MG TF Tuning

"TF = Tuning Fun?"

The MGTF is a great little sports car and can be great fun to hoon around a track in. The standard car was nicely set up but with some choice tuning mods the car can be greatly improved. It was aimed squarely at the Mazda MX5 class car and builds on the heritage of the earlier MGB and MBC models. The minor niggles levelled at the MG F mk1 have been ironed out and addressed.

One thing a lot of people complain about is the handling. Often this is because they are used to a conventional car and are sitting closer to the front wheels but the TF is crying out for a little lowering, some polyeurothane bushings and a few camber/toe tweaks to set it up for the track.  A relatively small drop of around 35mm will make a noticeable difference.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


When you drop a car you need a stiffer spring and this can make the ride quality unbearable.

When TF engine mods are being done you have to be careful to keep the power band as wide as possible, the wrong mods will just raise the power band leaving a torque shy bottom end.

Find out the best ways for tuning your TF keeping your cars reliability but with more usable power.

Smaller engined 1.6 TF's do not usually provide much of a return in terms of power so choose a model with a more powerful engine engine - the 1.8VVC engine is a great starting point and has loads of aftermarket options for it. You could always do an engine swap if you have a small engine to start with.

MG TF Tuning modifications.

The following tuning mods are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

  • 115
    16K4F 1.6 L I4
    114 hp at 6,250 rpm 107 lbft at 4,700 rpm
  • 120 Stepspeed (Auto)
    18K4F 1.8 L I4
    118 hp at 5,500 rpm 122 lbft at 3,000 rpm
  • 135
    18K4F 1.8 L I4
    134 hp at 6,750 rpm 122 lbft at 5,000 rpm
  • 160
    18K4K 1.8 L I4
    158 hp at 6,900 rpm 128 lbft at 4,700 rpm

Getting the right motorsport upgrades for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 27mm - 44 mm.), Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Alloy wheels, Remap.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, Power/Sport clutch, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injector.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Engine balancing, Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam.

Your aims when modding your car should be a wide torque curve. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The aim of our tips is to give a brief overview of car tuning modifications and point you in the right direction, our forum is where you can ask for more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best motorsport modifications and all aspects of modding cars.One of the best mechanical tuning parts you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

The intake and exhaust valve timings play a huge factor in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car challenging to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU to fully release the power gain.

Don't forget to uprate the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Frequently power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after performance modifications are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues. Larger injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

MG TF intake and exhaust modifications.

Don't overlook the intake and exhaust. when it comes to car tuning as it is essential to get the cars breathing right. Ideally on the TF you should go for a 4-2-1 exhaust setup which will give more power and torque through the rev range. Janspeed and Pheonix make pretty good exhaust parts for the TF.

An induction kit will help increase the peak power providing you address the problem of it sucking in warm engine bay air by using a cold air feed.

Exhaust selection should take into account the flow rate, rather than just the bore size, too small and you have a restriction, too big and the flow rate will dimish the point the engine scavanging suffers.See our article on performance exhausts for details of the issue around large bore exhausts and how to choose the right size for your engine.

Gas flowing the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools A good fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never just hope that a standard worn clutch will cope.

The largest power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is easier to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working.

Turbos give boost in exponential proportion to increasing engine speed and this can make remapping difficult. The nice steady boost to rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Adding forced induction will usually require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

It is worth noting that the Rover MEMS cannot be easily remapped so to get a custom map installed you'll need an aftermarket ECU or a chip upgrade. There are a few specialists out there now that offer a full MEMS remapping service like Z&F Tuning.

MG TF Wheel modifications.

Because alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Large TF alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio. Although some people have gone larger we would stick to a 17 inch rim size as the maximum.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss TF options in more detail with our TF owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased MG tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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