Advice to Technical MGTF Newbie! - MG-Rover.org Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 27-04-2017, 23:38 Thread Starter
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Advice to Technical MGTF Newbie!

Hi there!

I'm shortly due to come into possession of a relative's 53 plate MGTF 135 in X-power grey, only 20k miles with FSH and hardtop at a great price... They've decided it's too old and want something new for some reason. Anyway, it's gonna be the female's car (well, she thinks so anyway). So, hello everyone at mg-rover forums :-)

As a technical chap and fairly competent amateur mechanic, what would you MG Rover veterans recommend doing with this motor in terms of preventative maintenance and upgrades?

I was thinking polybushing, decent coilover kit and landrover/freelander headgasket kit with a coolant level warning sensor also, because I've heard about HGF like everyone else who likes cars and owns a spanner. Does a straight through exhaust do anything to a K - series? Can't imagine a remap offers much on an N/A 1.8.

I've built a few cars and enjoy both driving and maintaining them. I have a Fiesta ST mk7 daily, an '88 Scirocco track car and decent shared garage facilities with likeminded friends, so I'm prepared to take on a 15 year old British sports car and all that entails!

I'd appreciate your suggestions and input, as I intend to both look after this low mileage and spotless vehicle and improve it as much as I can, without fitting a massive supercharger.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 05:23
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Dont fix what probably isn't yet broken i.e. the HG
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 06:07
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Welcome to the Forum!
Yes to the low coolant alarm, check your radiator fan works too.
20K aint a lot of miles, but if its been stored outside, have a good look at the front and rear subframe mounts for corrosion.
If its not had a cambelt in the last five years, put that on the to do list.
Mods are infinite on here, some great ones have been posted up in the past.
A few that I have are roll hoops, glass rear window, parking sensors and reversing camera. All of which I think are more than worth the time and money to fit.


Enjoy your new car ...


Sundance
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 06:19
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If they haven't been done replace the mild steel underfloor coolant pipes. They are a known weak spot that corrode and leak and can then lead to HG problems. Repace them with stainless steel pipes which are readily available. I think you'll find a remap by Mark of Kmaps is a worthwhile modification in my opinion.
Enjoy the car!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 07:15
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Go for a remap!
Joking!

I would say, aside possible existing faults, drive the car and get a feel for it.

It will creeps on you... and then you'll start see things... improvements, uprated parts, mods.

And welcome!
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 09:31
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Welcome.

Once you've driven the car more you will realise that the ride is somewhat uncomfortable! I've recently sold my 2004 23k mile TF (bought a MG RV8 so one had to go) so am familiar with where you're at. So my list of things to do, in order of preference is...

Upgrade shock absorbers to give the car a more comfortable ride and more supple and actually far better handling. I fitted VHS Bilstein dampers with the original springs and it transformed the car into what I thought it should be and totally removed the teeth shattering ride! Highly recommended by me and many others. 'VHS' is Vehicle Handling Solutions and are ex-MGR suspension designers so know what they are doing. MGOC also sell the kit as do others. Easy DIY job but you will need spring clamps.

Underfloor cooling pipes - change to SS.

Coolant level alarm - fit a kit including a replacement coolant bottle with alarm supplied by Brown and Gammons. I also made it a habit to open the boot and check the coolant level before every days use. Also buy a couple of spare coolant caps as they fail with disappointing regularity and can lead to overheating and coolant loss.

Don't touch the head gasket until it fails...which it eventually will. Mine lasted 8 years.

Change the cambelt, tensioner and water pump for peace of mind if you have no proof of when it was last changed which should be every 4 years regardless of mileage. Annual engine servicing is a must regardless of how little mileage you may do.

For the future consider upgrading the front brakes to AP Racing 4-pot calipers and larger discs if it hasn't got them but for this you will need 16" alloy wheels so comes a bit expensive! Maybe also SS braided brake hoses and a servo brace bracket, both of which improve the braking. I always considered the F/TF braking to be marginal.

