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My daily 2003 MG TF

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  • My daily 2003 MG TF

    Hi guys,

    So you know when you crawling the Interballs and then there is this car, you fell in love immediately.
    For me, this car was an imported MG TF, a British roadster from the UK, RHD (in a left hand drive country).

    Here it is, in all her tiny glory :



    So, the basic specs : Rear wheel drive, Mid engine, 2 seater, convertible.
    The engine is a rover K series 1.8 Naturally aspirated, 135 HP (100 kW)
    This engine was installed in the lotus elise s1 and s2, not that powerful, but the main problem is the head and the undersized valves (it was originally for a 1.4 rover k series), the best thing is his weight : 93kg for the 1.8L



    Basically this car is a fat (and slow) lotus, but it's cheap and really beautiful I think.

    I'll try to show as many photos as possible during my journey with this car.

    First of all, the badges were plastic, used, no good, so I changed them for some le500 (a special edition of the TF) badges (solid aluminium, much more resistant) which are silver and black instead of the cream and red from mg (better quality, better looking, 15 pounds for both) :



    Sooooo much better ...

    Then I got a new exhaust backbox (shiny) :



    I had 3 choices when choosing the tips (from the dealer of the exhaust, i could have gone for universal ones, but meh), oval, dual tip (per exit, so 4), or simple 3.5 exit.
    I didn't wanna go too much, so I keeped the simple ones (larger exit compared to the 2.5 inch standard exit) :


    8 hours later, a lot of sweat and tears, an angle grinder (sooo much rust), the exhaust is in, here is what looks like the old one :

    There was a thread on this piece of metal 14 years ago, please guys, treat your cars against rust ...

    Finished product (I drived a little bit, so the exhaust has turned black ...), but you get the idea :


    Now I need to get some things done before beginning to get more power, like suspensions (now it's too high), wheels and big brake kit (an MG option back in the days for the front, and a custom made one for the rear).

    a little trailer for the next bit :


    Let me know if you like this thread and if you want more, I'm always open to suggestions and/or questions !

    Peace
    V
    My car : MG TF (2003)

  • #2
    Sooooo ....

    A little update on the MG, I was going to install all the lowering springs, but ...



    Now what ? I will go buy some hammerite, some drill wire brushes and clean a maximum of the underside rust, I don't think I will treat all the rust because I don't really want to drop the subframe ... I will try do mainly do all the wheel arches with some suspensions components ...

    Pics to come, I'm really disappointed that the underside is this rusty (hopefully it's a lot of surface rust)

    Peace
    V
    My car : MG TF (2003)

    Comment


    • #3
      Love these cars, played with the idea of buying one for ages, drive any good? also think you've learned of the hassle of UK/Irish cars, it rains here constantly and they salt the roads every winter so most cars are pretty rusty unfortunately.

      Comment


      • #4
        It drives pretty good, however, stock they have a tendency to understeer.
        First, the air from the radiator is redirected under the car, so there is a good amount of front-end lift from 50-60 mph.
        And there is the front tyre size from factory that is taller than the rear (more negligible but still there).

        However, with some modification it can be changed pretty easily, I can't tell you right now but after I lowered it, I will see if it's better.

        Also the suspensions are ... well ... stiff, really really stiff, you can feel any rock or little hole on the road, it's not really comfortable (it's not what it's meant for)

        But if you have thought of buying one, go for it, they are really cool little cars, however, be ready for a lot of little things that goes bad, it's an MG, something brake literally every 5 days, but hey, they are dirt cheap and so are parts ..

        More on the suspensions and rust treatment this week-end !


        BTW, test fit of the springs went good, but as you can see on the picture, it's full of rust, I will try to do a maximum of work without dropping the subframe, which might be doable for the front, but with the engine in the rear, I just don't have the necessary tools, I will do that later, with a friend who has access to a 2 post car lift, because you need to remove the car from the motor, you can't get it out from the top ..

        I will do a maximum of work in order to get a maximum of parts rust free, but for the rest, I might buy some new subframes, I will see, maybe a donor car might be good ..

