therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
6/29/21 5:57 a.m.

Followers of the "Why making a car slow may make sense" thread (https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/1992-ford-sierra-gt-why-making-a-car-slow-may-make-sense/144881/page1/) know we have been searching for a first car for Kajsa, my daughter. While it is still over a year until she has her license to drive a real car, she has been increasingly enthusiastic about getting something early enough so we have "time to finish it". Not that buying a(nother) project car was my main idea, but...well.

She is still a great Sierra fan (Ford Sierra, the European way) and apart from a Mustang, a Sierra is her first choice. And I kind of like that as well, it is a car I know and like. For "reasons" I have steered towards a V6 car (the 4-cylinders are economical and the DOHC is a good daily when it is good but as the thread above outlines, they all need work when they are old). It is also not "fast" or "fun" and there are no ways to increase power. An older Sierra with a Pinto would be a natural choice but then we'd need to find a pre-catalytic converter car (because the lower compression catalytic Pinto is just...bland). But still it would need to be an EFI car (because I'm on a no carbs diet) and a low spec CL is also boring so it'd need to be an 2.0iS or GL and they are not common. So a later V6 was the target.

To extend the gene pool to choose from we also included the bigger Scorpio, but at the same time decided a manual transmission is a must and that reduces the number of Scorpios. 

I did not feel the same urgency finding a car as Kajsa did but at the same time felt that monitoring the market in time would be a good idea. We were both firmly set on finding a car that would not need the amount of bodywork we put into the blue GT.  That would also mean that when the right car showed, we had to be prepared to act quickly and also travel across the country.

Last Friday was midsummers eve in Sweden. It's one of the bigger events to celebrate, the start of the real summer and up north here also a time when we basically have 24 hours of daylight. 

On the Thursday evening we spotted an ad for a Sierra. A manual 2.9 sedan, seemingly in very good condition, some tasteful modifications and close (only a sub 2hr drive) to us. Yes, the price was absolutely at the top of our range. But I messaged the seller and immediately got a good feeling. I offered to come see the car on the morning of midsummer but just like me, the seller really had other plans. Why he posted the ad just before a big holiday is beyond me, but hey...

While chatting away and doing research the registration number of the car appeared in another discussion and I concluded that the previous owner actually was a guy we bought a steering wheel and hub from, for the GT. So I messaged him for some background on the car and got a long message detailing his story. In short, he bought it in parts from an older guy (so probably my age...) working at a paintshop - he had a small collision, dented a wing and replaced that, painted the car but then didn't finish it. My "steering wheel guy" put the car together, swapped the hood, grille and bootlid for Cosworth parts, swapped to fresh interior parts and did a number of other small things.

He also explained some areas to check on the body, spots that weren't perfect. Then he sent around 25 images of the car and also revealed his selling price last year.

Armed with that we set course to the south, with an extra driver on board if we were able to make an agreement.

This is what greeted us on the parking lot. At first look a presentable Sierra, and also with some quickly identifiable scratches and imperfections meaning it is a car, and not a museum piece. I could also verify that all the "risk areas" the steering wheel guy had mentioned were still there, not fixed (or bodged) but also seemingly not any worse than a year ago.

I didn't reveal my background knowledge but the seller told the same story as far as I could tell so I had no reason to argue. He has added some better speakers, a bass box and perhaps a scratch or two. He also said that the gearbox mount is sagging, but a new one would come with the car.

I have been around most any nook and cranny of these cars and I spotted some dampness in the boot, I suspect there is a small hole on one rear wheel well but that should be a pretty easy fix if need be. 

Crawling under the car confirmed what the steering wheel guy said - it's pretty darned nice with only the usual signs of being used, no rust or bodge repairs (or even well done repairs).

A short test drive gave no real surprises - the sagging gearbox mount is clearly a thing to fix, although not of immediate concern. The interior is really nice but not spotless, the heated windscreen is in great condition. Even the notoriously grindy door locks and electric windows run smoothly.

At this point I realize, this car is probably to good of a match to pass on. Yes, it is a bit nicer that we need. Yes, the asking price is a bit high. But saving something like 1000 och 1500 USD trying to find a car that is a bit more worn is a gamble - it might hide more work, and it might just as well be 10 or 12 hours away. 

So I enter Wheeler Dealers mode (not something I am comfortable with) and say that the asking price is a bit high, and I know what it changed hands for the last time. My main point of argument here is the suspect area in the rear wheel well - something the seller hadn't noticed. We go back and forth a couple of times in a respectful manner and end up pretty much in the middle. That means a bit more than I had mentally settled for but I can also see that Kajsa is really liking this car. 

So we strike a deal, make the owner change through the smartphone app (I hope, it is not registrered yet), I pay using another smartphone app and call my insurance company to add another car. Simple as that :-)

 

Kajsa of course wants to make use of her learners permit and she takes the wheel for the almost 2 hour drive back home. Smiling!

Our hire driver has to endure the trip alone in our Kuga...

As we get home, I manage to get all three Sierras now residing here in one shot.

The blue one in the garage is the loaner drift car, so really, we only own two...

As we lock up for the night another hidden gem reveals itself.

