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  1. #1
    Administrator Nich's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Surrey, United Kingdom.

    Default Buyer's Guides


    To help potential buyers we have put together this 'buyers guide' to catalogue some of the more common problems owners have identified over the last few years and added, where possible, potential solutions to these problems.
    MG introduced the 260 range in September 2003. It was a complete bodyshell redesign of the already existing Rover 75, introducing a modified HVAC system to allow space for the Ford Mustang V8 engine delivering 260bhp to the rear wheels through a Tremec TR3650 five speed gearbox and a Dana Hydratrak limited slip differential. The brakes were upgraded to cope with the increased power output. The cost of developing this model range was something in the order of £30M. Only 883 were produced in saloon (75 and ZT) and estate (Tourer and ZT-T) versions. Although there is no definitively clear change-point, the early models called pre facelift, (separate headlamps) up to and including VIN 0216, later models called facelift, (integrated headlamps) from VIN 0217 up to 0883 have slight differences. There are quite a few different early and late permutations of these models and variations between the base specification and the SE models.
    Although the 260 range shares a lot of parts with its ZT/ZT-T cousins there are parts which are unique to the 260. Most of these unique parts are still available due in no small way to the interest and dedication of the members of the Two-Sixties who have managed to source and provide replacements and refurbishments in order to keep these cars on the road.
    The 260 drivetrain is very robust, so much so that supercharged upgrades have been carried out on a number of standard cars producing 400bhp without any modifications to the clutch, brakes or gearbox.
    The rev-limiter and the traction control where fitted are very basic and rely on fuel cut-off which can be quite an unpleasant surprise to both the engine and the driver and use of these is to be avoided if at all possible. Revving these engines to anything over 5500rpm without a strengthened bottom end is also asking for trouble.


    There is an undocumented problem with the communication between the various electronic systems used in these cars, MG Rover/Ford/BMW, causing intermittent flashing battery light on the information display, nothing to worry about.
    ECU's are no longer available but can usually be repaired.
    Lines appearing on the information display between the speedometer and the tachometer are common and the unit can be restored.
    Bad earth points have caused a number of curious problems but simply solved by cleaning the contact faces and reassembling.


    Brake pads including handbrake shoes are common to a number of different vehicles and are readily available. Handbrake shoes are for example the same as those fitted to the Peugeot 607.
    Front brake discs are the same as the 190 range. Rear discs are unique to the 260 and are available from the Two-Sixties shop.
    Check all the tyres for uneven wear; they should wear evenly if the suspension is set up properly. Check the rear tyres for wear on the tyre wall from a potential intruding bolt. The 260 will eat tyres dependent upon driving style, (rears can be as low as 5000 miles but more usually approx. 8000 miles, fronts approx. 14,000 miles) so a decent amount of tread left will avoid an early expense.
    Four wheel laser alignment is recommended (make sure the garage are using the correct settings, a lot of them assume the same as the V6, correct settings are available on the forum) if there is a problem with tyre wear but adjustment bolts are often seized and need replacing. Replacements are available.
    Slow speed 'jumping' of the tyres is peculiar to the front suspension geometry. The front suspension has a lot of caster angle (required for self-centring with the heavy engine) and the front suspension tends to go over centre on full lock hence the hopping feeling. This is normal and tends to happen more with some tyres than others.


    Check the bodywork carefully. These cars may well have been stored for a year or two and some (very few) have not been treated very well.
    The problem of water ingress is common to all variants of the MG and R75 range and not specifically a 260's problem. Check very carefully for damp carpets, the soundproofing is extremely thick and visually gives no clue as to whether there is water in the footwells. Water in these areas is usually a sign of leaking seals or detached/blocked drains, these are not difficult to fix but can be very difficult to trace. There is a drain in the N/S plenum chamber under the plastic cover where the pollen filter is located. If it is blocked water builds up and spills in through the pollen filter, into the heater and usually soaks the carpet on the passenger side. If you have a sunroof it also has drains. On the 260 the pipes go down the A pillar to the door side of the wheel arch. On mostly Mk1's but some Mk2's up to about VIN 400 the tubes may have been too short allowing water from the sunroof to soak the body control unit giving major problem with electrical signals shorting out and flooding the front floor carpets. The answer here is to replace with longer tubes and threading them through making sure they vent the water to the ground. Even some of the later models have been found to have two tubes 'spliced' together, the joint sometimes leaking water. Modifications are fairly straightforward but time consuming.
    Clouding of the headlamps is normal over time to all variants of MG ZT/ZT-T and R75's and can be resolved using a restoration kit.
    Leaks and water ingress from the washer jets and their apertures in the bonnet is common and can lead to misfires as the water collects around spark plugs 4 and 8.


