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Ford Probe 1996 'N' plate
Engine 2.5L 24v V6 Engine output: 164bhp Top speed: 137mph Torque: 217nm at 4800 rpm Fuel Consumption: 20.3mpg (URBAN) 35.8mpg (MOTORWAY) 28.0mpg (AVERAGE) Insurance group: 17 (I pay 720 TPF&T Ive been driving 2 years and Im 23..) Tax band: Highest
Features: Alloy Wheels, ABS, Heated Rear Screen, Radio Cassette Player, Electric Sunroof, Electric Aerial, Pop Up Headlamps, Driving Lamps, remote boot release, remote filler cap release, electric drivers seat, space saver spare wheel, immobilizer, alarm, central locking, electric windows, electric mirrors, heated mirrors, headlamp leveling system, instrument dimmer, drivers airbag, passenger airbag, side impact bars.
Options: leather interior, cruise control, map lights, footwell lights, rear spoiler, CD player, premium sound system with amp, boot cargo net, air conditioning, illuminated vanity mirrors in sun visors, graduated tint front windscreen, leather steering wheel, leather gearknob, metallic paint.
Price (when new): 18,000 to 22,000
I bought my Ford Probe in January after seeing all the car you could get for so little money. My model is the range topping 2.5L V6 Model with all the options except rear spoiler and CD player. I bought it for 600 quid YES 600 quid with 68,000 miles on the clock and a full service history. It had MOT until July 06 and Tax until July 06. The Ford Probe is a vastly underrated car, unloved by the motoring press but ask just about anyone who has ever driven one and they will tell you they are excellent cars. Not many people know the Ford Probe is actually a Mazda MX-6 with a Ford bodyshell. The chassis, engine and running gear are all Mazda. The V6 engine is the same one found in the MX6, 626 and some Xedos models. Ive seen people say the Probe is a Mondeo derivative, it is not, the later COUGAR is Mondeo based but the Probe is a Mazda vehicle.
If you plan to buy a Probe, go for the V6 model if you can afford the insurance and running costs. There are a few things you should be aware of when looking at one though:
1. Probe sunroofs rust. They rust from the inside out, so try to have a look under the trim if possible. Its not a major problem, fibreglass or carbon replacements can be bought for under 200 quid. 2. Check the driving lamps, if stock driving lamps are present they will probably be rusty (potential MOT failure). Replacement units can be bought for around 30GBP
3. Check for smoke on start up. Blue smoke means the engine is burning oil - bad! Black smoke indicates the engine is running too rich, sometimes this is a simple ECU fault but not always!
4. The rear tailgate lifters on Probes nearly always fail due to the weight of the tailgate. Replacements are around 60GBP.
5. IF the car has done more than 60K check the cambelt has been changed. The V6 has two belts so this can be a costly job costing between 250 and 500GBP. The belt is non intereference so a snapped belt shouldnt cause too much damage but this isnt a reason not to change it!
6. The V6 Probe doesn't like dirty oil, check the condition of the oil, if its black then you would be well advised to carry out an engine flush and oil replacement (and filter) as soon as possible.
7. Check the headlamps pop up, a replacement motor can cost around 60GBP.
8. Ticking from the engine is normal from startup on most Probes (especially from cold) it's the Hydraulic Lash Adjusters, its not a problem if it disappears after about 5-10 minutes. It can be quietened down using good quality Synthetic oil or Wynns HLA treatment (you can get it from Halfords).
9. Check the idle speed once the cars been running for a few minutes, the 24v model should idle around 650rpm.
10. As with all cars check the documents match up, check the body panels for crash damage, run a HPI check if possible. An AA inspection is also a good idea. Check all the electrics work (cruise control is a common not working item) and give the interior a once over to check it consistent with the mileage.
11. The electric aerial nearly always either bends or wears out on Probes, a replacement will set you back 250GBP from Ford or around 40GBP independently.
12. On 93 to early 95 models there were a few problems including faulty immobiliser and sticking rear brake calipers - avoid these cars unless the problems have been fixed or they are cheap :o)
On the road the Probe performs well, with plenty of torque and a lovely sound from the V6. Bear in mind due to the size of it, the Probe is more a cruiser than a sports car, don't expect blistering performance, although speeds of 130mph or more are possible (not that I would know..:o) )
Overall the Probe is pleasant to drive and comfortable on long journeys. The boot is huge! The back seats aren't suitable for anyone except small children. Some people may find the Probe difficult to park due to its length and wheelbase.
Finally a few points on ownership:
1. Change the oil every 3,000 miles on the V6 - it vastly improves the lonevgity of the engine. Try to flush the engine as often as possible (when doing oil changes).
2. Religously check oil and coolant level at least weekly. When filling oil, the capacity is 6.5 litres but put in 6.7 litres to avoid oil starvation to cylinder six when negotiaiting tight bends. If coolant from the system is lost, the engine will die very quickly. If misfiring or sluggish throttle response occurs, change the spark plugs and HT leads in the first instance.
3. To save money, don't go to Ford for ANYTHING. Go independent if possible. Mazda will also service the Probe as it is essentially a Mazda vehicle.
4. If you probe fails its MOT due to emissions, it may be a fault or dirt cat. Try cat cleaner first (about 15GBP) or failing that new cats for the probe can be bought for as little as 80GBP
5. The Probe has two fuse boxes, one under the bonnet and on on the door side of the drivers footwell. If your having trouble with non working interior lights, wipers etc check both boxes.
6. If you plan to fit an aftermarket stero to the probe, be aware it does not have the standard ISO connector. You need to buy an adapter. Depending on wheteher or not you have th Ford amp in your car, the adaptor costs between 7GBP and 30 GBP.