I bought my second sierra estate in 1998, (g reg,1989) During my four ownership of this vehicle I replaced the following; starter motor, alternator, water pump, exhaust system, all four shock absorbers, front wheel bearings, engine mountings, gearbox mounting, final drive unit mounting, and of course the routine items (plugs, leads, distributor cap, filters, and the cam belt which was quite simple to do. I also stripped and rebuilt the weber carburettor. As any of you who have owned these cars will know, it is usually a good idea to replace the compliance bushes with heavy duty ones, which I did. All these jobs were relatively straight-forward and nothing was horribly expensive. I ended up with an extremely reliable car, which I was confident would not let me down.
Unfortunately my sierra ended up in the scrap yard, due to someones inability to park carefully. The body work was just too expensive to repair. I still regret the day I left her there, a perfectly good car I should have kept. I do not regret one single penny spent on her, nor one single minute spent working on her. You should be grateful you have a car that is easy to work on and has a plentiful supply of spare parts, both new and second hand.
Here's a tip if front wheel bearings need replacing, just put on a second hand hub assembly obtained from a scrap yard, making sure the bearings are in good condition of course. It's a bit cheaper, a lot quicker and easier too.
I now have my third sierra estate, but frankly, it's not as good as the last one, which I should have kept.
If anyone would like to email me to discuss the sierra, they are welcome, as I have a few problems with this one I can't quite get to the bottom of yet. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CVH engine will never go down in history as one of the greats, but in 1.8 form it was particularly horrible. Not only was it harsh and rough like the smaller versions, but it lacked their inherent toughness and reliability. Even the aftermarket tuners leave it well alone because it is weak even in standard form.
If you are buying a Sierra, find one with a Pinto engine. If you make sure you change the oil every 6,000 miles, and the cambelt every 30,000, a Pinto will do 200,000 miles + before it gives you any trouble at all. A big, heavy lump of cast iron that is as dependable as sunrise. Just don't expect 21st century refinement.