To start with my name is Paul and I used to have a black 1.4 puma which was my first car. She was a brilliant first car that never gave me any trouble despite giving her hell on track fairly regularly. Unfortunately she met an early demise on the 14th Feb 2018. A blind moron decided she didn’t know how to use a roundabout anymore, changed lanes without looking and crashed into the rear offside quarter pitching us into a spin which ended up with us backwards into a car waiting to join the roundabout. The double impact to the back corner seemed to shunt the rear beam mounting points across quite badly resulting in the car crabbing so she unfortunately went for scrap. I decided I didn’t want another puma because it wouldn’t be MY puma and settled on a Cooper S for its replacement (my wife’s choice).
Fast forward to the end of 2018 and I was in chatting to my Mechanic about servicing the mini and he had a Puma up on the ramps which looked very clean. It was in fact a car he had rang me up about the previous year but as I had my 1.4 at the time I turned it down. Anyway I ended up having a nosey around. relatively rust free arches, rust free sills and only 48K on the clock. It turned out the owner was thinking of putting it back up for sale shortly so I promptly told him to give me a ring once it’s up for sale. Time skip again to start of Feb 2019 and I get the call, A few days later I was the owner of my second Puma. The car was then stored till I had the space to put it in my garage and work could commence which is where we are now.
So the car? It is a 2 owner Moondust Silver 1.7 Puma with 48K on the clock. The previous owner was an older chap that bought it for his wife back in 2002 when he worked in sales at Ford and it came is as PX. Not much paper work to support the service history but my mechanic who looks after all my cars worked with him back at Ford and has serviced it regularly since he owned it in 2002, even after he left Ford and went independent. The original owner also bought and had it serviced from the dealer they both worked at so the car has and will remain local. Only negative points are that the paperwork or my mechanic don’t have any notes of the cambelt being done so first port of call was a cambelt and major service just to freshen everything up. The last MOT also threw up an advisory for a wheel bearing and a brake pipe so those will get attention at the same time.
Onto the plans for the car. I won’t give a full planned spec list as that ruins the surprise, it also may change along the way. However I plan to use it as a daily and track car as I did with my 1.4, although I may take it a bit further at a later date. The sole point of the car though is to just have fun down a B-Road and also get plenty of track days in throughout the year which is something that stopped once the Mini came along.
After clearing the garage out I decided to wait for the start of April to tax the car so just used the time to order everything for a major service and new cambelt etc. Had the below all fitted earlier this week so happy to actually drive it without fear of the cambelt letting go now.
The first picture of the car above was after a quick wash this evening but she desperately needs a thorough detailing session so I will make a start on that this weekend followed by some polishing sessions next week. Then it will be a case of putting some miles on the clock and then carry out any preventative maintenance that I think the car needs.
Once I am happy everything is running right I will refresh and modify the suspension, brakes and bushes in one big job. Whilst it’s all apart, I may take the opportunity to strip apart and paint the rear beam and other components like that. Engine wise I probably won’t do anything significant. Maybe an FRP map, FRP air box mod and then an unsilenced mid-section/cat back for some extra noise. Interior I have a set of FRP seats I bought from Blue3 many moons ago which I saved from my last puma so they will be going in along with the door cards being re-trimmed in black Alcantara. Externally I will fashion together or buy some form of front splitter. Other than that it will be fuel, tyres, brake pads and track days as frequently as I can afford really.
I have tons of questions for how people have gone about carrying out different things, little bits of detail around a job, part numbers as well as bolt torques required but I will ask about them when I get to that job as this post is already pretty lengthy. I will hopefully share my next bit of progress with a properly clean car soon.
Wild E. Coyote
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Sounds like you've found a great base to start your project and have made a sensible start with the major service.
Melina Blue (1999) 2006-2009
Moondust Silver (2000) 2006
Managed to make a start on polishing the car last weekend (Pictures to follow). It is already a noticeable improvement to the car. Lots of little scuffs have been removed and generally car looks much brighter and fresher with a decent level of shine to it. I am going to give it another going over though with an All in One polish though, then it will be windows and rubbers followed by a couple of coats of wax. Should have the old girl back out the garage in time for the long weekend.
