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Supporting RML in LMES & Dyson In ALMS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am sure that you have all answered these questions loads of times but I ask them anyway.

Which is the best MGF to buy?

What should I look for when buying?

What goes wrong and When?

Thank you all in advance for your help

Nobby
 

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>> Which is the best MGF to buy?
Depends what your requirements are. There are a number of versions:

1.8i is the multipoint injection engine. Good torque at low revs, but rev-limiter kicks in lower, and there is not as much power at the top of the curve.

VVC clever valve timing gizmos give more BHP at the top end, but low-down torque is slightly reduced.

There are also available as MY2001 models with the revised interior.

Steptronic 1.8i engine with a CVT gearbox (MY2001 only)


>> What should I look for when buying?
Paul Lathwell's MGF FAQ is at http://www.dotcomoff.demon.co.uk - this will help a lot here.


>> What goes wrong and When?
Head gasket failure is about the most catastrophic common fault. The cooling system is pretty complex, and if it isn't bled correctly then air-pockets in the system will result in HGF. Also, ask if it has the latest versions of all the gaskets are on the car (green inlet manifold gasket and the head gasket with the steel dowels). It won't be cost effective to have them replaced on whim, but chances of expreiencing HGF are increased with the older, weaker gaskets.
Leaks are a pretty common occurence too. Usually caused by badly adjusted windows, but the seals around the rear lights can be suspect resulting in leaks into the boot space. Also check the passenger footwell as water ingress can occur from the front bulkhead.
The hydragas suspension is pretty complex too. Check the front tires for uneven wear - this will indicate a problem with the ride height and the tracking. Cheap to sort out, but can be expensive in tires if it goes unnoticed.
 

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Supporting RML in LMES & Dyson In ALMS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your help Andrew very much appreciated, anyone else got any views?
 

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Which MGF...

OK, firstly a run down on the MGF models...

MGF 1.6i - Recognised by black door handles, wing mirror backs and side air intake surrounds, Model Year 2000 only (so has Mk2 interior) and only available for about a year so quite rare.

MGF 1.8i - The original MGF, launched in September 1995 and outwardly very similar to the VVC. Can be recognised by different wheels (6 spoke alloys on the early cars, 8 spoke minilites on later MY 2000 ones), plastic inlet manifold and 6200 rpm red line on rev counter.

MGF VVC - Until recently the performance MGF, launched in June 1996 comes with ½ leather seats as standard, 5 spoke alloys on early models and 16" squared spokes on MY 2000. Alloy inlet plenum with VVC clearly embossed on it and (IIRC) 6750 rpm red line.

MGF Steptronic / Stepspeed - Fairly recent addition, MY 2000 only (launched in 2000 i believe). Never sold in huge amounts and had automatic CVT gearbox with push button gearchange on the steering wheel.

MGF Trophy 160 - The ultimate incarnation of the MGF, although a limited edition, is not just a tart up job and is worthy of a place in the official line up. Has front splitter and rear spoiler, along with red 4 pot brake calipers on the front wheels. Only available in Solar Red, Trophy Blue, Anthracite and Trophy Yellow, has 160PS version of the VVC engine and substantially revised suspension.

OK, that's the model line up, there were also some limited editions of the 1.8i and the VVC as detailed below:

Abingdon LE - Brooklands green only with light tan hood and 16" minilite alloys (as used on the MGF Cup racing cars). The 1st MGF LE

75th LE - Anthracite or Mulberry red only (Platinum Silver as well overseas) has distinctive circular 75th Anniversay badging and can be fitted with a red hood.

Wedgewood LE - Has factory (blob!) boot spoiler and painted distinctive Wedgewood blue

Freestyle - Looks identical to Trophy 160 except badging and colours.

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Thats the line up, here's what i think...

1.6i - Surprisingly good, but can feel a little asmatic at the top end. Pulls well from low down in the rev range however. A good motor. Looks a little odd without colour keyed exterior trim IMO, especially as the MY 2000 has a colour keyed windscreen frame (earlier models were all black)

1.8i - Has the edge on the 1.6 at the top end, difficult to seperate them during normal driving. More tuning mods available for the 1.8 and 1.6 than the other models as the VVC head and MEMS limits what can be done, if you are into personalising your F, this is the one to go for IMO. Generally an excellent all rounder - recommended. :)

VVC - 1.8i has the slight edge over VVC on pull away, but the VVC more than makes up with greater torque from mid range all the way to the higher rev limiter. Despite being a significant development of the VTEC principle (WAY cleverer than the Honda version which is very crude in comparison), it delivers the extra power smoothly accross the rev range, so you don't get the 'thump in the back' of a VTEC. This means the car goes a lot faster than it feels and has left some people dissapointed. Personally, this character makes it an excellent daily driver, again recommended. :)

Stepspeed - a 1.8i with an autobox, pushbutton gear change is IMO a gimmick, more fun to be had by using the auto shift like a WRC car, ie nudging it forward to change up and back to change down. Even so, it is still a bit gimmicky IMO, especially as it is imperialistically the slowest of the bunch. If you do a lot of urban driving then i suppose i can see the point, otherwise, my advice is to stay away there's more fun to be had elsewhere.

