The History of Our Family Car

Our First Family Car: TOYOTA CAROLLA 1500 SE - E70 series (1981 - circa 1984)

Orthodox, rear-wheel drive, four-door sedan with 1500cc 3A-U SOHC engine and 3-speed automatic transmission.

"A wolf in sheep's clothing" : TOYOTA CARINA Twin Cam Turbo (1984 - circa 1988)

Orthodox four-door sedan with 1.8 littre twin-cam turbo-charged (self-manufactured by TOYOTA, not Garrett's) 3T-GTEU engine (160ps), rear-wheel drive and manual 5-speed transmission, some would call her "a wolf in sheep's clothing"

Present from retiring father Tatsuo: TOYOTA CROWN Royal Saloon S110 (1988-1989)

I transiently used Japanese prestige car, with 4-speed automatic transmission.

In the background, Yokohama Bay Bridge is under construction, whose construction (cable-stayed bridge) started in 1980 and was completed in 1989.

Our Friend: NISSAN PATHFINDER (TERRANO, 1989.9. - 2006.12.)

With our Nissan Pathfinder, (hopefully Pathological Evidence Finder), the first generation model designed in California, on which we are making a short domestic trip. Please pay attention to the new tires!

Firestone brand, ATX

"Mr. (former) President George Bush, Japan-US Structural Impediment Initiative (SII) worked so well that almost every US product including auto parts is available in Tokyo at reasonable prices now."
(ADDENDUM: All Firestone Radial ATX and Radial ATX II tires in size P235/75R15 produced in North America, including Mexico, are being voluntarily recalled in August 2000. Those Firehawk ATX of this picture are embossed as 30x9.50R15LT. Ummm,,no problem, hopefully)
(ADDENDUM - September 3 2000: The U.S. government recommended on September 1 that motorists replace 1.4 million Firestone tires that have not yet been recalled by the manufacturer, the list of which includes Firehawk 30X9.50R15LT + Plant Code VD. I try to locate the DOT code to determine where my tire was built. The DOT number is located on the blackwall side of the tire. Finally, I found it. DOT VD66. Bingo,,,!)
(ADDENDUM - July 24 2004: The Firestone tires are finally replaced with Yokohama Geolander A/T + II at a local garage, after regular check-up reveal ominous fissures near the inner and outer edges of the lateral surfaces. These tires were not recalled with mandate by Bridgestone Co. in Japan, maintaining "judging from the fact that most of the accidents occurred in Southern states (of the US), we estimate that driving in high temperate, at high speeds and under tire pressure are factors in these accidents.")

BTW, our Nissan Pathfinder has been alive and well with almost no serious problems to the V6 Otto-cycle NA engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, electronics/alternator, engine oil circulation, and suspension until December 2006, when we finally say goodbye to loyal Nissan Terrano (Japanese name) at odometer 65,898 km (circa 40,000 miles). This durable car served us for over 18 years, with no extra and unexpected expenditure and accident. Thank you for your unfailing loyalty. We will miss you.

Newcomer: SAAB 900S TALLADEGA (2006.12. - )

After my family is shrinking as kids are taking off to their own flight path, I change car to a bit sophisticated and compact 5-door hatchback
(Model Year 1997, second-hand, but only 16,700 km at odometer)

Inline 4-cylinder, 2.3 litter, 16-valve NA DOHC engine (B234i, Opel/GM), 4-speed automatic transmission, with Bosch electric components.

205/50R16 Michelin tyre on BBS 6 1/2J16 cast wheels.

I love "black panel" switch for instrumental lights during night driving and center-console-mounted ignition switch, peculiar to the Saab, which is actually an acronym from "Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget" which means "Swedish Aircraft Company."
They insist "Born From Jets", i.e., J29, Lansen, Draken, Viggen, Gripen,,,,
North European white leather seats are of fine quality, too.

