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Old 7th October 2010, 15:23   #46
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Question (Long Post) Need info about buying a Tata Sierra Turbo...

Hello underground1419,
Did you finally buy the Sierra Turbo you were looking at?

@ All Sierra Owners:

I have personally been toying with the idea of buying a used Tata Sierra Turbo for a few days now. In fact, the attraction for the car has become so strong that it does not allow me to eat, sleep or work in peace. The moment I step into my office, I find myself scanning the internet classifieds for any new listings. For me, this car was (and is) a childhood dream. Unfortunately, the car went out of the market before I could get a chance to buy it new, and the memory simply refuses to fade away.
I haven't discussed the idea with anyone yet (except my wife, who approved of the idea after some persuasion). My dad is an almost-retired employee of Tata Motors (long back, he used to bring a company-owned NA Sierra home sometimes, and I always used to look forward to taking rides in it ); I intend to discuss the possibility of buying a used Sierra Turbo with him, and I'm sure he's gonna think that I have totally and completely lost my sanity. So I'm mentally preparing myself for all the rebukes, abuses and sniggers that are bound to come my way from everyone in all directions, if and when I finalize my decision.
However, a few doubts continue to linger in my mind, which I wish to clarify on this thread. Existing Sierra Turbo owners, please advise.

1. The all-important question: Is it practical to own a Sierra Turbo in 2010/11?

I intend this car to be my regular ride (for the next 3-5 years at least), and I do not wish to spend half of my waking days running in and out of the garage for frequent repairs, with my pockets bleeding buckets of money.

2. Availability of spares?

What I have gathered after going through all the threads here is that the Sierra Turbo shares most of its parts with the Sumo Victa and Safari TCIC, and hence spares are easy to find. But, is that good enough?
The car itself being a unique model, is bound to have certain parts which are not shared with any other vehicle. The side-glass/front windshield is one (no brainer) example. Are there any mechanical parts of this nature too? I came across some threads where owners were having a hard time find the AC compressor (or condenser, not sure). If this is the case, which is the best place in Pune to look for such spares? Please enlighten me. As mentioned earlier, I do not wish to spend months on end looking for hard-to-find spares while my car sits gathering dust in the parking lot, with burnt pockets to show for it.

3. Availability of service/support?

I prefer taking the authorized route for my 6 year old MS WagonR, as they provide good service/support for their product. Are Tata Sierra Turbos still getting good support from TASS? Any pleasant/unpleasant experiences from owners are welcome here. In case TASS is not supporting the car anymore, is there any garage in Pune which can take on this car? The focus would be on knowing the (unique) intricacies of this vehicle, and the capability to procure hard-to-find spares for it; not just today, but for the next 3-5 years. Again, the money angle needs to be considered here too.

To summarize, is it possible to enjoy peaceful possession of a Tata Sierra Turbo for the next 5 years, small niggles/rattles notwithstanding?

Subject to the answers to the above questions:

4. What should the ideal Tata Sierra Turbo be like? Here is a sub-list of queries:

a. When did Tata stop producing this car? What model year is preferred? I would personally prefer a 2000 or later model, though I may consider a well-maintained 1999. Am I right on this? On a side-note, I have noticed in pics that a few Turbos have rear-seat head-rests, a few do not. Was there a "new-improved" version launched sometime with this (and maybe other) new features?

b. What should the Odometer say? I have seen ads quoting anything between 50K to 150K. What is the ideal figure? How many kms. is the engine good for?

c. What is the right price to pay for a '99 or later Tata Sierra Turbo in average-to-good condition? I have seen prices ranging from 90K to 300K (outrageous!).

d. What are the demons to watch out for? I have seen a few pics with hideously modified cars. For me, cars with any extras bolted onto the body (like fog lights, extra mirrors) are a big no-no, as it means the previous owner has drilled holes into the body of the car. Speaks volumes for how he feels about the car, and the resultant mess the car is in. Gull-wing doors are out too. A similarly mutilated dashboard with lotsa switches/monograms/extra speakers, is also a big red flag. In short, I would like to buy a car as stock as possible.
But all this is just appearance. What should I look for under the hood and inside the car? For example, a few small things I gathered are:

- The front and rear seat folding/sliding mechanisms.
- The rear AC vents and their piping.
- I read something about a "compression test" for diesel cars. Where and how is it done?
- There is mention about checking the turbo intercooler unit. How is that done?
- Is it advisable to buy a car which has a re-bored engine, or changed critical parts like block-piston/gearbox/transmission etc?
- Can I get this car evaluated from TASS?

Please come up with as many suggestions as you can, especially for the mechanical aspects of the car.

e. I am looking for a car with no more than two owners (including current). A single owner (and well maintained) car is most preferred, but 2 is the max. Are such cars available? Or is it ok to buy a car which has had 3 or more owners? What are the implications?

f. I am getting the feeling that there are hardly any cars available in Pune. I am not too confident dealing with brokers/agents/middlemen, especially for such an old car. I did find that there are a few cars available in Mumbai, but Mumbai vehicles are prone to corrosion. Also, most of the cars were around at the time of the floods, which makes me wary of them. Therefore, I am considering the possibility of buying one outside the state (most good examples online are to be found in Karnataka/AP/Kerala). However, I am not sure how much it will cost me in terms of time, money and effort to get the car re-registered in MH. Any ideas about this?

g. If I do decide to buy an out-of-state car, will registration pose a problem, keeping in mind current norms, fitness certificates after 15 years, and other such criteria?

h. Finally, I am assuming that I will be the last owner of the car, as I don't think anyone will want it 3-5 years down the line. I would like to cherish and worship the car for as long as possible, but I am sure that the practicalities of life will catch up with me sooner than later, which will force me to ditch this car at some or the other point. Your thoughts please?

