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Old 9th May 2021, 15:45   #1
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Default One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

A Bit of Background

Our interests are always results of influences, when we speak about automobiles it could be our first family vehicle, a TV commercial, the one dream car in our neighbourhood or at times an Auto enthusiast we had around us.This was certainly the case for me.I believe this was the same case for my father too, since both my father and grandfather used to work for Hindustan Motors.I grew up listening to stories of Ambasadors being cranked to start and how OHVs changed the game.Among all the stories my favourites were his own experience of buying his first Car during the end of 80s.A Maruti Omni which had a waiting period of over an year.
From the Omni my father moved to a PAL Premier Padmini and then to the star of this thread.1995 Maruti Suzuki Esteem LX (Type 1).
He wanted this car specifically as he was drawn to the colour Metallic Maroon.The jump from the Padmini to the Esteem 1.3L was huge.With its all new 65BHP Aluminium Engine, factory fitted Air Conditioning, Adjustable seats, Automated trunk and fuel doors, windshield washers, radial tyres and a 12v socket, this was the talk of the town.
Living with the Maruti Esteem

For a 26 year old car,we had a low run, at around 80k kms(in 2021), we have never faced any mechanical issues, except for an alternator replacement sometime in 2008.The AC no longer worked after the shift from R12 cooling agent.Overtime the lack of AC and a power steering made daily drives hectic.This made us get a new car,something a bit more compact.So we got a VW Polo in 2012, and guess what..
My father decided to retain the esteem for himself

Here is a pcicture from 2012,my first solo drive on our Esteem.
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-dsc_0472.jpg
The Esteem went on happily with just one annual service done, easy to maintain while the polo started burning holes.This drew us to the conclusion that the Esteem should live with us.Years passed
In 2020 it was about time for Esteems 3rd retest.My father started beeing sceptical about another retrest and was considering switching to a used small car since he started finding the sedan difficult to drive and manage.
After starting to notice new hatchbacks avilable, one fine morning my father told me and my brother that he wants to keep the esteem and would lke to get it fully fixed with a new AC kit before the retest this year.
He never mentioned why did he change his mind.Since it was a welcoming news to me,I didnt ask either

The lockdwon happened....
Its been 5 months since the lockdown,retest dates have been extended.One normal day,I spoke to my father as usual and left for work,20 minutes later I get a call saying he's not respondng.A silent cardiac arrest

January 2021
Its been a year since we had this conversation about getting the car fixed fully,when we think of it,it sounds like thats the only unfinished conversation we had. "One last wish maybe"
This was it for me, I decided to make this restoration happen.

The Restoration Process


Exterior
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20201101_153725.jpg
Except for a few scuffs the car was in a fairly good condition
Interior
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20210125_115814.jpg

However it badly needed a paint job as almost every panel had atleast one uneven area.
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20201101_160025.jpg
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20201101_155949.jpg
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20201101_155958.jpg
I have categorised the restoration process as
  1. Mechanical Works
  2. Paint and Body
  3. AC and Electricals
  4. Interiors

Mechanical Work
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20210125_125030.jpg
This petrol engine is smooth and silent.Other than a standard oil and filter replacement the mechnical section needed an overhaul.We had to replace
1)Front lower arms(LH and RH)
2)Steering box
3)Clutch Assembly
4)All 4 Shock Absorbers (Complete Assembly)
5)Alternator Bearing
6)Engine Belt
All cables were also replaced
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20210202_165033.jpg

It was found that the Carburettor secondary valve was stuck.
After alot of hunt,I finally managed to get a carburettor repair kit online.
Yet to replace the carb parts.
One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-img_20210428_145824.jpg

It took around 4 days to finish all works, in the meantime I started sourcing rubber fitments through MGP dealers and online sources
ETA for delivery 45 days

Rest Later
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Old 9th May 2021, 18:26   #2
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

^^ May the divine forces give you all blessings to come up trumps with this job. Once upon a time, I had a 1995 Esteem LX that had been beautified. Few observations:

1. Your car looks stunning even in the As-Is state
2. The engine bay looks so stock even after 26 years
3. Interiors are as good as new, with the old school Pioneer cassette deck inside(correct me if I am wrong).

The carburetor repair kit that I got in 2003 or so was 90 bucks, and if I remember right it was the same make. One small tip - if the current accelerator pump diaphragm is in good shape, don't replace it because an aftermarket diaphragm will never work as good as OEM.

Once again, good luck in your mission !! The following posts might be useful references.

Restoring a 20 year old Esteem (Restoring my 20-year old Maruti Esteem LX)

1995 Esteem (The story of a 1995 Maruti Esteem)

Last edited by vigsom : 9th May 2021 at 18:42.
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Old 9th May 2021, 20:34   #3
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Good luck and keep us posted. Is that the original Kenwood stereo? Some say the earlier esteems were the best, in my experience the '95 was tighter.

Ours was a tale of two esteems, dad's '95 and my '97 which I bought used when I started working full time, I paid 90K for it and it served us so well for so many years.

