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Old 14th May 2014, 14:51   #1
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Default '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Before I write about my long-term ownership experience, I would like to make 2 very special mentions crediting 3 people who have been instrumental in my car being what it is today.
  1. Sincere and heartfelt thanks to Ron Chinoy and Arun of RDDreams who worked relentlessly through nights to set up the RDD AFR Controller, which is working flawlessly for the past 1.5 years. Thank you Ron and Arun!!
  2. Huge credit to Raghav of Ignite the Garage in Chennai who has been instrumental in maintaining my car in the state it is in today over the past 4 odd years. Thank you Raghav!!
When I graduated from driving the Zen to the SX4 in 2008, it was indeed a “towering” experience. My newfound [then] confidence of driving over broken patches of the road without having to worry about bottoming out was a great feeling. I used to literally grin whenever I drove over bad patches, where I used to brake to 1st gear speeds a few days earlier in the Zen. That feeling which started 6 years ago, has lasted till now, I kid you not.
Just like all Marutis [hmm, do I see owners of other brands frowning?] my SX4 too has been a relatively hassle-free vehicle to own and maintain. It has been my daily drive for the past 6 years apart from being driven many times all over South India, on holidays. I will keep this review short and sweet.

What I love about the car:
  1. Fantastic ground clearance – have driven over many rough and bad patches, never has it let me down.
  2. Firm suspension – well, this is a personal choice. Many people have said SX4 suspension is too stiff, but I love it.
  3. Good highway stability – the relatively firm suspension gives you confidence on the highways. Body roll is quite acceptable for a car this tall.
  4. Features – I feel this car, when it was introduced in 2007, was a bit ahead of its time in this aspect. A few features like automatic climate control and speed-sensitive locking were not available with the competition back then.
  5. None of the electricals have ever failed. I am very happy about this especially after reading so many storied here about electronics failures.
  6. Zero rattles – I am particularly proud of this. 6 years and 82k kms and no rattles whatsoever!
  7. It still gives me a smooth, silent, rattle-free and stress-free ride. Cant ask for anything more.
What I think could’ve been better in the car:
  1. Overall build quality – could have been a lot better. All doors feel flimsy – I have even told people to shut the door softly.
  2. Switchgear quality – I am normally very careful while operating any switches in the car. Even on a daily basis, I operate all switches softly and delicately. The overall switchgear quality on the SX4 has been quite poor. They don’t inspire confidence while operating.
  3. Bottom-end torque could have been better – I am not complaining about the current torque but just that it could’ve been better. We have had a Baleno in the family, so you know where I am coming from.
  4. Music system - in this vehicle is strictly average. Although it has 6 speakers, it lacks good bass. Thankfully I am not a big fan of top-end systems and therefore have not had to spend any money on upgrading!!
Modifications and changes in the car:
1. RDDreams AFR Controller – wide-band O2 sensor along with a piggy-back circuit and programmable 3-way controller switch along with an LED display on-board. 3 operating modes – lean, stoich. and rich. Targets can be programmed, unit is highly responsive and display follows suit very quickly. Using it for the past 22,000 kms – zero issues whatsoever. Well worth the investment and more!
This is very similar to what Crazydiablo had on his Baleno, which was explained in detail in his thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...eet-build.html (Baleno Powered by RDDreams - Street Build). The stock Denso NB O2 sensor has been replaced with a Bosch WB sensor. There is a programmable piggy-back control unit which communicates with the stock ECU as the stock ECU reads off the NB sensor output only.The 3 operating modes can be individually programmed - this means the target AFRs can be set based on the user's requirement.
The control unit is extremey responsive and reacts very quickly to accelerator inputs.
