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MG MGF Technical - TF 160 16 mths on

my 2001 MGF 1.8i had 22 faults and 11 trips to the dealer. Eventually it was rejected under warranty. The replacement, a 2002 TF160 has fared a little better....

OS door lock rattle
NS door lock rattle
headlamp aim too low
OS cheater leak - intermittent
Windows judder when it rains (since dealer jet-washed it)
Exhaust flexi pipe (twice)
Suspension clunking necessitating a full rear susp strip and rebuild
Sump plug leaking slightly
Speedo went bonkers and the righted itself
Rad fan fuse blew for no apparant reason
Car pulls to left slightly when braking from high speed on m-way
Paint peeling on temp guage and rev counter
Reverse selection PITA - common problem on all Rovers I've had!!
**** handling in the wet

Oh, and 59 days off the road waiting for parts in Q2 2002

But what an awesome car on the open road with a Sunny day and the roof down.... a rocket ship!

Would I buy another MG? er NO!
Ian Walker

Sounds like your dealer does not do PDI's,and then takes not much interest in the problems you report,and then still does not fix them.

Its a poor dealer not the car.

The suppling dealer did do a good PDI. As an engineer I rechecked anyway. The servicing/warranty dealer is interested in the problems and does genuinely care but he has to deal with the poor build quality MG produce....

OS door lock rattle - post delivery problem
NS door lock rattle - post delivery problem
Headlamp aim too low - not part of PDI; factory build issue
OS cheater leak - intermittent- factory build/known problem
Windows judder when it rains (since dealer jet-washed it) Don't use this dealer anymore anyway
Exhaust flexi pipe (twice) Part quqlity/known problem
Suspension clunking necessitating a full rear susp strip and rebuild - post delivery, fastners loosening
Sump plug leaking slightly - factory build
Speedo went bonkers and the righted itself - post delivery problem
Rad fan fuse blew for no apparant reason - known problem
Car pulls to left slightly when braking from high speed on m-way - yet to sort out.
Paint peeling on temp guage and rev counter - Paint started to lift at about 6mths. Part quqlity problem
Reverse selection PITA - common problem on all Rovers I've had!!

By contrast over two Ford Focus's / 36k mls there has not been one fault or niggle; ever.
Ian Walker

>>Car pulls to left slightly when braking from high speed on m-way - yet to sort out<<

This and the wet weather problem you report Ian (wet handling should be excellent on Goodyear F1 GS-D2 tyres should be excellent) points to a problem with tracking. Get the car re-tracked to standard values and I think that you'll be much happier with the car.

I am presuming that tyre pressures are okay and tyre condition is good with even wear patterns?
Rob Bell

Finally got it to an MG dealer with MoT kit.... Up on the Brake Dyno it indicates the FOS brake is binding. Ho Hum, back it goes again!

The tracking is 'bob-on'. It was sorted with the help of 4-wheel laser kit when the susp was rebuilt. It's just that it is fidgetty on the motorway and tramlining makes it worse.
Ian Walker

And your excellent dealer did not spot this?
Patrick Beet


I hear what you are saying. My 2002 1.8 MGF (with 43k on it) has several build quality problems, many of which took months to correct, or haven't been corrected at all.

To say I'm bitterly disappointed would be an understatement. A $60k car was a significant investment for my wife and I, and the fact that its really fun and looks nice, isn't necessarily offsetting the fact that the build quality stinks.

I'm currently debating whether or not I will trade it on a Rover 75 or just give Rover a miss all together. A mate of mine bought a 2002 MGF at the same time I bought mine, and his had a head gasket failure at 50k. He said that after it was repaired under warranty the car always ran hot, and was never the same. He's sold it. The HGF was after he'd already had the entire softop replaced under warranty due to a mechanical fault, and the stiching of his seat came apart and required the entire thing to be re-upholstered.

Anyway, here's a quick list of whats gone wrong with mine:-

1. Carpet in the boot and the passenger area near the doors has come away from the trim. Appears to have shrunk.

2. Continual rattle from engine bay when the A/C is activated. Its quite loud and draws attention when you are stopped at the lights. The dealer has tried repeatedly to fix this.

3. The part that makes the internal light and headlights-on buzzer activate broke the first day I got the car. Took 2 tries to repair and then a total of almost 6 months to get the part.

