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Old 09-11-2012   #1
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Smile The car I wasn't going to change...

Bought my Punto back in June (2012): to replace a (well it was originally) white 1994 Clio 1.4 RT automatic, that's now gone to Renault heaven. It was just meant as a second car: spending most of the time sat on the drive... -- especially as we had just ordered a brand new Panda TwinAir Dualogic... (which then failed to materialize: hence the 2009 Panda currently starring in my signature, below...).

However, something about this (extremely cheap) FIAT really got to me... -- whether just the sheer joy with which it revs; or the way it chucks itself round corners; or even the quirkiness of the electrics... -- and I found myself tinkering with a car for the first time in many, many years. Not since I owned a succession of VW Beetles and Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Escorts, in the '80s, have I had so much fun...!

Because I'm disabled, it had to be an automatic, of course. Also, any 'heavy lifting' means that I have to take it to a garage to be fettled... -- so the progress you see below is a mix of me getting (slightly) oily, and Black Cat Motors taking up the slack, and doing much more than their fair share of the difficult stuff...!

I haven't got the stamina (or attention span) to post everything at once: so, for starters, here's the photo that attracted my attention -- and, I must admit, initially put it near the bottom of the list of cars I went to test-drive... (sorry) -- on AutoTrader:



More to follow, shortly...!

Edit
Here's how the car now looks (May 2014):

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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)

Last edited by homeward; 10-05-2014 at 01:24. Reason: Updated picture...
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Old 11-11-2012   #2
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

I knew when I bought it that it needed quite a bit of work doing on it... -- nothing structural, thank goodness (apart from a small crack in the front bumper...) -- so, almost the first thing I did, was get it (fully) serviced: including...
  • replacing the cambelt, water pump and tensioner (and then spending ages getting rid of airlocks...);
  • changing the engine oil and filter;
  • changing the CVT gearbox oil and filter (which was a faff...);
  • changing the air filter;
  • replacing the spark plugs;
  • replacing the front brake pads and discs;
  • having the tracking sorted;
  • renewing all the wipers; and
  • having everything checked over, to make sure I hadn't missed anything! (I hadn't.)
It was then a case of replacing anything else that was missing/not quite right; and a quick 'tart up' of the interior: which involved...
  • buying a Haynes manual... -- although it has to be said that the help and info available on the Forum is a lot more use;
  • buying myself a decent portable code-reader, as well as the relevant leads required for installing FES/MES on my netbook;
  • fitting some car mats, seatbelt pads, and a rubber boot liner;
  • replacing the rear parcel-shelf (which had some defunct 6x9s weighing it down...);
  • fettling the aerial; and
  • ensuring that all the tools were present and correct (they weren't: so thank you, eBay...!) in the spare-wheel tool-holder (see below).
I also fitted some wind deflectors....

I then gave it a bl**dy good clean, inside and out (including washing; T-Cutting; waxing; vacuuming, etc. -- which took all day...); and -- thanks to @Ziggy122's always sterling advice -- sorted out the annoying beep from the auto gear selector, every time I braked when it was raining (or just a bit damp)! [It was at this point that I was thankful I had ensured I had all the tools that came with the car: as removing the rear light-clusters, I imagine, would have been a lot less fun without them....]

As a result, it now looked like this...









More to follow, shortly...!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)
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Old 12-11-2012   #3
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

its about timee! i really appriceiate the time and effort you hav spent working on the car and loook at it! its like factory fresh!
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Old 12-11-2012   #4
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

One of the very few things I didn't enjoy about driving the Punto was that it would occasionally 'scrabble' for grip at junctions, when setting off (even with new Kumho Solus KH17s on the front...) -- especially, for some strange reason, at roundabouts.... (I live in the middle of the countryside, and there's often a lot of dirt on the road....)

After talking to people who know more about this kind of thing than I do (not difficult... -- my last car was a large Japanese turbo-dieselled 4x4 -- shown here, for sake of completeness (and because I miss her...)):



...and browsing the Forum, I soon realized that better wheels -- and tyres -- were almost certainly the solution/a quick and easy fix. [I had thought about lowering Priscilla: but my disability stems from damage to my neck. And having my spine rebuilt once was enough....]

