The Focus ST brake upgrade I fitted last month has dramatically improved the driving experience of the ST220. Without doubt, this has to be one of the best mods you can make to a Mk3 Mondeo. I’m sure even with OD Focus ST discs and opads it would have made a marked improvement, but with the added bite on offer from the EBC discs and YellowStuff pads all round it really has transformed the car.
But the good news ended there. When I replaced the crank seal a couple of months back I thought I’d solved my annoying oil leak issue – a problem that the car has been suffering from ever since I first bought it. As it happens the crank seal didn’t cure the problem, and the oil leak still remained. But worse than this, in replacing the crank seal I had to remove the auxiliary belt, which upon investigation really looked like it had seen better days. Then, out of the blue, the steering started to feel a bit ‘notchy’ as you drove at low speeds. And the battery light kept flicking on and off when the engine was under load too.
Fearful of this costing me a fortune I convinced myself that it wasn’t both the power steering pump and alternator going kaput, but instead was due to the stretched and worn drive belt and tensioner. So I spoke to my local Ford dealer and good friends of the mag, Tarnock Garage, about getting the belt replaced. And at the same time helping me to find the annoying oil leak!
Tarnock’s resident mechanic Rob was given the task of replacing the old aux belt and tensioner, something he made look particularly easy. But when it came to finding the source of the oil leak, things weren’t quite so straightforward. After what looked like gallons of brake cleaner was applied to mop up the mess under the car, we fired it up, whacked it up on the ramp, and had a good look around at all mating surfacing to see where the leak was coming from. The problem with driving the car and then re-inspecting for the leak is that the air rushing under the car moves the oil drips from it’s original location, throwing you off the scent of the real source of the leak. And of course, as soon as it reaches a rotating part (crank pulley, alternator, air con pump, driveshaft, etc) it gets flung all over the place, giving you zero chance to track its source. However, we think we’ve found it, and the most likely culprit is the sump gasket, so I’ll be taking another trip to Tarnock very soon to get that sorted too!
While I was at the garage I also asked the boys to sort the tracking out for me. I’ve never had it done on this car, and with the bigger wheels etc it makes sense to get it all aligned – to be honest I should have done it ages ago! With all four wheels pointing in the right direction it also means I can rule out any issues with tracking when trying to hunt down this steering problem.
But I no longer need to hunt them down, as the new drive belt kit and wheel alignment has done the trick! The steering feels positive, taut, and tracks straight and true! I’d say that is a job well done. And the cherry on the cake is that I also now know where the oil leak is coming from. The bummer is that it’s going to cost another £150 to fix it!
To cheer myself up I’ve just ordered a new double-DIN headunit from Kenwood that does all kinds of fancy stuff with mirroring you iPhone apps on a full colour, touch-screen display. But more on that next month…
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