Buyer's Guide

It should be borne in mind that honkers available on the aftermarket are cars that are most often heavily used and should be expected to lend themselves to a major overhaul. The guide is not intended to discourage any of the offers just to help you make the best possible choice.

So what to look out for

BLACHING - the Achilles' heel of every honker
The body of the honkers is protected from corrosion at the factory (cataphoresis, although the first models could be galvanized!) However, almost every aftermarket unit suffers from major or minor sheet metal problems.
Unfortunately, a significant number of honkers that appear on auction portals are severely fatigued by the hardships of previous use, and only before the sale have been "repainted" to look attractive in the photos. In such cases, even during visual inspection, it is possible not to see masked and not removed corrosion foci.

So we recommend avoiding cars after a so-called "Czech overhaul" - such cars can usually be recognized by:

  • freshly but carelessly applied new paint coating (usually locks, seals, etc. are also painted, because no one took the trouble to remove them), very often such coating has a surface with the appearance of the so-called orange peel. The condition of the exterior paint often strongly deviates from that of the interior, which is usually not refreshed. Most often such painting is done without professional preparation of the surface and the paint can come off after some time, as can be seen in the photo below,
  • Rims painted together with tires,
  • sills and the rest of the underside, which have been very generously coated with a "ram" that is supposed to hide corrosion foci.
Rim painted without removing the tire....
Paint coming off that was applied to an improperly prepared surface as part of a "Czech renovation"
A spot patch patched over the hole in the threshold. On it was putty and a thick layer of lambskin.

Where corrosion outbreaks occur most often:

  • Sills - especially on the inside. Very often the thresholds are only temporarily repaired and covered with various types of "rams" which masks their true condition.
  • Windshield frame - in particular, the rim on which the windshield is mounted. This is the component that corrodes as one of the first. A common symptom of an already rotten windshield frame rim is water leaking from under the windshield seal.
  • Body cushions and their mountings - check the condition of the cushions themselves and their mountings (there are 9 of them in the honker). In extreme cases, the cushion falls into a rusted socket and the body lies directly on the frame. In such a case, cars are often "skewed", i.e. the naked eye can see that the car is tilted to one side.
New body pillow
  • Side storage compartment openings - another critical point is the rants of the storage compartment openings. In the case of cars with side lockers, open them and check the condition of the rims, as corrosion may be hidden under closed doors. Sometimes the condition of the rant is additionally masked by a gasket, so it is worth looking under it if present.
Corrosion is already coming out from under the storage doors
Corrosion on the wound of the storage compartment opening

When looking at a honker before buying it, it is worthwhile to check its technical condition as best as possible. So we will try to help a little for buyers who have a rather vague idea about it.

To begin with, we look into the hood, and there, depending on the vintage, different "hearts beat". And here are the most popular of them:

  • Gasoline engine from Polonez

This engine we will not describe, because we believe that cars with this engine are simply not worth buying (the exception is the purchase for the collection of some museum). This engine is completely unsuitable for a honker because of its insufficient power, and in most cases of utility or recreational cars it is sooner or later replaced with something more powerful.

  • Iveco naturally aspirated

Honker with such an engine is a machine dedicated to off-road, for that it is completely unsuitable for longer routes. Its maximum speed is about 70 km/h, and the ride is accompanied by terrible noise. The engine is very durable, but if it breaks down, its repair can generate very large costs.

It is worth checking that the flame plug works because relays often burn out.

It is also important to pay attention to any kind of leakage and to check that the unheated engine fires easily and does not smoke.

  • Iveco TD

This is the best engine that was installed in honkers at the time of production in FSR. Like the naturally aspirated version, it is very loud (much louder than the Andorias used later).

This engine is probably the most expensive to operate - the cost of replacing the timing (according to the art) can make your head spin.... 

We check the standard what we do with a naturally aspirated engine, but in addition we should pay attention to the turbine - whether there are no leaks and whether it works properly. If the turbine does not work, the car will not be dynamic during the test drive.

  • Andoria (4CT90, 4CTi90, ADCR)

The most common drive unit due to the longest period of use, it is worth noting. that there were different generations of Andoria engines. It has a better operating culture than Iveco (it is much quieter). It performs quite well, is relatively trouble-free and cheap to operate and during possible repairs.

The honker 2324 was fitted with 4CT90 engines with a Czech Motorpal injection pump - power of 90 hp.