Now, for some numbers.I usually keep a steady 100-110 kmph throughout journeys on the highway. Through towns, I obviously reduce to safe speeds.Pre AFR controller, I used to get about 10 - 10.5 kmpl for this style of driving. With the AFR controller, I consistently get 16-17 kmpl, for the same speeds. You do the math This is only for highway driving. And this is all in the lean mode. There is absolutely no hesitation in the drivability.I rarely use the rich mode and even if I do it is only for short bursts, just to get my adrenalin fix. In the rich mode, the engine responds a bit quicker.
2. Digital engine temperature gauge – I have installed this to monitor temperature changes when running in different modes. Gives me fairly accurate readings helping modulate my driving. Installed mainly to monitor heat-soak values.
Engine temps always in the 85 - 95 Deg C band for 90% of the time - both city and highway driving. Heat-soak values go up to 102 - 103 Deg C for not more than 10-15 seconds. This is consistent, no fluctuations whatsoever!!
3. RoadRace Motorsports short air intake with UNI pod – let me clarify upfront, I don’t claim it to be a ‘cold air intake’. Just a short intake leading directly into the throttle body. Nice rorty intake sound.
The stock intake in the SX4 is very bulbous and I always wanted a short intake. Realised that there are no intakes for SX4 that are easiy available. Was not a big fan of K&N from the start. Saw that most of the other branded short intakes used corrugated intake pipes - which wasa huge no-no in my books. Did some research and found that RRM has one for the SX4. Brought one along from one my trips to the US. I have replaced the RRM air filter with a UNI pod.No issues even during heavy rains, alhough the filter is exposed. Have driven through sheeting rains even on the highway at decent speeds and the filter has always remained dry.
4. X-Force Varex muffler – remote controlled end-can, uses a 12V driven butterfly valve to control flow. Sound can be lesser than even stock when valve fully closed and when fully open, has a subtle low and deep bass. Just like I wanted it, not loud at all.
The car is 6 years old and I thought a nice exhaust will bring in some colour and character to the vehicle. A few years ago, came across X-Force Varex's remote controlled muffle and instantly fell in love with the concept - sound when you want, silent when you want!! What could be better!!
I also remember a forum member had one on his Fiesta, a while go, also from Chennai. So, chose the one that fits the SX4 best - in terms of inlet dia, outlet dia and overall size. Asked a colleague who was "coming up from down-under" to bring a unit along. Had it installed at Ignite. Of course, I never did it for 'power increase' or anything - just wanted a nice sound to go with the car.
The control unit is powered through the 12V socket and is housed in the centre console. The butterfy valve mounted on the end-can is wired to the control unit. A remote controller changes the angle of the butterfly valve altering the flow of the exhaust gases, thereby changing sound. I just need to plug the control unit into the 12V socket and use the remote to change the butterfly valve angle. Changeable on the fly. The unit I have bought is very subtle on sound, not loud at all and does not disturb the surroundings. Excatly the way I wanted it.
5. Yokohama db Series 225 / 55 R16 – extremely happy with these tyres. Super silent both in city and on the highway. Am on the second set now. 1st set lasted 42k kms. Very grippy, especially on the highway. Very happy with them!
This has got to be one the second best investment on my car after the AFR controller. The stock JK Vectras were crappy and was waiting to change them. Although the db Series tyres were expensive, the reviews I had read were very positive and I took the plunge. A world of change, coming from JK Vectras!! Albeit a bit expensive [INR 46k for set of 4] they are totally worth the money. I have seen many posts on this forum talking about soft side-walls and people rejecting them for this reason. Nonsense, I say. My first set lasted 42k kms and I had about 3-4 punctures, in total. Practically 1 puncture per tyre for 42k kms!! Yes my driving is conservative and I am always careful but the rewarding drive I get is well worth it!
6. Mechanical upgrades / changes – many over the years. I strongly believe in preventive maintenance. Have changed front suspensions, drive shafts, front discs and calipers and many other small mechanical parts every now and then. Car has never left me stranded anywhere and nothing has "failed" so far.
I like to keep my interiors clean and therefore spend just 5 minutes every Sunday polishing it. My wife complains that I spend too much time with the car, not surprising.

