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MG MGF Technical - None starter and rattling noise from engine bay

My F will not start and when I try to start it there is a rapid tapping/rattling noise from the engine bay on the drivers side. I charged the battery but the engine will still not turn over and I still get the noise. Is this indicative of something wrong with the starter motor/solonoid. The engine doesn't turn over at all when trying to start it. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


The battery might be knackered. If not, and the battery is holding the charge, there may be high resistance connections from either or both battery terminals and/or the 2 earth straps(battery to body and engine to body). You describe the classic symptom of not enough voltage, start with checking the easy ones above.

Thanks for the advice Charles. I've just tried jump starting it from my other car and it still doesn't turn over, doesn't even click now. Just called the RAC so I'll see what they have to say.

RAC man jump started it ok and he suspected the battery. I've been to Kwik Fit and their testing showed no problem with the battery but I've had it changed anyway. Only time will tell if the battery was the root cause. I wonder it the starter solonoid is sticking and needs a battery that is 100%.

The RAC man pressed the hard top heated rear window switch (even though the hardtop isn't on at the moment) and the light on the switch is now on all the time!

Hi Dave,
Even if the battery is OK, which you suspected it might be, the volts still need to get to the relevant items - which is where the integrity of battery positive(both ends) and both earth straps come in - if there is a voltage drop between the battery and the starter solenoid/motor you will have troubles as you describe.

the rattling is the starter solonid, basicly it means there is enough power at the starter to trip the solonid, but not enough juice to turn the starter. The starter basicly shorts out the solonid and it turns off, at which point there is enough juice to turn on the solonid again. hence the machine gun

so the solonid is not sticking
Will Munns

OK thanks guys. The battery earth strap looks good. Ive used the car tonight and it started no problem. To be on the safe side I think I'll have a look at the starter motor connections ASAP. A new starter motor was fitted last year.

Thanks again.

Dave, how old's your car? Or rather, how old's your battery? I had something similar a year ago, replaced the battery and been fine ever since. battery testers are right up there with computer psu testers, bloomin useless.

The car is a 96 which I bought last April. The battery I've had replaced is an Halfords one so it will not have been the original one. The car has been fine since the new battery was fitted last Sunday so it looks like the battery was the problem. I still think I'll look at the starter motor connections when I get chance. Thanks for all the advise.

The same problem has reoccurred! The RAC attended again and seemed to undertake more extensive testing this time. They found that the drain of the battery when the engine is off is 500mA which is high. They suggest this is draining the battery if I don't use the car for a day or too (which sometimes I don't) and causing the starting problem. I believe the car has a tracker some where that the previous owner fitted and they suggested this could be taking the power.

Other tests which the RAC undertook showed that the Amps draw when starting is OK and the charging from the Alternator is ok. The cooling fan is also running all the time which is drawing power.

Any ideas and suggestions most welcome. I'm trying to book the car in with a Auto electrics specialist between xmas and new year.


Hi Dave,

My F is not used daily (a fun car) so I disconnect the battery after every use. You will have to manually lock the car or the alarm will go off when you go to open the bonnet after locking to disconnect the battery. Make sure you have the radio code to hand. Zapping the lock button on the key fob four times re-syncs the system.

When I bought the F over five years ago the battery was on its last legs then. Guess what? It's still the same battery in the car. It can sit on my driveway (with a full car cover on it) for several weeks, but it will start first turn of the key every time. There is no trickle charger either.

However, having said all that you certainly have a high drain current when the car is not in use. Even if you use it daily, half an amp is a very large drain current for the battery to cope with. Definitely needs finding out what is causing the drain.

Hope this helps.

W A Nixson

Latest update. A specialist came to look at it and found the none running drain was 0.1 amps (not 0.5 amps as reported by the RAC). After much investigation he found the timer controller was the cause of the excessive drain. By disconnecting this the drain dropped to 0.03 amps. He has fitted a second hand one and with this connected the drain is 0.03 amps, so I will see how it goes.

The timer controller is a red box under the dash about 4 x 2.5 inches. The part number on it is YWC104500 23VT 52010268C. It controls the delays such as interior lights and wippers. Has anyone else experienced similar problems with this unit?

The specialist seemed very competent so if anyone in the North West wants his contact details its GSA auto electrics 07968 199463.



The part from behind the fuse panel is called MFU, multi function unit.

And yes, we had several dead MFU's over all the time here.
But never before heard of 'only draining the battery' failure. Not working rear window heater (Hardtop) etc. are known though.



Further update! The battery went flat again! Specialist came back and a test showed the battery was faulty. Kwik Fit have replaced the battery and its starting ok. However I haven't dared leave it several days to check for the drain. I will do that this week. Fingers crossed.

This thread was discussed between 22/11/2008 and 17/01/2009

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