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Discussion Starter · #101 ·
here's the latest:

We're jusrt a few days away from finding out what the hell is going on with the front end of the van. I've taken the van to a number of shops and all give differnt reason and causes. Based on how the vna is handing. I've narroed it down to the struts, sway bar end links. But there could be more to this than I'm able to see.

According to the Performance Ford dealership, it will take approx 4-6 hours to complete. But I've added the two sway bar end links which I though would be easier to access because the strut had bene removed at that time. There links have a grease ball joint for longer life.

just to refresh, the front end dives hard into and through corners. The van seem unstable like it's lost it center of gavity. Plus, there a slight wheel hop going on when taking off. All signs that there's soemthing going on with the factory struts which have worn out in less than 2 years of driving.

Next I get a message from our Ford account site, which says there's a recall on the windshield and transmission bushing. Once I'm there, I'll ask what Ford plan on doing with the windshield. I say it needs to be replaced. But if Ford elects not to replace it, we're going to have safelite do the replacement with a 200.00 deductable.
next, We've yet to get a notice in the mail about the recall on the transmisson cable bushing. In order to cut to the chace, I've ordered the correct bushing replacemtn from Bushingfix.com and it arrive two days ago.
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Although this video is not the same setup, it will show how easy it is to replace these bushings:

With bushing in hand if and when we get the recall notice, I'm going to have them install this bushing instead of one that ford offers. The windshield is a free installation (IF they replace the windshield) and the bushing is also a free installtion, but again there's no word as to when we'll get this recall notice. I may have to jump the gun and take the van to the dealership soon after the front end has been upgrade, replaced and an alignment checked.
Look for photos next week after the van has been run through the ringer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #102 ·
here's the latest:

After months of searching for the Bilstein struts and lining up an appointment with our local Ford Performance dealership, I arrived at the dealership first thing in the morning. Waited 1 hour for the doors to open. Once I pulled the van through the service entrance they took all my information, then I seen the van drive away. Hour after hour I waited in the front of the dealership where I found a nice cool spot out of the sunlight. One the hour I would walk around to see if the van was taken into the shop. 4 hours later the van still wasn't taken into the shop. I had it, so I walked into the service center complained and the service advisor gave me keys.. I drove off the lot without having anything done to the van and wasting 6 hours sitting at a dealership.

Mind you the same service advisor was the one that told us it would take 4-6 hours to complete. But the last thing I heard him say before I drove off the lot was that the van would not enter the shop until 1Pm est. - 2Pm est.. This meant that I would have had to sit at the dealership an additional 5 hours in order to see the work on the van. He even admitted that I was suppose to have arrive at the dealership the first thing in the morning so his tech could get to work on the van.. That never happen.

Now I have to find another shop to handle the installation. However I did locate someone who wanted to take on the installation of the sway links, but was very busy when I spoke to him. Touch and go.. And with our old insurance increasing, we've had to save up money to buy new insurance through a different company. This means everything has been pushed out again..

I guess sin the mean time, I can continue working on the diamond tucked carbon fiber panels and installing the spare tire mount on the passenger side of the cargo area
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
Here's the latest..
You're not going to belive what I just discovered.. I was lining up having a shop down the street install the new duralast sway links on the van. I pulled the van out of the garage to inspect the factory left and right link. The ball joints on the links are opposite sides, meaning that one ball joint faces one direction while the other ball joint faces the other direction..
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I open the duralast box and found out that the links I have are wrong.. both ball joints are facing in the same direction.. Crap. So I would have wasted my time and money taking the van to the shop, put up on the lift and started to deconstruct the front end only to find out they are the wrong links.. Heading to Autozone tonight to pick up the right ones..
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 ·
here's the lateist:

So doing some searching today and actually contacted Autozone via twitter. This is the easiest way for me to get intouch with any major manufacture or parts distribution center. I spoke with the autozone twitter account and informed them of this issue.

My wife just sent me a photo from her cell of the parts in the back of the van
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If one was to compare the part numbers with those on the web site, they would be the same. Process of elimination has concluded that the wrong part is in the right number box.. I did call another autozone (who claims they have the correct part in the correct origination in stock) So we're off to check this out this afternoon.

Lessons here, is always check you part at the check out counter to make sure it has the correct hardware and the part is in the correct origination before leaving the store or shop. If one could have imagined what would have happen if I never had checked the part and took it to the shop and had them deconstruct the front end of the van only to find out the part wouldn't fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #105 ·
Here's the latest:

Been a while since I checked in here and a few good things have happened along with a few bad things.. First lets start with the bad.. Over these last few months and after rotating the the tires, I've bene giving the spare wheel a good look over.. and I'm just not pleased with the color.
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Along with this, I went to another powder coating shop who has a scanning tool to take a reading of the color on the wheel. Turns out the color on the wheel is something called Lonestar Blue. Odd thing here is that a few months ago I was able to take a shot of the CC navy color on a sample bottle which was also in their showroom..
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Since finding this bottle, they've removed it from their site claiming they never had this color. So you tell me, does the wheel color match the bottle color? I think not.

