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Advice Needed Re: Upgrade To Mk. 4


Sir_Real
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Evening all, first post here, although I've been a confirmed Mondeo fanatic for 10 years - in which time, I've owned half a dozen Mk. 2's and Mk. 3's. A couple have been great, a couple have been average, and a couple downright bad - but I've always bought at the lower end of the market, as I've not been able to afford to do otherwise. So you'd expect the occasional stinker.


Anyway, I'm looking to splash out a little bit (at least by my definition), and have around £3,000 to spend on a replacement for my current '02 plate 2.0 TDci, which has just become too much of a money pit. I have my heart set on a Mk. 4, and have seen several '08 and '58 plated going for the 'right' money. So, my question is, does it make sense to buy a Mk. 4 with, say, 150,000 miles on the clock...are there bargains to be had, or are those cars cheap for a reason? What do I need to particularly look out for as problem areas?


Really appreciate any advice, before I splash out and possibly regret it!
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Go was on the same situation, my Mk3 expired fuel pump far to expensive to fix and the car had over 180k on it so I bought a mk4 with 140k on it as the price was right £2995 all I had , anyway mechanically it's great drives like a lower milage car, however electrically it's been a nightmare, fuse box corroded, abs wiring broken, no heated rear window, burnt out headlight connectors, the garage I bought it of where helpful in sorting the abs and the fuse box, the also managed to find me a warranty for a year, it only covers half the cost of a repair but it's better than nothing.

There are a plenty of higmileage ones out there so look at lots and buy one, I bought very hastily due to time constraints needed a car quick, on the plus side it came with 2 sets of alloys some 18"s now sold, and some 17"s which are now on the car

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Hey Pete, thanks for the advice - so are you glad you made the jump despite the electrical issues? Are those common problems or were you just 'unlucky'? How long have you had it now and how much do you reckon you've spent on it since your initial investment? I've seen a number of higher mileage Mk. 4's for silly money (like £1,500, but 220,000 miles on the clock), but realistically how many miles can you expect one of those engines to put in before the car becomes a money pit like high mileage Mk. 3's tend to be, or just conks out altogether? I'm no mechanic so 'fix or repair daily' becomes a very expensive business!

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I think there are several points:

  • at higher mileage, any lack of care will be more of a problem than on a car that has only done 30 - 60 k miles.
  • older, higher mileage, cars may well have fallen in to the hands of a 'bodger', and a car that has been consistently bodged (and then sold on when either there is 'a fix too far' or a bodge has gone than badly wrong), and they'll be trouble, and possibly a money pit
  • there are certain expensive things that go wrong; dmf and cam drive belt, for instance; when the car is owned by a company/lease org, that these need to be done isn't a big problem, when the car is worth, say, 3000 and is on to someone who is only after 'motoring on the cheap', they'll probably either sell on when they think an expensive repair is due, or just carry on until that becomes infeasible.

I don't want to put you off, but there a lot of potential things that could be wrong with a cheap car, and you just have to be a bit careful - a bit more careful than usual - that the one that you get isn't a 'lemon' (or, if you know that there is something that needs doing, be prepared for the financial shock, and the purchase price takes that in to account).

A service history is a good sign, but you could still have a 'lemon' serviced regularly, so it isn't the end of the story. But, if you have a pile of papers to go through, at least you should have a clue on what has been done on the car before you get it. (And, I'd always be a bit put off by cheap, no-name, Chinese, suicide-special tyres; of course, you can change the tyres, but it is a symptom of either a cut-price merchant, or someone who doesn't know/care about cars and driving.)

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I'm happy with the car, I've not spent much on it a a second hand pair of headlights £95 still to fitted as I can't get the headlight multipin connector off, rear window sorted a loose connection had to take the tailgate trim of to fix that, new filters all round £50 the fuel filter is not as easy to do as a mk3, biggest expense was new tyres £325 ran the winter on the old 16"s of my mk3.

Electrical probs do seem to be fairly common especially the fuse box and the ABS wiring all easy to fix but annoying, oh and changing the battery is not an easy job it's an air box out job, I put by old mk3 battery in as it was only a couple of months old.

My car was ex lease so it's early life was well documented it didn't want for a thing, service history after that gets a bit sketchy but timing belt was done at 138k yes it's a belt not a chain like the mk3.

I don't regret buying it good load carrier but a bit less load space tha the mk3 estate more leg room up front and I miss the heated and cooled leather seats, spec is good as its a Titianium x, I've had it for nearly 3 months done 6500 miles in it

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Yeah I'm under no illusions about the possible pitfalls of buying 'bargain' cars, done it several times before, some with better results than others, but I guess it's normal (certainly with 'modern' cars) that when a car gets past a certain age / mileage it's to be expected that stuff will have to be repaired / replaced on a fairly regular basis. I suppose what I'm really asking is for obvious things to check for with regard to the early Mk. 4 - so DMF & cam belt are good info, also regarding the electrics. How long would the clutch be expected to last on these before it needs replacing? And is it still a crazy expensive job as it is on Mk. 3's (because engine needs to be removed)?

Always gonna be an element of risk buying a cheap car I guess, as with the best will in the world there can be unseen (and unknown) problems that prove to be expensive further down the line. Just bought a P reg Merc sprinter van (to convert into a camper), wasn't even *that* cheap, guy had spent over £2,000 on it in the last 6 months, including replacing the clutch. Drove it back, parked it on the drive, went to move it the next day, clutch was borked due to slave cylinder failure...hey ho...fortunately not a hugely expensive fix, but you see my point!

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Now I may have been lucky but I've never had a problem with DMF or clutch had several high milage cars more of a worry to me is DPF, mind that may not be a problem because the shortest journey I do is 28 miles on an A road and I think that high mileage cars will have spent a lot of time on motorways so a lot less clutch wear

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Wow, I've also been lucky enough to never have come across a DPF, a 'modern' car problem...but yeah, sounds complicated and expensive. I had an old Mk. 3 die on me due to contamination in the fuel lines / tank, which had come from a faulty fuel pump breaking down and sending aluminium scurf all through the fuel system - a fairly common problem on a certain age of Mk. 3 I think...

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