Our Journey

Any LDV owner will surely know just how difficult finding replacement parts for their van can be when things break down. Unlike most normal vans which only have brand-specific parts, an LDV can be made up of just about any bits from Peugeot to Ford to Metro, causing no end of frustration to their owners.

So a question we get asked quite often is: how we go about finding parts for our LDV Convoy? We thought we’d explain the various processes we go through each time we need to find a part for our van in the hope that it can help someone else.

 

Please note: We have an LDV Convoy with a Ford Transit 2.4L 75bhp engine. It is the 3.85T minibus model with engine code F4FA. We can only provide information about this specific type of LDV as we don’t have experience with the 2.5L banana engine or the smaller LDVs, whose parts do differ from ours as we will explain below.

Identifying your LDV

If you don’t know what type of LDV you have then there is a really handy website that can help you. 

LDV Parts Direct is a website run by Sean Turnbull in Wales; you can enter your reg number and it will bring up virtually every detail you need to know about your van. Their prices are a little steep for parts but they do provide original genuine LDV parts and have just about everything LDV-related so it is an extremely useful resource.

The most important thing to remember about an LDV is that the only LDV part of it is the bodywork. The engine and its associated parts are Ford, and once we learned to start telling foreign garages abroad that we had a Ford Transit and not an LDV things became much simpler for us (no one outside of the UK has ever heard of an LDV, so it’s best to mention a make that they actually recognise).

Your four digit engine code can be found within your engine number, such as:

LDVF4FA050964

Sometimes you can make searches quicker by searching for parts including your engine code. Also if you’re particularly crafty, the most efficient way of finding parts is to take the part numbers off the parts from your vehicle (if possible) and cross-reference them with various websites online until you get a usable part number (most parts have multiple different part numbers depending on the manufacturer, so cross-referencing may be necessary).

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Taking apart our LDV's entire engine.

Ford parts vs LDV parts

It is common knowledge that LDV Convoys were born out of a parts bin, taking bits from Fords, Peugeots, Austins, Land Rovers and even Metros to create this van that was once the backbone of Britain. This allowed the company to keep costs down, but makes it so very difficult for us LDV owners to find the correct parts.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but generally anything engine-related such as timing chains, EGR valves, vacuum pumps etc are from a Ford Transit MK6. Anything body and suspension related such as shock absorbers, brake master cylinders, brake pads, anti roll bar, drop linkages etc are LDV. 

Anything electrical such as the ECU, diesel pump and immobiliser system are Ford. Anything bodywork related such as panels, windscreen, windows, doors etc are LDV.

Knowing this little trick has helped us find parts so many times, as when nothing turned up in our search results for LDV parts we simply typed in ‘Ford Transit’ instead and were able to find what we needed, most often much cheaper as well. As LDVs become rarer on the roads and Ford Transit MK6s outnumber them ten to one, sometimes this is the only way we can keep our van on the road.

A new radiator, alternator and fan belt for our van.

Key differences

Most often the differences between a regular LDV Convoy and the minibus model are negligible; one has a higher roof than the other and usually comes with extra seats. But the main differences lie in the braking system, as we found out through an extensive phase of trial and error.

The LDV minibus version (the 3.85T one with a high top roof) has bigger brakes than regular LDVs. This means that the master cylinder is different, with a larger internal bore diameter to push out more brake fluid, and the brake pads are bigger too. With 89 different kinds of master cylinder to choose from, this is really important to know!

Also there are virtually no similarities between the 2.4L Ford Duratorq engine and the 2.5L Ford “banana” engine. We’re not going to get into the debate between the banana engine being slower but more reliable and the Ford “Durashite” engine (which we personally love and have found to be the most reliable part of our van) here though. All you need to know is that parts for the 2.5L engine are cheaper than the 2.4L, annoyingly cheaper, every single time. This could be a deciding factor for what kind of LDV you buy, but just be aware that they are essentially two completely different vehicles despite sharing the same name and exterior.

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Changing the EGR valve finally after ordering the wrong part.

Where to source parts?

We get our parts from a variety of different sources, depending on how common or specialist they are.

