9th Nov 2013, 08:54


The WD40 door switch alarm fix worked for a few days, but it was clear that the switch and wiring were waterlogged after it started to play up again. The door switch is riveted into the driver's door post and had to be drilled out - guess this is for longevity as a screw could come under with the industrial use a Tourneo is designed for. Once removed, I used an air gun to blow all the silt and water out of it before filling with WD40 and heat gunning it off. I then wrapped the wiring with duct tape to cover the contacts where they enter the switch plug. Seems to have fully sorted it this time.

One of the quirks of the Tourneo is that the demister activates the air-con automatically without lighting the switch LED when set fully to screen position - it's mentioned in the handbook. As the air-con is unnecessary 100% of the time, we were setting the position control to just shy of windscreen only so the air-con did not kick in (you can hear the compressor activate when you go too far), but recently the screen was proving hard to clear without going to full screen position. After feeling the airflow to all vents, we found the driver's vent to be very poor and the dashtop screen vents to blow only a tiny bit, so did some investigating. The drivers face vent piping had been knocked off by me when I was looking at the door light alarm switching issue, so just pushed it back together and it works 100%. We made the decision to disconnect the "auto screen air-con" switch and use the air-con manually when needed, so we could set the position to full screen demist without activating the air-con when we did not want to. This involved pulling of the lower trim panel covering the heater box, just in front of the gear stick just above floor level (it just pulls off as the six fixings are bristly plastic type and pop out) and locating the switch to the right lower level of the unit, i.e. just left of your left ankle. This meant pulling the spring clip towards me and pulling the plug off the top, then taping it to the side of the unit to prevent rattles.

This is a really worthwhile, easy mod to do, and takes under five minutes without tools - it stops the air-con switching on as soon as you set the air direction to screen only, and means you can choose if you want air-con on the screen or not.

As ever, it's a case of a few minutes a month just keeping on top of a thirteen year old bus, but the fixes are easy and cheap as usual, and quite satisfying to do.

Due to the age of the bus (2001) we've looked and looked at updating it, but just can't find anything better - everything we look at has too many negatives or it comes down to a new Tourneo Custom at £25k-ish. The Grand Tourneo Connect is due out next month with 7 seats from £17k, and we might take a look, but I just know that it would be too precious to go off-roading the same way ours does, or to cope with battering down our narrow scratchy hedge school run without me wincing! Stupid alloys too - give me tough steels with smart trims that can be easily swapped if needed.

I can't see the point in going for a Mk7 2006-2012 Tourneo, as the safety stayed the same, it's more or less the same vehicle, but the mech and tech is much more complicated and pricier to put right.

Again, it's the longest I've ever had a vehicle - we've just booked our 3rd MOT, the last two had no advisories, I hope we can make it three!

And we all still adore it.

25th Nov 2013, 10:56

Hi, I've been driving a Ford Minibus for the last 17 years, (I'm a mum of six children), and I have loved every minute of it. However, due to rust I have been advised to get a new vehicle. A car is no use, just not big enough. I am short and need something so I feel tall sometimes, as well as having five children still at home!

We have looked at a Ford Tourneo 76PS diesel with eight seats. Would you recommend it, it is a T reg and looks in good condition inside and out. I have no mechanical ability at all and am beholden to garage mechanics. I can check the oil, water and tyre pressures. I have enjoyed reading about your experiences, but it seems you know a great deal to do with maintaining your Tourneo. Will it be suitable for a someone who knows as little as I do? It feels right, and the children like it. Have you any knowledge about the model (1999) I am looking to buy?

Sorry if this sounds a bit needy, but a move from a 13 seat minibus to anything is a huge deal for me. I feel I will be losing one of the family when the old girl goes.

Thanks for reading this, I look forward to your reply and your next experience with your Tourneo!


29th Nov 2013, 09:18

Sorry for delay Michelle. The version you are looking at is a mk5 with the "banana" engine, which is extremely reliable, but the same problem of rust occurs. It may be better to finance something a little newer with some more body life left in it, unless this one is amazing underneath.

It's hard to say without seeing it, but the older it is, the simpler and generally more reliable the engine is (if looked after), and the more likely there will be rust issues.

Mine may possibly come for sale next month due to acquiring a very new 7 seater by chance, but I really do not want to sell the Tourneo if possible!

29th Nov 2013, 14:33

There is no easy way to say this, but if you are totally dependent on garages, a 14 year old vehicle with rust problems is not for you.

One of the dinner ladies at my school had six children and had a Transit minibus (V4 engine?) for a while. They found running two estate cars was cheaper: the rust problems eventually killed it, and insurance was expensive (as it's a commercial vehicle).

29th Nov 2013, 18:58

If you want to convert a vehicle from 9 to 8 seats, I am fairly certain you need a Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) test, to confirm that it's changed use to an 8 seater car from a minibus.

Simply taking out a seat and having the V5 amended is not enough. Even with an SVA, I suspect finding insurance cover is going to be difficult.

30th Nov 2013, 03:30

In the case of my Tourneo, it is classed as M2 under 3030kg, diesel car, so changing the sat number is to be correct for insurance etc, it's not possible to change the classification I believe, so if it is a minibus, it stays a minibus, if it's a 9 seat diesel car, you send the V5 off and change it to 8 seats if you have made it 8 seats.

I agree that if you are dependent on a garage, a mk5 or even a mk6 is not the best idea, unless you find an immaculate, superbly maintained mk6 2001-6 with low miles and history. Most are snapped up by taxi firms, or have a very hard life and will need money spending on them to keep them going.

I'm lucky as mine (original poster on thread) has only done 60k private use and is rust free - but it is a rarity!

Saying that, the 2003 200k+ 9 seat TDCI has given the owner no troubles in the last five years.

Perhaps up your budget to £5000+, search until you find the right one and have it inspected and any faults/servicing carried out before you use it.

Mine is maroon and will be on ebay on 6th Dec (when new MOT is done) for £4995 if you want to see what you get for the money. A sad day for me, but we are on a very tight budget and have sourced a new car for the same money.