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Old 6th February 2017, 14:11   #1
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Default 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Some things in life are priceless and what more can a car enthusiast ask for than talking about his family owned 30 year old Maruti 800.

The car has been with us for as long as I can remember. I vividly remember the day my father brought the car home. It was a gleaming biscuit color beauty, interiors wrapped in plastic, no number plate and the ubiquitous smell of the freshly made car interiors.

I was too young to understand the refinement, smoothness, peppiness but all what I remember was to see people visiting us to see the car. Car’s interiors, especially the dotted area for music system and wind blowers were blowing people’s mind who refused to lift their lower jaw in sheer astonishment. Back home, what I kept hearing was un-ending praises for the mileage (16-18 km/Litre) and how my father use to tease other car owner’s by giving them side and then gently pushing the pedal to only see them fade far behind. The car was no cheap back then and at 79,000 INR it was priced higher than many apartments and even bungalows.
We have been particularly bowled over by the Japanese quality, refinement and attention to details. To make the perspective clear, the car never required door adjustments in last 3 decades, it never ever broke down on road, gear lever was much smoother and never came in hand broken (use to be the case with leading cars of that time – personal experience). Parts and body panels have been of supreme quality.

Except for periodic servicing and routine spare parts change, the car has not asked us for anything and in return, we gave her all the love and respect. It got cleaned every day in a methodical way, every week its parameters checked, periodic air pressure check and no abuse while driving by my father who drove it single handed for the first decade of our ownership.

It is amazing how it fits in 4 full size adults comfortably considering her foot print. A feat unmatched by many modern A segment hatchbacks (We are all 6 feet by the way) . The car kept performing its routine duties and its daily run till 2005 by when it made me and my brother, responsible and caring drivers, driving cars for over a decade. It had run 90k by then and slowly the comfort and performance started fading. Our preference also changed to modern comfortable MPFI cars due to dad’s age and preference for Power Steering ad mom’s preference for A.C. Diminishing service quality at MASS and lack of carburetor engine experts added to our woes. We started noticing that our original parts were getting flicked at MASS after which we decided to just service the car in front of our eyes and do bare minimum to keep it running.

Fast forward to 2016, the car is now used once in few months, it has had been facing major oil leaks in the engine and the car runs on adaptors since few years. It stays covered most of the time and has started creating a small ecosystem within itself. It still starts on the first crank but you can hear the ageing beauty begging for life while I try clearing up cow webs inside. This is where the alarm bells start ringing. Do I allow it to die a silent death or do I sell it over to someone who can give her lots of love.

This is when we have a family discussion and to my surprise, none of us want to part with it. We all want to bring back her to her lost glory. After all, the car is known in the area as “Doctor saab’s car” and how can we sell it or allow it to rot.

There were 2 main issues plaguing us:
a) Half engine replacement or current engine complete rebuild
b) Who does the job

We ruled out half engine replacement and MASS out rightly as they royally screwed up my cousin’s another majestic Maruti 800, who sold it later in pittance. I was sure it would cost us a bomb and end result would not have been good. I also did not want to part away with original engine apart from smaller engine parts. The whole idea was to keep using original Japan parts and change only if inevitable. That’s when my search for an ace mechanic started and it took me around 12 months of search and references to zero in on the existing guy.

It is said that life takes full circle, the current guy also happened to remember servicing my car back in 1987-1991 period when he worked for MASS and immediately recognised my father and the car. He also happens to passionately service 1984 model SS80 of a Parsi uncle of mine. Do I need to say more why I finalised him?

I would be honest in sharing that I took proper interview of his about the work to be done and his knowledge about the engine after reading majorly about the engine parts, their functioning and excellent threads by many Team BHPians on the forum. A big thank you to Leoshashi and Karl for giving real good ideas and enough pointers for making me well aware and knowledgeable.

Finally, the day comes when we handover the car for repairs. I will let pictures do some of the talking about the state of the car when it was sent for repairs.

Rear Profile of the Car - slightly sagged. Original Tail Light (left side) and Number Plate light still exists. Surprised how good their quality have been.
Contrary to people's opinion, our car came with Lumax from the day one.
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_1.1.jpg

Side Profile still looks good except for a recent dent and rusting steel caps and rims
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_2.1.jpg

Rust catching up on plastic panels on roof
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_3.1.jpg

Engine Compartment - pretty much original with ND Point Condensor and all original fittings including the plastic stickers
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_4.1.jpg

Broken wooden shelf
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_5.1.jpg

All original interiors, never had any after market fitments. Steering wheel grip is also 30 years old and so are the foot mats.
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_6.1.jpg

Door panels are also original - some of the handles and knobs have been replaced when broken
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_7.1.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th February 2017 at 12:52. Reason: Adding some paragraph spacing for readability. Please do the same for the other posts in this thread...
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Old 6th February 2017, 14:58   #2
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Considering the paucity of time. The plan of action was to primarily completely re-build the engine and then look at cosmetic things (including rust spots).


