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MG MGF Technical - T bar upgrade speaker

Been to the local breakers ( thanks mark for the number in the first place),went in for a new heat shield,£15.00, and also came away with the later type T bar with the speaker covers and the speaker pods £ 45.00 .which just happened to be on the floor!!was well pleased with the price.On the speaker pods there is a socket which something plugs into ,i presume,you connect this to your radio cd player. Am i right about this how do i do it ,has anyone done it and where do i get the bits from . any help would be appreciated,thanks mel........
m e johnson

The speaker output connector on the head unit will probably need swapping for a 4 speaker version, Halfrauds will rob you of £13 for this item, so try any car audio specialist. Whilst there's probably a specific interconnecting speaker cable available from dealers, I found it much easier to chop the block connector off the T-bar wiring and wire in with standard speaker cable & bullet connectors. Enjoy!

Mike Hankin

Iím hoping to do the same job this weekend. As Mike says chop off the connector and use whatever you can find that is suitable. For the radio end you might want to look at
ISO Head Unit Adaptor Lead
if your head unit has ISO connectors, also a good place to look for crimps or terminal blocks to wire it in with.


Last week end I did exactly this. Removed the old non standard radio connectors and soldered on an standard IOS block. Then ran 4 wires under the tunnel and up to the middle of the T bar.

Fitted a replacement bar with speaker pod and speaker. Then wired them up.

However I do not have a plastic T-bar with speaker grills. So I had to refit the old T-bar, that does not have any speaker grills.

To my supprise it still sounds better than it did without the rear speaker.
Steve Ratledge

thanks,i think it has sunk in ,i,ll let you know how i get on this weekend
m e johnson

finished the speaker conversion,all went well i just used the snaplock connectors,took about 4 hours including taking out the centre consul for another job,(would take a lot less time if i fitted another one i WAS unsure about the wireing at first ) thanks all..........mel..
m e johnson

You work about twice as fast as me! But it was nice to be out in the sun.

It now looks to me as though Iíll need to remove the T-bar and speaker box to release the heat proof mat and gain access to the engine cover. Is yours the same?

Did you get your electric mirrors in at the same time? I was glad the seats were already out while I was doing mine, it made getting under the dash much easier.

Hi john,i,ve not really looked to be honest.i will at the weekend,i was in so much of a rush i just wanted it done. from what i recall,the heat proof mat will slide under the pod and the access cover should still be accesable,but now you have got me thinking!!!,mine also has the x power hoops fitted and i think i would have to remove these to get to the access cover as well????,any one else know........I DON,T know if i,m up to the electric windows yet,i like upgradeing the mgf but lack time and usually rush and risk makeing a mess!!!so i may leave it a while untill a gain more info CHEERS mel..
m e johnson

John, agreed the speaker box makes access to some of the access cover bolts 'restricted', but you'll find a ratchet spanner is the perfect tool. Mel, ditto for the X Power hoops.
Mike Hankin

>> mine also has the x power hoops fitted and i think i would have to remove these to get to the access cover as well???? <<

Access to the engine inspection cover is a doddle with the X-Power hoops - you do need to remove them, but this is achieved by removing a bolt at each end of the assembly - see

I agree with Mike though - a 8mm rachet spanner is a very good investment! :o)
Rob Bell

OK Steve, Mike, et al - I've just done the T bar swap and need to wire up the rear speakers as you have done. I'm a total ICE dummy - so please advise, how do I know which wire to take to which bit of the wiring on the back of the head unit? I notice that in the T bar I've acquired that the driver side speaker has a green/yellow wire attached to the larger spade terminal and a purple white wire attached to the smaller spade terminal, and the passenger side speaker has a brown wire on the large terminal and a red wire on the small terminal. So what does all that mean then?

When I take the head unit out, how will I know which wires to connect to?


Dave Livingstone

Hi Dave,

Does this frenzy to beef up the sound with the top down mean summer's arrived ? ;-)

The colouring is only to differentiate between positive & earth for each channel. The larger spade connector is the positive.

