Q. I want to buy an Isuzu Piazza Turbo. Where should I seek advice on what to look for?
A. IPTOC publish a leaflet detailing the main areas of the Piazza to scrutinise when making a pre-purchase inspection. Request one at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Which is better - a Piazza with a good engine and rusty bodywork, or one with good bodywork and a knackered engine?
A. Engine parts are infinitely more available than body panels, which are all but obsolete. Therefore a car with mechanical or electrical problems will always be a better bet than one with extensive corrosion. Obviously a car with both problems is a good source of spare parts!
Q. What insurance group is the Piazza?
A. Most insurers rate the Piazza in Group 15 but this could climb as the cars get rarer. Classic insurance is available from some insurers for a reasonable rate, with no requirement for No Claims bonus.
Q. The brakes feel decidedly dodgy on my Piazza and there is a lot of pedal travel - is my brake master cylinder shot?
A. It is possible, but the most likely cause is that the sliders on the front brake calipers have seized, meaning only the inboard brake pad is doing any work. As the inboard pad wears, the piston has to travel further and further out from its bore to push the pad against the disc, hence the pedal travel. Ignore at your peril - front discs will suffer if this is left and currently, new front discs for the Lotus handling models are almost unobtainable. Caliper service kits are available from IPTOC as is special caliper slider grease - do NOT use Copperslip!!!
Q. The gearbox on my (manual) Piazza whines in all gears except 4th, and when at idle with the clutch up - do I need a new gearbox?
A. Probably not. The Piazza 5-speed manual gearbox can suffer from layshaft whine; indeed this was commented upon in some early drive tests of Isuzu press cars! If no trouble in changing gear is experienced and the car does not jump out of gear, content yourself with changing the gearbox oil - the gearbox takes 10W/30 ENGINE oil and needs to be changed at regular intervals. This will not alleviate the noise in most cases, but at least you will know that there is new oil inside!
Q. The steering on my PIazza seems to "wander", especially on adverse camber and when trying to keep the car in a straight line - is my steering rack on the way out?
A. Almost certainly, vague steering and a wandering sensation is caused by oil contamination of the driver's side steering rack locating rubber. This is the only one which actually controls sideways movement of the rack, and it becomes soggy when aged or contaminated. Replacement is reasonably easy with the undertray removed; new genuine parts are available from IPTOC at a significant discount over the main dealer price.
Q. The footwell on the passenger side keeps getting wet - where can the water be coming from?
A. Three main choices here. 1) The heater matrix could be leaking - reach into the heating vent behind the centre console which points toward the footwell - if you can feel wet inside the bottom the heater is leaking. Prepare to remove the dashboard to rectify! 2) The windscreen bonding has been breached allowing water to seep down behind the dash into the footwell. 3) A rust hole has developed in the bodywork underneath the leaf screen on the passenger side. Remove the leaf screen to check and arrange for a competent welder to repair if necessary.
Q. The temperature gauge keeps flickering and I am worried that it is not accurately informing me of the engine temperature - what can I do?
A. Most common on Lotus handling cars, check the connection to the temperature sender, underneath the plenum chamber in the lower part of the inlet manifold. Often the part of the sender which the wiring terminal slots onto has started to break away from the sender itself. New replacements are available from IPTOC.
Q. My fuel gauge is not functioning properly/at all and the yellow low-fuel lamp is illuminated. What is the problem?
A. Almost certainly the fuel tank sender unit has failed. A complex cylindrical unit containing many very thin wires, it is irrepairable and replacment is the only cure - and it is not shared with any other vehicle. Replacement involves removing the fuel tank. New genuine Isuzu senders are available through IPTOC at a significant discount over main dealer parts - special order only.