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MG MGF Technical - VVC or not?

I am looking for a good MGF to keep our MGB company. I have found a very nice one, but it has the VVC engine, and I am a little worried because of the complexity of this unit.

Should I avoid it?



No reason to.

I have not heard of any owners wishing they had bought a standard 1.8i.

Good luck!
Sam Murray

The car I am looking at is a 1997 model that has covered 86.000 km, that should be about 53.000 miles, and seems to have been well maintained with annual oil changes. How long do these engines last?


Sounds like the car has been well looked after. I have had my VVC for eleven years with no problems. It is a quick car and still gives much enjoyment.
Tony Harrison

No problems with mine in 160,000 kms. Seems to perform just as well today as when I bought it. I wouldn't buy a 1.8 i by choice when you can have the extra power without loss of reliability and definitely not an automatic.
a mackew

It's a brilliant engine - revs effortlessly and certainly my preference. The VVC mechanism is actually quite simple once you get into it, and lightly loaded so if kept lubricated will last really well.

We have 3 cars with VVC engines: MGF, 110 000 miles, no problems at all. Rover 200 000 miles, apart for a new set of rings but no sign of a problem with the VVC, and a VVC-engined midget complete with supercharger, the latter driven mercilessly (and successfully) in all manner of competition for over a decade with a rev limit set at 7800. Come to think of it, all three have been driven very hard - for example the F is no stranger to the rev limiter, and the Rover has towed the Midget, and sometimes the B, on a trailer for 000's of miles around the country (we got a bit wary of not getting home after a few excursions with roadside obstacles while hillclimbing ... ) Between them these cars have covered 350 000 hard miles and not even a head gasket gone.

Having said all that, the VVC drives have three easily addressed/detected significant issues:

1. The cam bolts can unwind themselves. It's relatively rare but catastrophic if it does. Whether due to a harmonic in the mechanism or some other cause I don't know, but it is easily and permanently fixed by using Loctite to secure the bolts.

2. If the engine has had sub-standard lubrication (water in the oil for a while, grotty old oil etc) then the bearing in the VVC mechanism can wear through the hardening and become rough. When it does this it sounds like a deisel, so the situation is easy to detect. (When this happens, despite sounding like this they keep on going for a very long time!) I have yet to find one which normally lubricated has done this, and to go by the mileage of our Rover I'd say it's unlikely.

3. The main exhaust pulley has a harmonic balancer incorporated into it, and the rubber on this can start to deteriarate as rubber does. We enconetered this on our F engine, but the Rover has shown no signs of it. Prsumably the balancer is to prevent torsional vibrations causing undesireable loads on the cam belt so it's something we check at each cam belt change on cars we service.
Paul Walbran

This thread was discussed between 15/08/2013 and 22/08/2013

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