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MG MGF Technical - Unstable under hard braking

Ever since getting my new 1.8i a year ago, I've noticed that under hard braking, the steering goes to pot. The effect is that the car tends to wander to the left.

I've always assumed that maybe I was inadvertantly turning the wheel or maybe this was an inherent 'undocumented feature' of the F.

Having just read a thread where someone mentioned this as a symptom of worn bushes, I'm now a little worried. As far as I can tell, nothing is worn and surely wouln't have been on day one of getting the car.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Another theory was that maybe the left front brake was applying more pressure than the right, hence the natural turning effect.

I'd be interested to hear anyone's thoughts / advice.


It's worth getting the tracking checked if you haven't done so since getting the car. Even though you may be steering straight ahead the front (or rear!) wheels might be steering you towards the kerbs.


It's worth checkig this on a flat road, the camber of the road can effect which way the car pulls, and the camber on british roads will pull you to the left*.

*well stictly the road position in the UK will cause the car to pull left, try an empty road and put yourself on the white line.
Will Munns

This may sound silly, but in 14 years of driving, I've never experienced such a problem with the road camber. But there again I've never driven a car quite so good as the F (a far cry from Citoen AX, Company Vectra (so that got driven to the limit!), Cavalier, Puma & Clio)

Maybe a warped disk or wheel bearing failing.

I had similar problems under heavy breaking and it was fixed by having new disk and wheel bearings, but also I had new shocks at the same time as it was up at Techspeed having there suspension set up. Mind you my shock bushes where also shot

I new I had a problem as when the front was jacked up the wheel would not rotate to well.

Tom Randell

All the above are correct and can cause this instability under braking. Basically the problem can be anywhere between the tyre contact patch with the road to the steering wheel, so there is quite a lot to check out.

1. Check the tyres: are they wearing evenly? Are the tyre pressures correct? Is there any visually evidence of tyre damage (to the walls or tread)?
2. Check out the wheels themselves - are they damaged in any way? Are the wheel nuts tight?
3. Check out the wheel bearings - as Tom suggests, this can cause some odd steering-like behaviour when they start to fail.
4. Check suspension components - as Ralph found out, bushes do wear out - as do track rod ends and other suspension components. If unsure how to check this, get your local mechanic to inspect this for you.
5. Check the tracking settings (as Leigh rightly points out) - this should be done sooner rather than later if any evidence of uneven tyre wear is seen. Get the steering and drive-thrust axis checked as well - the car could be 'crabbing' along the road rather than in a straight line.

Hope this helps :o)
Rob Bell

If your going to get your tracking checked, I would suggest getting a four wheel alignment check done rather than just the front tracking. As the rear can also be out of align.

Made a big difference (improvement) to my car.
Dave - Rugby

As your in Cheshire and the car is still under warranty take it to Syd Brown's in Longridge nr Preston, an MGR dealer of high reputation. They have a sophisticated 4-wheel electronic susp geometry checker. Explain the problem and that it's been present from new (not a wear issue). Let them check the brakes etc, suspension height and geometry (my bet!) to sus out what the problem is.
Ian Walker

hi there

I had the same problem with mine until I had a brake check done and one of the calipers wasnt working. Had all the brakes and discs replaced and the caliper changed and all round wheel alignment done and no problems now!

In fact its like a new car no shuddering at top speed and feels alot safer!
J French

This thread was discussed on 12/09/2002

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