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Traded One Transit Connect For Another


LostInTransit
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Here's the Latest.

Before we head out for a long weekend, I needed to remove the headrest as we're having the embroidery shop stich in the same text/logo on the dash cover and both headrest covers. While the headrest cover was off a did a few minor modifications to the headrest foam padding. (which I can't show you)

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The issue is no matter what seat I sit in, the seat is attempting to crunch me over and into the seat. the worse part is the headrest is forcing my neck forward then causing stress on my lower back. Even with the multi position rest, it's still not far enough back for the headrest to be comfortable. Even though we're getting the dash cover and both headrest embroidered, I'll not be able to show you the end result because I'm waiting to have personalized plates made and once I have these, I'll make the big reveal.

TC and see you in a few.

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Back sooner than expected. For almost 1 month I've emailed the embroidery shop making sure everything was clear on what needed to be done. The shop foreman assure us that they would be there today as the shop would close at 3:00pm. But they said that if we ran late to call and they would hang around till we arrive. We arrived at 2:00 pm and the shop was closed.

We had other plans before getting to their shop. We stopped off at Firestone and attempted to schedule an appointment to have a set of the Bilstein struts installed on our van. The Firestone manager called around to their parts suppliers and NONE of them can get the struts we needed. 

Then we get word that a "blizzard" of sorts was about ready to pound parts of PA with heavy snow by night fall.. so we hightailed it out of PA.. the whole trip was a waste.. Spent 7 hours on the road and nothing to show for it.. back to square one. Fortunately, I have a list of others willing to do many of the jobs I've been searching to have done. So I sent out emails just to reconnect with them and get things lined up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the latest.

If you read in some of my earlier post, you'll see that we've had this t0brid spare for some time and finally had a chance to drive the wheel to the shop in Northern PA

I did some cross-referencing on RoadKillCustom.com. The site list other wheels that have the same bolt pattern and center bore.

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Using this reference, I was able to locate a 2005 Thunderbird spare balloon wheel that has the same bolt pattern and center bore at a salvage years in Spartan, SC. This would be a 12 hour drive for us to get the wheel or have the salvage shop shipped to us. We've elected to take a long weekend and go pick it up.

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One thing I found out about the wheel mainly the spare tire used is that several Ford Thunderbird forums has said that the Maxxis tire has been known to simply explode while in the back of the car or even while used as the spare. So if you're driving a newer T-Brid best take care and change out that Maxxis tire for another brand.

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Once at the shop, we had them let the air out of the tires just to be on the safe side while driving back home. But along the way we had AAA remove the tire from the wheel. Months passed as we just couldn't like of our powder coaters with a time to get the wheel to their shop. We could have shipped the wheel to them. But we learn they've moved into a new location and had an open house.

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This past weekend, we finally had a chance to take the wheel to Northern PA which would be a drive of 4 hours for us all to see the new shop and drop off the wheel.

Checking out the new shop and talking to the owner as well as the shop staff, we headed back for home. They told us the wheel should be ready at the end of April where again we'll take another long weekend and head back up there to pick the wheel up ourselves.

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We're going with a CC Navy Blue which is the closest color to the Ford Blue which is on the van. Thankfully, it was a sunny day and I was able to take several of the color chart bottles out to the van. Although the picture posted here doesn't do the color justice, the color is nearly spot on.

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So why all this trouble for one spare wheel? Currently, we're driving a 2020 Ford Transit Connect XL and I wanted to get rid of the full size Transit Connect spare tire which is tucked up under the rear of the van because of how difficult it is to extract the spare from the van. Using the RoadkillCustoms site I was able to track down the T-bird spare which has the same bolt pattern, center bore and is load rated enough to support our 2020 Connect.

Stay Tuned.. We'll update this thread when the wheel has been completed.

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Here's the latest.

Just found the front set of the Bilstein B6 Performance struts for our 2020 Connect. it's taken me months to do so. Now that I've ordered them, we should get them in a few weeks. Once in house, we'll then head over to our local Ford Performance dealership for the install.