Can't recall what head unit you have, if it's the OE item then it will only have 2 speaker outputs on its speaker output block connector, and another similar block connector with all the power feeds. You'll need to get a 4-speaker ISO connector (see John's link to Maplins, item MZ76H, or pay 3 times the amount at Halfrauds...). This will have coloured pairs for each speaker channel but with a white/coloured indicator on one of each pair, denoting earth (-). It will also be a single moulding incorporating the power block too, but to save having to fiddle with chopping & re-connecting all the power wires I hack-sawed it into two halves and just used the speaker side.
Chop the 4 wires one by one from the OE speaker block and re-connect them to the identical position on the new block. Worth picking up some bullet or spade crimp connectors if you want to be able to disconnect easily, I opted for twisting the wires together & wrapping in tape but that's bound to come back and haunt me! Steve's done it the proper way by soldering them.
Those 4 wires will be the front L & R. The rear L & R wiring goes onto the remaining 4 wires, in an identical pattern.

Or is this a between-session job for me & Steve at Cadwell...
Mike Hankin

Dave, I happy to bring my soldering iron etc to Castle Combe - If that helps!

We will need access to mains power though.
Steve Ratledge

Many thanks Mike and Steve - kind offers :-) With a little interpretation around the colouring on the wires of the Maplin product (they've obviously changed it from when you received it Mike!) and after managing to find the manual for the head unit, I managed to do the job on Sunday. Crimping tool and various connectors were all to hand from previous mods - Will's power steering switch and Rob's one-shot window - I can only do this wiring stuff when slavishly following instructions!

With the new rear speakers in place there seems to be a significant improvement to sound quantity even if not quality. I've only driven around the block so far, but I suspect it will make life much easier on the motorway. My hearing's not up to much these days, so quantity is definitely what I need - I doubt I'd notice the quality!

My next job is to try to sort out the aerial, which is virtually useless! The head unit can never find a strong signal, when searching, and just whizzes around the digital dial. I've had several stubby aerials over the years, but none have been as effective as the original. I was tempted to go back to the original, but the current aerial won't unscrew and I'm now at a loss as to how to remove it. I could do a demolition job on the holder/connector, and then replace this I suppose, but access is limited and I'm not sure how I'd reconnect the aerial cable to a new unit. I'm also unsure whether it's the aerial itself that's at fault or perhaps damage to the cable somewhere between the head unit and the aerial. Is there any way to check whether the cable is sound?
Dave Livingstone

I'd have thought that the two most likely causes of a poor radio reception would be a problem with the aerial or with the coaxial connector at the back of the head unit Dave.

Since you've had the head unit out recently to wire up the rear speakers, I would put the finger of suspicion on the aerial. No idea how you are going to remove it if it is stuck (plenty of WD40 first perhaps?), but swapping for a standard aerial should indicate whether the problem is with the aerial or the wiring. Or it could be that your head unit is simply very poor at picking up a radio signal...?
Rob Bell

Hi Rob,

>>Or it could be that your head unit is simply very poor at picking up a radio signal...?

The poor signal was part of the reason for discarding the OEM radio and going for a new head unit, but it made no difference I'm afraid. With the old unit, the problem crept up on me over a year or so, until it eventually became noticable enough for me to want to fix it.

As you surmise, the aerial connection at the back of the head unit looks very sound. I do suspect the connection between the aerial and the cable - at the rear wing. There is clearly something wrong, otherwise I'd be able to unscrew it.

BTW, the WD40 idea is a non-starter I'm afraid - it's not jammed; just turns and turns without unscrewing!

So, you don't think the demolition tactics would be a sound approach then :-) I have avoided the idea based on my perception of the difficulty of re-attaching the cable end to the aerial holder. However, I can't see much alternative. If I did destroy it, do you think I'd have to run a completely new aerial cable through to the head unit? So, could I buy one long enough from an after-market supplier or would I have to pay what I'm imaging will be a lot of money for an oem Xparts item?
Dave Livingstone

Ah - I see, the aerial shouldn't rotate without undoing...

Check the coaxial connector that is located in the enginebay/ inside the rear wing panel - maybe that has come apart or needs cleaning.

Failing that, then replacement of the aerial base may be your best bet. The workshop manual indicates that you have to first remove the aerial - oops - but the process looks easy enough.

