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Thursday, August 28, 2008

LONGTERMERS #1, Update 2: Ford Telstar GC6W 2.0i4 DOHC 16v

This month, (July 29 to August 28), the Telstar leaked oil (on the floor tiles),

a trip to the mechanic revealed that the oil seal leaked. Hence, RM65 spent to rectified the problem (inc. labour). Also, the front left rim "Bengkok" (dented), after "rolling" over a piece of Construction Debris. "PPPRAANNGGG", thank goodness the "object" shattered and NOT Punctured my tyre. BUT My RIM "bengkok" as a result.

Tried using "RON 92" Unleaded instead of "RON 97", the car's performance was hampered. It turned from "Mildly fast" to "SLUGGISH". Also, the Engine Jerks. This is weird as the USER MANUAL clearly stated that minimum Fuel requirement's "RON91".

Without further ado, here’s my car logbook.

Year of manufactured: 1998 (registered January 1999)
Purchase price: RM42,000 (Aug 2005)
Current value: RM19,000 (As at June 2008)
Depreciation per year (averaged): RM7,667. It's BAD, as typical Toyota or Honda depreciated 10% per year only.

Mileage when bought: 97,000km.
Mileage now: 135,800km.
Average mileage per year: 12566km. Ie. 1,000km +/- monthly.
Fuel consumption: (Before price increase: RM100 full tank (RM1.92/L) => 360km mixed driving = RM0.28/km or 6.2km/litre. (Best: 440km and Worst: 290km).. After price increase: DON’T ask.

Longtermer #2: Volume 2: Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC

LONGTERMER #2, Volume 2: Honda Civic 2.0iVTEC - 1 month anniversary.

Today = One month anniversary since we took delivery of the Honda Civic 2.0iVTEC. Sent for 1st 1000km service 2 weeks ago. They only rectified the defect (see picture below).

The whole A-pillar cover came loose on both side, the left side is worse than the right. I try to fix it back, but the thing “Pop up” again. It’s 2420kms now (28 August 2008), so far we don’t have the chance to go “outstation” (British term for interstate) yet. Over the past 1 month restricted to mix driving about 60% city and 40% urban. But almost all of the mileages were covered by my dad. I only had the chance to drive on weekends.

Will update on the ride and handling, comfort, next month. Watch this space.

Without further ado, Here’s the LOGBOOK:

Year of manufactured: 2008 (Duh!)
Current Value: RM115,000
Purchase price: RM128,000
Mileage when bought: 0008km.
Mileage now: 2420km.
Average mileage per year: -NA-
Fuel consumption: 45L worth of petrol good for 400km (8.9km/L) mix driving of 60% city, 40% highway.
EXTRAS (ADD ONS): NONE at the moment.

I had an interesting yet beautiful observation. Again, Pictures’ worth 1000 words. Here are the photos of my “observation”:

Picture 1: The beautiful HID in action. Before and after.

Picture 2: Rear headlamps, after and before… Picture 3, below: Current mileage mugshot.

Below, the “Alarm Shock Sensor”. It’s so effective that even a “fly” flew into the interior also can trigger it.

Parting shot, above: another angle of the Civic

End of longtermer #2 volume 2, thanks for having the patience to read it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FULL REVIEW: Mazda 323F BJ 1.6GLX Hatchback (1999 to 2004)

FULL REVIEW: Mazda 323F BJ 1.6i (2000-2004)

In this blog entry, I'm covering Mazda 323F. It's a Rare car in Malaysia. Although it's on sale outside Malaysia from 1998 to 2004, Cycle and carriage brought in only in 2001 and sold at a "low profile" till 2003. It's so LOW PROFILE that the Selling price's Unknown and no testcar/s was/were loaned out to Car Journalists. In 2003, it's sold for RM79,900 as a 2002 model to in a limited numbers. Therefore, it's Quite HARD to find a used example in Malaysia. The "Protege" sedan yes, BUT the Hatchback NO. I came across 2 units over the past 10 issues of Motortrader. A RED 2001 model for RM29,800 and Blue 2002/03 model for RM34,800.

As it's HARD to find a unit to test, as usual, I sourced from outside reviews. Again, it's a "SUPERTEST" from GOAUTO Australia. And 4 owner's review from "". Enjoy!