Typically the Ford Dealership installed mustang, raptor and bronco parts so it's going to be a good day seeing the van get new struts after only two years of rough roads in Maryland. According to the dealership, it should take roughly 4-6 hours for the installed. Plus an alignment would be needed which is one thing I'm also looking forward to having done on the van.

These Bilstein struts wok with the current Ford Coil springs and one could upgrade the springs to lower the van, but we're not looking to lower or raise the van. Mind you it was a pain to locate these struts as many sites list these as well as the rear struts out of stock. So my options were running out.

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Over the weekend, We get word that our embroidered items have been completed, so tonight we'll head out to the shop to pick up the dash cover and two head rests.

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Not our actually dash cover as this offering was made by another car accessory retailers. But you get the general idea of how the cover looks. As for the text, I'll not be able to show what text we had embroidered on the cover and headrest until we get those custom plated on the van.

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Did something today I've wanted to do for a long time, get rid of the useless eyesore seat tray which is mounted to the seat rails and has absolutely zero purpose mounted to the seat frame rail between the seat and the rocker panel molding.. This molded tray was installed on the seat rails before the seat was mounted in the van. So removing these trays was difficult.

Because I never wanted to see this tray even again, I took some metal cutters to cut area away from the molded tray at the back of the tray, then popped the retaining pins from within/under the seat rail and slide the what was remaining of these trays out from the seat. way a difference and I should have don this sooner.. the unseen dirt and some change started collecting under this tray.

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Disappointing news this morning, Just found out that online retailers lied to us as their site claims to have these struts in stock. Moments ago I get an email saying these struts have bene discontinued and are no longer being offered by the manufacture. As I said Sat when I first ordered these struts the online retailer site said they had 1 drivers side strut and 2 passenger side struts in stock. but later change the status to "out of stock" soon after I order them. Now I have to go through red tape in order to get a refund on these items.

I've also, located 3 more retailers that claim these struts are in stock, one in fact is located in Canada and their struts cost 2x as much to get. I hope we don't have to go that route. Lastly, I pulled up summitracing's site just to see a list of what is available for the TC. Monroe, motorcraft and Bilstein are the only struts that have listed on their site, but their either back ordered, special order or ships from manufacture. It's clear that NO one has an inventory of struts.

One bright spot, picked up the embroidered dash cover and headrest yesterday. Very please at how both of these look. Now to get some double strength velcro to mount the dash cover to the dash and smooth everything out.. Shame I can't show you what the dahs cover looks like or the text added as I'm waiting for the big reveal when we have our personalize plated.

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Update:

It's just been confirmed that Bilstein has discontinued making the B6 struts for our van. at least this is according to the aftermarket retailer we attempt to buy a set of these from. I've contacted Bilstein North American and Europe to verify this with no word yet. So my order with that aftermarket retailer has officially been canceled and now waiting for our money to be refunded.

The sad part about this, is over the weekend, I placed the order for the struts under the assumption that the site I ordered them from said they had these struts in stock and once the order went through, the site updated saying they had zero in stock or struct were on back order and this was after they took my money..

Not only this, but I located a site that claims that the Koni Red or Yellow struts will fit on the Connect. Can anyone reading this confirm that the Koni strut will fit on your Connect or what other UK options do you have for performance struts in your country. My challenge for anyone reading.. I need a cross reference for struts in your country that i can use here in the US.

Lastly, My hopes of having a set of performance struts installed on the van are dwindling.. What's left?.. Monroe or Motorcraft struts.. everything else is either discontinued or back ordered.

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This Just In:

Positive progress this afternoon after finally getting in touch with our wheel manufacture. I've been trying to contact them for months. even tried to contact them through a retailers. They finally spoke to me about the wheels we're interested in and they are in stock. Yes!.. 

Next time to get that powder coated spare and head over to our local Discount Tire (which is 3-4 hours away) We'll prob wait till the end of the month to head back north into PA to get that spare wheel, then head due west through several other states to get to that Discount Tire show room.

