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Old 1st December 2010, 20:30   #1
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Default The Forgotten MUV of 90's - Tata Estate

Hello, This is my first post on Team BHP and i am starting a new thread dedicated to all the Owners of a car which has stood the tests of time "TATA ESTATE", Going by the rules of Team BHP i screened through search results and found no thread posting ownership comments / pics of Tata estate cars. So i encourage such folks to go ahead and share their experiences here (I do understand we do not have many well maintained cars left on roads)


I. Model details
Year of manufacture : 1996
Condition : Used
Reading on the Odometer : 1,28,000 KM +
Overall Fuel Efficiency : 11 KM per litre without AC
Number of years the car is with present owner : 8 years (2003 January - Till Date)
Purchase Cost : Rs 1,10,000

II. The Purchase Story - Year 2003
Well, We are a family who have always believed in motorcycles more than a car, but finally one day my father decided that he needs to buy a car, so the plan was simple, since no one in our house knew driving a four wheeler back then, we decided to buy a used car, have some good practice on it and then go for a new one later.
So our first obvious choice was a Maruti esteem considering the popularity it enjoyed in those days but the used car prices were monstrous, we went to multiple dealers but no one was ready to budge below 2 lacs, and then one of our friends whom we had taken as a guide in purchasing the used car suggested Tata Estate as an option (though I was in more favour of Sierra but higher ground clearance meant the ladies in the family would find it difficult to hop onto it), so after a couple of hunts, we found this white beauty in Amar Car Dealership; Hadapsar,Pune, The Dealer was good and had made sure all the paperwork was clear and in place, We finalized it and brought it home,

Now that the car was in and so were the problems not far behind (This is what most of the readers want to hear)
Issues faced immediately After purchase:
1. One of the wheelcaps was broken, purchased new set of 4 wheel caps
2. Problem with the timing belt and it had to be replaced
3. Battery was in poor condition
4. Blades on wiper had worn out
5. Problem with rear AC vents and left side front channel for AC as no air was coming at all,
6. Rear washer on wiper has its water pipe cut down under, still hunting where it is?

Initially we lost faith and started to believe this car was not reliable enough and maybe buying it was not a very good option and thanks to some expert comments like
"This car is a failure dude"
OR "Wow is not this car out of production now"
OR "Why do you need such a big car"
OR "Is this a mini truck"
OR "You know it has a 407 engine, very unreliable you see"
from Noobs, it just added to trauma

But then we decided we will restore this car to its original glory of the 90's Era and then began an age of Restoration

Restoration Round 1 - Year 2003
Initial Addons to make the car worth driving on the road as a Disaster Recovery Measure
1. Set of 4 Bridgestone 15" Dueller tyres
2. Amaron Battery
3. Pioneer - Casette Deck + 2 front 2 Way speakers + 2 Rear 3 Way neodium magnet speakers
4. Full servicing including replacement of oils / gasket / bearings etc.
5. Perfume bottle from Grandall (This keeps it drivable from inside)
6. Seat covers in Cotton
7. Leather steering wheel cover
Total cost for all of the above : 50,000 approx

Now it was very much runnable and most of the reliability issues were addressed

Restoration Round 2 - Year 2006
1. New bucket seats at front, new seats with better lumbar support on rear
2. Same art leather top and window panel linings
3. Rear parking mirror
4. Diesel fuel supply pipe
5. High mount stop lamp
6. New front grille with new logos
7. Clutch assembly and clutch oil reservoir assembly

Restoration Round 3 - Year 2008
1. Changed Headlamp Aseembly - (Both and Left and Right) and added philips bulbs
2. Replaced the cutout for above assembly
3. Rubber Beading replacement for all doors (Set of 5)
4. Replaced all floor mats

III. Long Trips Done:
1. Trips from Pune to Mumbai (240 Km per trip)
2. Trip to Shirdi
3. Trip To Jalgaon
4. Offroad trips to mountain tops for network installation
5. Recently had a offroad trip to Waghjai temple on mountain roads

IV. Reliability issues Faced: A Summary (Again! Many people will love this, i know you folks must be giggling reading what is given below)
1. Fuel Pump caught AIR on a 35 degree descent leaving us stranded for about 3 hours
2. Battery cable got loose and took some time to understand actually what had gone wrong
3. Hose pipe feeding fuel to engine started leaking causing failure in car to start off
4. Accelerator cable broke leaving us stranded in middle of nowhere
5. Clutch assembly broke and we had to take the car to service with a tow vehicle
6. Due to heavy engine weight, the front tyres almost had a burnout since air pressure was not correct

