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Do you wanna DIY?

Do you wanna? Do you really wanna?

No, there will never be a Haynes manual for the Scorpio. So as the years pass and the warranty expires, how will you service the car? Use the main dealer network, or do it yourself? But if you do it yourself, how do you know what the servicing entails? What do you look for? What are the torque settings? What am I here for? What is the meaning of life?

Okay, let’s start by exploding a few myths. Servicing is not a complex, technical procedure to be carried out only by highly-trained personnel. On the contrary, most of a service is about inspection, and what is left is simply replacing disposable items; spark plugs, filters and oil.

Is that all?

Yes. That is all. The technician’s skills are only needed when he finds a fault, and it is at this point that you would be notified for authority to carry out the repair. The Ford technician should know areas on any particular model that are prone to corrosion or to particular faults, but then after a few years, so will you. Ford insist on a service stamp for warranty because this (should) mean that every service has been carried out satisfactorily and that no minor faults have been allowed to cause greater ones. For a nearly-new car servicing should be simple and quick because there should be nothing else to find and the mechanic will simply inspect it – but even a new car might have badly routed wires which has caused chafing. Apart from the normal disposables, he will neither remove or change anything on your car.

So can I do it?

Yes, of course you can. This assumes you generally know where things are, but I don’t mean technical electronic items, because it is not necessary that you know what they do – you only need to check their condition. The engine bay, for example, contains many different looms trailing about seemingly at random. You inspect them carefully for chafing. If there is none and the wires are in good condition, you don’t need to know what they are.

Similarly the various fluid and air pipes. You check the pipes for chafing, damage or ageing. If the pipes are okay, you need not know exactly what they do. It is only if they are chafed, leaking or deteriorating that you draw a diagram of exactly where the pipe is and take it to the Ford main dealer so that he can call it up on his schematic and give you the replacement part. If you are a moderately skilled home mechanic a servicing is well within your capabilities. It is probably what you already do; checking around the car while you’re cleaning it – but servicing makes a much more formal, thorough investigation all at the same time, to nip problems in the bud. If an item giving concern is out of your expertise, you might get a local garage to repair it, or go to your main Ford dealer.

The only ‘technical’ work is to check the brakes, and if you have worked on brakes in the past then you have nothing to learn.

Okay? So are you ready to begin? Before we start, a word of caution. Main dealers have full car lifts so that they can work underneath the vehicle in complete safety. You will need to get under the car, so a pair of axle stands and a good hydraulic jack are absolutely essential and trying to do the job without them is foolish and dangerous. The Scorpio is a big car, and the vehicle dead weight will be you if it comes down on you.

You work from Clean to Dirty, that is, check the interior first before your hands get dirty. Consider putting an opened black bin liner over your drivers seat before start: you might have to climb in wearing filthy overalls.

Take your time and work through the list below.

Item Action Tick
Instruments, lights & horn You should already know if they work or not, but don’t be lazy: check them.  
interior warning lights & instrument bulbs. Renew as necessary (Note: do not lay instrument fascia face down when changing bulbs – keep it upright)


Clutch If manual – check operation and adjust if necessary  
Wipers & washer Check operation – renew blades if necessary  
Handbrake Check operation, Adjust if necessary – BUT remember to check condition of rear disk pads and rear self-adjusters first. Excessive movement on the hand brake lever should mean that the rear brake pads need changing and is an MOT failure. It does not mean that the handbrake cable should be adjusted. See below  
Seat belts For operation, damage, fraying

Door check straps


Check operation. Grease lightly

Grease sunroof mechanism where fitted

Bonnet lock & safety latch

Check operation. Grease lightly


Engine compartment


Wiring, pipes, hoses, oil & fuel lines

Check carefully for route, chafing, damage, leaks or age deterioration. (Note: Check autobox coolant pipes to the radiator carefully, these are prone to corrosion)

Engine, vacuum pump, heater & radiator Check for damage or leaks  
Auxiliary drive belts Check condition. Renew or adjust(TDI) if necessary  
Coolant Check concentration. (Kit available from Halfords)  
Fluid levels - Coolant, p/s fluid, washer reservoirs

If level abnormally low look for cause of leak and rectify

If power steering reservoir levels falls check steering arm bellows - fluid can leak into the rubber boots without showing until they burst.

Battery terminals Clean and grease if necessary
Auto transmission Check, top-up. (Must be warm 20C or more). Check condition of fluid for pink colour.  Should not be burnt-smelling, brown and show small black bits.
Odour/Pollen filter Renew if fitted.  Clear the AC drain tubes. Clear battery shelf drain holes
Spark plugs

Renew - see Torques: Clean plug leads. See below for Spark Plug grades

Check condition of wiring inside the Cam cover (DOHC models) and replace if deteriorated.

