|18th July 2009, 10:11||#1|
Senior - BHPian
My Baleno's review at 38,500 kms "The poor man's fast car "
Its been 3 years 3 months and 38500 clicks on the odo of my beloved baleno. Time flew and never realized how well we got along all this while. My relationship with the car has been a long lasting one with no gripes what so ever. I know this is gonna be a long one, will try and finish it in one single post.
This was my 2nd car and I bought her home in April 2006 for those of you who dint know. It was time for an upgrade from my older Alto to a sedan and after a few test drives , my pick was the baleno.
I drove the car initially with the pathetic 165's shod from the dealership and from there on at 5/6k changed to the el-cheapo Apollo Accelere's. Upsize ?? Well it was strange 205/60/R13 . For me it did the trick, needed some better road grip for a car with this kinda responsive engine.
From there on drove on this set of tyres for another 7k odd clicks.Few trips to Udupi and kundapur got me thinking about an upgrade in terms of 14 or 15 inchers. Nothing materialized and I was left confused.
The 1st ever functional mod was the K&N filter which made a wee bit of difference. Well it had a nice growl and from then on I got addicted to the noise and was looking for something to make my car sound better. While at Ozzone getting the K&N install done.
I had seen a stainless steel end can and even posted a thread regarding the same. No 2nd thoughts I liked it and picked it up for about 4 grand or so.
The end can sounded good, however was flat in all the rpm ranges. Sound remained the same across all rpms and eventually it would give me a headache. Did a drive to my hometown in Cochin and the end cans noise mellowed down a wee bit. Now it sounded a little sweet.
All through I was driving my car with the 205/60/R13 sized tires.
Back from the trip, I decided to do the tyre upgrade and got myself the GSD II's in 14 inchers.Lot of questions posted on the baleno wheel thread and thanks to inputs from shuvc and Ishan (iraaghava) ( wonder where is he these days).One yelagiri drive for a team bhp meet and I was convinced that the GSD II's werent all that great. At speeds of 150-160 the car felt like a boat. I consoled myself saying that I would be doing such speeds seldom.
However 2007 proved to be a good year for the car and for me. I did a lot of reading on this very forum and decided that it was time to get the car a FFE installed.
It was July and myself and Mallik decided to get the FFE done from Raj. I don't want to go yaada yaada about Raj and his workmanship, undoubtedly one sensible old man I have met. Mallik's been a close friend of Raj and hence I got to sit around with Raj and spend some time with him while my car was getting done. Was restless the whole day since I left the car at Rajs place and went to office. Mallik collected the car for me and I still cant forget that drive when the car was delivered. Redlined in every gear and it was pure NIRVANA.
This was it and I decided that I will continue to run with this setup for long and leave the engine untouched. I was successful in frying the clutch once after installing the FFE.Well got it changed coz I never had a choice.
Now after seeing Malliks while baleno I was smitten by the tyre upgrade bug again . Bang there I was at Hercules Tyres waiting for the S-drives. Officially I think I would have been the 1st guy on this forum to have gotten the S-drives. What say oldies ?
All said and done this is how my car looked with the mesh grill sourced by Rahul a.ka. mclaren1885.
ICE came in every now and then and Satya(blueraven316) would have gotten sick of my endless phone calls. Thanks for everything pal.
September 2007 was when I changed the oil to Synthetic oil 5w50 from Mobil-1 car felt super smooth(atleast much better than driving around with mineral oil)The car had clocked 20k kms now and the list of works undergone at RNS was as below
1 - NGK iridiums
2 - Brake fluid change
3 - Coolant
4 - Gear box Oil
5 - Radiator flushing
6 - Engine Oil flush and change
7 - Drum brakes cleaning
Total costs involved was around 4800/- bucks with 3M fluids used for flushing and gear box oil.Bummer it was,since I spent another 3100 seperately on the Mobil-1 for 4 liters of Synthetic Oil.
Time flew I got married and ever since my wife thinks that I am more obsessed by the car than her. Poor soul all through she understood the kinda love I had for my car.She never complained since then coz all she knew was that the baleno was really close to my heart and that nothing can take its place.
Having found another travel bug as my better half, we did innumerable trips and now the car would only do the highway runs,I seldom used the car in the city.
Next engine Oil change was done at 26k kms and this time again it was Mobil-1 5w50.A big shout to Nitrous anna for suggesting this.
The car went to clock many more miles and then once while talking to Viddy , he suggested that I try the OWS engine oil and that I would need to contact Frahan(sideways) from the forum. Farhan went on to send me the OWS package with the engine oil flush, 4 ltrs of OWS 5w50, radiator flush et all.
Car now had clocked about 32k and I picked up the complete OWS engine treatment package, I got poorer for 4k odd. Went to RNS and spend good 5 hrs there with the mech and the service advisors overlooking the whole procedure. Cars delievered as promised and initially I never noticed any change. Did about 40kms driving and voilaa the way the car responded change. Methinks the injector cleaning liquid did the magic.
