My other brother (not the one with the Saab, more on that project some other time), found this 1993 Festiva L, and I just love how basic it is. No air conditioning, no power steering, no rear wiper or rear defroster, it's as simple as they come. Just one fancy feature: its annoying motorized seat belts.
I accompanied him to check it out, under the impression that it was an automatic, but it turned out to have a manual transmission! That's 5 gears where there would otherwise have been only 3.
It needed a little bit of work before becoming his daily driver though, so it came to my place for wrenching. The exhaust had some leaks, the engine was due for a tune-up, and it needed a front brake job. Among some other items that would later be added to the list, at 137,000 miles it had no record of a timing belt replacement yet, so THAT was first priority... after a quick degreasing of the engine bay.
Make that a timing belt AND water pump (and crank/cam seals, and drive belt)! BTW, if certain details look oddly familiar to some of you Miata owners, it may be because these cars were built by Kia with a Mazda engine and badged as a Ford. #TheMoreYouKnow
I just realized I forgot to get a picture of the top end while replacing the leaky valve cover gasket. Things didn't look too terrible under there, maybe a little but of sludge though. We cleaned up what we could, then changed the oil a couple of times, (with a small dose of Seafoam at first for gentle flushing action).
Brakes were the next priority, as the pad-to-rotor contact patch on each side of the rotors averaged 14mm wide:
The brakes were a little... complicated. See, the rotor is bolted to the BACK side of the hub, and the knuckle is in the way. That knuckle is captured between the inner and outer wheel bearing cones, which are both press-fit onto the spindle/hub:
Proper bearing preload is set by selecting one of twenty-one possible spacer thicknesses between the inner and outer bearings before tightening the assembly with the axle nut. We took a chance on the old spacer being the correct thickness, and after reassembly found the correct amount of rotational resistance (measured in pound-inches). What a relief!
Alas, I forgot to take pics of the rest of the process, or of the fresh brakes. Suffice it to say, the aforementioned 14mm wide pad-to-rotor contact patch was restored to a width of approximately 40mm. MUCH better!
Next up: tune-up! I could have sworn I had pics of this, but I must have lost them. Fresh air filter, fuel filter, PCV valve, distributor cap, rotor, wires, plugs, and re-timing of the ignition to spec. So here's another shot of the engine bay:
At last it was time to address the exhaust leaks, of which there were several. The manifold was badly rusted, with a hole right by cylinder #1 (left):
The downpipe was rusted along the side:
And the previously-repaired catalytic converter had rusted away from its downstream flange:
The intermediate pipe and muffler had already been replaced at some point, and were still in good shape, but the rest of the exhaust system was junk. My brother sourced a new cat and even found a good used manifold, while I found a downpipe.
Before installing the new parts, I took a heat shield from a Corolla out of my scrap pile, cut and hammered it to fit the Festiva manifold, and drilled some holes to bolt it up. I'm pretty proud of the result (but apparently not enough to have saved a better pic of it )!
Despite registering and insuring the car, my brother still couldn't drive it yet... because he couldn't drive stick. So before teaching him, I got to have the honor of test driving it! I gave it a good shakedown, using it for my work commute for a couple of days to make sure it was ready for him to learn. He picked up on it pretty quickly!
I gotta say, it's a fun, spunky little machine! I'd never driven anything this light before (online specs vary, but supposedly somewhere in the neighborhood of 1700 lbs).