Hi everyone, I've recently bought my first Coupe and though I'd start to a project thread to keep track if how I get on - there could be alot of work to do!
I've wanted a Coupe 20VT for a while, and as one of the few cars on my want list that's still affordable I decided this year would be a good time to get one. After doing quite a bit of research and speaking to a few people, the general message I got was 'buy the best you can buy'. With that in mind I aimed to have a decent chunk of money saved up by summer to get a really, nice example. However, because i'm impatient and buying cars is too much fun, I've bought myself a complete project instead!
I saw it for sale on Instagram of all places, and within 48hrs of seeing it had sent a deposit.
At the time of buying I knew of:
Positives: Only 66,000 miles 2 owners One of my ideal colours It ran (apparently very well) It has no major rust (apparently) It was cheap if all the above proves to be correct
Negatives: It hasn't been on the road for a decade It has failed 2 attempted MOTs in that time It's pretty battered and needs a full respray due to horrendous laquer peel I've only seen in a few photos and a 3 minute walkaround video
I had a good chat with the current owner, and he gave me a list of work that it needs. All of which seems manageable, maybe, hopefully...
For the MOT he knew it needed: Investigate electrics as the side lights were not working and the dip beam was working the washer pump New Exhaust as it's hanging down and badly corroded Replace Fuel tank straps as they are non-existant Replace NSF hub as somebody has snapped a wheel bolt in it
It got picked up by a random internet transporation service and arrived on my driveway about a week after agreeing to buy it.
Luckily, (considering it had been bought pretty much blind) it was largely as expected. There's a crease in the LHR wing that I wasn't aware of but as the whole car is pretty battered, it doesn't really matter. A full respray will definitely be on the cards once it's mechanically sound, as it does look very sorry itself at the moment!
Intially I've replaced the bonnet struts as using a plank of wood to keep the very heavy bonnet open was getting annoying.
Next step was to look into the electrical issues with the lights and washers. Upon removing the fusebox I found it was quite badly corroded in places, and the pin for the washer pump was burnt around the bottom. Nice easy fix then..
I sourced a replacement fuse box from Joe at FCSS (very usefully only 25 minutes away!) and fitted it to the car. However when I turned the ignition I had no power at all to any of the body electrics - instrument panel, lights, wipers, windows etc It would start and run fine however. After a few days of head scratching, checking other fuses and relays around the car, looking at wiring diagrams and mainly wondering why I bought a stupid project in the first place, I decided to recheck all the fuses I had swapped over. I found one of the 'service' fuses was not blown but did have enough light corrosion on the blades to stop it from doing anything - swapped one in from elsewhere in the fusebox and most of my car came back to life - much to my relief.
A new set of fuses and not only were my lighting issues solved, but the heater blower burst back into action as well. So inadvertantly I'd ticked an extra item off the to-do list. I gave the interior a little clean up as well, it's really in great condition for a 22 year old car.
Searching through the book pack has also thrown up a couple of bonuses. The cambelt and waterpump was replaced in late 2018, so that’s ok for little while longer (and has only done about 100 miles on these). Also I found a standard ECU chip in there, so it would stand to reason that's been upgraded at some point.
So currently I've been filling the boot full of parts, including a lovely new stainless steel exhaust, and then it's off to see my mate who works locally at garage. I'm hoping to get him to do the jobs that would benefit a ramp and then put it through an MOT (and hope it doesn't fail on anything unexpected).
3 months after it landed on my driveway the Coupe has an MOT, thanks to Joe at FCSS.
The work required turned out to a bit a little more than anticpated but as it hasn't passed an MOT since 2010 that's probably to be expected. The attached photo of it's last few MOT mileages so how little it's moved in over a decade.
So what did it need to get it roadworthy again?
Alternator, belts and pulleys Thermostat, coolant temp sensor, Direnza ally radiator and a silicone CHOD Fuel tank straps Fuel filler cap seal Bonnet pull and cable Both front wishbones, drop links, track rod ends and steering rack gaiters Brake pipes and rear compensator Cybox stainless steel exhaust
It felt great to drive on the way home and once (on Joe's advice) I've checked to make sure the boost pressure is ok, I can start to put some mileage on it.
700 miles completed since it's MOT and a bit more to report:
Removed the centre consoles and cleaned up all the rubbery gunkiness. Took a couple of hours all in but i'm happy enough with the bare plastic finish for now.
Then i discovered that project car progress is often followed shortly by project car setbacks. Took the Coupe on a 80 mile round trip to Bristol and back, and thought I’d give it a bit of full throttle in 5th on the way home. The revs shot up and the car didn’t go any faster... I got round to fitting my boost gauge and it’s running 1.2 bar which confirms it's chipped? For some reason the clutch that has previously been fitted (and has done less than a few hundred miles) can’t handle the extra torque in the mid range and starts slipping when it hits full boost. So now it's booked back in a FCSS later this month for a new Valeo clutch.
I found some H&R lowering springs on Autodoc for a very good price so ordered them last month and finally got round to fitting them last week with some new Febi top mounts Apart from one knackered bolt (£20 for a new one from Fiat!!), it all went ok considering it was my first attempt ever at replacing springs on a driveway. I then took it down to the New Forest to see some mates and so added another few hundred miles to it. I’m going to need to up my mileage on the insurance at this rate! It still rides nicely despite being on standard dampers and definitely looks better so money well spent.
It's still got a really annoying squeaking/rattling noise from the RHF over low speed, little bumps. I was hoping the top mounts might have sorted it but no. As the wishbones and ARB link bushes are also new, any other suggestions on where to look?
Managed to get some more photos as well, although they are pre-lowering.