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#1 2016-07-23 12:17:45

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Ford Transit Connect

I've been mulling a half-serious idea around in my head recently.

What if I could get a nicely optioned Ford Transit Connect with the 1.6L turbo and a manual transmission? The price is reasonable (<$30k), I think they can look pretty cool, they get decent mileage, and something about manual vans just really get me going. I drove a manual VW bus in South Africa years ago and it was unbelievable fun.

The idea is basically to have a hot little van. Not totally a sleeper, because I would put some decent wheels on it and an exhaust that sounds nice, but still surprising and definitely not something you see often. I would get the short wheelbase, so it would dimensionally only be a few inches off from the 9-2x (other than the height).

They obviously sell them with manuals in Europe - is there any way to get one here? Or, if not, would it be crazy to swap the transmission?

Looking around at local Ford dealers, nobody has one with the 1.6L turbo. They all order them with the 2.5NA Duratec. I talked with a sales lead person for one of the dealerships about special ordering one - if they'd even do it and if so could I get a stick in it. We'll see if they get back to me.

Can anyone confirm that the 1.6L Turbo in the Transit is the same motor in the Fiesta ST? I'm hoping that means bolt-ons for the Fiesta would work on the Transit as well...

I dunno, just spitballing a bit here. But it could be pretty cool.

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#2 2016-07-23 15:36:09

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
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From: Taterville
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User Number: 2114
Posts: 7907
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

I know almost nothing about the power trains, however I'm a big fan of the little Transits (and the big ones for that matter).  Jalopnik had one as a press car a while back and loved it.  I don't think it's particularly quick, but as a general purpose rig and people mover, hard to beat.

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#3 2016-07-23 15:58:35

Jameson
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From: MI
Registered: 2006-12-27
User Number: 1725
Posts: 2968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I think the FiST has a 197hp version of the 1.6l which is a higher rate of tune than you find in any other use of the same engine.


1998 BMW M Roadster, Dinan/RMS stage 2+@12psi
2006 Saab 9-5 Aero'D Combi 5mt stage 3+@19psi
2015 Buick Regal "T" (wife's)

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#4 2016-07-23 16:09:02

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Heard back from the dealer. They'll happily special order me one, but can't get a manual. They have no idea what transmission is used in the Euro-spec ones or anything. I get it, they're there to sell cars.

Looking around the net I haven't seen anyone doing a manual conversion on the latest gen Transit. What about importing one with the manual? With exchange rates where they are, maybe I could end up not paying a whole lot more by doing that...

I have no experience in the areas of manual conversions or importing vehicles. Maybe that makes me a poor candidate to be looking down this road. Anybody know of an importer that would take something like this on?

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#5 2016-07-24 23:57:08

drewsro
Gypsy
From: Highland, IN
Registered: 2014-01-10
User Number: 13600
Posts: 1183

Re: Ford Transit Connect

You probably won't be able to import one, mainly because of the import ban of 25 years or older


2005 9-2x Aero 5MT- Stage 2
2007 Toyota Corolla CE
2016 VW GTI S
Need a CARFAX report? Message me.

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#6 2016-07-25 00:06:03

hyperboarder
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User Number: 2114
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

There's a "similar" clause, but I don't think it'd be worth it in this case.  I'd really think about how much you want the manual.

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#7 2016-07-25 00:10:16

racerjim
Headroom is overrated...
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From: Boulder CO
Registered: 2005-06-16
User Number: 247
Posts: 2920

Re: Ford Transit Connect

drewsro wrote:

You probably won't be able to import one, mainly because of the import ban of 25 years or older

Cars, for sure.  Trucks?


My Car:  2009 Mercedes Benz SLK55 AMG
SOLD August 2016:  2005 Saab 9-2x Aero 5-Speed, Cold, Premium, Arctic Silver
Her Car:  2013 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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#8 2016-07-25 08:04:41

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

hyperboarder wrote:

There's a "similar" clause, but I don't think it'd be worth it in this case.  I'd really think about how much you want the manual.

The similar thing was what I was thinking might work. If I can't have it as a manual, I've completely lost interest. But yeah, it may not be worth it in general.

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#9 2016-07-25 08:35:14

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
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Posts: 7907
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

You might check to see if they can get them in Canada with a manual.

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#10 2016-07-25 09:56:47

bentmettle
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From: Ann Arbor
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Posts: 2253
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

Curb weight on Fiesta is 2500 lb or thereabouts.

