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2002 MG TF VE51FTF
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to buy a TF and doing due diligence by researching as much as I can about the model, the problem is that you look on sites like this one which is very informative and over time form the opinion that the cars are very unreliable. Then you sort of come to your senses and think they are only posting because they have a problem, no problem no post, so it's not a true refection. At any one time there are probably 100's if not 1000's all having fun driving about with friends and fellow enthusiasts.
Perhaps a yearly poll, did you break down, did you fail to get home etc. Then again who would tempt fate by saying no problems a really great year of fun motoring, so back to the drawing board.
I think I've found my car but it will mean jumping in it and driving 150m home in a car that I don't know and that does fill me with some trepidation. Do I dare motorways or stick to A roads, how many gallons of water should I carry, if the sun's shining can I post the hardtop home, should I wear shorts and keep the heater on to aid cooling, questions, questions.
Hopefully all will go well and when I get home I will rip the tacho out and replace it with a large temp gauge at the same time I will supplement the low coolant level light with a klaxon, job done.
Peter
 

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If you've done your research then just jump in it and drive home. I did same when I bought mine from about 60 miles away. I regularly used it to run down to Southampton then back to Maidstone. I rarely checked the oil or water after id had it a few years-it was just reliable. I knew its sound and feel and where the gauges would be. If the oils clean and the coolants the correct colour-ie not rust-brown, then go for it.
Yes, I know what could possibly happen-but it doesn't very often. My sone had the underfloor pipes go on his...but he said there had been a bit of dampness on his garage floor for a while...I did 20k in 4 plus years and did my maintenance and never got stranded. I had a puncture once-tyre rendered FUBARD- thank heavens Id replaced the Rover kit with the jack and full size wheel-I had my HIDs burn out on one side-easy fix, replace the candle/bulbs. I had a spate of intermittent power-loss-that took me about 6 months to find-melted/shorted front Lambda. Ive no complaints about them and by some standards on here-my was a banger-£1500 worth. Now tell me-how many cars can boast that record of reliability, all year around, lots of short runs, all weathers?
136611
 

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In the Garage
MG TF
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In 16 years of TF ownership the car has only left me (well my wife) stranded on the side of the road once, that was when the alternator packed up, even that could have been avoided if I had spotted that there was no battery warning light.

I often think that car forums are a bit like an alien landing in a hospital and concluding that all humans are falling to bits.
 

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You have to remember these are now "old " cars and thing wear out. I've had mine 10 years and yes, ball joints wear out, hoses will need changing at some point. I'm struggling to think of a car I've owned that hasn't needed an alternator replacing. Bottom wishbones rot as do the original underfloor pipes. Apart from the appalling access to the engine, not much difference to most other cars
 

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My 75th anniversary I bought it on ebay, travelled by bus and train to pick it up...chap picked me up from the train station got to his house, he said "do you want to test drive it"...I replied "how do you think I'm getting home"....drove it around 280+ miles to get home, that was 4 years ago, only off the road atm as change front arms (common problem) and as I was doing that I changed the front wings and got spheres re-gassed. Apart from those bits and changing the front rad to an all alloy (personal choice) and renewing tyres and servicing, I've little else to it in those 4 year. One of my other TF's I used to do a 510+ mile round trip every few months to visit my daughter, was on 139k miles when the timing belt lost teeth...and the reason for that was my own fault as I knew it was over due by around 3 years/30k miles :p

They can have issues, wheel bearings. alternator belts, lower arms on both the F and TF, small front subframe mounts rust on rear of sills (lower parts), timing belts loosing teeth (usually due to too long between changes or alternator belt fouling it), sometimes the head gasket failure and the MOT inspectors favourite corrosion on subframe but apart from that they are just as reliable as most other vehicles - How many other 15+ year old cars do you see on the road these days :)
 

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Owned my TF 135 Spark (2005) from new. It has never left me stranded / broken down. I have replaced the underfloor pipes for stainless steel ones and always maintained and replaced things as and when required e.g lower arms, shock absorber which were picked up at MOT time. These are reliable cars contrary to what some people believe.
 

