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drh14

New Here! Owner satisfaction and reliability of 2014-17 model year TCs

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Hi there! I'm new here and about 95% sure I want my next (pretty soon) vehicle purchase to be a Transit Connect. They are hard to find good information on, even consumer reports is very limited. 

 

Anybody want to give me details on your ownership experience with the 2014-2017 model years of the Transit Connect passenger (wagon) vans? I am specifically looking for the LWB passenger van so I can do my build out bed modification, ideally keeping the second row bench seat. I've read a lot about the 2.5L i4 engine - 6F35 transmission combo - there are certainly some horror stories about the 6F35 transmission. Any feedback there? How accurate are those reports and were the transmission problems worked out after a specific model year? Also, can anyone confirm that those model years have a timing chain vs. a timing belt?

 

Hit me with anything you got! I'd love to be able to walk in and know more about my potential purchase than a salesman at a stealership... (already had a horrible pushy experience at one...)

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We love our 2014!  We bought the SWB model (had to hunt high and low to find a low miles used one) because we never plan to sleep in it and I prefer the maneuverability of the shorter vehicle  -  It is much more like driving a car than a van

 

Specifically wanted a '14 or newer just to get the 2.5 with the 6F35.  It is a very efficient combo and the trans shift points are well mated to the engine's torque band.  Even pulling a 1200 pound trailer has been no problem.  We have electric cars for around town use, so our TC sees maybe 95% or more freeway duty and we typically get between 29 and 30 mpg so long as we keep it to 65 mph or less  -  We're both well past the age where we're in a hurry to get anywhere . . . . we just leave earlier if we have a long way to go

 

There ARE horror stories concerning the 6F35 and I think much of that is due to Ford's 'lifetime transmission' advertising.  Since Ford's definition of what constitutes a 'lifetime' is so very different from my own, I've decided to do some routine maintenance on ours  -  A complete drain and flush of the trans every 25,000 miles.  Since there is no filter you can change, like in an ordinary transmission, I feel it's important to keep clean fluid in it at all times.  Since a complete drain is nearly impossible to do, (no way to drain the torque converter, like in an 'ordinary' car) a 4 quart drain with a brief run and then another 4 quart drain, 4 times in total (16 quarts) gets you about a 95% change  -  Worth the time, trouble and cost in my book

 

Every time I even think about selling the TC (mainly because we don't drive it all that often, only when we make longer trips than our EV's can do) I remember that it's about the most comfortable thing to drive I've owned in a long, long time and I would really miss it, so we'll keep it, probably for another 10 or 15 years  -  We're only at 30K on it now.  The gas mileage ain't too bad either and for someone who very seldom buys any gas, that's pretty important to me

 

Don

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Mercon LV/Dexron VI lifetime on the oil spec sheet is 80K miles for regular cycle and 50K miles for severe cycle so that’s your good lifetime of the transmission if you skip service. I had mine completely flushed at 50K hoping no damage was done.

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89000+ on the 2014 LWB I have, no major issues yet.Tran has had no issues yet, it gets flushed every 25000. The worst thing is checking the fluid level in the trans. The northeast winters are hard on the brakes. Pulls a properly sized trailer nicely.

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Transit Connect was the lowest price people mover that I could find.  No other car offered 7 passenger seating at this price point.  

 

Air Conditioning  and heater fan are loud.  No way to overcome this.  Your loud kids could drown it out.  Maybe turn up the radio.

 

Ride is not smooth.  You feel bumps.  There is road noise.  Don't drive with the front windows up, and the 2nd row windows down, at freeway speed.

 

Powertrain is sufficient for GVWR.  I can safely merge into freeway traffic.  

 

Maintenance is easy if you let the dealer do it.  Oil change isn't bad.  I've been able to jack the van up and remove the underbody shield without problem.  Oil fill cap is under the cowling.  You will need a short funnel or offset angle funnel.  Spark plugs are under the cowling, so you will need the right tools.  Transmission drain plug is very easy to access.  Transmission vent comes right out for easy filling.  Water pump, drive belt, and timing belt cover are tucked against the passenger side fender, but can be accessed once you remove the wheel well.

