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Old 9th April 2009, 16:01   #1
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Default Bought 2003 OHC 1.5 EXI, verified by Vericar

Hi,

After considering the brand new ANHC which I absolutely loved and was a week away from getting, then cursorily an i20 I have finally got myself an 2003 silver 1.5 EXI OHC. The reason for this dramatic drop in ambitions is I am scheduled for a long term US trip early next year and am temporarily in Bbay till then and needed a car to commute to work.

Now I have terrible luck with these things and buying a second hand car was something I am not too keen on, being stuck with a lemon and spending tons of time and effort is not something I fancy.

Finding a good quality OHC is not easy, these cars are getting on, 2003 was the last year they were manufactured which makes them over 6 years old and however well one maintains a car 6 years is long time. Add to that most dealers tamper with the odometer and have unrealistic expectation for a 6 year old car.

After a week on searching mostly online, I found 3 1.5 EXIs and a Vtec. Only one car impressed me slightly but the dealer was asking for 295000 and I wasn't willing to spend more than 260000 for a 2003 model. Then Vericar contacted me, this is a company that verifies second hand cars, they charge Rs 1299 per checkup. They also have a service where for Rs 2999 they source and verify 3 cars according to your specifications. This was perfect for me, saving me the effort of finding a good car and I signed up.

I specified 2003, 1.5 EXI preferably silver/grey, single owner and budget of 250000. Vericar found 3 cars within a week, one 2002, and two 2003 of which one was heather mist and the dealer was asking for 325000 which is just not realistic. The 2002 one according to Vericar was in very good condition so I went to see that first.

The dealer was in Andheri East, and this was a very weird experience. I saw the car and tested it. Seemed ok and Vericar had a good report. The headlights were broken though. He was asking for 260000, I offered him 240000. He came down to 250, I told him I am going to see the other cars shortlisted so he can get back to me if 240 is good with him. Then he told me he would give it for 240000 if I paid a token right there and if I left he won't sell the car to me. This was inexplicable behavior and I can't he was getting increasingly irrational and aggressive. I told him that's his business but I certainly wasn't going to do a deal under any sort of pressure. So I walked.

Second was a silver 1.5 and this incidentally was the same car I had seen earlier in my own search with the dealer quoting 295000. This car was owned by Novartis and has been painted by the dealer which immediately send alarm bells ringing. However its in excellent condition externally and internally and has done 54500 km. Curiously it was with another dealer and not where I had originally seen it. This guy was asking for 290000, I offered him 275000 since I really liked this car, but he wasn't budging.

Vericar incidentally gives approximate valuations of the cars and for this car he has given a value of 268000, for the first 2002 one he had given a figure of 243000. After a couple of days I called up the dealer again which immediately reduces leverage and tried to get him down. For some reason this guy just won't budge, so I gave in and squandered the budget I had put aside for tyre upsize and alloys. I also sent a pm to Iraghava for his advice, especially the painting since dealers are not prone to repaint cars at their own expense without good reason. However Vericar found no evidence of accidents and the car was in good condition. So I did the deal.

A couple of days ago I picked it up, and drove down to Pune where I got an opportunity to test it. The tyres are Michelin XM 175/70/13. The suspension is in very good condition and the car easily did 160 on the bends without losing composure, was rock solid. Didn't push it beyond that but the engine and suspension seem to be in good shape. But take that with a huge pinch of salt because I am not an expert of any sort, I have been driving for 15 years now and go by feel.

The bad, The windscreen has swirling which makes it difficult to see well at night especially with incoming traffic on high beam. This is very dangerous for India and with the split second decisions we have to make with folks coming in your way out of the blue and I will have to replace it. The left back door is hard to open and the one of wipers is broken and nozzles don't work. The left side indicator is also not operational. Additionally the windscreen assembly, the black plastic border at the bottom is loose and is missing plastic bolts, this is something I didn't detect in my check and was pointed out to by Linkway Honda. The dealer has agreed to address the first 4 issues.

I had also asked him to service the car, Vericar mentioned valve noise and tappet leak and the dealer had promised to address this but I suspect he has not. However I have scheduled a service at Linkway to get it serviced and identify outstanding issues. The engine is very responsive and peppy but there is a certain noise on idle and low gears.

Here are a couple of pics taken in low light with my iPhone, will take better ones this weekend and upload.