To sum it up, I am planning to put a lakh-odd rupees of my hard-earned money into this car, instead of partially repaying my home loan, as my folks are advising me to do. Now I am a perfectly middle-class working professional with a family to boot, and 1 lakh rupees is not a small amount for me. So I have not yet ruled out that possibility, and I am still in 2 minds about it.
But, this is a now-or-never decision, as I will not be able to buy this car a couple of years later when I finish with my home loan. Good Sierra Turbos are already hard to come by these days; it will be impossible by then, and most of them will be scrapped heaps of junk anyway. So, I will either buy this car or pay the loan.

Keeping this in mind, please be very honest with your views, and do not feel shy to tell me the honest hard-hitting truth. I promise I will take it in the right spirit.

At the same time, please do not give me one-liners like "Dude, forget the car, repay the loan" and such-like.

Also, please do not suggest any alternate vehicles like "Why don't you buy a brand new nano instead?"

Your light will show me the way.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 7th October 2010, 15:57   #47
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@Bullit - I was in the same boat as you are in, a couple of months back. After going through online calssifieds a 1000 times I was able to locate a Mumbai registered - used in Pune, genuine 60K Kms on the ODO car in Pune itself. Its a '95 NA. Infact, the previous owner is right here on TBHP. For price, I will PM you if you wish to know.
I went ahead and bought her home - much to the dislike of everyone at home. On enquiry, BU Bhandari confirmed that they still service the Sierra. So no worries on that front. I would urge you to go check yourself instead of relying on hearsay.
If you live within city limits in Pune, I know a couple of mechanics who can take good care of the car for you.
List of TODOs on my car -
1. Service and replacement where required - Done (10K including labour) - Changed all fluids, PS fluid, Radiator flush, all bushes, all belts, timing belt, greasing, washing etc.
2. Interior needs to be revamped as its in pretty bad shape. Another 15K reserved for that.
3. Fortunately tyres are good for another 5K Kms so no worries there.

I have had no problems in sourcing atleast the mechanicals till now in Pune and they seem to be decently priced as well. PM me if you need to know anything else. Place your ad to buy in the market place (with all pre-requisites) and people will call you as well.
Its a beast with good amount of low end and torque and a breeze to drive in the city as well. The PS is a bit vague but OK. Parking poses a bit of a problem but then you dont take the car where it cannot be parked.
If you are really passionate about the car, go ahead and take the dive. You will not regret your decision. Aftermarket replacement options also are a plenty including the DICOR engine etc. (though I haven't seen a successful install till date)
If you are looking at the practicality of things - I would advise not to buy it. After all its an old car and it will eventually show its age if not taken care of properly. I for one, have bought it.

Regards,
Kaustubh
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Old 8th October 2010, 01:05   #48
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@Bullit, nice job there.. you put down the exact questions that were plaguing my mind for the past couple of months.

Well, I've dropped the idea of purchasing a Sierra now. The owner was too greedy expecting (1.25L) for a 2001 Sierra which has done about 84k.
I don't plan on purchasing a Sierra for the foreseeable future now, cos I just don't have the enthusiasm anymore. :(

If you ask why, it's cos I've been looking around for a TC Sierra for the past 2 years. Seen dozens of them, all abused beyond repair with inflated price tags. The one I had my eye on till last week was a real beauty, but 1.25L for me was highly overpriced, esp. when the car was lying unused amongst the 5 other cars @ the owners place. Add to that the 50 odd thousand I estimated to get it up n running in perfect condition. Would have settled upto 90k.

Anyway, good luck with your search.
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:01   #49
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Thumbs up Update.

Hey UG,
2001 TC Sierra with 84K (if genuine) is really good news! I think 1.0 to 1.1 is a reasonable price for this car, provided it is in good running condition. (I guess the car is in Bangy, else I would have tried for it.) Which brings me to the question: Why does it require 50K to get it up and running? After all, thats a huge amount to spend just to get the car up and running (assuming you have not included cosmetic upgrades like alloys and new ICE in that budget).
Conversely, if the car needs 50K just to get it up and running, then the car is a lemon anyway. I would not like to spend more than 10-15K on just getting the car in running condition.

@ All Sierra Owners,
My family has given me the go-ahead to buy the Sierra Turbo
So bring it on!!

I'm still looking for detailed answers to the questions I posted previously, though I am now looking at the car more positively, with a definite view to buy.

I paid a visit to the TATA MOTORS showroom on Tilak Road today, and talked to a guy named Atul Daware, who handles the "ASSURED" pre-owned car sales division. He told me that they officially do not certify and sell the Sierra Turbo, but they do get a lot of enquiries for the car. He said he will try using his personal contacts to find a good car for me (to buy as is, without certification). He also mentioned that all mechanical parts for the car are available, but cosmetic ones are a bit of a problem.

One more thing he mentioned was that Tata Motors is thinking of launching the Sierra Turbo in a completely new avatar, but he had no concrete information about that.

