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Old 10th January 2022, 16:54   #1
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Default Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Make: Maruti Udyog Limited
Model: Esteem
Year: 1995
Kilometers driven: 21k
Colour: metallic Grey

For the restoration of this car, I would like to sincerely thank:
1. D-BHPian Vigsom for his detailed technical advice about all the problems I faced with respect to mechanical aspects of this car. Thank you for your time, sir!

2. D-BHPian Leoshashi for helping me with part numbers.

3. BHPian Sohanbala for his excellent Esteem restoration thread and for answering my questions in great detail.

Introduction:
The Indian car market has always been unique. In its initial days, it was characterised by imported cars or CKD cars, most of which were owned by the colonial rulers or very affluent Indians. Post attaining independence, it was marked by the presence of 4 homegrown manufacturers who assembled products that were licensed from foreign players. These manufacturers defined the market for nearly three decades and presented a decent range of models including a rufty tufty 4x4 (The early Mahindras), a stylish 2 door convertible/coupe (Standard Herald), A battery of sedans (Padmini, Ambassador, Gazel) and even a few interesting customisation options (Drive away chassis that could be coach built). Those who were extremely rich could even import other cars of their choice by paying the prohibitively high import duties, but for the relatively less rich, these 4 manufacturers were the only options available.

Which is why, a street scene from the 60s or 70s was one that was liberally dotted with these cars in addition to the various imports. However, by the late 70s, these models had started to show their age. Build quality was not strong either; it would not be surprising for Ambys to require welding right from the showroom or for Padminis to have their trims falling apart. Most cars were driven down to their respective dealerships, some of them not very carefully. Misaligned body panels, quality control issues, road-trips that required one to carry along spare parts and waiting periods of 5-6 years were all dealt with as ordinary happenings. However, the advent of Maruti Suzuki changed all that. Here was a car that was not only affordable, but was also modern, reliable and built to high standards in a robot equipped factory in a systematic manner. For the first time, India’s common man had access to cars that didn’t need much more than a tank of fuel and some basic checks to travel from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat without breaking down! The naysayers criticised them left, right and centre, but in the long run, these pint sized cars proved what they were made of.

This high volume game with low profit margins was one in which the oldies could not participate; they just did not have the R and D capability or the resources to develop a rival to the hugely popular Maruti trio. They decided to step into the 'luxury segments', the segment which was intended to fill the void between the imported cars and the locally built budget cars. HM started building the Vauxhall Victor as the HM Contessa, Premier started building the Fiat-124 as the 118NE and Standard introduced the Rover SD1 as the Standard-2000. All these cars were still much older than the Marutis, but not as old as the Ambassador and the Padmini. They managed to sell in decent numbers and did become status symbols of the mid-80s. However, by 1989, Maruti was ready to crash this party. Up their sleeve was a new arrow shaped car that looked like nothing that had been produced and sold in India before. A modern looking three box sedan with the only intention of winning over the 'Luxury car' segment of India, in came the Maruti-1000 in 1990 and drove straight into everyone's hearts. It immediately became a very desirable car and a status symbol. However, as modern as it looked, it came with a gutless engine that could not even bear the load of the Aircon! still, since the other cars in the market were not exactly tarmac burning BMW M5s, Maruti was able to get away with it.

An ad of the M1000 that I found on youtube:




Then, in 1991, the Government of India announced a policy that changed the face of the Indian car market forever - The liberalisation policy. Suddenly, There was a lot of new competition coming in - From South Korea, Daewoo and Hyundai. From Germany, Opel. From France, Peugeot. From the US of A, Ford. Even on the domestic front, Tata Motors was making serious efforts to build passenger cars with their feature packed and stylish Sierra and Estate. Feeling the heat of present and upcoming competition, In 1994, Maruti Udyog decided to up their flagship game by plonking in a larger, 65 BHP 1.3 litre motor into the 1000 and named it Esteem, a name that soon became a household entity in India. In its early days, the Esteem did not have any variants. There was just one basic car that came standard with Aircon, electronic boot release, leather wrapped steering wheel and pretty much nothing else.
The 1000 and Esteem became an integral part of the car culture of the 90s. Alloy wheels, power retractable antennas, boot spoilers, body coloured bumpers, CD changers, anti-theft grilles for the lights, leather seats, sun films and what not became popular mods for these cars. It became common for used car dealerships to scam people by labelling a 1000 as an Esteem. The cars featured in multiple movies of the era and were even owned by some imminent people.