The '95 used to reach Coimbatore from Kochi in so less time in early 00's to visit me in college, its unbelievable these days even with so many 4 lane roads. Our 95 is still around with our family friend, it was repainted once, totally worth it.
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Old 9th May 2021, 21:59   #4
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Hi sohanbala,

That’s a neat looking car for it’s age. Esteem is my all time favourite. I had bought three Esteems over a period of time. I have been very unlucky with Esteems. The only car that has ever troubled me has been A Maruti Esteem. My first one was a 97 model. The underbody gave way on one of my trips and the car sat on the tyres got the body work done but it was never same. I also got the AC work done. Replaced the compressor, the evaporator coil, the condenser the pipes. What I mean I replaced each and every component in the AC system but the AC never worked. The compressor was changed twice. The power steering also leaked. I got the seals changed for some three times and then gave up finally I scrapped the car. My recommendation would be to get the mechanicals done first and then get the AC work done. After these two test the car for 2-3 months before you spend further on it. Esteems have always been money pit for me. Good luck with your restoration.
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Old 9th May 2021, 22:20   #5
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

That is such a touching story of your esteemed father and his Maruti Esteem! We look forward to enjoying the restoration process. Apart from the online automotive parts shops, there's a huge market full of used car parts on Facebook etc., and Esteems in reasonably pristine condition are sold in Delhi for throwaway prices - you might want to pick up one to cannibalize!
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Old 10th May 2021, 02:08   #6
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Off topic but the Esteem and Zen are beautiful names. Can't believe Maruti retired those instead of bring them back. Ahem Ahem *Safari* Ahem
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Old 10th May 2021, 08:44   #7
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

This is one of the cleanest 25+ years old, stock Esteem in the country. Kudos to your family for the wonderful maintenance. Sorry to hear about your dad's loss though.

- Hope you are converting the AC system to R134
- How about the power steering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZT View Post
Off topic but the Esteem and Zen are beautiful names. Can't believe Maruti retired those instead of bring them back. Ahem Ahem *Safari* Ahem
MS tried to revive the Zen badge with Estilo, however it couldn't survive for a long. Hope they don't do once again like Baleno

PS: No offense to current Baleno, how good the car may be, it is not an at par replacement for the Old Baleno in enthusiast's view.
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Old 10th May 2021, 17:35   #8
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Sorry to hear about your Dad, may his soul RIP.

Since you plan on changing the AC from the R12 variant to the newer R134, don't go by what your FASS or A.S.S suggests, i.e to change everything!

All you need to do is to change the 2 "rubber/black" pipes and the "dryer" unit with a R134 variant and that's it! Fill in the R134 gas and enjoy!
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Old 10th May 2021, 17:57   #9
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

"I always say, the way a man treats his car is how he treats himself" - Tarconi from Transporter (2002)

Your Esteem has clearly been loved and taken care of all the way, these past 25 years. The engine bay looks neat and clean and almost just a few months old. There are month old cars with engine bays that looks like a chimney ! Anyways the Esteem is a beautiful car and will keep track of this thread. I remember back in the day, an esteem carried more pride than having an expensive German car today. It was truly the first mass market Indian sedan. All the best to your restoration !

By the Way are you planning for retaining the 1995 looks or upgrading the exterior in terms of how the Esteem looked around in 2004 etc. ?

Last edited by TrackDay : 10th May 2021 at 18:01.
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Old 10th May 2021, 18:14   #10
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Thanks for creating this thread. Our tributes to your late father, whose sudden passing away was sad.

The Esteem has survived through the decades, even after being cornered for replacement a few times. That's a good decision. Esteems are getting lesser in numbers as compared to 800s, Omnis and Zens, perhaps due to its dimensions. An Esteem as a second or a third car is not much preferred by owners, whereas, the smaller ones do fit there. The Omnis change hands and roles from being a family/people carrier, usually to a goods hauler and its utility value gives it a good life span.

Spares for the other three Maruti models are easier to come by. It may also be so for the Esteem now, but going by the number of survivors, the spares may pose problems a decade or so later.

Back to your car, the factory paintwork is in excellent shape and needs retouching at spots which can be very adeptly done by a good painter. A car with its factory paint intact is in fact an asset for the owner. Given Kerala's moist weather, the car has endured it well. Had it been an Ambassador or Premier you would have found rust, first on the floor by now, spreading to more locations.

The other works on your job list are justifiably due. Wish you happy driving !
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Old 10th May 2021, 18:58   #11
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Default re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Kudos to you for keeping your Esteem for such a long time! Love the fact that itís originality has been preserved. Canít wait to see the end product!

Even I have a 1995 Carbureted Esteem, was purchased new by my grandfather. This car was barely ever used and has only 21K on the odo. Unfortunately, the car has been neglected for the past 5-10 years and all plans to restore it have taken a back seat due to the pandemic. Even my car is pretty original and it ran quite well when it was last used. I am sure that it will start after a battery change and a basic service. Hereís how it looks after the dust is washed away:

One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-14f7f72014314655ac7ecca073ad99ec.jpeg

One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-b2c6ad2c022a4d1f96585503c230115f.jpeg

One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem-d497d453bf8e4069a66654bef63918f3.jpeg

This thread of yours will be of great help to me once I start my restoration. Thanks and best of luck!
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Old 11th May 2021, 20:53   #12
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Default Re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
^^ May the divine forces give you all blessings to come up trumps with this job. Once upon a time, I had a 1995 Esteem LX that had been beautified. Few observations:

1. Your car looks stunning even in the As-Is state
2. The engine bay looks so stock even after 26 years
3. Interiors are as good as new, with the old school Pioneer cassette deck inside(correct me if I am wrong).

