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I have been looking on eBay and Autotrader for some time now for my second MG, my first is the new ZS which I am very happy with, but I now have the bug and would like to acquire a soft top MG for the summer months, so I am wondering should I go original with the F or a little bit newer with the TF?

The only thing that puts me off the F is the hydra elastic suspension, or should I not worry about this?

And what sort of price should I be looking to haggle for as the prices very quite dramatically?
 

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Having both a TF and F on the road currently, I prefer the F over the TF as I feel it handles better and is not as harsh a ride as the TF's, although I've not driven a later TF (2005 onwards) which they put softer suspension on to compare with an F. Hydrolastic suspension gives a very smooth ride and there are quite a few companies and individuals who will now re-gas the spheres so the option is there to get units with low nitrogen re-gassed. Suspension units on the TF's fail also and can be far more expensive to replace than a re-gas of the F's units.

Price wise, condition can be a large factor, has it had subframes de-rusted and painted up, does it have good tyres, good lower front arms and good small subframe mounts? this can make a big difference in price.

F and TF can be similar in price, the F's are now beginning to go up in price especially the limited editions, saying that the TF's are holding prices quite well also. Sadly, early TF's tend to suffer rot on front and rear subframes more than the older F's, also due to the change in the front subframe mounts on the rear and front subframes they tend to rot out something rotten. lowest I've paid for a TF was £130 but it did need a lot of work, highest I've paid for a TF is £750, lowest for an F has been £280 again needing work done, highest has been £1000.



Your best bet is to check a few out and test drive both to make a choice. On both check condition of sills (bottoms) on the rear also condition of the small front subframe mounts (rear and front) on the TF's as sometimes even MOT inspectors miss the condition of them and condition of front lower arms.
 

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TF for me every time, the front end looks more modern than the F as does the interior seats.

Even the later type TF 500LE front end looks odd.

Subjective I know, I can't comment on how they drive, as I'm in a poverty spec 1.6.

Which ever model they're great cheap top down motoring for very little money for a useable car.
 

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Hiya- your question will provoke some emotive comments.

Id go for age-but these cars are getting old now and unless you go top end price-wise, its going to be a risk. The hydro elastic set-up is a risk, due to its obsolescence-but do-able. most of us learn how to do stuff by reading this Forum and the 'other one'

My old 2002 TF160 has kept me busy for 4 years now but has been reliable, a pleasure to drive and my choice of steed each day-if its just me in it or if my son and I go to watch a match somewhere.
If it wasn't, id not use it of question the merits of buying an old car-even though it was only £1500 .

My middle son started all this in about £2010 when he brought privately a TF160 Trophy edition-it looked nice but had not been maintained well and even though it was a looker with low miles-30 something, It had been played with by the youngsters with go-faster bits on it. These were a source of trouble, so I removed them-anyone can go to halfords or similar and junk the air-filter etc, etc for a 'fast one'

So, it you pay top end-£5k private-then you should be ok, but usual rules apply, Check the service history, go for low mileage, and if possible, get one of us lot to come with you!

At sub £2k you will have to have a few spare quid to throw at it and have to be prepared for what Ive just finished- ball joints!
 

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Down to your choice really. There are people out there that can supply suspension parts for the F so not as big a problem as some might think.
Buy on the condition of the car and buy the best you can afford, it will work out cheaper in the long run. Unless you enjoy a challenge and getting the spanners out that is. There is no loser in the F/TF range so go for one you like. I would suggest that £2K would be a reasonable bottom limit and really the £7K+ ones are too good to use at present price levels. Up to you though (as always) depends on your budget. Do your research, there is lots of info on the web and don't get too hung up on head gaskets.
I have a TF. It was the best one I could find at the time but it could just as easily have been an F.

These are good reads.
Buying a second hand MGF

Rob's MGF Gallery v4.0
(click on the top left button and select MGF model history).
 

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I've had an MGF (Auto), a 2004 TF and now have a 2005 late model softer suspension TF135, this last one being purchased new. The soft suspension TF is a super car and delivers the smile-on-face every time I drive it. There were only 650+ of these made - so if you find a nice one, it's a keeper.


By the way, I took the hard top off mine the day I bought it, and it's never gone back on. Nearly always driven with the hood down. Also be careful about tyres - there are loads of posts about this on here. It may be difficult to get the recommended tyres for some wheel sizes. My car has smaller wheels (15"), and tyres are easy - I now have a full set of new ones.


Incidentally, my MGF was the auto gearbox version, and I loved it. Not sure about long term reliability, though.
 

