EPAS (MGF to 5A )


A discussion on Scimweb about fitting EPAS interested me and Will Holder's note that he had fitted a MGF system to his 5A caught my eye. I contacted Will who sent me a couple of photos of the units prior to fitting plus a note that it was not a job for the faint hearted. Anyway I wanted something for Glynis's Sabre so in for a penny ! - announcing what I was going to do Gerry Coorsh was straight on the case “buy two systems then 'we' can do my 5A as well”. Initial plan was to do our Sabre then Gerry's 5A but by the time I had got the bits together the weather had started to turn colder and as I don't have a garage to use doing the Sabre this year was not an option so plan (b) do Gerry's car first swung into action ( Gerry has a nice dry double garage ).
The first thing you notice with the MGF units is how good the bearings are at either end of the column - proper roller bearings not a hint of a plastic bush. By the time I had filled my boot with tools and got round to Gerry's house he had already removed the insides of the column the steering wheel and the indicator stalk .

The column tube was then removed without too much trouble as its fitted at the top with two bolts through ( thin ) GRP and the bottom of the tube is just glassed through the bulkhead. Out with the drivers seat so you can get into the foot well on your back with your feet on the rear seat – essential. Then you have to figure out how to fit the MGF unit, it become obvious fairly quickly that you have to take as much off the MGF column as you can so all the adjustment brackets have to go which may seem like a shame but they are no use at all.

I then had to fabricate a beam from which I could “hang” the MGF column – 1 inch angle iron with plates at either end to screw it to the bulkheads at the side of the foot well. First problem I came across is that the left hand side lines up with the tube from the heater fan. Undoing the fitting I was surprised to find that there was no tube inside the centre console to direct the air to the outlets there is just an open box which partially explains why the fans on the 5's are so poor. The advantage for me was that there was enough space to re-locate the fitting.

So two plates welded to the angle iron – the outer one is no problem just a flat bar with two screw holes. The inner one had to be a square plate to cover the original fan inlet, the bulkhead is not square on but angled vertically and horizontally. Much tacking of welds grinding off and re-tacking and tapping with hammer to get it right but in the end it is right – a bit of a struggle given my welding skills ( lack of ).

So the column is now hanging from more or less its centre and although only held in place by six self tapping screws as the GRP is very thick it takes the weight effortlessly.

Next job is the fitting just behind the steering wheel. The easiest way we found to do this is to cut up the original tube and use its fitting ( can be seen on picture 2 ) – grand idea, decided rather than weld it into place a couple of jubilee clips either side holds it perfectly. There is still enough of the MGF tube left to fit the original ignition barrel and the indicator stalk, the barrel has to be ground out a tiny bit as the MGF column has a slightly larger diameter than the original but its only a few mm so easy to do. The steering lock however does not now work but as there is an alternative method of disabling the car already fitted and my MOT man says it is not a problem come the next MOT – what others may read into the rules however remains to be seen. Fitting the indicator stalk is not a problem as the extra diameter of the tube is so small as not to be noticed. The steering wheel is about 1cm closer to the driver when all in place. Next is the connecting of the end of the column to the steering rack itself. The original rod coming up from the rack we found to be 2.5inches short and my original idea was to cut this rod and weld a tube over the two bits leaving a 2.5inch gap in the centre of the tube – job done – well no because we could not source a tube with the correct internal diameter so a length of 14mm rod was bought. Two UJ's are needed one at the top and one at the bottom and they have to be drilled out to 14mm for the new rod and then flats cut into the rod where the fastening bolt goes through the UJ's – with the bolts tightened into place there is no chance of the rod rotating even though part of the splines has been drill out.
The lower end of the MGF column is on sliding splines this means the length is self adjusting which is great but there is also another UJ which is not great - three in line is one too many. Not trusting my welding skills that much I took this bit down to a local expert who cut out the UJ then fed a rod through the complete unit and welded the two bits together then removed the rod – solid job for £10.

This was then fitted back in place and the steering column now connected top to bottom with a steering wheel fitted and it works better than it ever did before – pulling on any part and nothing moves unlike the original when if you pull too hard at the bulkhead the GRP “blob” falls out.

At this point we expected to fit Gerry's Moto-Lita steering wheel but we then discovered that although the wheel slides on and looks right its not – its a slightly loose so a new boss of the correct diameter Gerry had to purchase from Wood and Pickett ( tip the MGF boss is the same as a early Mini ) Gerry wants to keep his gleaming steering wheel rather than fitting the MGF one so I will probably fit the MGF one ( we only have the one ) into Glynis's Sabre as its much better than the existing one.
So all the mechanics finished and on to the electrics. The MGF has its own ECU ( obviously ) but you have to fool it into thinking that its in a MGF which means you have to simulate the engine running and road speed. Will had given me the email address of the man he bought his simulator from but he did not reply to my mails so I started to look around and on ebay and found a gentleman in Portugal who made them for Corsa's and Clio's. Thinking that they probably used similar systems rather than trying to re-invent the wheel myself I sent him a email asking if he could make one for a MGF and yes he can – already does in fact. A few days later through my door dropped the simulator – not at all expensive and with instructions a child can follow – top marks to Bruno Lopes.
The ECU we fitted into the passenger foot well as high up as it would go so unless you get down on your hand and knees you cannot see it.

The cables between the ECU and the column run through the centre console at the bottom ( gear stick side ) and the original MGF cables – if you have them - are just the right length . I only had the one uncut set so will have to make up new ones for the Sabre – not a big problem. Next you have the power supplies to sort out. The MGF has two supplies both fused – the motor supply at 40A and the ECU ( switched on only when the ignition is on ) at 10A. Rather than running two sets of cables I ran one from the battery into the cabin fused at 40A directly to the motor and spurred off the ECU supply via a relay which is energised when the ignition is on but only fused at 7.5A – 10A seems to me to be excessive for a ECU. All finished, (control next to the ignition keys )

now to switch on a try – and it works – was it worth it and what does Gerry think about it ?

Control set at about half the amount available is good enough for Gerry.
End cost is around £100 ( not including the new steering wheel boss ) – prices of the MGF units do vary a lot – we got ours from ebay for £55 postage included and you will be lucky to find them for that price. Time around 50 hours but doing it again knowing how and what to do around 25 hours. People have fitted EPAS systems from different makes of car with similar results.
Peter Freeman

Wiring drawing in Technical.