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Ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and his red Maruti 1000. Image source: Motoroids and Team-BHP respectively.

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Mr. Rajiv Gandhi behind the wheel of his Maruti-1000. Image source: cartoq

The Esteem even starred in some movies. In the Govinda starrer film ‘Dulhe Raja’, the car was seen ferrying the legendary Quadar Khan:

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Image source: screenshots from the movie uploaded on YouTube on the channel ‘Shemaroo’.

A media report that I found on Youtube:


The Esteem became popular even among the ‘Aam junta’. It sold in decent numbers and became a common sight on the roads. One was much more likely to spot an Esteem than a Sierra/Estate, Peugeot or Contessa.



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The main reason why the Esteem was popular was the fact that it looked more with the times when compared with the other sedans available. Before other car makers came in, Esteem had a monopolistic hold over the sedan market. However, when the Ford Escort, Daewoo Cielo and Opel Astra arrived on the scene, it’s glory quickly faded. These cars looked more modern, had more power, came with more equipment, were slightly bigger than the Esteem and weren’t much more expensive. Maruti did put in efforts to match these cars on equipment by introducing the Esteem VX in 1996 followed by a major facelift in 1998, but these cars were inherently better. However, Maruti still managed to carve out a niche for the Esteem by repositioning it a segment lower than the newer cars. The Esteem’s new USP became the fact that you could get a sedan for a little more than a hatchback. The Esteem enjoyed decent sales in the entry level sedan segment, but only until the Hyundai Accent and Ford Ikon arrived on the scene.


How did an Esteem join our garage?
My Grandfather's cars were always indicative of the events taking place in the car market. His first car was a 1940s Plymouth Roadking that he bought used at the time of starting his medical practice. The Plymouth was replaced by a 4X4 Mahindra-Willys due to the roads he had to traverse. As the roads improved, the Jeep made way for a Green Fiat 1100D, followed by an orange Standard Gazel in 1974. Post the Gazel, a lovely Blue SS80 found its way into his garage. Then, in 1995, The SS80 was replaced by the car being discussed here, the Esteem. It was not a difficult choice. The Padmini, Ambassador, 118NE and Contessa were too old. He already had an M800. The Maruit Zen and Fiat Uno were not much larger than the 800 that already inhabited the garage. The Armada, Sumo and Gypsy were too noisy and crude to be personal vehicles. Estate and Sierra were rejected because we already had an Estate. The only real competition was between the Peugeot 309 and the Maruti Esteem. (Our car was purchased just before the new global competition came in. Had the Ford Escort been available, I have a strong feeling that it would have been in our garage today). The Esteem was sleeker and was much more likely to have good service and support. An easy decision, then. The Esteem was brought home for a sum of 4,45,914. Ours was one among the only two Esteems in that particular district back then.

Our Esteem in 2008:
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-ece560bc206b4042b597f0f0f3c66523.jpeg

Since my Grandfather's clinic was attached to his residence, the car never had to be used for commuting. It was only used for social visits, airport runs, outstation trips and an odd errand or two. As a result of this, the car saw very low running. As on today, it only has 21k on the odo! still, despite the low running, service and part replacements were never ignored and always done timely. It was maintained like a typical 'Doctor's car', with every little thing addressed at the right time. The car was used and maintained regularly until 2009. Post that, circumstances caused its running to go down significantly. Between 2009 and 2015, the car merely ran a couple of hundred kilometres every year. This reduced running became zero after 2015. The car was virtually abandoned. It was soon colonised by rodents, lizards, bugs and other critters. The tyres sagged, water entered into its cabin, trespassers nicked parts off it, the wires and interiors got chewed up and rust started to creep in at various locations.

Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 9th February 2022 at 13:42.
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Old 12th January 2022, 07:32   #2
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Default Re: Waking up my sleeping Esteem Type-1

Bringing it back to life:

In 2021, heavy rains caused the driveway where the Esteem was parked to get flooded.

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-ce5c7a5def8b4626b1f7d4c626affe86.jpeg
(A blurry picture that someone sent)

As a result of this, things got worse for the car. Water went inside it, the brake cables got rusted and the brake shoes got stuck to their drums due to the moisture. Anyway, to solve the flooding issue, the driveway had to be redone. This is when the car had to be removed from the driveway. This raised the question that what should be done with it? When you have a car, you either keep it in running order or you scrap it. Letting it rot does no good to anybody and is a waste of space as well as the car. After a lot of brainstorming, it was decided that this Esteem should live. The reasons were:

1. This was my Grandfather’s last personal car.
2. It had only 21k on the odo and had been maintained well in its early days.
3. Being a Maruti, restoration shouldn’t be difficult.

