There’s one thing that’s been annoying me about my Mondeo ever since I bought the car. And regular readers will know exactly what it is, as I’m sure I might have mentioned it just once or twice in the past! It is, of course, the annoying oil leak deep in the bowels of the engine that manifests itself after a spirited drive by dripping the finest fully synthetic all over a hot exhaust! Well this month I finally got it sorted, but not before another annoying issue reared its ugly head once again…


Occasionally the battery light would flick on and off, and when it did it would play havoc with the car’s electrics – typically by causing the radio to turn itself on and off in sequence with the battery light flickering on and off. It only happened a couple of times, and because it was so infrequent I decided it couldn’t be that serious. But recently it started to happen more and more often, until the point I was en route to the Sierra Cosworth 30th anniversary photoshoot at Santa Pod last month and the battery light stayed on longer than it ever has before.

At that point I decided enough was enough and I needed to get it all fixed. And because the alternator needed to be removed as part of the process of replacing the timing chain case gaskets, it made sense to do it all in one go.


I winced at the price – the gaskets alone take a full day to replace! – but decided that stumping up the cash would be a better option than having a car sat on the drive that I can’t use! Especially as we’re in mid-summer show season and I needed to be at various events up and down the country, including Ford Fair!

So I called upon the services of my local main dealer, Tarnock Garage, to get it all sorted for me. People often run away from taking a 12-year old car to their main dealers for work like this, but I really don’t understand why. They will have seen and worked on more ST220s than any other garage in the area, have instant access to genuine replacement parts, and the labour charges are no more expensive than any other reputable garage.


Tarnock’s Rob Walker has, through no choice of his own, become the Mondeo’s chief mechanic, so it’s no surprise the unenviable job of replacing the timing chain gasket and alternator fell to him this time too. But while I was at it, I decided to get him to replace anything that was perished, leaking, or looked like it could do with being replaced. So not only did Rob replace the alternator and timing chain case gaskets, he also fitted two new rocker cover gaskets, a new sump gasket, a new crank seal, new upper inlet manifold gaskets, and pretty much every other gasket on the engine too!

But at least it has fixed the bloody leak! And the new genuine Ford alternator means that I can use all of the ST220’s electric luxuries without fear of the car dying – which is particularly handy when you consider autumn’s not far away and it’ll soon be time to fire up the heated seats again!

I picked the car up from Tarnock just a few days before Ford Fair, so it’s first test was a 300mile round-trip to Silverstone and back. And that was swiftly followed by a further 400mile journey to mountune and back again. On top of that I’ve racked up a fair few miles just pottering about too, so I must have covered over 1000miles by now – time enough to say with a degree of confidence that the problem is fixed. Finally.

Next up, look at the bodywork…


Tarnock Garage





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