        Peace !
        V
        My car : MG TF (2003)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MightyJohn View Post
          It drives pretty good, however, stock they have a tendency to understeer.
          First, the air from the radiator is redirected under the car, so there is a good amount of front-end lift from 50-60 mph.
          And there is the front tyre size from factory that is taller than the rear (more negligible but still there).

          However, with some modification it can be changed pretty easily, I can't tell you right now but after I lowered it, I will see if it's better.

          Also the suspensions are ... well ... stiff, really really stiff, you can feel any rock or little hole on the road, it's not really comfortable (it's not what it's meant for)

          But if you have thought of buying one, go for it, they are really cool little cars, however, be ready for a lot of little things that goes bad, it's an MG, something brake literally every 5 days, but hey, they are dirt cheap and so are parts ..

          More on the suspensions and rust treatment this week-end !


          BTW, test fit of the springs went good, but as you can see on the picture, it's full of rust, I will try to do a maximum of work without dropping the subframe, which might be doable for the front, but with the engine in the rear, I just don't have the necessary tools, I will do that later, with a friend who has access to a 2 post car lift, because you need to remove the car from the motor, you can't get it out from the top ..

          I will do a maximum of work in order to get a maximum of parts rust free, but for the rest, I might buy some new subframes, I will see, maybe a donor car might be good ..

          Peace !
          V
          I'd buy one happily but I need a daily I can use for everything and can only afford one car at the moment, the rust actually doesn't look that bad if I'm honest, I've owned/seen worse cars than that. Subframe drop sounds like a pain but I guess that a MR car calls for stuff like that to work on it. The understeer could be sorted by wider wheels, my Alfa used to understeer all over the place but after I went form 195 wide tires to 205s the understeer had practically stopped. If your pulling subframes out to replace parts from rust though a parts car may be wise. Can get expensive buying everything individually.

          Comment


          • #6
            cool i was thinking about one of those

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, I treated some of the rust, it's mostly surface rust, so really easy treatment, some wire-brushing, sanding and painting, I'll update with more pictures soon (just need to finish the installation of the springs) There is some more rusty area, like some holes in the wishbone, might want to replace it, but the subframes will definitely be dropped with a mate who has more toys than me, just not now

              For the tires I will wait to change rims, I have seen some really cool wheels, not that big (just taking 15 inch to 16, I found 17 too much), I will change from 205 to 215 (maybe 225) at the rear, and from 185 to 195 at the front (more, the rubber will touch I think, however, I'll see if it's possible to go with 215 front, at least to know if it's feasible)

              Peace !
              V
              My car : MG TF (2003)

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,

                Soooo ... I had a problem with my rear suspension, the top nut was stuck and with my weak hands tools it wasn't possible to extract it, so I bought a new Toy (He or she who dies with the more tools wins), an electric impact wrench, it works really good, and made the all assembly of the rear suspension so much easier, it's maybe the best tool I ever bought ...

                But I speak too much, here are some pictures of the assembly (and a sneak peak at the engine compartment, one day I will open the bay, but it takes me 30-40 minutes every time ...)



                New spring, vs Old spring :


                First of all, I removed a good part of the rust on the front components, it's really not perfect, but it will be protected until I remove all the subframe (I hope this summer), the dampers were done too in the meantime

                Then time to do the rear :


                To the left, there is the ECU in the way of the suspension, and the right, the overflow tank (I might make some modifications to the cooling system if you're interested, a design flaw to repair on this car)



                Once everything out of the way, Impact-wrenched every bolt attached to the suspension, worked flawlessly, the anti-roll bar is a little bit tricky to get out of the way of the damper to get it out, but once done :



                some wirebrushing/painting later :


                Same for the dampers :



                I haven't took any pics of the spring fitting, but I can do you a before/after :

                Here is the car with factory springs :


                And here with the H&R lowered springs (3cm) :


                To drive, it's so much better, the car stick to the ground, I lost a lot of under-steer, the car no longer look like a SUV, and it's lowered just what it needs, I can take on any speed bumb (at reasonable speed, but not that different than before) here is an exemple of front bumper on a speed bump (the wheels are at road level) :


                So it's perfect to drive, speed bumps aren't much more of a problem than before (the dampers are some of the stiffest I've ever seen, even factory ones ...), now I need to think to what to do next, I was thinking a cold air intake from the left side vent, the airbox suffer from a poor conception (like a lot of stuff from this car), there is a lot to be gained from a cold intake, the facory airbox get air from behind the engine, with the TF, even when going at motorway speeds, the air-intake temp is still in the high 40s (Celcius).
                I will try to do an all custom intake, from the left vent, probably a lot of composite, I will try to design something cool and good.

