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89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 12 Feb 2010, 12:15
by 2LV2
I have just got this 89 model from my father-in-law. He bought it new, so in excellent condition. The car has been standing for 8 years, but started right up, first time. (Series 1 Thema 2.0 ie, RHD). Is there anything I should look out for with these cars?

I have been driving it for a few days, and all seems good except the clutch which is sometimes falling to the floor.

Master or slave repair? Can someone tell me?

Also, can't find a workshop manual for these cars which are extremely rare in South Africa!

Can someone help?

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 19 Feb 2010, 11:49
by DaveH
clutch pedal falling to the floor is going to be either the master or slave - on my car it was the master, which is quite hard to get to on a RHD car - best access is via the right hand wheel arch. You do have to loosen off the compressor for the air con which is in the way. The clutch master shares the reservoir with the brake master cylinder.
I've had 2 of these cars (at the same time) and still have one, although I'm looking at selling it now. they do seem to go forever - the one I've still got has 260K+, the other died when I (rather foolishly) took it around a race track - these engines do suffer from oil surge (and subsequent lack of pressure) if you race them on a circuit - it did have 390K on the clock though. Great cars and much under-rated, especially here in New Zealand

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 21 Feb 2010, 20:01
by 2LV2
Thanks for the advice Dave. Busy on the clutch now. Real pain to work on. Given its positon, I am surprised that not all RHD thems have clutch problems as there is no way to maintain them in this position.

You dont per chance have the specs for replacement shocks? Mine are beyond tired, actually dangerous and I have to do the job soon. Also, coils seem a bit soft..... The car has only done 180k kms so I doubt the coils have to be replaced, but can I fit anything else? Have you tried this?

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 21 Feb 2010, 22:33
by gamma a.i.
nice stories, except for the repair hassles. what was done toprepare the car that sat for 8 yrs prior to starting it ? ...was it started often during that time or did it sit neglected ?

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 22 Feb 2010, 01:23
by DaveH
I did replace the shocks once - quite a while ago. The original (Boge) shocks are horrendously expensive where I live - fronts around $800 each.
I found some Munro gasmatic shocks that were a straight swap, made a huge improvement to the car.
Standard springs are a bit on the soft side. Did price up some King Springs for it once but never did anything about it.
shocks on the Thema are the same as the shocks on a Fiat Croma (springs possibly also) Alfa 164 front shocks may also be very similar - I know the bottom arm is identical.
Not sure of the SAAB 9000 shocks are the same or not - I know the rear suspension on the SAAB is different to the other in the group


Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 22 Feb 2010, 11:17
by 2LV2
Hi There,

Car was under roof, so not really neglected. Now though, the gremlins seem to be coming out. Car was apparently started ocassionally, but other than that, no other maintenance done.

The biggest problem is finding spares in this country.

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 22 Feb 2010, 11:19
by 2LV2
Thanks for the advice. Will try some of the local suppliers and see what there is.

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 25 Mar 2010, 16:28
by 2LV2

Car been standing for a while..... Fuel Pump!

Is there any way to remove the pump without the 1854033000 special tool quoted in the WM?

All advice will be appreciated!

And she had been going sooooo well........:(

Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 04 Apr 2010, 12:31
by DaveH
I used a large flat blade screwdriver and a hammer - you do have to be careful not to damage the plastic (too much) as the screwdriver will cut into the plastic quite easily. Maybe a smallish piece of wood or hard plastic would be a bit better.

There's a small piece of hose inside the fuel pump that is known to split, thus loosing pressure. Mine used to cut out on right hand corners as the split would open up more on right hand bends then close again on straights and left hand bends


Re: 89 8v Thema IE- New to me...

Posted: 05 May 2010, 14:17
by AngleGrinder
If replacing the hosepipe in the fuel tank, make sure that you use the correct petrol resistant rubber, otherwise you'll get gunge in the fuel lines as the rubber "melts".

I'd get the timing belt and balancer belt changed pronto and don't forget to check the 3 tensioner bearings whilst you are in there. Belt and Bearing kits are available from and are about GBP 150 for members of the consortium.

Handbrakes tend to be weak on Thema's and this is the most common reason for road test failures in the UK, but the wet climate is probably part of the problem here. This is really the only weakness of the cars.

S1 cars have the best anti-corrosion treatment and they easily outlast and of the other Type 4 cars in this respect.

If you get cold idle problems, check the crankcase breather pipe that feeds into the inlet manifold near the throttle switch, but underneath. The breather pipe is made of rubber and it can split causing air leaks that make the car run lean during warm up.