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-0f69aa31f73c49ef98601d729d46de45.png
The Esteem had to be dragged into this shed by using a tractor.

For achieving this task, the first step was to look for a competent mechanic. For this, we enlisted the help of Mr. Guddu, a second generation mechanic whose father had been maintaining our family’s cars since the Jeep days. The idea was to get the car started, make it capable of moving on it’s own four wheels and then make an assessment of what all needs to be done in order to make it a car again. He removed the wheels, cleaned the brakes, skimmed the brake shoes and then reassembled them. Some air was filled into the tyres. With the wheels spinning alright, it was now time to look at the engine. The dip-stick was pulled out and checked; the oil was old, but was good enough to crank the car. The radiator was filled with water for the time-being. The battery was borrowed from our 2016 Omni. 5 litres of fresh petrol was brought, but before that could be filled, water had to be removed from the fuel tank.

The rear seat being loosened; notice how dirty the interiors are:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-e5811bd2d2cb42ae83b02d4aac9981d5.jpeg

The car was then jacked up and the mechanics removed the tank:

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Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-f1c3bf040c154185a633fe80fc9f0b6b.jpeg

The rusty old tank:

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The fuel pump motor and the high pressure fuel pipe had to be replaced:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-b2919cf9658048299936c0650256f471.jpeg

Meanwhile, I walked around the car to assess the body condition. I was pleased to see that except for the front RHS fender, the whole car was in original paint. Most stickers and logos were intact, except for the ‘1.3L’ badge and the ‘Maruti Suzuki’ emblem on the boot.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 9th February 2022 at 13:06.
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Old 12th January 2022, 08:47   #3
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Default Re: Waking up my sleeping Esteem Type-1

Now that the tank had been rinsed with petrol, it was bolted back onto the car. The pipes were attached and the carb was fed with some fuel. After a couple of cranks, the Esteem roared back to life!



However, after idling for a short while, the car died. Apparently, the fuel tank was so rotten from inside that it was releasing tiny rust particles into the fuel. These particles were small enough to get through the filter attached at the fuel tank motor and were choking the motor and lines. So basically, the brand new fuel pump motor was ruined.
I sent somebody to get some fresh petrol and a new motor from the local parts store. Meanwhile, the tank was rinsed with some more petrol and the fuel lines were taken out and pumped with air to remove the rust particles.

The brand new fuel pump motor, lying as dead as a dodo after being choked with rust:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-93c9d6ce1eb24162bd15a68cb971b218.jpeg

Mr. Guddu hammering the fuel lines back into shape:

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The fuel lines throwing up rust particles while air is pumped at the other end:

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This is when Mr. Guddu pointed out that the only way to make the car run properly is by installing a new fuel tank. The existing one will always have a tendency to contaminate the fuel and could choke the motor each time a new one is installed. However, in order to make the car reach the workshop without towing, he did a temporary jugaad by placing a 1-litre bottle inside the cabin and using it as a temporary fuel tank. I didn’t click a picture of this set up on my car, but I found a similar example on Google images (apparently, from this forum itself):

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-758f2e5f71384cc883bb9f8c8c752843.jpeg

Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 11th February 2022 at 11:41.
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Old 12th January 2022, 12:38   #4
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Default Re: Waking up my sleeping Esteem Type-1

With the car finally being able to move on its own power, it was time to asses how bad was the rust. Now, I’ve heard a lot about Esteems being rust buckets and this one was no different. On a preliminary observation, I found rust:
1. Near the wheel arches.
2. On the running boards
3. The front cross member.
4. The left impact absorbing beam.
5. Surface rust at the top of the aprons.

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Another thing that is widely known is that rust is always worse than it looks. Which is why, the underbody was also inspected. Thankfully the underbody was reasonably good, barring a few patches of surface corrosion. Up next, the whole interior was dismantled to inspect the floor pan and to keep the trims safely at home before the car goes to the body shop. Thankfully, the floor was in decent condition. A coat of anti rust paint would suffice.

