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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 10 years 3 months ago #24897

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There have been a lot of threads concerning stability problems with F/TFs.

A lot of owners convince themselves that the car is fundamentally dangerous and will cost a fortune to fix, when in reality, it could be a simple problem and sometimes even free to rectify.

The first thing to appreciate is that the F and especially the TF are not “normal” cars. A normal car can carry a suspension fault, even down to a snapped spring, without the driver overly noticing a problem. You can normally fit different brands of tyre on a normal car and not have any major problems.

The TF is not like that. You need to realise that you now have a more precise handling car with sportier suspension and this means you need to spend a little more time considering the small things that can turn a road hugging gokart into fishtailing hedge seeking missile.

First of all, unless you have deep pockets, you need to start with the small things.

Do not skip this as the small things can cover 50% of problems.



Tyres.

Are your tyre pressures correct for your car and wheel combination?



Have you got the correct tyre sizes fitted?

Are your tyres worn or damaged?



It has been noticed a few times that some tyres have started to crack around the inside tyre wall and may have contributed to some accidents.

Have you got mixed tyres? You should never mix tyres on the same axle, but having different tyres front and rear is also normally a no no on TFs. This is one problem that crops up time after time and the owner normally doesn’t believe the advice to fit a set of matching tyres as they cannot believe it would make that much difference....Well, it can.

What is the brand of tyre that you have? Some tyres don’t work with the TF.

Are your tyres directional, and if so, are they fitted correctly? It has been known for directional tyres to be fitted the wrong way round.

Any of these basic problems can turn your car into a nightmare drive and most can be fixed cheaply, if not for free. Again, I cannot stress how important these things are on a TF, unlike most 5 door euro boxes.

For info on tyres/pressures etc for your car, refer to your handbook or look here http://the-t-bar.com/en/forum/21-david-aiketgates-guides/152-tyres-sizes-a-pressures-how-to-find-recommended



Right, so, assuming that is all OK, the next free check is to check for play in any of the ball joints, bushes etc.

Jack up the car and put the corner you are working on onto an axle stand for safety.

Grab the wheel at the 3 and 9 position and quite forcefully rock the wheel and see if there is any play then do the same in the 12 and 6 position. There should be very limited movement. Unlike this play on my car which was down to play in the wheel bearing.



If you find play in the wheel, try to watch the different ball joints etc to see if you can spot which component is at fault.

The best way to check the steering ball joints, or Track Rod Ends (TREs) is to cup your hand around the TRE while someone moves the steering wheel left and right. If you can feel a clunking then the TRE may need replacing.





If you find play in the wheel bearing or TRE then these how tos may help.

http://the-t-bar.com/en/forum/22-cjjs-guides/20875-rear-hub-replacement-how-to

http://the-t-bar.com/en/forum/22-cjjs-guides/23126-track-rod-end-tre-replacement-how-to



Another free check you can carry out is the brakes. Jack up the car and ensure that all of the wheels spin freely, or at least as freely as each other. If a calliper is seized or binding then it will cause the car to wander and pull to one side.




While we have the front of the car off the ground with the front wheels unsupported, turn on the ignition and watch the wheels. If they start steering to one side then you may have a problem with your EPAS (Power steering) and it may need recalibrating.

http://the-t-bar.com/en/forum/21-david-aiketgates-guides/7198-steering-to-the-left-epas-fault-how-to-cure-it

Having said that, the EPAS switches off at high speed, so if your problem is at motorway speeds then it is unlikely to be the EPAS.

If everything checks out OK then you now need to get the geometry of the car checked out. This can be affected by work carried out on any of the suspension components or even knocked out by pot holes etc.

To check the car you need to have it set up using 4 wheel laser alignment. This is important as the normal tracking carried out on other cars is not good enough for our beloved TFs. 4 wheel laser alignment was specified by MG itself. It can be expensive, but usually comes in around £50 - £60, but anything else is just wasting money and may not sort out any errors you have.

Here is a before and after chart from when I had mine done last.