Luckily for me, @RaulCarnahan had a set of Sporting alloys for sale, with some nearly-new 185/55-15 Toyo Proxes T1Rs on! Fitting these to the Punto was something of a revelation, compared to the stock 165/70-14 steelies -- as I said at the time! [However, when I come to replace them -- if I can find any more T1Rs... -- following @dave's advice, I shall go for 195/50-15s, instead....]

So, here are a couple of quick shots of the car at this stage...:





Note: I did consider -- especially after owning a 4x4 (which, admittedly, spent most of its time in two-wheel drive...) -- keeping the old steel wheels, and fitting them with winter tyres. But (i) we live in a small house, with a small garden and no garage, and I wouldn't have had anywhere to store them; and (ii) changing the wheels over is pretty hard work for someone in my condition, as is loading them up into the Punto to take to the garage to have them swapped over... -- so I sold them to a nice FIAT owner from south Wales.... This is something I may come to regret. We shall see....

Anyhoo, as always... More to follow, shortly!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)

Last edited by homeward; 12-11-2012 at 12:19. Reason: Why Priscilla is queen of the puddings...
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Old 12-11-2012   #5
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

itsnt that the isuzu jeep the turbo exploded u mensioned?
make your punto look like a double of mine :P
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Old 12-11-2012   #6
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

Quote Originally Posted by Azzam View Post
itsnt that the isuzu jeep the turbo exploded u mensioned?
Yeah: afraid so.... The turbo shattered a vane, on the motorway, taking out cylinder no.4, at just over 50,000 miles: resulting in it over-heating, and cracking the cylinder head. I therefore had the whole engine rebuilt....

Then, a few months ago -- at just over 100,000 miles... -- the cylinder head cracked again.... So (not being able to face another rebuild) I sold it to a friend who owns an Isuzu garage: who had repaired it; but was seriously thinking of dropping in the later 3.0 diesel engine in, because of its age....

Quote Originally Posted by Azzam View Post
make your punto look like a double of mine :P
I'm getting there...!

PS: Thanks for your nice comments...!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)

Last edited by homeward; 12-11-2012 at 12:11. Reason: Link to Azzam's thread...
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Old 12-11-2012   #7
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

Looks a nice clean and tidy car

I've kept my steelies from my old car
currently running those tyres down (like new)
So when there ready to be replaced i can Stick some winter rubber on too!

Ziggy
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Old 12-11-2012   #8
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

The fitting of Priscilla's mudflaps is covered in detail elsewhere on the Forum... -- but, just for the "sake of completeness" (again), here are some piccies...! (As it says in the linked post, these were taken before I'd blacked the rubbing strips, etc.....)








And a bonus one... -- of the most important and worthwhile modification I've made to the car so far...:



Even more to follow, shortly...!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)
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Old 14-11-2012   #9
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

The MOT on Priscilla was due at the end of October (she passed...!): so I took the opportunity to sort out a few more bugbears... -- including:
  • replacing the wiper linkages with stronger/better designed ones from Wipex -- which, so far, seem to have cured the problems I was having with juddering, and occasional failures to wipe (usually on the intermittent setting...) -- although the spindles and bushes are a bit worn, so I don't know how long it will be before I have to replace the whole motor, etc.;
  • replacing a knackered exhaust mounting;
  • fitting a new thermostat -- as the old one had become lazy, with the cold weather, and was taking forever to let the engine warm up (and I don't fancy replacing the head gasket just yet, thank you... -- especially after the problems with the Isuzu...);
  • fitting remote central locking -- as I haven't had a car for ages without it; and the area around the lock on the driver's door is starting to look a bit tatty;
  • having the car undersealed -- as it was a bit patchy, underneath;
  • temporarily replacing the velour mats with rubber ones -- as it's starting to get a bit muddy around here;
  • replacing the front bumper -- which would have passed the MOT this time, but the crack had started growing, and I was worried about its integrity, and the sharp edge that was developing (see piccy below...) -- with a Sporting one, courtesy of @benhaynes... (and I know @Azzam will say that my car has now lost its ELX 'grin'...);
  • fitting a (p)leather Sporting steering wheel, too (because I prefer the feel...); and, finally,
  • replacing the headlights (one of which was slightly scratched...) with angel-eye units -- principally because I like the equivalent of DRLs that they give me, but also because they look pretty kewl (and even someone my age can be shallow, occasionally...)!

