Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Revised Look

Here's Nickie with the new look. I really hope this would be the last time I do anything to the exterior. Well, I nearly ordered the NTC body kit because it was on sale. It would have set me back by at least 2k including shipping from the U.K. That's alot of money for a body kit for a car that is already quite handsome in stock form. I think a nice looking car is important but I don't want to spend money excessively to spruce up the exterior. Besides, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

I did mentioned that the car is as red as it can be except for the side skirts. One more thing that I did not mentioned earlier but if you had a keen eye, you would have noticed it. I've added spacers that was previously used on the OZ Superlegerra to the G07. I am not sure about the dimensions but the spacer on the front wheels are thicker than the rear wheels. I would estimate that the front spacer is about 5mm and 3mm on the rear. It does help to push out the wheel slightly but still leaving enough space such that there is no rubbing. Since the spacers are so thin and made-to-measure, integrity is not affected at all. On the subject of wheels, I have been hunting around for a used set of 18" but so far, no luck. No hurry though and unless the measurements are correct, its best to be patient.

One more small change that made a huge difference was the replacement of the black wheel nuts to the original chrome wheel nuts. Its somewhat puzzling that something like a silver wheel nut can actually make the wheel look so much better, in my opinion. Whoever said that the little things in life counts obviously knew what he was talking about. So, before you jump into anything big, its best to start with the little things first. Its definitely cheaper and less stressful.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lightened and Underdrive Crank Pulley

Here is another enhancement that I am considering. Someone in the forum did his research and came up with a working model of the lightened crank pulley. Crank pulleys are not new in the market. Daisy had them long ago to underdrive the water pump and power steering. She even had a lightened crank pulley but I decided to take it off because the lightened crank pulley was not dynamically balanced unlike the stock crank pulley. I did not want the risk of wrecking the engine for a meagre increase in power(?). Daisy did run better with the underdrive pulleys and till today, they have not given any problems whatsoever.

Several Japanese tuners have also been selling underdrive pulleys either for the crank, water pump and even alternator. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase but more than the price, they must be doing something useful. I was never convinced until I saw the results of what a lightened underdrive pulley can add to the efficiency and power output of the Swift engine. Here's a quote from the guy who made the pulley.

"I know there are many schools of thoughts about lightweight crank pulleys. Based solely on physics, number one there isn't lose of torque at the wheels, number two there will not be any harmful resonance (the stock crank pulley isn't dynamically balanced to tackle resonance anyway). Instead you get better throttle response and on a track you get better rev matching while up shifting, much like installing a lightened flywheel."

It all sounds good but unlike others who only talks, this guy went all the way and custom-made a crank pulley to prove his logic. He took another step forward by conducting a dyno test to make sure it really works and this is the result.

"The black curve you see is my Swift Sport in stock form. 110ps at the wheel amounts to about 126.5ps at the crank, very close to the 125ps stock on paper.

The red curve is with the underdrive crank pulley. 114ps at the wheel is about 131.1ps at the crank. All in all a gain of about 4.6ps. I was more for the torque gains and was pleased to see the jump in the torque curve."

Would you not buy this product when so much painstaking work has been done to prove that it works? I would buy it in an instant. There is only one problem. It will take him about 4 to 6 weeks to make one for me because the machine used to produce the pulley is being used for something else. The cost of the pulley is $400. For a proven gain of 4.6ps, this is a fantastic product. With some extrapolation, I figured the increase will be much more once it is installed on Nickie. I would very much want one as soon as possible so that it can be installed together with the Greddy camshafts and Remus exhaust. Thereafter, one more round of ECU tuning to maximise the enhanced components and Nickie is ready for another long run up north. Here are some pictures of the crank pulley.

Stock Crank Pulley

Lightened & Underdrive Pulley

Comparison between stock and enhanced puley

Final Product Anodised in Red

The question that begs to be answered is this; when will this enhancement exercise end? It seems that there is always something new to pop into the car. Its a difficult question to answer but I am consciously aware that each enhanced part has proven its worth individually. As a complete package, Nickie no longer drives like before. The car has grown up considerably. It would be unfair to stop unless it is proven that any change or addition of parts will not increase the efficiency and is no longer economically viable. In short, when it does not make sense to do more, the enhancement exercise will stop.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Acquisitions

Finally, I managed to track down the short hub that will fit the NRG Quick Release Thin version that I bought previously. It comes from NRG, of course and it is on its way. I am confident this will solve the present problem I have right now with the regular hub. Since both products come from NRG, there should not be any fitting issues. Once linked up together, I foresee that you cannot even tell that there is a quick release system for the steering wheel. And thats how I like things to be, subtle. I will also likely buy a regular quick release for the MoMo Corse Devil steering wheel. This way, I have one steering wheel for long distance driving ie, MoMo Quark and another for B-roads drive ie. MoMo Corse Devil where more steering control is required. The Quark will allow me to stretch out a bit while the Corse Devil, being nearer to my body will give me better leverage to do the twists and turns. It sounds like a ridiculous arrangement but I supposed thats the best way to deal with 2 steering wheels. Here's the NRG short hub.

