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Ford Transit worries.......


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Hi....just a few thoughts and concerns from a Transit-based motorhomer, comments and advice in response appreciated.

In 2007, I purchased a one-owner Rimor Europeo based on the Ford Transit 125 T350. Well maintained and regularly serviced, it's been a fine motorhome and has given us many miles of mostly trouble-free motoring.

I say 'mostly' because I've had a few problems over the years, just enough to inspire this mail. In 2009, partial instrument-cluster failure....I managed to rectify most of the problem by cleaning the circuit board, but still can't reset the odometer. I was told by a Ford dealer that it was a 'common problem'.

In 2010, the fuel injection pump failed, apparently a 'common problem' again. Major expense incurred.

Then in 2012, the Power Steering Pump failed, a fairly hefty repair bill, and yes, the mechanic said it was a 'common problem with these'.

And last month, the Diesel Metering Solenoid on the fuel pump failed, a smaller repair bill, but once again, a 'common fault' according to the dealer.

My concern now, as a recently retired owner on a now-limited budget, is what next? Surely a 2004 low-mileage (69.000k) Transit should be relatively trouble-free? It's regularly serviced and I give it a good run every few weeks off-season.

Prior to retirement I owned a Renault Trafic van for a good few years and then a Fiat Ducato. Both were workhorse vans and were driven hard and long... and neither gave me a hint of trouble.

So, is it just a run of bad luck or is it the 'norm' for Transits? And if all these faults were 'common' how come Ford don't take some responsibility and offer some form of discount on the faulty parts?

And one final note, just in case any AA members haven't read their 'terms and conditions'. I always took comfort on my journeys thinking that I'd be towed to a garage (or home with Rescue Plus) if I broke down. Not so. If your vehicle is more than 18' long (and most motorhomes are, I suspect), you won't get a tow through the AA.

Sadly, my partner and I have agreed that if we have one more expensive breakdown, we'll have to call it a day....until then, we'll head into the 2014 season with nervous concern and fingers well and truly crossed.

Thanks for sticking with this long and rambling mail, I hope I've managed to put across my general concerns over our motor-homing future!

Regards from Ireland,

Tony

 

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I'd agree with Brendan...just a run of bad luck..

 

But also don't forget, you've just listed 3-4 things(each having varying degrees of severity)which have occurred over a 5 year period..they haven't all happened at once, have they..

 

I dare say, irrespective of "make",most motorists could probably compile a "list" over a 5 year period if they tried... ;-)

 

What you need is a local knowledgeable, independent garage/mechanic....someone who knows his stuff and could pre-empt some of these, "..they all do that Sir..." faults. ;-)

 

..and if you do look on the internet, to "check" for faults, then no matter what make of vehicle you have, it will throw up all sorts of horrors...!

 

It's about getting the right balance between, "Fore warned,is fore armed" and "Ignorance is bliss" (lol)

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For Transit Mk 6s (2000-2006) you could add in problems with tyre valves, EGR-valves, dual-mass flywheels and variable-geometry turbochargers, but (except for the tyre-valve issue) such things occur on other makes/models.

 

What is a “common problem”? Many thousands of Transit Mk 6s were sold and some will have been afflicted by one or more of the problems Tony has experienced with his Rimor or had one or more of the faults I’ve just mentioned. But how many of the Mk 6 complete production-run have had, say, an instrument-cluster failure – 1 in 100, 1 in 1000, 1 in 10,000?

 

It also needs to be appreciated that ‘utility’ vehicles like the Transit, Ducato, Sprinter, etc. are not designed with longevity too much in mind. They are built to survive hard reliable work over a fairly short time period after which they’ll get replaced by the original owner. Tony has a 2004 Transit that could well have been totally fault-free until 2009 when the instrument-cluster problem showed up. If the vehicle had been reliable for its first 5 years of life, Ford would probably maintain that it had met its design brief.

 

That such vehicles are used as the basis for motorhomes and cover much less mileage than their commercial cousins doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll prove any more reliable long-term. It’s overly optimistic to expect a vehicle that’s 9 years old to be as potentially reliable as it should have been in its youth.

 

And where do you set the longevity limit? Our low-mileage VW Golf was reliable up to 10 years of age, then began to stagger. It was scrapped at 15 years when it was making very odd, expensive-sounding mechanical noises, rust was setting in, plastic parts were crumbling and the electrics had become iffy.

 

I agree that such a succession of (expensive) faults is bad luck, but I’d also suggest that owning/driving a Renault Trafic and Fiat Ducato for a good few years with neither giving “a hint of trouble” was good luck.

 

It’s not uncommon for breakdown/recovery schemes (not just the AA’s) to apply vehicle size/weight limits. This is mentioned on motorhome forums every now and again and it was worth Tony highlighting it.

 

This 2011 forum thread refers

 

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Motorhome-Breakdown-recovery/25105/

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Guest pelmetman

1990 Transit camper.........uncomplicated mechanics...... no problems

 

1999 Transit works van........Semi auto stripped out and reverted to manual, new clutch at 30k, new prop shaft, ABS prblems, now on third recon gearbox *-)

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Guest pelmetman

It does make me wonder how many of these modern vehicles will be around in 20 years time?......

 

I have also noticed the price of good condition, pre complicated vehicles now starting to increase to 8k at dealers.........maybe they know something :D

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I was having a very similar conversation with the mechanics, whilst I was having our old Hiace MOTd (..which sailed through with no "advisories"!).

..and they were saying how "nowadays", in a good many cases, some of the vehicles they have in, don't really need to be that old for them to be borderline as to whether or not they're economic to fix..

 

They had a VW Passat in ('05ish I think?),a very smart and well looked after car and they'd just had to replace/repair the electric handbrake( ?)...costing £1300!(...and this is a small, independent garage)

 

..another couple of years older and it wouldn't have made sense to have it repaired!?

 

I've never been one of these who spout how "..vehicles were better back in my day.." ;-) ..

 

BUT.. if you end up running the risk of having to scrap a vehicle because of the likes of an "electric handbrake", it certainly does make you wonder..!? :-S

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