Van comes in at 3500

http://www.ford.com/trucks/transitconne … /exterior/

A Focus ST drivetrain swap would be slightly more amusing

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#11 2016-07-25 21:19:27

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

hyperboarder wrote:

You might check to see if they can get them in Canada with a manual.

Nope...6 speed auto only.  unamused

bentmettle wrote:

Curb weight on Fiesta is 2500 lb or thereabouts.

Van comes in at 3500

http://www.ford.com/trucks/transitconne /exterior/

A Focus ST drivetrain swap would be slightly more amusing

I agree, the Focus ST motor would definitely be better. I think the Fiesta ST motor could still be pretty fun. I mean, the van is only 200lbs heavier than our cars. With light tuning on the 1.6L turbo, it'd be in the 200hp range, which I think would be enough for a good time.

But alas, the dream is looking quite a bit further from reality than I had initially hoped.

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#12 2016-08-17 23:07:25

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I can't stop thinking about this.

What if I bought a used one in the US. I found one in Pennsylvania with 21,000 miles for $16k, for example. The short wheel base is relatively rare, the wagon (meaning has seats and windows in the back instead of being a panel van) is relatively rare, and the 1.6L turbo from the Fiesta ST option is relatively rare. But they're out there.

And then I had the transmission swapped for a manual.

It's a Focus platform, so in theory a Focus transmission should bolt in. The only *thing* is that I haven't been able to find documentation of this operation having been done before on the latest generation Connect. Also, I don't have a 'guy' who would do the work. So, I would have to find a good mechanic who is like-minded and enjoys weird cars and stuff and is down with what I'm trying to do here.

I figure if I'm going to do a transmission swap, that'll void the warranty so there's no point in buying new. Maybe it'd be in the $3-4k range to get the transmission swap don, and I'm still cheaper than a new one, and I've got what I wanted.

Am I totally nuts? Or just nuts enough?

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#13 2016-08-17 23:19:56

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

Totally nuts.  If you really want it, find the unicorn and leave it alone.  The transmission swap will be tough at best, borderline impossible at worse.  I really wish the wifes Flex had a manual, but it doesn't and I live with it.  Still fun to drive.

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#14 2016-08-18 09:51:21

goob_os101
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From: Arlington, VA
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

why not just leave it auto  sly oh right...autos are not fun facepalm


-Goob

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#15 2016-08-18 10:37:55

Jameson
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From: MI
Registered: 2006-12-27
User Number: 1725
Posts: 2968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I have done a trans swap.  The mechanics of it are not a big deal, especially a vehicle offered with a manual to begin with.  The issue I see being the biggest challenge will be the computer control of the trans and engine.  There will have to be a lot of guessing, mixing and matching and or the need for someone skilled in these black arts which may not be easy to find.


1998 BMW M Roadster, Dinan/RMS stage 2+@12psi
2006 Saab 9-5 Aero'D Combi 5mt stage 3+@19psi
2015 Buick Regal "T" (wife's)

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#16 2016-08-18 12:48:48

itsnotmeitsyou
Potato, Patreason...
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From: San Antonio, Texas
Registered: 2011-07-31
User Number: 5779
Posts: 2185

Re: Ford Transit Connect

best to find a totaled one so you can swap any bits you might need like harness/ecu...


2005 Saab 9-2x Aero:  More than you've had done to your car.
2015 Forester XT Touring

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#17 2016-08-18 22:14:51

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Jameson wrote:

I have done a trans swap.  The mechanics of it are not a big deal, especially a vehicle offered with a manual to begin with.  The issue I see being the biggest challenge will be the computer control of the trans and engine.  There will have to be a lot of guessing, mixing and matching and or the need for someone skilled in these black arts which may not be easy to find.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking would be the likely sticking point too.

The 1.6l ecoboost version is only available in North America, and no manual is offered in North America. So there is no Transit Connect ECU that is ready to plug in with the combination of manual + 1.6l ecoboost.

One glimmer of hope is that it is the same motor as is in the Fiesta ST, which obviously has a manual, so maybe that ECU would work.

Mechanically, the thing is built on the Focus platform and is sold all over the world with a manual, so it should be pretty doable from that perspective.

Finding the right shop/guy to do this thing is indeed the trouble. I've emailed a few shops - heard back from one that transmission swaps aren't their deal, but they did refer me to another one. I'll have to be patient.

hyperboarder wrote:

Totally nuts.  If you really want it, find the unicorn and leave it alone.  The transmission swap will be tough at best, borderline impossible at worse.  I really wish the wifes Flex had a manual, but it doesn't and I live with it.  Still fun to drive.