 

Good turn radius for parking.  

 

Front end is low.  Front fascia and air dam will scrape into curbs and wheel blocks.  

 

Fit and finish......spend more money, and you'll get better.  Rubber trim on sliding doors keep coming off because they are held on with tape.  Look for the plastic plugs on the roof to leak years down the line.  Owners have already complained of water leaking into the doors, which were engineered to compensate for leaking with drainage holes at the bottom of the door.  Plastic parts of interior will break years down the line.  

 

For this price, you get a budget people mover.  Commercial feel.  Acceptable as a company shuttle or taxi, meant to be retired and replaced after 5 years.  It's not a luxury car.  

 

For you, building the passenger wagon into a camper, it's a good choice.

 

 

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On 9/3/2019 at 3:21 PM, Beta Don said:

We love our 2014!  We bought the SWB model (had to hunt high and low to find a low miles used one) because we never plan to sleep in it and I prefer the maneuverability of the shorter vehicle  -  It is much more like driving a car than a van

 

Specifically wanted a '14 or newer just to get the 2.5 with the 6F35.  It is a very efficient combo and the trans shift points are well mated to the engine's torque band.  Even pulling a 1200 pound trailer has been no problem.  We have electric cars for around town use, so our TC sees maybe 95% or more freeway duty and we typically get between 29 and 30 mpg so long as we keep it to 65 mph or less  -  We're both well past the age where we're in a hurry to get anywhere . . . . we just leave earlier if we have a long way to go

 

There ARE horror stories concerning the 6F35 and I think much of that is due to Ford's 'lifetime transmission' advertising.  Since Ford's definition of what constitutes a 'lifetime' is so very different from my own, I've decided to do some routine maintenance on ours  -  A complete drain and flush of the trans every 25,000 miles.  Since there is no filter you can change, like in an ordinary transmission, I feel it's important to keep clean fluid in it at all times.  Since a complete drain is nearly impossible to do, (no way to drain the torque converter, like in an 'ordinary' car) a 4 quart drain with a brief run and then another 4 quart drain, 4 times in total (16 quarts) gets you about a 95% change  -  Worth the time, trouble and cost in my book

 

Every time I even think about selling the TC (mainly because we don't drive it all that often, only when we make longer trips than our EV's can do) I remember that it's about the most comfortable thing to drive I've owned in a long, long time and I would really miss it, so we'll keep it, probably for another 10 or 15 years  -  We're only at 30K on it now.  The gas mileage ain't too bad either and for someone who very seldom buys any gas, that's pretty important to me

 

Don

 

Super quality information Don! Thanks very much!

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18 hours ago, G B L said:

89000+ on the 2014 LWB I have, no major issues yet.Tran has had no issues yet, it gets flushed every 25000. The worst thing is checking the fluid level in the trans. The northeast winters are hard on the brakes. Pulls a properly sized trailer nicely.

Awesome thank you - I've heard this alot, make sure the transmission has been serviced. I'm 95% sure I'm pulling the trigger on a TC soon!

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18 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

Transit Connect was the lowest price people mover that I could find.  No other car offered 7 passenger seating at this price point.  

 

Air Conditioning  and heater fan are loud.  No way to overcome this.  Your loud kids could drown it out.  Maybe turn up the radio.

 

Ride is not smooth.  You feel bumps.  There is road noise.  Don't drive with the front windows up, and the 2nd row windows down, at freeway speed.

 

Powertrain is sufficient for GVWR.  I can safely merge into freeway traffic.  

 

Maintenance is easy if you let the dealer do it.  Oil change isn't bad.  I've been able to jack the van up and remove the underbody shield without problem.  Oil fill cap is under the cowling.  You will need a short funnel or offset angle funnel.  Spark plugs are under the cowling, so you will need the right tools.  Transmission drain plug is very easy to access.  Transmission vent comes right out for easy filling.  Water pump, drive belt, and timing belt cover are tucked against the passenger side fender, but can be accessed once you remove the wheel well.

 

Good turn radius for parking.  

