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MG MGF Technical - Steering has mind of it's own.

Hi All,

My TF (2002/135) steering sometimes acts as if it has a mind of its own.
When the road surface is not 100%, my steering goes a bit haywire. It is a battle to keep the car in a straight line. I have noticed that the front wheel bearings make a bit of noise and I will be replacing them very soon. However, I'm not convinced that they are making the steering do it's own thing. Is there a known common cause to this effect? EPAS? maybe?
I would like to get the car into club speed events, but I am a little concerned at the control factor.

Any ideas?


does sound like the wheel bearings and perhaps the tracking, also maybe a bush or two.

If anything the EPAS massively damps this feeling as the motor turns the rack, and resists the rack turning the motor (even at speeds where it is not providing assistance)
Will Munns

Hi Branko,

I assume you've checked your tyre pressures recently? My TF 160 was tramlining really badly until I discovered I was about 10lb down on each tyre!

Tim Jenner

On a smooth flat surface, will the car go straight ahead with hands off the wheel? Faulty EPAS often makes it veer to the side, usually the left.
Mike Howlett

Hi all,
thanks for your replys.

Will, I think you "hit the nail on the head" It was a faulty wheel bearing. Will nlso need tracking done.

Tim, tyre pressures are all OK. I use 30psi.

Mike, it travells ok on a straight flat road. It misbehaves when it goes aover some uneveness.

I have removed the hubs. The LHS bearing did indeed need replacing. I have just replaced both sides with new bearings and will be putting it all together today.

Will also get a wheel alignment (tracking) done to complete the job.
Hopefully that should fix up my steering problems.

PS. Bought a TIMKEN bearings, JRM3938A


Haven't done the tracking as yet, but I feel that is not a major issue.
The car still wants to steer itself even on a level straight road and especially if the road is uneven.
It becomes tricky to steer her with accuracy when changing lanes as it looks as if I am driving the car drunk...of which I am not!!

Could this be an EPAS problem or maybe an adjustment?

The wheel seems to take control sometimes as if possesed.

Any suggestions?


Branko - I accidentally put my pressure up to 30lbs and found the car 'bouncy' dropped them back to 26 front 28 rear and it made a huge difference - mind you it is an *F* not *TF*.
Ted Newman

I think I'm getting closer to solving this problem of mine. (I hope)
I had disconnected the 40amp fuse for the EPAS and took the car for the same run that I do every day. The steering was heavy but the symptons were exactly as before I disconnected the EPAS. So using logic.......that would mean that there is nothing wrong with the EPAS (phew!) and the problem would be in the wheel alignments or elsewhere.

Next step is to get a 4 wheel alignment done and I will see if that fix's it.

PS. I would hate to drive the car without the EPAS. If I had to make quick manuevours in traffic I would most likely prang the car. Thank goodness for EPAS.



Reading the symptoms I would suggest that this is normal behavior of low profile tyres on certain poor road surfaces. My TF acts as if it has fallen into some tramlines on a certain section of road near where I work. A colleague with a Lotus says his does the same.
I'd say that there was nothing to worry about.

Could it be a bearing or bush at the rear of the car? If one of these goes it gives rear wheel steering and makes it very difficult to travel in a straight line on a bumpy road.
David Clelland

I am surprised you think the tracking is not an issue as I seem to read everywhere mentioning poor steering/handling, to get tracking sorted out pretty much as number one thing to do.

Have you solved it yet?
I Brown

Thanks for the replys.

I have had the tracking (4 wheel alignment) done and it still drives badly.
I have checked the rear for bearing faults but could not find any.
I have, however, noticed that the front end can sometimes make a "clack" type noise when going over my driveway crossing. There is a 1" rise and fall in the surface of the driveway. I'm wondering now if it is a Left front bush or maybe a joint of some kind. I'm off on a weeks trip tomorrow so will not look at it until late next week.

I definitly will need to get this sorted, as driving it, can be a bit on the scary side when I am in between cars on a 3 lane road.


Don't know if it helps but wondering about your tyre choice? I had Bridgestones all round, then with a couple worn low I replaced them all with Pirellis. The car was all over the place on motorways at speeds upward of 50mph.
Just had them all replaced again, thanks to the Pirelli guys who actually agreed to a complete refund!

