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Old 7th July 2015, 17:04   #31
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

Reminds me of my good ol' golden zen. It was an absolute beauty, and it was sad to let her go. I learnt driving on it, and never felt the need of power steering on it.
She could easily climb upto 120 after which she used to go out of breath.
I have managed all kind of terrains on it with ease.
That is the quality of Maruti, that is the reliability of ZEN.
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Old 8th July 2015, 12:46   #32
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

Brilliantly written. I simply loved Zen. I still like it a lot, and always thought of getting one just for me. It is just the interior space that is a downer. Everything else about the car is simply fabulous. I have borrowed my friend's Zen a lot many times, and enjoyed the ride. It puts a big grin on my face whenever you put down your foot on the Acc-pedal.
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Old 8th July 2015, 15:11   #33
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

Excellent Review Swamy!! (Love your userid too)
Hats off to that.
You really did justice to your Car, treating it well & giving all care, almost couple of decades.
Should be an inspiring Story to guys who keep switching their ride every 2-5 Years or so.
Zen is mechanically a wonderful vehicle.
However as you say, with respect to Safety & security it's a big disappointment. But we never had many options back in the 90s!
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Old 8th July 2015, 17:19   #34
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by anshuman_v View Post
Swamy, Zen is an amazing car. For most of us, Zen is a car we buy when we are really enthusiastic, and typically young as well. The Zen suits that bracket well - a hoot to drive, and easy to maintain. Its got the Zing thing for sure. I used to have a zen, and yes, I remember calling the AC as turbo boost - when you switch it off!
Kudos to your article, and Kudos the Zen. One aptly named car for sure, amen!
Thanks Anshuman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anand_lukose View Post
Thank you very much for the wonderful write up. I have a zen and I would not trade it for anything else ! Every time I go home and drive my family's car, I always end up mentioning that none of them has a soul quite like the zen ! This car is best when driven alone. Pure Pocket Rocket !

Thank you sharing your maintenance tips as well.
Thanks Anand_lukose!

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Originally Posted by unni246 View Post
Excellent Review Swamy!! (Love your userid too)
Hats off to that.
You really did justice to your Car, treating it well & giving all care, almost couple of decades.
Should be an inspiring Story to guys who keep switching their ride every 2-5 Years or so.
Zen is mechanically a wonderful vehicle.
However as you say, with respect to Safety & security it's a big disappointment. But we never had many options back in the 90s!
Thanks unni246!

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Originally Posted by keeprevving View Post
Brilliantly written. I simply loved Zen. I still like it a lot, and always thought of getting one just for me. It is just the interior space that is a downer. Everything else about the car is simply fabulous. I have borrowed my friend's Zen a lot many times, and enjoyed the ride. It puts a big grin on my face whenever you put down your foot on the Acc-pedal.
Thanks keeprevving!

Had a question for the other Zen owners of the forum. Is it possible to get MGP door pads by any chance? Like I have mentioned in the review the current ones have developed air pockets and look bad. Also at the edges the cloth is coming out.
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Old 11th July 2015, 12:40   #35
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen


Good read! Happy to know that there are lots of Zen lovers out here. I own a Zen Vxi 2003, and I'm loving it.
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Old 30th July 2015, 19:05   #36
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

Small update on the car. Today while I was letting the engine warm up in the morning, heard a strange noise like that of two metal parts grinding/rubbing against each other. Though the noise was very less, I decided to check it out nonetheless. Opened the hood and saw that one of the pulleys was rubbing against a plastic cover part. Checked why only to see that there was some lots of dirt and grime between the 2 parts causing the weird noise. Cleaned that area, lubricated the pulleys just in case, started the engine and everything was back to normal and Zen is ready to fight another day . Also had forgotten to top of the windscreen washer fluid which I duly did with the extra packets that Mandovi had chucked into the car ( they had just given it to me without asking them and of course I had to pay as the bill was ready by the time I went to collect the car)
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Old 4th August 2015, 15:03   #37
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by swamyzen View Post
Had a question for the other Zen owners of the forum. Is it possible to get MGP door pads by any chance? Like I have mentioned in the review the current ones have developed air pockets and look bad. Also at the edges the cloth is coming out.
I'm having the same issue with my dad's Zen 2002 MPI. To answer your question, No. Maruti used to supply these on made-to-order basis until 2012, but no more. You could try checking with the local MGA outlets if they have any old stock, but they probably would have the same air pocket problem too.

Unlike the other cars, these door pads are actually made from pressed cardboard with leatherette wrapping. As the years go by, the glue that sticks the leatherette to the cardboard comes undone and the changes in ambient temperature (heating during the day, cooling at night) results in the air pockets that you're seeing.

I got my dad's door pads restored by a local sofa cover maker - scraped the old leatherette off using a blade and replaced with new material (you can use fabric too, that will bend better along the contours of the cardboard, but will be a pain to clean later on.)