Is the stubby aerial a screw in type, or one that uses a stub-screw attachment? IIRC some of the stubby aerials that Mike retails use the latter rather than screwing into place?
Rob Bell

>>Is the stubby aerial a screw in type

Yes, the current one is a B&G one - I still have an old MS stubby, but that was screw in as well. So, I've tried a few!

>>Check the coaxial connector that is located in the enginebay/ inside the rear wing panel - maybe that has come apart or needs cleaning

I've tried to look at this (some while back), but IIRC access is difficult. I need to take another look, but without removing the aerial I imagine that I'm pretty stumped.

What do you think about a complete after-market replacement option - feasible or not?
Dave Livingstone

If you are going to that extent - well why not? - you could fit an electric aerial - assuming that there is space inside the inner wing panel. I've no idea, not having looked, but could be possible.

The cheaper alternative is to ask Victoria for a second hand aerial mount... :o)

Quick question: does the locking screw on the aerial mount rotate when you turn the aerial itself?
Rob Bell

Dave, I think you're right, the problem seems to be in the base assembly. I just experimented with the mast removed, and the reception is poor enough for strong signals to be skipped and at best sketchy on the presets.
My arms are just skinny enough to reach in via the rear light cluster, and I'll have them with me at Cadwell...
Mike Hankin

Hi Mike,

>>I just experimented with the mast removed, and the reception is poor enough for strong signals to be skipped and at best sketchy on the presets.

That's a useful piece of data -thank you.

>>My arms are just skinny enough to reach in via the rear light cluster, and I'll have them with me at Cadwell...

LOL - well I'll have my usual toolbox with me - at least that's one thing we can play with in the paddock with no danger of missing a track session!
Dave Livingstone


>>Quick question: does the locking screw on the aerial mount rotate when you turn the aerial itself?

I can turn the nut that is part of the aerial as much as I like and nothing happens and nothing else moves other than the aerial - it's as if the thread is totally stripped.

As you say the manual simply tells you to remove the aerial and remove the base locking nut! This implies that the base shouldn't move relative to the wing's bodywork. However, if I try turning the base locking nut (the two flats built in to the base) the whole base begins to turn relative to the bodywork. I'd expect there to be something under the wing that holds the base still, but I can't see or feel anything.

BTW, I've discovered what I think is the problem - the manual shows a short cable length from the aerial base to a connector. Searching for this connector, I find it shrouded in black insulating tape, which when removed reveals a white mess along a small length of the co-axial???, but also damage to the cable. Perhaps is was once tied up with the boot hinge cables and wore? It's separated now, but I think maybe Techspeed did that as I remember noticing that they tidied up all those cables once, when the car was in for a service.

A brand new replacement base and short cable run to the connector, it turns out, is less than a tenner - so one is on order and should arrive tomorrow.

ALl that remains is to figure out a way to remove the old base!
Dave Livingstone

Carefully hacksaw it off - whilst having the top of the wing covered with gaffer tape?
Steve Ratledge

RE STUBBY AERIAL, i,m sure this won,t be the case , but if you have removed the rubber 0 ring for a neater fit the reception is crap,if screwed in to tight also crap, my stubby aerial works fine , hope this may be of help............
m e johnson

Hi Mel,

Thanks for the feedback. I don't think I have the same stubbies though, as I can't remember a rubber O ring on either of the two versions I've had. They do go back a bit and so might be old designs.

I'll see what happens once I get the new base unit installed.

Thanks :-)
Dave Livingstone

Well, Steve's hacksaw and Gaffer tape was the only way. It was tricky as the cut had to be made very close to the bodywork, so the Gaffer tape reel is a lot thinner now. The replacement base unit and short cable plus connector was less than £10 including VAT from the local MGR dealer :-) and sourced within 24 hours.

I put my old oem aerial back and the result is perfect tuning I can actually listen to the radio again! Combined with the new rear speakers, it's made all the difference to the thought of motorway miles :-) Thanks to everyone for your ideas and encouragement.

Now, I must do something about my tired old Mk1 centre console, and the fact that the heater never quite switches off ...
Dave Livingstone

This thread was discussed between 25/05/2005 and 08/06/2005

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