 

Front end is low.  Front fascia and air dam will scrape into curbs and wheel blocks.  

 

Fit and finish......spend more money, and you'll get better.  Rubber trim on sliding doors keep coming off because they are held on with tape.  Look for the plastic plugs on the roof to leak years down the line.  Owners have already complained of water leaking into the doors, which were engineered to compensate for leaking with drainage holes at the bottom of the door.  Plastic parts of interior will break years down the line.  

 

For this price, you get a budget people mover.  Commercial feel.  Acceptable as a company shuttle or taxi, meant to be retired and replaced after 5 years.  It's not a luxury car.  

 

For you, building the passenger wagon into a camper, it's a good choice.

 

 

Thank you! Awesome information. 

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On 9/3/2019 at 4:17 PM, mrtn said:

Mercon LV/Dexron VI lifetime on the oil spec sheet is 80K miles for regular cycle and 50K miles for severe cycle so that’s your good lifetime of the transmission if you skip service. I had mine completely flushed at 50K hoping no damage was done.

I've heard that transmission flush and fill, regular maintenance every 25k is key with these. Thanks for confirming - now to buy one used where I can trust it's been serviced properly. 🙂 

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On 9/3/2019 at 3:21 PM, Beta Don said:

We love our 2014!  We bought the SWB model (had to hunt high and low to find a low miles used one) because we never plan to sleep in it and I prefer the maneuverability of the shorter vehicle  -  It is much more like driving a car than a van

 

Specifically wanted a '14 or newer just to get the 2.5 with the 6F35.  It is a very efficient combo and the trans shift points are well mated to the engine's torque band.  Even pulling a 1200 pound trailer has been no problem.  We have electric cars for around town use, so our TC sees maybe 95% or more freeway duty and we typically get between 29 and 30 mpg so long as we keep it to 65 mph or less  -  We're both well past the age where we're in a hurry to get anywhere . . . . we just leave earlier if we have a long way to go

 

There ARE horror stories concerning the 6F35 and I think much of that is due to Ford's 'lifetime transmission' advertising.  Since Ford's definition of what constitutes a 'lifetime' is so very different from my own, I've decided to do some routine maintenance on ours  -  A complete drain and flush of the trans every 25,000 miles.  Since there is no filter you can change, like in an ordinary transmission, I feel it's important to keep clean fluid in it at all times.  Since a complete drain is nearly impossible to do, (no way to drain the torque converter, like in an 'ordinary' car) a 4 quart drain with a brief run and then another 4 quart drain, 4 times in total (16 quarts) gets you about a 95% change  -  Worth the time, trouble and cost in my book

 

Every time I even think about selling the TC (mainly because we don't drive it all that often, only when we make longer trips than our EV's can do) I remember that it's about the most comfortable thing to drive I've owned in a long, long time and I would really miss it, so we'll keep it, probably for another 10 or 15 years  -  We're only at 30K on it now.  The gas mileage ain't too bad either and for someone who very seldom buys any gas, that's pretty important to me

 

Don

If you ever do decide to sell it and are somewhere close to TN, I might be interested if I haven't already found a TC of my own. 😉 

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Thanks everyone for this super helpful, valuable, quality info! Once I find the "one" I be sure to follow up and post a pic of my van + progress on the conversion!

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8 hours ago, drh14 said:

Awesome thank you - I've heard this alot, make sure the transmission has been serviced. I'm 95% sure I'm pulling the trigger on a TC soon!

 

 

That is true for every car which is sold with a "lifetime fill" or "maintenance free" automatic transmission.  Any car you buy with an automatic transmission: exchange the fluid regularly.