Here's the bumper, beforehand; along with the scratched headlamp (which may well have sanded/polished out; but it was starting to glare a little -- especially with the new bulbs I'd just put in...):






And here are some shots of the new bumper (the metallic Scilla Rosso paint (132) perfectly matched and sprayed by the garage...) and lights (which need better bulbs in the sidelights (at least...)):












Finally, here's a (very exciting) shot of the steering wheel...!




That's it, for the moment. However -- especially, as you may already have gathered, as I see the car as a long-term investment... -- I have the following thoughts/plans echoing around my head:
  • sorting out the emergence of a couple of tiny rust spots in the spare wheel well, before they turn nasty;
  • replacing the seats (the driver's one is badly worn, on the side, by the door; and there's a cigarette burn on the back bench...) -- perhaps with (leather?) Alfa 147 ones, or Sporting ones -- especially as I find the existing driver's seat a little unsupportive (and I can therefore use my disability as an excuse...!);
  • installing headlamp protectors;
  • installing a temperature gauge -- as, last winter, the Isuzu's sensor registered a low of -13C, at one point;
  • fitting an internal sunstrip -- as I am extremely photo-sensitive, and there's a big gap between the sun visor and the A-pillar; and, possibly,
  • installing a footrest for my gammy left leg to rest on.

Watch this space...!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)

Last edited by homeward; 14-11-2012 at 03:15. Reason: Scilla Rosso...
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Old 14-11-2012   #10
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

Love the Sporting Bumper, makes a big difference
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Old 14-11-2012   #11
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

it looks alot better with the Sporting bumper stephen, glad its what you needed
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Old 14-11-2012   #12
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

im well jell! haha ive always wanted to detango my headlights but i cba lol
the angel eyes are :O ive always wanted the hgt sporting steering wheel with the blue inserts but yours looks MINT! Well done matey!

btw i mean :O like omg thats sexy haha

EDIT: get a splitter on the front like a renault laguna
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Last edited by Azzam; 14-11-2012 at 23:26.
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Old 14-11-2012   #13
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

Quote Originally Posted by Azzam View Post
im well jell! haha ive always wanted to detango my headlights but i cba lol
the angel eyes are :O ive always wanted the hgt sporting steering wheel with the blue inserts but yours looks MINT! Well done matey!
Blast! I disliked, rather than liked, your post.... Sorry! (Stoopid iPad; stoopid shaky hands....)

Thanks, again, for your kind comments!

Not quite up there with yours, though, yet... -- and, somehow, can't quite see me turbo-ing mine...!

The HGT wheel was very tempting, I must admit: especially as the blue would have matched the (current) interior... -- but I really struggled to find one that (i) hadn't lost some of the blue dye; or (ii) wasn't a silly price...! [There's an Abarth one on eBay at the moment.... Ninety quid...!?]

PS: Yes... -- was admiring the splitter on yours, the other day. Will add to my list of long-term stuff (meaning when the weather's a bit warmer...)!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)

Last edited by homeward; 14-11-2012 at 23:36. Reason: Abarth steering wheel...
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Old 14-11-2012   #14
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Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

would u ever come to any punto meet ups? i havnt yet but there always waaaayyy to far lol
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Old 14-11-2012   #15
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Thumbs up Re: The car I wasn't going to change...

Quote Originally Posted by Azzam View Post
would u ever come to any punto meet ups? i havnt yet but there always waaaayyy to far lol
I can't see why not... -- especially now that I have something a little unusual to brag about...!

Was hoping to get to one of the Eastern Italia FIAT Forum meets (even though they're quite some distance away...): but other stuff got in the way.... [To be honest, my health is usually the limiting factor. Some days are fine; others not... -- therefore I have to be careful about making plans....] May need to set up a group of like-minded idiots based around, say, Coventry, or a little bit further south...?!
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1990 Panda 750L Formula '90: Pippin (26,131 miles; 47.18 mpg)
2009 Panda 1.2 Eleganza Dualogic: Pandora (55,670 miles; 47.87 mpg)
2002 Punto 1.2 16v ELX Speedgear: Priscilla (100,465 miles; 41.30 mpg)

Last edited by homeward; 15-11-2012 at 00:10. Reason: Link to tentative COG...
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