Assuming that you have had all the above checked and found no problems then you may be looking at a suspension problem. It may be worth a visual inspection, checking for broken or worn components, or if the car is sitting low at one corner, but it may be worth booking your car into a reputable garage at this point to get them to carry out further checks.

It may also be worth checking out any subframe mounts etc to make sure that they haven't loosened or snapped the bolts.



In summary, an F/TF that is correctly maintained and fitted with the correct equipment is quite a stable car. It can feel a little light on motorways at speed, but should not wander or feel dangerous, if it does, then you have a problem somewhere.
The following user(s) said Thank You: psymon, David Aiketgate, PQD44, Leigh Ping, Looney toons, Winko, Kiwi2001MGF

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Re: Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 10 years 3 months ago #24899

Excellent advice, Clive! :thumbsup:
David
:shrug:

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Re: Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 10 years 3 months ago #24960

Very comprehensive write up Clive, thanks for taking the time to put that together.

When I first saw the title I thought they look like they're wandering because they are trying to avoid pot holes :whistle:

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Re: Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 10 years 3 months ago #24961

Very comprehensive write up Clive, thanks for taking the time to put that together.

When I first saw the title I thought they look like they're wandering because they are trying to avoid pot holes :whistle:

Although I can't believe Clive let Mr Bean do his 4 wheel alignment!:shrug:
David
:shrug:

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Re: Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 10 years 3 months ago #24973

Although I can't believe Clive let Mr Bean do his 4 wheel alignment!:shrug:


:lol: Didn't see that at first, blimey David not a lot gets past you, still at least it was technician Mal who was let free to adjust Clive's undercarriage on his Rover/Austin MG TF Sport, what would it have been called if Clive had had his bonnet on?

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Re: Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 10 years 3 months ago #24978

Although I can't believe Clive let Mr Bean do his 4 wheel alignment!:shrug:


:lol: Didn't see that at first, blimey David not a lot gets past you, still at least it was technician Mal who was let free to adjust Clive's undercarriage on his Rover/Austin MG TF Sport, what would it have been called if Clive had had his bonnet on?

:blink: Rover/Austin MG TF Sport Aero convertible?. :yesnod:
David
:shrug:

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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 5 years 11 months ago #162856

Got my first MG TF - can't be stranger handling than a Bond Equipe 2 litre Mk II convertible. Oh yes it was! 70mph motorway left hand curves the worst - like ice. Put the correct tyre pressures in (!) Still awful - dangerous even. As bought: cheap East European tyres with front sized ones on the rear, which I knew and knew I'd have to change them. Junked those and fitted Proxes. Better but not fixed. All steering joints checked - OK. Near side rear wheel bearing tightened half a turn - dramatic difference. Fantastic - can't believe that a small fault would have such a bad effect and that when attention is paid to all the variables it all comes right!
The following user(s) said Thank You: David Aiketgate

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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 5 years 11 months ago #162862

:welcome2:

Keep an 'ear' on that bearing! It may start to grumble if it has been loose.
David
:shrug:

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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 5 years 11 months ago #162883

Being deaf & wearing hearing aids every thing is perfect on my car :-?
The following user(s) said Thank You: Leigh Ping

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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 5 years 10 months ago #163117

Thanks David. Handling still perfect...
...but...
...can I hear a 'clonk' at slow speed take up of drive? Mike.

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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 5 years 10 months ago #163131

There's an engine stay underneath towards the offside rear. The bushes can wear giving a clonk on take up.
Also just check the security of the engine mounts. Again the offside one can give isues.
David
:shrug:
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Why does my car wander? Some simple checks. 5 years 1 month ago #170724

Outstanding write up Clive -many thanks.

We have (I think) cured ours by:
a) taking off the hotch potch of tyres and putting on Toyo T1Rs (only they and the Falkens are now still available as MG Rover approved tyres for it)
b) getting it 4-wheel aligned (again)
c) dropping tyre pressures from manufacturers settings (F26, R36) to Autodata's settings (F26, R28).

Its still responsive on a motorway, but this is different to nervous/twitchy as before.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Leigh Ping

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