Buying a Mk3 Mondeo - Buyer's Beware

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I thought I'd share my experience of the Mondeo MK3 with those looking to buy one, and give the kind of information I wish that I had before buying.
I'll keep it short and not so sweet:
• If you're looking at an early MK3, there was a handbrake cable fault which causes the rear brakes to stick (Discs Not Drums). It's a really common problem. In fact the design of the rear brakes is quite poor. There's a self adjusting spring on the enormous handbrake cable which doesn't allow the caliper to release properly, causing the brakes to bind. When you test the car; listen for squeaking it may not bind until the brakes are hot so make sure you get them hot. The handbrake cable may travel excessivley and braking under speed may be poor. Once you've given the car a good run, feel the two rear wheels for excessive heat. Getting these brakes sorted has been a nightmare, not even Ford have been able to resolve it.
• Alternator went after 112k. The alternator belt is around 12ft long and pig to change. Left stranded.(UPDATE: Replacement Alternator failed after less than a year, turns out that a fuel pipe had chafed and allowed diesel to leak into the alternator)
• Rear suspension bushes gone at 112k, looks a nightmare to sort.
• Poor and discontnued EGR valve turbo hose design causes excessive smoking on TDDi and TDCI models. had to have the car plugged in to find fault. Get someone to follow you whilst you test drive.
Above are the faults I've had in the last 3 months of ownership of a 2.0l Y Reg Mondeo LX.
Parts for this Mondeo seem quite expensive in comparison with other models.
Other general tips:
Check that the service history ties in with the car, it could have been faked as it's easily done for a few quid.
Do an HPI report, it's worth the 20 odd quid. Accident damaged cars can be dangerous and it'll give you an idea of the correct mileage.
Check things like the Air-con work, are there any oil marks on the engine (the cover just flips off) or on their driveway.
I have since found this excellent site which has a forum discussing a lot of common problems Ford mondeo. Org
Beware, do your research and if it seems cheap it's probably for a very good reason!!

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