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We're not kicking Ford

Ford claims no major mechanical changes in the 2009 update of the Territory.
Paul Gover
Herald Sun

22 May 2009 • 3 min read

No-one is a stronger believer in the blue oval and the Falcon, Focus and Fiesta - especially the Fiesta - are among my personal favourites.

But we have to blow the whistle on the quality problems at Broadmeadows after months of letters, emails and telephone calls complaining about everything from brakes to rust, paint to balljoints.

Graham Smith has his own take on things in Ask Smithy today, as well as a huge collection of complaining emails from Falcon and Territory owners. So it's not us kicking Ford, but the people who paid for a car in the belief it would do their job without drama.

And now I've had a couple of other worrying emails.

The first, from a brake repair specialist in Melbourne, raises again the question of the faulty brake hoses in Falcons.

"Ford should go down to a taxi repair shop and see what their failure rate is," he says.

"Admitting their own figures of two per cent affected is worse than they think, that means one in 50 BA Fords have gone barreling down the road with brake failure . . . and this is only the cars that have failed so far.

"Also, I expect that their two per cent rate is a survey of the cars being fixed by Ford dealer workshops, but the majority are being repaired by the aftermarket because the cars are out of warranty and Ford are probably not counting these. We even had one here this week that was still IN warrantee but the owner preferred to pay us to fix it properly. "Then I had a call just yesterday from a mechanic who had a hose fail whilst road testing a customer's car and ended up crashing through a fence."

Then, as I looked at the update work on the Ford Territory, I got an email from Scott Pedder. He is one of the top men at Pedders Suspension, which has seen a lot of repair work on front balljoints in the Ford SUV.

Ford claims no major mechanical changes in the 2009 update of the Territory but Pedder highlights the complete overhaul of the front balljoints. It's not just a change of component, but a re-work of the way the front end operates.

"One of the most noticeable and welcomed changes is the repositioning of the load carrying lower ball joint of the rear lower arm," Pedder says.

"The original ball joint was incorporated into the lower arm and attached to the steering knuckle in a "pull apart" situation which meant all of the vehicle weight was constantly trying to pull the ball joint out of its socket. The new design has moved what appears to be a larger and more robust ball joint to the steering knuckle itself and it then has the stud fitted through a taper hole in the lower arm in a "push together" scenario.

"The new design is a big step forward in making an already great vehicle even better."

But what about the people who already have a Territory and have run into wear problems with the front balljoints?