Fam­ily favourite had flaws

Front sus­pen­sion prob­lems and rust are worth check­ing out if it’s a Ter­ri­tory you’re af­ter, GRA­HAM SMITH writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

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.

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