V. Pros

1. Very Comfortable Interior spaces including good front and rear legroom and shoulder room and decent headroom (Me and my father both are 5'9" but we are very much comfortable)
2. Very good visibility of the front thanks to Wide front windshield and thinner A pillars
3. Big windows prevent the claustrophobic effect.
4. Responsive steering wheel makes you take the control of the car and you don’t feel it that big anymore.
5. Decent Turn angles helps in maneuvering this big daddy smoothly on tight corners
6. Excellent traction - and having big tyres always helps
7. Good highway cruiser and runnable in city to some extent

VI. Cons
I strongly feel those who hate this car must have directly scrolled to this section;
1. Availability of Aesthetic related spare parts is still an issue owing to the fact that the model is out of production
2. Engine lacks the punch making overtakes questionable
3. Due to its massive size, moving the car around in parkings and basements requires more skill
4. Smaller rear view windshield means more dependency on ORVMS
5. The AC is weak and further impacts engine pickup also causing heat gauge to reach its peak very quickly
6. Poor headlamps

Safe as a tank in case of Accident - Well when you drive a car on highways , accidents are inevitable and so did one happen with this car, On Mumbai pune highway there was a traffic jam due to road under construction, now the truck in front of us lost control of its breaks and started coming in reverse , we were just behind it and with a bus behind us, we had no room to escape, the truck's rear hit the front of our car and literally speaking we were on our way to experiencing a car crush between bus and truck with us still inside, the truckdriver somehow gained control but our front grille, right headlamps and bonnet had been sacrificed in this process, we had to reach the destination very urgently for a funeral so we continued with it and drove around 160 Km safely without any issues, on inspection we did find that our radiator was partially punctured
Total cost of above repairs (3500 only, thanks to sheet metal body no losses there)

VII. Present Day:
We still own the car (obviously! else i will not be writing this review and wasting your time), and have gotten used to its surprises,
But I believe in one thing, if all your memories are sweet then you would not have anything worth remembering / writing about, that makes this partnership with the car so worthwhile, it is just like any other relationship where you have to live with the odds to enjoy what it has to offer, My mother is so embarrassed by its sheer volume and aptly calls it the white elephant but when it comes to going somewhere out, she always knows there is the Estate waiting in the parking lot which would safely take her from point A to B

Overall: A car with a character and needs a guy / girl with patience to understand it (And this father and son duo have got a lot of it)

Final Note:
I am a little superstitious and I believe ever since this car came in our family, many good things have happened to us and this car had bought us the luck and goodwill and I owe a fair share of my luck to this car and this explains why I have no plans of dumping it off anytime in near future

P.S : All the above statements are totally my point of view about the car.. dont sue me for this, or if you want to, go ahead .i have a good lawyer

Keep posting. Awaiting further comments and yes i will be posting the pics shortly

Last edited by Technocrat : 1st December 2010 at 22:11. Reason: only 3 smilies per post allowed, please check rules for smiley count, thanks
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Old 1st December 2010, 21:08   #2
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Wow...Too big a post to quote

Its a wonderful write up, i can understand your sentiments on your First Car.

And even more nicer to see that you have painstakingly restored it. Wish you a loooong term fruitful ownership of this car.

As per my info goes, the Estate design is from Mercedes Benz, though the TATA's could not emulate what Mercedes did, but this car sold well and is supposed to have oodles of space and great in comfort.

Please do post some pics of your car, We are all waiting.
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Old 1st December 2010, 21:09   #3
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@Shridhar, congrats on the long ownership of the Estate. This is a first on TBHP, and would actually like to hear more about this car.

The Tata Estate has always evoked an image of space and comfort. It had some nice features for it's time, and I strongly believe that Tata lost an excellent opportunity when they did not work on evolving this car.

For eg :
* the door lock levers - these were quite nicely integrated.
* 15" wheels standard.

Is is possible to add a TCIC to this ? It uses the older version of the 1948cc DL 483 engine - the one that has done duty on Tata vehicles for a long time (Estate, Safari, Sierra, Sumo).

Can you replace the A/c & blower with a Superking ? Have you upgraded the lights to 90/100 ?