Out of focus, but the light in the key works. I must have handled 20 of these keys, this is the first one that works! I feel good.

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
7/17/21 2:19 p.m.

A little more than 2 weeks into ownership, it still feels good :-)

I have used the car for some small errands and Kajsa has also been doing a few learner permit runs when time allows. I have had the car up on the lift to check it over. No surprises underneath, the gearbox mount was just as bad as the seller said and it also came with the inevitable cracks in the guibo when the mount sags. But my stack of spares handily contain one of those too!

Driving it some more tells me it really wants new shocks though, and probably a set of springs. It could be a bit lower so I think a standard lowering spring kit and a Bilsten B6 shock kit is a useful upgrade.

I also checked on the wheels and as I suspected, they are 7,5x17" meaning the 205/40-17's are a bit thin and narrow. It also explains a bit of the over-reading of the speedo. We´ll see if we keep the wheels or aim for something else.

After getting back from a short vacation trip I had a bit of a restless Friday night so I decided to break out the tools and get the gearbox mount and guibo swapped out. If was a kind of relaxing job although I always question why Ford chose to rivet the gearbox mount to the cross member when everything else on the car is bolted?

Today I got to test it and the difference is...incredible. Gone are the driveline vibrations and the gears now fall into place mostly as they should. A well spent evening I must say.

As a celebratory move, I proceeded to make a quick (ish) effort to get the garage dust off the car while Kajsa is working to be able to pay for it. Eventually...

Oh, and there might be drifting news too but I feel that soon requires another thread. Or a rename of this one to cover both...

Gustaf

solfly
solfly Dork
7/17/21 7:22 p.m.

Super cool "first" car!

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
7/18/21 8:16 a.m.

Yeah, it is kind of cool. Looking back, she is sort of following my lead, strangely enough.

My "first" car (that I choose) was a Ford Granada Coupé V6. So the Cologne V6´s seem to have a certain appeal for us.

I may have clicked home some goodies last night under the influence of a nice Leffe Blonde. More on that sooner or later.

Gustaf

twentyover
twentyover Dork
7/18/21 8:47 a.m.

My first real car out of University was a late 76 Mk II Capri, which I still have (from 1979), you have commented on this car in thread I had about front suspension. It had the 2.8, am currently working on building and installing a 4.0 Cologne from an early 90's Explorer. Bumped compression (using 4.0 SOHC pistons), ported heads, and bigger cam and valves.  So I hope for a little more horsepower.   I too see the appeal of Cologne V6.

One Capri owner in the US is installing an Ecoboost V6, but to me, that breaks the lineage

 

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
10/21/21 1:23 a.m.

The Black Sierra has done good service this summer after selling the Focus and being a daily driver short while we wait for the replacement to arrive from Mexico.

It has an oil leak from somewhere around the intake so that will be taken care of during the winter. I fitted a remote for the central locking since the Sierra door locks are notorious for going bad. I "fixed" this one but on occasion they would still just be finicky. I can handle it, the rest of the family not so much...

To me, it doesn't feel as "quick" as I think a nice 2.9 should but maybe I'm just the victim of a memory of the past. It runs solid, compression test is fine so I think all is well. But...a 4.0 or a 24v is tempting. A OHV 4.0 would surely fly under the inspection radar here (but how much power would it add?). The Scorpio 24v 2.9 may or may not but that's a sweet motor. Or, just a nice camshaft and a E85 tune for this one perhaps.

Since the Mexican is not arriving before frost and winter as it seems (that's already too late actually), we needed to get the black Sierra some winter shoes. 

 

I found a set of genuine Sierra Cosworth alloys with studded tyres, not local at all but my favorite enabler/dealer (Jörgen of course who donated the blue GT) was almost passing the seller and brought them to me.

In the right angle it is almost possible to imagine having a real Cosworth in the garage. Almost :-)

Gustaf

bonylad
bonylad HalfDork
10/21/21 2:28 p.m.

Awesome!

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
10/22/21 10:30 a.m.

This is cool. Your daughter has an awesome dad!

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
10/25/21 4:44 a.m.

Thanks. I have an awesome daughter :-)

However, I also can't keep my fingers off the Sierra.

I like it when the stuff the car came with works and two things that really make it a better driver is to have the heated windscreen, and the heated seats working.

Having now exclusively been driving Fords with heated screens as dailys for close to 20 years it's something I have gotten used to. This car has the screen and the button but it (the button) wouldn't light up when pressed. Usually it's the screen that goes out but the indicator light still works.

Another non-working (properly) thing was the tacho and getting to that also exposes the heated screen wiring. So I checked that when I had the cluster out, and the button was indeed getting power. But the indicator light is back-fed to light up when the timer relay activates and it didn't. Both the power relay and the timer relay are tucked besides the glove box, not easy to reach at all. But I wrestled them free and something felt off. The timer relay did not look like I remembered it...for sure, the wiring was connected to the wrong relay!

The grey one is correct but the pigtail was on another yellow relay - god knows what that is supposed to do, there are are no loose connectors I can see. But upon testing...it still would not work! Until I remembered, the engine needs to be running for it to activate. Still no go. Until I remembered more. The instrument cluster is unplugged -> no alternator light -> no "engine run relay" activate since it works from the alternator light.