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I knew the TC was the perfect fit for my needs as soon as I saw one. A first gen model was turning into Lowes as I was leaving and I said to myself "That's what I've been looking for!" then turned around and found where they parked so I could see the make and model. The first gen was a bit too commercial with not enough daily driver comfort features so I waited until the second gen came out with those extras and got a 2015 LWB Wagon. Took the 2nd and 3rd row seats out since it's just me. I'm so satisfied that I'm starting to look at getting a second one now that the wagon is paid off. I'm starting to do the research on special ordering a van so I can get the wagon features I like (liftgate, tow package, etc.) since dealer stock vans typically are still stripped down commercial models. And I plan to keep the wagon and put the seats back in, unless they offer way too much as a trade in. That way, I've got a backup and I can just leave the seats in and switch back and forth as needed. Unless something drastically changes in either my life situation or in future vehicle offerings, I see myself sticking with Transit Connects from here on out.

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19 hours ago, drh14 said:

I've heard that transmission flush and fill, regular maintenance every 25k is key with these. Thanks for confirming - now to buy one used where I can trust it's been serviced properly. 🙂 

 

That's simple  -  You just keep looking until you find one with 25K or less on the clock and then implement your own maintenance program.  Our 2014 had just shy of 13K when we bought it 3 years ago.  The dealer had used it as a service loaner vehicle since it was new, so we were the first owners.  Paid $15K for it back then

 

Don

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Had my 2015 TC Connect Wagon LWB for 2 years now.  Purchased it from a dealer, At the time it was 2 years old and had around 30k on it.  Now it's over 60k.  It's our only vehicle.

 

Bought it because I realized we needed more space for family and friends and I was not going to drive a traditional minivan. I wanted and it delivered:

-7 Passenger seating

-Flat folding surface for hauling big stuff.  I wanted to be able to haul -if necessary- my wife, 2 kids, music gear and luggage.

-Cheap

-Didn't look like a regular minivan.

-Plenty of Headroom.  I'm over 6 feet and am tired of my hair (or head for that matter!) hitting the ceiling.

-Affordable maintenance.  So far so good.  Sharing most parts with Focus has proved to be a good thing. 

 

I had to go to Indiana from Chicago to get one that had the features I wanted and I saved about $4k doing so versus the ones that were for sale here.

 

All the statements above from 5150 about the spartan finishes and utilitarian features are completely true.   It's actually part of what attracted me to the vehicle.     Also-as-mentioned, it's not the quietest vehicle or the smoothest riding, but I guess we have low standards as my wife and I have found it very comfortable on quite a few trips including Chicago-to-Denver.   Being able to sit straight up for long distances has been a welcome change from our previous vehicle, a 2009 Prius.

 

I don't know if it pertains to you, but this is a fantastic city vehicle.  The all-around beepers, rear-view cam and narrow width have gotten me into some really small parking spots and enabled me to slip through some very tight traffic. 

 

I wasn't aware that this vehicle might have transmission issues until reading about it recently.  I haven't had any issues with mine but I'll look into having the transmission fluid flushed now.

 

The only issues I've come into are these three:

-A radio that would randomly attack me with FULL VOLUME static, even when turned off.  An aftermarket radio has fixed this (a used OEM probably would have too...) Doesn't seem like this is a super-common problem, but I have seen various references to it on the internet.

 

-Replacing the battery is quite an operation due to it's location. Thank goodness it was my repair guy and not me having to do this.

 

-The plastic housing around the rear liftdoor release is getting loose.  Had the same problem on my Prius. I fully expect to have to install a couple of toggle bolts to keep it in place soon.  Annoying but an easy fix.

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I had radio issues initially, the head unit being completely mute occasionally regardless the source and needing an ignition cycle. The dealer replaced the radio which cured the mute issue but introduced a Bluetooth phone whine (instead of the call voice) every few times used. IE several times a day, sometimes once but not less than a few times week. They failed to find a fix (I doubt they ever tried).

 

Now I replaced the battery a few weeks ago. Have not had the whine anymore. Not once. Hope it stays that way.

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Angry Red Bird would have advised you to disconnect the battery, and that would have fixed whatever you had wrong.

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@drh14 - Welcome to the forum. Hopefully you'll be part of the TC family soon. Take your time finding the right van for you. It will happen.

 

You've received some good personal experiences from other TC owners on this forum that I agree with for the most part.

I do have to say that regarding the Turn Radius for a LWB model, it's not very good when you need to make a u-turn in the road. It may be just a function of the long wheel base, not sure.

