'89 Ford Festiva

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HermitJohn, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I needed something reliable with superior gas mileage for some travelling. Picked this thing up cheap at auction. Engine runs like a top and still quiet. Air conditioner still works. Fairly comfortable to sit in to drive, maybe even more so than my little truck. Drove well bringing it home. Even went up steep paved hill in 3rd which was a very good sign. See some maintenence stuff it needs like new cv boots. Luckily joints havent started clicking yet. (Why doesnt anybody ever check their cv boots?)

    What I wondered is does anybody out there have experience with one of these. Whats it's weaknesses other than being able to be totalled by a crash with a bicycle? What should I be watching for mechanically? Does timing belt busting instantly destroy this Mazda designed engine? My thinking is probably best to just replace timing belt since I dont know history on this car. It doesnt look like one I would want to do alongside the hiway even if engine is non-interference type.
     
  2. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    no personal experience - do know that ford dealerships saw very few in the service department while under warranty -
    would guess, if it has been given routine service all along, you'll get a lot of miles out of it -
     

  3. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

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    HermitJohn, I can tell you the experience I had with our 93 Festiva was great. I bought it on clearance and drove it just over 225k with just the basic stuff done to it, oil changes, tires, brakes,belts and cv joints. Hope you have as good as luck as I did.

    Nik
     
  4. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    keep its oil clean, add a mechanical water temp gauge and NEVER let it overheat or its toast.

    keep it happy it will run forever. Ive looked tat a few to buy with 300k on thier clocks and still running ok.

    my nephew had one it was a really nice little car... his GF killed it overheating it. (blew a hose).

    he did have to replace the time belt too, it was hard but no propblems before or after.
     
  5. havellostmywings

    havellostmywings Well-Known Member

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    we had a 93 Festiva.........

    drove it places only 4x4's dare tread... some of the looks we got were priceless..

    drove it from san francisco to reno with a broken rear axle..
    if you know hwy 80 between sacramento to reno at all......... well lets say its STEEP.. and we could pass cars doing 70 mph plus..

    we kept it tuned, fluids checked, oil in it..

    we lost ours.. due to finances ... the transmission went out after 150000 miles and we didnt have the money at the time to fix it, was easier and cheaper to buy another car.. but.. if we ever have the opportunity to buy another in decent condition... I do believe we will buy one...

    OH and btw... we are Not SMALL people and we fit comfortably..

    and great gas mileage..

    Lynn in Texas
     
  6. tprice

    tprice Tp in sc

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    HermitJohn: I have a 93 with 188,800 miles. Its a great little car. As noted earlier, they will get you out of places some 4x4s can only dream of. I get about 42mph around town. The Festiva is cheap to drive, easy to work on, and I can haul 8' lumber with all windows and hatches closed. What more could I ask for. Enjoy. tprice in sc.
     
  7. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Alright then, thanks folks. Sounds like with little care, this will do what I need. And apparently just broke in at 119k. :) Its not great on gravel as I expected what with the 12inch tires and all, but it has a low first gear and made it up my driveway without losing an oil pan or anything. I doubt it will make it when drive gets muddy, but few 2wds can and then only if you abuse them.

    I was really wanting a 4wd Tracker/Sidekick but they are much more popular and holding their price higher (for their condition) than I wanted to give.
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    After doing bunch of maintenence that previous owner(s) neglected, been driving it around. I like it. Engine is ok, oil pressure gauge I installed says 20psi at hot idle and 50+psi at speed. When I installed new crank and cam seals and new timing belt, noticed crankshaft has some end play. Not much but noticable by eye. Even so, with oil pressure its showing, would guess at least 50k miles left in it. Shame these engines are so pricey to rebuild. Economical, high ground clearance for a modern car, and fun. Hope it does last a good long time. Lot more fun to drive than my Arrow pickup.
     