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My thoughts on vericar service, I am not really a fussy person but I think for 1299 Vericar need to be more through than currently. I am satisfied with their report on the suspension, engine and body so thats ok but there are a number of other issues I would have liked the to catch like the loose windscreen assembly and windscreen condition so the buyer is aware of the issue and the costs involved on changing this, these can become good bargaining planks. However Jayesh is very helpful and will go out of this way to ensure you are satisfied.

Major Update: I am toast, had given the car to Linkway for serving and the estimate is a outrageous 30k. So my elaborate idea of saving money is not really going to come true. Here is the download, service 6.8k, front left axle assembly leak - Rs 500, Back Brake light - 350, Transmission leak - 500 and a few other things I can't remember adding to 9k. Now the major stuff: front right axle assembly - 9k plus labour and taxes, radiator - according to Honda is worn out and will not do 4 hours of continous driving - engine temp gauge is a tad below half, that's 7k plus taxes, rear left door opens in 2 phases and has some resistance - 3k plus labour, taking the total to some 30k.

I have asked Linkway to just do the servicing and critical stuff like some of the leaks. The major expenses I intend to take it to Sunil Shanbag or any other OHC specialist who comes highly recommended. Recommendations welcome. So on the whole I am not so happy with my second hand car decision now, mainly due to the unanticipated expenses and effort I have to put to get it right now, for Vericar I have mixed feeling I do feel they need to become much more through to justify the Rs 1299 checkup. Most of the issues Linkway identified could have made me take an informed decision and be ready for the expenses, or bargain the dealer down .

The only redeeming thing is Linkway reckon the engine, suspension, brakes and general condition of the car is excellent. The expenses expecially the radiator, the axle assembly the door problem and the other minor indicator lights and wiper and nozzle issue, however do add up to a bundle.

Now definitely need help from OHC owners in Mumbai, about garages and other tips, also it would be great if some of you could take a look at the car. Also what exactly is a right axle assembly and how does it get spoilt, is it general wear and tear or are there any factors that cause it? There is no sound on end to end turning in either direction, infact the whole car is pretty silent.


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Last edited by Jaggu : 10th April 2009 at 10:48. Reason: see note in post
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Old 9th April 2009, 16:16   #2
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Congrats on your car raul... OHC is the best! Which side of town do you stay? I can suggest garages accordingly. There are a lot of OHC tbhp owners and we do meet up regularly... we can organize a meet soon.
I don't understand what exactly is the problem with the assembly. Could you specify exactly what linkway said was the problem?
Rear doors of the OHC do have a problem of getting stiff specially if they are not used regularly.
Best people to ask about OHC issues are jitu (Ford Rocam) and Jiggy (Viper).

EDIT: Resize the pics, they are making the posts wide and difficult to read. Also your wipers are unusually high, they should be much lower in normal switched off position. Get that checked.

Last edited by Tejas@perioimpl : 9th April 2009 at 16:20.
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Old 9th April 2009, 16:17   #3
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raul - congrats - car looks neat. but can u please resize your post. looks very wide
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Old 9th April 2009, 16:32   #4
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Can edit the original post. Have resized and sent the links to the mods. Mods please change the links, thanks.

Tejas, I stay in the Goregaon area very close to Inorbit, and office is in Andheri East. The Linkway folks just told me the right front axle assembly needs to be replaced. I tried to understand what exactly is wrong but wasn't making much headway, guess have to go to the workshop and physically see it by still alarmed but the 9k cost. Will check the wiper position.

Last edited by raul : 9th April 2009 at 16:40.
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Old 9th April 2009, 16:41   #5
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OHC rocks once again...

Congrats for purchasing a beauty.
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Old 9th April 2009, 17:07   #6
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Congrats on your car purchase! Have you spoken to Vericar regarding the issues? I would have thought they would have caught these during their assesment.
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Old 9th April 2009, 17:10   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
raul - congrats - car looks neat. but can u please resize your post. looks very wide
Quote:
Originally Posted by loving_alaap View Post
OHC rocks once again...

Congrats for purchasing a beauty.
Thanks guys, I definitely like the car. Compared to my Zen and NHC which are pretty shaky and uncertain on anything near 130/140 on the expressway this 6 years old car really shines. I have not driven the OHC extensively before and the stability on the long bends at 160 definitely impresses.

However this is tax and investment season and I am running a tight ship and this rocks the boat majorly. Now no option but to give business to Citibank credit card division.

Tejas - an OHC meet would be great, where are you located , perhaps we can catch up soon.
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Old 9th April 2009, 17:15   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raul View Post
Thanks guys, I definitely like the car. Compared to my Zen and NHC which are pretty shaky and uncertain on anything near 130/140 on the expressway this 6 years old car really shines. I have not driven the OHC extensively before and the stability on the long bends at 160 definitely impresses.