According to him, it costs about 20-25K to register an out-of-state vehicle in MH. Based on this information, I am dropping the idea of looking for cars outside the state. After all, it just doesnt make any sense to pay 25K for registering a car worth just 5 times that much.

Thanks for all your inputs. Keep 'em coming.

Regards,
Jaydeep.
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Old 8th October 2010, 15:51   #50
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Jaydeep,
The Sierra I saw was genuine wrt to the ODO/ I've been seeing it come in for regular services at the same T.A.S.S I service my Indica at.

When I first heard about the car being up for sale, the TASS owner told me that the owner is expecting ~1.5L for it and that it requires absolutely no work at all. So I got my hopes up of owning a Sierra in good nick and fixed up an appointment with the owner to TD his car.

When I reached his house, I saw he had a couple of beemers and 3 more C-segment cars in his basement. He took me to one corner and turned on the lights, off came a dusty tarpaulin covering the Sierra. I was grinning ear to ear staring at a gleaming beast. The owner drove it out into his yard, so I could have a perfect look at it in the sunlight; this was the beginning of the end of my dreams to own a Sierra.

The very first thing I noticed was the bumpers had more than a few dents on it, mostly caused by the pillars in the basement - this would require some tinkering and a respray, I was fine with it. Moving on to the side of the car - I caught sight of a couple of deep scratches on the door, again.. these weren't caused by any accidents as such - looked more like garage equipment moved around without care. This was also acceptable, it lying unused amongst BMWs.

As I moved towards the rear of the car, noticed that he had replaced the stock wheels with 16" Mags, they did look fabulous though, not jutting out of the wheel arch at all, but they did look abused, a lot of paint peeled out of them, some chrome scrached badly. On enquiring further I found out that the car was 'done up' by his college going son, who of course is now in the US. Moving along, I noticed the 2 rear tyres were worn beyond bald, and the steel tread was beginning to show. The stepney and front tyres looked brand new. When I made a face, the owner immediately jumped at it saying the front wheels were not aligned and he recently had the tyres rotated, but I've owned many cars and this didn't look like any misaligned tyre wear. I move on to the inside of the car.

It had some nice black leather seats, I was handed the key(s). Noticed that there were two keys, one for the rear door and the original one. Seems that he replaced the lock recently cos it had issues. Call me eccentric, but for me, any quick fix job like that just shows disinterest in maintaining cars. The owner hopped in to the back seat, my mechanic in the front seat along with me, cranked the engine and along with the diesel clatter the iginition key had gotten stuck, felt like my ears would start bleeding any second. The owner immediately yells, turn it backwards a bit. So now an additional cost - the locks and unit on the steering would need replacement.

I adjust my seat to make myself more comfortable behind the wheel, and scream, pricked my finger on the seat handle, the plastic had broken off leaving only a sharp pointy metal piece. - Add to the expense chart.

I slot the car in gear and begin to move, I notice that there is a clunking noise inbetween gear shifts. My mech tells me that isn't a major problem and is fixable - tells me all rear wheel drives make that sorta noise - although I don't buy it 100% moved on.

6-7 kms into the drive and I notice that the dashboard has 2 large holes on either side - The 'son' had cut the dash to fix front speakers! - Another letdown for me - I'd have to search around for a decent unmodified dash.

I spotted a fairly large roadhump during the drive back to the owners house and decided to test out the suspension. Cling-clang-thud were just the minor noises I heard - the rear suspension was shot - my suspicion of the rear tyres being worn out confirmed. :(

Add to this, the front power windows were dead/the rear ac pipe was cut and many other small issues that needed tackling.

I then asked my mech to start preparing an estimate - he said ~25-30k

I added in 2 tyres - Yokos 235/75R16 ~13-14k
Also needed to add in costs of replacing the electrical wiring, belts etc.

I started out with a budget of 1.5L for the Sierra, and I decided I would stick to that no matter what. After all, it is a 10year old car, driven by a 17yr old to ferry his pals around. Checked around and was told that the market rate was around 80k. I was prepared to go upto 90k considering the work that was needed. 1.25L was a bit overzealous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
Hey UG,
if the car needs 50K just to get it up and running, then the car is a lemon anyway. I would not like to spend more than 10-15K on just getting the car in running condition.
I wouldn't call it a lemon dude. The 50k repairs would be required for any 10yr old car. Now if the same car needed engine work/a conked TC/shod gearbox - Now that would be a lemon.
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Old 11th October 2010, 11:25   #51
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Ohh man, it sure is tough just trying to find a Tata Sierra Turbo, forget finding one in good condition. I spent a better part of Saturday roaming around in the sun, visiting used car dealers on the Pune-Solapur highway. I think I must have visited at least a dozen dealers, and none of them had a single car to show for it. Looks like I'm in for a long 'n' hard wait for this car. Fingers crossed.

- Jaydeep
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Old 11th October 2010, 17:00   #52
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@Bullitt:Viju would be your best bet for all your queries. He knows a lot more than me on the Sierra. I have put in what I know in bold. Good luck in finding your Sierra.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post

@ All Sierra Owners:

1. The all-important question: Is it practical to own a Sierra Turbo in 2010/11?

I know its an out of production car. But why not in 2010,it depends on how deep is your passion for the Sierra. Find a good Sierra and using it as a daily drive shouldn't be a problem. Have been using mine(2002 Turbo) as a daily drive for more almost two years and haven't faced any serious issues or break downs. Agree that there will be some niggles here & there but then which car doesn't. Ultimately it all comes down to heart over mind. Will you put in the extra effort, time and drive the extra mile if required to fix it?