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mgf
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love both

I have had an MGF for 17 years. I am on my 2nd motor and the car has hydro suspension. I have used the car as a daily driver (230,000k) and also spent money on better suspension, poly bushes, drop links engine stabiliser big brakes and a few engine mods as I use it for club sport events such as hillclimbs and lap dashes in Australia. I have had 2 head gasket failures but the car is a joy to drive even though the suspension setup is a bit harsh. I also have a 2002 MGTF 160 that has Kmaps ECU, VHS suspension, poly bushes and changed the dampers to Bilstiens. The 160 is a better car for hillclimbs as it has almost 180hp with all the mods and is a softer car now that I have done the suspension. The 160 has 62,000k on the clock so it is in better condition. But top down in winter in Queensland Australia is a joy in either car. The cars handle very differently so you should try both and make sure they are in a similar condition. The hydro suspension is the weak point and although the displacers can be re-gassed, if the diaphragm between the fluid and the gas fracture they cannot be repaired. Mike Satur make a very well designed suspension kit for the F. I would not use anything else as they put excessive stress on the body mounting points that eventually fracture. VHS can supply some good mods for the F and the MGTF. If you like the MGTF then look at a 2005 or later as they have eased the harshness our of the suspension. And go for a 160, there is no substitute for more HP.
 

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mg_tf
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You mention you want to experience occasional MG open top motoring, so personally, I would not get too hung up about F vs TF and just concentrate on finding the best example of either that fits the budget. In other words, are you really going to turn down say a very nice TF because it’s a TF - or vice versa with an F? It’s not going to be an everyday driver, so does it matter much which model you end up with?
 

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mg_tf
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I have a 2005 model year TF and I echo the comments. They ironed out the go-cart suspension. It is much less harsh, yet supple and responsive.
 

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mg_tf
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Tf ...

I’ve had an early 2005 TF and now have a TF 85th Anniversary Edition, which is great. But to be honest I loved my earlier TF which I tastefully modified to my hearts content and was a great , solid enjoyable ride. There are lots of sub £1000 TFs about that, with a bit of fettling could be a very tidy car. Haven’t driven an F, but people say they are good as well, but as above drive both and see what you think. Enjoy.
 

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My son had a TF160 (54 plate) and he said the TF 135 had a better ride. I’ve only ever had my 02 TF 160 so can’t comment regarding the difference but the ride is certainly similar to a go-cart!
 

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Cant' comment on any thing but my own, I have a 2005 model year TF160 and I love it, I have never thought the ride to be harsh or to firm so they obviously did something to it. I do use mine to commute in to central London every now and then on a route that takes me over 63 speed bumps and it handles them perfectly.


the easy way to tell if it is a 2005MY is that the TF badge was moved to the centre of the rear.


Richard
 

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. I do use mine to commute in to central London every now and then on a route that takes me over 63 speed bumps and it handles them perfectly.




Richard
I negotiate speed bumps with extreme care as the front apron usually grounds on the worse ones.
I'd not been into london in a car for years, so i got a bit of a shock that all the roads are 20mph- the bit i went to was- Maidstone to Battersea. But i didnt go in the MG! (too many stops/starts in traffic)
 

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I negotiate speed bumps with extreme care as the front apron usually grounds on the worse ones.
I'd not been into london in a car for years, so i got a bit of a shock that all the roads are 20mph- the bit i went to was- Maidstone to Battersea. But i didnt go in the MG! (too many stops/starts in traffic)
To be fair it is mostly on Fridays (traffic is lighter and I do not have my 2 year old to drop at nursery.) My TF is standard height, no lowering here, I used to have a rover 75 and it actually had worse ground clearance than the TF!


My trip in is Bean (near bluewater.) in to oval so similar and yup a lot of 20mph zones and cameras for everything.


Richard
 

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My trip in is Bean (near bluewater.) in to oval so similar and yup a lot of 20mph zones and cameras for everything.


Richard[/QUOTE]

Richard- I dont think my cars lowered as it seems about the same as my sons one- that was 4 years ago. The shocks and springs are taught as its the 160 and meant more for the boy-racers amonst us. Not me, Im 63 and Ive bikes to do all that shinanigans on..well, once upon a time i did!

I know the journey as I used to work for Otis who were based in Clapham Rd- they moved there in 1976, the year I came out of my apprenticeship. I did that trip weekly and then 20 years later- daily. You could park in the streets in those days.

I often read requests about which one to buy and really, for what we pay for them- just buy a runner with an MOT, some proven history and hopefully you will be lucky.
No one buys these expecting trouble-free motoring and they are after all- a sports-car.

Back to Clapham Rd- I once had a Triumph Spitfire Mk3 and that did the trip once a week in the early 70's from Welling!
 

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F or TF

Had an F, really enjoyed it, confortable ride, had to pump up the suspension once, but other than that great fun.


Fell in love with a TF, better looking in my opinion, headlights are the first main difference that you're likely to notice,
but also the sills are 1 piece on the TF with angular air intakes to the engine bay, whereas on the F the sills have a joint near the rear edge of the doors and intakes are oval.


The TF suspension seems stiffer than the F, so not so nice on a bumpy surface, but more fun on a smooth windy road.


Watch out for speed bumps, on my TF there are 2 steel loops just in front of the front wheels, intended to be used to attaching the car on transporters, (they are not to be used for towing), but they can ground when meeting speed bumps, and the shape is such that they dig in, instead of riding up over the suraface, so be careful.


Price wise you'll probably get what you pay for, cheap ones will have rust and maybe a leaky soft top, but the soft top is only for emergency use, you buy an F or TF to drive open top, is seems cramped once the top is up.


Fine one you like F or TF, and start to enjoy life :wink:
 
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