Hope that helps.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 19:21
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learn how the brakes work, it the car hasnt done a lot of miles, and has sat, just the sitting deteriorates the rubber seals and lets water ingress deteriorate the pistons...

so.. without doing what isnt required for the sake of it... spend a good sunny day making sure that the caliper securing bolts can be freed off... and take a good look at the piston outer seal condition, and check that the pistons and pads move freely... and all is in good condition.. and i include learning how the rear brakes and handbrake work... and check those too... The day you really need to stand on the brake pedal for an emergency stop to save you and your nice car... will be worth your time ..

i recommend you search this forum for any posts that share how the brakes works and how to maintain them..

a hot sunny day and some waxoyl diluted using white spirit and put in a decent press to spray bottle.. and then inject every single cavity that shows evidence of rain water damage with it... the sills, the doors, bonnet, boot, and as much of the underside of the car you can get to...

the more you do now, as the weather improves will mean the waxoyl will stay fluid longer and protect the parts you hope you never have to take to bits.... but if you do.. that waxoyl will make your task much easier especially when its cold and the winter and frost is upon us again... and you dont really want to but have to take something apart under the car,,,

get to know the exhaust and how it works... the flexi pipe will wear if its not in the right and straight position because the hangers are not working properly...

Try and get your head around the coolant system... understand how it works and what can cause it to fail... its a long story that needs some bitter reading , especially if your reading that because yours has failed and and havent a clue..


get to know what engine noises are about... ticks and rattles... some are minor... but some are the prelude to catastrophe...


if you havent got an obd reader yet... get one...

if you dont really understand how the key fob works learn that... make sure you have a spare key, and batteries... not locked in the car, ever.

make sure you understand how the bonnet release works... so if it doesnt you know what to do.

get to know the gearbox... not its inner bits.. but the gear stick and linkages to the box...


Think about things you might need in the middle of the night on a lonely road... like the original jack... which can get under the lowest jacking point, when you have a flat tyre.... the tyre will shred if you drive it flat any distance... and the car will sit really low at that point... the original jack can raise the car from that point... so make sure anyone who uses the car... knows how to use it... and has some means of lighting the wheel area... like a charged torch.. etc... and knows how to get the spare free, and that it will have air in it..


the MGF has its own particular set of rules... and i could go on and on... my advice is , make learning about what makes the car tick... your favourite off road pastime...


if you do.. that knowledge will save you time frustration and money... and mean that you will find the times things go wrong, are really just the car testing how much you understand it.. because you will already know how good it is.. when it gives you everything you want... and it will.... and you will be truly MGF...
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 28-04-2017, 21:15
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Hi and welcome to the forum

You wont go far wrong starting with a maintenance sheet.

James
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 29-04-2017, 03:24
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New F and TF drivers are usually unaware of how easy you can lose the rear end, especially on wet days, tight corners where lorries turn and lose diesel, icy patches, wet leaves, etc.
My Gf did exactly that with mine, costing me nearly 1000 to put right, and I also spun my first TF a couple of times when still getting used to it.
Get to know how the car handles and when to ease off the pedal, they are great handling cars but need to be tamed sometimes!
Make sure the tyres are recommended and in good order, plenty of discussions on here about that one!
Sundance
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 29-04-2017, 10:02
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You have a TF so you have 2 grease nipples on the front suspension which get over looked so get your grease gun out
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 29-04-2017, 10:33
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Originally Posted by helsbyman View Post
You have a TF so you have 2 grease nipples on the front suspension which get over looked so get your grease gun out
Pump the new grease in till the old grease comes out, well worth the effort.

Cheers

Mike
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 29-04-2017, 11:24
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Not that important, but check the heater fan works on all the speed settings.
The resistors can burn out leaving only a couple of speeds available, but the fix is cheap and easy if required.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 30-04-2017, 23:34 Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, some good advice here, and thanks for the warm welcome :-)

It isn't mine (yet - christmas / new year) but I am doing some preventative maintenance to ensure it's in good condition when it becomes so, and I've been given free reign to 'keep it running' until then. It's only had non - MG servicing when things go wrong from a local garage, so I can guess there's quite a bit to do.

@TpperMG - It's been regularly used and garaged for half its life, so it is in good condition. Although I was horrified to find out it's still on its original timing belt earlier today (eek), so it looks like that's on the agenda for next weekend... and yeah, Bilsteins would be my damper of choice, once tried a set of 20 year old, rusted almost beyond recognition, Bilstein sports (B12's maybe) on a VR6 Corrado, and they still felt absolutely amazing, gripping and compliant even at high speeds on uneven yorkshire roads. That VHS kit looks like decent value for custom Bilstein dampers...