The carburetor repair kit that I got in 2003 or so was 90 bucks, and if I remember right it was the same make. One small tip - if the current accelerator pump diaphragm is in good shape, don't replace it because an aftermarket diaphragm will never work as good as OEM.

Once again, good luck in your mission !! The following posts might be useful references.

Restoring a 20 year old Esteem (Restoring my 20-year old Maruti Esteem LX)

1995 Esteem (The story of a 1995 Maruti Esteem)
Hi
The casette deck is from Sony (unfortunately not powering "ON"now) it's currently being checked for any possibilities of being revived, I believe the dealers were pushing Sony back then since they came as a set with 4 speakers including rear speaker Garnish, I shall definitely tell my technician to check the accelerator pump diaphragm status,and replace only components which cannot be retained.
Thankyou for your inputs

Last edited by bblost : 11th May 2021 at 21:28. Reason: back to back.
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Old 11th May 2021, 21:40   #13
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
Thanks for creating this thread. Our tributes to your late father, whose sudden passing away was sad.

The Esteem has survived through the decades, even after being cornered for replacement a few times. That's a good decision. Esteems are getting lesser in numbers as compared to 800s, Omnis and Zens, perhaps due to its dimensions. An Esteem as a second or a third car is not much preferred by owners, whereas, the smaller ones do fit there. The Omnis change hands and roles from being a family/people carrier, usually to a goods hauler and its utility value gives it a good life span.

Spares for the other three Maruti models are easier to come by. It may also be so for the Esteem now, but going by the number of survivors, the spares may pose problems a decade or so later.

Back to your car, the factory paintwork is in excellent shape and needs retouching at spots which can be very adeptly done by a good painter. A car with its factory paint intact is in fact an asset for the owner. Given Kerala's moist weather, the car has endured it well. Had it been an Ambassador or Premier you would have found rust, first on the floor by now, spreading to more locations.

The other works on your job list are justifiably due. Wish you happy driving !

Thankyou
I cannot agree more to every word you have mentioned.
All the dings and scuffs came recently as my father started finding it very difficult to drive a long sedan now.Spares are already an issue with few cars on the road.Thankfully engine components are still available (for now)
I had to write to Maruti several times to make certain parts available for order through my distributor here.
I am going for a full paint job since some of the panels aren't in good shape.
Have got the stock colour codes from Maruti for the same.
I shall post updates here soon.

I guess our Padmini started rusting by the passenger floor when we had given away

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanidhya mukund View Post
Kudos to you for keeping your Esteem for such a long time! Love the fact that itís originality has been preserved. Canít wait to see the end product!

Even I have a 1995 Carbureted Esteem, was purchased new by my grandfather. This car was barely ever used and has only 21K on the odo. Unfortunately, the car has been neglected for the past 5-10 years and all plans to restore it have taken a back seat due to the pandemic. Even my car is pretty original and it ran quite well when it was last used. I am sure that it will start after a battery change and a basic service. Hereís how it looks after the dust is washed away:

Attachment 2154215

Attachment 2154216

Attachment 2154217

This thread of yours will be of great help to me once I start my restoration. Thanks and best of luck!
It's wonderful to see another Type 1,I hope to keep my thread as detailed as possible to help others.Are your seats stock or have they been covered?
Hopefully I'll have more updates by month end.
Thankyou

Last edited by bblost : 11th May 2021 at 21:49. Reason: back to back.
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Old 12th May 2021, 09:18   #14
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Default Re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Thank you so much for sharing this!.. I really miss my maruti Esteem sometimes.
Coming from maruti Van it was a huge upgrade. I still remember when I came of age and started driving it. My late father too had bought it in the Maroon shade same as yours : )))

After later cars I realised that the Esteem had such great rear visbility that you didn't need side mirrors heh. Really really thanks for sharing this buddy looks like I'm staring at my old car : )

Last edited by Maky : 12th May 2021 at 09:19.
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Old 12th May 2021, 09:36   #15
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Default Re: One last wish | Restoring my father's 1995 Maruti Esteem

A huge heartfelt thank you for sharing this thread with us! Just goes to show that for us automotive enthusiasts, cars aren't merely cars. They have a much bigger and significant meaning in our lives- a lovely memory or in your case a person dear to us! My condolences for your late father, he seemed to be a man with great taste.

In a time when we weren't spoiled for choices, the Esteem was definitely a game-changer for Indians, it was the 'Mercedes' for the common man who couldn't afford a Mercedes per se. I remember the massive amount of clout that the name 'Esteem' used to carry back in the day.

While restorations aren't easy, they definitely are worth the trouble especially when you have a symbolic car such as yours!
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