I have gone ahead and bought the second-hand Remus exhaust. Looking at how it is put together, I am confident there is some way I can integrate the BMW exhaust tips onto the exhaust. As you can see, the Remus exhaust is made up of several parts joined together by clamps. To me, that is a really smart way of doing things because that allows infinite adjustments to make sure everything fits perfectly. With a fixed system, you have to rely on luck that the alignment of the various components are perfect. The pictures shows you what I mean.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Greddy Camshaft & Remus Exhaust System

The end is not in sight. Now that the ECU lock codes have been deciphered, it is possible to re-tune the engine every time a new enhancement is added.

I met Daryl who sold me the lightened Exedy flywheel. He had the Greddy camshaft installed on his Swift. Obviously, the best person to give feedback on a product is someone who is using it now or previously. I say this because there are many people who should not say anything about anything because they have not done anything related to the thing being discussed. So, they will quote that 'they heard that' and 'my friend said' this and that. A good friend on the forum once said, 'If you don't open your mouth, people won't know you are stupid.' Anyway, back to the Greddy camshaft. Daryl's feedback was that he noticed some loss in the low end but in the mid to high end, the torque (or pull) is much stronger. Taking into consideration that his car is an automatic and only a piggyback computer for tuning, I think the camshaft behaviour could be different on a manual transmission and especially with an ECU that is now more flexible for re-tuning. In fact, Greddy's advertisement says that the "Greddy performance camshaft Easy version has been designed to provide improved midrange torque and response, whilst enabling easy installation by simply replacing the standard camshafts. Features include:

a.   Designed for improved mid range torque and response
b.   Easy installation with high performance from extensive testing
c.   Pre-designed for straight swap with best valve timing already setup"

Obviously, this will be the next enhancement to little Nickie. I feel kinda strange calling him 'little' nowadays because he has certainly grown up substantially. With the company he kept during the Phuket drive, Nickie has certainly prove his mettle and that's something to be proud of. Here is a picture of the camshaft.

I have also been toying with the idea of replacing the engine and suspension mounts. I am going to put these enhancements(?) on a long-term hold, at least, until it is time to replace the stock mounts. The experience of those who had it was that engine noise will increase substantially and more dramatically, vibrations in the cabin will be more obvious. I do not think the effects are good for long distance driving; being a hardcore driver has its limits. Which is why I held back on an after-market exhaust system because all they do is increase the noise level without giving substantial gains. However, after doing some research, I found out that there were a couple of such exhaust system that was not excessively loud yet provides some performance enhancement. They are HKS Legamax, Milltek and Remus. I can vouched for the HKS Legamax because I had them previously but sold them off because I did not think it was doing anything good. It certainly was not loud at all compared to the stock. Here is how it looked like on the car.

Reading the feedback on the Milltek exhaust on the UK Swift forum, the comments of those who had it installed was that the exhaust was relatively silent compared to the stock. I figured these guys must be pissed having paid alot of money for an exhaust system that does not 'announce' their arrival. Here is how it looks like.

Finally, I came across the Remus exhaust system. I am familiar with Remus because Daisy had them for awhile. We cannot really do a proper comparison since both cars are worlds apart but Remus philosophy has always been the same; make a good exhaust but keep the noise level down. To confirm this, I asked someone who was selling his Remus exhaust what his personal opinion is of the exhaust. His feedback was that it was a little louder than stock and a tad louder than the HKS Legamax. Now, that sounds good if you don't mind the pun. Only drawback was that some modification needs to be done to the rear diffuser in order to fit the exhaust tips properly. That sounds familiar because Daisy went through the same thing. I am waiting for confirmation on this from the seller. If all goes well, I would probably buy the second-hand Remus exhaust system since I will never buy a new one. My only concern is weight. I am hoping it will not be any heavier than the stock exhaust. Here is how it looks like.

