Buying a Transit mk3/4/5 1986-2000

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These are so common as to be virtually invisible, which means that parts are unlikely to be a problem.

available in a myriad of guises, they all have common rust spots in particular the underside of the front wheel arches, the outer arches, chassis rails both front and rear by the spring hangers, sills, floors, doors...basically they can rot everywhere so a thorough examination is vital. particularly on tippers and car transporters on which the chassis can snap behind the cab if consistantly overloaded. Rust affects the newer smiley front vans just as badly as the first c and D registration examples.

1.6 petrols are underpowered, 2.0 petrols unpopular due to thirst. A rarer variant was the 3.0V6 (later 2.9)model, special order only by Police and ambulance authorities. these are refined and powerful but almost impractically thirsty.around 1992 the pinto petrol was replaced by the DOHC sierra 8v engine, quite powerful and offering reasonable economy. The main fault with this engine is its habit of cracking the head if its been overheated.by far the most common is the 2.5 direct injection diesel. This is a slogger of the old school and no ball of fire but can return decent fuel economy. be warned though that all the diesel blocks look similar they were actually available in several different power ratings, the lowest 70ps really is a slug. the later "smiley" versions with EGR valve can suffer from coking up of the inlet tract which will destroy performance and economy. Gearboxes will jump out of gear when approaching old age and rear axles whine routinely, as long as you keep the oil topped up it will soldier on for a while. The slightly less common turbo diesel variants offer a useful boost in torque-but we aware of possible problems with the ECU,whilst the extremely rare last of the line turbo intercooled models are real flyers.

Ex BT vans can make good buys as they are less likely to have been thrashed mercilessly by all and sundry, the extra long hi-cube versions also hold their value well.  Be weary of a shiny paintjob, the van may still be rotten underneath.

If you have one of these transits and you wish to keep it, its worth investing in some extra security. they are an absolute doddle to break into, either by hammering in the lock with a screwdriver or breaking the quarterlight glass in the front doors. although they are advancing in years they remain a sought after target for thieves, particularly those of the travelling variety. and used transit parts are readily saleable. be warned.

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