First to go were the seats and the centre console:

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A rodent’s nest was found under the centre console:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-d8bdfd1b7a614a06926bd0b9ff417d56.jpeg

Then, when the carpets were removed, a Lizard’s nest was found, complete with hatched eggs!

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-2fd952ec335b4582ae3fe27faa8c354f.jpeg

The rusted hand brake cable:

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The trims removed to be kept safely:
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The driving seat was fitted back in order to drive the car down to the body shop:

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All set to leave by evening:
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Genuine 21k kilometers:
Attached Thumbnails
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-b68df98b317b422dae0d313079d506c9.jpeg  


Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 9th February 2022 at 12:45.
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Old 12th January 2022, 13:08   #5
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Default Re: Waking up my sleeping Esteem Type-1

The body work: Now, since the car was in factory paint, I was in no mood for a full respray. I just wanted to get the rusted patches replaced with fresh metal. For paintwork, I only wanted to get the underbody, floor pan, and cross members painted in anti rust paint. For the running board and wheel arches, the idea was to try and match the original paint to the extent possible. However, it was not possible for the local painters to match the factory paint since there are no booths available in this city. To prevent the car from looking patchy, I decided to paint the lower half in black. This was the only feasible option without repainting the whole car considering the local expertise and equipment available. I gave these instructions to the mechanic and then went back to Delhi. With the car in the body shop, I now had time to hunt for parts since bodywork was likely to take 15-20 days.

I kept receiving pictures of the progress. Sorry about the poor quality pictures, but these are all I have for the body work:

New metal being welded:
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Coated in red-oxide primer:
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 31st January 2022 at 18:02.
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Old 12th January 2022, 17:41   #6
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Default Re: Waking up my sleeping Esteem Type-1

I sat and made a list of what all needs to be done and what all parts need to be procured.

Exteriors:
In addition to the metal work and paint work, I needed to source:

1. Bumper indicator lights
2. Corner lamps (samosa lights)
3. Fender indicator lights
4. Wiper blades
5. ORVM
6. All 4 door weather strips
7. Wheel covers
8. Door rubber seals
9. Boot rubber seal
10. 1.3L and ‘Maruti Suzuki’ emblems
11. The bumpers and wheel rims didn’t need to be replaced, but a coat of paint would be good.


Interiors:
The existing carpet and seats were to be retained but thoroughly washed. Parts to be sourced were:
1. AC vents (had been eaten by rats)
2. Steering centre logo
3. Seat covers (wanted to get 90s looking fabric ones)
4. Interior trim for ORVM
5. Door pads: If they don’t clean up properly, then will get them re trimmed.
6. All locks and window winders had to be serviced
7. Seat frames had to be serviced
8. R134 conversion kit for the AC
9. Widow winder handles
10. Sun visors

Electrical work:
Stuart little had been really kind here.
All the wiring had been chewed up, so I needed to get that rectified in addition to a replacement of all fuses and bulbs if required. Also bought a new battery. The idea was to get all switches, buttons and lights to work and to make sure that the wiring is safe. I also wanted to rescue the cassette player if possible.

Mechanical work:
1. Engine oil, filter
2. Air filter
3. Carburettor tuning
4. Timing belt
5. Service alternator
6. Service starter motor
7. Fuel tank replacement
8. Brake fluid
9. Hand brake cable
10. Brake pads
11. Exhaust leaks to be welded
12. Wheel balancing and alignment
13. Steering boots and steering ends
14. Suspension bush kit
15. Radiator servicing
16. Radiator hoses
17. Distributor servicing
18. Spark plugs


The suspension struts and arms were fine. The tyres, though really old (2004) had quite a bit of tread left and were holding air well. Decided to let them be for now because the car was anyway never going to cross speeds of 30-50 Km/h.


Sourcing parts:
Those who are familiar with Delhi would know that the go-to place for parts is Kasmere Gate. For those looking for used parts, Mayapuri is where you go. However, you would also be knowing that these places are absolute disasters when it comes to social distancing and COVID appropriate behaviour due to the sheer volume of crowd that frequents these markets. Which is why, I procured parts from a shop in Khan Market. Yes, the prices were obviously higher than what one would pay at the other two markets, but I was fine with that; considered it to be a type of convenience charge. However, I didn’t bother with retail shops for the parts that I could find on boodmo.
Using boodmo and that shop in Khan Market, I sourced all requisite parts, except for:

1. The R134 conversion kit
2. The fuel tank

The R134 kit was not available at either of the places. The fuel tank on the other hand, was a different story. After confirming the part number from Leoshashi, I placed an order on Boodmo. However, the delivery date kept changing. After a lot of time went by, I got fed-up and cancelled the order. Then, I placed an order at that shop in Khan Market. Same story - waited for 2 months but no luck. I even asked at the local Maruti service station when my Ertiga went for its first free service, but they said that the tank cannot be ordered any longer and there’s no stock anywhere else either.