                What you think about a custom made intake ?

                Peace,
                V
                My car : MG TF (2003)

                Comment


                • #9
                  So,

                  Some good news, I got new wheels !!!
                  I had a problem previously, my wheels were 15 inch ones and my tyres were awful (some weird brand, cracked and solid rubber ... obviously the limiting factor of the car by far)

                  But I wanted some 16 inch wheels (17 is too big for my taste) but didn't want to invest in some 300+ euros 15 inch tyres that would have last 3 month ...
                  And the wheels that I wanted (and still want) are too expensive for now ^^, some Team dynamics pro race 1.2 (one of the only wheels to have the correct PCD of 4x95.25 ...)

                  then I got the best deal ever :


                  4 16 inch MG wheels, they were in the sport pack of the car (and all the 160hp MG TF) for 150euros WITH tyres (Goodyear eagle F1, 50% used approximately)
                  And they are like new !!! (some damage on one of them, but nothing unrepairable, just some chipping on the edge) :


                  The best thing is that now I can clear some big front caliper (304mm instead of 240mm) and in the rear some bigger discs (280mm instead of 240mm), will do an update if I can motivate myself to work in the cold ^^

                  And on the car :



                  Hope you like them as much as I do, I didn't forget the team dynamics wheels, just not for now, more important stuff to do, while I was changing wheels, I found 2 bearings that need attention (20 euros the kit, could be worse), the big brakes, the intake, the cat ...

                  Hope you like it
                  Peace,
                  V
                  My car : MG TF (2003)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi guys,

                    I was thinking about something and I need your opinion.
                    There is a special edition of the TF (there is a lot, but it's the 85th anniversary that we are talking about), I really like the design of the strips, and was wondering your opinion on it, see if I will do it on mine

                    BTW, the side thingy with the 85 isn't part of what I want to do ^^

                    PS : Do you like the front bumper on the 85th edition too ? (just in case I find one )

                    Peace
                    V
                    My car : MG TF (2003)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So ! Big news (not so big ... but hey, I opened the engine bay )

                      This week-end was a "small repairs" one, the car needed some new bearings, a new alternator belt (technically just some tension, but the belt was 3 pound ...) and random cable adjustments.

                      First of all, let me introduce to you the mighty (yeah, not really, but it's cool, I swear !) 1.8L Mpi, 4 cylinder Rover K series, and in 3 pictures to illustrate the joy of opening the engine bay (not really) :

                      First, the rear of the soft top need to be undone from the car (not difficult, 5 metal clips)


                      Then, the T-bar (rear bulkhead trim) and the rear speaker's bar (first 4 10mm screw here) need to be undone, then, the carpet and insulation can be removed, there will be the access panel :


                      And after 13 other 10mm screw (yeah, some people open the hood, I need to use my 10 mil ... 17 F*****g times ! -sorry about the word-)
                      But after that, here is the engine ! :


                      I know it's not that impressive, but it's really good, and if you need to move it, don't buy a crane, just call a mate and lift it, it is less than 100Kg

                      While I've been doing that, a mate had done his first bearing (front-right) :


                      The picture has a pretty bad angle, but in the process, the screw from the anti-rollbar link to the anti-rollbar has snapped, so I need another anti-rollbar link (screw still in it and won't move, stupid English car ) and screw ...

                      But the rest of the maintenance was good, no pictures, but hey, I need to work and stop taking pictures sometime.

                      So the front bearing installed and everything reinstalled (except the anti-rollbar ...), he moved to change the rear bearing, and in the meantime, I removed the alternator.

                      Why removing the alternator ? Because last time we tightened the alternator belt, the adjustment bolt snapped, and the part in the alternator was left ...
                      So I drilled the bolt (approximatelly straight) and tapped some new threads for the new adjustment bolt, mounted everything back, and it is surprisingly working flawlessly !

