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Thursday, August 24, 2006

“NEW” Used Telstar, end of 1st year owner’s report. + V6 model too!

On 8/8/2005 my dad bought a used 1999 Ford Telstar 4 cyl 2.0i Auto meant for himself, but he is based in Hong Kong, so I am the one driving the car. (Co-incidentally, on the same date in 1990, my dad also a bought Ford, the Laser TX3 featured earlier). Back to the Telstar, the car came with V-Kool tinting and Standard Semi-Bucket front seats with luxurious Ghia trimmings AND Nice no plate “WG_ 1222”. It is a Clone of Mazda 626. It is assembled in Malaysia (CKD- Completely knocked down with Jigs from Australia). This means that the car is “Half Japanese, Half Australian and born in Malaysia. Strangely, this car has oscillating center air vents and climate control with “Heater” which is absurd and useless in Malaysia.

Well, it’s been a year since “I” owned the car. Believe it or not, I only covered 6,000kms during the period of 1 year which means averaged of 500kms per month only. It was 93,600kms when It reached my garage. Now the odometer reads 99960kms (about 63000 miles). Pretty low mileage for a 7 years old car… Why so little mileage?

Because I have my own car, A UK-spec Proton 1.5 MPI (A) (3 speed Auto, Sux eh?) so the Telstar is driven 2-3 times a week only.

How is the running costs?

The car fuel consumption (FC) varies. Full tank (60Litres) lasted about 280kms only city driving but goes as far as 450kms on highways.

The Telstar is quite reliable. There’s only 3 problems during the entire 1 year owning the car. First, the Fuel tank leaked – discovered on the 1st week owning the car. Took 3 days and 6 chop shops (junkyards) finding the right fuel tank (from Mazda 626). Paid RM600 for the fuel tank.

Second problem which I haven’t fix since the car was bought. It’s the Engine mounting. The costs of replacing the engine mountings were expensive (RM1600 (USD450) for 1 set). The effects? The car vibrates when idle in “D” mode. Putting it in “N” mode solved the problem.

Recently, the front right headlight not working. Contemplating whether or not want to change to HiD (Xenon).

How is the ride and handling and performance of the car?

Pioneered by Ford (1st seen in Escort) the Telstar suspensions consists of Front and rear McPhersons and front and rear anti-roll bars, Lower “A” arms front and trapezoidal multi-link at the rear! All round dampers and springs (duh!). Thanks to the hi-tech suspension, it can soaked up any bumps and/or potholes surfaced. There is little nose-diving at hard braking and also little body roll at high speed cornering, I think the semi-bucket seats also helped. Imagine what it can do when it’s fitted with 215/45R17 tyres. I just can’t wait…

The car is very stable even with 195/65R15 tyres. It is not only stable but quiet at high speed with almost non-existence wind noise, I reached 160km/h without me and my friends realizing during a trip to Port Dickson back in early July. It’s like doing 110km/h, very stable. As a comparison, my main car Proton Iswara 1.5MPI(A) whole car floats and unbearable wind noise came in above 120km/h. Ie. Whenever I do 120km/h, my friend will noticed and say
that I’m speeding (the Malaysian speed limit is 110km/h).

Anyway, back to the Telstar, How is the performance? The acceleration is quite brisk, 0-100 in slightly below 12 seconds. 50 to 80km/h overtaking is 5.7 seconds. The top speed I don’t need to test, found out from a car magazine, that it reaches 200km/h at slightly below 6000rpm.

To complement the advanced suspension, the car has 4 discs brakes and ABS. I haven’t really tested the brakes. But emergency braking is quite effective with no brake locking (got ABS mah! - Duh!) and minimal nose-dive (co-operation with suspension?). So the suspensions and brakes department is well checked.

I was not-so happy having difficulty finding out the specifications of the car. Not many information available in the Internet it till today. But I found a brochure of Ford Telstar when I spring-cleaned my room. Apparently, my dad checked out the Telstar at the launch back in 1992 and brought home a brochure which has all the necessary details of the car… You have to thank me for blogging it here to all of you…



In line 4, DOHC 16v 1991cc EFI and VRIS system (Variable rate Induction System – I don’t understand how it works, anyone can help?)
Bore and stroke: 83x92mm, Compression ratio: 9:1

(v6 1991CC QOHC 24v EFI and VRIS system

Bore stroke: NA, compression ratio: 9:1

Maximum power: mailto:130hp@6000rpm,

(v6: 147hp@6300rpm)

Torque: 170nm@4600rpm (V6: 179nm@5000rpm)

Transmissions: 4 speed auto. Gear ratios:

1st 2800

2nd 1540

3rd 1000

4th 0700

Rev 2333

Final ratio: 4.157

Suspensions: See review above (in bold)

Steering: Rack and pinion speed sensitive variable power steering, height adjustable.