Also rolled the old girl out for her first proper road trip today. A solid 250miles and it didn't miss a beat. Coming from an EP3 Type R and still got the R56 Cooper S I was expecting it to feel somewhat slow but in all honesty real world driving its got plenty of go to have a bit of fun on a sunny day. Properly chuffed to be back in a Puma and looking forward to cracking on with the suspension and brakes refresh soon.
A few pictures of how she sat last night, before the 250mile fly swatting session.
Wild E. Coyote
On that front, parts are coming together nicely. 95% there with just some poly bushes and front pads to arrive which are due any day now. Once iv got all the bits ill write up a full spec list and post some pictures because everyone loves shiny new parts right?
We have been on a few road trips though which has been good to put some more miles on the car. One down to Burnham on Sea to collect a nice set of 9 Spoke wheels from another forum member and then being in the Cotswolds took the Puma out for a little drive out last Wednesday with some friends from work (cars varying from Caterham's, GTR's to beach buggies). It was a pretty brisk 55miles which highlighted how woeful the 240mm discs are and most likely fluid age related but managed to start boiling the brake fluid which is a first for me. It came as a little bit of a surprise especially as I wasn't driving particularly hard. I know how bad the 240 brakes are and in the company of cars present wasn't even remotely interested in trying to keep up but still felt the pedal getting a bit longer and softer towards the end of the route. Ill put it down to old gone off fluid and always planned to get refreshed when I do the suspension and brakes which should be very soon.
New wheels and boots fitted. Never been a fan of the prop wheels to be honest and really think the 9 spokes make the car look a lot younger, plus they fit ST150 brakes without spacers .
EDIT: Pictures added
The aim was to use good quality parts throughout and build a really solid foundation for track use but without compromising tooooo much on road use. My mileage isn’t huge and I don’t have to do any commuting in it so I have aimed it slightly more towards track than road= if I am honest. Despite this I haven’t gone to silly on mods and spent £1K+ on race suspension or race spec brakes. As before though I have chosen what I deem to be good quality parts that will make a noticeable difference for my application. Anyway parts list below.
I’ll start with possibly the most interesting parts.
Mandatory set of AP coil overs from Venom Motorsport. I toyed with getting something a little more track focussed but decided I wasn’t happy spending £1K on GAZ gold or AVO GTX coil overs. I’ll use these till I think they have had enough abuse then may consider upgrading at that time.
Any guesses what’s in the box?
What about now?
So first up are a set of ST150 front calipers followed by Mk1 Focus rear calipers. Fully refurbished by Bigg Red. Bigg Red are a brake refurb company just up the road from me in Worcester. This is the second time I have used them now and both times I have been over the moon with the results. Naturally though rear callipers can only mean one thing. Yes I am doing a rear disc conversion with fully functioning ABS. This leads me onto …..
Thanks to Wild E. Coyote, Tuonokid and XAF for their experience and input so I could get these rear hubs ready. For anyone wanting more info on how to get parts machined up just let me know. These are untested as yet so will confirm once fitted and working but I prepared some 2D drawings which should make the task easier when approaching an engineering firm in the future. I work in engineering so it was fairly easy to get this done but if anyone doesn’t have this background the drawings show the main intent more clearly and any good machinist should be able to use a bit of artistic license to get the job done.
Thanks to CherryVimto for the ABS part number. Easily sourced online and a straight ended ABS sensor. Not really sure if I need it since I won’t be using spacers but at least I have it should the old one fall apart when it gets removed (which it probably will).
The rest is all fairly generic suspension parts with the exception of a full set of Black series polybuses and DS2500 front brake pads. DS2500 are my tried and tested brake pad. I have used a few others but in all honesty nothing comes close when it needs to be Road legal/friendly and still give good track performance. Black series bushes are new for me so we will see how it goes.
I bought all these from a company called Performance Link - www.performancelink.direct/.
I have no affiliation with them but a colleague from work (The Owner of the red MR2 above) pointed me in their direction after I was fishing for a 10% off at Demon Tweeks. If you have a look you’ll probably notice they are more orientated to Jap cars but I got in touch direct and they sorted me out with competitive prices and delivered in a very good time frame so very happy with the service received.