The folks were quick to remove the engine and gauge the status of rust in engine compartment and also the condition of engine. I was expecting much worse than this considering 3 decades of use and comments in the forum mentioning Maruti 800 to be a rust magment but I was pleasantly surprised and proud of Japanese quality.
Front cross member is rusted - This is expected due to the Radiator above it. Radiator was changed few years back to now available Aluminium one's.

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0003.jpg
Oil seepage near Gear Box and Engine Head quite evident
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0006.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0009.jpg
Engine in "as-is" condition while getting removed. Doesn't seem too inspiring.
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0012.jpg
Engine getting disassembled
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0013.jpg
Cylinder Block
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0015.jpg
Fly Wheel
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0018.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0020.jpg
Crank Shaft
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170129wa0021.jpg

I am not a technical expert but there is a lot of oil leak, carbon deposit and rust.

Following is the list of parts which has been asked for and I visit the MGP store
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-parts1.jpg
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-parts2.jpg

We get most of the parts except Cylinder Sleeve.

While I source all the consumables and engine parts from MGP store, the team tears down the engine and also sends it for lathe work.
Luckily, we do not need bigger size pistons or crank shaft.

Painting of engine compartment in progress
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0014.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0015.jpg
Other rust spots are also carefully sanded and painted. I am not too happy about the paint touchings but anyway that was not the priority
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0017.jpg
Bonnet also was getting rusted and hence got a fresh coat of paint. Carefully the stickers were covered and preserved
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0020.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0023.jpg
It took few days for the team to actually clean the greasy and dirty engine parts with petrol and water. Assembly of engine starts
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0026.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0037.jpg
We also paint external engine parts to increase their life span
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0028.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0032.jpg
Cleaned Gear Box
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0035.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0036.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0037.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0038.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0040.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0042.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0043.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0045.jpg
Steel caps are also grinded to remove some rust
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170202wa0046.jpg

Last edited by Cooltronics : 9th February 2017 at 13:59.
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Old 7th February 2017, 20:15   #3
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

While the engine assembly work is in progress, painting work of bumpers and engine compartment is also completed
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_8.1.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_9.1.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_10.1.jpg
Engine member and Cross Member also gets painted in Black
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_11.1.jpg
New Tail Lights and rear bumper painting completed. New MGP Mudflaps also fit in.
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_12.1.jpg
Front bumper also getting painted. Parking lights would soon be replaced with new Amber color lights
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-image_14.1.jpg

The engine is finally mounted in the engine compartment -, we also re coat the wiring which was withering away due to age

In between we also open the COWL area (Thanks to LeoShashi) and get it cleared of rust & also service the Wiper motor as wipers were not working.
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-cowl.jpg

Finally the sound of the engine . WHAT A FEELING


There have been few items with which I have been very lucky
i) Original MGP Steering wheel
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-mgp_steering_wheel.jpg
ii) Daiichi Point- Condenser (still looking for ND Japan). This has saved me from completely changing the Delco to Lumax
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-point_condensor.jpg

Last edited by Cooltronics : 8th February 2017 at 14:04.
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Old 9th February 2017, 13:58   #4
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Finally the car is coming back home.
Some of the picture taken today. The paint is still original - just polished and had a good wash.
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170208wa0020_001.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170208wa0018_001.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170208wa0026_001.jpg

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170208wa0027.jpg

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1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170209wa0026.jpg

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What more on cards:

a) New Rims & Tyres - This should be done this weekend. Found the Type 1 rims at MGP store.
b) New Seat Covers & Seat cushion work - Planning to do this little later - any suggestions on it are highly appreciated
c) Change the Number plates to better looking ones
d) Get more cosmetic body parts - wooden sheet on spare wheel, ash trays, type 1 wipers etc.

Last edited by Cooltronics : 9th February 2017 at 14:36.
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Old 10th February 2017, 08:38   #5
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Technical Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th February 2017, 09:42   #6
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Smile Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

The work done is excellent. To be honest, I was a bit doubtful when you first told me about going the FNG way, but the results are way better than what I had anticipated.

Try to keep the paint original as long as possible, as no bodyshop can replicate the quality of a factory finish.

Regards,
Shashi

Last edited by Leoshashi : 10th February 2017 at 09:45.
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Old 10th February 2017, 09:52   #7
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Congratulations man! She looks fantastic. The Maruti 800 is an icon; it's also a lot of fun to drive due to the pure, mechanical & 'connected' feel. They don't make cars like these anymore.

After a car spends so many decades with us, it becomes like a family member. So many memories, so many emotions. I know just how you feel, as it's my Jeep's 20th birthday today .

Wish you two many more years of togetherness.
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Old 10th February 2017, 09:59   #8
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I know just how you feel, as it's my Jeep's 20th birthday today .
Woww

Happy Birthday to the Classic(pun intended) and its driver.