On a related thought, the 2003 Zen had plastic molded door pads like the Alto. Try checking if they fit your model, if your FNG or service station has a spare 2003 Zen lying around.
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Old 4th August 2015, 20:03   #38
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by hemant.kamat View Post
I'm having the same issue with my dad's Zen 2002 MPI. To answer your question, No. Maruti used to supply these on made-to-order basis until 2012, but no more. You could try checking with the local MGA outlets if they have any old stock, but they probably would have the same air pocket problem too.
Thanks hemant.kamat for the info ! How I wish the door pads were still made! But then that expectation is a bit too high considering we are having a car which was stopped a decade ago. In fact I was kind of happy to hear Maruti made them till 2012! Looks like I will have to take a similar route i.e. get the existing pads restored. Getting the right grey colour of the existing leather might prove a bit tough but nonetheless better than switching to the plastic door pads because I like that soft cloth on the arm rests were the passengers can rest their arms instead of resting them on some hard plastic. Also since I am one of those who likes to keep the car as original as possible I would prefer getting them restored.

Update on the car: Well that noise which I had posted about in the previous post has come back. Nothing wrong with the engine but just that the small noise is killing me as to why it is there. Also when I had last given the car for service about a month back had noticed the oil was not put till the full mark it was a little above half mark. But worse when I checked the oil in the weekend it did not seem like the normal 10W 40 oil. Its viscosity seemed a lot lesser. Hence after went to an oil shop and showed it to the shop owner who said it was mostly 5W 30 . Now from what I have heard from the zen and the art of maintaining thread 5 W 30 is supposed to be BAD for the engine. The bill had 5W 30 on it but when I asked my SA after the service he told it was printing mistake and 10W 40 was indeed used( note: he was not my regular SA, regular one was on leave). What I did notice all these days though were at morning the engine seemed very smooth in the morning which is usually not the case. Hence did some research and found out 5W 30 circulates a lot quicker than 10W 40 in cold temperatures and hence the engine was a lot smoother during the morning. Hence taking the car to Mandovi tomorrow or day after for a check up on what to do about the oil and if it is going to damage the engine as forum members told 5W 30 is bad for Zen's engine and also need to get the noise rectified.

Last edited by swamyzen : 4th August 2015 at 20:16.
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Old 29th August 2015, 14:31   #39
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

UPDATE: Got the car checked by the regular SA at Mandovi 2 days after my previous post. Got a big relief after the check up! The noise is coming from the belts which have hardened and a few cracks have surfaced which causes the sound. He told there is no problem and next service I can get them changed. The oil well he told no problem with that too. He told 5 W 30 is good enough and in fact since it gives better protection during cold starts he asked me to continue with it. He in fact showed me another Zen with 1,40,000 on the odo and told me he has been seeing the car for past 6-7 years and the owner always insisted on 5W 30 because of the smoothness of the engine during cold starts. Must agree with him on that point. Before while using 10W 40 the engine used be really gruff in the mornings and idling would be erratic. Now with 5W 30 the engine does not die out like it did with 10W 40 and it idles seamlessly as though the engine is warm which was not the case before on cold starts. So planning to continue with 5W 30 from now. Regarding the amount of oil the other SA had put he could not comment about it as the other SA was not there that day and nor was the regular SA there on the day of the service. Recently did an airport run with Zen. I must say it performed brilliantly! Maintained 3 digit speeds easily even with 4 people on the way back. The fuel efficiency I got was a brilliant 18 kmpl considering the fact that I was driving a bit spiritedly, downshifting to 3rd from 5th the second I reached 60 kmph or lower and also accelerated hard in the 1st and 2nd ratios. Overall the happy fuss free ownership continues .
Couple of pics my son took from the Innova which he was coming in -
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Last edited by swamyzen : 29th August 2015 at 14:33.
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Old 4th October 2015, 16:31   #40
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

17 years ago I got you home and you were an instant fan among the family members. 17 years later you still are a favorite of my family members and mine. 17 long years you have handled all the abuse I have given you and you still serve me faithfully. A very happy belated birthday to Zen. Yesterday Zen turned 17 years with 33,000 kilometers left for the odometer to turn 00000 again ( basically the odometer reading is 1,67,000 ). Zen got a well deserved break yesterday from the daily regime. Gave Zen an extra thorough wash and covered it with the body cover only for rain to play spoil sport at night. Zen is running fine as usual. I had left MSIL an email regarding the oil used and a general inquiry as to till when they will make spare parts for the Zen. I got an ultra prompt reply and they deserve a pat on their back. I got a call from Mr. Manjunath from Mandovi assuring me the oil was fine and in fact MSIL had changed the recommended oil to 5W 30 a few years ago. Also my SA Mr.Divakaran also called to make sure I was satisfied and to make sure the car was running fine. Mighty impressed with the way things turned out and this is exactly what MSIL does which many other companies don't do and that is keeping the customer happy even if the customer has an outdated 17 year old car .