Some new rear splash guards from Ford.
Then finally all the remaining parts to finish the job. Front and rear Pagid brake discs, Febi Bilstein top mounts all round, Moog track rod ends, Moog ball joints, Meyle HD drop links, SKF front wheel bearings, Ferodo Premium rear pads, ST150 rear handbrake cable, and an assortment of bolts I may or may not need. Any eagle eyed viewers will spot the magnetic sump plug to. This won’t get fitted until the next service though.
So there we are, Stage one of my plan is ready to go. I have started removing the rear interior ready but will save that for another post over the weekend.
just kidding... your mods list looks a lot like mine although I'm keeping factory suspension as I'm not using it on track (and am using it to commute).
Did the ST150 brakes myself using the Big Redd seal kit and some high temp paint. Their finish is certainly superior to mine!
Wild E. Coyote
or..... It is actually part of my elaborate development strategy with this falling into the aggressive aero package stage. I have actually been working with rebellion racing to develop big wings for their 2019 LMP1 car.
Get in touch to order yours today........
hmmm I wonder why...... . I should have it all fitted up over the next week and a bit so will give some feedback then. Fingers crossed it all works as planned.
Basically just stripped out the rear seats, door cards and seatbelts ready for the rear suspension change. Done it plenty of times before so no big deal really with everything coming apart nicely. No broken clips which is a bit of a result. Once I get a bit more time I will take the chance to pull the rear speaker bins and check if anything is lurking behind. Fingers crossed it will be pretty clean. Excuse the interior back in the car. Only having a single garage I had to store it somewhere for the time being.
Also spent a little time prepping the coil overs. Plenty of grease on all the threads, fitted the front bearing and torqued up to 20Nm as per the instructions. I also set the front spring heights. Not sure where the exact range starts or ends seeing as the amount of thread is a lot bigger than the supposed dropped range of the coil over but I set it a little over 25mm from the bottom once the threads are fully formed. If the lowest drop is at the bottom of the threads I should see around a 35mm drop on the front which should be about right id imagine. No idea if that's correct though but once its on the car I can always tweak it to suit. For the rear I will set that once its on the car seeing as the lock nut appears to go on then just come off again to hold the top cap on.
Hopefully have another update soon.
Everything is on the car now but I have a few niggles to iron out.
1) It sounds like the front left caliper is dragging a bit when pulling off. Not sure what it is or why so need to investigate that.
2) When applying steering lock the front suspension sounds like the springs are binding. Applied loads of grease on the top mounts but that didn't really fix it so may need to strip them back down and investigate further.
3) Rear ABS isn't showing any signal when plugged into diagnostics (Fronts are) so not sure if its the sensor or the machined parts. I have ordered a new Ford Puma loom rather than the escort one and hoping that as I am not running any spacers at the rear it will fit ok.
At least on the plus side its all on and in a drivable condition. Brakes are mega and a massive improvement over the 240mm setup it had before. I haven't had a chance to properly drive the car other than the odd short test drive. I also haven't adjusted the ride heights since fitting. The car is just sat how I had the dampers set before fitting but it feels much more planted now. Not that the Puma rolls a huge amount anyway but feels noticeably more controlled even at the low speeds I test drove it at.
Hopefully iron out the little issues over the next week or two and all will be good and complete.
Part of my plan with the Puma was to keep it road friendly with a track bias as the plan was to sell the Mini and run it as the only car whilst I saved for a Megane RS275. Maybe not to everyone’s taste (insert obligatory French car comments) but the reviews speak for themselves and I think they look great. I would then use the Megane for the road, occasional track day and the Puma would likely be winter track day car or obsolete for what I need.
Anyway I have been watching the market for probably 12-18 months and they don’t seem to have come down in price a great deal for the colour and spec I wanted and also pretty rare for a car to come up that met that spec.