    Open the bonnet. Check the serpentine belt; just under the alternator look out for black rubbing marks to the belt wearing on the engine block. This is a sign that the alternator belt may be jumping and the car may need realignment of the pulleys and possible replacement of the pulley bearings. This is not a common problem. It may also indicate a seized air conditioning compressor.
    Start the engine and get someone to switch the air conditioning on and off, ensure the belt doesn't jump and that there are no whines (or smoke!) coming from the air conditioning compressor, they have been known to suffer with bearing seizure. The radiator fan should come on at full speed when the air conditioning is switched on in order to pass airflow through the radiator and air conditioning condenser located behind the radiator. If the full speed fan does not come on it could mean that the relays are sticking and need repair/replacement.
    Check for correct operation of the clutch, replacement is very expensive requiring the engine to be removed no matter what others advise. The car should drive very smoothly in all gears throughout the whole rev-range, any vibration may indicate a bent gearbox shaft indicating that the clutch has been replaced with the engine in situ.
    Gear changes from cold can feel very 'notchy' but improve as the gearbox warms up; even then ?racing changes? are best kept for the other car in the family.
    Check that the screen wash bottle isn't cracked - fill it to the brim and look for leaks under the car. It is a time consuming job to replace as the bumper and headlight unit have to be removed to gain access. The bottle is unique to the 260 and the 1.8T.
    Check all hoses and heater pipes are in good condition. The heater hose leading from the engine block to the heater valve in the N/S plenum is prone to split, an upgraded replacement is available through the Two-Sixties club shop.
    Check for a noisy differential, the recommendation to change the oil in this unit after the first 1000 miles was not always carried out. A change of oil sometimes cures any problems and the units themselves can be rebuilt, but worth a check.
    Listen for knocks and clunks when pulling away, most suffer from a little driveline shunt but too much noise could mean suspension/differential/propshaft problems.
    Check the rear springs and suspension, some springs have broken leading to MOT failure. Shock absorbers are very difficult to source.
    Gearbox oil seals have been known to leak but can be replaced.
    Check for rust on the rear sub-frame, these can be repaired in situ or replaced.
    Check that the fuel filter located under the N/S rear seat squab has had the orange clip fitted. The filters can separate and cause intermittent fuel starvation.
    The Mustang engine is designed to run on 95RON petrol and there seems to be no appreciable benefit from using Super Unleaded.


    If the car has the factory fitted satellite navigation fitted ensure the unit switches itself off. This can be checked by opening the boot/tailgate and checking the red activity light, it should extinguish after about 30 seconds of complete inactivity, do not open or close any doors during this time. Check for any signs of external water damage to the unit itself, leaks from the trim strip have been known to find their way onto the unit.


    Make sure the climate control works on both the driver's side and the passenger's side. Check that you can still get warm air as well as cold air. Also check that when you set a temperature that the car actually gets near the set temperature and you can control the actual temperature up or down. If the climate control doesn't work it could prove to be a very expensive repair as the heater box is buried under the dashboard. With the system set to ECON (air conditioning off) you will never get cold air through the HVAC system, the passage of air is directed circuitously past a number of 'hot' elements.


    Oil with filter changes every 5000 miles. Major servicing every 15000 miles. A detailed schedule is available.