Source: GoAuto Australia

SUPERTEST: Mazda 323 Astina 1.6i Hatchback

Model release dates: September 1998 - June 2002


MAZDA'S 323 Astina hatchback belongs to the new school of thinking that has swept though the Japanese company in the last few years. Eschewing the avant garde shapes of the early 1990s it tends towards the practical, "look, gaining in passenger space and comfort at the same time. The well-proven driveline and suspension systems are competent if not inspiring and the voluminous hatchback lines make it a totally different proposition to its slinky predecessor

Previous Model

Mazda 323 Astina BA
July 1994-September 1998
Mazda's 323 has been a familiar face since 1977 and the sleek BA series was arguably the best looking ever. Available as a sedan or five-door hatch and offering 1.8-litre four-cylinder or 2.0-litre V6 power, the front-drive 323 remains a solid used car proposition.

The Car

VIEWED in isolation, the Astina is a pleasant looking little roundback hatch with a cheeky stance and distinctive Mazda styling cues. However, it replaced a car that had gained widespread admiration for its sleek, sportscar looks and in some people's eyes, suffers for the comparison. But Mazda's intention was to make the latest generation Astina a more mainstream and comfortable car with appeal spread across a wide audience.

The Car - Seat Plan

THE emphasis in the latest 323 has been to generate more space and flexibility for the five passengers. For a start, the combined passenger space and luggage area is 92mm longer than its predecessor. The front seat hip point is 54mm higher, meaning extended visibility for the driver, and the front seat slide range is 15mm greater in the forward direction and 5mm greater in the backward direction. Each hip point has also been pushed 15mm further outward giving more space and enabling a wider centre console. The rear seats fold 60/40 to increase luggage capacity. Rear seat legroom is increased by the relocation of the front seat's rear mountings from the side sills and tunnels. Rear seat headroom and shoulder room is improved overall by a massive 50mm.

The Car - Seats

THERE'S been plenty of thought put into ensuring the 323 offers the seat comfort and space now expected of a quality small car. Velour cloth seat trim and door inserts are a cut above the norm in the small-car class and driver comfort and visibility is aided by seat cushion height adjustment that can now travel 37mm. The steering wheel is also tilt-adjustable. The rear seats, also in velour trim, are split 60/40 with both the (removable) seat base and seat back folding for a large, flat area which also creates a barrier between the front seats and the luggage compartment.

The Car - Dash

THE 323 has a neat dash presentation with an interesting dimple effect that - alongside the velour door trim - serves to break the monotony of plastic from end to end. The instrumentation, which includes speedo, tacho, temperature gauge and low fuel warning light, is a typical example of Mazda's commitment to user-friendliness - the vital gauges are uncluttered and easy to read at a glance. Meanwhile, the glovebox has a handy 8.5-litre capacity and both front and rear doors have map pockets. There's also a side box next to the dash for sunglasses or a mobile phone.
Did you know?
The current Ford Laser is a clone of the 323, and one of the more recent examples of the Ford-Mazda product sharing program

The Car - Controls

LIGHTS, wipers and blinkers are all controlled from two steering column stalks, with the latter on the right-hand side for easy use by Australian drivers. The windscreen wipers have two speeds plus an intermittent control. A lever for releasing the boot and fuel filler cap is provided. There are also useful storage spaces at close promimity to the driver - the centre console, for example, can hold at least seven CDs and has two cupholders, with the right-hand cupholder a larger size for drink bottles.

The Car - Wheels/tyres

THE Astina 1.6 rides on 14x5.5-inch steel wheels and is fitted with 175/65R14 tyres. The Astina 1.8 is the only model with standard 14-inch alloy wheels. It uses wider 185/65R14 tyres.
Did you know?
The R360 Coupe, Mazda's first two-door passenger car, was introduced in 1960

The Car - Luggage

THE 323 Astina has 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks that allow flexible use of the available space. An underfloor compartment is incorporated in the luggage area for extra storage. While a remote hatch opening is provided from the driver's seat, the tailgate has an outer handle - a handy feature not often found in small hatches originating from Asia.
Did you know?
The Astina body has 10 per cent higher bending rigidity and 30 per cent higher torsional rigidity compared to the previous generation