Swamyzen
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Old 5th October 2015, 10:32   #41
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by swamyzen View Post
17 years ago I got you home and you were an instant fan among the family members. 17 years later you still are a favorite of my family members and mine. 17 long years you have handled all the abuse I have given you and you still serve me faithfully.
Amazing Sir! Wish you may happy miles ahead too! The car is reliable as rock. As I said before, it is truly something like 'fill it, shut it and forget it' kind.

I have been using 5w-30 since quite some time now and the car runs beautifully on it. I have noticed that it churns out a tad better FE on that grade of oil too than 20w-40.

Did MSIL shared a word on how long they plan to keep manufacturing the spares of the good ol' Zen?

Regards,
Saket
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Old 6th October 2015, 14:01   #42
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Amazing Sir! Wish you may happy miles ahead too! The car is reliable as rock. As I said before, it is truly something like 'fill it, shut it and forget it' kind.

Did MSIL shared a word on how long they plan to keep manufacturing the spares of the good ol' Zen?

Regards,
Saket
Hello Saket,

Thanks a lot for the kind words! I think I am going to stick to 5W-30 from now on after seeing how smooth the engine is on cold starts. Well, MSIL did not comment for how long the spare parts are going to be available. I have a gut feeling that spare parts should not be a problem for the next 7-8 years at least. Spare parts are available off the shelf here in Bangalore and Mysore. For example the front left hand side parking light cover was cracked thanks to bikers last year. I was able to get a MGP replacement part in Mysore very easily. Just went to Mandovi there and got it off the shelf. As for suspension parts 90% of them are shared with the Alto's so that's certainly not a problem. As I remember even the starter motor is shared with the WagonR. The dynamo not very sure as when I bought the replacement it was particularly for the Zen.

How is the availability of spare parts in Jharkand?

Regards,
swamyzen
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Old 6th October 2015, 15:06   #43
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by swamyzen View Post

How is the availability of spare parts in Jharkand?

Regards,
swamyzen
You are quite right Sir. It is good that the Zen shares a lot of parts with its cousins, mainly Alto. It certainly helps availability. I have seen that parts & accessories like tail lamps, turn indicators, head lamps, wiper blades, windshield, etc are not a problem at all. In fact, many of these are also available from the same manufacturers like Lumax, Bosch, Umax, Asahi, Saint Gobain etc. without the MGP stamp at auto stores outside MASS.

The only problem I have faced with the spares is with the body panels. I have seen that while replacement of the rear hatch and the doors. The door was afterwards repaired back to perfection but some body panels are not readily available. The dealership has to source the parts (as per them) from Gurgaon.

All in all, the problem is still not that acute that we should bother too much. The Zen has sold exceedingly well during its hay-days and that only helps!
Not sure about the type-II Zen which was sold during the years 2005-06 though.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 6th October 2015, 22:22   #44
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
The only problem I have faced with the spares is with the body panels. I have seen that while replacement of the rear hatch and the doors. The door was afterwards repaired back to perfection but some body panels are not readily available. The dealership has to source the parts (as per them) from Gurgaon.

All in all, the problem is still not that acute that we should bother too much. The Zen has sold exceedingly well during its hay-days and that only helps!
Not sure about the type-II Zen which was sold during the years 2005-06 though.
Ouch! Replacement of rear hatch and doors , seems like your Zen had a bad hit. Thankfully by Gods grace I have not had to worry about finding replacement panels for the car. One thing I have not mentioned in the main review is the tail lamps have been changed thrice. Twice the LHS and once the RHS. Two of them thanks to bikers and the third one because the casing faded away (the product was not from Lumax). All three times parts were sourced from auto shops on JC Road. Now both the units are from Lumax. I guess the type 2 guys might be having a hard time getting parts like the tail lamps and headlamps as it was in production for only 2 years.

Have a small question for you sir. Have you heard of getting a half engine for the Zen?

Regards,
swamyzen
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Old 7th October 2015, 10:43   #45
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Default re: 18 years and 177,000 kilometers with my Maruti Zen

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Originally Posted by swamyzen View Post
Ouch! Replacement of rear hatch and doors , seems like your Zen had a bad hit. Thankfully by Gods grace I have not had to worry about finding replacement panels for the car. One thing I have not mentioned in the main review is the tail lamps have been changed thrice. Twice the LHS and once the RHS. Two of them thanks to bikers and the third one because the casing faded away (the product was not from Lumax). All three times parts were sourced from auto shops on JC Road. Now both the units are from Lumax. I guess the type 2 guys might be having a hard time getting parts like the tail lamps and headlamps as it was in production for only 2 years.

Have a small question for you sir. Have you heard of getting a half engine for the Zen?

Regards,
swamyzen
My car was once rear ended by a tractor while it was stationary! The rear hatch was changed by MASS. One of the door (driver's side) was again due to terrible bad luck! A car coming from opposite direction hit a metal barricade which flew and hit my car! Thankfully, the door was repaired to perfection by MASS.

About your question on half engine, then yes, there is a half engine kit available for Zen which comes at a cost of about 30-40K. It replaces most of the items inside the engine block like the pistons/valves/ crankshaft etc. Means your engine is as good as new once given the treatment.

Regards,
Saket
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