If there’s one thing the Ford Transit hasn’t been, it’s transitory. That’s because it has been a constant of the commercial world since 1965.
Not for no reason has the ‘backbone of Britain’ advertising logan stuck, because the Transit has spent the past few decades getting on with making life easier for the world’s workforce.
That said, it isn’t perfect, and the Mk3 version we focus on here has a number of common issues that would become deeply annoying if you were to let them linger. Best get them sorted. But you want to do so as cheaply as possible, and there’s no cheaper way to do it than repair your Transit yourself.
And that’s where Haynes can help, because we’ve stripped down and rebuilt a Transit Mk3 so that you can follow our procedures with confidence, saving yourself hundreds of pounds on garage labour charges along the way.
What recalls has the Ford Transit been subject to?
The Ford Transit has had to go back to dealers on a few occasions for the dreaded recall, but not that many, which is good news.
A faulty brake pedal R-clip caused an early recall, while a dodgy securing bolt for the rear brake pipe bracket forced 127,882 Transits back to dealers.
Then 8587 examples were recalled to have a faulty steering wheel replaced, because the wheel could detach while driving.
Leaky power steering could cause fluid to drip on to the exhaust, with the potential for fire, then 53,766 Transits were recalled because their driveshafts could detach. New retaining clips were needed.
Some models were sold with seat belt fixings that weren’t tight enough, so these had to be tightened, and incorrectly tightened front suspension lower arm bolts could allow the arm to detach from the subframe.
Iffy power steering belts forced a recall of 7000 Transits.
But that’s it, so just make sure all the work has been carried out if you’re looking at buying a Transit Mk3.
What common problems does the Ford Transit have?
The third-generation Ford Transit is known to suffer a problem that causes a grinding noise to emanate from under its front end. It’s a driveshaft centre bearing that’s at fault.
Several owners of the Transit Mk3 have also reported an issue that causes the wipers to switch on and off of their own accord, and the instrument cluster to pack. In addition, the van may fail to start.
An engine cooling fan that runs constantly is another electrical issue, and the oil pressure-warning light can suddenly come one, signifying an oil pump issue.
What’s that grinding noise from your Ford Transit Mk3?
Vans have never been the most civilised of vehicles, but they’re a lot better than they used to be. And that means that any untoward noise is much more obvious, and therefore annoying, then ever.
So if your Ford Transit start to generate a grinding noise, well, that’s going to be extremely disconcerting.
The issue is a failing driveshaft centre bearing, and if you raise the front of the vehicle and set it on axle stands, then try to turn the wheels, a faulty bearing will be obvious.
Thankfully, replacing it isn’t that difficult, so just gather together the required tools and the replacement components, then study the step-by-step guide in your Haynes Transit manual. After that, just set to work, taking your time and making sure you do every step of the procedure as listed in the manual. Grinding noises will soon be a thing of the past.
Why are your Ford Transit Mk3 wipers playing up?
We’ve all seen them – the people driving along with their wipers running on intermittent, despite the sun having been out for 20 minutes.
Well, you might notice that happening to a Ford Transit, but it won’t be driver inattention at fault. Oh no, strange things are afoot in the Transmit Mk3 that cause the wipers to run of their own accord. These gremlins also cause the instrument cluster to die a death, and if you’re really unlucky, also stop the van from starting in the morning. And that’s a stop-start system that no one needs.
The issue is a faulty ignition switch, and the only solution is to replace the switch.
This entire procedure is covered in your Haynes Transit manual, so just invest in the replacement switch and start unscrewing bits. You’ll soon be back on the road. Go on – your wiper blades will thank you.
If you want to know how to change the engine oil and oil filter in your Ford Transit Mk3, just wtch our FREE video below.
Why is the Transit Mk3 cooling fan running all the time?
It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot day, a cold day, or whether or not you’ve been sitting in traffic for what seems like hours, numerous owners of the Ford Transit Mk3 have reported an issue that causes the air-conditioning to pack up and the engine cooling fan to run at full tilt with now sign of it switching off anytime soon.
The first job is to plug in a fault-code reader. If this displays the code P0480, then the issue is that the engine cooling fan itself is faulty. A side effect is that the air-conditioning compressor stops operating.
Replacement of the fan is the only option, so you’ll need to look up the Cooling, Heating & Air-Conditioning Systems chapter of your Haynes Transit manual and follow the written instructions and photographs contained in the procedure.
Has your Ford Transit Mk3 lost oil pressure?
Warning lights are never a welcome sight, but and oil pressure-warning light is undeniably one to get icy chills running up and down your spine. First thing to do is pull over where it’s safe to do so as quickly as possible and switch off the engine.
If the engine was running fine before the pressure dropped, there’s a good chance that it’s the oil pump itself that has failed. If you can, check the oil pressure yourself, then once you’ve confirmed the issue, invest in a new oil pump and set to work.
This is job that can be carried out with the engine in the vehicle, so you’ll just need to raise the front of the vehicle and set it on axle stands. Then follow our step-by-step guide. Take your time.
Is your Ford Transit coughing and spluttering?
An engine that coughs and splutters on the way to the latest job is never going to put you in the frame of mind to do that task to the best of your ability. So, it’s vital that you get it sorted out as quickly as possible, if only for the reputation of your business!
The engine warning light will also illuminate at this point.
Your first port of call is the OBD socket, so plug in a fault-code reader and see what it says.
If it displays the code P0094, the fault lies within the fuel system, which is detecting a possible leak. However, if you then check over the fuel system and find that no fuel is being lost, then the fault for the issue lies at the door of the fuel rail pressure sensor.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that it isn’t possible to replace the sensor alone – you’ll need to replace the fuel rail. This whole procedure is covered in the Haynes Transit manual, so just buy the new parts and start twirling those spanners.