The Car - What's changed

THE current crop of 323 Astinas have a reduced overall length to keep the appearance compact and athletic but more interior space has also been found to improve occupant and luggage space. Revisions to both four-cylinder engines are claimed to have improved fuel economy, while substantial noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction measures were also implemented. A minor styling update introduced in late 1999 included a body coloured front grille, brushed aluminium gearshift knob and steering wheel logo - the latter two are traits that help separate the Mazda interior from its Ford (Laser) clone.
Did you know?
Road noise in the current generation 323 was reduced by copious application of damping materials to the floor

The Car - Climate control

THE 323 introduces an interesting variation on the typical rotary dial temperature controls, with the centre fan dial downsized dramatically. The aim was to improve sight-unseen operation of the oft-used blower, however large fingers could have some difficulty with the layout. Air-conditioning is standard on 323, with the system featuring an anti-bacterial evaporator. The HVAC system also has a pollen filter.

The Car - Sound system

ALL 323 models have a four-speaker CD radio-cassette with digital clock as standard, with the head unit positioned high in the centre console to minimise eye movement away from the road. While the 1.6 Astina uses a single-slot CD system, the 1.8 version gets an uprated six-disc stereo. The (manual) radio aerial for both is mounted in the driver's side pillar.
Did you know?
Introduced in 1997, the current Mazda symbol has a "V" in the centre of the "M" that spreads out like an opening fan, representing the creativity, the sense of mission, the gentleness and flexibility, the resoluteness and vitality that Mazda likes to think it represents

The Car - Security

REMOTE central locking is now standard across the range. The door locking system enables the side doors and liftgate/trunk lid to be locked simultaneously. The standard engine immobiliser will disable the fuel and ignition system if a thief attempts to use any key other than a Mazda key. The use of a challenge-and-response system makes it extremely difficult to steal the car using a duplicate key. A steering shaft declutching device prevents the steering lock from breaking if a thief applies significant torque to the steering wheel.

Interior space, on-road competence, build quality

Choppy low-speed ride, average performance of 1.6-litre version

Our Opinion

By GAUTAM SHARMA 05/07/1999

MAZDA'S 323 Astina was introduced in September 1998 and offers a useful blend of style, space and practicality in a crisp handling package.

As part of Mazda's cost-cutting rationalisation program, the entire 323 range sits on the current 626 wheelbase, sharing major engineering components. This is not bad thing because it opened up a little more room for movement in the design of the 323 range.

As a result, both passenger and luggage space have been increased.

Externally, the new Astina bears absolutely no resemblance to its predecessor and is closer in concept to the 121 Metro in terms of its more upright shape and accommodating interior. Unlike the last Astina, it is focussed on passenger comfort rather than style.

The front end incorporates Mazda's new corporate nose, which features a "smiley" grille and edge-style headlamps.

The Astina is offered with a choice of 1.6 or 1.8-litre engines, both of which can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

All models in the 323 range have moved downmarket to stay competitive in an increasingly cut-throat segment.

The newcomers are cheaper than their predecessors, taking into account that air-conditioning is now standard across the range.

The entry-level Astina is powered by a 1.6-litre engine that produces 78kW at 5500rpm and 145Nm at 4000rpm. It features twin-overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder to maximise efficiency.

On the road, the smooth and willing powerplant provides respectable performance, although it needs a decent dose of revs to deliver its best.

While not offering an abundance of low-down torque, the engine makes up for it by remaining relatively quiet and refined even when extended to the redline.

The 1.8-litre 92kW engine offers appreciably more grunt, but this needs to be weighed up against the price penalty it attracts.

Power is relayed to the front wheels by a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.

The manual gearbox is light and slick to use and the clutch is similarly user-friendly. This is just as well as the relative lack of low-down torque in the 1.6 means fairly frequent gear changes are the order of the day when driving around town.

The optional four-speed automatic works quite well in most circumstances, although it has tendency to hunt between gears when negotiating twisty country roads.

Astina's all-independent suspension delivers a ride/handling balance that matches or exceeds all its rivals, barring perhaps the Holden Astra. It has smoothed and refined many of the rough edges of the previous series.

