. Get your rover dealer to reprogram your alarm system to a new frequency & purchase new remote from them so that the previous owner won't have access to the inside of your car.
Its better to let your rover dealer to handle the alarm system because they have the proper tools to do it with.
Thanks for the options, but as for option one as told the remote and orginal key was lost at the used car . I did try to contact the previous owner and was told the sets were given to the used car co.
As for options two and three the dealership for Rover and MGF haved closed down over here in
Malaysia.Do you think that Rover UK. can help me out on the four digit deactivation code if so
what information should I give them, and how do I contact them.
care to lend douglas a hand?
Since I know Ted is off on holiday I think I need to pick up John's challenge!
I am not sure how much help I can offer however. The telephone number of the Rover / MG Customer line in the UK is (0)1865 334900. Unfortunately it only operated between 5-9 UK time and Monday through Friday. Tomorrow (Monday) is also a national holiday in the UK so it will not be open then. (The number will need to have the zero removed and the UK dialling code for Malaysia added.)
I suspect you will need to give then the VIN number of your car. This should be on a identifying tag under the bonnet and/or on another tag on the dash where in meets the windscreen on the far left side.
I suspect you will need to contact Rover direct for the sort of help you need. However is there a Rover office or Dealer in Singapore who could help?
Finally, a very unpleasant thought. Since your car does not have any documentation or orginal keys are you sure it is legitimate?
my VVC has been having trouble starting for a long while now (esp. when its cold and damp). It seems that if it doesn't start after the first 5/7 seconds you get a horrible smell of petrol as the fuel floods the engine. The AA man showed me a trick if this happens. Yank second fuse from the left out from under the bonnet (which controls the fuel pump) - turn the car over a good few seconds to get rid of the fuel, replace the fuse and the car starts 9 times out of 10.
I don't know how good this is for my starter motor/Engine Management/battery though.................
You could always leave the car for a while to let the fuel run away naturally......(perhaps thats why leaving it 20 minutes gets the car to start ok Nick)
|>are you sure it is legitimate?|
Sorry for breaking in here, but I guess the key code will be handed out to MG registered dealers only.
Douglas, you'll need 'papers' as evidence that its yours.
sounds useful, you should foreward this trick to Greg Hilton (FAQ-Master, link on top of this subject)
|yes i have had the same problem bought f before xmax been back to rover 1st time said it was car thought ecu was thinking car was hot but was cold so they changed out a sensor was fine for 2 3 days,but 1 cold frostyy night same problem 30 min to startt her,back to rover now they have changed tthe complete ecu unit back tto fine fingers crossed will report|
|An update: in the two weeks since I changed the plugs I've had no problems - including leaving it sitting out in the rain and cold all of New Year's Eve. Compensated for by a top-down drive along the North Norfolk coast the following afternoon, in the winter sunlight. Fantastic.|
|hi all,well rover changed out tthe ecu and the car was fine for 1 day,tryed to start this morning and guess what 1 hour before she started,stared as per manual no gas pedal,then half gas pedal,tthen full gas pedal(leaving time before each attempt)but no so pissed,got a smell of pettrol somthing bad so lefy 10 min's,fire not fire,splutter,the she went,shes fine whwn running,but it's just this cold staring problem,any way took car to rover,left over night will ask them to start it monday(NOT A CHANCE FIRST TIME)att roger parker what do you recomend the leads and plugs??do the vvc as mine is not have a dissy cap and rotor arm???|
what have they got then???
ken & mags
isle of wight
|hi all,well rover changed out the ecu and the car was fine for 1 day,tryed to start this morning and guess what 1 hour before she started,stared as per manual no gas pedal,then half gas pedal,then full gas pedal(leaving time before each attempt)but no so pissed,got a smell of pettrol somthing bad so lefy 10 min's,fire not fire,splutter,then she went,shes fine when running,but it's just this cold staring problem,any way took car to rover,left over night will ask them to start it monday(NOT A CHANCE FIRST TIME)att roger parker what do you recomend the leads and plugs??do the vvc as mine is not have a dissy cap and rotor arm???|
what have they got then???
ken & mags
isle of wight
you have exactly the same problem I had. Changed the plugs (not the leads - but I will do that too when opportunity presents) and it's been fine since. They're easy to do yourself, if you can put up with the hassle of exposing the engine.
|The rubber mat technique...|
I have had problems with damp starting on and off with my P reg VVC (44K miles, original plugs/HT leads/Coils) for a couple of years. When it first started I was told it was a design fault of putting the coils on the back of the engine (just where the rain can drip through the boot vents on to them). I have since kept an old rubber car mat in the the boot and if it looks like rain I just lay it over the vent holes. So far this has worked. If I forget to do it and the coils get damp it shows, but eventually starts.
Roger's points about the HT leads and plugs needing regular changing are good ones. I think I'll get new plugs at the next service on Friday. Can't afford HT leads/coils this month. I think they said they were £140.00!
This thread was discussed between 05/12/2000 and 09/01/2001
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