I have to do a u-turn often off a coastal highway from the middle turn lane and I need more than two lanes of road to turn around, so if there are cars parked on the shoulder, I need to swing it wide first or I won't make it. It needs to be a fast and clean maneuver. Not a show stopper but just a detail you need to be ready for if it's part of your driving routine.

Parking is pretty easy if you have the front and rear parking assist sensors and a back up camera. Windows all around on the wagon model will also help you.

 

There are lots of threads on this forum discussing camper mods to wagon models with some really unique and cool designs and craftsmanship. Plenty to get your started on your own design. Please keep us posted on your search for your TC. Looking forward to seeing your new van. Good luck.

 

 

Edited by windguy

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I put 5 years on each of three new (2-wheel drive) Nissan Frontiers prior to purchasing my TC. They had incredibly large turning circles.  Countless parking spots were passed up because they just couldn't swing tightly. I think the TC virtually turns on a dime. Because the rear axle is so close to the back end, I can swing it sharply into tight parking slots and do u-turns on just about any road - things my pickups could only dream of.

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1 hour ago, tcconvert said:

 I think the TC virtually turns on a dime - things my pickups could only dream of.

 

 

There you have it.  Compared to my F-150, the Transit Connect is like driving a Smart Car.  But if you drive small cars, a van like the Transit Connect could be like driving a truck.  

 

As a commercial vehicle, the Transit Connect turns and handles better than any 1/2 ton or larger pickup truck, or full size van - Econoline, Express, Ram, Transit, Sprinter, et cetera. 

 

 

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On 9/5/2019 at 8:08 PM, windguy said:

@drh14 - Welcome to the forum. Hopefully you'll be part of the TC family soon. Take your time finding the right van for you. It will happen.

 

You've received some good personal experiences from other TC owners on this forum that I agree with for the most part.

I do have to say that regarding the Turn Radius for a LWB model, it's not very good when you need to make a u-turn in the road. It may be just a function of the long wheel base, not sure.

I have to do a u-turn often off a coastal highway from the middle turn lane and I need more than two lanes of road to turn around, so if there are cars parked on the shoulder, I need to swing it wide first or I won't make it. It needs to be a fast and clean maneuver. Not a show stopper but just a detail you need to be ready for if it's part of your driving routine.

Parking is pretty easy if you have the front and rear parking assist sensors and a back up camera. Windows all around on the wagon model will also help you.

 

There are lots of threads on this forum discussing camper mods to wagon models with some really unique and cool designs and craftsmanship. Plenty to get your started on your own design. Please keep us posted on your search for your TC. Looking forward to seeing your new van. Good luck.

 

 

Thanks @windguy! I have my eye on one in the Atlanta area. He's a fellow camper/RV guy, who has had his TC since it was new, it mostly sits in a garage because he has a larger Sprinter Van than he does most of his traveling in. This one is the Titanium trim and is a 2014, 46k miles, which I think is fine depending on the maintenance records. It's a strong contender. I'm really quite opposed to buying from a dealer because I don't really trust them and their dealer fees are generally outrageous! 

I will keep the forum posted on wether this van works out. 🙂 If it does, I'll then start looking for conversion inspiration. Ideally I'd like to figure out a conversion where I can keep my second row bench seat - it will be rare for me to go on an adventure or climbing trip with just myself (driver) and one passenger. Plus, since it will be my daily driver (I work from home, so not a huge amount of miles on a week to week basis), I still want to be able to seat at least 4-5 in the TC. I'm thinking I can remove the third row, build out a bench/storage system, and then put and additional top on the bench with a hinge. Then fold and push the second row down, fold over the bench top on a hinge and have a nice bed set-up. I'm no engineer or pro-woodworker, but this seems simple enough to accomplish.

All in all, the TC seems like the best, most versatile solution to what we're looking for and the use that I want for it. I'll keep you posted on when/what we end up purchasing. 🙂 

So glad I found this forum! 