Brakes: Front ventilated discs, rear discs, servo assisted, 4 channel ABS

Dimensions: (all milimetres)

Length: 4670

Width: 1670

Hight: 1400

Wheelbase: 2610

Front track: 1500

Rear track: 1500

Weight: 1145kg

Wheels: 195/65R14 steel rims. Alloy rims for V6 model.

Fuel consumption:

FC: 6.5km/litres combined.

Fuel tank Capacity: 60Litres


See review above for 2.0 4 cyl model.

(for V6 model: Top speed: 212km/h, 0-100km/h: 10.4 secs.)

Other features: Oscillating centre air-vents, intermittent wipers, 2 concealed front cupholders, 60:40 split rear seatback with armrest, Lockable glovebox with light, semi bucket front seats with lumber adjustable.

PRICE: RM115,000 OTR when new. My dad bought it for RM42000 in 2005. This amounts to only 39% retained value after 6 years which is quite bad, consider a Toyota Camry 2.2i has 58% retained value after 6 years. (For v6 2.0i model, it was priced at a whooping RM129,000 back in 1996, this explained why there's only few units on the road. the v6 model came with extra features like Driver airbag, cruise control, alloy rims. A 1996 used Telstar V6 can be bought for RM28,000 only).

What I did to the car?

Changed the ICE (In car entertainment) Head unit to Pioneer DEH-4750MP as the previous JVC CD player were faulty (Cannot play CD). Paid RM580 for it. It plays CD/CDR-W/MP3/WMA/WAV discs. Also, CD-Changer and I-Pod interface control. Also, transferred the rear speakers to DB-Max 3 way from my Proton.

Currently running on 15” rims and Goodyear Ducaro GA. But I just bought a set of used “LENSO” 6 spoke semi-chromed 17” rims 2 weeks ago (below RM700 – USD185). Now saving money for the tyres. Thinking of Continental ContiSport 2 tyres

THAT”S ALL I Spent at the moment.

Future modifications:

Learned that one engine fits like a glove. It is no other than KZ-VE (?) V6 2.5i 24V from Mazda MX-6 or 626 V6 Hatchback OR Ford Telstar TX5. Just drop in the engine, no need modification on the mountings, no changing the gearbox/brakes/fuel tank needed. Heard it’s cheap too RM1500 only including workmanship (USD410 only), one “ZTH forummer” did it… WHEN? It’s just a dream… Imagine all the red tapes with JPJ (due to change in engine capacity) I will go through.

17” rims (Already bought, Lenso 6 spoke semi chromed) and tyres (VERY SOON).

Changing the Extractor (Hotbits?)…

THAT’S ALL Folks! Will update on the 24th month (2nd year of owning the car).

Monday, August 21, 2006

FULL REVIEW: Ford Laser TX3 B8

FULL REVIEW: FORD LASER TX3 B8 1.8 16v DOHC EFI 1990 to 1994

The Ford Laser and Mazda 323 were sister cars. Both shared the same engine. Chassis, interior, bodystyles since 1981. For the 3rdgenerations (1990), the Laser and 323 still shared the Chassis, Interior and Engine BUT it looks totally different exterior wise. Thanks to Ford Australia Design team, which successfully differentiates the Laser from 323s (especially the TX3 and 323 GTI. The Ford Lasers were brought in to Malaysia by AMIM Holdings in CKD form (Completely Knocked Down) with Jigs from Australia. So the car is "1/2 Australian, 1/2 Japanese and born in Malaysia."

On 8/8/1990 my dad placed an order for a Ford TX3 1.8i DOHC 16v 2 Door Hatchback. It was priced competitively at RM56k OTR back then (as a Comparison, a Toyota Corolla 1.6 5dr Liftback Limited (M) were priced at RM52k and a Civic 1.5EX (A) were priced at 51k back then). It was only available in 1 colour which is Black. The features, mechanicals, interior and drivability will be covered later.