  9. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    John,dont know the car but....
    From what I hear,a bad cv boot usually means the joint will die,unless you catch it fast.Most cars water/oil loss/ or dirt in cv = death,sooner or later.I would replace the half shafts with rebuilds,about 79.00 with both Cvs installed/per side.Thats a good price for what you get!Change belt/hoses,cheap and not worth a winter roadside repair.Just depends on your budget and comfort level I guess.Have a next door neighbor with a festiva,she got a lot of miles out of it,sold it to neighbors daughter,its still going about neighborhood.Repairs were high at the garage though,must be a lot better for us mechanical types.I agree,those japanese engines are disposable,the used engines from japan though are very good deals.Used em on my old B-1600 mazda truck,which became a B-1800,then a B-2000.Truck finally just died from exhaustion!Inspections and taxes on old cars there make a 5 year old car not worth keeping on the road,lots of good used motors therefore exported to USA(So I heard thats how it works)
    BooBoo
     
  10. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Generally I hate Fords. Except.....

    We had a new 93 Festiva. Wow, mileage was great but best of all it tested well on crash tests. Good thing cause in 12 months when we made the last payment (in 94) we totalled the dingdang thing by hitting a deer at 65 MPH on the highway late at night. I sit CLOSE to the steering wheel and neither of us had a scratch or bump on the head. But it hurt cause it was totalled and of course not worth what it was really worth to us.

    Our engine was made in Korea interestingly enough. Don't you love that the tailgate is all level when you go to load it?

    Enjoy it, you got a deal.
     
  11. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I've been very lucky in past putting new boot/grease on axle with bad boot on front drives and got away with it. This time mixed luck. Drivers side outer joint already has started clicking on sharp turns despite new grease and boot. Passenger axle is still ok. Can get another axle at Autozone for $50. Not that hard to change myself. I dont understand people not checking things and changing oil. Car will last longer and be lot more reliable. Their money though. The only extraordinary expensive thing on this car I have run across so far is lower ball joint. Like many Ford cars, it is part of control arm so you have to buy whole assembly. Cost me $55 each and both were bad with dust boot ripped and dry as bone (rusty) with no way for anybody to have lubed them (no zerks). I must be getting old as I just bought new ones without even considering how to adapt cheaper ball joint off something else to Festiva control arm.

    As to engine, yes but who knows what will be available when this car needs one. It uses a Mazda B3 engine, same family as the common Mazda B6 used in everything from early GLC to 323 to Protege and Miata. The later ones have dang dual overhead cams and very complex. Found websites with people hotrodding Festivas with these bigger Mazda engines. Bolt right in if you can figure out the computer wiring and fuel system changes. Smaller single cam engine like it has now is fine by me. Peppy enough and i like the gas mileage.
     
  12. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    CV axles for 50 bucks super deal,a rip on those ball joints though.Plus autozone loans tools like pullers/tie rod forks,etc,for a deposit,no charge at all.And on the sensors,if you are OBD(FYI,guess you arent)borrow the reader at autozone and post to a forum for your car,and a member will tell exactly what to replace based on the code you get,the reader will just give a generic description of code and thats not much help.

    I just saved a couple hundred by posting p-1269 at vw vortex,its was a 10 temp sensor,a 200 dollar dealer repair!So Im learning we can even work on the computer stuff on our vehicles economically.
    Enjoy the new little buggy,sounds like you are having fun,nothing beats a bargain,eh?

    BooBoo
     
  13. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Since we are talking disposable motors,if not for the electronics conversion problems,dont rule out a more 'complex ' engine in your future cars.These newer motors are fine pieces of engineering,nothing to be afraid of if we are on a replace vrs repair mindset.Reliable and peppy,and economical.The computer/sensors are nothing to fear either,you CAN diagnose(and replace with new/used parts fairly cheaply) these as a home mechanic.I just did it,and I would rate me as a 2-3 on a ten scale as a mechanic.I would hate to try a rebuild with my knowledge, though I can R/R about anything.