Last edited by Leoshashi : 10th February 2017 at 10:05.
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Old 10th February 2017, 10:16   #9
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

That's a clean job on mighty M800. Congratulations and wish you happy miles ahead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooltronics View Post
What more on cards:
Along with these, I suggest to get the rear MS monogram changed and the wheel center cap plated.

Last edited by Mr.Boss : 10th February 2017 at 10:17.
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Old 10th February 2017, 10:27   #10
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

congratulations on job well done and car looks fantastic . M800 was my first car and it was fun to drive . I still have car running but barely used at my parents place . I was planning to get it with me but due to parking constraints still not make a decision. Mine is 2003 model .
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Old 10th February 2017, 10:57   #11
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Congratulations man! She looks fantastic. The Maruti 800 is an icon; it's also a lot of fun to drive due to the pure, mechanical & 'connected' feel. They don't make cars like these anymore.

After a car spends so many decades with us, it becomes like a family member. So many memories, so many emotions. I know just how you feel, as it's my Jeep's 20th birthday today .

Wish you two many more years of togetherness.
Thank you GTO. The restoration is a gift to my dad who is on cloud nine. At 70 he is "pick up fanatic" and keeps SAs guessing while taking Test Drives of new cars (read it as 1.2L impotent cars in his language). He use to keep giving them examples of how his Maruti Fronty use to drive when new and his previous cars Standard Herald & Gazel.

He told me that the car now drives 80% how it used to be when new - still the wheel alignment, balancing, rubber replacement (current one is 1993 manufactured) is pending and engine needs some running before becoming better. Trust me, Service Advisers in the city are going to be in trouble with their 1.2 L cars ( respect to all ) when he visits them next


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoshashi View Post
The work done is excellent. To be honest, I was a bit doubtful when you first told me about going the FNG way, but the results are way better than what I had anticipated.

Try to keep the paint original as long as possible, as no bodyshop can replicate the quality of a factory finish.

Regards,
Shashi
Brother, you have been such a help that I cannot even express. Without you and your knowledge about every single part and expert advice, this restoration would have not been possible. A BIG THANK YOU and I promise to keep bugging you forever

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Boss View Post
That's a clean job on mighty M800. Congratulations and wish you happy miles ahead.

Along with these, I suggest to get the rear MS monogram changed and the wheel center cap plated.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Wheel Rims and Caps are on their way - this would change the outlook.
I do not intend to change the Monogram as its stock monogram and want to keep it as it is - till it lasts
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Old 10th February 2017, 12:26   #12
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Excellent restoration project. The car looks beautiful now. Kudos to you in keeping the legend for so long. BTW I just noticed the rear bumper sagging down a bit, is this normal ? Are the rear springs OE ?

Last edited by rakesh_r : 10th February 2017 at 12:27.
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Old 10th February 2017, 12:33   #13
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

That is a very nice restoration job. This thread reminds me of the M800s we have had in the family (1984 SS 80 which was sold in 2004, 1994 SB 308 DX which was sold in 2012, 1995 SB 308 which was sold in 1998, and 1997 M800 DX which was sold in 2005). Other than the 1994 M800 which had a music system installed (and for a short time was converted to run on LPG as well ), the other 3 cars were bone stock. Also, all 4 cars were extremely reliable for as long as we had them.

However, a small suggestion from my end. Please add a left side ORVM as well since you never know what the crazy folks on our roads will do.

Last edited by VivekCherian : 10th February 2017 at 12:43.
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Old 10th February 2017, 12:33   #14
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

She is beautiful now and good job buddy!! I have a 1989 Maruti 800 and still running. We are using mainly inside our farm and short trips. Many of us here would have learnt driving in this car and obviously have good memories. I too need to do some minor works on 800 and make her shine again The car has run more than 3 lakh KM and I think the engine was overhauled twice.
Attached Thumbnails
1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170210wa0021.jpg  

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170210wa0022.jpg  

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170210wa0024.jpg  

1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration-img20170210wa0023.jpg  

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Old 10th February 2017, 13:13   #15
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Default Re: 1987 Maruti 800 (SB308) Restoration

Thank you for this brilliant thread, with the great write-up and photos . It is really good you've chosen to retain and refresh the car.

As one of the first modern and mass-market cars in India, the Maruti 800 is sure to evoke strong memories from any petrolhead who grew up in India.

Its the car in which my brother and I learnt to drive, and the one in which my parents took us for various fortnight-long trips around Southern India during our holidays. I'd posted about our red 800 here (What was different when you bought your first car?).

To this day, I feel sad about this one car being sold off when it was replaced by an Esteem.

There's a beautiful simplicity in this engine bay that cannot be found in today's cars!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooltronics View Post
Engine Compartment - pretty much original with ND Point Condensor and all original fittings including the plastic stickers
Attachment 1604770
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