MGF rear screen up­grade

Up­grade your faded and cracked plas­tic screen to heated glass.


When MG Rover facelifted the MGF into the steel-sprung TF, they did a fine job of up­dat­ing what was by then re­ally a no­tice­ably age­ing de­sign but one thing con­tem­po­rary road testers no­ticed was the lack of a heated rear win­dow with good vis­i­bil­ity – some­thing which by then many com­peti­tors could of­fer com­plete with a glass win­dow.

It doesn’t have to be that way though, be­cause com­pa­nies such as MGF Ma­nia have come up with af­ford­able con­ver­sions for the many thou­sands of rear-view chal­lenged MGFs and TFs out there.

The cost of a rear panel com­plete with heated rear screen is just £185 from MGF Ma­nia, and the com­pany’s Peter Jones has al­ways told me how sim­ple they are to fit. He has even posted a video on his web­site at www.mgf­ma­ that shows him fit­ting one from start to fin­ish in just 15 min­utes. But not ev­ery­one will be as quick as that of course, and I was also keen to see what it was re­ally like as a DIY op­er­a­tion. And so I got a kit from Peter for a TF and de­cided to give it a go.

Not that I was ex­pect­ing any ma­jor prob­lems, of course. The kit came with a glass screen set in the cor­rect green fab­ric panel to match the TF’s hood, plus all the riv­ets I needed and a CD re­mind­ing me of how Peter goes about the task. The pic­ture se­quence shows how I got on, and while I didn’t come close to match­ing Peter’s 15 min­utes, it was still an easy job to man­age within a cou­ple of hours, even tak­ing time out for the pic­tures.

I should men­tion a cou­ple of points here, though. One is that the green of the new panel showed up how old and tired the rest of the hood on this TF was start­ing to look. Peter had warned me about this, and rec­om­mended that a good clean­ing with a nail brush and a vac­uum cleaner will make a huge dif­fer­ence, as it is amaz­ing how much dust gath­ers in the fab­ric over the years.

An­other thing I should note is that the plas­tic rear screen which I took out of the car was clearly not the orig­i­nal, and this kind of thing should alert you to the fact that you may have to deal with pre­vi­ous bodges and break­ages along the way. I would cer­tainly not ad­vise start­ing the job if you ab­so­lutely pos­i­tively have to have it fin­ished the same day. There was noth­ing dis­as­trous on this oc­ca­sion, though one or two lit­tle glitches along the way as de­tailed over­leaf.

With the glass win­dow in place, the im­prove­ment in rear­ward vi­sion was im­me­di­ate and marked, with no more vis­ual dis­tor­tion or murk­i­ness in the rear view mir­ror. But one thing I hadn’t ap­pre­ci­ated be­fore­hand was that the glass screen is some two inches shal­lower than the plas­tic one it re­placed, and this nar­rower field will not be to all tastes.

How­ever, I reckon a nar­rower field of clear vi­sion is far bet­ter than acres of murk­i­ness, and its com­pact size does mean that you can fold the hood down with­out hav­ing to un­zip the rear screen.

As you’ll see, that was a real bonus for me given what hap­pened to the old zip, but it is in any case a real boon in our change­able weather.

1 This is what you get for your £185: a glass screen com­plete with heat­ing el­e­ments, all set in the right fab­ric to match your hood, an in­struc­tional CD and a bag of black riv­ets. You just sup­ply the tools and a lit­tle time.

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