Enthusiastic drivers are well catered for by the Astina's crisp handling and sharp turn-in. The well-balanced chassis is complemented by power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering that is nicely weighted and offers a high level of feedback.

Perhaps the only criticism that can be levelled at the Astina's suspension is in relation to its low-speed ride, which tends to be slightly choppy over even minor surface irregularities.

The brakes are firm and progressive.

Mazda has adhered to its new-found conservatism in the Astina's dash layout, which is neat and uncluttered, yet uninspiring.

The instruments are clearly marked and easy to read at a glance. All the switchgear is also within easy reach of the driver.

A distinctive feature is the centre console, which is trimmed in an unusual dimpled plastic material.

The standard of fit and finish is generally good - both inside and out - although a rattle emanated from the dashboard in the test car.

The velour-trimmed seats are comfortable and supportive and there is ample head and leg room for both front and rear seat passengers.

Even though the Astina is shorter than its predecessor, it offers more luggage space than before.

The 60/40 split-fold rear seat enables the loading area to be used to full capacity. With the rear seats folded down, the hatchback offers enough room to swallow a mountain bike - with both wheels attached.

Loading heavy suitcases into the back is not too taxing as the hatch lid opens down to bumper level.

Visibility is exemplary and parking the Astina is easy.

The base model Astina comes with air-conditioning, central locking, power steering, velour seats, a four-speaker stereo, engine immobiliser and driver's airbag.

The 1.8-litre version gains alloy wheels, power windows, a passenger airbag, remote central locking, electrically adjustable mirrors, better seat trim, colour-keyed door handles and a chrome tailpipe extension.

The Mazda 323 Astina is a competent package with no glaring deficiencies. It is stylish, well-built and quite comprehensively specified.

Dynamically, it matches most of its rivals, barring perhaps the Holden Astra, which is arguably the benchmark in the category.

Its overall competence makes it one of the better choices in the $20,000-plus segment for small sedans.

Mechanical - Plan views

THE 323 uses a front, transversely mounted inline four-cylinder engine of either 1.6 or 1.8-litre capacity which drives the front wheels.

Mechanical - Engine

THE 1.6-litre double overhead camshaft 16-valve powerplant is mounted transversely at the front and drives the front wheels. The engine generates 78kW at 5500rpm and 145Nm at 4500rpm. New to Australia, the ZMD engine is claimed to have improved fuel efficiency. The Astina 1.6 manual returns fuel economy figures of 8.0l/100km around town and 6.0l/100km on the highway. The auto returns 9.0l/100km and 6.6l/100km. The 323 uses normal unleaded fuel.

Mechanical - Suspension

THE 323 suspension system utilises a MacPherson strut arrangement at the front and MacPherson struts with twin-trapezoidal links at the rear. The lightness and rigidity of the front suspension is maximised by 68mm diameter pipe for the front cross-members, single lower arm structure made possible by the use of high-tensile steel and vertically aligned bushings on lower arms. The rear suspension has been seen in previous 323 generations. Front and rear dampers utilise ultra-low-speed valves to optimise trade-off between ride comfort and handling stability. Moreover, vertical alignment of the front lower arms' rear bushing axes reduces vibration inputs to the body and helps reduce road noise.
Did you know?
The front roll centre is lower than previous model, while rear roll centre is higher - Mazda claims this results in improved roadholding and high speed stability

Mechanical - Transmission

A FIVE-SPEED manual transmission is standard across the 323 range and is a carry-over from the previous generation. The optional electronically-controlled four-speed automatic, on the other hand, is all-new. The auto utilises an electric throttle valve arrangement and a new clutch control system.
Did you know?
Nickel-plated steel with an organic resin coating is used for outer and underside panels to ensure maximum resistance to corrosion

Mechanical - Brakes

BRAKING power in the Astina 1.6 comes via power-assisted solid discs at the front and drums at the rear. By comparison, the Astina 1.8 is equipped with discs all-round. Front brake pads are now a high-friction design for improved effectiveness and feel, while the rigidity of the front brake caliper has been increased. Anti-lock brakes are standard on the 1.8 model, but unavailable on the 1.6.

