Sierra saga

Having suggested that a Ford Sierra of around four years old might be a good proposition for anyone buying a roomy, dependable, well-contrived car for a low outlay. I am beholden to tell of how the Editorial Sierra 4×4 EFi has been behaving.

The last report took it with no real troubles to well past 57,000 miles. This H-registration four-cylinder single oh-camshaft eight-valver (l just missed the 16-valve model), had the driver’s window refuse to go down in the winter frosts but this cured itself with some thumps on the button. Then the first real calamity in just under 60,000 miles: when taking Motor Sport copy to our useful Welsh Sunday-post, the clutch cable snapped. Not really a calamity, as I can manage a clutchless car providing a gear will engage, and I was able, jerking off on the starter-motor and switching off when I had to stop, to get home in second gear.

Such driving is not to be recommended, however, so two lads from Smithfield Garage in Builth Wells came out and replaced the cable. Shortly afterwards the Sierra was waved into a layby by a WPC for an exhaust emission test. Not a feeler, but the full police check, with 28 days in which to rectify an engine over the limit and a £4,000 fine and scrapping of the car if you cannot comply! (Did I write recently of a war on car owners?). So I was not exactly delighted when I was told that the Sierra was just below the legal limit. I was also surprised, because the Ford has been serviced regularly and had not long before passed its MOT test with not a hint of emission problems — cost of MOT £38.02, as the clips on brake and fuel hoses needed renewal, a new speedometer gear was required to make the instrument read again.

As soon as possible the car was given an interim service, the filters being cleaned, a new oil filter fitted, the sump oil changed, washer bottle refilled and the mixture strength and idle (fuel injection) adjusted, to cure the emission excess. With the clutch cable replacement (£41.59) and the car cleaned after reporting a particularly muddy VSCC trial, this service came to £111.63. After which the Ford was as sound as ever, given maybe a bit more noise at over 64,000 miles.

So if you are shopping for such a car (four-wheel drive and ABS brakes strongly recommended) you need not be put off by a high mileage.