Why an after-market exhaust system now? What about the one and only BMW exhaust tips? Simple. The Remus is a semi-flow exhaust system; that means minimal loss in backpressure which gives me the low end torque needed especially coupled with the Greddy camshaft. But, with the increase in mid and high end torque, it will provide the means to expel the hot gases more efficiently. The ECU tuner says it could even add a few bhp. That sounds good, right? As for the BMW tips, they will remain with the stock exhaust and kept in storage. Nothing will make me sell those tips away.

Any enhancement must make sense. It must also serve a purpose that is relevant to the type of driving and most importantly, the driver must feel confident that these enhancements are robust and suits his style. Nothing is more frustrating than spending money to find out that an enhancement does not meet your expectation. I have been there and done that. And I will probably continue to go there and do that because there is no one who can tell you what really works on your car except yourself. Earn yourself some speaking rights by doing it rather than talking about it. Remember, if you don't open your mouth, no one will know you are stupid.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Update on Enhancements Done

Following the acquisitions, no time was wasted installing the various parts. It was an anxious period because I had no idea how everything will gel together. I was aware what each enhancement would deliver but each individual part need to work in cognisance with the rest as a package. Over a period of 4 days, the car was transformed dramatically. Here's a quick glimpse of the enhancements done and a personal assessment of the effects to the overall performance of the car.

I have mentioned earlier that the ECU would remain stock. However, when you have a professional ECU tuner in town, I did not want to forego the chance to give him a shot at reflashing the ECU. After 2 days of poking and probing, he added more horses to the engine than I could imagine. Not only was power increased, fuel consumption improved dramatically too. Apparently, the car was running a rich mixture to prevent a blown engine. The tuner lean out the mixture just enough such that I could still use the lower RON rating fuel in Malaysia and Thailand without compromising on power delivery. Most noticeably was how much quieter the engine is compared to stock. The electronic throttle was also tuned to be more sensitive. The speed cut has also been removed and the revolution cut has been increased by another 500 rpm. The overall effect is that the car accelerates very, very quickly. The increase in torque can also be felt in all gears. The car is really, really fun to drive now.

The Exedy lightened flywheel and organic clutch are a match made in heaven. Earlier on, I was told that more revolutions would be needed to move the car and my earlier experience with the organic clutch was that I needed bigger leg muscles to operate it. Those fears were unfounded. I did not have to rev the engine any more than usual and the clutch is just a tad heavier compared to the stock. In fact, when the clutch runs in, it would not be any different than the stock clutch. But, the difference lies in the delivery. The car takes off like a bat out of hell and pulls very strongly in any gear. The bite point of the clutch is almost immediate once you release it. The lightened flywheel gives the impression that the car has undergone a weight loss programme. Put together, this is a potent combination if you want quick gear changes and power on the move. The effects is also attributed to the re-tuned ECU.

The thin version of the NRG steering wheel quick release was installed with the MoMon Quark steering wheel. It was disappointing because the fit is really bad. Somehow the boss kit does not match the quick release. More work will be needed to make the whole system work properly. The regular quick release puts the steering wheel too close to the driver and makes it difficult to operate the signal indicators and windshield wipers stock controls. An order has been placed for a lower height boss kit. Hopefully, this will solve the problem or else, I will have no choice but to revert back to the original system.

The Scan Gauge II does not work with the JDM Swift Sport. As such, the center console idea has been scrapped completely. I will have to rely on manual calculations to estimate the 'distance to empty'. This is really selfish on the part of the Suzuki factory to have such a system. While everybody else is OBD II compliant, Suzuki made it impossible to read any data from the OBD II port on the car. Anyway, with the re-tuned ECU, there is a strong likelihood that the Scan Gauge II may be able to read the data. This is not tested yet but I am quite sure it will work this time.

The Racetech battery could not be installed because the terminal points of the battery does not fit the original couplings of the harness. I need to buy adapters in order to use back the original couplings. Needless to day, they have been ordered. The next problem that needs fixing is securing the battery onto the original battery tray. The Racetech battery is about 2/3 the size of the original battery. Some customised brackets will be necessary to secure the battery.

The Kansai front splitters have been replaced by the Greddy front lip, painted in red. The rear diffuser has been painted red completely. In addition, the Kansai rear spoiler has also been replaced by a Greddy rear spoiler painted in red. The car is as red as you can imagine. The only black stuff are the side skirts which I decided to keep black in colour because removing them may mean damaging some clips which holds the side skirt to the car. The car looks awesome. The deal on the Magline wheels did not go through. That could be a blessing in disguise as I think the G07 wheels looks really nice now with the overall red theme.

Pictures will be posted once available.