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MG MGF Technical - Tuning needed maybe??

After reading through loads of other threads recently, I'm starting to wonder if I'm being a bit too hopefull with regards to performance?

I've bought myself the usual K&N 57i and Milltek exhaust and just bolted them on, but haven't had anyone actually do anything else to the engine.

In everyone's opinion, am I not getting the most from these mods yet and do I need to now have someone re-tune my engine or play around with anything??

Clearly I'm no mechanic so anyone's advice would be very much appreciated!!


Kris Ford

Welcome to the Darkside Kris! ;o) ROFL

How much further do you want to go? The simplest solution for getting more performance from a K&N 57i is to fully enclose it in an airbox. This will drop intake temperatures significantly, and you'll get more power (particularly from low engine speeds) just about everywhere. It's cheap to do too - a big tin is what Steve used (SMA wasn't it?), others have used a large plant pot from B&G (yes, really!) or an old Rover 820 cylindrical airbox is what I've used.

Worth the effort IMO.

Beyond that, you are starting to look at replacing the throttle body if yours isn't already a 52mm item, a better 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, and there after some head work and cams...

I am currently running a DVA quick and dirty ported standard cylinder head fitted with TF135 cams. The result is pretty impressive for an over all cost of less than 450. Then there is fitting costs - as mine was done as part of a 5-year service/ HGF repair - these costs are not that great...

It all depends on how far you want to go...
Rob Bell

You'll only get minimal gains from doing the basic stuff. To really get some more bhp in the bag you have to look at the whole breathing process in order to make the various aspects compliment each other.

air filter -> Throttle Body -> Inlet Manifold -> Head/Cams -> Exhaust

If you're comfortable removing, stripping and refitting head and cams, you can slice a big chunk off any tuning bill. K&N and exhaust you've already got, so if you wanted to take it further, potential steps include:

DVA head job - 300
Cams (eg. Piper BP270) - 300(ish)
52mm Throttle Body - 80 from eBay and the like

Add those to the equation and you should be able to notch up a good 160bhp. Starts getting a little more expensive if you want to go further than that; Cam verniers, DTH throttle bodies, bigger valves, wilder cams and solid follower conversions, Emerald ECU etc etc.

That's for a standard MPi by the way.

Alex T

Thanks for the blindingly quick response chaps,

Maybe should have mentioned that I have a Trophy though, so currently have the 52mm throttle body.

Seriously looking into the manifold options at the mo.
Improving the breathing makes sense to me. And I'm planning to scrounge an SMA tin from someone. :-)

Spending 70 plus on silicon leads seems a bit extreme but are they worth it?

Thanks again.
Kris Ford

I bought a set of magnecor leads from B&G years ago - they're excellent - and I am sure they didn't cost anywhere near as much as 70 quid.

As you've got the VVC head, then you've got a cheap route to 175-180 bhp if you wish to take it. When I say 'cheap' - I mean cheaper than trying to get similar power out of a 1.8i.

The good news is that you keep the VVC mechanism! But some DVA head magic is required. Use a Piper re-profiled exhaust cam (cheap - less than a 100 notes) and an adjustable fuel pressure regulator and you're into this territory very quickly. Cost circa 1500 (Dave Livingstone will know the costs far better than I - as this is effectively the route he's taken)
Rob Bell

No, in a word. They're not worth it and you won't see any power gains. Standard plugs and leads are perfectly adequate.
Alex T

Nice one Rob !!

<<<<<others have used a large plant pot from B&G (yes, really!) >>>>>>>>>

Didn't realise they were in to gardening as well.

B&Q maybe.

Adrian Clifford

Magnecor leads are worth it IMHO simply because they last longer. I got through two sets of plug leads on my '98 VVC in the first three years of the car's life (damp starting problems). Since fitting the Magnecor I've had no problems - that's in the last four or five years.

