Continuing the saga of the Ford Sierra EFi 4×4 in which I have now covered a notably trouble-free 66,000 miles, for the possible edification of those in the market for a used Ford, a visit to Kwik-Fit in Hereford was necessary, because the Michelin tyres were within 0.4mm of being illegal on the back wheels and were just about that so far as the front wheels were concerned. They had run a satisfactory 20,430 miles from new and misaligned tracking, in spite of regular servicing, was blamed for the wear on the steered and driven wheels.
As usual, Kwik-Fit expeditiously put on new Pirelli 195/60 V14-B tyres. The Dunlop spare had never been used in four years, so was allowed to remain. Except that it was removed to check its valve, etc. Here a word of warning, it seems that, in removing it from the boot, the mercury switch which cuts off fuel in an impact, was knocked. This switch is very sensitive, the jerk of a towrope or a jolt from a garage forecourt “sleeping policemen” being sufficient to cut off the fuel-injection system. On this occasion the symptoms were that the engine was very difficult to re-start, although it had started impeccably, for the past 4.5 years, except when the original battery had been inadvertently flattened (always carry jumpleads!). When the twin-cam power-unit did condescend to start it ran for only a short mile before cutting out completely. I mention this only because it seems that condensation in the spare-wheel well can have a bad effect on the wiring to the mercury switch, which was what had happened in this case, an intermittent ‘short’ being caused by the dubious wires, damaged when the wheel was taken out; so check from time to time.
The new Pirellis cost £363.80, plus £15.96 for wheel balancing and £14.95 to have the wheel alignment corrected. I was also persuaded that the 4.5-year-old exhaust system had about had it, so a new Kwik-Fit one was installed, price £176.51. Shortly afterwards (actually, at 64,480 miles) the 60,000-mile service was done by Knill’s Service Station in Llandrindod Wells, Ford and Rover dealers, the nearest to me, the bill coming to £363.90, with VAT. If this seems expensive, it should be said that the Ford is now more than 4.5 years old and at that age naturally more attention is needed. This involved a new fan-belt and fuel filter, a new rear brake disc and pads, a steering-column seal and bush, a drive-shaft seal, and some work on the assembly and steering rack. Then there was engine oil, a n/s wiper blade lots one replaced previously (for £7.63), and a litre of MT75 Synthetic gearbox oil, plus a labour charge of £106.20, which included stripping and Cleaning the air by-pass valve and throttle body. The car now runs as well as ever, and is to be recommended to those seeking a used car of this type.
Incidentally, that Vauxhall I referred to recently is, in fact, was a 1983 model, not 1988 as printed, so its original battery is still serviceable after twelve years. And when I was asked at Kwik-Fit my Ford’s mileage and felt a bit guilty when replying “64.5 thousand”, another customer with a smart car also in for tyres, said his car had done 122,000 miles. And I have just heard of a lawyer who regards his V12 Daimler Soverign as just run-in, after 122,000 miles. Such cars, whether run from financial necessity or because their rarity appeals, are in a minority. But I fear they are a sitting target in the Government’s War on Drivers, which it has instituted on the grounds of pollution, traffic congestion and city parking problems, ignoring of course the huge sums the motor industry is spending on compulsory catalysts for new cars and the fact that better roads, more pedestrian precincts in towns, better off-road parking facilities and more public transport are the solution.
As it is, stricter MOT tests ensure that age is no proof of unroadworthiness in cars and the desire to remove from the roads we pay for “bangers” and other cars more than a few years old, is entirely unjustified. So damn you, SMM & T, for trying to persuade the Government that it should refund £500 tax for every pre-1985 car that is scrapped and a brand-new one purchased. Here is definite proof that the SMM & T cares only for the profits the motor industry and motor traders make from the sale of new vehicles. Its outrageously class system of motor ownership proves that it has nil-care for the motoring concept as a whole. It, and its Chief Executive, Ernie Thompson, and Roger King, have clearly joined the lobby against the motor-car! A contemporary even sees this as a threat to the respectable Classic Car movement, regardless of the thriving industry, employing many people. which wide-ranging old-car ownership has promoted, and which is ever expanding. Note that the BBC is in league with this preposterous SMM & T suggestion, as are the Junior Ministry of Transport, and Ford’s Chairman, Ian McAllister. Beware, if you have any regard at all for the older cars. W B