Becomes a complete monster when modified!
The main problem was rust. After a year it failed its first MOT in my hands badly, and needed extensive welding to the rear subframe.
One of the rear struts broke at speed, the coil support was rusty and just let go at 65MPH, scary!
The ignition coil burned out.
The carburettor needed rebuilding, apparently a design floor with the internal piston which caused MAJOR hesitations.
The Carb would ice up on cold days, but found this was due to a missing pipe which gathers warm air from around the exhaust manifold. No problems once replaced.
The origional CA16S has sticky exhaust valves and would misfire while warming up if left standing for any period of time.
The clutch gave way at 120,000 miles.
Very picky on spark plugs, did not like champion plugs at all and prefered a colder grade plug than recommeded.
Tappets always became audible after about 1000 miles or so after last adjusting, easy to adjust though.
Tailgate rusted through on the inside and would no longer close, requiring welding up to fix.
Had to have steering rack adjusted to get rid of play, which made the steering heavy.
Door light switches all failed and would allow interior light to come on with doors closed, leading to flat battery!
Water temp sensor failed.
Radiator leaked at 100,000 miles, difficult to find replacement at time.
Dampers/Shock Absorbers did not last long.
Think that's about it, but bear in mind I only paid £500 for it, and should probably have bought a more expensive one.
Even with all its problems, this was a seriously fun car to drive, the handling was excellent for a car in this class, which is bizzare seeing as it had no anti-roll bars as standard!
The origional 1.6L engine was very peppy, although you did have to drive it quite hard to make the most of its performance, the low down torque was not especially good meaning frequent gear changes.
When it failed it's MOT after the first year due too bad rust, I used this as an oppertunity to do some upgrades. I purchased a very cheap low mileage U11 Bluebird Turbo that had some minor accident damage, and had a mechanic fit up the Bluebirds suspension. Seeing as the whole rear of the car needed welding up anyway, this was not much extra work to make everything fit, the 2 cars are fairly similar design.
I also fitted the CA18ET engine from the bluebird into the Stanza which was a reasonably straight for swap physically, but the wiring was more tricky. I had to do this myself as nobody else was prepared to have a go!
I also aquired a Limited Slip Differential front wheel drive gearbox from a Sunny 1.8ZX, this had nice gear ratios and helped keep the front wheels from spinning too much.
With the Bluebirds engine and suspension (and brakes and 15" wheels etc), the Stanza became a pocket rocket, it is considerably lighter than the Bluebird, especially with the rust lol!
I added a Janspeed exhaust designed for the Bluebird without much hassle, and also a K&N cone filter, this really helped the engine to breathe better and reduced the turbo lag no end.
In the last year of owning it, I knew it would not pass another MOT as the front underside had started to give way due to rust, and the roof developed a serious water leak! along with many other panels than started to get more serious rust scabs, so I fitted a bleed valve to the turbo to up the boost (no intercooler) and kept increasing it to see just how far it would go.
The bodywork fell apart before the engine showed any signs of trouble though, and alas it went to the great junkyard in the sky.
I don't know what kind of power it was producing in the last year, as I never had it dynoed or anything, but it would hit 60 in a tad over 5 seconds! and surprised many drivers who thought it was just another shopping trolley!
Even with the turbo engine it would do 45MPG on a long run, dropping to the low 20's running around town.
It was my first car that I paid for, and out of all the cars I have owned, the car that I was most sad to part with.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th April, 2004