Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.



MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG MGF Technical - Tappet noise

I have a 10 month old F which has only done 2000 miles.

I started it last night to move it out of the garage, and noticed a loud "tappet" type noise coming from the engine.

The oil level was on the low side - but not below minimum.

I decided to top up the oil to see if that would make any difference to the noise.

After putting a little oil into the engine, I noticed that oil had reached the top of the filler hole and was not draining into the engine.

I'll be calling the dealer this morning - but would appreciate any input from you folks.

Sam Murray


Have you removed the dipstick? As I recall the oil enters the engine through the tube that the dipstick fits in and does take some time to go through. Make sure you don't overfill the engine as this can cause cat problems.

If the noise is still apparent take the car in a.s.a.p to let them check it out under the warranty.

Pete Fincher


As I was writing the previous note, the dip stick thing did cross my mind.

Sam Murray


Same happened to mine at 11 months and 5k miles - dealer replaced all tappets/followers under warranty. Suggested oil changes every six months to prevent this happening in future - especially with cars with low milage, as the followers dry out.

Started mine up the other day after being idle for a couple of months and there was a slight tappet knock which disappeared after a few mins. I assume they are hydraulic?

My F is 3 years old and covered 6K miles.

Ewan Ramage

My car , a 1998 VVC 36,000miles has also suffered a tappet rattle which started just before the warranty ran out. The MG dealer said he retourqued "the cam belt pulley bolt"and that all was normal. The noise was still there and has slowly got worse (worse hot than cold). I recently checked the cam shafts expecting oil feed problems and/or wear; none apparent, but found 4 camshaft holding down bolts loose between 3and 4 cylinder on the inlet camshaft, I retourqued these down to the same settings as the others, but it made no difference.Using a stethescope the noise appears to be comming from around No4 exhaust cam follower.There is no apparent wear on camshafts or followers anywhere in the engine The oil consumption is negligable and is allways kept topped up.
Any suggestions ?
Steve Dawes

I don't think you can see the wear on the followers, that is why the garage usually replaces all of them in one go.

Do you get normal tappet noise from hydrolic tappets?

By the time I had taken my F to work, and then to the dealers the other day (12 miles or so) the noise had completely gone.

The mechanic said that it was normal to have considerable tappet noise if the vehicle, like mine, had been sitting idle for some weeks.

Apparently, brand new ones sound like tractors until the engine oil has reached all the parts.

He recommended that I at least start the car a few times over the winter, to make sure that oil circulates around the engine and does not allow things to compeletey dry out.

Releived from Aberdeen.
Sam Murray

"at least start the car a few times over the winter"


My TF is almost 4 months old, 4200+ miles, used very day. IT sounds tappety first thing on these cold mornings (well...I've only JUST started to notice it, let's say), but seems OK when I reach work 15 miles later.

I'd assumed this was normal.....until now, that is....oh, bu*ger, not ANOTHER thing to worry about?????????


My 1995 MPI ( 52k miles ) sounds like that "tractor" when starting from cold. After a few hundred yards it disappears.
Im going to live with it....although.... a previous thread regarding this problem prompted Mike Satur to inform us that he had a car with a smiliar problem through his workshop and there was a simple oil additive that can be used.
UNIPART do a product called "Lifter Free" part number GAC 6305 7:50. Mike says it worked wonders.
Ive yet to find it in any local car shops and will probably just try and buy from Mike direct. If anyone tries it befor I do can they post the results? Merry Xmas Folks !
D Jamieson


Don't worry about the tappet noise and enjoy your car! :-)

My car has a slight tappet noise, don't know if it's tappet or the VVC mechanism, but both units are prone to make noises without much ill effects.

Merry Christmas to you guys, and enjoy your F!
Hanah Kim

If you leave the engine for a period of time between uses it's quite common for one or more of the hydraulic followers to drain clear of oil (usually those on the valves which are left open) these will normally make a distinctive rattling sound when the engine is initially started, the noise should disappear withing a minute or so.

Hydraulic followers are normally silent in operation so if the noise persists then one or more of the followers may be siezed or the internal springs may have collapsed. Replacement may then be necessary although often a stripdown and clean of the offending follower(s) does the trick.

Oil doesnt flow down the dipstick hole, but air may rise up it if the cam cover is inundated with oil, oil drains into the crankcase down the bolt holes which are triangulated to provide airspace.

TADTS - they all do that sir...

Dave andrews

Dave, the oil/dipstick reference related to the topping up of the oil level, which on the F/TF is a remote chamber that does use the dipstick hole as the path for added oil to reach the sump.

Roger Parker

This thread was discussed between 12/12/2002 and 25/12/2002

MG MGF Technical index

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