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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm considering buying a TF 160, Id like to hear your thoughts on these cars and most importantly - what should I look out for when buying one.
I do the usual checks inside and out; fluids, rust, signs of dodgy repairs etc but do TF's have any quirks I need to be aware of, or any early warning signs of a soon to become shed?
Also, are there better years to go for - pre or post Longbridge for example?

Any and all tips are very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I can’t advise you on years, but the pre-plectron ones doesn’t have the weird electrical /immobiliser faults- but they are getting old now- I had an 02 and his was a 52- so nearly the same age.

The engines seem to be the thing everyone dreads going wrong- you will have read, but I had my HG done and engine-wise I did 20k in it after that and sold it. It ran better than my sons, and Id say that that’s a case of how it was maintained prior to my owning it.

Personally, I avoid ‘silly-boy’ bits and mods. His car was full of them and I think it was driven hard too often. But it was in better condition than mine.



Rust- the subframes do rot out if not painted- You need to either get under one of see them up on a lift to inspect. If you search my posts you will see mine jacked and supported- it was not only a hobby but Im an old engineer. Mine was undersealed (it doesn’t take long)



Some things need to be done such as the underfloor pipes need to have been replaced. The cooling-system must be correct- no leaks. A bad hose can cost dearly if it happens and you are unaware. Condition/colour of coolant should not be clear water or dark/rusted.



You would be advised to take someone with you- let the forum know where you live. Some of us though haven’t been out for a while if we are shielding personally or someone vulnerable is in the home.



Does the handbrake work?- if you doesn’t hold the car on a steep hill then that’s >£350 for new callipers- they don’t respond well to repairs



Oil temp- ? after a run- does the gauge work?



The TF160 is a hard-ride compared with the 135-will have you wanting try both before you buy, but the 135 will leave you wanting more power.



The car should not bounce all over the road and do not entertain one that’s got old tyres on it- Most of us swear by TOYO’s and they are not cheap. The steering wheel should be straight and the car should NOT wander at all.



One without a spare wheel is false economy. The standard MG kit of fluid and a mini air compressor will be unlikely to get you home. Thank heavens I replaced mine with a full-size wheel and jack.



The roof should not have any holes and a plastic window is going to tear at some point- I had a replacement roof lining and the all-important glass heated rear window.



The car should accelerate easily and the cam comes in over 4k. It should not complain, and the gears should be as good as a new car- no problem selecting any of them, including reverse.



Good luck- I sold mine last year for what I asked for it-£1600 with 60k on its clock. I paid £1500 for it and spent about £2.2k on it in repairs/maintenance in that time- including a hard-top as it was used weekly and in all weathers to take me to the station, football matches around the Isthmian league grounds and quarterly to Southampton.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Many thanks for that, info like this from current owners is exactly what I need and will be used to my advantage.

I am well aware of the extra care needed with the K series, having owned one for many years (an R400) and once had the fun experience of replacing the HG in the snow...
I am more than happy to look after the car once I own it, I just need to be sure not buy something with (too many) initial problems.

Is the 160 ride really that bad or just harder than most daily drivers?

Ill be sure to check out the underside of the car, what do you recommend undersealing with?
I know you can wax oil but that doesn't last many years as I understand.

Look forward to any one else's comments :)

Thanks again.
 

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Many thanks for that, info like this from current owners is exactly what I need and will be used to my advantage.

I am well aware of the extra care needed with the K series, having owned one for many years (an R400) and once had the fun experience of replacing the HG in the snow...
I am more than happy to look after the car once I own it, I just need to be sure not buy something with (too many) initial problems.

Is the 160 ride really that bad or just harder than most daily drivers?

Ill be sure to check out the underside of the car, what do you recommend undersealing with?
I know you can wax oil but that doesn't last many years as I understand.

Look forward to any one else's comments :)

Thanks again.
My son was given one (this is some years ago now) when his went into an MG Dealer for diagnostics. he said it was a lot softer than his 160. Mine was absolutley fine for me- I regulary did 240 miles return to Southamnpton and I had no issues- they are less forgiving on speed-bumps and you know if you have a passenger. But, nice and sporty on the country roads around here and Id not have swapped. My other cars an RRS so I do now what comforts supposed to feel like. the TF would park up anywhere and always get me home. They are so much fun for so little if you dont mind doing a little. I did once think of buying a Boxster but I could do more on the MG than I would have done on one of them. Considering their age, parts are a plenty. If my personal situation had not changed, Id still have mine but I need to declutter as I had 3 cars and 4 bikes....
 

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Firstly the 160 does not have harder suspension than the same model 135.

I would advise that you buy the best one that you can find whatever the model.
It really depends on what you want / can afford.
There are a lot of rubbish ones about so take your time.

These are good reads and will explain things.






If anyone thinks the K series is a poor engine then read this.


Good luck.
 

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Yes, agree that theres a lot of rubbish out there- as I said, these cars are getting old now!
theres a 160 on ebay for £4300, which is ex Trophy Cars, but its now got a damaged front and the buyer said one of the lights crazed (a few hrs work on the latter would have corrected that defect, but it takes all-sorts)
The front damage is likly to cost £500 to repair and that makes that car very expensive! and its only a year younger than mine that I said I sold for £1600.Its a year ago now and I know there was nothing that car needed- so they are out there, you just need to be patient.
One thing that was obvious to me is that many people have a fair bit of cash due to Covid restrictions and thats helped to push the 2nd hand market prices up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys,

I do browse Trophy Cars time to time, I know their prices are somewhat higher than most but I would imagine a lot of that extra cost comes from the very good clean condition and service they are given before sale, plus they specialise so that always adds to the price too.
I have a budget in the region of 4-5K but TF prices seem to vary hugely though which is why I'm after as much advice as possible - there must be a reason for the price range. Anyone have a fair number in mind for a decent condition 160? I guess these are not the sort of cars to go up in value so can't really be seen as an investment?

