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The Odyssey of Pegasus - 7 years with the Linea T-Jet

Discussion in 'Linea 1.4 T-Jet' started by PatchyBoy, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Messages:
    2,446
    Location:
    Bangalore
    Part 1

    Prelude

    After returning from Australia and moving to Bangalore in 2007, I was petrified of driving. The driving conditions in India had dramatically changed in the past decade. I had got pampered with the conditions down under. So, I decided to get a Fiat Palio Stile (Suzan was vehemently against an used car). The choice was made, as I loved the way the car drove & felt. It was under 4L OTR at that point in time and wouldn't really hurt in case of bumps & scratches. The idea was to drive the car for a couple of years, re-learn driving in India & then move to a sedan. However, that was not to be.

    Year 2008, the recession hit me hard & upgrading the car went to page 2 on the wish list. So, I continued using the Palio & had driven 75000 kms by August 2012. The car had served me well & I did not regret my purchase even once.

    The Purchase

    Due to a string of coincidences and a case of being in the right place at the right time, Prerana Motors (Vecto did not exist back then) offered me a 2010 Linea T-Jet, with 148 kms on the odo, for a mouth watering price. Suzan & me went to the stockyard to look at the car & it was love at first sight, for both of us. Mr. Premanand assured me that the car was never used as a TD car, but was used as display car in the showroom on a few occasions. Since I knew him, I did not have any reasons to doubt his statement. Also, though the car was a 2010 model, I would be the first owner. So, it is a brand new, two year old car. It was a T-Jet - not the Plus variant. Came with 15" steel rims & fabric upholstery.

    Suzan named her Pegasus. I know it is a male name and we both think of the car as female. We decided to keep gender considerations out, like Donald Duck (Should have been Donald Drake, methinks)

    I made the booking on 12th August, did a PDI at the dealer's yard on 14th August and was hoping to get delivery on 16th or 17th August. Then the problems started. First, I had to travel on business for a week. Then when I returned to Bangalore, I found out that there was some issue with the documents given to the financier. Name and address were not legible on the Electricity bill.

    So, provided another copy and all was done. 25th August the money was released. I had agreed with the dealer that they would send the car for registration on 27th and I will take delivery on the 29th or 30th. That was not to be the case. Suzan met with a small accident on the evening of 25th and ended up with 2 of her metacarpals in her left hand fractured and I was truly handicapped with no means of personal transport. The location I live was of no help. No access to public transport.

    Full marks to Prerana Motors. Not only did they get the car registered on Monday, 27th August, but they also went the extra mile and brought the car over to my office and delivered it to me.

    Some pictures from the morning after the day of delivery

    WP_000081.jpg WP_000090.jpg WP_000094.jpg WP_000096.jpg

    End of part 1.....

    Part 2


    The Journey

    As of today - 20-Sept-2019 - 2580 days later, here are the details of the good, the bad & the ugly. The odometer reads 102558 kms. The car has served me reasonably well, but it did have its share of failures and niggles. Let me try and list out things I can recollect.

    The good

    The car is a pleasure to drive, very comfortable and very confidence inspiring. The driving dynamics are spot-on. Doesn't get too unsettled on broken roads. I have driven the car on several long drives, the longest being Bangalore to Kolkata & back to Mysore. The car did not disappoint. It isn't a gas guzzler. Depending on the way I drive, it returns anything between 15 kmpl to 20+ kmpl on highways. The highest FE I ever managed was 24.xx kmpl.

    The bad

    Availability of spares & quality of service is iffy. After bad experiences with the service centers in Bangalore, I started doing the regular oil service myself & would head to Salem for major services. I have used fully synthetic engine oil from day one and change oil & filters every 10000 kms. The car drives butter smooth, but the gear shift has always been a disappointment

    The ugly

    Here, let me list the failures

    Component failures
    1. ACC gasket where the pipes connect to the condenser failed at less than 5000 kms. It was replaced under warranty & still going strong
    2. Clutch wore out at 30000 kms. Replaced with OE clutch kit, which is still going strong
    3. Rear brake pads wore out at 30000 kms as well. Replaced it. Then replaced both front and rear pads with Brembo pads at 60000 kms. Both are still going strong & last I checked, they had about 50% life left
    4. AC compressor failed at 70000 kms. At ₹ 35000, that was the most expensive failure till date
    5. A,B & C engine mounts needed replacement at around 80000 kms
    6. As part of regular maintenance, the timing belt was replaced at 60000 kms. However, at 90000 kms, I got a CEL and the scan told me it was a timing issue. The belt had to be replaced again.
    7. The ECU needed to be replaced at 40000 kms. This was a self-inflicted failure. We pried open the ECU in a bid to read the stock map, for remapping the car. This caused the ECU to stop working intermittently.
    8. The radiator got ruptured & had to be replaced. This was done just yesterday - 19th Sept 2019. This failure was a weird one and deserves to be elaborated. I have done that later in this post.