However this is tax and investment season and I am running a tight ship and this rocks the boat majorly. Now no option but to give business to Citibank credit card division.

Tejas - an OHC meet would be great, where are you located , perhaps we can catch up soon.
I should add here that neither is the OHC known for its high speed stability. so be careful at such high speeds on long bends also. as such it gets pretty hairy even at 140 in an OHC ( the suspension and light weight are to blame ).
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Old 9th April 2009, 17:40   #9
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I am sure higher than that would have been an issue, perhaps my perspective is relative to my experience with the Zen and NHC which I would think are even worse and the fact that I expected a 6 year old car to be shaky. The OHC was more than stable it was planted and this on 175/70/13. However a few more drives should give me a measure of its stability.

I don't usually drive fast, the only reason I was at 160 and that too for a just 10-15 minutes was to test the car thoroughly. I normally drive at more sedate speeds.
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Old 9th April 2009, 18:02   #10
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@narayan, I disagree. I have done the pune - bombay stretch and was consistently at 160+ for atleast thirty mins till traffic slowed me. No issues on handling. Ofcourse, i was running on 205 rubbers.
@raul, i stay townside, so if you ever this side, drop me a PM and we can meet up.
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Old 9th April 2009, 18:18   #11
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Congratulations on your OHC raul. Welcome to the OHC club.

Mine is also a 2003 model, moth October. I bought it it Oct 2006 and it had done 24k kms. I am nearing 60k kms now. Its a brilliant car.

I read in your earlier post that you stay at Goergaon. If it is fine with you, I can refer you to the guy who does work on my OHC. He is located near my house. I live at Kandivali, Thakur Village. My car goes to Honda only for its service. Other work I get it done from this guy.

Do let me know if you need any help. Your issues should be sorted at a much lesser price.
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Old 9th April 2009, 19:06   #12
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Excellent Dippy, that will be helpful. Please pass on the contact to me and I will take the car to him as soon as I get it from Linkway for the axle assembly and radiator thing. Have any of you OHC guys here faced the axle assembly replacement issue before? This seems to be a pretty expensive part.

What is the engine temp you guys normally see, mine is just below half, I spoke to Ishan this morning and he said it should be at quarter and the radiator issue should be addressed asap. Also let's catch up, I have a close friend in Kandivali and I am there nearly everyday.

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Old 9th April 2009, 19:16   #13
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Excellent Dippy, that will be helpful. Please pass on the contact to me and I will take the car to him as soon as I get it from Linkway for the axle assembly and radiator thing. Have any of you OHC guys here faced the axle assembly replacement issue before? This seems to be a pretty expensive part.

What is the engine temp you guys normally see, mine is just below half, I spoke to Ishan this morning and he said it should be at quarter and the radiator issue should be addressed asap. Also let's catch up, I have a close friend in Kandivali and I am there nearly everyday.

Sent you a PM. Also I am surprised that Vericar did not find these issues when they checked out the car. The Vericar guys are present on the forum. Hope they take a look at your problems.
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Old 9th April 2009, 20:13   #14
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My take on this is everything has to be done before taking delivery and parting with the cheque, that's the time to get things done. Once the money leaves your hand you have to depend on goodwill and that's always in short supply unless you have an extended relationship with the dealer.

The 4 relatively minor issues he has said he will get done which is the non operational wiper, nozzle, left side indicator and back door.

For the major stuff Linkway have found I doubt he will be interested in hearing from me, that's a lost battle. The axle assembly thing is something I need to take a second opinion on but the radiator and engine temp is something that I would have expected Vericar to find and that along with the windscreen would have given me a lot of leverage with the dealer to either get the price down or get him to do it.

Now alas its too late. So that's nearly 20k plus for the axle assembly, radiator and windscreen from my pocket. Hopefully Dippy's contact will get some of this stuff done a more reasonable cost.

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Old 10th April 2009, 15:35   #15
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I spoke to a couple of experts today and everyone is confused about the front right axle assembly. According to every single person I have spoken to if that's gone bad the car will make a distinct sound when turning to the right, to test it you can turn the wheels completely in either direction while stationary which I had done multiple times when checking the car.

As I have reported I was on a Pune trip just last weekend and have been driving around Mumbai, haven't heard a single sound. I am very sensitive to rattles and odd sounds and I would definitely have picked something up. And on the express way like I reported the car was driven fast on the bends and was silent and solid. So Linkway's diagnosis is definitely surprising.
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