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mg_tf
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Bought my TF for 500 quid in a railway station carpark, put the top down and drove her 400 miles home.
I did spring for RAC cover the week before just in case of trouble. Car has never let me down, but they are getting old. Plenty of ongoing maintenance needed (ball joints, brake pipes, a wheel bearing) but plenty you can do yourself, and parts are cheap.
Get in there!
 

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2002 MG TF VE51FTF
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you very much for your very encouraging response I especially liked " alien landing in a hospital" because that's how I felt. That is what happens when you read a forum that is basically about problem solving but god they are interesting.
Many years ago I owned a Triumph Stag or snag as everyone else called them so I'm not afraid to tackle jobs, rebuilt the V8 in that my first OHC and first V8 rebuild so I don't mind a challenge.
Looking forward to my first MG let alone TF and getting to back to the classic car scene, hope to see and get to know some of you in the near future.
Thanks for cheering me up
Peter
 

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Thank you for asking this question Deepfat and I echo your thanks to all those who replied. I would only add that for those who wish to avoid most of the potential problems above (and have deep enough pockets!), do as I did and buy an MGF from the MGF Centre Wolverhampton. They replace underfloor coolant pipes with stainless steel, replace cambelt and water pump, and use the Land Rover head gasket and reinforced oil rail (which takes the threaded end of the 10 stretch bolts which hold the head to block). These guys (and Victroria) know what they are talking about and as they only work-on and sell MGFs, they are experts who HAVE to build and maintain a good reputation.
 

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Indeed but you pay a 'needless' huge financial premium for doing so.

I would never buy an F/TF from the Trade, a decent well cared for and maintained example privately from an enthusiast would be my bet and save looking at the Trade prices £000's. Given the inexpensive private purchase price and mechanical upkeep of these cars the far bigger ££ issues are corrosion and rust especially so for the TF; so that is where my focus would be.

I'm guessing your new acquisition could have been the 21K mile silver TF for £6.5K; looks a beauty?
 

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Flanners- I think you and I on on the same page, but these-days many would-be enthusiasts either haven't the skills, tools or knowledge to undertake some of the repairs on 20+ year old cars, especially when spares are at a premium. The Dealers therefore have their place- there's nothing wrong with anyone earning a living- Its not a 'profession' Id ever have considered, but there are a few who deal in these cars around and there is a risk in buying any 'motor, private or otherwise. I sold mine fairly for £100 of the Queens pounds more than I paid for it 4+ years earlier- I think the whole venture in terms of repairs/maintenance probably cost me £2k in that time. Thats because I did it myself, except the HG.I know Russell Walsh and he local to me and trustworthy, knows what hes doing with the K-Series, especially the VVC.
The average privateer who's not PAYE wants to earn ITRO 500 a day. That's where the maths come into play, with overheads, taxes etc. Some day he makes a killing, others seasonally, he doesnt.
I've often been asked why I don't go into my business myself (I repair all sorts of things, mainly electronics) but honestly, I couldn't charge for the hours it takes to achieve the end-game sometimes.
 

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Yes. I have no issue with Trade car sales, if buyers feel they are getting a decent car for a good price with a decent warranty all well and good.

There are massive savings to be had sourcing an MG privately and then if and when using the likes of Russell or for me now MJS to deal with any bigger issues; and still having saved significant money.

My current beef is Facebook, full of so called enthusiasts (vultures) buying whole cars for peanuts as an apparent 'hobby', breaking them and then selling the parts back to the F/TF community at frankly 'pee taking' prices, but it seems to be a good business model.
 

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2002 MG TF VE51FTF
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I thought this thread had ended but feel prompted to chuck my tuppence worth in.
People do restore cars that are plainly beyond saving and you can spend £15/£20K on a car that's worth £10K at the end of it and good luck to them if they enjoy it, but some are totally beyond repair.
In my ideal world I would have a fully equipped workshop (I dream of 2/4 post lifts) and apart from running and restoring some cars I would like to break some for the following reasons:

You will learn a lot about putting them back together and also their weak/strong points. To properly break one car you might help keep 5/6 others on the road in what for the owners is a cost effective way and lastly I'm a bloke breaking things comes naturally to me.