    Most were actually wear & tear replacements, as you might have noticed.

    Enhancements

    I am a big DIY nut. So, any car has to be customized to my needs. I tend to do most of the modifications myself, except in cases where the required skill levels/equipment isn't within reach.

    A list of additions/modifications to the car
    • Cruise Control
    • Motorized rear curtain
    • Puddle & Footwell lights
    • Bigger Intercooler
    • Bonnet Struts
    • Alcantara seat upholstery
    • OZ Racing Alloys

    Radiator rupture


    The engine heat shield is held in place by two screws, which come with over-sized washers attached. One of them is right next to the oil filler cap. Sometime last year, that screw went missing. I sourced a replacement, but when I tried to fit it, I found the threaded hole in the engine had stripped. So, that explained how that screw went missing. I did not think much about it and continued driving happily. Last Sunday - 15-Sept-2019, we had driven down to Wayanad for lunch. During the return trip, I stopped at the corner store to pick something up. Suzan was sitting in the car & the engine was running. Then I noticed smoke coming out of the bonnet. I ran to the car and turned off the ignition & hurriedly got Suzan out of the car. Then I popped open the bonnet & realized that the smoke was actually water vapour, as the radiator fan was splashing hot coolant onto the hotter engine. It almost immediately stopped. The expansion tank was empty. I heaved a sigh of relief, as I thought the car was on fire. Especially after all that I did in the last couple of months (details in part 3).

    Got the car towed to URS car care in Mysore. When we inspected the car, after putting it on a hoist, I found that the missing screw had somehow found its way in between the radiator & the fan. It got wedged there and was rubbing against the radiator fins. So, the fins got weaker over time, till it was too much to handle & it ruptured. URS cars had a replacement radiator. So, everything was dismantled and the new radiator fitted. When we started the engine again, everything was fine till the engine reached operating temperature. Once it did, the new radiator sprung a leak from the top RHS corner, near the bleeding valve. I was very disappointed with the quality of a brand new replacement part. URS cars managed to get another radiator in 3 days & this was replaced on Thursday. This one did not spring a leak, fortunately. As a goodwill gesture, they only charged me for the parts & waived off the labour cost.

    Summary

    What is my overall impression of the car? It is a fine piece of engineering, let down by mediocre sales & service. While the engine & the crucial components are of great quality, the assembly of the body panels & interiors leave a lot to be desired. Off late, spares have started to become a bit hard to get, which is a cause for concern. If given a chance to buy a car today, would I buy a Fiat Linea T-Jet again, assuming it was available? Possibly not. I have spinal issues and crawling under the car is getting harder with each service. So, I would get another car, which has dependable service.

    End of part 2.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    Deepak Pathania and Rajen like this.
  2. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Messages:
    2,446
    Location:
    Bangalore
    Part 3

    The rejuvenation

    Year 2018, I quit my full time job & started working as a consultant. This meant I could work out of anywhere, as long as I have a stable internet connection. Suzan & me had had enough of busy metropolitan city life & decided to move to a tier 2 city. After considering several places, we decided on Mysore. So, in July 2018, we moved to Mysore. My initial thought was to sell the Linea and get another car. Since I would be working out of home, the driving would dramatically reduce.

    After several rounds of discussion, we both decided that buying another car at this point of time in my career was needless. The Linea was running fine and was more than sufficient for my usage. So, we decided to keep the Linea till she breaks down completely and has to be junked. One of the most important factors for this decision was the price being offered for the Linea. Suffice to say, it was less than the IDV in the insurance. Crashing the car & claiming insurance would be more profitable, albeit unethical & illegal.

    The car had several bruises from Bangalore & Kolkata traffic encounters, but nothing major. Then in June, we drove down to visit a few Tibetan Monasteries, near Kollegal in Karnataka. In the monastery, I parked the car & for the first time in my life, forgot to engage hand brakes. I usually park in neutral, unless I am on a steep slope. I got off the car, shut the door, the car rolled forward and stopped after hitting a tree 10 foot ahead. The front upper grill broke & there was a medium sized dent in the bonnet. That was the last straw.

