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Old 11th February 2005, 22:34   #1
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Default scary story with happy ending? part 1


i decided to post this after I saw dippy's review of the purple 97 AT zen and a question posted as to why people buy Zens.

like dippy, i also started driving an 800 AT in 95 which after 130,000 kms had started leaking when it rained. i also had to pour TQ lubricant more often than filling gas. sold it in 2001 for 25K

i, like dippy also chose a purple zen AT over an Astra club. purple sucks but it fit right in since i'm in chennai. compared to the 800 the zen felt very sluggish and VERY difficult to turn since it didint have a power steering. it had already done 40K when i got it.

the car ran ok for about a month or so. then the engine started getting hot after a 100 kms or so and the coolant was evaporating away. i took the car to a khivraj etc. in chennai. they had no idea what the problem was. we flushed the radiator, checked for blocks, finally the experts suspected the problem was due to a faluty radiator cap (which incidently took 2 months to get a replacement since the cap is different from regular zens), etc. etc. etc.

after getting the replacement cap, the car was certified to be ok after it was test driven for about a couple of hours or so. anyway, i decided to drive home to kerala from chennai, about 630 kms, normally a 12 hour drive.

was enjoying the early morning drive in the relative cool before the boiling heat began. the car was driving like a dream..............for the first 150 kms, after which the temp gauge starting going higher and higher. finally had to stop the car and waiting to check the coolant. when i opened the bonnet it noticed that the side container was absolutely empty. i could'nt even go back as i had a wedding to attend!!!!!!! anyway limped to salem after about 10 hours of driving. by now my wife of 6 months was looking at me in a strange way.

the maruti people in salem checked it out and said that the radiator cap was faulty, and that there was nothing that could be done since they didnt have stock. however they assured me that they would get it in a few days. i decided to take my chances on the road. i finally got home to kottayam after another 20 hours or so and a few hundred litres of water. i was on the road for about 35 hours and without my wife telling me relax and also offering to drive i would ended up like one of the heroes in "crash".

in kottayam, found a radiator cap that fit and drove the car back to chennai. however, next weekend was driving to pondy when the temprature problem resurfaced. luckily got home since no wedding this time. the maruti guys then called the head of technical stuff in the south. he gave me telephonic support and said that the radiator itself might be the problem and that I better change it. of course he also added that he was about 80 % sure that the problem would be solved.

the radiator was about 14 K and was available only in bangalore. i waited for the coldest chennai night, filled the car with cans of water and headed for bangalore. reached bangalore after a short 10 hour drive. the radiator was changed and i was driving back to chennai the next day when the car suddenly broke down beyond the flyover on old madras road. AND THE TEMPRATURE WAS ABOSLUTELY NORMAL AND COOLANT WAS FULL!!!!!!!!!!

endured the worst humiliation ever. the car was towed to town........everybody was looking at me in the purple zen with an advocates sticker and a wheelchair sticker. life was really a pain in the ***.........

part 2 later

Last edited by Rehaan : 11th February 2005 at 23:19.
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Old 11th February 2005, 22:54   #2
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Hey dude

looks like those AT 800s all had that tranny problem. I bought a 1988 model in 1997. In 1999 it it developed a leak in the tranny and all the oil was out . Asked Vitesse the dealer and he told me the clutch failed etc and that parts not available and then it would cost 40k to repair. I was sunk. But help came in the form of dads friend . All that had happened was that the gearbos oil seal etc had given way. Got the prob fixed for 2500 bucks beat that to 40k. On thing for sure. Maruti dealers and service stations get really scared when it comes to ATs. They dont take the risk of repairing them. What I fail to understand is that how are they not trained to handle ATs when they produce AT cars.

The car ran decent till early 2001 when oil started leaking again. And I too started pouring TQ oil like no ones business. Sold it off finaly in September and then got myself the Zen.


Last edited by Dippy : 11th February 2005 at 23:00.
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Old 12th February 2005, 00:29   #3
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Maruti basically screwed up the image of Automatic transmission in India. First they bring in a ridiculous 3 speed AT and then their mechanics are not too sure how to deal with it.

I have Santro Xing AT and I have never faced any problems related to transmission. It is 4 speed, very smooth and gives 9KMPL in city and 14 KMPL on highway.
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Old 12th February 2005, 02:25   #4
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maruti s support for uncommon models is really bad take for example of baleno only few of the dealers have even commonly used spares
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Old 13th February 2005, 03:35   #5
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consider changing it
sell it for 1 and buy a cielo
from the looks of it, it will def. be less problematic
i guess the moral is - never buy a zen AT
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Old 14th February 2005, 15:25   #6
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Originally Posted by .anshuman
maruti s support for uncommon models is really bad take for example of baleno only few of the dealers have even commonly used spares
Is that quite commonly the case ? I'd understand it if the parts were to be
imported (like they were sometime back). But they are supposed to be
made in India now (hence the drastic price cut for spares). How come
they are not easily available then ? Not too many Balenos ? What's the
experience of the Baleno owners ?
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Old 19th February 2005, 00:23   #7
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Yeh, that is a pretty scary story. Not in terms of the money you had to spend but the amount of inconvenience it caused. I am really interested in the story and waiting for the 2nd part.
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Old 19th February 2005, 04:48   #8
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nver had a problem with parts in my baleno......
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Old 19th February 2005, 07:43   #9
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Ya waitin for your second part!!!
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Old 23rd February 2005, 20:32   #10
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Default waitin....

yea dude....
waitin for ur second part...
though one question....

why zen automatic???


Last edited by Dippy : 23rd February 2005 at 20:34.
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