Everything you need to know when buying a used Ford Transit Custom from Dan Powell editor of Honest John Vans.
The Ford Transit Custom was first launched in 2013 and became an instant hit, thanks to its car-like road-handling and heavy-duty load capacity. Both the L1 and L2 wheelbases are offered in H1 and H2 (standard and high roof) while the load capacities span 6.0 cubic meters for the regular roofed L1 and 8.3 cubic metres for the L2 H2 van.
All versions of the Ford Transit Custom can take three standard Euro pallets, while models with a load-through bulkhead hatch will carry longer loads of up to 3.4m (3m on L1) to slot under the passenger seat. The space between the wheel arches is best in class, allowing for an 8x4ft board to be loaded flat to the floor.
At launch, the Transit Custom came with a 2.2-litre TDCI ‘Duratorq’ turbo-diesel with 100PS, 125PS or 155PS. The 100PS version has 310Nm of torque, growing to 350Nm with the 125PS model and 385Nm with the 155PS flagship unit. The 2.2-litre TDCI unit is widely referred to in Transit Custom circles as the Euro5 engine.
From mid-2016 Ford replaced the 2.2-litre Euro5 engine with a smaller, but more powerful Euro6 compliant ‘EcoBlue’ 2.0-litre unit. Like the 2.2-litre before it, was offered with three different outputs with the 130PS being the sweet spot in the range due to its punchy performance and impressive fuel economy.
A six-speed manual is standard, but from 2017 Ford offered the choice of a SelectShift automatic with either the 130PS or powerful 170PS models. Only those wanting the high-end Sport Van will need to venture to the 170PS version.
Sold with a three-year/100,000-mile warranty when new, many Transit Customs are still being cared for by Ford’s official service centres. All require an annual or 12,000-mile service, whichever comes sooner. Don’t skip services on low mileage vehicles, as urban-based work is tougher mechanically than vehicles doing larger, sustained mileages.
Take your Transit Custom to an independent specialist and you’ll pay around £120 for a standard service. If the brakes need work you’ll be looking at a bill of £120 for the front ones and the same again at the rear.
The Transit Custom is susceptible to rusting rear hinges, but it’s easy to fix with regular checks and a spray-on rust inhibitor. The intercooler pipe is also known to split where it rubs against a nut on the alternator; however, this is quick to fix with a whistling sound during the gear change indicating that the pipe is on the verge of breaking.
What to watch
Older versions of the Transit Custom were reportedly prone to thefts due to a fault in the locking – seeing the driver’s door barrel lock opening and not setting off the alarms. Ford issued a security update to fix this in 2017, though many people also fit higher security locks as an additional precaution.
Listen for whistling during gear changes, if you hear it then check the intercooler pipe. It splits where it rubs against a nut on the alternator but this is a quick and easy fix. Have a look underneath and check for oil leaks, the crank oil seal can let oil out between the engine and the gearbox.
The 2.0-litre ‘EcoBlue’ engine had some teething issues when it was launched in 2016 with reports of noisy idler pulleys, and adjustment needed to the belt tensioner. All of this should have been fixed by Ford under warranty in late-2016 or early-2017 and the seller should have paperwork to match.
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