I then approached the MASS in the town where the car is.(Reeshav Motors, Chapra) Their system was able to order the R134 AC kit without a fuss. However, a new fuel tank could not be ordered because MSIL had stopped supplying this part:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-acc0b85139e64cdb8997b0e769430f58.jpeg

Based on Leoshashi’s suggestion, I then asked them to do a ‘live stock tracking’. This led to a single piece being displayed in the whole state of Bihar, located in the neighbouring district of Muzzafarpur. When the representative from Reeshav Motors called them up, they checked their godown and located the fuel tank. The only issue here was that the carton was missing, which meant that it was difficult to identify if the part is for an Esteem or not. They requested me to send a few pictures of the petrol tank that came off my car, which I promptly did in order to compare and confirm. The various tanks available with them were compared with the pictures I sent and guess what? The Esteem tank was found!
The sight of this dusty tank lying in their stock brought tears of joy to my eyes.

A single piece found in the entire state:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-66228bb7ce60414ebe17042d48cb8fb7.jpeg

Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 9th February 2022 at 12:53.
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Old 31st January 2022, 17:27   #7
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Meanwhile, the paintwork had started on the car. They began with a coat of anti rust paint on the newly repaired floor and boot. The colour appears blue, but is actually a sort of greyish colour that matches what was originally there.

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Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 13th March 2022 at 18:27.
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Old 13th March 2022, 18:28   #8
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Some pictures after painting was done. At this stage, we were only left with final assembly, cleaning up and sorting a few electrical gremlins. “It has to look worse before it looks any better.”, I told myself.
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-e4714050b8c044fabca7069445e8328b.jpeg

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Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-d8e32e526bdd44e99b96c6125cdd3132.jpeg

Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 14th March 2022 at 07:02.
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Old 18th March 2022, 17:59   #9
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With the paintwork done, the car was cleaned up and brought home. Now that the exteriors had taken shape, I only needed to get the interior fittings in order and sort out a few bits and bobs. Even though the car wasn’t looking brand spanking new, I was glad that I was able to retain factory paint and still get the rotten bits fixed.
Attached Thumbnails
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-4df752ee79cf41e4828419d2876816cf.jpeg  

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-ed1e51f209d6458984bb5848d6aca07a.jpeg  

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-79d582361a49460c8b4940354ec00e6f.jpeg  

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-2cefdd71d0ba440f88003313e8ada776.jpeg  


Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 18th March 2022 at 18:10.
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Old 14th May 2022, 10:50   #10
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Default Re: Waking up my sleeping Esteem Type-1

After paint, I got all the remaining fittings like rubber beadings, window garnishes, seat covers etc. done:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-d9c368ce47754b87b052115e7cba66c8.jpeg

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-1987328ae1684c90906240286a344220.jpeg

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-b575228600da4658af6280922a8aacab.jpeg

The car is now finally in good running condition. It took me an abnormally long period of time to get this car back on the road, but that was due to multiple factors. Firstly, the car is located 1500 KM away from me and secondly, the person entrusted with the work has not been keeping well. Then there was also the third wave that slowed things down. By getting this car back on the road, I got myself a fun little project, a bit of learning for my next project and also got myself a nice little car to potter about town. I also saved an example of a historically important sedan that was surely destined for the scrap yard.

The car is not 100% done yet. I still need to get:

1. Wheel bearings
2. New brake shoes
3. New strut mounts

I also need to fit the new badges that I had bought. In due course of time, the car will also get a new set of tyres and a better looking set of wheel covers. I also expect a few issues to crop up every now and then, which will be resolved as and when they come up.

