More parts arrived, so with some time up my sleeve this weekend I got cracking on fitting them.
There were some checks to do before getting into the “fun” stuff. I had noticed while driving the car to work last week that there was a knock from the front suspension, particularly when turning or going over a bump, so I wanted to spanner check the suspension and make sure everything was tight.
I found out last time I needed to jack the car up that my jack didn’t fit as the front lip was too low, so I ended up having to drive the car up on a pair of old brake rotors to get some extra clearance. I decided this time it’s about time I finally forked out and bought some low-rise ramps to help jack my cars up. A quick trip to Repco got me these
They only lift the car 65mm, but it’s more than enough to be able to get my jack under and lift the car up onto stands. Way easier than using random bits of wood/junk from the garage. The only thing was that I had to hold a mirror out the window to spot myself, and make sure I didn’t drive off the end (not that it would matter, unlike big service ramps, these wouldn’t hit anything if you drove off them).
Rolling around under the car, everything appeared tight, until I went to check the lower balljoint on the RH swaybar link and noticed it clicked. Looking further into it I could see the top balljoint moving in the shock, causing the clicking noise. It turns out the nut was finger tight, and this was because someone had rounded out the hex in the end used to stop it from turning, so it couldn’t be done up tight with a spanner.
I whipped the wheel off for more space, and hit it with the rattle gun to great success. Nice and tight, and no more clicking. It pays not to ignore noises.
One mod I had been waiting to install was my new-to-me Trust Greddy intercooler. The standard intercooler is tiny
But before I installed the new intercooler I wanted to check the intake temps and see how both intercoolers react.
With my headunit running native Android I can run TorquePro on it. This allows me to read a bunch of different sensors from the engine, including coolant temp, intake temp and even the factory wideband O2 sensor. Ignore my reflection and ugly layout; the layout is just thrown together quickly to display the most important stuff I will need on the track at a glance.
With the standard intercooler, running 14.7psi, and an ambient temp of about 18c, under sustained load, the intake temp would rise quickly and hit about 50c. This would slowly drop back once off boost again. Not great results.
The Greddy intercooler is a beast. It includes a new, much bigger shroud on the top, which fits the standard intake hose.
Removal of the old intercooler is quite simple. Four (unless you’re missing one) clips secure the shroud, two on each side. The intake hose just pulls off the shroud.
Remove two hose clamps, one at the front of the intercooler and one under the rear, and then two bolts on the front of the intercooler hold it to a bracket. With those removed, the intercooler pulls free.
Side by side with the new intercooler, and it’s a slight size difference
And in thickness too
The previous owner had modified the stock intercooler, with something that Google translates as “processing”, which means removing the end tank
and insert crushed bits of alloy tube between the core tubes to try and smooth air flow on the hot side of the intercooler
It turns out some of these had come free in my intercooler and were sitting in the end tank
Thankfully they appear to be accounted for and are on the inlet side of the intercooler, so couldn’t really go anywhere
The new intercooler just bolts straight into place
I noticed when test-fitting the shroud that there was a large gap along the rear edge, where air could just freely escape instead of being forced through the intercooler. I decided to run a bead of non-setting butyl tape along the gap to seal it against the shroud
The standard intake and carbon duct work nicely with the new shroud
While in the area I also replaced the hose blank where the BOV used to go on the intake pipe, as this was showing signs of cracking and had been weeping breather fumes
Now done in the engine bay I moved on to the interior. I had ordered brand new carpet from Japan which arrived the other day, so no time like the present to get it fitted.
It arrived in a massive box, which barely fit in the back of the Alto. Thankfully, it weighed nothing. Barely a kilo.
The first job was to clear the interior out. Remove the seats, the center console and the scuff plates.
The seats come out easily enough. Four torx bolts on each. Slide them to the mid position on the rails, and (un?)recline them forward about 45 degrees. They will then easily fit out the front door openings. Remember to disconnect the connector under them first.
I didn’t need to remove the back of the rear seat, just the base squab. A sharp tug on each front edge will disengage the front tabs, and then there is a tab on the rear that goes over a hook on the back of the seat belt buckle bracket, you need to push the squab towards the rear of the car to disengage this (or as I did, fold the seat back down, reach under it and lift the tab off the hook by hand).
The center console is a pain. The rear half is held in with two bolts into the floor, one under a cover at the rear, and one that is uncovered once the front half of the console is lifted up. The front half is held in place with a screw on each side and is clipped to the rear half.
The catch here was that it would be easier to remove the front half completely. To do so you would need to remove the gear knob. Suzuki used a press-fit knob on these, which I couldn’t get off. Instead, I undid the four screws that secure the gear boot to the center console, which let me remove the console without the knob or boot attached.
There is also a section in front of the gear shifter that needs to be removed. This has one clip on the RH side, and then a quick sharp tug should disengage the clips holding it to the center stack on the dash.
With those removed, I set about giving everything a real good clean. I vacuumed up all the excess dust and dirt from the panelbeaters, and then gave everything a quick wipe down with APC and a cloth.
From factory, the Alto Works had an underlay under the carpet. I wanted to replicate this without having to buy the pieces from Japan. Thankfully I still had a large part of the roll of underlay from when I did the carpet on my TVR
After some quick measuring and some cutting, I had four pieces to fit
Some trimming is needed to get them around the seat mounts, but otherwise they just sit in the footwell. Just like factory.
Both sides had the same treatment
Next, I unboxed the carpet and carefully dumped it in a heap in the back of the car
After MUCH faffing about fitting the Monstersport foot rest, and poking holes in my new and expensive carpet, I refit the console and suddenly it looked a bit more like a car again. Don’t forget to pass the seat plugs through the carpet!
It tucks nicely under all the side trims
There were two clips under the drivers seat, one clip under the rear seat, and one screw on clips on the front corners of the carpet.
When refitting the front scuff trims I decided to remove all the faux carbon wrap they had on them
It may have looked nice when new but was looking a bit tatty and dated now
Thankfully once removed it uncovered nice near perfect condition trims. Much nicer (look for it in the below photos).
I gave all the seats a quick vacuum as they were all also quite dusty, and then refit them
So how does that flash new carpet look?
Much better. It’s practically a luxury car now.
I have a set of carpet mats on their way from Japan, but until they arrive, it is brown paper time. Don’t want to get that new carpet dirty now!
Driving the car to work today had a few results;
Firstly, the suspension knock. Gone. It is one of those things that must have been worse than I noticed because the noise is very conspicuous in its absence now.
Secondly, the intercooler. The bigger volume hasn’t affected response, if anything, it feels like it spools a bit quicker, maybe less restriction? Temps have dropped. Doing the same sustained high boost pull with similar ambient temps results in a 5-10c decrease in max temp, but the drop when coming off boost was much quicker, it was dropping degrees a second, so it not only cooled the intake charge better but shed the excess heat much quicker. Hopefully that keeps the intake temps in check on the track.
Lastly, the carpet. Road noise is significantly decreased, as is exhaust drone on the open road. The exhaust might be more bearable at 100kph now since the car isn’t acting as a big echo chamber. The car feels more civilised in general. It’s funny how just refitting carpet can make such a big difference in how much of a “car” it feels.
A+ changes. Very happy with how the Alto is coming along. It’s less a track monster, and more a weekend warrior now, but much nicer to live with.