Coming to the servicing and maintenance part, the moment the vehicle went out of warranty, I stopped going to MASS. Well, not that they gave me reasons to complain about but just that I did not get the feeling that I could leave my car behind without worrying. Thats when I got in touch with Raghav and I have been taking my car to him ever since. Arguably one of the best independant garages in Chennai, he does a superlative job of both diagnosing problems and rectifying them. I do not have to worry about leaving my car behind for a few days, if need be, especially with the modifications done on the vehicle. Sometimes, I dont even empty my boot and glovebox before handing over the car to him!!

Brief summary of mechanical maintenance done so far:
  • Oil change every 10k kms - Mobil 1 / Shell Helix normally - fully synthetic. Have used a top-end Castrol formulation too.
  • 1st suspension oevrhaul around the 41k kms mark.
  • Shifted to Hawk brake pads aruond the 44.7k kms mark.
  • Drive shaft upgrade around the 52k kms mark. Now running SX4 VVT driveshafts which run on roller bearings. Old SX4 driveshafts run on ball bearings.
  • Transmission fluid changed at the 64.5 k kms mark.
  • Clutch change [pressure plate and cover house assembly only] changed around the 71k kms mark. This too was a voluntary change, not because of any failures.
  • Front suspension change [struts, stabiliser links, lower arms and tie rod ends along with bishes] changes at the 81k kms mark. Again, proactive change.
  • Both bumpers have been replaced once - because of scratches courtesy bikers, autos and taxis on the road and even parked spaces!!
As far as possible, I use Wuerth products. No technical reason but I just like the brand and products.
I religiously use tyre foam every weekend and ensure the tyres look clean. I polish the dashboard, also every weekend to keep it free of dust and other stuff. Since I drive in Chennai with a/c on 100% of the times, the windows are never down and therefore, not much dust accumulates inside.

As you can see, I have spent quite a bit on preventive maintenance. The result has a been an absolutely trouble-free vehicle for the past 6 years.

So, there you go!
Looking forward to many more kms of hassle-free and happy driving !!

Here are a few pictures of my car.
The last 2 pictures [picture of the engine bay and the picture of AFR display] are taken from a camera phone and hence the quality is a bit poorer than the external shots.


'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-dsc_0659a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-dsc_0656a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-dsc_0653a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-dsc_0654a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-20140511_172943a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-dsc_0660a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-21122011015a.jpg

'08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications-20140517_173022a.jpg

Last edited by bblost : 20th May 2014 at 10:41. Reason: Made pics Inline as it looks cleaner. Thanks.
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Old 14th May 2014, 15:35   #2
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Great to hear about your SX4, kaumad. Being a fellow SX4 owner, I can testify your experience to be similar to mine.

Congratulations for having maintained this steed and wishing you many more happy and safe miles.

Would you mind adding costs about all the modifications if at all?

Looking forward to more pics, details and your experiences about sx4.

Last edited by abirnale : 14th May 2014 at 15:37.
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Old 20th May 2014, 10:01   #3
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Mods Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th May 2014, 10:06   #4
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

@Kaumad, Very neat execution with regards to the mods carried out. I really love the first 4 pics. Can you also upload a video of the exhaust note ?

The alloys look really cool and you have kept the car in good shape.

Enjoy.

Thanks
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Old 21st May 2014, 11:01   #5
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Thanks mods for making this thread live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
Congratulations for having maintained this steed and wishing you many more happy and safe miles.

Would you mind adding costs about all the modifications if at all?
Thanks Abirnale for the comments.
The RDD AFR Contorller was about INR 25k.
Short intake with UNI pod was about INR 15k. Carried on person, hence no shipping costs.
X-Force end can was about INR 20k. Carried on person, hence no shipping costs.
The Yokohamas were about INR 46k for the set of 4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ad3952n View Post
@Kaumad, Very neat execution with regards to the mods carried out. I really love the first 4 pics. Can you also upload a video of the exhaust note ?

The alloys look really cool and you have kept the car in good shape.

Enjoy.