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-83b2677ca8ed4e6b83556e437c9433fd.jpeg

I am also yet to fit the new window winder handles, sun visors and spark plugs that I recently bought:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-0a27a18c0fa04be183b36317dc5b4929.jpeg
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-1a7f7ddf6df944b3848a70cf6abe7ba0.jpeg
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-6fa3ee702ab8462f9f9d9dd384055883.jpeg
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-ecd46e8ce70342c29bb669782527ab7b.jpeg

That leaves me with only one dead car, my 1993 Tata Estate. That’s my next project and is likely to be much more challenging. For the Esteem, it was only a matter of waking it up from its slumber. The Tata Estate will literally have to be revived from a state where any signs of life have ceased to exist within it:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-adff542634e34d3bb621558fbf02af26.jpeg



Looking forward to your valuable suggestions and comments. I promise to upload better pictures as and when I get to check the car out myself!

Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 14th May 2022 at 15:11.
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Old 15th May 2022, 05:06   #11
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th May 2022, 07:13   #12
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The door pads also still need to be retrimmed. We attempted to clean them up, but they have started sagging. Will be replaced soon:

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-c5ce0b1f7de9425ea1c6cfa20e794745.jpeg

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-eba0ae8310994c00beb1e669fb2e9093.jpeg

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-76ebaee982eb4ad891a91d30f597b89e.jpeg


Some more exterior shots:
Attached Thumbnails
Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-7988adc1a23b4051a3bb53425d633a3c.jpeg  

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-df9c7309d57945ed86b91ab70c0eabed.jpeg  

Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem-f58ae4a7b8a84186bbd5d8b8db14828b.jpeg  


Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 15th May 2022 at 07:15.
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Old 16th May 2022, 16:05   #13
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Default Re: Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem

That is a great car you have got there Sir.

Esteem has been my favourite car since my childhood. It also happens to be my first car. I bought a 97 Carb VX in 2009. The car had some rust and I ignored it since I couldnít contain my excitement of finally buying a car which I had dreamed of all my childhood. It turned out to be the biggest mistake. The car was a rust bucket and badly abused one. I ended up spending twice the purchase price to get the car fixed. But it was still not enough. The car got two new AC compressors but the AC never worked. The power steering rack was sent for repairs four times but the leak didnít stop. The rust had weakened the apron and one night at 2 AM on GT road in UP the apron gave up. The engine of the car came down. Local MASS gave a quote of repair exceeding the carís value. The car was finally fixed by a mechanic but it needed two new tyres every 1500 kms so I used to get them from a used tyres dealer. Finally sold the car for a paltry sum of 20K to a cousin who used it to lean driving. He was selling it again 2 years later and the foolish me bought it again only to scrap it a year later. My love for Esteem was still not over. I bought another one. This time a 2005 VXI Black in colour. I already had a Fiesta and Gypsy so Esteem was the third car with one one person living and driving in the house. And it was again my favourite car out of all three I had. Sadly Esteems were not meant to be in my garage. The car turned out to be a bad example again. I had blindly trusted the previous owner who looked a thorough gentleman in the dealing and I overlooked the car. The car overheated the second day. I couldnít find any leak and it turned out that the head of the car was repaired and was in bad condition. I got another head from Mayapuri but soon the crankshaft started making noise and I had to rebuild the whole engine. After 1.5 years the apron on this car too gave away and left me stranded in the middle of the road. I decided to get the car fixed through MASS this time no matter how much money it costs. I got an initial quote of 27K for Apron replacement. 2 days later it was revised to 45 K owing to some rust on the floor and finally the estimate was revised to 95 K stating the dash panel will need to be changed too. I finally gave up on the car. MASS billed me 6K plus taxes for stripping away the car and putting it all back together. The car came back with a non working AC since there was no gas after dissembling. I sold the car after getting it fixed from FNG. Life has been very peaceful since than. But A part of me still wants to buy an Esteem again.
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Old 17th May 2022, 09:20   #14
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Default Re: Restoring my grandfather's 1995 Maruti Esteem

Only love can get such a project complete. Lesser mortals would have junked it and bought a new car / 2 wheeler for the price.
Congratulations on the labour of love Sanidhya!!!
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Old 18th May 2022, 16:14   #15
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one of the best article i have come across in a long long time.
i enjoyed every minute of it. it was like a walk back in the memory lane. reliving my childhood days.

thank you very much for such a wonderful and detailed article and for including all the 90's ads and videos which made it much more interesting.

coming back to the car. i love that fact that u have decided to keep the vehicle stock with the original paint and all. thats the beauty of old cars. they are so beautiful the way they are. its best we dont change anything and make the car look odd. this seems like one of the best restored car that i have seen.


PS: cant wait for your article on the Tata estate.
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