As for the struts.. it looks as if we'll never be able to get the Bilstein struts so we're going to have to deal with either Monroe or Motorcraft as there's nothing else available.

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Here's the latest:

This just in, after months if not years of sending emails to Bilstein asking about their performance struts, I get an email from cooperate and Bilstein tech support informing my that because of the break down in the supply chain, they have been delayed in getting these products out to their consumers. But news from cooperate and others the Bilstein tech works with has said they we could see something around May 2022 supply's start to trickle back into their warehouses.

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Great strides have been made today with a minor set back. I was taking part in another forum when they started (as always) kidding me about how I do things. In fact they were calling me out and even made fun of anyone who's helped me with our build. Thankfully, this issue has now been taken care of and all those who have helped me in the past will continue to do so in the future.

Leaning toward new tires now based on the wheels we're getting. There is a science to this as not all tires are made the same way. Some lay flat while others have square edges. So even though the tire reads 245/40/18 and based on the wheel width, the tire might flex inward or outward (budging out).

One thing that has helped is searching for images of 18''x8.5'' wheels with the 245/40/18 tires.. Added an image showing what we're dealing with.

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Although these are not the correct wheels or the correct tires, it gives me an idea of what the 245 tires look like on a 18x8.5 wheel. Say for instance, when I search for a particular tire, typically there is a rim range listed for that tire. I found two moments ago and the both have two differ rim width ranges but for the same tire size. This means the tire will either budge out or stretch inward.

I'm not ready to reveal what tires or what wheels we'll be going with.

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Here's the latest.

It is a well known fact that the Transit Connect Transmission has had issues within it's lifetime. I spoke with a Ford rep a few days ago asking what are some of the best ways to care for these transmission issues. because I didn't get an answer from him, I've taken this issue upon myself.

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In several past vehicles I've driven, I've relied on the BG Products and the assurance that their products will withstand any issue the Connects transmission could encounter over it's lifetime. So next weekend we're heading to a dealership that offers the BG Products and we'll never have to worry about that pesky shutter transmission ever again.

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Here's the Latest.

Just got word that our powder coaters finished our 2005 Ford Thunderbird wheel. Although I told them we couldn't pick up the wheel until the end of April. Something's come up and we're going to have to drive north this weekend. So while up there, we'll pick up the wheel.

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Because we'll be in PA this weekend, Looks as if we're going to have to wait until the following weekend to drive the van to the Dealership who offers the BG products services. Picking up the powder coated wheel this weekend! Color Matching Blue.

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Here's the latest,

We're getting ready to hit the road for a long weekend of travel, mainly to pick up that wheel from the powder coaters. But I wanted to touch on something I've noticed since fuel prices have increased. Our fuel economy has suffered and has been doing so since we first purchased the van. According to the van's sale sticker, it says we're suppose to be getting 26.4 city & 28.9 highway. Instead, we ended up getting number like 18.4 city & 22.8 highway.

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Using the lowest octane fuel possible to save money, may not have bene a good idea. our fuel economy has continued to suffer. So i wondered what if I switched from 87 to 89 octane if this would make any difference.. we made the switch last week and I've noticed our fuel economy has increased. going from as low as 18.1 and it's now 23.9 this is the best it's been since purchasing the van 2 years ago. all because we're upgraded to a higher octane gas.

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Here's the latest

We're getting ready to hit the road for a long weekend and to pick up that powder coated wheel from the coaters. But while out this morning to pick up a package via the amazon locker, It's been raining here and because of the van's low beam headlights, I couldn't tell if the lights were actually on. Looks as if this will be a small weekend project just replacing the poor low beams with something better and brighter.

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Here's the latest;

After more than 1 year, DPA & amazon still haven't adjusted their site as to indicate that our van requires M14 lugs and NOT the M12 lugs. Both sites still say "Will not fit the 2020 Ford Transit Connect" But they do..

