MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

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greenwoodjack03
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Model of Car: TF 1.8 135

MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby greenwoodjack03 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:35 am

Hello all,

I've recently bought a 2002 MG TF 1.8 135 and absolutely love it! Such good fun. The only issue with it is that when I'm going along it feels like an imaginary hand is pulling the steering wheel left and right so it's a bit of a battle sometimes to keep it on a straight course. It isn't deadly dangerous but alarming all the same. I had the alignment checked by a professional who said it was 3 degrees out (I understand this to be quite a bit) but that has been adjusted and it is better than it was but not great. I find myself clinging on for dear life on dual carriageways (slight movements of wheel can result in it feeling nervous and wandering). Doesn't happen in my other car 2014 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 tdi) . I've checked tyre pressures and they are as they should be and on the front are Michelin pilot sport 3 and on the back are landsail ls588 uhp. It's had an all round check by mechanic who says the car is in good condition (trusted family friend). My thoughts are the tyre set-up but I don't want to spend loads replacing tyres for no gain if I can help it. Any thoughts from anyone would much be appreciated.

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mgbv8mike
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby mgbv8mike » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:18 pm

I suspect it's the tyres....it usually is !

Landsail do get mixed reviews ;-

http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Tyre/Lands ... 88-UHP.htm

I've always used Toyo tyres on my cars....Proxes are particuarly good on my TF 160
Last edited by mgbv8mike on Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mgbv8mike
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby mgbv8mike » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:20 pm

MGtf's, and 160's in particular, are very tyre sensitive, only 2 brands recommended for them by the factory.
Last edited by mgbv8mike on Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Reckless Rat
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Reckless Rat » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:22 pm

Toyo Proxes are the way to go. Your tyre mix is without doubt causing the problem.

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Steve White
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Steve White » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:39 pm

I have had similar symptoms with my TF feeling unstable in a straight line (felt fine when cornering) and this turned out to be a failed rear wheel bearing.
I assume your mechanic friend checked for play in the bearings and suspension bushes?

I suspect the mix of tyres certainly isn't helping (MGF'S & TF's can be very sensitive to tyres).
The rears in particular sound like they could be a budget brand tyre, so its possible the previous owner fitted cheap tyres because they intended to sell, in which case fitting a new set of recommended tyres all round could cure the issue.

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Mykel
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Mykel » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:04 pm

First step: Jack up front of car (there’s a central jacking point on the front subframe, just below the radiator) and have a close look at wheel bearings, track rod ends and ball joints for any play or wear.

Second step: repeat this on the rear end, sadly the TF has lost the central jacking point which the F still had, so you’ll have to do it separately on both sides. DOn’t forget to have a good look at the rubber bushes on the front end of the trailing arms! Also, while the wheels are up, check the drive shafts for excessive play, I had the inner boot on the short shaft split and the needle bearings falling apart, causing massive judder when going above 40 mph.

If all bearings and joints are okay, get a set of proper tyres, Toyos as recommended before (making sure they are all from the same batch, do not mix different production countries!) or Falken Ziex 914. Steer clear of all no-name Ling-Long stuff on a TF!
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greenwoodjack03
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Model of Car: TF 1.8 135

Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby greenwoodjack03 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:16 pm

Thank you very much for your quick responses! Looks like a full set of toyo proxes are needed. I believe the bearings and suspension bushes have been checked but I can always go round and make sure on the ramp. Just a quick question - what are the recommended tyre pressures for the TF 135? I did look them up but there were a whole multitude of answers.This car has made my daily commute so much more enjoyable

Mykel: Great, thanks. That'll keep me busy this weekend. Great advice on tyres - I'll get some quotes in after carrying out those checks for some toyos.

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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby talkingcars » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:04 pm

Reckless Rat wrote:Toyo Proxes are the way to go. Your tyre mix is without doubt causing the problem.


There have been lots of issues with Toyos and TFs recently.
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Mykel
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Mykel » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:29 am

I thought the Toyo problems were related to a change of production lines from Japan to Malaysia in September 2014? These caused a lot of drivability issues, as also the interior design or materials used were slightly altered on transferring, leading to instabilities especially when newer Malaysian tyres were put on the rear axle but older Japanese ones stayed at the front.

Personally, my concern with Toyos is that the Proxes T1-R are an (I suppose) ~15 year old tyre and thread design with no innovation since. Unlike the Falkens, which were already quite good in the Ziex 912 design and have now evolved to the Ziex 914, which reportedly is even better.

Times have moved away from the V-shaped thread pattern to be spotted on the Toyos. Most new designs are not directional any more but spot an “inside-outside” fitting instruction, giving the opportunity to change wheels from n/s to o/s eventually, to avoid sawtoothing.

Anyway, you can always be more puristic: A friend of mine stores two full sets of Goodyear Eagle GSD-2’s in his basement, just because “that’s the tyres the car originally came with”. They must now be about eight years old and probably rock hard.


Oh, and about tyre pressures: official values (16") are 26 front, 36 rear on a TF (NOT an F!). I found 28 front and 34 rear to be better balanced.
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Neil Rushton
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Neil Rushton » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:30 am

I used to be a fan of Toyos until unbeknown to me I had fitted 2 of the Malaysian manufactured ones to the front & the handling went awry this was before anyone knew about the change in manufacture I contacted Toyo who just said "fit 2 more Malaysian ones to the rear" the chance of a supplier checking for you that they are from the correct country was zero so when needed I fitted Falkens to the front & the handling went back to normal even with the miss match which I don't like having but it's been ok, I wouldn't bother with Toyos anymore, even though the V tread looks nice :D
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Fraser
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Fraser » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:42 pm

I also had symptoms as described, the car seemed to want to leap into the ditch, or to immolate itself (and me !!) on the fronts of approaching vehicles, and as for passing along lines in the road, well it was tramlining on a heroic scale !!

Finally got a set of the recommended Falkens on the car, and it was completely transformed.All this took place around 2014 and I still have the car and enjoy driving it. Of course there is now no factory to sort things out properly, so you just have to decide what to do - sell, or change the tyres.

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Neil Rushton
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Neil Rushton » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:09 pm

I suppose if you could find someone near you who would lend you a set of wheels with the correct tyres on you'd know in minutes if that was the problem?
MG TF 135
CCM SR-40 (1 of 80)
Skoda Citigo 75hp!!!
A share in an English Electric Lightning F6 fighter!!!!

greenwoodjack03
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:26 am
MGF Register Region: East Anglia
Model of Car: TF 1.8 135

Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby greenwoodjack03 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:32 pm

Hello all,
Thank you so much for all your advice. I'll definitely be getting those tyres changed soon. I'm feeling tempted by the Falkens. I'm getting the alignment free 2 week re-check done offered by the garage next week. I'll also get the general suspension and steering components checked whilst it's up on the ramp so I can rule out any potential more serious problems. I'm currently working on solving the headlights as I swear holding a candle out of the window would produce more light :). Any tips on improving this?
All the best,
Jack

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Neil Rushton
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Re: MG TF Unstable, nervous handling

Postby Neil Rushton » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:42 pm

I've always fitted Osram Nightbreakers & been happy with them, others swear by other upgrade bulbs, Euro Car Parts have some good offers on.
Did you have 4 wheel alignment we had a Lotus guy do ours & you could feel the difference?
MG TF 135
CCM SR-40 (1 of 80)
Skoda Citigo 75hp!!!
A share in an English Electric Lightning F6 fighter!!!!


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