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MG MGF Technical - Steering Update

Well for those interested an update on my steering problem:

My 98 VVC was having problems with the steering. On turning right only it was a little stiff, it would then feel like it had slipped slightly and then be alright again. Almost like there was a little play in the ball joints somewhere (there wasn't). Ruled out the EPAS ecu by disconnecting it. In the end my Rover dealer said it was the steering column. At 700 for the part I was fairly horrified that a 5 year old car with 38k miles needed this!

Anyway, with advice from this board I contacted the MGF centre who were very helpful and supplied me with a second hand column for 160. Together with the Rover tech manual I changed it at the w/e and all seems fine. The problem with the old one was undoubtly in the casing where the electric motor assists the column.


What was wrong with the casing. Could you see the problem.

Great work Rob :o) Good to hear that all is once again well with your steering.

Just to echo Keith's question: what seemed to be the problem with the casing?
Rob Bell

Well done boy
just goes to show that the MGF centre is THE place to go for bits

I'm going to take it apart to have a look. According the tech manual there is some sort of worm gear arrangement with a moving ball bearing. Don't really understand how it works from the picture. It's apparently unservicable! - probably means you can't get the internal parts!!!

Now for the cam belt service ...... which I won't be doing myself. :-(


..sorry, couldn't see the problem. But with the car not running and holding the intermediate shaft I could turn the steering wheel and with my ear close to the housing I could hear a faint click sound like something was caught up and then released - probably that damn ball bearing thing!

I think that with the EPAS disconnected, or the car not running, the electro-magnetic clutch disengages the gearing between the motor and the column.

...which means that the steering force has to drag the worm gear and the far side of the clutch! This is an "emergency" situation only that should NOT be used as a non-EPAS mode for prolonged time. In normal "EPAS on"-mode when everything is working normally the electric motor ALWAYS casts along with minimal force to avoid the feeding of any force the wrong way = undue strain on the worm gear.
Reducing the EPAS action (or totally dissengage) is best done by feeding the EPAS control unit with more pulses than the speedo gives, i.e. fooling the EPAS to belive that the car is traveling at greater speed than it actually is ! A simple NE555 circuit has worked fine for me the last 2 years.A simple ON/OFF switch to the additional small box is all that is needed.

BR, Carl.
Carl Blom


About your explantion of the emergency situation - "steering force has to drag the worm gear and the far side of the clutch!" If I understand you correctly, then the EPAS switch mod that some of us have implemented (see Rob's website at ) actually implements this emergency situation permanently and causes "undue strain on the worm gear". Please can you explain further - my mechanical knowledge is pretty poor, I'm afraid :-)

Dave Livingstone

Also, any more details on your EPAS 'bypass' system available on the web Carl?
Rob Bell

Hi all,
belive it or not - too much work at the moment to give the lengthy kind of answer that i would like ;o)
Will come back later this evening or tomorrow... Could send some schematic and pictures to Dieter during the weekend for clarification.
Carl Blom

That's great Carl - happy to wait :-)

Dave Livingstone

Yup, no problem - look forward to hearing about how you did it Carl :o)
Rob Bell

Ah, the trusty old NE555! I didn't realise people were still using these. I remember them from when I was a kid (at that was a loooooooong time ago).

I've just checked - available from Maplins for 29p.


Bump - for Carl ;-)
Dave Livingstone

>Bump - for Carl ;-)

just seen this thread. No email from Carl though. Looks like he's quite busy in the same way I am currently.
@ Carl, I hope it's not the heart troubles again :(

Got a CD filled with pix from Carl already some weeks ago and still didn't work it out to web hosting all. *shame on me*

PS. Carl mentioned doubts about the EPAS switch and gear reliability already month ago. Check archives.

Dieter K.

I called into my local dealer yesterday, to ask about my cars power steering problem (where sometimes you can't turn the wheel to the right) as I wnated to know if ther was any way to test the ECU. and the guy said "We have very few problems withthe ECU, Its probably the column, there has been some problems". He wouldn't elaborate any more. I wondered if anyone else had heard anything.

That's what my dealer said and also couldn't go in to more detail. I reckon it is because in their manual it is classed as unservicable.

It pretty easy to replace though.


Hi Rob,

Did you ever take your old column apart to see what was wrong.

Hi Keith,

I did take the column apart. It looked like there was a small bit of play/wear where the worm gear arrangement assists the column. It appears that this was causing a small amount of resistance when initially turning and then releasing.

Can't be 100% sure though as everything becomes much looser once taken apart. There is nothing else to it though.

I wonder if this would happen in time as commented above when the EPAS is disconnected and the gear arrangment is dragged?

New (Second Hand) column solved the my problem though.


If there is one thing I don't like about the 'f', is the low speed sensitivity of the steering. Hopefully Carl will return with details of his 'gizmo', so that either Rob or Dieter can put it on their web sites.
Paul Goodwin

Paul, I'm really intrigued by what Carl has done and really look forward to discovering more.

After reading Dieter's post, I hope that Carl remains in good health!
Rob Bell

Aology, looked at the CD Carl sent.
Blame me, the circuit with NE555 is included.

Get back with link when I got all stuff up.

Dieter K.

That one is the circuit for replacement of the interior heater fan resistors ! Traveling,traveling.....Back home since a few hours,promise to be down in the garage with the "Green Frog" some time during this week-end and take some more pict. as well as a schematic of the add-on circuit for the EPAS ...
BR, Carl.
Carl Blom

Yeah, I got calm last night after having seen the error ;)

@Carl and all,
pix from the *Carl DIY 2003CD* are now temporary linked to
Off Topic though, but great explanation pix to threads in the archives (2003)

PS. have got an account for 10Meg emails, will let you know ;)
Dieter K. @ work?

Look forward to seeing those pix Carl. Enjoyed looking through those pix on Dieter's webpage :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 19/01/2004 and 31/01/2004

MG MGF Technical index

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