    General upgrades to the standard car may include new induction hoses, a new throttle body (Accufab or BBK), K&N performance air filter, Zero/X-Power exhausts, an upgraded touchscreen audio system.
    If you are seriously thinking of buying one of these cars then it is well worth signing up to the Two-Sixties Club, it will not cost anything and once signed up you will have access to the public section of the forum where you can ask questions and try to resolve any issues you may have before buying. Once you have bought your car then you can apply for full membership to gain access to the whole Two-Sixties site, the only requirements being that you own a 260/R75 V8 and are a fully paid up member of the MG Owners Club who host the Two-Sixties site.
    We hope that you have found this guide useful, if you have any questions please ask, the Two-Sixties can be found at:
    Many thanks to all those who have made a contribution to make the production of the guide possible.

    Another site worth checking before you buy is:

    Last edited by Nich; 03-09-2020 at 10:58 AM.
    Nicholas John Peter Tinker - # 484

    Manufactured on Tuesday 27th April 2004 @ 12.17.47.
    Commission Number: 24468.
    Brochure Model: M3 Tourer 4.6 V8 260PS.
    Specification Code: L01B.
    CICode: D1511.
    Trim Level: TL8.9 (M3).

    65th ZT-T 260SE to be made out of 115.
    11th ZT-T 260 SE in Pearl Black (PBT) out of 23 produced.

    Manufactured in the UK by MG Rover Group Ltd.

  2. #2
    Administrator Nich's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Surrey, United Kingdom.

    Default Scooter's List


    Brian Luti known as Scooter on the Two-Sixties forum, runs the Dreadnought Garage in Callander, Scotland and apart from running a ZT race car was the 'go to' person for anything supercharged.

    Some of the must-do inspections and modifications to keep your Two Sixty/R75 on the road and your mind at ease, taken from Scooter's and the collective's experiences shared on the Two-Sixties website

    • Fit the orange clip to the fuel filter**
    • Fit the Two-Sixties replacement heater hose and restrictor (if missing), only fitted to ZT and ZT-T
    • Modify the block on the bonnet opening mechanism**
    • Fit Two-Sixties Black Olive replacement heater valve
    • Check your spark plugs, they are known to work loose, or worse, to blow out of the head. Take them out once a year regardless of mileage, lube the threads with a LITTLE copper grease and replace. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN as there are only a few threads in the head. Torque to 12Nm (8lb/ft.) no more.
    • Fit a lighter throttle return spring to improve accelerator feel and minimise cable sticking
    • Be heard! Fit the second horn, originally removed by the factory as a cost-saving measure
    • Service your air conditioning compressor and especially replace the original refrigerant/oil mixture with the CORRECT quantity
    • Fit the Two-Sixties magnetic hex-head sump plug
    • Adjust the handbrake carefully, you may have to replace the handbrake compensator and the handbrake shoes**
    • Check rear sub-frame cross-tube for rust
    • Check welding on the four radius arms on the rear sub-frame
    • Fit Scooter's rear wheel alignment replacement bolts and bushes kit (and new radius arms if needed), available from Austin Garages (Nick Bonthrone)
    • On pre-facelift cars, check the rear springs for broken top coils
    • Throwaway the four locking wheel nuts**
    • Upgrade the cooling fan resistor or the complete cooling fan unit**
    • Keep an eye on the alloy wheels as they are known to crack at the rim and cause slow leaks - they can be welded to make good**

    **Common to all ZT's and R75 V8's

    List courtesy of Malcolm Robertson.
    Last edited by Nich; 03-09-2020 at 09:33 AM.
    Nicholas John Peter Tinker - # 484

    Manufactured on Tuesday 27th April 2004 @ 12.17.47.
    Commission Number: 24468.
    Brochure Model: M3 Tourer 4.6 V8 260PS.
    Specification Code: L01B.
    CICode: D1511.
    Trim Level: TL8.9 (M3).

    65th ZT-T 260SE to be made out of 115.
    11th ZT-T 260 SE in Pearl Black (PBT) out of 23 produced.

    Manufactured in the UK by MG Rover Group Ltd.

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