In Honkers 2000:

  • In 2000-2002, 4CT90 engines were installed with a Bosch injection pump and were equipped with EGR - power of 90 hp (Euro2).
  • In 2003-2004, 4CTi90 engines with Bosch injection pump and intercooler were installed - power of 90 hp (Euro3)
  • In 2005-2006, 4CTi90 engines were installed with a more powerful Bosch injection pump and intercooler - power of 102 hp (Euro3)
  • Between 2009 and 2018, 4CTi90 engines with Motorpal injection pump and intercooler were installed in versions for the military.
  • From 2009 to 2018, versions intended for a market other than the Polish Army were fitted with ADCR engines from 115 hp (Euro4) .

We check as standard for leaks, whether the turbo is working, whether the engine fires freely and does not smoke. In addition, if we are dealing with a version equipped with an intercooler we unhook the air hose and check if there is a light mist of oil in it - if there is a lot of oil there, it means that the intercooler may be clogged and the turbo may need to be regenerated.

Once the engine has warmed up, it is worth unplugging the coolant "return" to the expansion tank and check if there is no air being pumped in there (the fluid is frothy), if there is, it is likely that the head gasket is defective.

Blue smoke from the tailpipe may indicate that individual injectors are clipped, for example, due to prolonged disuse of the car, or that the fuel system is being aerated.

Mechanics are not just the engine....

We check fuel pump leaks and the condition of all rubber hoses. We inspect the radiators (it's worth it from underneath) looking for corrosion and leaks. We check the condition of all operating fluids.


The general rule of thumb is simple... during ignition, the light with the battery symbol must be lit, which must go out when you start the engine and add gas(the alternator must be excited). However, if the light with the battery symbol does not light at all, it does not necessarily mean that the alternator is not working.

It is worth knowing that in honkers if the bulb from the charge light burns out then the alternator is not excited and will not charge. If the light illuminates but does not go off a moment after starting the engine and adding gas (the alternator is energized when the engine speed increases after firing), it is worth checking the voltage regulator first.


Checking the condition of the drive shafts is a simple operation. Just grab the shafts and twist them in different directions and see if there is a lot of play "up-down", "right-left". If there is play, then we check the condition of the crossmembers. However, it may happen that the cross-braces are in good condition, and excessive play occurs on the polygonal shaft - in this situation the shafts are suitable for regeneration or replacement. In addition, in honkers 2000 we check the base of the front shaft and its bearing.


In the case of the transmission, regardless of the model, checking during purchase may consist only of checking for possible leaks and evaluating the operation of the transmission during a test drive (operation of the transmission in all gears). However, it should be remembered that cold chests will work quite clumsy, which is quite characteristic of honkers. Therefore, it is advisable to warm up the oil in the box during the test drive and only then assess its work.


- Borg Warner (detachable front)

It is worth going to some meadow and grazing the drives along with putting the off-road gears the car will become stronger but slower.

Under the car, of course, we check for leaks and cracks in the housing.

Often the speedometer drive malfunctions - and although this failure is not serious, the availability of spare parts for this reducer is scarce, sometimes such a damaged "slug" has to be pulled all the way from the US....

- Polmo Gniezno

Występują trzy generacje. Pierwsza charakteryzująca się bardzo głośną pracę oraz druga i trzecia już wyciszone (choć dalej reduktor do bardzo cichych nie należy). Po czym można je rozpoznać można przeczytać w odrębnym opracowaniu >>>TU<<<

The first lever from the right (passenger side) engages the off-road gear - it has 3 operating positions: highway, neutral and off-road.
The car noticeably becomes stronger but very slow in the off-road position. It should go quite smoothly, and the different positions should kick in quite noticeably.
The second (left) is the inter-axle lock, which locks the differential in the reducer. To engage it, you need to make an L-shaped mirror movement.

Sometimes you have to work hard to hammer it in - but if everything is in working order, it should not cause us excessive problems.

It is best to turn on these locks when the car is rolling, but no sooner than 5km/h.

A surefire, ad hoc way to check if it's working is to unscrew one of the drive shafts (front or rear) and make sure the car is running with only one axle drive.

During the test drive, it is a good idea to drive on light terrain with the off-road gears fastened. In the case of worn out or damaged reducers, the off-road gears will disengage on their own after some time while driving.

  • MOST

When checking the bridges, first of all, you need to see if you can hear any metallic sounds.

Check for any visible leaks. If you have any suspicion that the bridge may be damaged, you can unscrew the drain plug and see if there is a lot of metal filings on the magnet placed in it.
It is also worth checking the joint crossmembers.

We also welcome new video content with tips for buyers: