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Old 24th May 2009, 01:09   #1
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Default 6 years with a hot hatch

The date today is 24-05-2009. Rewind back to the same time 3 years ago in March-May 2006 and I was in the market for a new car. I had looked at the Ikon 1.2, Santro, Sumo (!), Scorpio and Safari. The Ikon was thickly mired in the rumor that it would be discontinued shortly then, the Sumo TD made me realize this vehicle feels formidable only from the outside, the Scorpio had such bad body roll that I figured the seats had better be placed facing sideways for my German Shepherd to be comfortable in it and the Safari was found to be out of my budget.

A friend of mine had a Swift that he'd bought 6 months ago and I had a casual look at it. The background at this point is that I loathed Maruti deeply and its then-obsolete products. The Swift however grew on me: it handled well - better than other affordable cars at that time (the Ikon 1.6 was sunset), was radically new bordering on being racy and an allrounder.

So - it was then, that the Swift was to be my companion. I ran around various dealerships and eventually settled on RNS Yeshwanthpur, even though it was 25 kms from my house, since at that time, I found it to be the most down-to-earth and VFM dealership.

May 25, 2006:

My 1st sweetheart came into my life this day. Standing resplendant with her RNS-fitted Garware tints, I drove her and my family to my brother's house for a party at Neel. It was the most nerve-wracking drive of my life!

That weekend saw me get the accessories fitted, that I had selected and ordered the previous weekend. These included the Plati 15" chrome wheels, Hankook Ventus K102 tyres, Morel Pulse 6.5 inch coaxials and Autocop 8000S (with engine immobiliser enabled and pressure sensor set to most sensitive level), Bosch twin-horns (Skoda Octavia type), Ovion leather upholestry, TurtleWax Hard Shell, DuPont Rubs (for the polishing after the waxing) and TurtleWax alloys cleaning spray. Went home contented.

Her 1st days, no number-plates yet:

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I was determined that her run-in mileage of 2500 kms would be done on highway driving only with constant speeds, and specifically not in city traffic. The modern Bangalore-Mysore highway was newly formed at the time, and combined with the newly formed NICE expressway, I was able to achieve my intention of 5th gear/ 80 kmph/<2500 rpm run-in objective with very satisfying ease.I also successfully achieved my objective of not driving her in city traffic during the run-in.

The other aspect I was particular on, is fuel. I did not want to treat her to any potentially adulterated/low-quality stuff, and therefore drove roughly 10 kms to a Shell bunk on Mysore Road to fill her up everytime. Even when on the first Mangalore drive in my car, I only treated her with Shell/Reliance. This continued until Shell stopped their normal petrol, and based on my experience with their premium offering, I wasnt convinced enough to switch over to that.

K&N stock replacement filter ,SGP rear spoiler :

September 2006 saw this installed. Didn't notice much diffence on the way back. But, that evening took the car out for a longer drive on a highway. The car had become peppier and drop-dead silent.

RNS did not have the SGP rear spoiler in stock at the time of delivery. They finally had it by September-October and so did I.

2nd free service, November 2006:

The minor rattling that was a constant companion was fixed by RNS. The exact parts that RNS replaced (mandated by Maruti at the time) were the rear seat locks, metal seat clip giving way to a new FRP seat clip, seat-belt holders and and the electric regulators that operate the window motors.


Last edited by theMAG : 24th May 2009 at 01:11.
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Old 24th May 2009, 01:26   #2
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Default Departure from stock form

At the 10000 kms service (3rd free service) , I switched over to Mobil1 5W50 fully synthetic from the regular mineral oil at RNS. The engine flush used was Abro. I purchased the stuff from JC Road's General Automotive Works. The difference was like night and day with the first thing I remember having noticed is that the engine had become so much very rev happy and smooth.

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Its differences like this that makes one appreciate all the recommendations around such changes. This is the first change that significantly transformed the way the engine responded. The price of Mobil1 at the time was around Rs 700+ per liter.

My car continued running around in this state till the Service Manuals that I had ordered arrived from RNS.

Free Flow Exhaust:

At around this time, a friend and I swapped the Swift service manuals with his newly acquired Raj Hingorani MS custom FFE for his Swift. Incidentally, with the two of us having similar driving styles and requirements, it was a FFE designed for low-mid. The car flew. The difference in performance was again, like night-day. Apart from the performance change, the other change I noticed was that the car seemed to have come alive with the exhaust note.

This was the second change that made a significant difference to the drivability of the car.