It's also good to here these are perfectly suitable as a daily driver as I'd intend to use it as such and am more than happy to take care and maintain all that needs to be done (as you should with any car tbh).

I'll be sure to check out those articles too, I take little notice of nay sayers to of these cars, I know the engines need respect and care, and they will reward you in return - still a solid competitor even by todays standards. Not to mention to pure genius of the 30yr old VVC design which anyone who appreciates engineering has to admire.

Also, do any of you have preference to the all Leather/all fabric/part Alcantara seats?

Thanks again.
 

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No problem with Dealers making a living- I mentioned Trophy Cars only in the context that the one on eBay was sourced from them and the seller looks like he’s smashed the front and expects a similar Dealers price for one!
From an engineers perspective-too low mileage due to being stood idle for some time is as bad as abusing a vehicle.

Leather gets hot if left in sun and is more difficult to repair. My TF had leather seats- they could have benefitted from some tlc. I did toy with changing them. It’s subjective.
 

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I used my TF as my only car for the first 6 years, in fact I’ve come to the conclusion that F/TF’s are better when regularly used. There are a good number of F/TF’s that look good as they seem to have had a pampered life often as a 3rd car only to find that they have been serviced on mileage not time and as they only do a few 1000 miles a year at most so although on the outside the car is very shiny the oil only gets changed every 4 or 5 years!

All TF’s are largely hand assembled thus a somewhat variable build quality, however it could be argued that the early TF’s (MY02 & 03) are better built than the later cars. Beware of silver with no options fitted MY 04 TF’s with 05 registration plates as its likely these have sat in a wet field for the first 18 months.

Regardless of year I would want to see stainless under floor coolant pipes, there is no point in risking the original ones as they my look OK but tend to rot from the inside. Make sure that all of the electricals work as they should, on later cars with the round key fob this is very important as fixing the relays is possible but a pain.

The sensible choice is fabric, tends to be hard waring and stands up to getting wet, Alcantara is a good option if it has been looked after. I am not sure about leather in a convertible, tends to get quite hot in the summer, not great if it gets wet and could limit your choice of car. Also if you go for car with a interior colour other than black, give it a good inspection for damage as it trying to replace it will be a pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all your replies.

Can anyone confirm if all the 160s have Electric PAS or standard type?
Also, what are peoples preference for each; any pros/cons, I hear you get less feedback with EPAS but opinions for both are much appreciated,

Thanks,
 

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Thanks for all your replies.

Can anyone confirm if all the 160s have Electric PAS or standard type?
Also, what are peoples preference for each; any pros/cons, I hear you get less feedback with EPAS but opinions for both are much appreciated,

Thanks,
I had a 160 and Id not have know it was electric if I hadnt read it on here. Now, considering the tyres are wide, thats an accolade worthy of note. Never had any problem with it.
Like buying and 2nd hand old car- you have the benefit that some of them may have been loved and cherished, but you are dealing with what Chris T has outlined above.
As I said- we had 2 160's here, a few years apart, but I knew my sons one quite well as it was a bit of a problem, nice looking, pretty-car but had been owned by some boy-racers whom had done the silly-boy things without realising its not such a good idea -when you consider the design elements within.
Mine was a cheap-tatty one in comparison, but Oh boy-was it reliable, taught, fast and what didnt work was an easy-fix.
 

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I have a 2005MY tf 160, the suspension was made a little softer for this production run and I think it is very comfortable and usable whilst still being able to be driven hard. I have had the underfloor pipes replaced and never stint on the maintenance, it is on 94K miles odd and as far as I know is on the head gasket it was made with. I drive it as i think a roadster should be driven, sometimes pottering around and sometimes up to the rev limiter.

With the VVC engine the camshaft control mechs can get noisy making it sound a bit diesel like but this does not seem to affect performance. I had mine changed as it annoyed me.

Mine now does very little mileage and i start muttering about selling it then I take it for a drive and it puts a great big smile on my face and i put it back on the drive and say "Nope its staying!"
 

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I have had an F for last 17 years and a TF for 4 years. The 160 is not the holy grail imho and in the real world there is almost nothing between any of the specs F or TF;concerning the TF a well cared for/maintained 135 is not that far off it in performance against the [email protected], I have a 135 'Sprint' edition with the AP 4 pots, 16" wheels etc..... you can get even closer with a remap, given that MGR 'restricted' the map on the 135 for marketing reasons (probably not on their press car they gave to Autocar in 2002 for the launch review as it got a test time of 0-60 of 7.2 seconds against the 160 (or maybe even 150 ;)) probably due to the ££'s premium demanded over the 135... the power delivery is very different due to the characteristics of the VVC etc which many owner's enjoy. All models F and TF are fun but none are 'fast cars' for me the fun in a roadster is between 30-80mph so doctored 0 to 60s and top end is pretty much of irrelevance for road use.The reason I say this is especially relevant if you are solely buying a TF 160 at the expense of possibly a 135 in better condition, with lower mileage etc. I was thinking of a 160 when looking for a TF I found that the build quality, maintenance, corrosion issues etc were all over the place on so many 'mint' described TF's and the performance difference was minimal too. There are loads of buying guides on the net and other forums which detail areas to examine and foibles/problems that exist. Main issue for me is buying a car (especially an infrequently used one) without rot/bodywork issues because that imo can be the biggest drain on your £s, parts and routine maintenance is cheap in comparison. Oh and don't just believe the '160' sticker as I know someone who did!o_O


Case in point just looked on eBay and there is a 160 near me, looks a POS from the photos and it's up for £4750!
 
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