Planning to restore my late granddad's 2002 Accent: From where to begin

There's no rust on the body but there are rust holes in the engine bay and the undercarriage.

BHPian IronDrago56 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi Everyone

Recently, my Granddad (who passed last year) finally had his will read out. He had a 2002 Dew Silver Hyundai Accent GLS. It's seen better days and it was barely used before my Granddad's death. Now, he's given the car to me in his will.

I'm looking to restore it, it actually runs well (albeit the fan belt pulleys are making noise and the clutch is sticky) with the AC not working and a few electrical gremlins. There's no rust on the body, but there are rust holes in the engine bay and the undercarriage. It was parked on the street and someone tried to nick the power antenna and the hub caps for the alloys were stolen (I was able to source 4 of them from Boodmo luckily).

I was wondering, If I were to start the restoration of it, what should I do first?

Should I start working on the body or the engine first? I have started to source new parts and a workshop for each of the things to do, just need to be set in the right direction.

Any tips or advice would be great.

Here's what GTO had to say about the matter:

Don't restore such everyday cars that have nothing special about them. It is already past its RIP date. The car will keep giving you problems and you will get fed up with it soon.

The only cars worth restoring are those that have something "special" about them. Vintage cars, sports cars, iconic models (e.g. 1st-gen Octavia vRS), some offroaders (old Jeeps, Gypsys) etc. For nostalgia's sake, I would support restoring a Maruti SS80 or Premier Padmini too.

But restoring a 20-year-old Korean budget sedan that had nothing special to it is just throwing good money after bad.

Sell it or use it as-is until it falls apart. If you sell it, the real price you will receive is the money + time saved.

Here's what BHPian Sanidhya mukund had to say about the matter:

Before you begin:

  • Check if the car has its papers in order. 2002 model means that the car should have had one RC renewal in 2017 and another one in 2022. If not done, check for the fine + tax you’d have to pay.
  • Take it to an experienced tinker and get the car assessed for the severity of rust. Since you said it has rust holes, there could have been structural failures that would render the car unrestorable.
    In such a case, you may have to replace the body with one from the scrap yard.
  • Decide what extent of restoration you want to go for. Do you just wish to keep it running in decent condition or do you want to go for a thorough restoration to make it into a pristine car? Would you be willing to allocate financial resources to this car, given the fact that the resale value would still be rock bottom?

Your best bet would be to restore the car in phases.

First step should be to resolve any issues pertaining to the engine, clutch, gearbox, driveshafts, fuel supply system, cooling system and exhaust system. This may entail an elaborate service, replacing perished belts, hoses, bearings and the clutch plate in addition to all the fluids.

Once satisfied, move on to the suspension, steering, brakes, axles, wheel bearings and wheels and tyres. Replace damaged bushes and bellows, brake pads, shoes and cables. Replace the wheel bearings and tyres if needed.

This ensures that your mechanicals are in order. Now shift your attention to the body. Begin with finding a good tinker who solves all the rusting issues, fixes the dents and gets the body line straight. Go for paint next. Quality and method of painting depend on budget.

With body and mechanicals done, next go for electrical repairs. Bulbs, fuses and wires need to be checked by a good electrician. Get the AC serviced alongside. You can move to the interiors next.

If done at a good independent garage, this will cost you anywhere between 1-1.5 lakhs. Parts should not be that difficult to source given the fact that the Accent was in production until 2013-14 IIRC.

Here's what BHPian condor had to say about the matter:

Looks like sentimental reasons to restore it. This will mean that you have decided on the restoration or letting it go. If restoring, then engine + gearbox first, body next, and then the enhancements.

If this had not been your grandfather's car that was bequeathed to you, my suggestion - would have been to give it a pass. I found the seats of the Accent to be bad. And also I don't find anything special about this car.

If you had asked about the old Elantra, then I would have suggested checking it out before proceeding.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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