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A couple of months back I wrote about "Rejuvenating an old car - repairs on a Proton Wira 1.3 M". Well, I was having a chat with some of my friends, discussing the pros and cons of repairing and modifying old cars over buying new ones.

I feel that Malaysians in general take good care of their cars but once they pass a certain number of years, apart from irregular service, they kind of stop replacing worn out parts, there are dents and scratches everywhere, rust in various parts are left untreated, their headlight turn yellow with age, the bumpers are nearly falling off and the you tend to hit the speed bumps whenever you go over them as the shock absorbers are way past their due date.

The dilemma facing a lot of owners of old cars is that you do not want to repair/ replace the parts as "it is an old car" and you are thinking of upgrading to a newer car. But you continue driving the same car until one day, the bumper falls off or worse, breaks down in the middle of the highway. A friend was telling us that it would cost thousands to repair/replace everything in his old car which set me thinking: How much modifications/ improvements can you do on your car with just RM1000?

I was lucky I had the ideal car for this project - my dad's old Proton Wira Aeroback. Based on the Mitsubishi Lancer platform, this car is a favourite among car modification enthusiasts in Malaysia, mainly because of the wide range of accessories and aftermarket parts available and of course the affordability.

The car is still running beautifully without any major issues. As mentioned in my previous post, the timing belt had been changed last year and I recently had the shock absorbers and a few other parts changed. However, it was clear that the car had seen better days. The paint is pealing off on the rear bumper, the Proton logo in the front has also fallen off.

Of course I have to clarify that all the mods I plan to do are mostly remedial and/or aesthetic. I do not plan to do anything related to performance enhancement or the engine. I also plan to do most of the work myself whenever I can to reduce the cost and keep under the budget.

First of all, I had to think about all the parts which were essential. So I went about replacing the old wipers. I bought Genuine Bosch (BE17+BE20) Proton Wira ECO Wiper Blades for RM54 on Lazada. This is one of the things that we can do ourselves and do not need to go to a workshop for. This is not my first time and I had the new wipers on in a couple of minutes.

Next I sent the car off to painting specialist M. Spray Work in Taman Mayang Jaya and got the rear bumper painted. The big ugly patch on the bumper was really lowering the image of the car. That cost me RM200, which took a big chunk out of my small budget. However, Mr. Tan did a really good job and the bumper looks as good as new.

Before

After

Sometime back I had read an article on car soundproofing kits which helped to reduce vibrations and noise in the car. After a bit of searching online, I found a seller -Fsmotoersport on Lelong.com.my, selling soundproofing kits for Proton Wira cars. It cost me RM40 for the custom made bonnet soundproofing kit and it finally arrived day before yesterday. The pieces were custom cut to fit the spaces on the car bonnet and the experience was like doing a jigsaw puzzle as I had to figure out which piece went where. There was no need to use glue as the pieces were self adhesive with easy peel away backing and it was all done in less than half an hour. I was quite unsure whether it would work but was quite happy after driving around our neighbourhood. There is a noticeable reduction in the engine noise.
before



After

Of course, I also had to get a new emblem/logo to go on the front grill. The font looks quite plain without the logo. I initially thought of replacing it with the original "old" Proton logo - the one with a star and crescent moon but then while going through Lelong.com.my, found someone selling the new Proton Tiger logo/ emblem. Though it is meant for the Proton Iswara, I think it will fit perfectly on the Wira as well. It cost me RM19.90 and I am waiting for it to arrive.

All together I have now used a total of RM313.90 which leaves me with RM686.10 for other improvements.

What should I do next?

Read: Proton Wira modifications under RM1K project: Part 2

Different people buy cars for various reasons - for many a car is an extension of their self image - representing their lifestyle. Almost everyone I talk to has a dream car - one they aspire to even if they cannot afford it. However, there are also a lot of people for whom a car is just a machine useful to get from point A to point B. My dad happens to be one of them. He has been driving the same Proton Wira 1.3 manual transmission hatchback for more than 8 years now and asked him whether he wanted to update to a new car. He was not really keen.

He calls luxury cars, houses on wheels because with the price of some of the cars, you can actually buy a house.