4. Dipstick wiper broke on delivery. 2 goes to repair and is still busted.

5. Suspension squeaks when driving slowly. Sounds like someone blowing a whistle. Still not fixed.

6. Blower has started making a high pitched whining sound. To be repaired.

7. Windstop fitted to car is the wrong size or incorrectly manufactured. Rubs the rear window everytime its lowered.

8. Continual rattle from the engine bay when the car is idling, but stops when you press your foot on the clutch. Dealer has tried 3 times to correct.

9. Loud rattle coming from steering column when driven over corrugated roads.

10. Deep droning sound comes from area in front of drivers footwell when the A/C is on and the car is hot. I have no idea what this is and neither does the dealer. This noise is that loud you can hear it from outside the car,and you can feel the vibration it causes through the footwell.

11. Both windows clunk and rattle when operated.

As I said earlier, I really like the car as its fun to drive and looks great. But after having saved for several years to buy one, I'm disappointed, particularly given how much it cost.


David Crawford

I have ill fitting carpet on the drivers side too. And i forgot about one of the hood catches loosening. Took ages for me to work out where the rattle was coming from. I thought it was footwell/behind the dash. Tightened screws and taped loose wires up and then road tested to see if I'd fixed it. Only problem was it was a good day so did it with the roof down!!!

"And your excellent dealer did not spot this?" Yes it was, we did it together. I get free access to the workshop now(!). From driving and the FOS tyre is slightly more worn I sussed it was brake rather than susp related so we went straight to the dyno to see whether it was a NS brake bind or OS inoperating/lazy brake. Just jacking it up and spining the wheels didn't clarify and disc/pads wear are OK plus similar amounts of brake dust end up on the wheels. On the dyno the FNS brake shows slight retardation even without the pedal being pressed and when pressed brake effort rises on the FOS first and max retardation is reached on both at about the same value. It's booked in now for them to probe deeper. Initially a strip and clean then a dyno. If that doesn't sort it new pads/discs/caliper are on the cards.
Ian Walker

Going in tomorrow...
Front near-side brake binding with no pressure applied to pedal; as seen on brake tester.
Car initially pulls to the left when braking from high speed.
Pedal grabs/vibrates (disc(s) warped?) when light pressure applied at slow speed.
Ian Walker


Whilst waiting for the AA to tow me and my MG F**ker from Devon to London on the hottest day of the year - ironic - I mentioned this very site and said that I would have to post some details.

I think this site should be a detterent for would be MG owners. Do Mercedes, BMW or Audi have such well used sites for owners in distress - not that I can find - certainly not for cars in production.

Why do we put up with it ?

C James

Pads on both wheels binding in calipers; FNS worse. Strip, clean, some fettling, copper slip etc. still not fixed. Dyno and road test 'not good enough' and show 25% imbalance. Probably existing pads overheated and glazed? Dealer gonna try new pads and no they're not in stock.... Dealer going to order calipers too. Plan is to fit pads only, test and then calipers if necs.

Discs OK. No signs of overheating/scoring/cracking etc. FNS 23.40mm, FOS 23.37mm. (TF160 discs 24.00mm new, 22mm min. Thus 18% worn at 16kmls.)
Ian Walker

>> Do Mercedes, BMW or Audi have such well used sites for owners in distress <<

Nope, but the Audi TT is the most unreliable car on the road at the moment according to a recent survey in one of the motoring magazines (and it included the TF).

I don't think this site is a deterrant from buying one, in fact i feel it is the opposite - i feel that this level of free peer to peer support is a very good reason to buy one, you certainly won't get it if you buy a Merc/BMW/Audi that's for sure.

Can't help with your problems though, some i feel are down to too high a level of expectation, some to an (IMO) less than thorough PDI, but most are clearly manufacturing faults and there is no defence of these items. In fact, a lot of these items could probably be traced to the change over period from Unipart to Caterpillar, the latter having to remanufacture components to fulfill the contract and these failures could be put down to poor materials selection / manufacturing processess during their learning curve.

Knowing this is small comfort to you i know, I feel for you (not that this'll do any good either) :-(

We don't put up with it, we come on here and let off steam / get advice. Sites like this mean that the average F/TF owner has more information available to them that virtually any other new car on the road, i call this empowerment, rather than a deterrant.

