Last post on May 12, 2003 at 1:57 PM
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Ford Probe, Hatchback
#11 of 12 my Probe GT ownership experience
Feb 28, 2003 (4:52 pm)
My 1994 was special ordered late 1993 and I put 139k miles on it before I traded it December 2002. I believe I would have kept it and continued to maintain it for at least another two years or so, had it not been for back surgery that has now made it nearly impossible to crunch down low enough to get in and out.
Mine was a GT 5-speed with every other factory option except leather seating and the equalizer. Stock V6 Probes had adequate straight-line acceleration, but it certainly wasn't anything to brag about. However, with the low center of gravity, sticky low profile tires inflated to maximum, and the taut suspension setup, Probes handle twisty corners better than most. One of my favorite ways to deal with people who tailgated right on my bumper was to take my familiar daily highway cloverleaf exits without disengaging the cruise control. The Probe rode the curve as if it was on rails, even at twice the indicated ramp speed (kids, don't try this at home). If the tailgater took the same exit and tried to match my speed, they soon discovered new things about Newtonian physics. (Chevy Suburbans tailgating me were my favorite.)
maccaveili reported many issues, seeming to validating the old joke Fix Or Repair Daily.
In my experience, most of those seemed to be standard maintenance items and were expected. Plug wires wear out. Tires wear out. Brakes wear out. O2 sensors wear out. Water pumps wear out. Timing belts wear out. Refrigerant seals wear out. Most of these have replacement intervals in the manual, and most of mine lasted at least as long as specified. Given the potential for damage to the engine, I had the timing belt replaced at 60k and 120k even though it hadn't yet failed.
Like hwyhobo, I also had to replace the gas struts for the hatch once, and I paid about the same amount for a pair of aftermarket struts. I also had to replace the fog light bulbs quite often until I realized the housings were cracked and water was getting which shattered the bulb. Another use for duct tape....
Many of the parts on the car could be obtained either from Ford or Mazda (Probe, Mazda626, MazdaMX6 share many parts.) I can see that if you're buying used (yes, it is kind of hard to buy a new Probe these days) you don't know how many of these repairs you may need to do right away. But this is common to any used car.
The only warning I would offer to owners/prospective owners of 1993-1995 cars with 4-wheel disc brakes has to do with the rear brake calipers. I understand they were redesigned in 1996 to eliminate this problem. The issue I had was that the pivot pin that permits the hand brake to engage the rear wheels either corroded or lost all lube, thus preventing the brake caliper from releasing. This can (and did) result in rear wheel lockup.
One sunny day in July my caliper stuck. I sort of noticed that the tension on the hand brake as I released it felt lighter than usual but did not think it was significant. The car seemed to be a little slower accelerating onto a highway but I ignored that too. I was cruising on a straight level road. About 0.75mi later the left rear wheel locked up and the rear end started to spin around on me and it caught me completely by surprise. I was unable to recover. I continued spinning across a gravel shoulder, down a grassy embankment and eventually nosed squarely into a drainage ditch, flipped end-for-end, and rolled (on the wheels) backwards into a cornfield. I was wearing my seatbelt and the airbags deployed. A testament to the car's overall engineering was that I walked away without the slightest injury.
The car was not as lucky. The hood folded, the fenders bent, and the passenger airbag punched out the windshield and broke an internal mounting point for the dash. The tires showed flat spots, the gravel chewed up the alloys. Powder from the airbags went everywhere. The power antenna got folded too. Amazingly, insurance decided to fix it. Even more amazingly, after resetting the fuel cutout the car started and drove under its own power, and the radiator was intact. The body shop repair was extraordinary and it I noticed no significant differences in driving and handling after the repair from when it was new.
Since the accident, I became hyper-sensitive to the hand brake release. On those occasions over the years when it wouldn't fully release, I found sometimes I could pull really hard on it and crack it loose. When that didn't work, I would crawl under the vehicle and whack the pivot arm with the lug wrench until the pivot arm moved. Around 1999 I found out about the 1996 caliper redesign and asked my mechanic to replace both rear calipers when I was having other work done, and I don't remember having any brake problems after that.
#12 of 12 1994 Ford Probe
May 12, 2003 (1:57 pm)
I have owned a ford probe for about 2 years and the overdrive light came on a few months ago and then it just somehow went out 2 weeks later, i learn to just ignore the dashboard lights on the probe. It is also very reliable. Never had 1 single problem with it and it is almost 10 years old!