So it looks as if after 20 years, we'll have to locate a new powder coater. I can't believe that they are going to throw our relationship away because they or their painter can't get our colors right.

One a positive note, I've join a transit connect and Focus forum and found some very useful information coming form the Focus guys. So much so, several are willing to help us with our build by offering their shops. bad part right now, we're not able to drive that far in some cases.

Which leads me to what happen over the weekend.. I located a speed/tuner shop that said they would or could do anything I wanted done tot he van. In fact the shop Forman said as a bargain, he's willing to do the services for a trade with my Voxx wheels and crappy Nitto tires. I can't say we'll have the new wheels and tires ready for the trade because we needed to have the struts etc done first.

So in less that 2 weeks, we'll finally have the new struts, new sway links and few other small components installed on the van. Afterward, we'll either get motivated to get those wheels and tires or search for those new/used Focus seats that seem to mount right up to the current TC configuration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Something else that came up. The van has been hesitating for about 2 months right after the gas prices have increase. But while on the highway, the pre-Collison warning would flash while I was trying to pass in a regular passing zone.. Because of this warning.. the Van's braking system would become active and was slowing us down.. Nice.. (sarcastic). Turns out while the Pre-Collison was active so was the AEB or emergency braking system was active.

What has been happening is that the brakes have been on and off by them selves for that 2 months. I just found out how to deactivate the AEB. Though the Pre-collision can't be disabled. can you imagine if I still had the factory brakes on the van, this would have been a big mess and prob would have worn the factory brakes out sooner. Luck for me the carbon fiber/ceramic pads don't show any signs or wear.

if you're having trouble with your brakes, check this page out.
https://www.akinsford.com/blog/how-to-turn-ford-pre-collision-assist-on-off/#:~:text=The Pre-Collision Assist System,Active Braking on or off
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
Here's the Latest:

Just got back from visiting the Performance/Tuner shop and they said they are willing and very capable to handle anything we want done to the van. First on the list the struts, sway bar end links and a few minor tweaks. Plus while the work is being done on the van, the techs will check out what we need to sway the transit Connect seats with the Focus seat. These guys even act like they know what they are doing even before I open the hood of the van.

So instead of the coils being compressed with these cheap compression removal tool..

Line Bicycle part Font Auto part Automotive lighting





I noticed in the shop that had this wall mounted compression tool..

Fixture Bandsaws Gas Machine Cylinder



All thats needed is for the shop to remove the current struts, extract the coil springs and remove the strut mounting kit as these are that old and don't seem to be damaged. Doing this, would save us money and get the job done faster. The tech even admitted that more than one person will be working on the van as they enjoy tuning and this would make the second time tuning a Connect. I could tell they want to work on this van gawking at all the minor upgrades I've done over the last 2 years.

Part of the trade off and why this install will be much cheaper, is that when we pulled up the shop mangers seen our 17'' Voxx wheels and said he wanted them then asked how much.. I told him their free once we get the new wheels and tires.. They also said that if and when we get the new wheels and tires, they'll check for rubbing etc and figure out the fenders actually need to be rolled.

Lastly, The shop manger started talking about possible crossover parts like the sway bar, and even the seats off a focus. But we're both concerned with the wiring and the harness. So this will be something we'll all have to explore. But right now, it's struts and sway bar end links and this will take place within the next two weeks.

After leaving the shop we headed south then west just to locate two stations that claim to have the E85 fuel. One station was the newest Royal farms and E85 was going for $4.10 per gal while just down the street the HIGH's station had E85 at $3.75 per gal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
You make plywood covers for the Holes?
@cjyoung52055 Nope this is how the van comes form the factory. As for the diamond tucked carbon fiber, it's laying on my craft table for months. I just haven't had the motivation to do something with it. Though because of the issue I had with the powder coaters, I'm going to have to paint a few parts myself or until I find another shop. The best I can hope for is that this current shop has the tools and can fab up many of the things I need to finish the van. Planning on having the top/roof painted or coated for heat defection. Then mount a slim line roof rack to support some dumbie surf boards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
With 2 weeks away from having the performance tuner check out the front of the van. I'm still searching for a station that actually sells E85. Although I've heard from others mixed reviews on this type of fuel, I want to experience this for myself. One thing I wanted to verify, is if our van was or is equipped to handle E85. Even though there isn't a flexfuel badge, checking the van's paper work show that it can run on regular or E85. If your van has the 2.5L you will not be able to run E85. However as another TC owner has been experiencing.. the engine seems to be running sluggish so we switched to a higher grade of fuel. going from 87 to 89 has made some difference. At one point we ran 91 oct in the van which made an even bigger difference. We're going to wait till the last possible moment to find an E85 station. Just in case one didn't know, the E85 has an oct rating of 110.
Automotive parking light Tire Product Motor vehicle Wheel
 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
With the fuel gauge getting low or lower than normal. we're heading out today to locate station with E85. So far the van has been getting on average 18.6 mpgs per mile the lowest it's ever been. We've been running on 87 or 89 Oct. Once the new E85 has been added we'll keep a running tally of the fuel consumption and with the E85 prices at .19-.28 cents cheaper, we're hoping it makes a difference on fuel economy and performance.



