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Motoring Contributions

A showcase of independent motoring journalism and automotive travails

JTurn Fleet: Ford Puma

As alluded at the end of the last fleet update, I have designs on tracking my Puma at some point this spring - after a few choice modifications. This has led to many hours being spent on my new hobby of forum trawling and part browsing.

The beauty of owning a Ford or VW is the wide array of parts available from mainstream sources. Champion, Bosch and NGK all make a suitable spark plug (often more than one) and it's possible to spend days vacillating over which to buy when really, deep down, you know it's not going to make a blind bit of difference on a 14 year old car with 120 bhp. If I wanted to make it go faster on the track - I'd be better investing that same time improving my driving technique or removing the rear seats. As an engineer I know all this, but if pumapete83 on the forum says he reckons the NGKs are best - I'm sold.

So far, my parts shopping has extended to about £80 worth of fairly modest service bits - the most important being a genuine Ford rocker gasket to stop it periodically changing its own oil (down the back of the engine block) and allowing me to put something a little more exotic than Sainsbury's Basics engine oil (or equivalent) in it.

Aside from that, my main focus will be the front brakes which, despite the car only weighing a little over a tonne, still struggle to pull it up convincingly.

It also suffers from permanently illuminated ABS/TCS lights in a manner that will be familiar to anybody who has owned a car equipped with an early ABS system. I consider myself an expert in such matters after a protracted battle with my Mk3 Golf ABS light resulted in a narrow victory for man over late '90s machine and a pass from the MOT man.

In Turbo news, the £400 or so on a thorough service seems to have been money well spent - with Magnecor ignition leads allied to iridium spark plugs seeming to give a keener throttle response. Any improvements in that area are welcomed on what now feels like quite a heavy engine compared to the Puma's free-revving Zetec unit.

Watch this space for an MR2 France Special next month, where I actually use one of the fleet for driving as opposed to pouring money into.

Regular Features
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20th January

Just when you think everything is going well...

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7th October

Puma passes MOT despite struggle

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28th June

MR2 Turbo in France

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31st March

Further money "invested"

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6th January 2013

'90s reigns as the current JT Fleet is introduced