It was a cold morning of February 1998(8th to be precise) when the Milky White Maruti 800 rolled into our garage. I started driving her since 3months ago so the ownership details will cover mostly the last 3months.
It was the facelifted model of the Type I bought from Naharlagun, Arunachal Pradesh as the taxes were lower there at that time compared to Assam(our resident place), hence at a lower price @2.05 Lakhs.
I was at 8th Standard and you can say that it maybe the moment when the Automobile bug bit me. My Dad learnt how to drive from a local driver and I used to watch and absorb everything from the back seat. Dad used her for Office and other errands including dropping me and my sis to School and Tutions. All services were done at local garages as the nearest ASS
was a bit far and time was also a constraint. The car was performing very well as any M800 would. I also learnt to drive on this very car.
Fast forward to two years ago when another car came to our garage and its the Italian beauty Fiat Linea. Dad hardly used to drive the Linea and she was used only for long drives which happened only once or twice a year. So she clocked only about 3k kms in two years.
Fast forward to another 3 months ago when I brought the M800 to my working place Dibrugarh (80kms from home, Digboi).
Now, I planned out a list of things to do on the M800. First the 15yrs old wiper blades were changed for Hella ones @Rs.320/- and then it was time for an extensive servicing of the mechanical parts. Left her at a local garage for all lube/oil changing and suspension, engine, wheel bearings checking. Engine oil, transmission oil and brake fluid changed and coolant replaced. Holes found on the radiator top were plugged with M-Seal. Damaged wheel bearings and rear suspension were changed too including brake shoes all around and the engine was tuned for fuel economy.
A afterservice drive was done with the mechanic and the car was slightly better to drive than before. As many rattles were still there from the dashboard and the doors, he told me to drop by another day as they were about to call it a day. Overall cost for the service was about INR 10.5k (6k for parts and rest were labour charges) which I felt to be a little on the higher side but paid nevertheless.
Servicing done and the next step was to accessorise her up a bit. So out went the old and now non-functional tape cassette player and speakers and in came a simple non-branded head unit and Pioneer speakers including a cig lighter socket and a new horn, all for INR 3k without any warranty.
The very next day on the way to Office, my friend tried the cig lighter and the head unit shorted. Took her to the accessories dealer and he found the unit to be beyond repair. I was angry but there was no option left other than replace as there was no warranty. So replaced it with a Xenos one which came with 1yr warranty and extra switch and fuse installed for just in case.
Next the headlamp bulbs were replaced with 90/100W bosch bulbs and Hella wiring harness brought from ebay totalling to Rs.1350/-. Night drivability was far better thereafter.
After one month or so, the brake started to give trouble—there was much play of the pedal and then suddenly they get applied. Booked a date at the ASS
and after a test drive the mechanic told the master cylinder is defective. Asked to change it and tend the vibrations of the dash board and doors.
The master cylinder was changed and door bolts tightened and some packing was applied to the steering column to reduce vibrations. The brake feel was as good as new and no sound from the doors however there was no reduction of dashboard vibes. Total cost that day was INR 1720/-.
For Vishwakarma Puja, new seat covers, steering wheel cover and grass mats of matching colours were fitted thus giving a new look to the interiors.
The car was giving a steady fuel economy of 16-17kmpl which I felt is okish given the driving conditions and as its the carb version.
The dashboard vibes were beginning to bother me like never before and took her to the local garage day before yesterday once again. The mechanic immediately diagnosed it to be old/worn out Engine mounts and I asked him to proceed for changing them. After changing he asked me to TD her and to my surprise the vibes were gone almost 99%. Paid 1500/- for the service and a Rs.100 tip to the mechanic and drove off feeling very elated.
On my way Home, the car just stalled on the way and refused to start. Pushed her to the roadside and popped the hood to find the starter wire from the battery smoking. Luckily there was a garage nearby and brought a mechanic to inspect the prob. He removed the burnt part of the wire and fitted black tape over it and asked me to start her. I did but there was no ignition. He then removed the air filter box and checked the fuel lines to the carburettor. Upon starting, the fuel was pumping properly so he deduced the prob to be a chocked carb and he was right. He cleaned the carb and the car started and I was happy. Paid Rs.150/- for the job and drove her to the washing and polishing wallah. Complete washing and polishing inside out cost me Rs.400/- and the result was satisfactory.
The car now drives and feels as new and I am going to keep her with me as long as I can.
Next in line is a new set of tires which will set me back by some odd 11k or so. The current tires are 145/70 for the front and non radial standard issue OEM
Ceat tires at the rear which are of a slightly higher profile and a bit narrower. Please suggest me the correct size keeping fuel economy and ride comfort at top and rim size remaining the same 12”.
Also I am planning to go for a underbody coating which was quoted at Rs.1400/- at a later date.
Other accessories fitted are a 16smd led light for the door light(which now got a loose connection somewhere and keeps on blinking when driving over rough surfaces), a 3 way cig lighter socket splitter(includes a usb charging port), digital voltmeter fitting into the cig lighter socket and three Transformers emblems, all from ebay.com.