Engine air filter & crankcase emission pad where fitted


Clean MAF element using residue-free carb or brake cleaner

Pulse air filter where fitted Check, clean and re-oil.
(2.9 12V) - Distributor Check and clean cap and rotor, replace as necessary  
(2.5 VM Diesel & Turbo Diesel) Fuel Filter renew  
Underneath Vehicle     
Engine Drain oil and renew oil filter. Renew sump plug gasket where fitted  
Steering, suspension linkages ball joints, halfshaft joints, gaiters, propshaft ‘Gulbo’ joint Check for wear, damage or deterioration.  
Engine, transmission, rear axle Check for damage and leaks  
Pipes, hoses, wiring, oil and fuel feed lines, exhaust Check for chafing, damage or leaks  
Underbody Check condition of underbody coating  
Tyres Check wear and condition. Note tread wear depth       FNS_____      FOS_____       RNS_____       ROS_____  
Brake system

Remove wheels, check brake pads, disks, linings and brake cylinder rubber components for condition or leaks - rectify immediately if leaks are found.

Check front brake flexible hoses carefully - these may show signs of cracking/perishing. Renew as necessary

Outside vehicle    
Engine Refill engine oil
Brake fluid Check – top up if necessary. Investigate abnormal level and rectify  
Tyres Check pressure
Spare wheel Adjust pressure. Check condition
Wheel nuts Tighten to correct torque
Brake system Every 2 years renew brake fluid - IMPORTANT - this prevents serious internal corrosion.
Air conditioning Every 3 years Check system pressure, compressor cycle time and temp at centre vent. Check a/c lines for damage or leaks. (Refer to visiting a/c specialist for these functions and refer to AC Index)  
Cooling system Every 4 years. Check/clean pressure cap. Renew if signs of seal deterioration.

Every 6 years drain, flush and refill blue/green coolant

Every 10 years drain, flush and refill orange/pink coolant

NOTE: Above advice relates to Ford antifreeze solutions only - others may differ.

Fuel Filter Every 6 years (60000 miles) renew

It has come to our attention that cleaning the MAF is beneficial during a service.

And that’s it. Ignition systems are now so reliable that no work at all is needed – no points gap or dwell angle to fiddle with, no rotor arm to replace and not even a distributor cap to clean and check. On one 2.9 Ford Granada I had I changed the distributor cap, leads and rotor and I was amazed at the difference it made to smooth running and general engine pickup. EDIS, the electronic distributor and ignition does all this, and never needs maintenance. But it’s a good idea to clean the plug leads and the EDIS module to keep the exterior free from dust – which can cause ‘tracking’ if extreme – note, some models have the EI module built into the EEC V.

Owners can now use the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) system themselves to check for faults.

Remember, do not scrimp on repairs. If you do not intend to take remedial action if you find a problem then there’s no point in carrying out the service. Some work at an early stage can save a lot of money. For example, if a rubber gaiter on one of the drive shafts is split, replacing it at once will prevent grit getting into the CV joint - and will save buying a new one in six months time: a rubber gaiter is much cheaper than a new CV joint. A replaced gaiter on the power steering rack will save buying a new steering rack – you’ll be amazed at how quickly grit can get in and cause damage. If you find noticeable wear on track rod ends or ball joints – fix them yourself or have them replaced immediately - and you will save uneven wear on the front tyres. Better you find them and replace them yourself than have the inspector fail the car at the next MOT.

NOTE 1: Although tyre pressures are part of the yearly service, check all of your tyres at least weekly – and make sure the pressures are correct for your size and make of tyre. Over and under inflation can cause serious premature wear and tyres are expensive items to replace. At least once a year have your local tyre place check the tracking, because incorrect tracking will rip through a front tyre in no time at all.

NOTE 2: If you intend to keep your Scorpio I would personally recommend changing your oil and filter at six monthly, rather than yearly, intervals, and use best quality oil. Ford carry a range of high-lubricity synthetic oil which is economically priced and recommended for the newer multi-valve engines.  I use Magnatec oil at six monthly intervals. Dirty oil greatly accelerates engine wear and causes engine oil galleries to clog up, which will lead to oil starvation. This means noisy hydraulic tappets, greater valve guide wear, higher main and big end bearing temperatures. Eventually, on a long journey with a three passengers and luggage in the boot, you’ll start to hear a knocking noise …

Spark Plug Grades

Scorpio 2.0 8V      
Motorcraft AGPR22PP 1.0mm  
Bosch FR6DC 0.8mm  
Champion RC8PYP 0.8mm  
NGK BCPR6E-VG 0.7mm  
Scorpio 2.0 16V      
Motorcraft AGPR22PP 1.0mm  
Bosch FR6DP1 0.8mm  
Champion RC8PYP 0.8mm  
NGK PFR6B 0.8mm  
Scorpio 2.9 12V      
Motorcraft AGRF32C1 1.0mm  
Champion RS9YCC4 1.0mm  
NGK BPR6EF 1.0mm  
Beru 14KR-DUX 1.0mm  
Motorcraft  AGPR22PPJ 1.1mm  
Autolite 3921 1.0mm  
Bosch HR7DCX 1.1mm  
Champion RC10PYC 0.9mm  
NGK  FFR6B-11 1.1mm  




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