We all know most pattern parts are normally inferior (esp from China) they may look right they may fit but they are normally made of lower grade materials with no R & D put in. Some specialist suppliers are the exception and produce parts better than OEM but you will have to pay, but what's the point of having a perfect supplier who goes bust the following year.

Forums like this do an excellent job of informing us numpties of things like a giggle pin off a TF is the same as one used on a Massey Ferguson TE20 ( yes I have an interest in tractors as well) and is half the price. These people spend hours researching part numbers, study obscure publications and freely share their findings, not much of a business model is it. I also love reading posts where someone replies I've got one of them in the garage you can have, so lets be grateful that we here are surrounded by people like them.
Live long, prosper and may you always drive with the hood down.
Peter
 

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I thought this thread had ended but feel prompted to chuck my tuppence worth in.
People do restore cars that are plainly beyond saving and you can spend £15/£20K on a car that's worth £10K at the end of it and good luck to them if they enjoy it, but some are totally beyond repair.
In my ideal world I would have a fully equipped workshop (I dream of 2/4 post lifts) and apart from running and restoring some cars I would like to break some for the following reasons:

You will learn a lot about putting them back together and also their weak/strong points. To properly break one car you might help keep 5/6 others on the road in what for the owners is a cost effective way and lastly I'm a bloke breaking things comes naturally to me.

We all know most pattern parts are normally inferior (esp from China) they may look right they may fit but they are normally made of lower grade materials with no R & D put in. Some specialist suppliers are the exception and produce parts better than OEM but you will have to pay, but what's the point of having a perfect supplier who goes bust the following year.

Forums like this do an excellent job of informing us numpties of things like a giggle pin off a TF is the same as one used on a Massey Ferguson TE20 ( yes I have an interest in tractors as well) and is half the price. These people spend hours researching part numbers, study obscure publications and freely share their findings, not much of a business model is it. I also love reading posts where someone replies I've got one of them in the garage you can have, so lets be grateful that we here are surrounded by people like them.
Live long, prosper and may you always drive with the hood down.
Peter
Just a quick one- When you restore a car completely- you generally need space 4 times the footprint of the original car! And even then, things get lost in time...
 

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Wow! I did not expect so many responses! On reflection, I agree with pretty much everything said. I built a kit car (Griffon 110 with Magnum 2.3 engine + O/D box) 32 years ago and only sold it March this year. Loved it but I am now banned by wife from spending hours in the garage, so I wanted a (relatively) problem-free replacement. Deepfat guessed correctly and I will report on what it is really like once I have driven the 160+ miles home to Devon. Pic of Griffon 110 should be attached if anyone interested.
136615
 

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PD_0020.JPG

Wow! I did not expect so many responses! On reflection, I agree with pretty much everything said. I built a kit car (Griffon 110 with Magnum 2.3 engine + O/D box) 32 years ago and only sold it March this year. Loved it but I am now banned by wife from spending hours in the garage, so I wanted a (relatively) problem-free replacement. Deepfat guessed correctly and I will report on what it is really like once I have driven the 160+ miles home to Devon. Pic of Griffon 110 should be attached if anyone interested. View attachment 136615
I had a few of these back in the day- early 90's. They took over my life!
 

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2002 MG TF VE51FTF
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
EllisoJo
Lovely job on the Griffon I always drooled over NG's and still do, there was a lovely V8 on Ebay £12k which left me short about £9k. If I remember all that time ago when you built yours no SVA lot less regs re emissions etc just a bloke in a shed BLISS
 

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Mine is an F rather than a TF but there isn't much difference!

2001 car with 96k miles on the clock.

Two years of ownership, daily driver. Driving every day until Covid struck. Been all over the country in it.

Broke down once where it overheated, however I was able to continue my journey.

Nothing else really has gone wrong. Passed last years MOT without problems.

Remembering that its a 20 year old car, with nearly 100k miles on it, its as reliable as any other car that age.
 

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Thank you "Deepfat" for the compliments about the Griffon 110. It did service as a camper van for the two of us (wife's head just visible above "boot".) I was especially proud of the burr-walnut dashboard. Picture hopefully below.
136629
Gordon the Camper-van1.JPG


Your observations re SVA etc. are very true. I would not attempt a Kit-car build now as a result. Age and immobile joits do not help!
 
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