Did you know?
Mazda finally entered the small four-wheel drive boom in 2001 with the launch of the Tribute, another Ford-Mazda product-sharing exercise (Ford has the Escape)

Mechanical - Steering

ENGINE-SPEED sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion steering is standard in all 323 models. The rack mounting arrangement has changed from clamps to bushings for greater rigidity, and a sheetmetal support yoke is used on the steering gear mechanism to reduce friction. The gear ratio has also reduced from 17:1 to 15:1 for "brisker" directional control. The turning circle is up slightly to 10.4m.


A DRIVER'S airbag is standard in the 1.6-litre Astina, while the 1.8 version gets dual airbags. All outboard passengers have lap-sash seatbelts and adjustable headrests, however the centre rear makes do with an inferior lap belt only. Up front, the seatbelts are height adjustable but sadly do not have pretensioners. Like all passenger cars in the family, the body is designed in accordance with Mazda's Advanced Impact-energy Distribution and Absorption System and incorporates a rigid triple-H structure. In accordance with US head impact regulations, ribbed material is utilised in the front and centre pillar trim lining. Shock-absorbing pads are also concealed in the roof liner. The steering column features new mounting arrangement to ensure driver's airbag provides maximum protection in the event of a collision. Safety in a side-on collision aided by impact bars and rear door catcher pins.

Did you know?
The front pillar is known as the A-pillar, the centre the B-pillar - and so on, each additional pillar referred to with the subsequent letter of the alphabet



* Three years/unlimited km (Australia)


* 1598cc 4 valves per cylinder, in-line four-cylinder
*Electronic sequential fuel injection
*Bore x stroke: 78x83.6mm
*Compression ratio: 9:1
* Power: 78kW at 5500rpm
* Torque: 145Nm at 4000rpm


* Five-speed manual
* Four-speed auto
Gear ratios (automatic only)
1st: 2.826
2nd: 1.497
3rd: 1.000
4th: 0.725
Rev: 2.640
Final: 4.147


*Front ventilated discs, rear drums, servo assisted, Dual circuits


* Front: Independent MacPherson struts with coil springs
* Rear: Independent MacPherson struts with twin trapezoidal multilinks, antiroll bar


* Power-assisted rack and pinion
* Turning circle 10.4m


* Length: 4315mm
* Width: 1695mm
* Height: 1410mm
* Wheelbase: 2610mm
* Kerb weight: 1098kg (auto 1119kg)
*Fuel tank capacity: 55 litres

Top speed: 180km/h (112mph)
0-100km/h: 12.8 seconds (Auto)

FUEL Consumption:
*Fuel tank capacity: 55 litres
“The auto returns 9.0l/100km around town and 6.6l/100km on the highway.”


* Air-conditioning
* Central locking
* Power steering
* Four-speaker stereo
* Driver's airbag
* Velour seats
* Engine immobiliser
* Split-fold rear seats


END OF OWNER’S REVIEW. Like its predecessor, the 323F too has lots of modification options. Here’s sample units, members’ ride from

Picture montage above: Owner: Mark Tsang from Southend, Essex. GOLD Member

Picture montage above: GOLD MEMBER. Marcrs from United Kingdom

Pictures montage 3, James Micalef from Australia. Member,

Picture montage 4. Vincent “Ranger”. From The Netherlands. Member,

END OF A LONG REVIEW. Thanks for reading…

Auto International Magazine: January/February 2003 Buyer’s guide. Vol. 31 No 2. For more detailed specifications.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday...

Happy Birthday to ALL readers who were born on 13 August. Cheers...

Also, Happy 29th birthday, Jeff Lim. Happy birthday to "ME" (Ahem!), Happy birthday to "ME", Happy birthday to Jeff Lim. Happy Birthday to me/you...

Ps. will update tommorrow how I celebrate my Birthday today. My friends "belanja" (treat) me Pizza Hut... Here's the photos as promised...

Pepsi Galore. The 1st item served while waiting for Pizza. Followed by Mushroom Soup (not pictured).

The Pizzas arrived. after 15 minutes of wait. We ordered Large Hawaiian Chicken and 2 regular Thai Seafood and Island Supreme.

Enjoying the Pizza

My group of friends which participated in this birthday "Celebrations"

Preparing to "SABO'ed" me.

They "SABO" me. Forced me to Drink Pepsi + Tabasco + Salt + Sugar + Cheese. You know what? It actually taste good.