    I decided that if I am going to keep the car, then a full body repaint & ceramic coating are in order. Decided to give the car to URS cars in Mysore for the repaint. The MD happens to be a friend & I was sure they will take extra care of the car. They did their best and I was quite satisfied with the results. I stuck with same body colour, but decided to get the alloys painted anthracite

    _DSC4411.jpg _DSC4414.jpg _DSC4417.jpg _DSC4418.jpg _DSC4419.jpg _DSC4420.jpg

    Once this was done, the next step was to get the car detailed and then ceramic coating done. Also, my car originally came with gloss black stickers on the A,B & C pillars, to give a continuous flowing look for the glass windows. Unfortunately, Fiat only provides matt black now & gloss isn't an option any longer. The original film was of very good quality, did not fade or peel in all these years & was pretty scratch resistant too. I wanted similar quality film. So, I ordered a roll of 5" gloss black film from ShadowLineTrim. The film is made by Avery Dennison and that sealed the deal.

    I was not keen on going to a detailing studio and getting things done, as that would limit my choices of the products. So, i started looking for freelance detailers, who would come home and detail the car. For the ceramic coating, I decided to go with Avalon King Armor Shield IX. It was at this time that Kanad a friend reached out to me and offered to come down & detail the car. He had recently started a detailing service called GlossWerkz and was based out of Mumbai. I was not very keen on the idea initially, as he would hardly break even with all the travelling expenses. But then I decided that the best way to support a friend who has started a new business would be to use his service. So, I gave him the go ahead, with the condition that I will pay for the travel & will host him at my house. After a bit of back & forth, the deal was struck & tickets were booked. The dates for detailing were 31st August to 2nd Sept.

    Everything went to plan, but the ceramic coating did not arrive. It arrived in Mysore post office on 31st August, but wasn't delivered. This meant, I will have to apply the coating myself. Kanad & his business partner Joe went to work on the car and I was very impressed with the attention to detail and the meticulous work they did.

    _DSC4468.jpg _DSC4470.jpg _DSC4475.jpg _DSC4480.jpg _DSC4493.jpg _DSC4500.jpg _DSC4503.jpg _DSC4505.jpg _DSC4507.jpg

    The ceramic coating was delivered on Wednesday. I had already received the black film & applied that on Tuesday. Ceramic coating was done on Thursday. I am quite pleased with the results & hope that the car will serve me for another 7 years. Here are some pics of the final results.

    _DSC4518.jpg _DSC4519.jpg _DSC4540.jpg _DSC4541.jpg _DSC4544.jpg

    Thanks for reading
     
  3. limraj

    limraj Esperto

    Messages:
    1,150
    Trivandrum / Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    FE upto 24.xx on T-Jet !
    Much goes to your driving style and maintenance.


    99rpm is not of help to TJet?
    There was a Gear Travel Reducer, which some users say improves gear shift. Not trying that?


    Is the motorized rear curtain an easy or not too expensive job? I'm interested. It helps a lot in the night and summer/hot days.

    Ah, same for most of us.

    The car looks beautiful would be an understatement! Wish you more lakhs of blissful driving experience.

    I'm also thinking of using black grills. My car got into a small accident, where a Bolero guy who was driving zig-zag on highway got in front of me and braked suddenly. My front bonnet and grill just mildly hit his rear "bull bar". I have to change the upper grill and de-dent the bonnet.
    I'm thinking of using Linea Classic's black upper grill and blackening the lower grill.
    I think it will go well with me already having black ORVM covers (to save cost of painting them each time I change).
     
  4. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Messages:
    2,446
    Location:
    Bangalore
    Thanks

    99rpm isn't as dependable as it used to be when launched.

    That is a short shifter. I doubt it does anything to the rubbery feeling of the gear shift itself.

    Posted a thread - https://www.teamfiat.com/threads/motorized-rear-curtain-for-the-linea.17008/


    Thanks again.
     
    Deepak Pathania likes this.
  5. Deepak Pathania

    Deepak Pathania Novizio

    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Bhugaon
    Pune
    Avventura Abarth
    A beautiful and fully functional old car speaks volumes of the commitment the owner has.
    Anybody can spend millions and maintain a car, but it takes a special dedication to maintain the car yourself. especially so when your body doesn't support your endeavors.
    Hats off to you. I love reading such real life narratives so that i am motivated enough to keep my car running with the same care :)
     
    limraj likes this.

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