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The MGF project

MGF as purchased  

The green baby has (hopefully) just enough problems to keep me interested and not enough to keep me broke!

Like - the drivers window doesn't seal properly, and seems to sit on top of the door frame instead of in it. Initially I thought it was a problem with the soft top, but a few internet searches revealed that it is the glass in the door rising too high (they're electric). Temporary fix - lower it a little! Medium term: Fix the window stop.

There's quite a bit of wind noise coming through the top of the window frame, pulling down on the top hood frame stops it. I think I have some minor adjustments to make here (thinks: Buy a Haynes manual!)

The other minor issue is the passenger side speaker cuts in and out. Hopefully a trivial fix!

  MGF as purchased
  MGF interior That's the faults, here's the good bits. It drives so well, sticks like (something sticky) to a blanket, and is in pretty good nick all around. The heater works, the air conditioning works, the alarm works, the ABS brakes work, the power steering works, the air bags... well, the light goes off!! Most importantly, the coolant level hasn't varied and the temperature gauge is rock solid.


  The first major job was to get the suspension pumped up. My worry was that there was a leak, but a couple of weeks later it is still at the same height. It's made a huge difference to the ride and the handling. $70 well spent.Next job, pull the door apart and check the "cheat" that the door glass rides up on. Thanks to these wonderful instructions it was pretty easy. There is still a gap at the top leading edge of the driver's window, I'm not sure what to do about this.

I can see that the electric window stop has broken (mine is, or was, a Mk 2 design stop). Apparently the soft top design was changed in the 1997 model. The passenger side sits well. Anyway one of the locking nuts inside the door was really loose when I opened it, the door now closes without rattling now. The wind noise at the top of the hood above the windscreen was so easy to fix - a couple of adjustments on the clamps and it's gone.

Thanks to the MG Service Centre in Christchurch for showing me how to do this, I'm enjoying the car very much, so have booked it in for a cam belt and service. The belt has only done 60,000km but it is over 7 years old, so change is a good thing! Will probably do the water pump at the same time.

  Yes, Sylvia, you CAN drive a convertible in a South Island, New Zealand winter! Even with the top down.

It's been in for its Cam Belt and service, plus they changed the fan belt (very cracked!) and the coolant tank cap at the same time. I'm very impressed with the support at the local (christchurch) MG specialist.

However the cost of spare parts here in NZ is a bit variable - some are good value, but the electric window stop was NZ$80, whereas they're about GBP5 in the UK! Other things like the gear lever gaiter, rear window, and door seals all seem comparable.

Talking of the door stop, I fitted it last night and couldn't believe the difference. Previously there was a 5 mm gap at the top leading edge of the driver's door window, which guaranteed the driver a wet backside (it ran down on the the seat, OK?!!) in any mildly damp weather. WIth the mark 3 window stop fitted, the glass takes a step inwards at the top of the travel and seals perfectly.

The helpful man at the MG garage was pretty cool to talk to about the cars and prices. He did make the point that New Zealand is probably the cheapest place in the world to buy an MGF (the Elise is about 8 times the price - sorry Vicki Butler-Henderson!!) but we still have to pay full price for spares... so we're not getting ripped off for spare parts, just getting a good deal on the cars.


The difference since I bought the car is amazing - it's quieter, drives nicer, and is even more fun. Especially now that I don't have to worry about the roof leaking!


  I loved the looks of this car, but preferred the 5 spoke VVC wheels. So I bought some in early 2010. Compare this photo with that below...


The MGF Saga was a short one, I sold it in October 2010. My repair bills ran to the gearbox linkage, the head gasket (was lucky to spot that one at an early stage!) Electric Windows, Cam Belt, and probably a few other things I can't remember. A lovely wee car, I miss it a lot - but maybe a little frail!

Here's one of the last picture of it after I fitted the wheels from a VVC version.




Farewell old friend!


(c) Copyright Brian Greenwood 2011