2. Availability of spares?

As far as I know, the mechanical parts/spares are not a problem, although finding the interior plastic trims are hard(junkyard is your best bet for these). BTW, I just got my AC compressor replaced recently, it wasn't too much of an hassle. My AC mechanic found me a good(used) one and replaced it within hours and has been running fine since. I know there are mechanics or dealers who charge excessively just because its an out-dated model. All said & done, you need to know the right people to go to when you have problems.

3. Availability of service/support?

As for service, I have been getting it done at Prerana Motors and lucky my Service Advisor still has the passion for the Sierra too. He goes out of his way to get things fixed and most of all my work place is right next to Prerana Motors. I get most of my Sierra services done at Prerana at scheduled intervals. For other tinkering/painting job, I got another local mechanic who does it good for cheap and have an AC mechanic near my home. A good network of labor would keep your Sierra running well for years.

4. What should the ideal Tata Sierra Turbo be like? Here is a sub-list of queries:

a. When did Tata stop producing this car? What model year is preferred? I would personally prefer a 2000 or later model, though I may consider a well-maintained 1999. Am I right on this? On a side-note, I have noticed in pics that a few Turbos have rear-seat head-rests, a few do not. Was there a "new-improved" version launched sometime with this (and maybe other) new features?

IIRC, 2002 is when they stopped making it. 2000 or later model is good. Remember you got to go for FC in 15 years from the date of mfg. On the head rest, I am not sure, mine came with a head rest though.

b. What should the Odometer say? I have seen ads quoting anything between 50K to 150K. What is the ideal figure? How many kms. is the engine good for?

Depends on the owners driving pattern. But even at 1000KM/month the ODO should rake in about 12K-15K/year. My SA says, the Sierra engine when well maintained should last 275K-300K KMs before needing engine work. My Sierra is currently at half mark and still doing fine(knock knock).

c. What is the right price to pay for a '99 or later Tata Sierra Turbo in average-to-good condition? I have seen prices ranging from 90K to 300K (outrageous!).

Pricing is all relative. Around 1.2L-1.4L for a well maintained 2000 or later Turbo with all parts stock and intact seems fair.

d. What are the demons to watch out for? I have seen a few pics with hideously modified cars. For me, cars with any extras bolted onto the body (like fog lights, extra mirrors) are a big no-no, .....

I too would like the car to be as stock as possible. Find a good reliable local mechanic or an authorized service center or TASS that still takes in Sierras for service. Your best bet would be to take a good mechanic with you when you go for a TD or take it to the TASS.

Please come up with as many suggestions as you can, especially for the mechanical aspects of the car.

e. I am looking for a car with no more than two owners (including current). A single owner (and well maintained) car is most preferred, but 2 is the max. Are such cars available? Or is it ok to buy a car which has had 3 or more owners? What are the implications?

The condition of the car is more important than the number of owners. The number of owners matter only during resale.

f. I am getting the feeling that there are hardly any cars available in Pune. I am not too confident dealing with brokers/agents/middlemen, especially for such an old car. I did find that there are a few cars available in Mumbai, but Mumbai vehicles are prone to corrosion. Also, most of the cars were around at the time of the floods, which makes me wary of them. Therefore, I am considering the possibility of buying one outside the state (most good examples online are to be found in Karnataka/AP/Kerala). However, I am not sure how much it will cost me in terms of time, money and effort to get the car re-registered in MH. Any ideas about this?

Tried numerous Sierras in Bangalore but they were all dud. It took me a while , but finally found my 2002 Turbo through my long time family friend,it was mostly stock with all trims intact . The alloys were the only mods he had done. Prior to my buying, the car was regularly serviced at the same Prerana Motors I use now. They got me complete records on the car. Its the LTT or road tax during re-registering that kills it, if the car is originally from a different state.

g. If I do decide to buy an out-of-state car, will registration pose a problem, keeping in mind current norms, fitness certificates after 15 years, and other such criteria?

NOC is what you need from the owner once the sale has been done. If you got that, then you could use your local RTO to register. But again check on the taxes and FC requirements.

h. Finally, I am assuming that I will be the last owner of the car, as I don't think anyone will want it 3-5 years down the line. I would like to cherish and worship the car for as long as possible, but I am sure that the practicalities of life will catch up with me sooner than later, which will force me to ditch this car at some or the other point. Your thoughts please?

I got other cars in the household, but nothing like owning/driving a Sierra. I have been using it as daily drive for last two years. I do lot of highway trips on the weekends and love driving it. I use it to haul lot of loads, the folding rear seat is a boon. The folks at home love the sofa at the rear and the fish glass view of the world passing by. For someone old, getting in back might be a struggle but then a sturdy foot step should do it. The power-steering keeps it easy to maneuver either in city or elsewhere. And its a breeze to maintain 100kmph & above in those long stretches even with the AC on. I know its not a 4X4 but with its high ground clearance you could still take it where other cars wouldn't go. I have had people walk up to me and ask if I am interested in selling it. Little do they know, how much I love it.

