Family favourite had flaws
Front suspension problems and rust are worth checking out if it’s a Territory you’re after, GRAHAM SMITH writes
FORD responded to the growing demand for SUVs by producing the Territory, a highriding wagon with the choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and five or seven seats.
The same 190kW/383Nm six-cylinder engine as used in the Falcon was slipped under the Territory’s bonnet. There was also the option of the turbocharged version, also lifted from the Falcon, which produced a whopping 245kW and 480Nm.
Quite why you would want a turbo Territory is a mystery when the base engine has all the performance you could want and, while thirsty, isn’t as much a fuel-guzzler as the turbo.
The rear-wheel-drive version was a smart move by Ford when it would do everything most owners wanted, for less money and less complication. The AWD system was there for those who did want the safety and the offroad ability.
All models were well equipped with all the goodies most people expect these days. Even the TX base model had air, adjustable pedals, power windows, cloth trim, CD player and remote central locking.
The TS got you dual climate control air, cruise, rear cargo shelf, velour trim and sixstacker CS sound. At the top of the range was the Ghia with leather, powered driver’s seat and a host of other goodies.
The Territory has been popular with families since its introduction, but it hasn’t been without its flaws and they need to be recognised when thinking of buying used now. The most serious issue was the wear and failure of the front suspension balljoints.
Some balljoints actually broke, even at low Ks, but most wore out and required replacement at anywhere between 30,000-100,000km.
Initially Ford was using the same parts when replacing worn or broken joints, and these were just as likely to break or wear out as the ones they were replacing.
Ford now has an improved ball joint and is fitting them to cars for free when customers ask about them.
Owners should check with their dealers and have the revised balljoints fitted.
Another common problem concerns the degradation of the rear diff mounts, which can often be heard as a clunk in the rear of the vehicle when taking off or braking. The ZF six-speed transmission can also be troublesome. Dealers tend to prefer to replace the whole gearbox rather than repair them, and doing that can run as high as $6000 or even more.
Rust was a common complaint with early models, particularly around the fuel filler cap, the rear window and under the bonnet.
The engine is a tough old nail and has no serious flaws to speak of, except for fuel consumption, which is not brilliant at 12-plus litres/100km.
The 4.0-litre engine will happily run on LPG should you want to cut your fuel bills.