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MG MGF Technical - VVC poor cold performance

Bought my F about 4 weeks ago.
Been suffering some starting problems - especially after cold wet nights. Also, performance is very poor until engine is warmed up - no power at all, feels like putting it into fifth instead of third. Feels like the engine is popping and farting, it doesn't even put down the power smoothly. Sorry if this is an FAQ - could it be the sparks and leads.
Had it back to MG garage and had the stepper motor reset, after recent change. Don't know if this makes any difference.

Get a set of magnecor silicone plug leads and probably new plugs - instant fix.

I bought my leads from Brown and Gammons two years ago, a couple of hours to fit and no more problems.

Check out the 'STARTING PROBLEM' thread listed here a couple of days ago.... butit sounds like the Leads, just be sure to get the VVC leads not the other ones.

tim woolcott

There's a oil temperature sensor on the VVC drive mechanism which sends a signal into the ECU. The VVC cam advance/retard gubbins is prevented from going too mad until the oil is warmed up properly. It might be that the sensor is iffy, or the wiring might have a dodgy connection.

Alan B

The "especially after cold wet nights" bit of your post really does point to leads and/or plugs. Don't know how old your F is, but after about 4 (or even 3 years)the poor OEM leads start to fail. Replace with some good silicone (magnecore or similar) leads and the difference is surprising. If the car has done 25-30k on the same plugs, then it's worth changing them too. Although they will last 60k, they wont work very well by then.

Very simple DIY job. Full instructuions on this and other possible causes in the MGF FAQ at

David Mills

You might, distributer, oh yes VVC, sorry no need.

Will Munns


I had a similar problem, and had the plugs changed and some damp-proofing done to the VVC coils. Edinburgh Sports Cars in Dalkeith did it for me. If you do get the plugs changed, get the leads done too, as mine's starting to struggle again this year and I'll be replacing the leads.

For info, my plugs were changed at 30K, 3 years old.

This thread was discussed on 24/01/2003

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