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Old 13th May 2015, 23:51   #1
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Default Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Hello BHPians!

I’ve been here reading the forums since a long time and I had nothing on my own to post up until now!

Please note
1) This is an awfully long post as I'm posting a complete rebuild log
2) Methods used to do certain things may not be the actual way of doing things, since we are not professional mechanics
3) This is a hobby project which is still underway and any progress will be updated as it happens

We are not a professional mechanics, but we have a fairly good understanding about the way they work. I am a software engineer by profession and my brother is doing his 2nd year in mechanical engineering.

This post is about an on going restoration (/rebuild) of a December 2003 model Hyundai Santro, DIY style! Now you could ask, why Santro? Personally, I love it because it was the first car my family owned. I learned driving on it. Everyone will have that one car with an emotional attachment that they cannot seem to forget no matter how many better ones they own and in my case, it’s the Hyundai Santro.

The story
This story begins like this: Earlier this May, my brother and I were planning to get a new car. Our plan was to find a decent car, preferably a Skoda and make it stand out in the crowd. Being DIY’ers, we wanted to do everything on the car on our own and the project was meant to be a little technical exercise for us. We checked out a lot of them and we were sure about a 2010 Octavia. It was a Friday (1st May 2015) and as usual, I left for my office early - long before my brother woke up. At around 12 'o' clock, I got a call from my brother saying that I need to see something. After I came back home, we both went out to see this 'car'.

It was a Santro, just like ours, in white color! I saw the rear side of the car first. It was ok, with some major and minor dents and paint peels on the bumper and a lot of moss – signs of being there since some time. I looked at my brother in amazement and still I couldn’t see why he bought me to see this car. We had a usual talk with the owner and I found out that the car was simply sitting there since the past 6 years! Yes, 6 solid years! The reason for leaving the car there, in that condition was plain stupid – they bought another car (an Alto!!) and it was easier to drive . This car was their first, so they had no mind to sell it. Instead, they left it in the rain and sun to rust!

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-1.jpg

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All the 4 doors were stuck! We couldn't open any of them. But the driver side glass was down, letting in all the rain and dust! We could open the bonnet and the engine bay was in desperate condition! There was no battery, it was completely rusted and I could see the driver seat through the fire wall! It had simply rusted away! We were sure about the engine – 'it will (must) be ok' because we knew, it is so hard to kill! Also, the owner said they used to start the engine once every week till the battery was down and nobody has touched it (we could see that).

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Now, they are looking get rid of it since it was taking up a lot of real estate and attachment to their 'first car' was long gone. They tried selling it to a scrap dealer. The guy came and left because he couldn't move the car as all the wheels were stuck – he told them that he can only take it from there after dismantling it into individual pieces and demanded money for his labour! It was about a week back. All the paper work was current, including the insurance! The car never met with an accident, the owner said (we're going to find out soon!).

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-4.jpg

Now I know why my brother brought me here! We’ve worked on almost all parts of our Santro, we have once changed the clutch facing on our own. This car looked like rubbish, but we knew this was only the skin (or is it?). We had to decide, go for this shitty car and spend the rest our lives being grease monkeys to fix this or buy the German and be happy. The decision was already made!

The plan was to buy this piece of junk anyway and fix it slowly and in the mean time, we'll get the Skoda too. We didn't bother bargaining. We offered 20K and if it was ok, we'd close the deal the next day, or else, it's bye bye. He said ok and showed us the paper work. We verified the chassis number and it was all good.

Moving the junk
On the way back, we realized the mammoth task we had in hand – getting the car to our home! This car was 2 km away from our home. Our plan was to start the engine, change the tyres and drive it home during the night. We didn't know that it was all about to change!

We went early to a battery shop and bought a new battery for the car, a 35 Ah Amaron. We took the magical WD-40 penetrating oil spray, rear break shoes, plug spanner, basic tools for battery changing and some engine oil for the car. We changed the tyres – there were no punctures, just filled them with air and they were good to go – of course they were in square shape but we just wanted to get the car to our home. The rear tyres were stuck – we knew this problem! This happens due to the friction lining in the brake shoes getting off. We immediately dismantled the wheel hub and changed the break shoes. The car was rolling again! Next, we opened the hood and connected the battery. The cluster lights went on – all good! We didn't try starting it. The idea was to remove the spark plugs and spray a little WD-40 directly into the cylinders to loosen the rust build up. We were also planning to pour some fresh oil into the engine.

