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MG MGF Technical - TF ride comfort

I should like to hear from anybody that has fitted either the MGOC comfort pack i.e.the Bilstein shocks,or the Mike Satur set up which includes new springs also ( and adjustable Spax ) to improve the ride comfort on their TF.
Don't know which to go for. Everybody seems to think the original springs were too hard but I hear good things about using the Bilsteins used with the original springs so am a bit confused as which to choose,
As my bones are getting older I just want a comfortable ride !
Thanks Ken
k proud

The 'Comfort Handling Pack' was developed for the MGOC, at the request of Roger Parker, by Andy Kitson of 'Vehicle Handling Solutions':

Andy was the lead chassis development engineer at MGR for the suspension of the MGF Trophy and the mgtf. It was developed to be the best compromise between handling and ride quality of the pre MY 2005 TFs.

The early TFs suffered from poor ride quality, often described as bone jarring. This was due to the fact that, for a number of reasons, the suspension set up was compromised from the point of initial production. Historically all modern MG chassis were developed in concert with Eibach (springs) and Bilstein (dampers). Unfortunately, owing to cost cutting, the only models that went into production using these components were the MGZT and Rover 75 models (hence their superlative ride quality).

When the TF went onto production MGR used cheap nasty dampers which had tiny pistons and reservoirs (35cc as opposed to after market dampers with 100cc reservoirs), and it is this that causes the 'choppy' ride.

Owing to public reaction, on MY 2005 cars MGR changed the spring rates for softer and countered this with an increase in size of the front anti-roll bar. However, while this gave better ride comfort it severely compromises the handling of the car when 'pressing on'. This is the set up that the LE500s are using.

Most 'experts' will tell you that the springing is at fault on the early cars and attempt to sell you softer springs (they don't tell you about uprating the front anti-roll bar). This is because they are complete muppets. There is NOTHING wrong with the stock springs, it is the OEM dampers that are at fault since they are under damped in bump and over damped in rebound - hence they can not control the springs properly. Indeed, I run X-Power springs which are far stiffer than stock with SPAX competition dampers and my car handles like a dream and has perfectly acceptable ride quality for a sports car. I actually trialed MS soft spring set up and it was appalling - the car handled like a boat with masses of corner entry understeer as well as little or no gust resistance to sidewinds when on the motorway.

MGR also further compromised the TF because, originally it was to have two suspension settings:

A 'sporty' firm setting to mimic the MGF Trophy and a softer setting to mimic the standard F. Unfortunately they developed the firmer setting first but ran out of development time to develop the softer setting. Hence, when the car was launched they merely jacked the ride height up by 25mm. This is why, if you go to a good tyre centre they will have two distinctly different wheel alignment settings for the TF - 'Standard' and 'Sports'.

With regards to the 'Comfort Handling Pack' this is basically a set of four replacement Bilstein dampers and I have heard good reports from several people. However, the dampers used are not user-adjustable in bump and rebound (unlike the SPAX) so are of no use to me because I like to change my set up for things like track days. The Bilsteins are adjustable in that they have a way of adjusting the spring seat height, thereby changing the ride height (four fixed settings IIRC) which you can't do with the standard SPAX (the competition dampers I use have fully adjustable spring sears so that I can set up the corner weights of the car).

Personally I think the Bilsteins, while good, are severely over-priced. I am currently looking at getting some dampers made up by 'Pro-Tech' since these are superb - they are what I use on my race car:
Deborah Evans

Thanks for reply Deborah,
My car is 2004, so will have the harder springs.
I understand the MS springs are harder (and shorter) than the 2005 springs but don't know how they compare to the original pre 2005 one's.I understand the Bilsteins used in the MGOC kit are 100cc capacity as against the original's 37cc, but I don't know the capacity of the Spax MS uses. Would this make a difference ?
I have driven a TF with the Bilsteins fitted and can confirm they are a definate improvement but am not sure that this can't be bettered.The spax have the advantage of adjustment but am still not sure !
k proud

I converted my F to TF subframes & suspension with the Bilsteins, and find they give acceptable ride 'comfort' - I hate to think what a standard TF is like! What I now have is not hugely different from the original hydragas, but with more pitch movement than the interconnected system allowed. As for track performance, one of the Silverstone instructors did a couple of rather quick laps in it and said 'the car was lovely', so it can't be too bad on track either! I originally had it built on the middle of three height settings, supposedly just below standard, but had to drop the front to the lowest, as it seems the front settings don't quite match the rears. Have a look at for my comments and pictures.
At least putting on a TF will costs a LOT less than onto an F!
Mike Cunningham

My car is a 135 with SP2. That means 16" wheels and the ride was truly awful. Very skittery and the car would rattle at the least excuse. I hated going out in the car.
I bought and fitted the Bilstein's. They were/are a revelation. The ride is now completely normal. They are expensive but did the job and were far cheaper than trading the car in.

I would definitely do it again.


By coincidence there is a very interesting reply in this month's MG Enthusiast magazine where Roger Parker gives the history of the TF suspension development and his involvement with the VHS team (great lads!) to put together the new damper upgrade kit. Makes very interesting reading, and largely Debs has got it all covered.

Interesting fact that I did not know is the intention of MG Rover to maintain the Hydragas for 'basic' TF models - the sprung suspension was only ever intended for the sportier models in the range - and thus developed as such. Then when Dunlop determined that continued production of the Moulton Dunlop Hydragas spheres was no longer economical at the rates of production envisaged for the TF (much lower volumes than required for Metro for example), unit costs went up significantly. This prompted the change to the spring/damper set up we know and love/hate today.

Everything that VHS do is well considered, well designed and well executed, so when people say that their car has been transformed by these dampers, then I am inclined to believe them.

My MGF has their body stiffening kit ( and big rear brake upgrade ( and am delighted with both. :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 27/04/2009 and 05/05/2009

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