@Incony, the gear linkage does feel a bit worn, spoon in pudding bowl comes to mind, but everything else seems in good condition, if a little tired. It's 100% original, except for a few rear ARB links. Question on the suspension grease ports though - what exactly do these lubricate, the shock internals? And are they front and rear? Not seen this before. And yeah, got an OBD2 cable and am pretty IT literate, been using VCDS/Vagcom, is there any specific software for MG / Rover?

@TipperMG, yeah the brakes are about as good as the missus's 1.0 Arosa, which aren't even vented discs and struggle to stop the 750kg 49bhp monster that is the arosa... terrible to be honest. A breaker / mechanic near me has a 1.6 MGF in with the AP 4 pots and 304mm discs (for some reason), also with the 11 spoke 16" alloys, and he's open to offers... what are these worth usually? Wheels have seen better days and the calipers are gonna need a refurb, had a look earlier and some muppet has painted over the bleed nipples and rubber caps with red hammerite, god knows where else they've been painted, but they look pretty mighty compared to the 288mm VW brakes I'm used to.

There's a bit of a knock coming from the front end turning, coming on / off power or over camber changes (top mounts, wishbone bushes or drop links I reckon) so it goes on the stands tomorrow so I can work out what bits I need to order, although I imagine everything perishable is on the way out after 14 years, so probably gonna polybush the lot to be safe.

Tyres are 4x different manufacturer DitchFinder Xtremes, so I've ordered a set of 4x 75% Michelin Pilot Sport 3's from a friend who gets used sets of race tyres for 100, in 195/50/15 - I assume this is within spec for standard 15" alloys? I've used PS3's on an old mk3 Golf 16v, and they seemed like decent tyres.

Passenger door had deadlocking issues and wouldnt open, which was how I came into being it's carer - it looked like Pektron SCU relay issues, so I sent the SCU to Technozen (highly recommended) and and it was back with me repaired within 3 days of me sending it, and locking working as normal - can't recommend this service highly enough. Passenger locking mechanism makes an awful noise on locking, but apparently it always has done.

All in all, it's a car that deserves looking after, and I've a soft spot for older cars with a bit of personality. I'll upload some photos and might need more advice as I get stuck into it!

Cheers all :-)
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 08:42
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A standard OBD2 reader will access the basic info in the ECU, however to gain access to other areas you'll need a T4 (dealer system), a black box solutions system or a pscan.eu.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 09:00
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There's a bit of a knock coming from the front end turning, coming on / off power or over camber changes (top mounts, wishbone bushes or drop links I reckon) so it goes on the stands tomorrow so I can work out what bits I need to order, although I imagine everything perishable is on the way out after 14 years, so probably gonna polybush the lot to be safe.


Sometimes this is as simple as securing the spare wheel, its fooled a few of us over the years, or then again.....


Sundance
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 09:48
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My 04 45000miles 135 TF suspension bushes seem to be OK except for the rear ARB drop link bushings, which I changed last year.
I would be wary of polybushing everything as that will make the ride even harsher. And it would be one heck of a job!
See how you get on with the ride as it is first!

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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 10:02
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Not that important, but check the heater fan works on all the speed settings.
The resistors can burn out leaving only a couple of speeds available, but the fix is cheap and easy if required.
Not easy if a car with aircon.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 12:07
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Originally Posted by Katbox View Post
There's a bit of a knock coming from the front end turning, coming on / off power or over camber changes (top mounts, wishbone bushes or drop links I reckon) so it goes on the stands tomorrow so I can work out what bits I need to order, although I imagine everything perishable is on the way out after 14 years, so probably gonna polybush the lot to be safe.
A common cause of this type of knock is the bush at the bottom of the shock absorber to upper arm joint.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 13:13
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Originally Posted by johnan View Post
Not that important, but check the heater fan works on all the speed settings.
The resistors can burn out leaving only a couple of speeds available, but the fix is cheap and easy if required.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian Foulger View Post
Not easy if a car with aircon.
Not if retro fitting aircon and have the foresight to relocate the resistor pack.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 18:14
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Re Tyres

The TF should have different sizes front and back for both 15" and 16" wheels. This is to ensure the car has the correct and safe balance front to back.

I think there is a sticky at the top of this forum giving tyre sizes.
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