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Introduction 1 year 3 months ago #196824

I have been lurking on this site for some time and felt it was time to introduce myself.

My car is a 2004 MG TF 135 80th Anniversary Edition in Goodwood Green. It has about 36K miles (55K kms).

I purchased the car in October 2020 from the second owner. My original intention was to purchase a 2005 MG TF 160 (due the specific improvements for that model year), but ended up buying the 2004 due to the unique color combination. The car came with a ‘sports’ exhaust that probably has zero performance value but makes a nice sound without being annoying. Despite the fact that the MGFs were better built, I chose the TF because I prefer the style and because it had a number of technical improvements (stiffer body, better cooling, less leaks, etc.). I also was not so keen on Hydragas suspension (although I admit I have never driven a car with it) as I was worried about service /parts. There seem to be more MGFs around then MGTF, although this is probably due to production numbers.

I have made a number of modifications (improvements), based entirely on what I have learned from researching the archives on this site. So thanks very much to all of the contributors. These include:

-Interior alloy trim ‘upgrades’ (heater dials, heater dial rings, oil / pressure clock rings, instrument cluster, door lock pins, speaker surrounds)

- Chrome ‘upgrades’ (gas cap, convertible top latches, gearshift surround, rear deck finishers, lighter)

- ‘Standard’ mechanical refresh mechanical stuff (new HG, upgraded bolts, strengthened oil rail, water pump, belt, rear sub frame mounts (I was surprised how deformed these can get!), front lower suspension arm (typical rust), stainless steel underside coolant pipes, etc.). The replacement HG apparently was the six or seven layer type.

- proactively ‘fixed’ the rear boot wiring (the wires were still ok, but I modified them so they would no longer have the same 90 degree bend). Also added the later inside covers for the rear tail lights.

- ‘Trimmed’ the yellow light filter on the instrument cluster so the lighting on the instrument appears more white (but still has the proper shading).

- Installed a rear defroster switch (although it is currently pretty useless until a rear glass window is installed).

- New front and rear MG badges (is there an MG TF that does not have faded original badges?)

- New TR1 Toyo tires (wow, what a difference!)

- Seat lowering springs

- Convertible top elastic straps (non-jamming)

- Low coolant alarm (I actually wired this into the instrument cluster in the same spot as the 2005 models (the second hazard light indicator is useless), I even found the proper plastic display from a 2005 model). It looks very stock. My car did not already have the wiring for the alarm in the loom.

- Added a second horn (sorry, but MGs should always have 2 horns).

- There was a small amount of surface rust on a few parts of the underside (thanks Project Drive!) that has been cleaned up, but really minor compared to what you have to deal with in the UK.

The interior / cosmetic work I did myself, the mechanical work was done by a garage. Like many (most?) people in Switzerland, I live in an apartment, so it is not possible to do any real mechanical work on your own car in an apartment garage.

A few minor observations

- The alloy heater knobs from MG Mania (with the spring clips) were noticeably superior to the ones with the grub screw. The alloy and chrome stuff sound a bit ‘bling’ but actually work well with the LE color layout.

- The instrument cluster surrounds for the oil and fuel gauges require ‘fitting’

- Properly fitting the alloy door lock pins takes more time than it first seems.

- I think the original purpose of the yellow instrument cluster light filter was to reduce ‘shadowing’ of the light on the instrument cluster. I however prefer the brighter white light.

- Fitting the car with proper tires (and proper size and tire pressures) makes a massive difference in ride and handling. I have never noticed such an improvement in any other car that I have owned. Night and day.

- I never unzip the window when folding down the top but I do use a cut foam noodle on the fold in the plexiglass so that it does not have too much of a sharp fold. I will eventually replace it with glass from BAS as it is a bit old and scratched.

- The shape of the footwell for LHD cars (not RHD) makes resting your left foot a bit uncomfortable.

- Replacement used TF headlights (1 needed one, fogged on the inside) for European MG TFs are ridiculously overpriced (I tried to get refurbished ones from MG Magic, but he was not willing to ship outside of UK due to COVID restrictions at the time). Used headlights for UK cars are cheap by comparison.

- I have not driven the 160, but the 135 has enough power. I am not sure if it is different for the 160 but would note that the car pulls well to around 3-4K, feels a bit flat 4-5is and then kicks in at the end. To be honest, the only time I seem to redline the car is when getting on the highway.

- The window stop on the drivers side probably has some wear and probably needs to be replaced (small winter project). It just does not stop as smoothly as the passenger side. The inside door plastic weather liners could also use replacement (sometime vibrate with music). Small details.

I thought I would have an issue with the hard suspension. As it turns out, Swiss roads are very smooth, so this has turned out to be a non-issue. Plus, the hard suspension works quite well for handling mountain roads.

I thought I would also have more of an issue with the supposedly high seats. I found that I just need to sit further back a bit and it is fine. The seat springs probably help a bit too. I do however find the height of the clutch pedal a bit low for my foot – it can be a bit uncomfortable to press frequently. It seems the pedal pad should have been an inch or two higher. The seat bolsters are also bit tight on the legs.

Unlike the UK, these are relatively unusual cars here. Mercedes, BMW and Porsche roadsters are way more common. There are a few MGF / Mg TFs around here and there but overall, pretty rare to see. I did however meet another owner by chance at a gas station last week.

All this to say that I feel that once sorted, the MG TF is a great car. It is very pleasant drive and has been reliable. Most parts are available and reasonably priced. Even after factoring the cost of a ‘refresh’, they are good value. My impression is that, perhaps due to their current values, they do not get much respect (particularly in the UK, where they are quite common) and are further abused / neglected (well, other than by members on this site). I think a lot has to do with perception by the market (which is never entirely rational). My perspective on these cars may also be different – I tend to see it more as a modern classic, rather than daily driver, so my needs / expectations are different.

I will try to post a few trivial questions in the coming weeks.

The following user(s) said Thank You: Bob

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Last edit: Post by David Aiketgate. Reason: Inserted pic.

Introduction 1 year 3 months ago #196826

Hello and welcome.

Great introduction glad to see you're enjoying your TF.

The 160 is the best :P

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Introduction 1 year 3 months ago #196833

Hi and welcome to the forum from John in Yorkshire.

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Introduction 1 year 3 months ago #196834


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Last edit: Post by David Aiketgate.

Introduction 1 year 3 months ago #196855

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Hi Jonathan, welcome aboard!

as ever,

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