He is really fond of the car and I am not surprised. The car has only done 127,800 Kms and recently had timing belt in the engine changes. He proudly mentioned that the car has not broken down even once and starts up immediately.

However, I was sure that the aging car was bound to have some problems and this was confirmed when I recently had it serviced at the local Proton Edar service centre near my house (SENAXIS Sdn Bhd). One of the tyres needed to be changed immediately as it was nearly bald. They also pointed out that several parts need to be replaced and even suggested that it be better to actually buy a new car. However, my dad was not having any of it - his reasoning was that the estimated total cost of the repairs was about RM1000 but to buy a new car would cost at least RM45000 for the Proton Persona 1.6 M version. This was because he does not want a small car and does not like the look of the Saga. I guess he does have certain preferences.

Anyway we decided to go ahead with the repairs and overall a total of 27 parts were replaced (big and small) and the overall damage came to RM1642.80 including tyre allignment (RM40), labour (RM250) and 6% tax (RM15).

The major parts included:

1. Insulator assys x2 = RM188.24
2. Rubber bump x 2 = RM151.56
3. Link control assy LH and RH = RM127.53 x 2
4. Shock absorbers assy RR, RH and LH = RM102.12 x2
5. Strut FR suspension LH and RH = RM185.07 x 2 (the costliest parts).

Other minor parts included rubber bumps, pads, tyre nuts, bushing coils, rubber stabilizers.

I know that official car service centres are more expensive but I choose to go there because I wanted genuine parts.

Do you think we could have got them cheaper elsewhere?

Anyway, I think we have extended the life of the old car for a few more years.

Proton Holdings Bhd today unveiled the Suprima S Standard model and made it more affordable with prices starting at RM69,438 for solid colour and RM69,888 for metallic painted cars. That's nearly RM7000 cheaper than the executive version which cost RM76,760.05 (Metalic) and RM76,410.05 (Solid) respectively.

However, in making this car more affordable, a number of safety features present in the Executive variant have been removed. The new car model has only 2 air bags - the side and curtain airbags have been removed. It also loses the TC (Traction Control), ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and hill hold features.

I wonder whether their ad may be misleading as removal of all these safety features may result in different NCAP ratings. Fortunately ABS With EBD is still present. The touch screen and GPS are gone as well and the steering wheel does not have paddle shifters or radio controls.


The headlights are no longers LEDs but the normal bulbs and you would have to adjust the side mirrors manually. Sometimes I am amazed when I remember that these features were standard on my old Volvo S40 which was more than 10 years old.

What message is Proton trying to tell its customers?

This will definitely not improve the perception that most consumers have about the national car brand.

Don't get me wrong. I have been a long time supporter of Proton and I even did my MBA dissertation on the national car. They have come a long way but is still in no position to compete with other brands if the Government policies were removed.

The new car is still not which I call "affordable" cheap and we recently bought the Proton Preve Premium version with all the features - all the bells and whistles - at almost the same price. With the cars getting cheaper and the variety of choices in the market, I forsee Proton coming up with a number of promotions to try and get rid of unsold stock in the near future.

The engine is still the same CamPro 1.6 Turbo engine with 7-speed ProTronic CVT. The car runs on 16" alloy wheels fitted with 205/55 tyres.

This new variant is available in five colours: Tranquility Black, Solid White, Genetic Silver, Atlantic Blue and Fire Red.

I was thankful that once we came back to Malaysia, a lot of people have been helping us out, especially our parents. Initially, we used my mother-in-law's old Proton Wira and later on was my dad's old Wira, which I am still using. Since both my wife and I are working and not at the same place, we needed to have two cars as I could not send and pick here up from her office. We start looking around for cars here and we decided to live within our means and set out a budget of RM 65000 for the new car. My wife also had one condition - that the car must be automatic as she was still recovering from her leg fracture. We also did not want a small Perodua car and we came up with a list of cars (in the so called popular B-segment) which we could buy with our limited budget, namely:

1. Honda City (starting at RM75800)
2. Toyota Vios (starting at RM73213)
3. Nissan Almera (starting at RM66827)and
4. Proton Preve (Starting RM61471)

Looking at the list, we realised that we could only afford the Proton and if we wanted a better car, we would have to increase our budget.
After driving a Volvo S40 in the UK for several years, we were not really looking forward to driving a Proton. However, the more research I did about the Proton Preve, the more impressed I was with the model. We went to see it at the Proton showroom near our house in Taman Megah, PJ and we decided that the Proton Preve Premium version was what we wanted. However, it was still beyond our budget at around RM72K (approx. £13650).