Engraved Serial Number (chassis number) by the manufacturer (Y: North Europe, S: Sweden, 3: Saab Automobile AB,
DD: 900S, 5: 5 door, 8: 4-speed automatic, B: 2.3i, X: ?, V: 1997, 2: location of manufacture = Trollhattan, 046822: manufacturer's serial number)

Parked at my weekend retreat in Hayama of Miura Peninsula


Repair of the front emblem and renewal of tyres in the summer of 2009

In the spring of 2009, I noticed film-peeling injury of the front emblem,

In July, I called Yanase Global Motors (03-5440-5334) for parts, and they very kindly responded with quick delivery using courier service (Parts# 4522844 for emblem and 6915706 for bush, costing 3,170 yen including sales tax). The practical problem was that the front bonnet is composed of two-layer iron panel, and it is closed. So, I draw a circle on the internal panel using a pair of compasses, and bore holes one by one using electric drill,

and after tedious work, I finally did it!

Now, the peeled emblem is detached (right, drill is on the left).

The front proud emblem is perfectly replaced and restored.

As a finishing stroke, I fair the punched hole, using cheap rotary rasp units (300 + 700 Yen!),

I polish and smooth the edge using them, in order for techs not to injure their fingers when they grope for an opener of the bonnet (compare with the image fourth up)

Finally, I splay chassis-black paint for corrosion proof of the cutting edge, after complete masking with paper.

(PS: If a hole-saw component for the drill is available to exactly cut a circular hole, it is better, although it may a bit expensive)

The Michelin tyres have shown many cracks for a while, maybe after over-10 year-duration of service.

Now, I replaced the aged tyres with new Yokohama DNA 205/50R16 at the local shop called TYRE SHOP Goodman in South Ohtsuka, Toshima-ku, on July 16 2009.

Chrome mesh grille installed in the autumn of 2009

I pick up mesh grille package at e-bay and fairly easily facelift her front ;)

(Compare with the image of the original grill)

Detailed images: 1.
Package delivered only after one week with USPS tracking number, purchased at e-bay from automotiveauthority at $23.99 (item) + $23 (transpacific shipping). 2. Detached original grille and newly installed chrome mesh grille.3. Enlarged view of newly installed chrome mesh grille.

Interior lamp changed to LED in December of 2010

It is noticed after passing the compulsory automobile inspection that
the lamp on the anterior ceiling is broken. I survey the net auction and find LED-type replacement unit - Parts-1, Parts-2, Parts-3 - at 840 Yen (+ SH 210 Yen). Workflow is quite simple - Remove the cover, Install the lamp unit (just fit!), ditto, Looking good, and pack the unit to the ceiling again.

Repair of the hood emblem in December of 2012 (second time)

In the winter of 2012, I noticed recurrence of film peeling-off problem of the front emblem, since the summre of 2009. This time I procured 3 emblems on e-bay (sender: focuslima in Portugal), and when compressing the emblem I added quick-drying glue at the external margin of the circle.


Repair paint of add-on mesh grille in July of 2013

In the summer of 2013, rust is becoming unbearably conspicuous of mesh grille, so, I painted it silver with brush. Firstly I masked with tape (this photo is taken after painted, so rust is not seen anymore), then painted with brush, using cheap paint can and brush purchased at near-by home center several years ago, mission accomplished, voila! now masking tapes are peeled off, ditto close up view


Odometer hits 80,000 km on July 5 2015

Instrumental panel


Electric polisher applied in July 12 2015

By way of experiment, I polish Saab with AstroProducts polisher with compound (pink) and wax (black). On July 12, as a preliminary research, I polished the engine hood (bonnet).

Tyres replaced on March 17 2016

Aged tyres are replaced once again to new Yokohama DNA Ecos ES300 205/50R16 87V as usual at the local shop called TYRE SHOP Goodman in South Ohtsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, on March 17 2016 (formerly replaced at the same shop on July 16 2009).