Now the indicator works and I just have to fog up the screen to see if it works.

On to the tacho. I tried resoldering all joints, still slow (but perhaps better than before). Tried another one I had in a box, still slow. I connected a dwell meter to the cluster - it seems to respond as it should. Hm. More investigation needed here.

Next "fix" was to look at the heater circuit for the driver seat. Same deal as with the screen switch, no indicator light. This time, I found some ripped wiring under the seat. Connected those up, and lubricated the switch that would stick. So now I need to get the car cold enough to sense if the seat heater works.

Another thing that came to my mind earlier at the end of the summer is that I somehow missed having an external temperature readout. Not really sure why but it bugged me. The Sierra also has a blank above the clock where high end Sierras have a warning panel (door ajar, bulb out, low outside temp). Would it be possible to find a display that could fit there?

I hunted Amazon and Ebay and actually found a possible solution. Almost the right size and cheap...

Of course it does not "fit" but removing the casing, and making a new faceplate from clear acrylic...

It would need a smoked coating on the acrylic to blend in a bit better but I think it works!

Gustaf

Racingsnake
Racingsnake Reader
10/25/21 9:53 a.m.

A manual V6 Sierra must be pretty rare, the only ones I ever saw were XR4x4s. What's the Mexican import you're getting?

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
10/25/21 10:47 a.m.

In Sweden V6 manuals were actually not that rare, but I know that the UK and rest of Europe barely had them - to the point that some people almost claim "there are none". Many manuals have been "boy raced" to death though during the last 10-15 years so I was happy to snag this one. When the Skogen Racing crew made the V6 turbos popular around 2006-2008 or so many were tuned and raced by hopeful youngsters.

The "Mexican" is a Mach-E, so a completely different beast (?) in most respects. More on that later perhaps, although it will just be a "driver".

Gustaf

RichardNZ
RichardNZ Reader
10/27/21 9:39 p.m.

You're bringing back (mostly) happy memories here Gustaf ...  BTW is the GL the swinging AFM type or the closed loop with Hego's ?

Richard

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
11/2/21 7:10 a.m.

Cool!

The 2.9 is a catalytic car so MAP-sensor, no flap-door to get in the way of the induction noise... :-)

The Swedish emission laws meant pretty much all 2.9's, bar some early Scorpios, are with cats and hence the newer EFI. Quite nice but sometimes a bit of a struggle with parts. 

Gustaf

 

slowbird
slowbird UltraDork
11/2/21 1:20 p.m.

I love the Sierra sedans. The hatchbacks are cool too, don't get me wrong, but these are underrated.

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
5/13/22 2:56 a.m.

Time for a spring update.

During the winter we have not done much at all to the Sierra, despite having parts ready. I blame that partly on a "need" to keep it mobile to be able to get other cars into the garage. Partly just too much other stuff to handle. Kajsa is also quite busy in school, the second year of our gymnasium (high school?) is kind of tough especially with some extra classes she has taken on to be able to have a wider university choice.

We have taken it around the block a few times but the winter tyres are quite bad. Not worn, but they have very little grip. Yes, they are old(ish) but I also realized they were placed dead last on the 2010 winter tyre test one of our bigger newspapers published. So, yeah, they are not a candidate for real winter use but served their purpose this winter.

I surprised Kajsa by taking the Sierra to pick her up after a dance performance in April and it was quite fun to see her cheer up, stop and take pictures walking to the parking lot. 

Last weekend I had some time to "spare" (mostly since the race track is still covered in snow (!) and the first race is postponed). Kajsa and I contemplated taking the Sierra to the first car show of the year, roughly a 45 minute drive away. It would just need the summer wheels and a quick wash. That was a plan and it worked out fine. 

A quick word also on why this spring meet was a litte extra. I worked with this show from 2003 to 2013, when me and some friends arranged it. It was the true starting point of each car season and what started as a 15-car get-together evolved into something much larger. When we handed it over to another "gang" it was a well established thing and they developed it in their direction, as they should. But while we wanted to keep it in the city center of Piteå (to make it accessible for the public) they moved it out to the local dragstrip. Anyway, Kajsa helped out on these events as soon as she was old enough to bring safely.

This is from 2007, Kajsa was just over 2,5 years old. The girl in the blue west is Maria, one of Kajsas mentors and big idols that we sadly lost in cancer a few year ago. I haven't gone to the spring meet since Maria passed away. It just dawned on me now, that it probably partly is because she was a so big part of this meet for me.

But now Kajsa had her own car and what better way to celebrate Marias memory than to have her bring her own car to the meeting?

It was a windy day and rather cold but we had a great time. A lot of people seemed to like the Sierra and most of the time was spent chatting with two British guys. One had just gotten a S2 Escort RS Turbo on the road (same vintage as the Sierra) and the other one is putting a Zetec into a MkI Fiesta. And then Kajsas drifting mentor won the burnout contest. In a Sierra, of course :-)

The next day, I got a phone call about another car that opened up some thoughts but that's a topic for the next post ;-)

Gustaf

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