Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Riverstone, NSW
My EA - The good and bad...
My name is Bruce and I am an EA-aholic......
I bought my EA about 6 months ago after my $100.00 Magna died forever (thank God for that!) It is a 1990 3.9 CFI 4 Spd Wagon on duel fuel. Picked it up for $1100 as it has WA rego and changing it over the NSW rego would cost around $900.00. BTW, it is still on WA rego and will stay there until I really have to change it, that saves me about 6-700 in rego a year.
Anyway, she is not perfect but is useable. It has a replacement engine from Pick N Payless as the original blew a head gasket. This guy was not mechanically minded. When I bought it the fan was making it sound like a jet taking off as they had welded a bolt to it because it had failed at some point.
Anyway, I drove it around for a while before a few things started to happen. It was really gutless and pinged and rattled on each gear change and at around 100Km on the freeway. I suspected the timing but a number of people said don't touch it as the ECU controls the timing. Well I eventually dragged out the Haynes manual and followed the text. Grounded the self test plug and set the timing to the IGN notch on the timing cover (right place, yes?) It was around 10deg out. Ran heaps better and the pinging and rattling went away.
Then the next thing happened. Going to speedway one Saturday, I drove over to pick up a mate. But when I went to restart the car, the battery was flat. Jump started it, parked it and went in my mates car. It restarted when I returned so I drove it home. Well all hell broke loose. Auto could not decide what gear is wanted, speedo was way out, lights would dim in and out and it didn't want to idle. Just got home before it died. Threw in another battery the next day and, thinking it was an alternator failure, rang the auto electrician about another one. He didn't think it was the alternator and said bring it down. Anyway, it turned out to be the alternator pully was wrong and not splined. It seems it was replaced at some point with the wrong one. They replaced the pulley, fitted a new belt and everything was wonderful $60.00 later.
Then my wife took the car out and it rained......and the wipers failed. The motor couldn't even pull the wipers across the screen. As the temp was also just registering on the gauge, I decided to replace the fan too. Down to the wreckers to grab a fan and wiper motor. Replaced the motor and all is well with the wipers. Replaced the fan (after checking it for cracks etc) but the bloody thing let go a fin. Exchanged that one and it stayed together. Then the cooling probs started. The temp would fluctuate between middle and the upper range. Replaced the thermostat (after market one) - no change and refilled with new coolant but no change. The gauge will come real close to the top of the range , then drop down and up and down all the time. It also responds to the indicators (ticks up and down with them). So the next thing to do with the cooling is to either replace the radiator or get a good flush done - $90.00 locally, $125.00 if it needs a tank plus another $100 if they take it in and out (I don't think so!).
Other things have been happening like the auto not deciding what it wants to do and the window washers deciding not to work anymore.
Anyway, that is the saga of my EA. Selling it is not an option so I will have to keep it and work thorough each problem.
After much reading her I do have the following planned to keep the thing on the road (for now):
MPFI conversion for a little more power.
New wiper/headlight stalk from an EL - would like intermittent wipers.
Maybe an onboard computer as well if I can find a cheap one.
Get better fuel economy - it's pretty crap at the moment.
That's about it. Sorry this was so long but I had to vent somewhat. Can all of you knowledgable guys suggest anything to keep it on the road (pushing it over a cliff is not an option!) above and beyond what I have planned, although alot of that aint going to happen real soon due to finances.