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Here's the latest:

Just got back from a long weekend drive into the heart of PA just to pick up our newly powder coated 2005 Ford Thunderbird spare wheel. Although the color is a bit off due to the clear coat, it's close enough for government work.

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And just to show others that even though the spec sheets for the 2005 Thunderbird claims that the bird has M12 lug studs.. Our spare wheels fits on the Transit Connect's M14 lug studs.

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jacked up the van this afternoon to test fit once more and I thought I had test fit the wheel before leaving my buddies shop in Goldsboro, NC 1 year ago. I just forgot to take pictures at the time we had the barebones wheel on the van. This time I was ready.

So for the record.. the 2005 Ford Thunderbird 17''x5'' (ET: Unknown) 63mm Center Bore fits our 2020 Ford Transit Connect 2.0L Xl cargo with plenty of clearance all around and brake calipers etc.

Checked my email yesterday, and Discount Tire has confirmed that 155/70/17 spare tire will fit this wheel and not though the van body off kilter.

Warning: if you're wanting to do nearly the same thing, make sure you do not weigh down the van as the t-bird wheel has a low load index but just enough for the Connect. The T-bird weighs in at 3,700 lbs. while the Connect base without any interior storage compartments or extra weight, weighs in 3,500 lbs.

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Here's the latest;

After doing a bit of searching, I found out the nearest Discount Tire is 3 hours away. But in order to kill 2 birds with one stone, I also located a Ford dealership that offers the BG product services. Once I find out if and when Discount Tire will order that 155/70/17 spare balloon tire, we'll plan a trip to that dealership to have the transmission service done then head over to Discount tire to have that balloon mounted. While there we'll talk to the manager of the store and inform him that we'll be returning in a few weeks to have his crew test fit our new 18'' wheels on the van and for them to match up the correct tires. We're leaning towards the Falken Ziex ZE960 A/S tires.

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Here's the latest:

Been in contact with Discount Tire Cooperate and they have assured me that they can order the T155/70/17 Continental tire for me and ship the tire to our desired DT location, which is a 3 hour drive for us. But killing two birds with one stone is going to be easier that I thought, There's a Ford Performance dealership near the same area as the Discount Tire center so we're going to line up that BG products transmission flush & fill.

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Once this has been taken care of, we can once again Focus on getting those struts and the new wheels.

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Here's the Latest:

Just got word that our nearest Discount Tire has just received the t155/70/17 balloon tire in stock and await our arrival at their shop to have the tire mounted to our newly powder coated t-bird wheel. Now all that's required is for us to set up an appointment at the Ford performance dealership near the same location and we're off for another long weekend trip in 2 weeks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the latest.

Just got back from a long weekend of traveling. Drove a few hours over into and though a few states to get to the nearest Discount Tire center. Once there we handed off the freshly powder coated 2005 t-bird wheel for a new tire. Then we talked about when our next set of wheel are to be and what tires we should use with this set up.

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Clean service center and very professional techs helped us ever step of the way. The tech who mounted our spare and remove the full size spare from under the van, I gave him a 20.00 tip.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the latest:

Weeks of rain has shown that these Nitto tires sux in bad weather and we can't wait to get rid of them. Do your self a favor and avoid Nitto tires on your van in the future. It's been extremely difficult to locate a part for our van. I can't say what the part it is because it's here one minute then gone the next. The last time I seen this part in stock I wasn't ready to make the purchase, now I'll be ready when I see it hit the inventory once again, which the manufacture says mid May.

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Here's the latest:

Got a surprise this morning. After months of searching and waiting, I just found a set of the Bilstein B6 performance struts for our 2020 Connect. The struts should arrive within the next two weeks. We're both so happy to get these struts and correct the failing motorcraft's struts. Later we'll order the rear B6 performance shocks. Once the struts arrive, we're off to the Ford performance dealership to have them install the struts and check or adjust the alignment.

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fingers crossed..

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Here's the latest:

Look what just arrived via Rockauto:

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Now to schedule an appointment with our local Ford Performance shop for the install.

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