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@drh14 - Cool that you may have found a potential van to buy. I have a cargo van so I can't help you with the Titanium in terms of any specific maintenance issues with that model. Perhaps other forumites can assist you with that. The 2014 is the first production year, mine is a 2015, and I had early issues with the left front drive shaft seal leaking. There was an SSM covering this. This is something to ask about. The van's powertrain warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles so it's a narrow window to getting that fixed under warranty if it's an issue. if the van is still eligible year wise.  

Good luck in your search!

 

Edited by windguy

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drh14,

 

What other vehicles did you compare the Transit Connect to?  How did you rule out other vehicles?  Just curious as to how you narrowed it down. 

 

My own purchase was based on seating capacity and pricing.  And that the seats fold down for cargo.  I thought of it as a car.  No car offered that much seating and cubic footage.  Especially in comparison to the price.  Plus, cars in this price range are small, cramped, and none of them are luxury models either.  In my mind, driving a Transit Connect was better than a Corolla or a Civic.  

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14 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

drh14,

 

What other vehicles did you compare the Transit Connect to?  How did you rule out other vehicles?  Just curious as to how you narrowed it down. 

 

My own purchase was based on seating capacity and pricing.  And that the seats fold down for cargo.  I thought of it as a car.  No car offered that much seating and cubic footage.  Especially in comparison to the price.  Plus, cars in this price range are small, cramped, and none of them are luxury models either.  In my mind, driving a Transit Connect was better than a Corolla or a Civic.  

@Fifty150 I've been driving a Subie Wagon for quite awhile. I can relatively comfortably sleep in the back on climbing and adventure trips. I'm ready for a better vehicle and more space. There were only a few vehicles that I was truly interested in and my hubs won't let me get a full-sized van (as much as I'd like to play out my fantasy dreams of #vanlife - he's right, I would not want an Econoline as a full-time daily driver). So we needed a compromise. 

 

The TC is the only van that is sort of like a mini-van, but doesn't come with a 30k price tag (like a newer Odyssey or Sienna), but with better head room than these vans (my hubs is 6'5). I think we will have the ability to keep the first and second row and build out a bed conversion in the back, removing the third row. Plus, it gets about the same gas mileage as my Subie.

 

So all in all, the TC is a great little versatile van - I get the best of all the worlds, good for daily driving, good gas mileage, low price tag, can haul enough people and my dog comfortably, and can be a weekend-warrior camper van if we go about the conversion the right way. Added bonus of all the bells and whistles that getting a newer car will bring, I'm tiring of the old low-tech Subaru - we're a handsfree state in TN - so reallllly looking forward to the bluetooth connectivity in the Titanium trim line.

 

To answer your original question: I was interested in these vehicles:

Honda Element - but they quit making it in 2011 so super hard to find low miles used.

Honda Pilot - I never loved these but they are roomy, there's a lot of reports out there about the acceleration problem on the model years I was looking at - enough where it can be dangerous merging and turning onto a busy highway (this was also reported by a coworker's wife who drives one)

Toyota Highlander - Big price tag for an SUV and not great gas mileage

Econoline Van - Husband nixed this... the whole argument of "you won't want to drive and park that thing" every day

Promaster Van - same as above and likely wouldn't go into our garage either! 

Edited by drh14

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16 hours ago, windguy said:

@drh14 - Cool that you may have found a potential van to buy. I have a cargo van so I can't help you with the Titanium in terms of any specific maintenance issues with that model. Perhaps other forumites can assist you with that. The 2014 is the first production year, mine is a 2015, and I had early issues with the left front drive shaft seal leaking. There was an SSM covering this. This is something to ask about. The van's powertrain warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles so it's a narrow window to getting that fixed under warranty if it's an issue. if the van is still eligible year wise.  

Good luck in your search!

 

@windguy Good tip, haven't heard much about the Front Drive Shaft Seals, I'll make sure to look into it. 

 

If you were looking to buy a used one from a private party seller, would you take it to a Ford Dealership for pre-purchase inspection or a local shop that you know and trust? Because I may be doing this, I'm wondering what's best. Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to be able to go to a shop that I'm familiar with (because the van is not local) but I may be able to get recommendations.... not sure. What do you think?

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