We were very fortunate because Proton suddenly announced a Merdeka/ Hari Raya discount of 5% across their complete range of models. This suddenly brought the Proton Preve Premium version within our range at around RM68,000 (solid colours) and really great value as it has loads of features not present in the basic Honda, Toyota and Nissan models. This includes a Turbo engine, touch screen with built-in sat-nav, 6 air bags, push button start, automatic lights and wipers, etc.. The offer also included 3 years free service and range of gifts including free in-car wifi hub with access for a year, free SmartTAG, full tank fuel, etc.

So that's the story in brief about how my wife ended up with a Proton Preve 1.6 CFE CVT Premium car powered by the Campro CFE 1561cc turbo engine with 7 speed ProTronic transmission and mounted on great looking 17" alloy wheels with 215/45 R17 tyres.


Watch out for a more detailed review of the car later.

(updated 22 October 2014).

Had the chance to try out the new Proton Iriz a few days after it was launched. There were three variants at the showroom at  Taman Megah, PJ, near my house in Malaysia.

Quite impressed - Proton has indeed come a long way.

The green one is the manual variant.












There was an automatic white car outside (for test drive). Loved the sound of the exhaust. They have tuned it to sound like a much more powerful sports car.







The grey one is the premium variant with six air bags, rear cameras, touch screen GPS, turbo engine and loads of other extras.





The second generation Proton Perdana was unveiled last year and is only available exclusively to Malaysian Government officials. The car is available in 2.0 and 2.4 litre models and according to reports, is based on the 8th generation Honda Accord.

Saw one a few days back in PJ and it really looks nice.
Stuck at traffic lights when I took this picture.


2014 Proton Perdana Front Three Quarter CC BY-SA 3.0
Paul Tan paultan.org's contribution to Wikimedia

Malaysian car company is launching their new compact car the Proton Iriz today. Blogger Paul Tan is streaming the launch live.

Even before the launch of the car, it has received five-star rating in Adult Occupant Protection and four-star rating in Child Occupant Protection by the New Car Assessment Programme for Southeast Asian Countries (Asean NCAP).

The car will come in 3 Trim lines and 8 variants and in 7 colours.

Prices of the car (on-the-road) will be between RM42,438 and RM62,888.


Wanted a small, affordable second car for city driving in Malaysia.
The maximum budget is RM 40K (approx £7298).

If I had that budget here in the UK, I would probably go for a second hand car and would have several options.

However, in Malaysia there are only 2 options available, namely the Perodua ViVA (Yes! That is how the name is written) with prices starting from RM 24,936.45 (for the ViVA 660 BX - Manual, solid white colour) and the Proton Saga with prices from RM 33,426 (for the Saga SV Manual, solid white colour). The SV stands for Super Value.

Dimension wise, the Perodua ViVA (3575 x 1475 x 1530) is slightly smaller but taller than the Proton Saga (4278 x 1680 x 1520).

Looking at the websites of the two Malaysian car companies, I am quite impressed with the information provided from engine specs in detail to the various accessories available.

Though there is nearly RM 8000 difference in prices between the two cars, the Viva seems quite underpowered even for a city car with an engine displacement of only 659 cc. If I choose the ViVA 850 - Manual (847cc), prices goes up to RM 32,756.45.

I am not too concerned about the maximum speed but I am definitely interested in the fuel efficiency.

The Perodua website does not tell us anything about the fuel efficiency, other than mentioning that the cars have been equipped with "Dynamic Variable Valve Timing (DVVT), Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) and Electronic Fuel Injection  (EFI)".

The Proton Saga has a CamPro IAFM, 4-cylinder, DOHC 16V 1332cc engine and according to their website, the fuel consumption at @ 90km/h (approx. 56m/h) is 5.7 litres.

So if you had RM 40000 to spend on a car, I would definitely recommend the Proton Saga.




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