Last edited by siddvi : 11th October 2010 at 17:08. Reason: typo
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Old 12th October 2010, 08:53   #53
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bullit in response to your pm let me state i have been there and done that 5 times over buying a sierra is not a matter of the brain but of the heart if you are going to crib about cutting your finger sliding the seat or about lack of spares at TASS forget about it,you will have to learn to live with the quirks of the vehicle including the braking characteristics
as regards spares the are cheap everything except the handbreak cable is available in mumbai all the ac needs is upgrading to a superking blower and a 508 cmpresssor second hand cost including labor is about 16 k .the power windows can never be made to run smooth or fast one of my friends has removed the motors and converted the window to work by hand it goes up faster and smoother that way.all engine parts except the gearbox is similar to the tcic safari in the 98 /99 turbo model so that is not a issue .
some one is talking about raising the suspension etc my suggestion DO NOT DO IT ,the safari tyres stop brushing the body if your mechanic just trims the parts where the tire touches the body work a easy and quick fix.
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Old 12th October 2010, 12:32   #54
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@ sierrakamat:

If you have read my post you will see that I am buying this car with my heart, and not with my mind. My primary concern is easy availability of spares and service, at a reasonable cost. I do not want the car to

1. Become a dust bucket in my parking lot for want of spares.

2. Become a bottomless money pit for maintenance.

I am willing to get things fixed whenever they cut my finger, or buy new/used spares from places other than TASS, but the exercise of doing so should not cost me the moon in terms of time, money and effort.

I will take your word that all spares for the car are available in Mumbai, and I trust you know where exactly they are, having owned 5 Sierras yourself. That itself makes me more confident about owning a Sierra. And in case you don't mind, I will definitely call on you for help once I buy a Sierra, because any used Sierra definitely needs to be worked upon to bring it back to fine form. As I will most probably end up buying a Sierra from Mumbai itself, I think it would be a good idea to get it serviced there itself before bringing it back to Pune. Your thoughts?

@ All Sierra owners

What is the approximate cost of a Sierra windshield? Is it available new?

Thanks for all the replies guys. Keep the inputs coming. Appreciate your response.

@ siddvi:

Thank you for your detailed response, it clears up a lot of things for me. Pandit Automobiles in Pune takes in Sierras for service, but they may not be the best source on the parts front. From your post, one of the important things I gathered is that I need to find and put together a good team of mechanics who can take care of the Sierra and find spares for it when required.

As sierrakamat mentioned, almost all spares are available in Mumbai, so that is a good starting point for me as far as spares are concerned. I will definitely try to find people in Pune who can take car of the Sierra, once I have bought it.

- Bullitt.

Last edited by Bullitt : 12th October 2010 at 12:52. Reason: Reply to siddvi.
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Old 13th October 2010, 09:47   #55
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bullit the glass costs 2500 new and 800 to 1200 second hand the curved glasses 800 second hand all rubbers 2500 engine rebuild 25k pump nozzle service mico /lucas 7 k paintig 10 k onwards seats and upholstry refurbishment 3 k onwards radiator 2.5 brass heavy duty battery 5.5 k suspension overhaul 4k onwards, brake pads 2.5 k, booster new 3.5 k power steering pump 5k old ,tail lights 1k headlights 1.6k pair,in short if everything but the body and tyre are el finito you do the math and give your offer to the seller DO NOT BUY NA vehicle in todays times of expressways it is grossly underpowered and is not capable of sustaining continuous high speeds without straining the engine a few that we did up in under 50 k
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Old 13th October 2010, 12:12   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
Hello underground1419,
Did you finally buy the Sierra Turbo you were looking at?

@ All Sierra Owners:

1. The all-important question: Is it practical to own a Sierra Turbo in 2010/11?

I intend this car to be my regular ride (for the next 3-5 years at least), and I do not wish to spend half of my waking days
running in and out of the garage for frequent repairs, with my pockets bleeding buckets of money.
[Ans] It is very much a practical car for daily use including city driving. I used my Turbo for Bangalore city driving everyday (30kms/day) for 2.5 yrs. Other than monster BMTC drivers, I did not have to be scared of anyone. The diesel mileage I used to get was 9.5 km/l which is comparable to any other car of this size, even present day modern versions. Though my 2.2
dicor is frugal, in city driving, best it gives me in BLR city driving is 10.5 km/l.
Yes, it has a recommended service interval of 5000kms, though original recommendation of TM for turbo was 8000kms. You need to service at 5K intervals. The amount of time you spend at workshop depends on two things - how good the condition is of your vehicle and how well do you do preventive maintenance. My Sierra has never broken down on the road, not on a single occassion when I was doing 700+ BLR - Kerala trips. The one occassion a torsion bar broke in BLR city was due to a poor alignment setting done the previous day. Infact, most of the damage is inflicted on Sierras are by mechanics is my opinion. The essence is, you need to have a reliable and sensible mechanic/workshop if you own a Sierra. Unlike new vehicles,which has a life ahead for a decade and a few 100k kms more, the Sierras we have, have been around for good amount of time. All rubber bushes and gaskets are old, you need to change them to get it to the reliability you need. Get a new original timing belt, change other belts, coolant lines and hoses, you are good. Only turbo lines/hoses are expensive, all others you can buy good quality at reasonable prices.