I am going off on one here a bit, but stick with it. I was on holiday and as you do was reading EVO mags, browsing autotrader, piston heads etc. Got chatting with the wife about some potential other cars and for some reason I had a bit of a change of heart. Ill now insert my own French car comment and decided that although yes I love the car and it’s unquestionably capable, it’s a) pretty pricey for what I want. Did I really want to spend X amount on a French hatch back. B) If something did go wrong it’s not the type of car you take to your average garage or even Renault dealer with the nearest Renault Sport specialist dealer being at least an hour’s drive away. With that in mind I decided I’d try a few other cars when I got back to see if any of the other cars on my watch list got under my skin.
You can probably guess where this is going now can’t you. If not read on……
Came back off holiday and popped into a local dealership to look at a car that id spotted on auto trader whilst on holiday, have a mooch around and maybe blag a test drive. A few days later I was back for a test drive, then back again a few days later as the test drive I had was short, we also got stuck in rush hour traffic and behind a tractor. Second test drive was much better. Despite not actually wanting to buy a car when I first went in I said we would take it.
You are probably thinking one of two things now A) what is the car or B) Why do I care this is a Puma forum?
Well to answer A) you’ll be pleased to know it’s another Ford. It’s nothing to ground breaking and I am pretty sure a few members on here either have or have had one but we decided to buy a Fiesta ST180 or Mk7(.5) Fiesta ST to some in ST3 spec. I have done a few hundred miles in it and I am chuffed. It reminds me a lot of my EP3 Type R in terms of how it handles with a really direct front end and always feels like it’s on its tip toes ready to go. Obviously the engine is nothing alike but the Ecoboost engine has a lot more character and feels like it pulls harder than the Mini it replaced so all round very happy with how the car drives. It’s got all the gadgets I could want, seats are fantastic and it’s in one of my favourite colours so very pleased with my decision.
Now to answer B) well buying this car kind of changes my plans somewhat. Although I am sure the Fiesta is capable of some track work it’s not really out the box built for it like the Megane and since the Fiesta is such a good fun daily car I have made the decision to maybe go a little more full on with the Puma as a track car and keep the Fiesta 100% a daily road car. Initially for the Puma that doesn’t mean a great deal as I still need to finish this ‘Phase’ but over time it will start looking a bit different to what I had originally planned.
So back to the Puma updates….. Well I ordered a genuine new rear Ford ABS sensor to rule out a bad sensor and unfortunately that didn’t fix the problem. I am now going to look at checking the sensor to abs ring gap now it’s all bolted on the car as I am wondering If the spacing is either to close or too far away.
Secondly I had the front struts off and not sure if it’s me or not but the top bearings didn’t feel like they spin that freely despite being brand new Febi Bilstein units so I bought two new SKF bearings which I have chucked on the struts. They will be going back onto the car shortly so fingers crossed that will solve the binding noise.
That just leaves the brake issue. Brake Callipers have been apart and check but can’t see why it would be dragging. Once the ABS is working I think I will just drive it for a week or so and get some miles on the car then see if it all settles down after that.
Don’t think I mentioned it before but I bought a Hoffman cat back which went on the car when everything else did. For £74 or whatever they cost on ebay I don’t think you can go far wrong if you want a sportier tone, few crackles but still quite enough to drive it daily.
Naturally with my new plans for something more track focused as mentioned above I ordered myself a brand new Piper Catback for some extra noise. So if anyone wants a Hoffman catback that’s been on the car for about 30miles it will probably be up for sale next week once I get the piper on.
Bit of long one this one so sorry for that but the holiday and new car kind of distracted me from the Puma for a little bit so thought I’d share why the progress had slowed and id been quite for a while. Well done for sticking with it till the end if you did read it all though.
Front struts have gone back on the car with new SKF bearings. Binding/squeaking suspension noise 100% cured. Not sure what was up with the Febi Bilstein bearings as they were brand new but the replacements did the trick.
ABS…… yup got that working to. Bit of an oversight with this bit on my part. I fitted new splash shields when it all went on. Unfortunately the rectangle cut out in the middle of the shield half covers my new ABS hole so the sensor wasn’t getting through properly hence no signal. Bit of fettling and job was a goodun.
I also had the depth of the pocket on the spindles machined slightly two deep so that if needs be I could just space the sensor back out rather than having to remove it all from the car and machining it again. If you are going to use this technique I’d suggest ordering some shim washers to DIN 988. I used ones with an ID of 15mm and OD of 21mm in 0.1mm and 0.2mm thickness. Basically once it’s all bolted on the car pop the sensor in. Whip your feeler gauges out and shim accordingly so the gap is roughly 0.6mm.
