I’m not into scaremongering but if you drive a Mark 6 Fiesta, you really should read this little blog entry of mine.
I have had the 1.6 TDCI on a 56 plate for about three years and living with it, for the most part, has been a trouble and worry free experience. The only major fault was the failure of the injector seals that made a bit of a mess under the bonnet and cost me about £100 to put right, a common fault with this car that most people (including Ford) know about. Apart from that all I have done is service and MOT it, and it has returned a good ratio of smile to mile.
Strange then, when a week ago it was parked up in a multi-storey carpark the front drivers side coil spring snapped for no apparent reason.
It broke at the bottom, collapsing the suspension and presenting the tyre with a razor sharp harpoon just waiting to slice into the side wall cutting it to ribbons and jamming the wheel. Remember this happened with the car sitting still, not moving, just sitting. Now try to imagine if this happened at 70 mph in the rain…
The sad tale
OK things break, things wear out and of course things fail, I am not stupid enough to believe that we live in anywhere close to a perfect world so I called the AA man to come and save me and started looking at prices for parts. When he arrives, he tells me that the car cannot be moved for fear of the spring jamming the wheel (as I described earlier) as we move it down the ramp, blocking the car park. So now we would have to find a garage that had some wheel skates and drag it out, at the cost of a few hundred quid… Now all of you know that I am but a poor writer, still trying to eke out a living with my words, and that sort of money buys a lot of fuel (or a new tyre!) so against the advice of the mighty AA, and with cable ties, gaffa tape and some hastily made blocks, I made the spring as safe as I could and limped it down the ramp and on to the waiting truck.
Once home, I pulled off the wheel and had a good look at what had actually broken. The spring sits in a recess at the bottom of the strut and for some reason the very end of the coil snaps unexpectedly and without any warning allowing the spring past the cup and presenting a razor sharp point just waiting to hit the tyre. Luckily I am surrounded by some very good and knowledgeable people that can help me when my car needs to be hit with hammers (Chris) or attacked with a grinder (Craig) or generally laughed at (all the rest of you) and soon parts were on order, tools were being assembled and tea was being brewed.
The job of replacing the springs is a simple enough one, a few stubborn bolts and a bit of wiggling and the strut is out. The hard bit is getting the strut apart this requires a special type of socket set which had to be bought but all in all about an hour later the old was off and the new was on and I was getting ready to tackle the other side, when yes, you guessed it, snap!
The car was just sitting, not moving, and boom down goes the other side for no reason I can see, so a quick fix later and I am able to look carefully at the broken bits side by side, and what I find is very interesting indeed. In fact its so interesting I feel the need to get on the phone to Ford and ask them what the bloody hell they are playing at.
Have a look at a few pictures:
The two springs have not only broken in the same place, the break is exactly the same shape. So exact even that you can take either bit and swap it with its partner and the join is the same. So, I have a chat with Ford, putting on my -I’m a dumb customer, I have no idea what I’m on about- voice and the man kindly tells me that yes a Zinc anti corrosion plate is available at £4.72 plus VAT each.
A chat with Ford
“So, ” I say “Ford knows there is a problem and is retrofitting these now? Did I miss the recall?”
“There was no recall” Ford man says, his tone dropping icily a few degrees, “There is no need”
“But,” I continue sweetly “It could be very dangerous, someone could get hurt or worse, this part shouldn’t just break surely?”
“Its wear and tear” Says Ford man
“OK” I say “Can I have the part numbers of those plates please?”
“No. They are Ford part numbers. I cant give them out. You can only get them from Ford”
“Oh, I see, so Ford make them specially for this problem?”
“Yes. But there is no problem.”
I did actually manage to get the part numbers as the parts bloke read them aloud as he was looking up the price, so if you are interested it is 1481540. The idea is that salt corrosion is the reason the springs fail in the cup, so the zinc plate is put in to prevent that (some chemical way I think, I am not a chemist but they do similar things with oil rigs. Have a Google if you are interested in the science)
I am not alone with this problem, five seconds on Google and I find numerous threads with other Fiesta owners talking about exactly the same failure and exactly the same wall of silence from Ford, Ill post a few links at the end. I am astonished that Ford are choosing to ignore this, they really should take a look at Toyota, yeah the press was bad with problem after problem, recall after recall but what it shouted louder than any bad press it brought was that Toyota did care what happened to its customers, even if the product WAS over 5 years old. From what I have read, and from the reaction I got from Ford they just couldn’t care less.
Please, get it checked.
Ford make good cars (not great, just good) and this is not intended to start a slagging match with them, I just wanted to let you, my lovely readers who own these cars, know of something that could at the very least leave you stranded. I don’t want to think what the worst could be. So please, if you have one of these cars, go get them checked, get the springs changed and get these plates fitted. As far as I know it only affects the Fiesta and Fusion models, hopefully Ford have worked out a fix on the later stuff.
A couple of links to other places that are talking about this, there are lots more…