He’s dead Jim
We tried removing the plugs, they were stuck. So stuck, that they made our plug spanner round! Next, we tried cranking the engine – it was stuck! There was no cranking, just a click! We thought it need a push to loosen up the engine. Next task was to get the car into a gear – before that, we had to open the driver side door. After some fiddling, we opened it and it was a sh*t hole! The floor was there no more! We saw this earlier but it was much worse! Back to the main business, we tried to give the car a push start and tried it – no use! The car simply stopped like sudden brakes were applied. We were sure the engine has seized. This must be on the news. They killed a Hyundai engine!

Tug of war
The car was full of cockroaches, snails, lizards and rats! It was an ecosystem on its own. It was around 3 pm when we decided to tow the car to our place with our mighty Santro! To tow this car, someone must get into the driver seat. It was no easy task. We bought 2 huge bottles of 'Hit all insect spray' and started spraying it all over. All hell was let loose! Roaches and lizards everywhere! Hundreds of roaches were killed that day, but the car became free of insects. We decided to tow the car during the night as the way to our home is a high-traffic road.

We checked and verified that the brakes are working fine. We waited till 11 'o' clock and pushed the car to the main road, tied up the tow clamps on both cars using a sturdy rope and started the commute!

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-5.jpg

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Realization
We reached by around 11:30 and got the car into our little DIY 'workshop'. Next day, we managed to remove the plugs and sprayed the cylinders with WD-40. Still there was no cranking. The engine was still stuck. We tried loosening up all the belts and still no luck, but we found that the alternator was stuck. We wanted to start this motor at any cost. We used jacks to lift the front wheels and used a box spanner to rotate the crank shaft pulley. At last we were successful in rotating it. We could hear the pistons moving up and down. We tried starting again, the engine cranked! But it wasn't starting, it was simply cranking. We immediately found out that there was no compression in the cylinders because the engine cranking sounded easier for the starter than usual.

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-8.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-9.jpg

We thought the rings were gone or something, but to be sure, we decided to open up the valve case. We removed it and cranked the engine once again. The valves were not moving. The timing belt was broken. We broke it - to be exact. During our workout in rotating the crank shaft, we broke the timing belt and now the timing was off!

Luckily, we had the shop manual for the Hyundai Atos, which is the Malaysian version of Santro. We found that there were timing marks on the pulley and the engine case and we knew we could fix this. We just had to align the timing marks on the pulleys and the engine case and we are good to go! Sounded too simple to be true! We removed all the pulleys on the way to remove the timing belt case but we couldn't remove the crank shaft pulley! It was so tight and to further worsen the situation, we couldn’t stop the pulley to stop rotating! We consulted a local workshop to get an idea about loosening it. They said, we'd have to somehow stop it from turning by putting the car in gear and trying, which of course, was the info we already knew. The wheels was turning, making it impossible to loosen.

DIY tool to the rescue
We made a tool out of some scrap iron pieces that we had lying around. It was simply an "A" shape with holes to put in bolts. The idea was to tighten this to the crank shaft pulley and turn it and it would get stuck on the suspension frame and prevent the pulley from rotating. It worked! We loosened the pulley and took the timing belt case. It was full of rust and dust. As suspected, the timing belt was broken. The belt tensioner pulley was stuck. We had to remove it and fix it using WD-40 and brute force!

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-10.jpg

We successfully fixed the timing belt and everything was put back into place, except the valve case. We wanted to see the working of the valves :P . Once again, we cranked the engine and this time, the engine was cranking, but it wasn't fast enough. The battery was drained during our past attempts and the juice left wasn't enough to do the job.

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-11.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-12.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-13.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-14.jpg

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Again, our mighty to the rescue! We used jump start cables in an attempt to jump start the dead one. Tried it almost 5 times and suddenly it came to life. It was so quiet! But since we left the valve case open, the oil was everywhere. We left the engine running for about 5 seconds only before putting the valve case back.

