Buying a used...Ford Transit Connect
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Pretty it certainly is not, but there is no denying that Ford’s Transit Connect is a sturdy workhorse. Steve Banner highlights what you should look out for before purchasing one second-hand
It has been almost 10 years since the classic Transit’s baby brother made its UK debut, in effect replacing the Escort and Courier vans. During that time it has built up an enviable reputation for no-nonsense reliability and the ability to soak up lots of punishment without complaint.
The Connect has always been on offer in both short-wheelbase standard roof and long-wheelbase high roof versions. The former offers 2.8m³ of cargo space, the latter can provide 3.7m³, with gross payloads ranging from 637kg to 941kg over the years depending on which version you pick.
Under the bonnet you will find a 1.8-litre diesel up for grabs in 75, 90 or 110hp guise. A 1.8-litre petrol engine with 115hp on tap was available at one stage, as was a version that could run on liquefied petroleum gas, and the Connect has been produced as a crew van.
Recently Ford and Azure Dynamics have got together to market a somewhat expensive electric Connect. Rather more exciting, and worth watching out for, is the attractively styled Connect SportVan.
“So far as we can see it’s got all the virtues and precious few vices,” What Van? said of Connect a few years back.
“The gear change is slick, the handling inspires confidence and the ride can lay claim to be the best-in-class. The Connect copes with poor surfaces with greater aplomb than any of its competitors.”
The Connect may be good, but that should not lull you into a false sense of security if you are planning to buy a second-hand one.
When you start the engine of your prospective purchase, check that the alternator light comes on at the same time as the ignition and goes out about 30 seconds later. If it stays on then there’s a fault with the wiring loom or with a sensor, and you should be looking to get £100 knocked off the asking price.
When you take the second-hand Connect out on a test drive, slot it into second gear at low speed so that the engine starts to labour. Then accelerate hard and listen for a rattle from the gearbox.
If you hear one, then that is an indication that the clutch is on its way out. You need to get the vendor to shrink the price tag by £400.
Keep your ear cocked for a rumbling sound from the wheels. If it is present then you are most likely to hear it at speeds below 30mph or when you are cornering. It means a wheel bearing needs replacing, which should cut the van’s price by £100.
Bring your Connect to a halt, hop out, and check that the sliding side load area door opens and closes easily. If it does not, then you may need new runners and a new latch, enough to justify a £100 discount.
Take a look at the inside edges of the tyres. If they seem excessively worn, then that is because the tracking is out. In theory, correcting it is not a problem, but in practice it is because getting the tracking on a Connect right is apparently quite difficult. In some cases, according to website UsedVanExpert.co.uk, rear sub-frames have had to be replaced before the tracking could be righted – not what you want to be obliged to do if you have just bought a van second-hand. Your best bet is to insist the vendor takes the van to a Ford specialist to get the problem fixed before you part with any cash.
So how much can you expect to pay for your Connect? We trawled a few Ford dealers to find out.
The Gillingham, Kent, outlet of Dagenham Motors had a 75hp short-wheelbase 200 in L trim on a 57-plate in stock with less than 35,000 miles recorded and a price-tag just shy of £6000. Over at T C Harrison’s Peterborough branch, a 75hp short-wheelbase example first registered early last summer and with a touch less than 5600 miles under its belt was being marketed for £9250.
Rolling back the years again, the Harlow, Essex, branch of Gates was promoting a 57-plate LWB high roof L-specification Connect with the 110hp diesel under its bonnet and with 61,306 miles to its name for £5999. Its Stevenage, Herts, site was
offering a 75hp short-wheelbase in L trim on a 56-plate and with a little more than 46,000 miles recorded for £5499.
• All price negotiation reductions come courtesy of second-hand van market specialist UsedVan Expert. Visit www.UsedVanExpert.co.uk for more advice and information.