Trophy 160 - Basically a VVC with re-worked breathing (intake and exhaust), this car liberates another 15PS from the 145PS VVC. This means that the extra performance can be easily acheived on a stock VVC with a sports exhaust and a K+N air filter. Where it scores big time over the VVC is the excellent brakes and suspension, which is a lot lower and stiffer than normal, giving improved handling (at a small ride comfort price). The exterior styling is a matter of personal taste, personally i think the spoiler is too angular for such a curvy car and despite being the best looking splitter available, i remain to be convinced.

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Common faults.

VVC cam bolt. This was the subject of a recall (unofficially, it was done at the same time as the seat belt escutchions). If you are after an early VVC, make sure this was done.

Inner rim tyre wear. Caused by poor ride height / tracking settings, easily cured but needs regular checking.

Petrol smell in the cabin If this is the case, WALK AWAY. Caused by dodgy fuel tank or breather hoses and VERY difficult to cure.

Flickering brake lights Easy cure this one, plunger switch mounted inverted above brake pedal has a self adjusting mechanism which can 'wind itself up' making it hyper sensitive. Give plunger a short sharp tug to re-set.

Split rear screen Caused by flinging the hood back with the screen zipped in place on a cold day. Replace screen from someone like Mike Satur (less than ½ price and better quality item than MGR dealer!)

HGF (Head Gasket Failure) Number of causes, mainly alloy block with steel liners which can be a few microns out of true causing undue pressure on gasket (this has been cured on later models). Coolant leaks / poorly done coolant replacement as part of a service, can cause air bubbles in system and thus hot spots on the gasket, made worse by high engine bay temperatures in mid engined MGF (Elise too). Thermal shock of thermostat caused by very cool return flow from radiator (long pipe run under car adds to cooling), during warm up causing thermostat to open and close thus creating more cool pulses (vicious circle). Later 2 causes can be partially eliminated by repositioning the thermostat, replacing the circlips on the coolant hose joints and not thrashing the car from cold (hey, you've got an oil temperature guage - use it!) :)

Leaks Early 3 seam hoods are worse than later 1 seam ones (which are pretty much sorted), boot can also leak (generally through light cluster gasket)

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Misconceptions

Poor build quality, most Fs are OK (none are brilliant), some are a bit crap. Press has had a few bad reports from owners of 'lemons' and has used this to slate the MGF big time (a complete U-turn from thier early glowing reports). Don't expect German build quality standards, and some elements could have been better designed (manual wingmirror adjusters, the odd squeak and rattle), but overall it's pretty well made.

Hairdressers car, In the derogatory sense, used to describe a car that is more fashion than function, think MINI one and new Beetle. Whilst the F is not the fastest car in the world, it knock spots off all the directly priced competition (exceptions - new MR2 is slightly better handling and slightly quicker (not top end), Elise knocks spots off MGF, Trophy 160 is in same price bracket). You have to spend a lot to get a better performing sports car, we are talking Z3 2.8 and upwards / Honda S2000 / V6 Alfa Spider money, £25,000 plus.
 
G

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SF - Request!

Andrew

I removed most of the "F" content from the site, which may have been a little hasty. I do like your summary, may I use it for the site?

How's the TB behaving?
 

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The Scarlet one returns...
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Not a problem mate, as far as i am concerned, anything i post on the net is in the public domain and therefore available for use by others (this includes my website as well). A credit would be nice, but not a condition of use. :)

Trophy TB is excellent - really glad i did it, despite the aggrovation with the GM one. Still haven't sorted the GM TB out yet, but will do so in the near future. Rob Bell is talking about a rolling road comparison of the three TBs (and maybe the new air filter combinations, PiperX Vector, Hurricane, ITG Maxogen and my generic cold air chamber), so i need to get it sorted out. Watch this space... :D
 

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I have seen one of Andy's water leaks on 2 or 3 F's made around 98 ish.

Saturated carpet in the passenger footwell.

Initially thought it may be windows, etc but upon pulling back carpet and sound deadening there is a metal plate bolted down in the passenger footwell to blank off what I presume is where the steering rack passes through the floor on left hookers.

Taking this plate off and seeing the road and near side front wheel through the hole conforms suspicions.

Sealing it with mastic and bolting it back cures it. :D

Matt.
 

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Interesting...

Also, heater box seal can leak into the passenger footwell (time for the mastic gun!) ;)
 

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Supporting RML in LMES & Dyson In ALMS
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for your Help

Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone who posted on this thread.

We got an Abingdon model in the end.

Thanks again
 

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We had an Abingdon too!!!

Agree with what Andy says about the roof.

We bought this stuff from Rover, one bottle of which cleans, the other impregnates to stop water being absorbed and try to offer some sort of protection from it going dirty again.

Works well, but the roof needs a little TLC each time the car is cleaned in order to keep it looking it's best.

Matt.
 
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