2. Availability of spares?

What I have gathered after going through all the threads here is that the Sierra Turbo shares most of its parts with the Sumo
Victa and Safari TCIC, and hence spares are easy to find. But, is that good enough?
The car itself being a unique model, is bound to have certain parts which are not shared with any other vehicle. The
side-glass/front windshield is one (no brainer) example. Are there any mechanical parts of this nature too? I came across
some threads where owners were having a hard time find the AC compressor (or condenser, not sure). If this is the case, which
is the best place in Pune to look for such spares? Please enlighten me. As mentioned earlier, I do not wish to spend months
on end looking for hard-to-find spares while my car sits gathering dust in the parking lot, with burnt pockets to show for
it.
[Ans] You will NOT have problem in buying new, with most of the mechanicals - the same TCIC engine is being used in the Sumo Grande meant for taxi segment. So you know that TM is not giving it up easily. Yes some beedings, or the side glass may not be available. But I was told that it was indeed possible to buy a new side glass and beeding in BLR - new. Also all
lights. Suspension parts - both front and rear, all transmission (provided it is a turbo), power steering (pump and gearbox - expensive, but available) and also all brake parts. What I have not managed to obtain was the st column yoke and the front
body mounting bushes, as only turbo has this design. It does not share this with any other - 207/Sumo/Safari none matches. But steering part need not be changed for atleast 200K kms, so if you get a vehicle that has done 100K, you may never worry about it. Now if you are forced to change it, a good skilled lathe can make it for you, may be you'll spend 200-500 rupees extra. Some of the door channels and other plastics like you said "cosmetic" stuff will not be availble. Also some of the body parts as new - like new bumper sections or a mounting bracket. Some of these can be procured from old parts market, I know we detest the idea. But if you have a mechanic or somone who can help in getting these, it would seem OK.
Another significant aspect is body condition. I hated rust, it drove me to the extend of doing under body treatment, cavity waxing and applying weather proof paint any where I could. One reason you do not want any body/styling modifications.
3. Availability of service/support?

I prefer taking the authorized route for my 6 year old MS WagonR, as they provide good service/support for their product. Are
Tata Sierra Turbos still getting good support from TASS? Any pleasant/unpleasant experiences from owners are welcome here. In
case TASS is not supporting the car anymore, is there any garage in Pune which can take on this car? The focus would be on
knowing the (unique) intricacies of this vehicle, and the capability to procure hard-to-find spares for it; not just today,
but for the next 3-5 years. Again, the money angle needs to be considered here too.
[Ans] There aren't many Tata authorized who accept Sierra for service - I know only one in BLR which is Prerana as Siddvi stated. But do you really need TASS help for most of the regular servicing of Sierra? All my recent work was done at home by a visiting mechanic who does suspension, brakes, regular service stuff, have changed the turbo charger at home, even some of engine work. You can save on labour, can buy genuine parts at a discount and get all work done in front of you. Only some things that require lifts can only be done at a well equipped workshop.
To summarize, is it possible to enjoy peaceful possession of a Tata Sierra Turbo for the next 5 years, small niggles/rattles
notwithstanding?
Would depend on the condition of the vehicle you get and how do you maintain.
Subject to the answers to the above questions:

4. What should the ideal Tata Sierra Turbo be like? Here is a sub-list of queries:

a. When did Tata stop producing this car? What model year is preferred? I would personally prefer a 2000 or later model,
though I may consider a well-maintained 1999. Am I right on this? On a side-note, I have noticed in pics that a few Turbos
have rear-seat head-rests, a few do not. Was there a "new-improved" version launched sometime with this (and maybe other) new
features?

b. What should the Odometer say? I have seen ads quoting anything between 50K to 150K. What is the ideal figure? How many
kms. is the engine good for?
[Ans] An untouched engine will go till 200K kms without doubt, but watch out for fake readings and poorly maintained ones. Completely stay away from these.
c. What is the right price to pay for a '99 or later Tata Sierra Turbo in average-to-good condition? I have seen prices
ranging from 90K to 300K (outrageous!).
[Ans] For an owner who did all required service and maintenance for 10 years or so by keeping the car in mint condition, I believe it would be reasonable to expect higher than market price. If it is just the market price that one is willing to pay, it would most likely fetch just a car that runs. For most of the owners of Sierras in the last decade, it was 'high maintenance'. It was because they expected Maruthi 800 like maintenance for a diesel weighing almost 2 tonnes. Which is the result we see and complaints that 'Sierra is high maintenance".

d. What are the demons to watch out for? I have seen a few pics with hideously modified cars. For me, cars with any extras
bolted onto the body (like fog lights, extra mirrors) are a big no-no, as it means the previous owner has drilled holes into
the body of the car. Speaks volumes for how he feels about the car, and the resultant mess the car is in. Gull-wing doors are
out too. A similarly mutilated dashboard with lotsa switches/monograms/extra speakers, is also a big red flag. In short, I
would like to buy a car as stock as possible.
[Ans] You are right on body modifications. I would add, very minimal rust.

But all this is just appearance. What should I look for under the hood and inside the car? For example, a few small things I
gathered are:

- The front and rear seat folding/sliding mechanisms.
- The rear AC vents and their piping.
- I read something about a "compression test" for diesel cars. Where and how is it done?
- There is mention about checking the turbo intercooler unit. How is that done?
- Is it advisable to buy a car which has a re-bored engine, or changed critical parts like block-piston/gearbox/transmission
etc?
- Can I get this car evaluated from TASS?