While eBay is often the cheapest and does sometimes offer parts that are unavailable elsewhere, it is our least favourite option. Partly because the parts are often unbranded and without a warranty, and partly because it is hard to figure out whether what you are looking at is indeed the correct part. They do have a make and model search system but it often excludes any results where the seller may not have listed your van type, even if the part is correct, plus sellers usually warn you not to use it and to check with them personally as eBay’s system is often incorrect. Also if your van is broken down and you need it urgently back on the road, waiting 3-4 days for shipment and then potentially waiting another week or two should you need to return the part is a bit of a headache. To ensure we get the correct part, as many of them are incorrectly listed, we have started to search through the listing details for the phone number of a company who are usually happy to help you identify if the part you are looking at is correct or not.

Our go-to for parts is a local company called MillAuto, or sometimes Euro Car Parts, as both can search parts by your registration number and returns are easy should you order the wrong part. Euro Car Parts also have regular discounts on parts and things like engine oil on Bank Holidays and at the end of the month.

For more specialist parts like our brake master cylinder we turn to Wessex DAF, a global company who supply parts for DAF lorries but can also source various LDV parts, but for a hefty price. Their prices are similar to LDV Parts Direct who are also particularly helpful to speak to about any problems you may have. Many times we’ve been up to our local DAF garage to pick their brains, and their knowledge is surprisingly broad considering they haven’t worked on LDVs for around 13 years now. Additionally the folks at DAF back in the UK can most likely liaise with DAF garages abroad, helping you to help them locate the correct parts for your van.

Finally, there’s the good old fashioned scrapyard, where you’ll find LDVs ten a penny. Sometimes these are the only places you can get certain parts, like fuel filler caps, window handles etc, but the downside is that obviously you won’t know what condition the parts you’re taking are in, so be wise. They are usually pretty cheap, but can sometimes work out more expensive than buying a new part online, so it’s good to agree on a price before you get down and dirty.

Removing the front axle to replace the kingpins.

Buying parts abroad

As previously mentioned, you will probably not get very far asking a foreign garage to source parts for your LDV. Garage-bought parts nearly always work out more expensive, but if the part in question is something LDV-specific you might just be out of luck anyway. We were once taken to a DAF garage in Spain, but they completely ripped us off, charging us over ten times the prices of what the parts would’ve cost in the UK without prior warning.

Since that incident we’ve found it best to buy parts on eBay that can be shipped abroad, or asking members of our family to post out parts to us that we can collect from a local post office. This often works out cheaper than buying the parts from a garage, but sometimes it can be your only option, like when we broke down in Montenegro, the only country possibly in the world that doesn’t know what a Ford Transit is.

Always carry a basic selection of spares with you; wheel cylinders, brake pads, wiper blades, bearings, fuses, or in our case a spare starter motor and wiper motor too. Odds are it’ll be something totally different that breaks, but you’ll be glad you didn’t leave that spare starter motor you had lying around behind when your van decides it won’t start on top of a mountain somewhere.

Getting deep into the engine to change the diesel pump.

Asking for help

Never be afraid to ask for help! Although we’ve replaced virtually every part on our van over the last few years there’s still many times when we’ve been stuck and need the help and advice of fellow LDV owners, although some of the problems we’ve had in the past have stumped even the experts!

Aside from talking to companies like DAF and LDV Parts Direct, searching out fellow LDV owners who may have had similar experiences on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook is your best friend. There are some really helpful groups on there full of wise, experienced people, ex-LDV technicians and people who just love LDVs like on LDV VANS AND CONVERTS. These people are just happy to help keep LDVs on the road and are passionate about these iconic British vans.

Another particularly helpful group is called LDV Files. As we’re sure many of you have come to realise now there is no Haynes manual or indeed any form of workshop manual available to buy for an LDV Convoy. Thankfully some very kind helpful people have created this group and uploaded every single LDV workshop manual and parts list onto there that exists. These can save you hours of scrolling and hair-pulling, and have assisted us countless times in finding the correct parts for our van.

A helping hand from some friendly mechanics in Macedonia.

So that's it, everything we've learned over the past four years of owning an LDV. We hope that sharing our experiences and our trials and errors might be able to help someone else who's having trouble finding parts for their LDV.

LDVs: Love them or hate them? Tell us your opinion in the comments!