20th Nov 2012, 21:25

82000 - starting to get torque steer - the car pulls left with acceleration, and right when braking. Highway driving is a challenge. Changed control arms, struts, upper strut mounts, calipers, front end alignment and no difference - still an issue.

Timing belt is starting to make a lot of whining noise and tensioner rattling in park, revving above 2000 RPM.

At least mileage is getting better - more than 400km on a tank of gas.

5th Jan 2013, 18:50

Dec. update - AC delco water pump started seeping coolant at the o-ring (just a little) - used the opportunity to replace the water pump o-ring with an OEM GM (for $0.65 !).

Replaced timing belt with Roulunds Roll-on (Conti) - and much quieter (set tension to a little loose - seems to work well)!

Still trying to diagnose the brake pull. Rebuilt calipers started leaking, so got OEM calipers - they don't leak, but still get a pull. Replaced front flex lines - pull still there. Replaced master cylinder (OEM) and the pull is still there. Next, rear cylinders and maybe flex lines. At least the brakes feel better at the pedal.

Also exhaust flex covering is rattling now at times.

11th Jan 2014, 18:49

94K update - AC leak was in the evaporator. You can change the evaporator in this car without removing the dashboard (as per service manual) - but you need to remove the blower, blower housing, and HVAC lower cover - but not easy to fix. AC is now working even at -9C as part of the defroster (great for removing moisture from the cabin - and much quieter than it was).

Torque steer seems to be the position of the engine in the engine mount - torque steer was less when I moved the engine back (loosened engine mount to frame bolts, slid engine back towards firewall, and then torqued bolts up). The alternator is making a little more noise, but at this point, the car is holding up OK.

Power steering pump makes a loud whine noise when started at -20C, but disappears in a few minutes. Need to look into thinner power steering fluid...

Also at -20C, it takes a long time to warm up. I drive with the fan at 0 for 10 minutes - engine warms up faster. The car is actually holding up well after all of the previous work...

3rd Jun 2014, 16:29

100K update - still have torque steer - seemed to get worse with wider summer tires... A/C is still leaking somewhere... Air intake hose from the air filter to the throttle body cracked (noisier engine, especially under load), and replaced with a Dorman supplied part (much cheaper than OEM).

Cheap aftermarket rotors are rusting quickly - may need to replace (braking at speed is choppy feeling/noisy). Exhaust flexpipe is now rattling at warmup - irritating, but not critical. Otherwise, the car is holding together well. Regularly spraying the underbody with anti-corrosion film (especially the rear parking brake auto-adjuster - that has already rusted up/seized on me once).

Waiting for my recall letter for the DRL module now...

3rd Feb 2015, 13:57

110k update:

- Looks like the A/C leak was the compressor body - waiting until it warms up to replace.

- Fixed torque steer! Replaced front-rearward control arm rear bushings with much thicker ones from a Ford Contour (check dimensions before you buy them), and although the suspension is harsher, the torque steer is gone, and the steering is more responsive.

- Got a Po131 check engine light after using the block heater overnight - apparently this is a known issue and needs an ECU software update to fix (I will just reset the codes if this happens to me again).

- Runs well, doesn't burn oil, and apart from a slight delay after shifting from P to D on cold mornings (about 2 seconds), all is good. I will be trying a thicker synthetic ATF when it warms up to see if that helps.

10th Aug 2015, 16:25

120k update.

At this point, have had to do nothing apart from oil changes. The car is running well, and leaking nothing. The tighter suspension (from tighter Ford Contour control arm bushings) has improved the handling and braking control.

23rd Mar 2017, 00:47

145k update:

- Replaced valve cover gasket (spark plug tubes filling with oil) - a VERY popular aftermarket gasket seems to have grown numerous leaks/rubber became stiff. AC Delco replacement hopefully holds up. Oil analysis had increasing silicon - hopefully this solves it.

- Iridium plugs - one had lost their tip, so new platinum plugs going in.

- Sway bar endlinks starting to get noisy over slow bumps. Opted for Moog problem solver - made in USA, but not greasable.

- New Stant gas cap (OEM was generating 'small evap leak' CELs).

- Finally have body rust - bottom of front fenders (traps salt/dirt).

- Mileage seems to be dropping - moving from 8 to 9/9.5 L/100km. Long term fuel trim was 12 before valve cover gasket, down to 10 after, but no noticeable mileage improvement.

- Based on great oil analysis results, up to 13 000 km oil changes (synthetic).

- Seeping top radiator hose fixed using a constant torque gear clamp, properly tightened.

- Replacement front flex exhaust pipe is now leaking, and needs replacement.