Rob's comments about relatively cheap performance gains on a VVC are sound. Emerald's well setup rolling road consistently shows my VVC putting out 172bhp at peak revs. This is with a DVA ported head with standard valves and cams. The breathing for those results was via an ITG Maxogen system, 52mm throttle body and Phoenix exhaust. Nothing else other than a FSE adjustable fuel pressure regulator to make sure that the Air/Fuel ratio was optimised.

We're about to go back to Emerald for another rolling road run, as both Rob and I have gone for a 4-2-1 manifold built by Powerspeed. Additionally, I've now got a straight through exhaust and high-flow cat again designed and built by Powerspeed. We're going to be really interested to see what that does to mid-range torque :-)
Dave Livingstone

I think I may need to have a quiet word with the bank manager this weekend! :-)

FSE power boost valve - I can get from flea-bay at about 90,

Plant pot from Brown & Gammons, (Sorry, couldn't resist),

Leads - Cheapest I've found so far for 8.5mm VVC is 70 :-(.

Now for the real fun, does anyone have a web address for DVA?? May as well do this properly!!

P.S. Dave and Rob, it would be interesting to know your results from the RR session. If the 4-2-1 makes a difference, I may have to invest in that as well!
(I fear the credit cards are about to be beaten within an inch of their lives!)
Kris Ford


Check out

Regards, Dave
Dave Livingstone

Magnecor lead would be worth it but they don't do anything for the Trophy because you haven't got a distributor!! - you have distributorless ignition. The Trophy has only two short leads for cylinders 1 and 3 with the coils mounted on 2 and 4 spark plugs. Am in the process of seeing if Magnecor will do the two short leads. Will let you know.
Blue Pocket Rocket

B P Rocket,

Just had a look on and if I'm reading their product list correctly, which I very well may not be but, under Rover MGF VVC, they have a set listed which in the subnotes states

"Distributorless / coil pack or coil over (Direct Fire / DI) type ignition systems - ie no coil lead and in some cases there are less leads in the set than there would be normally. e.g. 2 leads for a 4 cylinder."

Would these be the ones?
If so, they do them in 7mm and 8.5mm sizes.

Let me know what you think.

Kris Ford

Spoke to Magnecor this morning about teh HT leads for Trophy/TF and their response was that they currently do not produce a set which fits the TF. Now the person on the end of the line could be wrong, but I had urgent need so had to go for OEM.

If you do get Magnecor to work out what they do supply then I would be interested as the OEM ones will fail quickly.
David M

Unfortunately not the reference numbers quoted refer to the VVC prior to 2001.
Blue Pocket Rocket

Bugger!! :-)
Kris Ford

David M
Could you measure the old leads for me - I think they are about 8" long but just need to make sure before I order a custom set.
Blue Pocket Rocket

Not a bad plan BPR!

If you get some made up, any chance you could let them know they'll have a few more calls, so to keep hold of the details??
Kris Ford

Does this help anybody ?

Adrian Clifford


To answer your original point, simple changes like a better airfilter and exhaust will definately produce around 10% increase in power when measured on a rolling road, but you'll be lucky to spot the different on the road.

You will certainly notice the induction roar, which most feel is an improvement, but some find the additional noise from the exhaust wearing on long runs.

I would place better quality ignition leads in a different category because they give predictable starting and smoother running without necessarily improving performance.

If you are interested in changes that you can really feel, suspension/tyre changes can make bendy roads and roundabouts fun at speeds well below the national speed limit.



sorry don't have the old ones. Car had gone in for engine mgt light flashing and the diagnosis was the HT leads arcing. I wanted to get something other than OEM so was looking at magnecor. When they had none on shelf, and I needed the car ASAP, I took OEM so garage fitted new and disposed of old.
David M

(Or anyone with DVA experiance for that matter. :-))

I would be very interested to know more about, and your opinion of, the quick and dirty ported head.

I've been in contact with Dave from DVA and am now seriously thinking about which options would suit the Trophy.

Many thanks,

Kris Ford

The Q&D of my standard MPi head is fantastic. Not lost anything at the bottom end, and the top end breathes so much easier. Basically, I am delighted with what I got for the outlay :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 26/10/2005 and 29/10/2005

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