Piper exhaust fitted as well. Did exactly what I wanted it to. More noise, better looks (in my opinion) and lots more crackles and pops. I wouldn’t describe it as offensively loud but for me personally I can’t say I would want to drive it to work everyday although it should quieten down a bit over the first 100 miles or so. As it’s a track car though that doesn’t matter as it is still well below any track day limits I’ve experienced in the past so perfect for what I want.
Only thing left then is the noise from the brakes. I have covered 50 or so miles already and its making the noise a lot less now so going to continue to put miles on the car and monitor it over the next week and a bit.
A few pictures of how she sits currently.
Next things on my list
- Custom length braided hoses (On order)
- Suspension setup
- Fit FRP seats
- Weight saving
- Track tyres
So for some of the list above I am booked in for a nut and bolt check on the car, braided hoses fitted, racing brake fluid and a suspension setup at Grinspeed Motorsport on the 27th of Aug (Pending holiday approval at work). Again no affiliation with the business but I first met Steve on the Honda scene via my Dad who has an EP3 for track use (Pretty much built by Grinspeed) so I know him and his work fairly well. The attention to detail, commitment and customer care is above and beyond most garages so for me it’s a no brainer to do the 2.5 hour each way trip so he can check the car over and set it up before I start hammering it around tracks.
Web Link – https://grinspeed.co.uk
In the run up to the 27th I will be fitting my FRP seats as well as starting to remove some of the weight from the car. I also want to tidy up a few little bits like fit clear side repeaters, order some new number plates and generally give it another good clean. After that it just leaves track tyres. Well you won’t be surprised to know I have had a set of new Team Dynamic Pro Race 1.2’s since April so will order a set of AD08RS tyres and get them fitted. I am opting for AD08RS initially because A) it’s coming towards the end of summer and it’s a strong possibility my first track day in the car could be a wet one and B) I will see how she copes on something semi road friendly before going more aggressive with the tyres.
That’s all for now Folks. Next update once the seats are in (could be tomorrow if I get a break in the weather)
I also cant say I have noticed much difference with the rear brakes other than the handbrake is better but my driving has been limited and pretty easy on the car. To be honest though I wasn't really expecting much more 'braking' performance as the front does most of the work but It should manage the heat better on track, the drums cant get gummed up with brake dust anymore and if they do provide some extra brake performance will help balance the braking front to back with all the extra bits on the front. Plus it looks way better.....
Yes I will pull together a small guide with parts list and my drawings to supplement the existing guide done by Wild E in the near future. His guide is pretty spot on to be honest and other than doing my own drawings, slightly deeper pocket and spacing the sensor out its exactly what I did. The hardest part for me was pulling together all the right part numbers and then finding new parts at a sensible price. Others may find the machining part a bit more challenging/daunting if they aren't used to this sort of thing but in reality its a pretty straight forward set of machining ops any good machining firm could do.
nice project you have there running. I also like the ST. As I have a set of kw coilovers which are similar to APs I have a question. Did the rear ones come with two half nuts or one (full height nut)? The order of fitting is spring - top cap - top mount - nut -chassis - cap&nut (over the arch)? Or spring - top cap - top mount - chassis - cap&nut (over the arch)? My question essentially is whether the rear coilovers go into the car being already one piece (with the first nut keeping them together) or do they become one piece when you put the cap and nut over the arch?
Keep on the updates. Cheers
So I think this depends which rear top weight things you have but what I did was back the spring perch right off put the strut together with the top mount and popped the nut on but only to hold it together. Then put it on the car making sure to line the notch on the top mount up with the cutout on the car. Drop the car back down so the springs are under compression. Remove the nut that was holding it all together (Obviously nothing will come apart now as the car is holding it together). Put the rear top weight thing back on. Put nut on and torque to correct spec. Then you can jack it back up and adjust the height to what you want.
Its a bit of a faf but means no extra half nuts etc etc.
Hope this helps but anymore questions just ask.