Just an opinion.

Scarlet Fever

Well, I guess I need to modify my list with one additional entry:-

HGF on the way home from work tonight, and the car has only done 43,000km's.

I can see we'll be minus an MGF shortly.

David Crawford

Bad luck!

I've been to see a BMW Z4 today.... Rock solid quality and a highly reliable engine too.
Ian Walker

Come back and tell us what the Z4 is like after 16 months please
John Ponting


>>highly reliable engine too<<

There you go - myth perpetuation! I'd really like to know how can you say that with conviction .... been driving one for years have we?

Perhaps you've not yet visited those numerous sites where BMW owners worldwide have had real failures, often much more expensive than a head gasket failure on an F.

Not so long ago, a contributor on this BBS mentioned selling nearly 100 BMWs to Americans in Germany. IIRC, he provided figures for all to see. 24% of the BMWs he had sold had head gasket or related problems. Others had worse experiences, sometimes much worse. What's bore wash Dad?

Some years ago, a colleague and friend worked in the service department of a BMW dealership ... some of the tales he related to me...... then there's the owners I know personally who nag me almost incessantly about their seriously superior Gerry Build quality then go all silent when their car throws some wobbly. Had that been a Rover or MG they'd have shouted it from the bleedin roof tops!! Some brits are really good at this subterfuge about their alien wheels.. Why?

And that run down the M5 recently, I must have imagined the two new silver Munich products on the hard shoulder bonnets up steaming nicely ...... Look Dad there's another one .... No John Boy do I hear you say? They were brewing up obviously

Then there's the guy on Watchdog who's high spec 80K BMW cuts out and dies on the motorway ... Poor sod! All on surveillance video ... very scary ... nothing wrong with that one apparently according to the dealership. I wonder how that was finally sorted in the end. Was it ever featured on subsequent programmes.....? I'd like to know.

Buy a BMW ... Never ever been known to fail apparently .... on a long hook! Consume the 'ultimate driving machine' carp and all the rest if you like ... exclude me out ... I prefer the finest evidence available ...that of my own eyes and ears. ...... more LOL.

No prejudice intended ... If or is it when you get your Teutonic product, I do hope you have entirely trouble free experiences, unlike some folks I could mention.


P.S. Some years ago, Severnside roads locally were heavily flooded. My old Montego tip-toed through a few hundred metres of flooded road despite Police advice and recommendations of a ten mile detour. Your decision mate! .... no bother for the old Montego..... The BMW driver behind seeing my trouble free run, decided to try the same in his superior car .... soon coming to a sharp stop ... with an engined ruined by hydraulic lock. Several cars were stranded there following attempts to cross those floods. Later I learned of other BMWs which also needed replacement engines resulting from hydraulic lock. Apparently their air intake is located quite low to take advantage of cooler air .... sensible ... also acts as a perfect water scoop....

As I drove up the slight slope out of the floodwater, crowds had gathered to watch the fun ... they applauded..... How about that.
John McFeely

Having recently purchased a new MG ZS, I wrote the above with my fingers crossed most of the time ... hate to tempt providence ... I'm not superstitious ... touch wood

John McFeely

... because ANY car can go wrong!
John McFeely

Can only speak as I find but having covered over 8000 miles in my TF 160 since March this year the car has only been back to the dealer once and that was to free up the overseas headlight beam adjuster on the near side light. I did ask them to change the oil at approx 2000 miles even though it is not strictly necessary, thats just my belt and braces mentality.
Art Jacks

I've just come from the dealer, after picking up the courtesy car.

As the car is under warranty, the repairs for the HGF aren't an issue. There were actually 2 other MGF's in the shop for HGF's as well.

Out of curiosity, I asked how much it was going to cost to repair the damage. I need to know this, so I can make a decision as to whether or not I will be keeping the car.

The dealer advised $2500 to $5000 for a straight HGF. He said however if there was damage to the head requiring it to be replaced, the cost is usually in the order of $10,000.

Needless to say, my wife and I are devastated by the news. Given that we can never be sure we won't get another HGF after the warranty runs out, the car is going to have to go, much to our bitter disappointment.