Please come up with as many suggestions as you can, especially for the mechanical aspects of the car.
[Ans] As far as possible, try to avoid a rebored engine. You are best with one that has done less than 100k (genuine) with an unopened engine. It is quite likely that in case of abuse, the turbo would have reached end of life. Check for functioning of turbo specifically for power boost above 2000rpm in third and higher gears. My opinion is that the original turbo is the best. Even the genuine replacement ones available in market/TASS is not as good as the orginal. To replace you'll need to spend almost 19K on own or 26K or so when done at TASS.
Another is the gearbox - well driven, would last almost forever (beyond 300K kms). If you/mechanic suspect a problem in engaging gears, noise, etc - stay away.
One annoying part is the transmission. UJ spiders and bushes are not too expensive and would last long. But if the shaft has a problem, you'll spend lot of time in getting it in original condition. You may want to change clutch disc and pressure plate for your peace of mind. If the current owner has changed it recently, you save there.
You cannot live without a/c in a Sierra. Almost all have low cooling. Changing to new compressor/condensor/evaporator etc costs labour and parts. If needs only needs gas topup - you save money. But getting R12 can be a pain, but lots of vehicles use it, even now.
Suspension bushes, even if worn, is not too costly nor a problem. Need a bit of time and need a good mechanic.
I prefer to see all original electrical system - uncut and without insulation tape as far as possible. Check all gauges for proper functioning.
e. I am looking for a car with no more than two owners (including current). A single owner (and well maintained) car is most
preferred, but 2 is the max. Are such cars available? Or is it ok to buy a car which has had 3 or more owners? What are the
implications?
[Ans] I know of proud first owner still using in BLR even in 11th year. Problem is they may not sell!
f. I am getting the feeling that there are hardly any cars available in Pune. I am not too confident dealing with
brokers/agents/middlemen, especially for such an old car. I did find that there are a few cars available in Mumbai, but
Mumbai vehicles are prone to corrosion. Also, most of the cars were around at the time of the floods, which makes me wary of
them. Therefore, I am considering the possibility of buying one outside the state (most good examples online are to be found
in Karnataka/AP/Kerala). However, I am not sure how much it will cost me in terms of time, money and effort to get the car
re-registered in MH. Any ideas about this?
[Ans] If you are really fortunate to get a second owner vehicle, all mechanicals are kind of OK with less kms on it, but has a few cosmetic issues, I would say go for it.
g. If I do decide to buy an out-of-state car, will registration pose a problem, keeping in mind current norms, fitness certificates after 15 years, and other such criteria?
[Ans] Thank God that you do not live in KA and do not have to bring a vehicle from outside. It should be manageable to get a re-registration done in non-metro.
h. Finally, I am assuming that I will be the last owner of the car, as I don't think anyone will want it 3-5 years down the
line. I would like to cherish and worship the car for as long as possible, but I am sure that the practicalities of life will
catch up with me sooner than later, which will force me to ditch this car at some or the other point. Your thoughts please?
[Ans] For a 2001 model, normal life would be till 2016, which would mean a few years of life left before FC and other troubles. If you buy one in fairly reasonably good condition, it would serve you. But will become part of your family as well. You may not want part with is one thing, you may not be able to sell also.

To sum it up, I am planning to put a lakh-odd rupees of my hard-earned money into this car, instead of partially repaying my
home loan, as my folks are advising me to do. Now I am a perfectly middle-class working professional with a family to boot,
and 1 lakh rupees is not a small amount for me. So I have not yet ruled out that possibility, and I am still in 2 minds about
it.

But, this is a now-or-never decision, as I will not be able to buy this car a couple of years later when I finish with my home loan. Good Sierra Turbos are already hard to come by these days; it will be impossible by then, and most of them will be scrapped heaps of junk anyway. So, I will either buy this car or pay the loan.

Keeping this in mind, please be very honest with your views, and do not feel shy to tell me the honest hard-hitting truth. I promise I will take it in the right spirit.

At the same time, please do not give me one-liners like "Dude, forget the car, repay the loan" and such-like.

Also, please do not suggest any alternate vehicles like "Why don't you buy a brand new nano instead?"

Your light will show me the way.

Thanks in advance.

I can completely understand your state of mind. While deciding to buy a Sierra, though it is a decision from the heart, do not rush it. But, make a sound judgement call. It is for sure that you will NOT find a perfect vehicle, because there aren't any left. Choose one that in my opinion has the best mechanicals.

May your wishes come true.

Viju

Last edited by vijuvarghese : 13th October 2010 at 12:21. Reason: formatting and typo
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Old 13th October 2010, 12:12   #57
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Question Help with Sierra Turbo TD???

Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrakamat View Post
bullit the glass costs 2500 new and 800 to 1200 second hand the curved glasses 800 second hand all rubbers 2500 engine rebuild 25k pump nozzle service mico /lucas 7 k paintig 10 k onwards seats and upholstry refurbishment 3 k onwards radiator 2.5 brass heavy duty battery 5.5 k suspension overhaul 4k onwards, brake pads 2.5 k, booster new 3.5 k power steering pump 5k old ,tail lights 1k headlights 1.6k pair,in short if everything but the body and tyre are el finito you do the math and give your offer to the seller DO NOT BUY NA vehicle in todays times of expressways it is grossly underpowered and is not capable of sustaining continuous high speeds without straining the engine a few that we did up in under 50 k
Wow, You da man Frank! A proverbial dictionary on Sierra parts and maintenance. You mentioned "a few we did up..." Who is we? Do you own a workshop where you service Tata vehicles, by any chance? If so, I would be more than glad to avail of your services once I buy the Sierra. Also, would it be too much to ask if I asked you to help me TD a few cars?