Just got back from the station and we found E85 at 3.59 per gal.. Normally it would cost us $60.00 at the pump and this morning filled up at only $40.00 that's a saving of $20.00. I'm so excited to know that there's over 86% ethanol in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #111 · (Edited)
According to treal512 on another TC forum, this member posted a picture of a set of Ford Focus seats in the Transit Connect. Yet when I submitted a question as to how difficult this was and I needed more details about this installation. I never got a reply.

Vehicle Car Seat belt Automotive design Motor vehicle


As suspected, the TC owner returned to the forum only to say that he swapped the seat covers from a Focus onto his connect seats.. More and more I'm seeing this being done as the seat's wiring was not designed to work in other vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
Spent nearly all day yesterday searching for information about swapping the Focus Seats with the transit seats. I did locate a video where a young Focus owner swapped his fabric seats with a Focus Leather seats, but ran into issue with the passenger side sensor. watched as he struggled taking off the leather covers and installing them on the cloth seats.. this is clearly something I'm not able to handle on my own. Spoke with
the wife and we've come to the conclusion that we're going to opt to keep our current seats but fall back on doing/installing the cheap plastic skate board wheels I located in the trash a few years ago.




I'll end up cutting a few of these wheels in half and leave others full sized this is will give us a few options when using these as shims up the seat frame rail. One thing the video touched on, clarified that we will need to disconnect the battery's positive and negative terminal just to this doesn't disrupt the angle of the seat while installing the shims. Installing the plastic shims at the front seats rear floor mounts should change the angle of the seats forcing the up in the back and more forward. Like I said these Connect seats give a new meaning to the term "bucket seats". So if we can get a nice day, we'll head over to a friend shop and see if we can get this done and the sooner the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 · (Edited)
Located an old thread from another Transit Connect forum back in 2019 and it's still going today. On this forum, most of the TC owners simply wanted to raise the entire seat up off the floor. In our case we want to tilt the seat forward. But using many of the same items these guys came up with, we should have something very close to achieving that forward angled seat.

Modify or Replace Driver's Seat?
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Discussion Starter · #114 ·
Here's the latest:
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After months of waiting and wondering we finally had a chance to take the van to a shop who specialized in performance installations. With a set of new Bilstein B6 struts and Duralast sway Bar End Links.. the van has never felt and drove better. The technician said that the factory struts were completely worn out. There was zero articulation or recoil to them. They were simply resting on the lower housing.
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This could be one of the main reasons the van handled so poorly. I can't believe that these struts failed after only 2 years of Maryland driving. and these are main roads without any grave or back roads. if you live in Maryland you can bet you've driving on these types of roads before.
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In order to access the strut towers to remove the strut hardware, one will need to remover the plastic cowl as well as detach the windshield wipers as well as remove the windshield wiper motor. The TC's windshield and the subframe does not extend farther past the engine bay for a clean and quick removal and installation.
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And if you've ever wondered if you need a strut tower brace.. the 2020 TC already has one..
If one is interested in having this done to their van, this installation will cost you between $745 - $958 USD and take approx. 4-6 hours. Our installation cost on the lower end and took 4 hours to complete. I would highly recommend having a set of these struts installed on your van if you're having handling issues and even if you're not.
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Having a set of the Bilstein struts or shocks installing on your van is the next best thing to having a set of coil over and without lowering. Also, because the factory struts had worn out and resting on the control arms etc.. installing the new struts raised the van back up to it's original height or about 3/4 of an inch.

The handling has increase or feels just like it use to when we first purchase the van. Even through the tires still sux and have too much flex to them, the van was able to take some tight curves without any body roll.
Now that we've found a shop, Our next project is to take care of the the seats as we need those skate board wheels installed under the 4 rear bolt brackets to tilt the seat forward. Look for that write up coming soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Safelite to the Rescue

Just completed scheduling an appointment with our nearest safelite store location. We would have had it done at our office, But because of security, we're not able to allow them to enter the secured parking lot to make the repairs. Just waiting on the confirmation. Cost to have a cracked windshield is $495.00 - $250.00 deductible. The soonest we can get to having the windshield replaced is Next Fri 12th. The crack is spreading fast and is almost half way up the center of the window. I fear that it will reach that area where I noticed fracturing. If you have recall concerns, One can either take the van to the dealership and have them simply reseat your current windshield (cracks or chips included, NOT Replaced) or take the bill from the glass shop to the dealership. However, there's no indication that the recall will or will not be removed from your records and there's no clue as to IF the dealership will reimburse us for the repair. We'll find out when we reach that point.
Good Luck dealing with your recalls, Because it shouldn't be this difficult..
 

