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Your repairs – 1988 Ford Maverick

Your repairs graphic

Since day one, Haynes has been all about helping you, the home mechanic, to carry out your own repairs on your vehicles. Here, we celebrate those who use their spare time and Haynes Manuals to repair and improve their pride and joy.

DIY champion: Matt Mercieca, Brisbane, Australia

Vehicle: 1988 Ford Maverick

The Mercieca family of Queensland, Australia, is an independent, tight-knit bunch comprising three generations. The youngster of the bunch is teenager Ewan, then there’s his dad, Matt, and finally there’s Matt’s dad Joseph, aka The Head Honcho.

Ewan was taught to drive in a 1988 Ford Maverick short wheelbase that used to reside on a friend’s farm. Indeed, he didn’t just learn how to drive, he learned how to drive off-road, in some seriously rugged terrain. Good lad.

However, rugged terrain does tend to take a toll on a vehicle, and the Maverick was no exception. After numerous years climbing slopes, weaving through trees, doing small jumps, and wading through slurry, the Maverick was looking, well, a little traumatised. Actually, traumatised might be underselling it a touch – think tortured, shellshocked, distressed and you’ll be closer.

Sorry-looking Ford Maverick
Haynes Maverick manual

To put down or rejuvenate?

Like farmers throughout time with their favourite horses, the Merciecas faced a tough choice. Put the Maverick out of its misery or give it the TLC it had earned.

Thankfully, they decided to save the Maverick, and so a comprehensive restoration programme began, starting with the strip-down and parts-cataloguing processes.

The good news is that the Head Honcho is actually a panel-beater by trade, so was tasked with bodywork duties, including getting rid of the dreaded orange decay (aka rust), while Matt and Ewan set about dismantling, repairing, replacing and all the bits underneath that were a different shape from when they left the factory, using their Haynes manual as a guide.

To that end, they completely rebuilt the 4.2-litre straight-six engine, while the bodywork has undergone extensive work to make everything be the shape Ford originally intended it to be.

Underneath, the chassis has been cleaned up and protected, while new suspension parts have replaced bits that had become a bit world weary.

And they’ve also been chasing down electrical glitches, which entailed removing the wiring loom and spreading it out on the garage floor, then crawling about to find duff connections.

Ewan Mercieca with piston

What’s next?

In Matt’s own words, progress has been slow because the trio have also been carrying out a similar restoration job on Matt’s house. The words ‘gluttons’ and ‘punishment’ spring to mind.

Nevertheless, according to Matt: “The bodywork is now in a state where it can be fully primered then painted.” After that, it a case of putting everything back together, and the good news is that Matt promises to keep us fully up to date with what’s going on.

Maverick chassis

We want to hear about your car projects

Fixing your car can seem daunting at first, but it really isn’t, and once you’ve carried out the job you’ll feel a huge surge of satisfaction when everything is running sweetly and pointing the way it should always have been.

And that’s why we want to. Hear from those of you who have not only repaired your vehicle, but who also take the time to service and maintain it, and how you’re using Haynes to help you out.

Just send us a few details about yourself and your vehicle to

Tell us about any issues you’ve encountered or any problems you foresee, plus a few pictures, and we’ll feature you on our website and social channels.

After all, fixing your car or motorcycle yourself means you save money and get a warm glow every time you start the vehicle.