My first long-distance drive with her:

I had avoided driving her in city traffic- something that I hate passionately, and was really waiting to have a nice long distance drive with her. My friend's marriage in Mangalore between June 24-26 2007 came as the perfect folly. She drove brilliantly all along. I relished the entire drive due to the way she handled.

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I switched over to 100/90W Narvas and Bosch wipers immediately after my return. And cursed OEMs for wilfully providing sub-standard and non-usable essentials like weak lighting.

Exploring aftermarket tail/headlights:

During all this while, I was keenly looking for aftermarket projector headlights and LED tail-lights. The ones on offer did not have any USP, and in my opinion, did not blend with the car's futuristic design.

I was looking for these tail-lights then:

No one seemed to have them/able to get them.

I had also seen the performance of the available "projector" headlights and was completely unimpressed by their performance. Ditched the idea of aftermarket light-units altogether.

ICE upgrade:

Satya took care of this.

1. Pioneer 6950 HU
2. Morel 6.5" coaxials all-around (existing)
3. EFX HD4300 amplifier
4. Hifonics 12" subwoofer in ported enclosure
5. Scosche wiring kit

Fourth service:

The fourth service saw another Mobil1 oil change at the 20000 kms mark. I religiously change oil every 10000 kms. The Mobil1 rate at around this time was Rs 800+ per liter. I also got a complete throttle body cleaning (disassemble) and decarb done during this service. The car was again running very smooth.


Last edited by theMAG : 24th May 2009 at 01:27.
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Old 24th May 2009, 01:50   #3
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Default Lighting Upgrade

Roughly around the beginning of 2008, I switched over to HIDs after a lot of research. Brought myself Racetech 35W 6000K HIDs. The difference in Lighting, was again (pun intended) like night-day. The quality of illumination was really something I had to experience repeatedly to believe myself. These lights have given me the confidence to do night driving on any terrain to such a large extent that I did the entire getaway to Kollur via Shiradi Ghats for a friend's wedding on April 21-24 2008 in night. This was the third Change that made a significant change to the drivability of the car.

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The other accessorization I had done at this time was Llumar Steel05 tints, Llumar Air75 front-windshield tints, Remote-window relay, Reverse parking sensors and car bluetooth.

The (major) fourth (set of) change(s):

Around August 2008, I was feeling despondent, and when I feel like that, the only thing that makes me happy is if I pamper my car. Went to Raj Hingorani, and had him perform the next set of logical performance upgrades to my car. Porting, polishing, head shaving and a brand-new factory-enlarged Japan-spec Mikuni throttle body. I had/have no words to describe the transformation. The car flew like never before.

The current set of performance upgrades are working so beautifully in my car that it gives me a smile everytime I drive her. Pure bliss.

Due to the head-work performed, oil was changed at this juncture. The odo was roughly at 30000 kms and was due for an oil change anyway. Mobil1 went in again. It was around Rs 900+ per liter by this time. The 5th service was performed after this.

PLEASE NOTE: For reasons beyond the scope of this report, I will not be fielding any queries/PMs regarding this set of modifications. They were mentioned here as a logical sequence of the ownership report. Thank you for your understanding

Some random photos of my car in her various getaways after the above set of mods:

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Last edited by theMAG : 24th May 2009 at 02:10.
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Old 24th May 2009, 02:13   #4
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Default Scheduled services

All the 5 scheduled services were compulsorily carried out at RNS Yeshwanthpur due to senior service people there being well known to me, and with personalized attention for my car. Thanks to those people the services were brilliantly done. Unfortunately, these known senior service people left RNS at around the time for the 6th scheduled service at 40000 kms.

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I am very possessive and finicky about my car. It is therefore very important for me that I know personally, the people who service my car.

That said, I was in a quandary as to where I should have the 6th service done. Then it hit me. I knew Vasu - Saraswathi Auto Garage, for quite a while - through Psycho and visiting the place during Vikram's turbo-build. I didnt know at this time if he did regular servicing of cars, in addition to the performance builds. Confimed through Psycho and him that he indeed did regular service.

6th service- 40000 kms, May 2009

Mobil1 was becoming too expensive. But, being a major service, I also wanted to go the extra-mile in pampering my car. I spoke to Sideways, told him my car's history, and he recommended the following OWS package for my car- that I've pasted from our PM, which I requested him to send:

1) "Vitamin package" consisting 1 number each of 210 (Flush), 220 (Oil Additive), 360 (Tank + injector + valve cleaner)

2) OWS 5w50 fully synthetic oil

3) OWS Uber power, Generation 7, Twin Iridium - Zx6il spark plugs - 4 numbers.

4) Fully synthetic 75w90 gear box oil

5) OWS 230, gear & Diff additive

6) Tectaloy Radiator flush

7) Tectaloy Coolant

The transformation in the car's drivability was phenomenal - it is so linearly torqued now with no flat-spots and the gear-shifts have regained their crispness. The engine has become butter smooth and drop-dead silent - more so than during the Mobil1 era. My mother, who is completely auto-disinterested, wondered on the 1st drive after this package/service whether I had removed my "sports exhaust" since the car had become very silent !

This would become the fifth change, that made a succint difference in the drivability of the car.

I also decide to replace all the belts and brake pads. I picked up the OEM MGP spares from EssAr - the sole Maruti authorized over-the-counter spares outlet on JC Road, and alongwith Farhan's package, leave the car with Vasu. Amit - thanks for pointing me to this shop.

All I can say is this:

Vasu: I was very satisfied with car's service. I thank you for your stellar efforts.

Farhan: As I mentioned when we spoke, driving her has become the most pleasurable, in all her 40000 kms of running, performance modifications notwithstanding. Thank you for suggesting/making available this package.

Recent accessorization:

Got a Ford Mustang replica-steering wheel and Bosch Aerotwin wipers. I'll put up pics shortly of both.

Final re-cap:


1. Handling
2. Drivability - in current form
3. Mileage
4. Ease of maintenance
5. Looks
6. Braking


1. Resonant rattling of door pad

Short/long term upgrades planned:

1. Tyre: Bridgestone Turanza ER60 195/60/15
2. Alloys
3. Streetable cam
4. ECU

Thank you.

Last edited by theMAG : 24th May 2009 at 02:45.
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Old 24th May 2009, 05:58   #5
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a well written review.
So did you notice any increase in FE (as many claim)after the FFE install by Raj and was it worth it ?
How easy is it to maintain black cars in bangalore
might i say a pretty well maintained car.
and just realized the K and N sticker looks like the karnataka flag !!!

Last edited by vinaydas : 24th May 2009 at 06:00.
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Old 24th May 2009, 08:14   #6
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Nice one mag, shows your passion
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Old 24th May 2009, 08:19   #7
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Good review/ flash back
And I like the way you regularly pamper the car - the car looks very cool.

I too used mobil 1 in my WagonR, it went silent for the first 1000kms or so, then came back to normal [or maybe i got used to it] but is definitely free revving.

Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
I was determined that her run-in mileage of 2500 kms would be done on highway driving only with constant speeds . . . .
Isn't it exactly the opposite of what should be done? - At least as per the Maruti service manual - 'No' to constant speeds during run-in.

Last edited by SLK : 24th May 2009 at 08:21.
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Old 24th May 2009, 08:43   #8
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I was determined that her run-in mileage of 2500 kms would be done on highway driving only with constant speeds, and specifically not in city traffic.
You have to expose the engines to a variety of RPMs during run in while staying under a limit. Driving at the same speed and at the same revs is not advisable.

Anyway, nice report. Great pics too.

Last edited by ImmortalZ : 24th May 2009 at 08:47.
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Old 24th May 2009, 09:14   #9
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That was one well written review Mag. The car looks absolutely brand new, and must be a hoot to drive with the mods.
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Old 24th May 2009, 09:25   #10
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Extremely well written LTO. Your possessiveness towards your black beauty clearly reflects in your writeup.
Suggest to do some more long runs.

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Old 24th May 2009, 10:20   #11
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An extremely well maintained car! Looks like you stop at every 5 Kms and clean the car Impressive indeed.

Few questions

Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
2) OWS 5w50 fully synthetic oil
How much is the cost per liter? Also does (did) the brand really matter? Mobil1 is also in similar grade.

Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
4) Fully synthetic 75w90 gear box oil
How is your feeling about the shifts. Substantial improvement?

Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Short/long term upgrades planned:
2. Alloys
Me too felt the current ones do not get well. A black metal finished ones would do wonders
Good luck!!
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Old 24th May 2009, 10:58   #12
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a well written review dude!
hot alloys too!
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Old 24th May 2009, 11:24   #13
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Your car looks wicked. Great Alloys! Very well written review
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Old 24th May 2009, 11:33   #14
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Nice review !!
Your black beauty is in top notch condition after 3yrs.

Of all pics, one pic stands out and that has to Rudra Magic. Isn't it ?
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Old 24th May 2009, 11:45   #15
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This one could not have come in a better time than now.You have done your home work before doing any thing and this would help some of us who are yet to start with the swift.Good report and i loved that side profile pic too.Wonderfull expierience shared .

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