Dimo, By Chance, I am due to change to a new set of tyres. Especially since the rear left tyre developed a small split in the sidewall which was OK for some time. But the other day the tyre decided to go flat and damage the firewall completely. As all tyres are infact low in tread, I am looking to change to a set of Toyo T1R Proxies, 215/40/16 rear and 195/45/16 fronts. There is a 2 month waiting time to get these from one local tyre place. Will chase up others very soon.

The above size's are the OE spec, but would I get the same road handling if I put on 205/45/16 all round?
Do they "look" as good?


I have a similar problem since I've pumped the suspension up a bit.

I think it's the tyres. Or aerodynamics
I will change the fronts soo as a precaution as they are getting quite old and battered but have loads of tread left


Neil, you must have the MGF, which is a bit different as far as steering and suspension goes. In my experience, the steering is not as "twitchy" as the TF.

Some good news, I will be getting the new tyres in a weeks time. The tyre place has found some stock ex Australia. I have had no time to do much more investigations at the front end, but I will be persueing the "clack" noise as mentioned before as soon as I get a chance.

not sure if it works, but here is a pic of me doing a autokhana recently.
(modified for internet privacy)



Beware of changing the fronts only, having more grip on the front than on the rear can cause problems.

When turning hard left or right I can feel a small bump in steering and a slight feeling in brake peddal what may be causing this?

Got my new Toyo tyres a few days ago. Wow!!
Toyo T1-R proxes, 215/40/16 rear and 195/45/16 front. I can't beleive how much of a difference in grip and handling they have made.
They are great in the dry and they seem to ignore the wet roads, as they grip very well indeed.


I still have the problem as mentioned at the start of this post, but, it has muchly improved. I do still get the feel that the steering is being pulled to the left and sometimes to the right during my driving.
I compared driving a Alfa Spider and the Alfa feels as if you are controlling the car, the TF makes me feel that it is trying to control me.

What is going on??

Surely this if not how a 2002 MG TF135 with 60k/Kms should feel like to drive????

Previously, I had a 4 wheel alignment done, but, can someone advise as to what is the "best" setting that I should use?


There might be no detectable play in the rear wheel bearings, but if all else has not cured it...
It won't be ball joints as you could detect play in those quite easily. I had a rear bearing go progressively last year, both me and the garage couldn't detect it till it very gone.
Your Toyos should get even better after a few hundred miles too!
C.R.B. Simeon

C.R.B. Simeon,
I'll jack her up and check out the rear bearings.
Bearings can be diagnosed fairly easily. Spin the wheels and listen for any strange noise, then take of the wheel and as you turn the hub, spin and feel if the bearings have a rough 'feel' when turning.

I have to get tot he bottom of this one way or another.



I spoke to an engineer at Pirelli when I had P6000s fitted all round after my worn RE720 Bridgestones. I had 4-wheel laser alignment done + wheel bearings checked and it made no difference - with the Pirellis my car was hazardous at high speed, especially on motorways that have worn and 'tramlined' slightly. On these it was so bad that I daren't risk going over 60, and in the wet cornering around town could be very 'fishy'!

I was lucky - Pirelli were good enough to agree to a refund. But the inspection engineer they sent couldn't figure out the problem, only suggesting that perhaps it was something to do with the reinforced walls of the Bridgestones that made the difference.

Anyway, odd as it may seem, from the day I had new Bridgestones fitted the car handled perfectly. [For the record, a 1997 VVC with several trillion pounds spent on it in essential repairs and fixes].

Branko, Talk to David Motram he sorted out his F with the steering pulling to the left. The TF has a quicker rack than the F so you should have a better steering car than your previous one. I'm glad you have fitted decent tyres to your car, they make all the difference.
Andrew W Regens

Branko, did you sort out your problem with the instability. If not, give me a call and we can have a beer and chat about it.
d mottram

Hi David,

Well, sort of....
The new Toyo's are great and it has improved it heaps.
However, the car still wants to wander to the left.
I will go back to the tyre place and have them re-check the wheel alignment and also get them to align with the steering wheel in a level position.
Will drop in one day and catchup for sure.


I understand that if your rear sub-frame has been removed, maybe for gearbox or clutch work, it might be incorrectly aligned when re-assembled. Check the distance between front and rear wheel centres on the left and right of the car to check they are equal. Adam
A. H. Price

This thread was discussed between 16/03/2007 and 19/07/2007

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