Please post some pics, and do share your experiences. Hope the car remains with you for years to come.
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Old 1st December 2010, 21:29   #4
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Well I didnt read your entire post but coming straight to the point.
I still own a 1996 Tata Estate. It is a very rugged vehicle and was used for touring across the country. Its got over 2 lakh kms on the clock with one complete engine rebuild. It did give a very bulletproof feel. Will have to ask my dogs now how they feel coz it now serves as my dog van with the seats folded flat, it has about 6ft-4ft clear bay for 2 of my romeos to let their ears loose in the wind.

No other car manufactured in the country till date can provide the leg space and shoulder room of a tata Estate.
Nowadays, all parts other than the engine and mechanicals are extremely hard to find, especially rubber beadings, power window ancilliaries, etc
It does suffer from electrical flaws. Age has caught up with it too and needs constant attention to niggles.

I still like the look of the Estate though and wished to do a "pimp my ride"with it.. put the turbo sumo engine etc. But then again, the interior parts are impossible to find and ive given up.
Ive decided to bury the car in the same grave with my dogs with very fond memories of it.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 2nd December 2010, 10:26   #5
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Nice review. This car was very popular in Kerala when it was launched. Malayalam superstar Mammootty owned this car. In fact he met with an accident while driving this car. The car overturned and he escaped unscathed. In fact, I was a fan of this car back then.

Please put some pictures of the car.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 11:07   #6
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I like this concept of having a dog cart of this kind. rather like a country gent and his "shooting brake".

I guess you will use it till it falls apart and give the doggies a good time (wind in their ears feeling!!) and then as you said, send it along to the happy hunting grounds!

cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
Will have to ask my dogs now how they feel coz it now serves as my dog van with the seats folded flat, it has about 6ft-4ft clear bay for 2 of my romeos to let their ears loose in the wind.Ive decided to bury the car in the same grave with my dogs with very fond memories of it.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 2nd December 2010, 11:08   #7
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I 'test' drove a friend's car in those days. I was expecting the feel of a lorry, but the steering was so light. That was my first experience with bigger cars and I loved the ease with which it could be driven.

Murthy
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Old 2nd December 2010, 11:23   #8
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Wow Sridhar! What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful car. Nostalgia, Nostalgia all the way!

Forgotten MUV?, I doubt that. I have fond memories of travelling in this car, especialy the trips we did from Bangalore to Calicut in the early '90s and I am sure scores of people will still remember their stints with this car.

The car feels like a truck - rugged and a tad noisy than what most of us would like, but just the feel of driving or being driven in that car was awesome those days and the safety aspect of the Estate was unbeatable.

Sridhar - with the list of mods you've done to your Estate, I cant wait to see the pics.

Oh and Welcome to Team-BHP

Last edited by Kairalee : 2nd December 2010 at 11:25.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:41   #9
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The Tata Estate was a heck of a car for its time, along with the Sierra. Acres of space, amazing ride quality and surprisingly refined engine. Yeah, it had no punch and the reliability was shoddy, but its the early nineties we are talking about here. I quite liked (and still do) the design of the Estate & the Sierra. Apparently, Ratan Tata had a direct hand in how they turned out.

Look forward to some pics...this thread will be seriously incomplete without them.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:56   #10
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The Estate still continues to be one of my all time favourites.
A poor man's Mercedes-Benz E-Class W124 in terms of looks.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:06   #11
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I think Tata should start thinking about getting this adored tank back again in to production. A Dicor 2.2 with 140 BHP would be a good heart for it.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 13:20   #12
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To begin with Tata Estate was a very fine looking car of its time- definitely not an MUV. I had the opportunity to own a Sierra for few months (we did it for the heck of it).

Please add some pictures. I haven't seen one on the road for long time, though we still get to see Sierras on the road.

Thank you for putting the thread

[quote=condor;2159746Is is possible to add a TCIC to this ? It uses the older version of the 1948cc DL 483 engine - the one that has done duty on Tata vehicles for a long time (Estate, Safari, Sierra, Sumo).[/quote]

Wouldn't it be easier to source a TCIC engine?
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Old 4th December 2010, 17:12   #13
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Default The Pics are here

Hello All,
I did not know that people still like this car. Thanks for the comments,
As promised here come the pics. I have taken the pics just after coming from an offroad trip so dont expect the car to be absolutely spotless
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 4th December 2010, 17:15   #14
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Moving onto interiors
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 4th December 2010, 17:21   #15
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Some more pictures, awaiting your responses
Attached Thumbnails
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