Cosworth reliability. Words that go together like Volkswagen low-emissions. Or VW reliability, for that matter.

And, although I can’t really blame a 29-year-old Sierra for playing up (or even blowing up), it’s been pretty frustrating to miss the end of this year’s show season thanks to a knackered turbo.

Last month I reported on sending my tired T34 to a certain rebuild specialist, where it was heavily damaged (it appeared to have been dropped) and I was asked to pay for a new compressor housing. After a bit of heavy discussion, the bill was settled at £408, and I got the turbo back with a dented actuator. And the car was still smoking like a Golf TDI.

Since then, the turbo has returned from a warranty repair, wearing a replacement -34 actuator and a new bearing housing, along with a step-gap turbine end piston ring. Good stuff – and ideal until I can justify a GTX2871R. Much of the smoking has been cured, resulting in just the odd whiff on the overrun. I’ll have to see how it goes.

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Or rather I will, when I’ve fixed a couple of emerging faults: the engine management light reckons I need a new crank sensor, and the cooling fans have decided to stop running. Typical Cossie wiring!

On the positive side, I’ve treated the Sierra to a pair of number plates in the proper pre-2001 font, complete with Endeavour Ford logo – the original supplying dealer back in 1987. Not a major upgrade, I admit, but at least I’ll not turn up to any more events with masking tape holding the front plate in place…