The car had been deteriorating in steering quality
for a couple of thousand miles. Driving down country lanes with uneven road
surfaces was distinctly unnerving and it was time for remedial action to be
There was also a problem with floating sensations over hills at high
speed and awful vibration under heavy braking.
Firstly I replaced the front disks myself - £35 a pair from Halfords although
I could have got them a lot cheaper at Partco as I found out later. A new set of
Ferodo pads were also fitted although it almost made me cry throwing away a
perfect set of almost new ones that had been fitted only a few thousand miles
Stop&Steer had diagnosed a power steering rack that had wear in the straight
ahead position - you could feel it bite when it was up on the ramps. So I
changed the rack and as the pump was making the odd knocking noise I had that
changed at the same time. Rather than get Fords to do it at £50 an hour I gave
the instructions to the local Garage and they did the job at £28 an hour and I
could stand there and watch them do it. Anyway the rack was £150 and the pump
£140 both from Partco and £100 for the labour.
That improved matters but did not cure the problem.
So I decided that as I was keeping the car and it had 97,000 on the clock
that I would bite the bullet and replace the main wearing components of the
That meant new shock absorbers all round - they are Monroe gas shocks - £140
for the fronts and £110 for a matched pair of rears, supplied by Partco. I also
replaced the front wishbones at £70 each and new wishbone rear bearings at £12
each from Fords. The wishbones are a known weak spot and they were badly worn
and yet two garages failed to find this out when on the ramps - we only noticed
when they were off the car.
I also replaced both drop links on the anti roll bar as one had seized - £29
each from Ford. Labour to fit the lot came to £140.
I know it all sounds expensive but using reconditioned parts and a local
'good' garage saved an absolute fortune (Ford quoted £700 for a new rack!) and
now I know that she will be good for another 50k miles - at least for the
steering and suspension.
The only advice with using a local garage is that they frequently do not have
the detailed instructions for the car so I made sure they were aware of the
special procedures for the Wishbone - torque up the retaining bolts with the
vehicles weight on the wheels - not on the ramp.
I took her for a blast up the M5 today and she is so smooth and arrow
straight - all the way up to 70+ and then braking down to 40 for the exit - no
vibration at all - it reminded my why I bought her in the first place.