Thanks
Thanks ad for your feedback. I will shoot a video and upload soon.
Well, the alloys are stock, just painted matte black .

Last edited by Kaumad : 21st May 2014 at 11:14.
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Old 21st May 2014, 17:05   #6
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Good to the point writeup- I tend to echo your thoughts on the car.

We have had a sx4 since many years and its never let us down. handles bad roads with ease. Love the way you've maintained your car- Looks like an exact twin of our car. I'll post a pic to show you why!
Name:  sx4.jpg
Views: 3261
Size:  97.2 KB

Have you noticed any change in mileage after installing the RDD fuel-miser?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaumad View Post
This is very similar to what Crazydiablo had on his Baleno, which was explained in detail in his thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...eet-build.html (Baleno Powered by RDDreams - Street Build).
I hope your kit isnt the same as the one used in the above mentioned Baleno as that had been very problematic and packed up quite some time back. The best word i could use to describe that particular kit is JUNK.


Cheers!
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Old 21st May 2014, 17:39   #7
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by james View Post
Good to the point writeup- I tend to echo your thoughts on the car.

We have had a sx4 since many years and its never let us down. handles bad roads with ease. Love the way you've maintained your car- Looks like an exact twin of our car. I'll post a pic to show you why!
Attachment 1242871

Have you noticed any change in mileage after installing the RDD fuel-miser?




I hope your kit isnt the same as the one used in the above mentioned Baleno as that had been very problematic and packed up quite some time back. The best word i could use to describe that particular kit is JUNK.


Cheers!
Thats nice to see James - looks quite similar!!

Well, the AFR controller on my car is one of the later versions. Has been fine-tuned and almost all issues sorted. Have been using it for over 22k kms without a single hiccup.
There is definitely an improvement in mileage.
In city, the increase is about 5-10%. However, on highway drives the improvement is as high as 40-50%. In both cases, same driving style as pre-AFR controller installation. I am very happy with the kit - responds super quick to inputs.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 07:15   #8
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Nice mods
I have a VVT
For me the SX is a great car except for 3 issues
Lousy pickup
Lowish FE
"A" pillar frequently obstructs view on curvy roads

By running lean don't you run the risk of the top end overheating?
If not, yours seems a great idea

Last edited by KMT : 22nd May 2014 at 07:16. Reason: typo
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Old 22nd May 2014, 07:26   #9
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

@Kaumad : Spotted your ride a couple of times on Cenatoph road, nicely maintained i must say.

Unfortunately during my spotting, you were stuck in slow moving traffic, so i wasn't able to hear any revs. Hoping to hear the exhaust note next time.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 12:03   #10
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMT View Post
"A" pillar frequently obstructs view on curvy roads

By running lean don't you run the risk of the top end overheating?
If not, yours seems a great idea
That is correct, the A pillar does obstruct view on curvy roads, should have included in my post above.

I have experienced no overheating. The digital temp gauge gives me the chance to monitor temps closely. The stock analogue temp. gauges in all cars are very unresponsive anyways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by badboyscad View Post
@Kaumad : Spotted your ride a couple of times on Cenatoph road, nicely maintained i must say.

Unfortunately during my spotting, you were stuck in slow moving traffic, so i wasn't able to hear any revs. Hoping to hear the exhaust note next time.
Hey thanks Badboyscad. Which car would you be in? will keep an eye.
Well, you wont hear unless you are right behind me or right next to me, even on revs. The sound is very subtle and muted - wanted it that way.
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Old 6th September 2014, 20:54   #11
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Default Re: '08 Maruti SX4 ZXi - A Few Modifications

I absolutely love the SX4.

During my college days a friend of mine had an sx4,I used to drive it frequently.Loved the ease with which it went over some of our "roads".Was gonna go buy it for the family too.But by then it had aged a bit too much in comparision with the competition.

On another note.I feel like I did spot your car a few days back on my way from Coimbatore to Cochin.It was dark so all I could see was the TN and Hellas.Do you have halogens on it?
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