    Did a web search,the B-6 is available as a carb or efi for 500 bucks and is a bolt on replacement for the festiva b-3 1.3 engine.These engines come complete and ready to bolt in,though they only warrant the long block.Both times i did it,I got complete motors,right down to the alternator and carb and exhaust manifold,and didnt change a thing,just unbolt complete engine assembly and bolt in new,put on wires,and away you go.These motors run like a car with 20,000 miles on em,clean and rock solid!
    Take care John,
    BooBoo
     
  14. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I dont like working on complex engines and busy engine compartments, many times you cant even stick your hand in where it needs to go. Where did you find the $500 b6? Rebuilt ones go close to $1500.

    By way the Festiva continued on into the Aspire. Both made by Kia of South Korea. 2001-2004 they made the Kia Rio as a further developement of the Aspire. Bigger engine trying to increase sales appeal so mileage sucks compared to Festiva/Aspire. Kia in meantime was bought by Hyundai, the Kia Rio name lives on, but is now clone of base model Hyundai starting 2005.
     
  15. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Did a web search google used japanese engines.Also the auto newspaper,recycler things list em like crazy out here.Yeah,its so tight in those new motors,but if they are reliable......But CRAZY tight.Yep,the used ones are better than rebuilds vrs. quality control as far as I think,they are OUTSTANDING bargains.Out here it looks like they are steam cleaned,then they put what looks like varnish around the oil pan seat and valve covers,there are NO leaks.Google search says figure they are 40,000 mile motors.Only reason my B-1800 died was I overheated it,it was on way to new job,so job vrs motor,I chose job.Then put in B-2000 motor,that was still a champ when rear end finally blew out on freeway,and tranny was dying,I took off my tires at a gas station and called pick a part to tow it away.Sure got my money out of that old truck.
    Interesting the festiva history.
    BooBoo
     
  16. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I just got rid of my '88 Festiva. I miss it still. The transmission went out, and I figured I really wanted a car with A/C. Sold it for $500, as is. The body was still in good shape, even after the neighbor kids rolled it over on its top one night as a prank.

    Didn't worry about driving it in the winter. I figured if I went in a ditch, I'd pick it up, blow it off, and set it back on the road. :)

    Chris
     
  17. fellini123

    fellini123 Well-Known Member

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    Had a 90 Festiva!!! LOVED IT!!! It was a great car!!! Drove it all over, and boy did it have some get up and go!! But never got a ticket. I guess when the police would radar me and the radar gun would read 95 they would look and see it was a festiva and take the gun in for repair!!! :haha:
    Unfortunatley DS stole it and totalled it. I was so sad. I would love to buy another one, but people that have them dont want to let them go!!! I think I know why!!
    Alice in Virginia
     
  18. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Long trip last three days and not lick of trouble out of Festiva. 44mpg at 65mph. Alas neglect of previous owner(s) showed in it using quart oil every 500 miles.

    Amazingly comfortable on long trip. I've been in big cars that werent as comfortable. Who knew that going speed on interstate is 85 to 90. Apparently speed limit is a joke now days. Interstate is now like the autobahn. Shoot on whole trip think I didnt pass over half dozen cars with me going 65 and everything passed me. And semi getting to my back bumper before moving over to pass is very unnerving in such a small car. Especially at night.

    I bet this thing could get 50+mpg with fresh engine and a 5 spd. (It only has a 4spd so gets really buzzy past 65.) By way gasoline ranged $1.81 to $2.04. I was willing to pay few pennies more and get gas in rural areas rather than leave the freeway in urban areas.
     
  19. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    That is some super MPG!
    BooBoo
     
  20. bub

    bub Member

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    I had one of these and they will hold up to a lot of abuse. It was in 2 front end collisions that should have been totals but came back kicking. My only reccomendation would be wider tires for the winter, they made a drastic improvement.
    Mine finaly died when I got T Boned by a F150 doing 60. I came out with only a scratch. One of the safest cars I ever drove.

    BTW only the last accident was my fault. The others were while the car was parked on the street and 2 different drunks decided to park in the front seat.
    BUB