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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
20th January

Just when you think everything is going well...

7th October

Puma passes MOT despite struggle

28th June

MR2 Turbo in France

31st March

Further money "invested"

6th January 2013

'90s reigns as the current JT Fleet is introduced