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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
WARNING: Avoid Moog Premium, Mevotech TTX & Duralast Gold & Other Grease Fitted Sway Bar End Links On Your Connect

This just in and we found out the hard way. Today I spent several hours at the shop because the van has been making a clunking sound coming from the front end. Turns out that the Duralast links (mainly the ball joint housing) is too large or twice as large as the stock or stand brand links. Because the Moog & Duralast links have a larger ball joint housing used in conjunction with grease fitting.. these ball joints hit the inner wheel well/fire wall area.
Liquid Fluid Drinkware Automotive lighting Flash photography


This is evident while searching inside the wheel well that shows the marring/scared area of the wheel well and around the ending side fire walls. Also because the link is much wider, it's not allowed the full range of articulation when the strut moved up and down and rotates clock wise and counter clock wise. The link is forced into a bind and may actually get stuck within the wheel well.
Hood Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior


Tell tell sign that these type of links will not fit on your van is that the shaft is double thickness, with reinforced ball joints which allow for grease fitting. The Moog Premium, Mevotech TTX & Duralast Gold Links utilize this type of design. But they have not been thoroughly tested. After driving 3 days on the Duralast links, we kept hearing a clunking sound in and around the wheel well. Later and after inspecting around the wheel well, we noticed marred makings on the black powder coated firewall area next to the engine bay.

Tomorrow, we'll head back to the shop with a standard slim line brand of links and install them on the van. I'm hoping to be able to access the garage to take photos of the links hitting the wheel well fire wall as I'll need to send this info to Moog, Mevotech & Duralast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
Need Your Connect's Transmission Serviced? It's Not As Easy As You Might Think

While out and about today I stopped of at a new Ford dealership and asked the general manager about having our transmission service. According to him, the van is NOT suppose to have a transmission serviced until 100K miles. He went on to say that if you need the trans serviced anytime before the 100K mile mark, you're suppose to take the van to a transmission shop. But you might void the warranty doing this. Catch 22. then again, according to the general manager.. "our (Ford) transmission don't need servicing"

The reasons I stopped at this dealership today is because the BG Products website claims that there's several Ford dealerships that offer the BG Products services.. this makes the 5th Ford dealership we've stopped at over the last few months searching for a shop that will serves our van with the BG Products and none of these dealership will services the transmission or have the BG Products to do so.

For us seeing how Ford & the dealership wont do it until the 100K mile mark, we'll have to locate a shop that has the tools and adapters to service the Ford transmission for us. Oh and that shuttering your Trans is suffering with.. that's "normal" according to the service manager at that Ford dealership..
 

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Discussion Starter · #118 ·
A Shuttering Discovery

This morning I was asked what could be causing the shuttering issue with the Ford Transit Connect van. As per the Ford dealership which says this is "normal" or "Typical" with the connects, they claim it's nothing to worry about. While on the road to a western MD fruit stand, I felt the van shuttering again.. Then I recalled a Ford Media article which states that the van is equipped with hill assist which can't be turned off. Then it hit me.. the system is compensating for any incline or slope the van may be driving on. Over compensation. The system keeps activating and deactivating based on the hills or slopes.
So if you've ever wondered why the van is shutter.. just remember, it's one of two things.. either the automatic braking system is engaging (which I was able to disable/turn off) or the hill assist is over compensating along your route. Now we need to find away to disable this hill assist..
 

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Discussion Starter · #119 ·
Van Modification: Removal of the Cloth/Mesh Wheel Well Material

This weekend with temps in the low 80's thought it best to head over to the eastern shore and visit a friends house who has plenty of room for me to work on the van. he's doesn't have a garage, but a few large shady area. we'll be getting there early because I'll need to allow the van to cool down so that I can address painting the brake calipers.
Also, while the wheels are off the van, we'll be addressing the cloth/mesh stuff Ford is now using in the wheel wells instead of larger plastic wheel well protectors. This black mesh is absorbing and collecting dirt and leaves inside the wheel wells. thus causing some damp spots which could turn to rust etc. This material/mesh will need to be removed and the wheel wells scuffed then a bed liner applied. I can't say I'll be able to get all of this done by my self this weekend, but I'll give it a go.
If you're van has this mesh type material, best check under the mesh for a build up of leaves, dirt mud etc and you might have to do something similar to what we're going to do this weekend.
 
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