As I mentioned in the N24 thread last week, this morning I helped my uncle start up my aunt's old Punto 55. The car's been sat since the MOT expired in July 2015 - probably before that actually, as my aunt bought a 500 that May. The rear part of the exhaust needed replacing (from the cat back it appears to be one piece), and the replacement part my uncle bought didn't have a long enough prong to meet the rubber.
So - as you do - he just left it up on ramps, until my aunt asked me if I wanted the car. I need another car like a hole in the head, so we compromised and I said I'd try and sort it out. Apologies for the lack of pics.
The sight that greeted me on arrival. You can't really see the moss and gunk on every external surface here, but it's actually very tidy with very little in the way of dents and scratches. The only real damage is a very shallow dent on the n/s rear door and a Â£2-sized bit of lacquer peel in front of the sunroof.
My first job was to lift the boot carpet. The first positive was the boot floor was still there. I then grubbed around underneath and was pleased to find it didn't appear to be too bad. Bit of surface rust but nothing I could put my hand through. The exhaust rubber was a Ford one, oddly, and the prong from the centre pipe was indeed too short, so we found some metal pipe of a slightly larger diameter, cut a length of about 5cm and Araldited it in place. We then Araldited a bolt in the end to stop the rubber from sliding off the end. So far so good.
Next job was to try and start it. Supposedly my uncle had been charging the battery for 4 days, but it wouldn't turn over, so we used his Fiesta to jump it. It fired up first turn, settling down to a steady (if slightly lumpy) idle. The fuel in it is old (there's about a quarter of a tank) - would that account for a residual level of very mild white smoke from the exhaust? Certainly the coolant level is fine and there's no mayo anywhere. The car has done 69,990 miles.
There is, however, very little oil in it, because most of it is down the front of the engine block, which provided a bit of smoke as it burnt off the manifold. Is the FIRE engine known for lunching rocker cover gaskets in the same way (say) the GM Family Two is?
Not sure why I took this photo, other than to highlight the mental upholstery in true mid-90s supermini style. Oh yes - there's trim missing round the door handle and armrest. The car was dealer-fitted with central locking on purchase and of course this no longer works. I haven't had a chance to check fuses. The offside rear door wouldn't open to start with, but holding up the lock button and operating the handle got it open eventually. The outer door handle is reticent to spring back to flush with the door when you open it. I'm hoping some WD40 will cure it. The door card seems to have warped a bit as I struggled to push it back into the rubber seal at the base of the window (although there's no evidence of water leaks), so I wonder if something's catching somewhere.
The final job was to inflate all the tyres (when did Goodyear stop making the GT70? Plenty of tread and no sidewall cracking mind) then try and get it off the ramps. As expected, the handbrake was reluctant to release after 18 months but eventually the nearside joined the offside after a few shuffles forward and backward on the drive. Then it was a quick blezz up the road (not me driving obvs.) to see how it went - still felt like the brakes were dragging but got up to 30mph in 2nd no bother.
The battery's still pretty goosed as I stalled it getting back onto the drive (facing forwards this time) and it wouldn't restart, and it wouldn't roll down the slope with a push with the handbrake off so I suspect the rear drums are still locking on.
I've left it with my aunt to have a go with an MOT - she's got emotional attachment to a car she's owned 20 years - and if it doesn't need much work then I'll give it a service (oil & filter, air filter, spark plugs, coolant, rocker cover gasket) and we'll decide what to do next. In the meantime, any tips to continue the rehabilitation?