My dad was 41 at that time and was nicknamed “Mat Romeo” or “Mid-life crisis at work” whenever he drove the car. He was forced to sell the car 5 yrs later (1995) as he was transferred to work in Hong Kong (whole family followed 2 months later). I was only 16 yrs old at that time.

As I was only between 11 to 16 yrs old when my dad owned the car, I will share based on my experience as a passenger.


The looks were quite stylish, the front headlights reminds me of Nissan Skyline R32. The rear consists of 3 piece spoilers with integrated 3rd brake light, opens partly with the hatch. It also came with twin-tailpipes. The TX3 was nicknamed “Sampan” probably its due to the rear half of the car resembles a sampan. Another reason behind the Sampan moniker is due to the “sampan like” ride (ie. No stability) and wind noise above 160km/h.

On the road:

The acceleration was great, 0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds, 50-80km/h (overtaking) in 5.2 seconds, and top speed was claimed at 200km/h though the highest speed my dad ever driven was around 160km/h only.

The ride and handling is on a firm side, the suspensions though very Advanced (more on that later) were quite hard, ride is uneasy on uneven roads. I remembered my dad took the TX3 to Cameron Highlands. The car is powerful enough to go up the hill in 3rd gear, so there is minimal gear change. It went charging up the hill comfortably it’s like saying “The steeper the better. Bring it on!”. I saw the car overtook cars such as BMW 5 series, Mercedes E-class, Toyota Celica, Honda Accords. Note that there’s 4 persons in the TX3 back then. I remembered I have no fatique at all and enjoyed the ride…


The interior space is very generous, it can accommodate 5 adults with ease and access is good due to the big wide doors though the seatbelt anchor is positioned too “behind” of the front seats and one required to reach way back to get the bracket. The rear seats were 60/40 split forward folding to expand luggage space.

The dashboard was disappointing (see Picture) it is exactly the same as lower end Lasers with no effort at all to make it “sportier”. The seat cushions are hard but comfortable, especially the semi-bucket front seats.

Technical bits:

I just know the basics of the mechanical bits when my family owned the car. The engine is 1839cc 16v DOHC EFI engine that is the most powerful of 1800cc class ever in a locally Assembled car back in 1990. It has 103kw (140hp)@6500rpm and usable torque of 163Nm of 4700rpm. As a comparison, the BMW 318i back then is only 115hp.

The following was what I learned at the later part of my life. The brakes are 4 discs with front being ventilated. At that time, it was very advanced, in the era of Front Discs and rear Drums brakes found in most cars. The suspension is very advanced which is pioneered by Ford (1st seen in early 80s first generation Ford Laser and Mazda 323). It’s all round McPherson Struts with front and rear anti-roll bars with “dual-lateral links” at the rear. I also learned that the TX3 came with “Sports-suspension pack with stiffer springs and harder shocks”. Hence, it explained the hard, uncomfortable ride…

Brief specifications:


1) inline 4cyl DOHC 16v 1839cc EFI

2) Bore & Stroke of 84x85mm and compression ratio of 9:5:1.

3) Max Power: 140ps (103kw) @ 6500rpm

4) Max Torque 163Nm@4700rpm


5 speed manual

1st: 3.307

2nd: 1.833




Suspensions: Independent, McPherson Struts front and rear (fr & rr), Fr and rr anti-roll bars with dual-link lateral arms at rear, All round dampers and springs (duh!).

Brakes: See review above.

Dimensions: (all milimetres)

Length: 4270

Width: 1695

Hight: 1375

Wheelbase: 2500

Front track: 1430

Rear track: 1435

Weight: 1015kg

Wheels: White painted alloy rims with 185/60R14 tyres.

Fuel Consumption: 8L/100km averaged.

Fuel tank Capacity: 55Litres


See review above.

Price: RM56,000 back in 1990. This year (2006), a used 1991 unit in tip top condition with 2 owners up for RM8,000 only (from The Star Metro Classifieds Aug 2006). Pay RM16,000 MAX for 1994 last models even in top condition with low mileage and 1 owner.

What to look out for:

1)Abused unit with Accident damages, beware of Cut and Shut units.

2) Rust in roof (weld spot area), rear hatch area, under and side of door or rust in chassis

3)Avoid high mileage car as it means time for Overhaul.