                      By the time I was done, the other bearing was finished and we did some minor adjustments : handbrake cable tightened and gear lever cables tightened as well.

                      And oil change (when you take 30-40 minutes to access your engine, you use this access a maximum )

                      And that's it, the car is soooooo much better, the gear changes are great, the bearings don't make any noise now.

                      The last thing I need is a new anti-rollbar link, it's on his way, will take 5 minutes to set in place, so not really a big failure

                      Peace !
                      V
                      My car : MG TF (2003)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        AANNNDDD ... The anti-rollbar is now properly mounted.

                        Everything is now repaired and the car is ready for this summer ! (at least not broken ... yet ...)
                        Now it's only a matter of some small things like an impact on the rear bumper to restore and paint (if I get a good result on this spot, I might risk to paint a little more of the car, like some bits on the front bumper and some idiot's-car-door parking damage on the wings (this one I don't know yet, but a pro would do it for 400 to 500 euros -seems expensive as ...- so ... no thanks, I'll try to do something not that bad myself first)

                        And some glorious 304mm (front) and 280mm (rear) discs might come soon (instead of 240 all around)
                        I'll get 4 pistons front calipers from the sports pack of the TF (big red ones on the 160hp) but instead of getting new ones, I'll get some used (and they aren't made with 4 pistons anymore) and refurbish them from the rubber to the paint, and will go for a clean dark-green (I think, might go to a kawasaki green) paint for the calipers

                        Only thing is that I'll need to stay on the factory 1 piston ones in the back, there isn't really any caliper with handbrake fittings that could work :/

                        Will see, but it's a really good feeling to finally have a working car without any issues (for now, give it 15 miles ^^)

                        Peace !
                        V
                        My car : MG TF (2003)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey, so I repaired my rear bumper.

                          1 year ago I might have backed into an audi and my bumper has folded onto itself and hit the metal behind, after getting the shape back (pulled on it), here is what I was left with :


                          So, quite a big hole, the first stop was to clean the hole, so I took the dremel and cut anything that protrude.

                          Now, time to get some structure back into the corner, so I took a mesh (some leftover from an amplifier I built) and melted it into the bumper and the hole, it was now properly repaired (structurally), I then backed the mesh with molten zip-ties (ABS, same as the bumper, lucky on this one) so that there is no hole left and only something to back the repairs.

                          Then I filled the rest of the hole with bi-component epoxy (quite a big one after cleaning everything), but not to the surface of the bumper, just enough to fill the hole.

                          Then, sanding, body filler, sanding, body filler, sanding, body filler, sanding, body filler, sanding, and then repeat 3 times.

                          I had a really quite good surface at this point, so some plastic primer, more sanding.

                          And I then painted like a good quarter of the bumper (blended it in), base coat + 2 part clear coat.

                          The results :


                          The surface has some minor imperfection, but hey, it's a cheap garage job and I didn't have to find another bumper (the problem is one, the color, it's quite hard to find a xpower grey bumper, and two, the price of the shipping, these bumpers tends to brake, so shipping is 100-150 pounds ..)

                          The only big issue is that the paint is new, and on the rest of the car, the paint has 15 years, so there is quite a big difference, where I blended it, it's hard to notice, but on the rear-wing => bumper junction, it's quite visible ...

                          But at least I don't have any hole now, and I will probably do a full paintjob one day (a friend of mine is a professional painter, he might do the entire car quite cheap if I prepare it) so for now, it's a satisfying job, but not perfect at all.

                          Might update soon, some goodies should be delivered shortly

                          Peace !
                          V
                          My car : MG TF (2003)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In other news, I passed the "Controle technique" (inspection every 2 years in France)
                            Went awfull, at the last moment, my handbrake decided not to handbrake anymore ...

                            The expert was a good friend, so we cheated the machine a little bit, and it's not a "Come back in 15 days with the handbrake repaired"

                            I was going to change everything and rebuild the calipers, the problem is probably (did not look, but I'm 95% sure) a seized caliper (*sarcasm on" another good quality part "sarcasm off")

                            And the car being lowered (-3 cm), here is the result on the brake testing thingy :



                            3mm lower and it wasn't possible ^^"
                            My car : MG TF (2003)

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