19th Apr 2006, 14:57

Another update:

Throttle cable replaced. £19 from the local Ford dealer and about 20 minutes to fit. Much easier than some I've done before. Part wasn't in stock but it took them less than 24 hours to get one in!

New problem with the handbrake ratchet sometimes not "biting" properly. A sharp tap on the lever can release the handbrake which is not only dangerous, but an MoT fail as well. Went into the local Ford dealer and asked about the parts. Guy looks it up on the computer and asks for some details about the car. He then tells me there was a recall out on them a few years back which the previous owner seems to have ignored. They want the car for half a day, and Ford will cough up for the parts and labour. A nice touch.

4th May 2006, 04:27

Handbrake ratchet fixed by the dealer as promised, free of charge.

Found a few things while checking the car out prior to the MOT. Front tyres were getting low, so replaced these. Got a four wheel alignment done at the same time which feels as if it's taken about 50,000 miles off the car. Steering now much more positive and seems to have less play in it (why this is I don't know).

Also discovered the front brake pads had about had it, so replaced them. Discs will be fine for this set of pads, but will probably need replacing next time. The brakes feel great now the new pads have bedded in, and there's no wobble or judder so all seems fine.

Took her down for MOT and she passed first go with just an advisory on the CV joints. Exhaust emissions less than 20% of prescribed limit despite six figure mileage. No other MOT relevant faults found at all. These are well engineered cars.

The electric window problem is a worn regulator which needs to be replaced with the motor as a complete assembly at a cost of over UKP100 + VAT. I've decided to live with the problem for now.

8th Aug 2006, 14:03

Another update.

As a last resort before replacing the window regulator, I tried spraying a little silicone lubricant in the window side channels. That was four weeks ago, and the window has behaved perfectly ever since. Fingers crossed.

The car has just clicked over 118,000 miles and continues to rack up an average of 400 miles a week without complaining. It's due a service which is on the schedule for this weekend, and a slightly jerky reaction to open and closed throttle was traced to a slightly worn engine mount. A good, guarateed second hand part is winging its way to me off Ebay for £15 - better than Ford's demand for £95 + VAT for a new one.

CV joint is sitting in the garage waiting to be fitted. My mechanic had a prod about underneath and reckons it's just one side that's gone. The part came to £30, plus the £20 my mate reckons he wants to fit it

This, and the engine mount are the only faults on the car that have a) cost me money, and b) not been the fault of incompetent previous owners or mechanics. At a combined total of £65 for a year and 20,000 miles of motoring, plus a couple of routine services, I can live with that.

Managed a new "worst" fuel consumption of 38 mpg, but in the car's defence I was in a 5 mile traffic jam for two hours with the air-conditioning on all the time. Typical consumption over a tankful remains around the 44 mpg mark.

This car remains a very economical, comfortable and unfailingly reliable commuter and family runabout. Even the performance isn't so bad once you learn to keep the revs in the narrow power band, but it could never be considered lively.

16th Aug 2006, 06:59

As per others thoughts, your comments are the best I've ever read. I was considering buying a 2004/5 Mondeo TD90 LX, and having read the above I am now going to, I do about 37000 miles per year, and from what you say the Mondeo is well capable. Thanks for such detailed comments :-)

16th Aug 2006, 14:48

Thanks for your positive comments.

The 2000-on mk3 Mondeo is a very different beast mechanically (and in other respects) with a much more sophisticated engine.

My comments relate to the mk2 which finished in 2000. Mine is a September 2000 registration which was probably one of the very last built before production switched to the mk3.

The mk3 is a much better car all round, but from talking to my mechanic and other owners, I am of the firm belief that the new common rail diesels, for all their extra power and refinement are nowhere near as reliable as these old mechanical units. They certainly cost a lot more to fix when they do go wrong. Individual components such as pumps and injectors can cost anything up to £1,000 or more to replace because the massive pressures these systems run at require much more precise engineering, and therefore more expensive components.

By contrast, the most expensive component on this engine, the diesel pump, can be bought reconditioned with a warranty for less than £500, repaired for a couple of hundred, or picked up from any breaker for £50. Injectors cost £30 each brand new, the pump drivebelt a tenner, and the rest of it is just the plumbing linking it all together, a filter unit and a primer diaphragm. Unless the turbo goes pop or the timing belt breaks (new engine time), almost anything on these engines can be put right for less than a hundred quid.

With the newer diesels, you also have much more in the way of electronics involved in the whole process which, although generally reliable, do need specialist diagnostic equipment (and the associated labour charges) when they do go wrong.

I just took the view that I bought this car was ust to do a job. It's not a car I've always dreamed of owning, or one that beyond keeping it mechanically sound and safe for my wife and kids to travel in, I particularly lavish any love and care on. With this in mind it seemed daft to borrow money to buy a later, potentially more costly to maintain car. I wanted cheap, safe and reliable above all else, and in this respect the Mondeo is just about the best car out there in my opinion.

I have also have a superbike in the garage for fun that does 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. That helps!


16th Dec 2006, 06:03

Another update (now on 126,000 miles) :

I noticed the coolant level had dropped slightly and the engine started to develop a bizarre "chattering" noise particularly on idle. I suspected the water pump was starting to go, and sure enough when I popped the top cambelt cover off, there were traces of coolant on the timing belt and inside the cover.

On these engines, the water pump is driven by the timing belt, so any water pump fault needs to be dealt with immediately. If the pump bearings collapse or sieze, the timing belt will either snap, or be thrown off. This will destroy the engine instantly. The valve arrangement on the engine means the valves don't bend, but get smashed up through the head, and usually break the cam in two. This is not repairable if it happens.

So, a good quality aftermarket pump was obtained (£40), together with a timing belt kit (£70). The timing belt has to be replaced whenever it is disturbed, plus it was contaminated with coolant. The kit consists of a timing belt, fuel injection pump belt, tensioners for both belts and an adjuster eccentric. The timing belt tension is set by aligning two marks on the tensioner, so no special tools are needed. The adjuster is moved with a simple allen key.

It was a nightmare job with most of the components on the right hand side of the engine bay having to come out, plus an engine mount. No timing marks are available, so a special timing kit is needed with pins and a locking plate for the camshaft. This isn't a bank-breaker at £25 and can be bought from any good motor factor.

The job took an entire weekend to complete, but with the new pump installed, and the new timing belts and tensioners, the engine once again sounded as it should. 5,000 miles on, the coolant level hasn't moved, and the noise hasn't returned.

Plus I have the peace of mind of knowing the timing belt is now good for another 40k or so.

Fuel consumption has got better in recent months (no idea why), averaging 47 mpg. On one tankful I managed 50 mpg.

Still a good, reliable car which has yet to let me down. Copes admirably with my weekly commute, sips fuel and is comfortable and well screwed together.