If it wasn't for this issue, I would have kept the car- rattles and bumps included, as its given us a great deal of pleasure. But the possibility of another HGF is too much to bear.

I've been to look at alternatives. The MX5 is still cruddy compared to the MGF, and my head presses on the roof. The s2000 is over $70,000, as are most of the others. The Holden Astra convertible is ordinary, and the Alfa Spider has build quality issues as well. That said, if its not an MG convertible, I don't want it.

We've been seriously giving consideration to the new Mazda RX-8. It seems well appointed for $62,000, and drives nicely. At least the build quality is good.

Its just such a shame that MG parts are so expensive here. If the HGF cost was only a few thousand, I'd probably chance it and keep the car.


David Crawford

I dont think this site should be a detterant to MG ownership. In fact, it simply helps you get the best out of a good car. When looked after, serviced regularly by a GOOD mechanic, it will really be a rewarding motor.

This site deals with problems, but saying that :

a) knowing the problems can help you avoid them
b) if you are unlucky enough to experience one, then this site will help you get back on the road quickly, mainly due to a few good posters ( will, rob, scarlet etc )

We all know the K-series engine has problems, but really if you take a few preventative measures ( mike satur has a few things like engine life saver kit etc ) you should be just fine. HGF is the biggest worry, and as you as you "new boys" all take out 3 years warranty, that really wont bother you. Lastly, remember a few things......

Change your cam belt when your meant to.
Change you alternator belt on every service
Use good quality oil and change around 6K miles or so.

Happy MGing


My son is in Sydney and is always telling me how cheap everything is compared to London. The costs your have been quoted for the HGF failure are 2 to 4 times the prices of getting it done in London at an MG dealer and there are lots of cheaper guys if you are prepared to travel to the outer edges of our small country. I do not understand how they can quote so much unless they are trying to prove what good value the warranty is!

If it is any comfort, our F is now 6 years old and is finally causing me to spend money outside the service schedule! This year I have had to replace the heater switch and the fan temperature sensor in the engine bay!

Good luck!
Patrick Beet

>> I've been to see a BMW Z4 today.... Rock solid quality and a highly reliable engine too.

Apart from all the other comments made re this stmnt, I have a feeling that the Z4 is a tad more expensive than the TF. And that's BEFORE you start having to pay for the compulsory "extras" like ICE ("Our customers like to choose their equipment"), wheels, trim, paint ("Metallic paint improves the resale value, sir") steering wheel et cetera (LOL!!)


My supplying dealer recently changed the front calipers on my Trophy. "Mr I" told me that it was a problem with the AP calipers, and the the design had recently been changed. Something to do with a shimmy corroding and forcing the pad onto the disk, causing initial uneven pressure on one disk, which was cancelled out when more pressure was applied. Sounds like your car. My Trophy was scary to drive it was that bad. All fixed now though.

I love my Trophy, but since last November it has been back to the dealer 16 times, the latest problem being the boot dropping on the hinges, and catching on the chrome strips slightly forward of the lid when opened. The result, damaged paint and a bent boot lid.

All cars have problems, my brand new (latest shape) Mondeo Ghia X I had before this Trophy was terrible, from climate control with a mind of it's own to Xenon headlamps which varied in brightness when I was driving to the extent that people thought I was flashing my headlamps.

I'm tempted to sell up and get a Honda S2k or a VX220 Turbo. I don't like the look of the Z4, and nothing else is any better than the MG in either looks or reliability (TT).

If the dealer count reaches 20 before I've had it 1 year, it is going. I love the looks of the car, and I love the way it drives. However, there are only so many trips to the delaer I can take!!



Thought the 'Z4' Might provoke!!!

Like Paul I am fed up with revisiting dealers to get the car fixed every time. All I want is a car that I can rely on. Not unreasonable. I certainly wouldn't have a car, any car without warranty unless I could fix everything like the classic car I had.

Paul, sounds like both our cars had the same caliper fault. Mine was pad/horiz shim seizure (have pics) and exactly as you describe. I'll talk to 'Mr I' My dealer changed the pads first, better but not right. Only replacing both front calipers fixed it and it's fine now. I have wondered whether hose spray accelerates corrosion?