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-16.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-17.jpg

We drained the old oil and filled it with new oil, topped the radiator fluid and once again cranked the engine. This time, the engine RPM was very high. We thought it had something to do with the throttle cable, but it wasn't the culprit. We found out that the idle speed actuator (ISA) was dead – it was full of corrosion and it died while it was half open during our first start.

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-18.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-19.jpg

We replaced the idle speed actuator and now the engine runs fine. It's quiet and has no issues like squeaking sounds or cramps, but there seems to be a random RPM change issue while idling . It starts on the first turn of the key. We have tried driving the car for a short distance as we are not sure about its structural integrity. Next plan is to replace the gear box oil and start sorting out the body damage. The floor panel of the car is completely rusted and we are unsure about the depth of the rust. We are going to completely dismantle the car to its bare shell to see the extent of the rust.

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-20.jpg

Sorry again for the long post! More updates will be posted soon.

Last edited by Eddy : 12th August 2015 at 14:23. Reason: Corrected the car model year from 2001 to Dec 2003 as per post # 24
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Old 11th August 2015, 10:22   #2
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Default re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th August 2015, 10:46   #3
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Wow!
You guys are really, really motivated! I can see that this will be a lot of work, hope you can set up a video camera and record whatever you are doing. I'm sure you'll have a fan following soon for the Indian version of Wheeler Dealers.

Here's another thought - ask some channel to sponsor (Discovery Turbo?) the cost of parts and also sell them the rights to the video. (series??? )
Scary, the number of times you have used the word "stuck".

Keep the "restoralogue" coming and don't apologize for the length of the posts.

Good luck!

P.S. I think you should have asked for Rs 20,000 as payment to take the car away and then settled for just taking it away for free. Drive a hard bargain for the video rights!!!
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Old 11th August 2015, 11:58   #4
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Default re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

amazing guys! you are proud brothers. please keep updating and not sure how I missed this thread so long.
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Old 11th August 2015, 12:48   #5
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

This is going to be an awesome DIY project - looks like you & your brother are in for a lot of fun. Congrats on getting the engine running .

Meanwhile, I hear Hyundai is throwing a party in their Delhi office . No one's ever 'restored' a Hyundai before - it's usually classics!
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Old 11th August 2015, 14:29   #6
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

This is going to be a really long project; but if you guys can keep your own cylinders firing, it's going to be fun & a good learning. The good thing about this project will be that availability of spares won't be an issue. But more than mechanical aspects, I would be averse of the structure of the car itself like the floor & frames. Hope that the body shell has not rusted.
Wish you luck for the great DIY that you guys have undertaken.

Regards,
Saket.
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Old 11th August 2015, 15:13   #7
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvadg View Post
Wow!
You guys are really, really motivated! I can see that this will be a lot of work, hope you can set up a video camera and record whatever you are doing. I'm sure you'll have a fan following soon for the Indian version of Wheeler Dealers.

Here's another thought - ask some channel to sponsor (Discovery Turbo?) the cost of parts and also sell them the rights to the video. (series??? )
Scary, the number of times you have used the word "stuck".

Keep the "restoralogue" coming and don't apologize for the length of the posts.

Good luck!

P.S. I think you should have asked for Rs 20,000 as payment to take the car away and then settled for just taking it away for free. Drive a hard bargain for the video rights!!!
Thanks mvadg! We love Wheeler Dealers! Actually we're planning to set up a time lapse video recording rig in our little makeshift workshop! and I think the owners were ready to let go of the car for free.

Quote:
amazing guys! you are proud brothers. please keep updating and not sure how I missed this thread so long.
Hi knp, I was making changes to the post, yesterday only I got time to finish editing it according to the forum rules and today it became public. Thank you for the support!

Quote:
This is going to be an awesome DIY project - looks like you & your brother are in for a lot of fun. Congrats on getting the engine running .

Meanwhile, I hear Hyundai is throwing a party in their Delhi office . No one's ever 'restored' a Hyundai before - it's usually classics!
Thank you so much GTO!

