PH Fleet: Ford Puma


With every car I've owned, an impending MoT has always been a time of anguish and fear. It's always reminded me of the run-up to an exam when you're at school or university, except without the ability to control the outcome. Especially if, like me, you are about as competent with a set of spanners as your average small family pet.

Puma nestled between Lexus and Golf
Puma nestled between Lexus and Golf
When you're running a shed on a shoestring (and the Puma has form in that area, having started its PH life as an SOTW star), this angst is multiplied several times over, because the whole point is to run an interesting car, but with the minimum possible outlay. So whereas the non-shedder might lavish time and money on upgrades and general upkeep, the chap or chappess with a shed has to be a bit more careful about the money bit.

Thus, MoT time is a worry. Especially with the clonking nearside front suspension I'd been putting off getting sorted out for the best part of 12 months. Sure enough, AX51 GGA got a big, fat thumbs-down. Actually that's a bit unfair - it went through the test without even an advisory except for that dreaded suspension. Turns out the ball joint that connects the strut to the lower suspension arm was, to put it technically, knackered.

One old suspension arm...
One old suspension arm...
A quick search on eBay and I'd sourced a whole new nearside lower suspension arm (the ball joint and the arm itself all come as one piece) for 20 quid and, duly fitted by a professional (ie someone with at least an ounce of mechanical aptitude), the whole repair cost me just over £70. The only sting in the tail was that, because of the ruddy Jubilee four-day weekend, I couldn't get the retest done at the original garage (sorry Ma'am, I'm no republican or anything, but your timing was lousy in this instance), so I had to get the place that fitted the suspension arm to do a full-price MoT themselves.

Still, the Puma now has a shiny new MoT certificate to show for its trouble, and roundabouts and potholes need no longer be tackled with gritted teeth. Lovely.

My attention now turns an arm-long list of minor irritations that must be weighed in the balance to see whether they're worth the trouble of fixing, or whether it would not be in the spirit of true shedding to do so. Chief among these are ABS and traction control warning lights that illuminate when the weather is inclement, but work as they should in dry weather. I suspect water is getting into one of the ABS sensors and causing the problem, and it's something I might seriously have to put right.

...and one knackered ball joint
...and one knackered ball joint
The other issues really are a lot more minor: the aftermarket stereo doesn't fit properly in its allotted slot, drooping slightly on the left-hand side; the parcel shelf (which I've tried to secure by means of an electrical tape bodge) is about as secure as a piece of wet kitchen towel; the offside suspension tower has a missing plastic cap; and I noticed only today that the handle for the seat recliner has lost its placcy cover, too.

The big question is, will I have the energy to rectify them, or will inertia take its ugly hold? Find out next time, as they used to say...


Fact sheet:
Car:
 2001 Ford Puma
Run by: Matt Rigby
Bought: June 2011
Purchase price: 1,000
Last month at a glance: MoT failed, but at least Riggers has got that suspension sorted now


Previous reports:
Mysterious flat battery appears to be a one-off. So far...
Time to get AX51 GGA spruced up with a spring clean
Continental jaunts and Corrosion block for Riggers's Puma
Riggers is finding it tough to trust with his new Puma

Rubbish parcel shelf and
Rubbish parcel shelf and
...ill-fitting radio among remaining niggles
...ill-fitting radio among remaining niggles

Comments (39) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Beaverking 13 Jun 2012

    Tyrewrecker said:
    Beaverking said:
    Yes a weapon, where do you live douchebag? Me North West Scotland, where the roads are windy and empty,a stripped out 2.0 focus with four branch, exhaust, filter, chip, bilsteins, nice new wheels and tyres makes an ideal play thing up here, easy and cheap to fix, amazing handling and enough power to keep up with most cars and drivers on these roads, you probz drive an M3 or skyline or porsche, I would badly embaras you in my old focus, you don't need 500bhp to cover windy roads at good pace FOOL!
    Good golly, no malice intended! Time of the month?

    I am not denying it is fun but clearly we have different definitions of 'weapon' when describing a car. <1minute round knockhill then you're talking (plenty of serious cars take a little longer but lets not get all pedantic eh?) smile
    My m8 has 2 sub 1 minute knockhill cars, a turbo corsa b and 400 brake mk2 golf. When it rains which is often these machines are pretty dangerous and expensive to fix and they both require constant maintainance, they will anialate my car but I can use mine effectively more of the time and don't need to spend the time effort and expense of runninig a proper beast.My car is reliable and useable and on twisty single tracks is a proper weapon, my appologies for the harsh words though........peace!

  • Beaverking 13 Jun 2012

    Riggers said:
    Beaverking said:
    Its a 2001 Mk1 zetec, had it for 3 years and its been a faithfull companion, refreshing every bush underneath makes it feel like new, and relax!
    Definitely the nicest to drive of the Focuses. Lovely car smile
    Cheers, I love it, got it from a m8 who's family are into rallying(they have an evo5 rally car, Mcrae mk2 escort and legacy and a ur quattro with 10000 on the clock)it's not that fast but it is amazing in the twisty stuff, it had a new engine fitted when I got it and all the carpets, back seats, aircon removed etc resulting in it being 100 kilos lighter than standard, it really makes a difference. It also has genuine focus wrc bonnet vents the same on Mcrae's focus which I love, its black on white rims and it looks a bit like the rally car and with sparco buckets and steering wheel and the rally four branch it feels so different to a standard car,would never sell it, she is a keeper! And a single track weapon!

  • hora 13 Jun 2012

    I'm going to rename this topic Manlove.

    apt really considering you are discussing the metrosexual Puma tongue out

  • Tyrewrecker 13 Jun 2012

    Beaverking said:
    Yes a weapon, where do you live douchebag? Me North West Scotland, where the roads are windy and empty,a stripped out 2.0 focus with four branch, exhaust, filter, chip, bilsteins, nice new wheels and tyres makes an ideal play thing up here, easy and cheap to fix, amazing handling and enough power to keep up with most cars and drivers on these roads, you probz drive an M3 or skyline or porsche, I would badly embaras you in my old focus, you don't need 500bhp to cover windy roads at good pace FOOL!
    Good golly, no malice intended! Time of the month?

    I am not denying it is fun but clearly we have different definitions of 'weapon' when describing a car. <1minute round knockhill then you're talking (plenty of serious cars take a little longer but lets not get all pedantic eh?) smile

  • Riggers 13 Jun 2012

    Beaverking said:
    Its a 2001 Mk1 zetec, had it for 3 years and its been a faithfull companion, refreshing every bush underneath makes it feel like new, and relax!
    Definitely the nicest to drive of the Focuses. Lovely car smile

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