Well,its been a V.long time since i last visited this forum,and i've had a look tonight out of curiosity,and i am afraid to say i agree with all of the issues mentioned !
Yes i had a VVC MGF,and i too suffered the HGF,and so many numerous reliabilty and build quality probs,that in the end i got rid of the car and purchased a...wait for it..."BMW M-power Z3" ! Now i've read you knocking the BM's,but after owning it for 3-1/2 years the only time it's been back to the dealers (apart from following the service schedule) is for the airbag light indicating a fault,which was only due to high resistance in the loom,not alot eh ?,and i can only say the performance is stunning,and as for the build quality,well it's in a different league.
I did not buy this car from new and it is in fact a R plate,yes i did pay a little more for it than you can buy an MGF,but as the saying goes:- "you get what you pay for" or "You pays your money and takes your chances"!,which is in this case,a piece of mind,reliaibility,terrific performance and excellent re-sale values (low depriciation)
Now i must add i am NOT knocking MG,but they do have issues,which is a dammned shame,because it could be an excellent car,and after owning both marques(with no intention of selling the BM for the forseeable future),alot of comments are made in regard to BMW's with no personal ownership experiences,and only going on "hearsay" so i thought i would just like to mention my own personal experience of being fortunate on owning both models. I hope this helps?

A.T.B Leo

Finally decided to dip a toe into this discussion.

I had a 96P VVC and now have an 02 TF160. Both bought from new and from the same dealer.

The F cost me a yearly trip to the dealer for the service and consumables such as tyres. I did have a couple of issues aerly in it's life, but Rover and my dealer were brilliant and sorted the whole thing out in a quick efficient and customer friendly way. I was given use of another F whilst my car was off the road and it was all cool. No reliability issues, no HGF, no nothing.

The TF160 has not been quite so good. I am convinced the cost savings have taken their toll. The dealer has changed over the years and is not so proactive and less willing to go the extra mile to give customer satisfaction. Therefore the (in the overall scheme of things small) issues I have seem so much worse. Finally the dealer seems to have woken up and is talking about a good will gesture to replace the flexyjoint in the exhaust, but over all I feel less happy with the TF than the F.

Having said all of that, I keep reminding myself of the problems my brother-in-law's mercedes Sclass has, and my SO's sister's BMW difficulties, my collegue's Ford issues. All of these are considerably worse than any of the issues here (including HGF).

Any car goes wrong, mainly it's how that is dealt with that counts. MGR may cause some of the problems, but the dealers are the prime reason customers stay unhappy.

As for Lee Arthur, he is not really comparing like for like. BMW make some great engineered cars, but they are far from perfect. And at the end of the day, if they halved the price of the Z3 and guaranteed it would never break I still wouldn't buy one because IMHO it's a seriously ugly car. If I want an ugly car and reliabilty you may as well go for Scouse Mikes Honda.
David Mills

Sorry to be so boring, but TF160 16 months on and 16k miles and not a single problem.

My neighbour who drives a new 5 series phoned last week asking to be picked up from a BMW dealership in Coventry - his water pump has gone and they had no courtesy cars available. Car still off the road - waiting for parts.

No, you never have problems with rock sold German cars.



Just to add my 2p worth.

I agree that all cars can go wrong and even the most perceived unreliable brand can be faultless. Also the whole thing can be really swayed by your dealer.

My 2001 MPi had HGF after 20k ish miles. Now covered 26K. It had already driven to Sardinia and back and never skipped a beat. Apart from that it has totally faultless, not even small niggly things. The dealer (Preists of Chesham) was fantastic and had the car back to me in pristine order with a couple of days - all covered under warranty. Excellent

Also have a 3 series Beemer. It is a 2001 '51 320 SE covered 17k. Again apart from one fault it has been immaculate. About 2 months ago the dashboard went haywire. Diagnosed as a software fault. Solution - re install computer software! Done in a day. BMW sent someone to our house to check it and try and fix on site. Couldn't so took car to dealer (BMW Heathrow) and gave coutesy car. Again excellent service.

To sum up. Two cars owned from new Each had a fault, dealer excellent in both cases. I'd have no hesitation in buying another from each manufacturer and dealer.
Billy Bob

This thread was discussed between 08/08/2003 and 29/08/2003

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