Repair paint of add-on mesh grille on March 20 of 2016, once again since the summer of 2013

Mesh grille is multifocally covered with rust again, so, I treat patches of rust with (1) clear anti-rust primer paint firstly, then (2) silver paint - Photo-1: Masking with tape (see dotted rust), Photo-2: After clear primer is applied, silver is painted with brush, Photo-3: Finished, Photo-4: Masking tape removed.


Odometer reached 90,000 km in December of 2016

I noticed the distance recorder indicates over 90,000 km - Photo-1 on December 4 2016.


Alive and well in December of 2017

With backdrop of Mt. Fuji across Sagami Bay, at Mitohama Beach, in the morning of December 11 2017 (Odometer 98,000 km - Photo-1.


The odometer exceeds 100,000 km in February of 2018

The odometer exceeds 100,000 km on February 5 2018 - Photo-1 at 99,999km, Photo-2 at 100,000km, Photo-3 on the Bayside Express Way (Wangan-line) at Haneda Airport.

The fuel cap of my Saab 900s (1996 model) is lately being damaged (left green), so I procured the equivalent part (right black one) from the USA on e-bay (ID: qeautoparts1). These parts are very expensive in Japan, but thanks to internet, I can get very cheap (1,263 Yen + Shipping 1,150 Yen) very quickly across the Pacific pond (ordered Jan 21; received in Tokyo Feb 3) - Photo-4.

The Bosch Battery is replaced in July of 2018

On July 29 2018, I finally replaced BOSCH battery being used since 2006.12. I can't believe that endurance, though, I in a preventive manner determined that this is the time to replace - Photo-1 My workshop at Hayama; Photo-2 Old battery (PSI-6C) since 2006.12. I can't believe that endurance, certainly German product; Photo-3 Newly installed battery PSIN-6C, which I purchased at Amazon, Japan; Photo-4 The challenge was the fixing stay for the battery is located deep at the base plate, and the extension of my ratchet wrench does not reach; Photo-5 I finally did it, with rwo extensions connected.


Repair of hanging ceiling cover (DIY) in September of 2018

In September 2018, ceiling cover began hanging probably worsened in association with extreme heat wave in this summer. Actually, this is the point of weakness of European cars in Japan. Treatment - Photo-1 First step, with spray starch 3M 99 , Photo-2 Wider treatment, extending the pasted area bit by bit. After applying spray bond through minimally-cut hole and pressing to the roof, the cover is stuck to the wall with thumbtacks. I used the bond-spray named Z-3 by Kinishi - Photo-3 Next step, Photo-4 Final step, almost finished. I wonder if this emergency operation has continuous effect.


Repair of exhaust pipe at the repair plant in December of 2018

On December 4-10, regular compulsory automobile inspection was performed at the repair shop at Bunkyo City of Tokyo (model year 1996), when two perforations of the exhaust pipe were revealed (odometer: 107,000 km). Auto mechanics explained me this perforation is most likely caused by water after being processed with catalyzer for exhaust emission controls, which is originated from gasoline. Parts was still available from official import trader and dealer Yanase and was exchanged - Photo-1 two perforations (red and gree arrows), Photo-2 enlarged view-1. Photo-3 enlarged view-2, Photo-4 replaced new pipe.


Wax coating with DIY in Februry of 2019

On February 17 2019, wax coating was applied at Hayama retreat. I did this in
July 2015 last, limited to the engine hood, however, this is the first time for whole body in my memory. Firstly, wax coating applied with sponge, including to roof top - Photo-1. I used this liquid wax, being stored probably over 10 years - Photo-2. Wax applied - Photo-3, then, I wipe off and polish manually and using electric polisher - Photo-4. Finished - Photo-5, Photo-6.


Odometer exceeds 110,000 km on March 9 2019

I noticed the distance recorder exceeds 110,000 km on the road from Kohinata to Hayama on March 9 2019 - Photo-1: Before and Photo-2: After .


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