@ All Sierra Owners (specially from Mumbai):

Here are a couple of cars I have found in Mumbai, which I plan to have a look at, most probably this weekend (Saturday, as Sunday is Dussera). I haven't seen the cars yet, but I have talked to the owners, here is what they have to say:

1. '97 Turbo, metallic blue, 95K odo, 2nd owner, expects Rs.85K for it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

He has owned the car for the past 9 years, and is selling it as he wants to replace it with a smaller car which is easier to drive in Mumbai's dense traffic. The car is very much in use, has minor dents and scratches (fenders et al). (Owner says) car is still mechanically sound. The owner sounds like a gentleman, quite genuine and honest; mentioned he would show me the good and the bad things about the car. This car is in Kandivali.

2. '99 Turbo, metallic red, 70K odo, 2nd owner (sort of), expects Rs.105K for it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This guy, named Yusuf, has been in possession of the car for only a few months (not sure how many). He mentioned that the car is not in his name, it is still in the name of a Navy Colonel (who stays in Navy Nagar), who is the first owner of the car. Yusuf says he is in possession of all the papers for the car, including the signed transfer papers. If I choose to buy the car, it will be transferred directly from the Colonel to me. However, I will be dealing with Yusuf only, and he will provide all the papers to me.
Yusuf claims he hasn't been able to use the car very frequently, as he is a working professional (in some back office, works in shifts), which is why he wants to sell it. He drove the car infrequently, only on weekends, and it has been lying in with him for some time. But it is in running condition, and I can take a TD whenever I wish.
The car has a cracked front windshield (he says some kids broke it while playing near his house). It also incurred a dent in the rear door, which he has fixed. He says the car has had very low running as the colonel was frequently offshore, and has maintained the car well. This car is in Sewree.
My doubt about this car is, why is the car not in his name? Should I even look at this car, or is this guy some fraudster trying to make a quick buck by buying and then selling the car without transferring it in his name? Is such a transaction even legal? Even though this car sounds good in theory (technically first owner, low running, newer car), is there something I am missing here?


Nonetheless, I am planning to take a look at both these cars, probably this weekend (on Saturday). Since this is the first time in my life that I am buying a used car, not to mention that I have never driven an SUV, I am requesting you guys to help me out. Is there anyone with experience who can help me TD the cars as well as verify the paperwork? As I will be travelling alone, it would be great if someone can join me. If you can bring a good mechanic in tow, all the better. If not, you can always suggest a good garage which can evaluate these cars for me, provided they pass the TD stage. I am willing to bear the cost for the same, as well as F&B/entertainment expenses for the person who joins me . The more the merrier.

By the way, how much time does it take to get a car evaluated from a good garage?

Please PM me your numbers. I will give you a call on Friday confirming my trip to Mumbai, with exact details. Thanks for all your help.

- Bullitt.
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Old 13th October 2010, 12:39   #58
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Cool Wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vijuvarghese View Post
I can completely understand your state of mind. While deciding to buy a Sierra, though it is a decision from the heart, do not rush it. But, make a sound judgement call. It is for sure that you will NOT find a perfect vehicle, because there aren't any left. Choose one that in my opinion has the best mechanicals.

May your wishes come true.

Viju
Viju,
I am absolutely speechless... the depth of your knowledge about Sierras simply knocked me out! Guys like you and sierrakamat are like virtual goldmines of knowledge; the "Guru"s; as they say. I am pretty sure that, given the right tools, you guys are capable of taking apart an entire Sierra part by part, and then putting it back together again. I mean... Wow!

I went through all your replies, and I thank you for your patience and the time you took in putting together such an exhaustive reply. I will probably have to read it a couple of times more to digest all that information.

I do wish I were living in Bangalore; I would definitely have enlisted your help in looking for a good Sierra. Nonetheless, I will definitely write down all the points you have mentioned in your post and carry it with me as a checklist whenever I go to inspect a Sierra. Thanks for all the advice. I really appreciate it.

And hey, yours is probably the loveliest Sierra I have ever seen till date. The beast is truly awesome. Now I know how you manage to keep it so well maintained. Take good care of it. I know it is in great hands.

- Bullitt.
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Old 13th October 2010, 13:25   #59
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Exclamation Update on the second car.

Yusuf called me up a few minutes back, as I had told him I might want to see the car today. Using the opportunity, I asked him a few questions. Here is what he told me:

1. He is not a dealer.
2. He has had the car only for 45-50 days (bought it during the holy month of Ramzan).
3. He is selling the car as it is inadequate for his family of 8. He was originally planning to put 2 benches in the rear of the car, but later found out that it wasn't feasible. So he has decided to sell it and buy a Safari/Scorpio.
4. He had talked to the insurance company regarding the windshield, and they asked him to take the car to some workshop at Worli. The insurance company agreed to bear 50% of the price of the glass. But he hasn't been able to find the time to take it there and get it fixed.
5. He has all the transfer papers signed by the original owner, but he never used them, and now he wants to sell the car.

To me, this looks quite genuine. Hence I am planning to TD this car on Saturday. Your views?

- Bullitt.
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Old 13th October 2010, 13:59   #60
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Try to meet the original owner if possible and verify the same.
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