Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Great Day at the Workshop

What a great day I had at the workshop today. For those of you who are familiar with Project S, you would understand why it is such a great place to have your Swift done, be it for regular servicing, repair, maintenance or some serous mods. The owner of the shop, Raymond is a great guy. I think he eats, sleep and does everything else in his Swift less the messy stuff. Seldom would you meet a guy who knows his stuff inside out. His team is equally friendly and knowledgeable especially his chief mechanic. Within a short time, he pointed out all the 'mistakes' that were done previously. It was shocking yet comforting to know that such things can actually happen and it takes a trained eye to spot them.

Finally, after many agonizing months, the LSD is replaced with the stock differential. What a complete change it has been, no more chattering and no more weird steering feel when the clutch is depressed. In the process of replacing the LSD, we took the opportunity to replace the clutch fork with a reinforced one, clutch bearings and installed a RRP clutch collar. All these are good enhancements that gives me the peace of mind I need.

Sadly, we also discovered the front left Tanabe Sustec GF coilover shock absorber was leaking. We suspect the oil seals are broken because the shock could not rebound when pushed in. That explains the funny knocking sound from the front and the constant pull to the left. They were replaced by stock Monroe shocks paired with JIC lowering springs. The car sits higher than before and that is fine with me. Ride comfort is great and handling is not compromised. Besides, we are not talking about taking the car for a real race and for practical reasons like cost, the Monroes and JIC springs are just perfect. They will probably last forever compared to some coilovers who will leak one day.

It was also a good opportunity to do some body work enhancement. The fenders are now endowed with Juran fender mole rubber fender moulding. These things are not cheap but it was definitely worth it. The car looks great now with the black wheel arch. Unlike the original Suzuki wheel arch mouldings which are thick but hollow, the Jurans' are nice and slim, with just the perfect dimension to set the car apart from others. Some rubber linings were also stuck onto the rear, side and front end of the car to cover the gaps left by the sideskirts, front lips and rear diffuser. The blue colored strips looks a bit off but heck, they are there for practical reasons ie. to prevent water ingress. Perhaps, when I could find black colored strips, I will have the blue ones removed but for now, they stay.

The Greddy easy cams were not performing well and some adjustments had to be made. After some tweaking, they are performing at peak now. Since they are adjustable, some tuning was required to ensure its operational efficiency. With the cams adjusted, the car feels rather different now. It seems to have bigger lungs and the transition between gears is much more fluid. Where there used to be a jerk due to a drop in RPM, the cams keeps the revs longer and you do not feel the 'jerk' as much as before. Its still there no matter what since it is a manual car but its much nicer to drive now. The idling RPM has dropped to 650 rpm but that is not a problem as it can tuned up. The other noticeable difference is the linear pull of the engine. Where it used to pull quite quickly but running out of steam just as quickly, there is a sense that the pull is stronger and controlled. No longer do you have to drag gears to get the same shove. Changing over at 4500 rpm is like hitting the sweet spot whereas it used to be much higher. Overall, a very good enhancement but only if installed professionally and tuned perfectly.

A Pivot Raizin Spark Earth Red (Type S) was also installed. This replaces the ignition fuse and is fitted in the fuse box under the steering column. From the short drive back from the workshop, the fuel consumption reading was 13.4 km per liter. Previous readings without the Spark Earth was 13.2 km per liter. That is an amazing piece of electronic gizmo. The car seems incredibly quieter now and cranking up seems much faster. Definitely a good enhancement that should be considered but please have it installed correctly.

Last but not least, a Panasonic LifeWink battery monitor was installed. This thing is supposed to check that the battery is properly charged and warns you when there could be problems with the battery or alternator indirectly. Its a little device that works very well.

The car is being prepped for a long drive back to Hua Hin. As usual, a complete and thorough check needs to be done. Luckily, the leaking shock absorber was discovered or else, it could have spelled disaster. Never assume everything is fine. It never is unless you know for sure, it is.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Club Raze Wheels Installed

The moment of truth finally arrived. Brought the wheels to the regular tyre shop for them to be installed onto the car. As each wheel was installed, there was a sense of queasiness that it would not match the overall image of the car. I have tried to maintain a clean and simple design but obviously, these Club Raze wheels are hardly 'simple- looking especially with the deep dish chrome rim and multi-spoke centre. The color combination was another factor. When the installation was completed, it was time to assess the situation; do the wheels stay or do they go? It took plenty of getting used to but I think the wheels are looking good. Whether they get to stay forever is another matter. For the time being, they do give the car a new perspective.