Quote:
But more than mechanical aspects, I would be averse of the structure of the car itself like the floor & frames. Hope that the body shell has not rusted.
Hi saket77, You're right, the body shell was our concern and unfortunately its completely rusted! All the welding joints came loose and its in desperate condition! I'll post the photographs below. Thank you so much for the support!
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Old 11th August 2015, 15:51   #8
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

People from Kerala are generally whacked out, but this is taking it to a whole new level. Keep up the good work guys and is surely going to be one hell of a DIY.

BTW, I am a mallu too and I have restored dead bikes in the past, but restoring a dead car and to do it all by yourself.. Hats off to both of you
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Old 11th August 2015, 16:06   #9
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Updates
Since starting the engine up, we've come a long way. The fuel pump relay died in between and we had to fix it ourselves. It wasn't available readily at our local automotive store and I fixed it using a normal 12v/230v relay used in UPS's by soldering the connections to corresponding pins of the original fuel pump relay. Its not gonna last very long, but is sufficient till we make a complete list of parts that we've to buy!

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-1.jpg



We've managed to completely strip the vehicle of plastic parts to see the extend of rust. The car was full of snail shells! It was in seriously poor condition. The rust and moisture has eaten up most of the car's floor panel and under body frame. Rats did their part by cutting up parts of the wiring kit our work has become a lot more harder than we thought!

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-2.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-3.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-4.jpg

Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread-5.jpg

We've consulted some welding specialists near our area and they're all ready to weld it all together. However we're too skeptical about the welding thing as the body is completely rusted and almost all of the frame under the car is gone. We're now trying to get the engine off the body shell so that we can take a better look at it. Getting a new body shell from a donor car will be the only solution I guess!
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Old 11th August 2015, 16:20   #10
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread



Really ?

Even if I have a trusted Mechanic's back up, I will never touch a car in this shape. You guys are seriously determined

This is going to be a thread I will be glued to

All the best guys, I'm sure you will have a lot of fun doing this, and will motivate many others to pull their socks up and get their hands dirty



Quote:
Originally Posted by vsaravind007 View Post
Hello BHPians!

It was a Santro, just like ours, in white color! I saw the rear side of the car first. It was ok, with some major and minor dents and paint peels on the bumper and a lot of moss – signs of being there since some time. I looked at my brother in amazement and still I couldn’t see why he bought me to see this car. We had a usual talk with the owner and I found out that the car was simply sitting there since the past 6 years! Yes, 6 solid years! The reason for leaving the car there, in that condition was plain stupid – they bought another car (an Alto!!) and it was easier to drive . This car was their first, so they had no mind to sell it. Instead, they left it in the rain and sun to rust!

Leaving a santro to die for an alto ? seriousely ? If you find this owner again give him a thumps down from my side . And once done, invite him to the passenger seat and show him what sin did he commit.

Asish.
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Old 11th August 2015, 16:32   #11
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

This is an extremely interesting thread.

Glued.

I really pull my hats off to you for your will to tackle this wolf in hyundai's clothing. Its not going to be a downhill task.

But you guys seem more motivated than rust on the car.! Keep it up
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Old 11th August 2015, 16:52   #12
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Just wow! What a thread. I was waiting for threads like these that keeps us glued. Thanks a ton for writing and no matter how long it is going to be, i am going to read it.

One a lighter note, whats with the mallus and cars? Such a true bonding!
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Old 11th August 2015, 16:53   #13
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Nice thing you've got going there. Fortunately for you guys, there are prestamped panels avalable in the open markets. Or you can get a totalled shell and salvage the parts and panels and spot weld these to this car. I dont know about the legalities here however we used to raid the salvage yards and buy insurance write offs in the US for parts...
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Old 11th August 2015, 16:54   #14
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

Either you guys are crazy or totally in love with your old Santro to have got a sibling for it.

I myself am the DIY types but looking at the state of the car.... seriously?

keep up the energy and the enthusiasm. Can't wait to see the finished product.
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Old 11th August 2015, 17:07   #15
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Default Re: Reviving a dead Hyundai Santro - Restoration Thread

I am going to be glued to this thread

Keep it up guys !!
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