That's just the thing though...if it doesn't have the stick, I'm just not interested anymore. It makes all the difference. It's still cool with an auto, but it's not something I want to own.

Another thing with all this is that I'm getting a surprising amount of support with it. My fiance thinks it's awesome, which really surprised me, and is a big boost to have her on board. She's been telling all her friends and they all think it's pretty funny. I think I'm gonna really look into this thing. The idea of walking out to a parking lot and getting in my dope as van is pretty damn alluring. But it's manual or nothing.

goob_os101 wrote:

why not just leave it auto  sly oh right...autos are not fun facepalm

I mean...yeah. That's...exactly why not.

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#18 2016-08-18 22:54:00

Jameson
Member
From: MI
Registered: 2006-12-27
User Number: 1725
Posts: 2968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I have a thing for Turbo 5spd Dodge Caravan builds.  If it's an auto, I have O interest.


1998 BMW M Roadster, Dinan/RMS stage 2+@12psi
2006 Saab 9-5 Aero'D Combi 5mt stage 3+@19psi
2015 Buick Regal "T" (wife's)

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#19 2016-08-18 23:51:07

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

arrow-up This guy gets it.

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#20 2016-08-19 01:02:49

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
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From: Taterville
Registered: 2007-06-19
User Number: 2114
Posts: 7907
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Re: Ford Transit Connect

Jameson is a weirdo.  I saw him on TV.  Don't trust him smile.

The biggest thing I'd be worried about is sinking a decent of money into it, only to find it's not particularly doable.  That and resale value, even if it works, you'll probably eventually want to sell it.  Niche vehicle to say the least.

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#21 2016-08-19 08:27:51

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

hyperboarder wrote:

Jameson is a weirdo.  I saw him on TV.  Don't trust him :).

The biggest thing I'd be worried about is sinking a decent of money into it, only to find it's not particularly doable.  That and resale value, even if it works, you'll probably eventually want to sell it.  Niche vehicle to say the least.

Well, yeah, that would royally suck. That's why I need to find someone who really knows what they're doing. But the elements do all seem to be there...waiting.

Resale I'm not nearly as concerned with. I would keep the thing for 10+ years. A bigger concern for me is not knowing how to insure something like this, exactly.

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#22 2016-08-22 07:04:26

bentmettle
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From: Ann Arbor
Registered: 2005-11-16
User Number: 897
Posts: 2253
Website

Re: Ford Transit Connect

dotmaster206 wrote:

It's a Focus platform, so in theory a Focus transmission should bolt in.

Not exactly how platforms work, but I'm admittedly unable to explain how they do work because some of the platform decisions I've seen seem to defy all logic.

If you're going to hassle with it, do the full on RS drivetrain swap.

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#23 2016-08-22 08:18:43

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

bentmettle wrote:

dotmaster206 wrote:

It's a Focus platform, so in theory a Focus transmission should bolt in.

Not exactly how platforms work, but I'm admittedly unable to explain how they do work because some of the platform decisions I've seen seem to defy all logic.

If you're going to hassle with it, do the full on RS drivetrain swap.

lol

That would be awesome, though.

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#24 2016-08-22 09:34:48

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
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From: Taterville
Registered: 2007-06-19
User Number: 2114
Posts: 7907
Website

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Fuck it, I redact my previous recommendation, go for big air and document it well.  I'd love to see this come to fruition.

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#25 2016-08-22 22:44:28

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1891

Re: Ford Transit Connect

So, I heard back from a shop in Orlando that was really positive about the idea.

The shop is called Vaccar Master Garage. It's a shop that generally specializes in custom Ford stuff. They've done stuff for SEMA, including a Transit Connect. I've asked a bunch of questions (how parts sourcing will work, how/if we can be more sure that this will be doable before just diving in, thoughts on other mods like an exhaust while they've got it). We'll see what I get back.

Anyone know of them? I was thinking I might ping a couple other shops that did custom TC work at SEMA as well just to get some more input as well.

A question that maybe Jameson or anyone else who has done a conversion like this might be able to answer: how does insurance work for a significantly modified car like this? Will I be able to still go through a normal insurer like Geico or will the fact that it has a manual transmission that doesn't show up in their drop down menu going to be a big problem?

hyperboarder wrote:

Fuck it, I redact my previous recommendation, go for big air and document it well.  I'd love to see this come to fruition.

That's the spirit!  banana

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