4) The interior is well built and hardy so should not be any problem.

5) Avoid turbo or engine conversion cars as it spells higher maintenance and parts.

6) The TX3 initially came in black only, from 1992 onwards, it has a mild Facelift along Red, white and Green colour added...

7) BEST if it’s less than 3 owners, mileage below 250000kms, service history (if applicable), original engine with little or no modifications, original paint is a BONUS (but for 12-16 yrs old car, very hard to find one).

Battle of two used 1.8 sedans

My friend is thinking of getting his own car in 1 yrs time. He set RM60k as

my budget. He will be buying
a used car
(more choices)! He has narrowed down to 2 strong candidates.

1) Audi A4 1.8 20v Non-turbo 2000,

2) Nissan Sentra

1.8GXE 2002.

After an extensive research, here are brief comparisons btw the 2.

1) Nissan Sentra 1.8GXE

i4 DOHC 16v 1769cc EFi FWD
Max power/torque: 128hp@6000rpm/163Nm@4400rpm
4 Speed Auto

Brakes: Front ventilated discs, RR discs, ABS

Wheels: 195/60R15, alloy rims

Dimensions (all mm except weight):
L/W/H: 4470/1695/1445
W`base 2535
Turning circle: 9.2
Fuel tank cap: 50L

Max Speed: 193km/h (friend tested), 0-100km/h 12secs

Equipments: 2x Airbags, ABS, Leather, V-Kool (standard on 1.8 Sentra),
MP3 player

New: RM112k (2002), Now: RM58k

2) Audi A4 1.8 20v -Non turbo-

i4 DOHC 20v 1781cc Bosch EFI FWD
Max power/torque: 125hp@5800rpm/173Nm@3950rpm
5 speed auto + DSP

Brakes: Fr and RR discs, Bosch ABS

Wheels: 195/65R15, steel rims

L/W/H: 4480/1735/1415
W`base: 2615
Weight: 1240kg
T`circle: 11.1
Fuel tank cap: 62L

Top speed: 200km/h (est)
0-100km/h 10.7s

Autocruise, Climate Control, 2x Airbags, ABS, Leather (opt), Elec. Adj

New: RM155k (2000)
Now: 58k

Note that both are tied in many areas, and the figures are VERY close.
Sentra lead by 3 hp but
Audi fights back with more torque. Audi is longer by just 1cm!!!
Weight, width and height are also VERY CLOSE! So as the wheels... Oh! Audi wins on gearbox, 5 speed vs 4 speed automatic and

Oh! Audi also wins on Image... Drive both cars to 6 stars hotel and experience it yourself. In a meantime, Sentra wins on Resale value and reliability... Both tied on looks...
Maintenence is not an issue for Audi as it has longer service intervals and parts easily obtained from Chop shops (Junkyards)...

As for the used market value, both cars co-incidentally tied at RM58k apiece. But bear in mind that Audi A4 was priced at RM155,000 when new, while the Sentra was priced at RM112000 brand new...

So ladies and gentlemen, which is the right car to choose, he will be
using the car for at least 3 yrs.
Cast your vote... He! Will be getting the car early next yr... So
current value less about 10% - for sentra
(another yr depreciation) is 52k for Sentra. For Audi it`s 50k (less around 8k).

Opening ceremony...

This is my 1st posting. This blog is going to be a place where I post used cars reviews and comparison for cars in Malaysia. Indonesian and Singaporean used cars review are welcome, but I need your help, for Indonesian and Singaporean used cars reviews and comparisons I need you, fella visitors to submit your review and I will publish in this blog... Don't worry, I will acknowledge your name in the "article".

The reason I create this blog is that my friends found it difficult to obtain older cars reviews. Coincidently, I collected certain car magazines which dates back from 1992, so I felt that I'll be good if I posted some reviews on "used cars". Don't worry, I won't plagarise the article, but will only use the layouts of the article from 2 defunct magazines and just scan the pictures from the magazine(s).

Okay, let's celebrate the opening of this blog which by the way belongs to Jeff Lim (me).

*Pose for photographs...*

*Snips red ribbon*

*Crowd applause*

The subsequent posts will reflect my personal critics, thoughts, and lastly recommendations on used cars... So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride! By the way, this site will be updated AT LEAST twice a week!