I was a happy man again and thanks to Farhan for this. Its run about 6k kms since then and am sure the car can run another 4/5k without any issues. Well I used to stick to the oil change schedule of 6k since it was synthetic oil , till I read it could be used for about 10k.
In a nutshell, the car was doing excellent and seldom or actually never gave up on me even a single time. All thru we did umpteen long trips and she never missed a single beat.
Sometime last year I even pondered over the idea of stiffening the suspension for the car. Contacted Methods for the Koni's and it wasn't in stock. Spoke to a lot of people regarding this and I never got a convincing answer.
The rally champs said DMS and JAnand, I am Riju and couldn't shell out this kinda money.Koni install sounded good , but once again no straight forward answers. I ditched the idea a few weeks later.
Farhan said get the peddar springs. He made me a nice offer too,however these would lower the car and I had to forgo this mod too.Stuck to the stock suspension from then on till now.
more to come....
|18th July 2009, 11:36||#3|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 376 Times
Drop Dead Gorgeous Baleno
Still running with the 195s in the rear and 205s in the front?
What is wrong with the sky in the second last pic?
|18th July 2009, 11:55||#4|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2007
Thanked: 1,961 Times
just loved each and every word of yours, the way you have narrated the ownership experience.
the best part was the wifey thing. same happened with me when my wife discovered that i love my car more than anything else. she still bugs me for that.
|18th July 2009, 11:58||#5|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2007
Thanked: 3,792 Times
Frankly, I don't care, nor read what you wrote.
Because the PICS are so DROP DEAD FANTASTIC!!!!!!
Absolutely AMAZING pics.
Which cam? techniques et al? I've rarely seen baleno pics as awesome as these!
|18th July 2009, 12:08||#6|
Senior - BHPian
K & N Air Filter Universal - 4168/-
Adoptors 101/63 - 1244/-
Intake pipe and clamps - 577/- (about 4/5" long.Not really visible in the pic)
Fuel efficiency was really good though initially I took a hit with the FFE installed. Redlining as and when possible.
Last I checked was I pulled off a cool 16kmpl during my drive to mysore and city driving has been around 13.xx kms.
|18th July 2009, 12:14||#7|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Speed-brkr City
Thanked: 6,707 Times
@Riju, that was neither a long review, nor are you a poor man ..
! But I agree the car's quick.
Nice review, well put - covering enough details in a precise manner. And some lovely pics to top it off.
|18th July 2009, 12:15||#8|
Join Date: Jan 2008
Thanked: 24 Times
Sexy ride..sexier pics and was just guessing it was a dslr and thought it was a d90..superb mods and looks like you enjoy every mod you've done..
|18th July 2009, 12:30||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2005
Thanked: 380 Times
Fantastic pictures. Did u changed the alloys too? I liked the first set of alloys.. Have you ever put your Baleno for sale in market section or am I confusing it with a different ad
|18th July 2009, 12:36||#12|
Senior - BHPian
It was in classifieds section some time back. I am happy that he did not sell the car.
|18th July 2009, 12:49||#13|
Senior - BHPian
Fast forward to 2009 ....
She'zz been running brilliantly without any issues. Every time I left the car for servicing the bill never crossed the 750Rs mark. Haven't really changed any spares on the car and cant comment. For once I fried the clutch after getting the FFE done, apart from that no parts needed replacement and this is for the full 38k kms done.Brake pads were replaced as per the manual and that's it.
It took time for me to get used to driving with the FFE. The torque which this car is known for had gotten me addicted, fuel efficiency was close to 11kms in city limits and about 15kms on the highways.
Had to change my driving style and I realized what the car was capable of when I did the Coastal Karnataka drive in Aug 2008 about a year back. We kept the revv's less than 3k and the car returned a brilliant mileage of 17.xx kms.
From there on its been pure bliss driving this thingy around the city coz the headers made city driving quite easy. I have calculated the mileage umpteen times and in the city its been hovering around 13.xx kmpl.Not bad eh ?
I agree that some of the spares are darn expensive , however the baleno being a product of MUL am sure there wont be any problems with the
spares.Have seen people on this very forum harping about not finding spares and I think this could be a one off instance.
Definitely scores over the spare pricing incomparo to other manufacturers.
I am sure she would be light on your pockets if maintained really well and if all service schedules are followed approriately.Cheap labor at MASS is the blessing in disguise. You dont wanna go to the dealership you always have the choice of going to local MASS.
No wonder why we so many baleno's/esteems/gypsies in the rally scene here in India.
No comments, you chaps know better than me.
Comfort and space
For a car that was ahead of its time when launched in India, caught the eye of true motor heads with her slow slung stance. She is a mile muncher with excellent thigh support, no form of fatigue or what so ever on long drives.
Only gripe was the low ground clearance and you literally would have to crawl over the humongous speed breakers a.k.a car breakers in town.
Very comfortable for 4 people and an occasional 5th soul.
The AC was a brilliant piece of equipment in this car. I wont comment on this coz fellow owners know how effective the AC is.
Time to move on and I posted the ad' to sell her. Had a lot of nincompoops at my door and the moment they heard the car revv, 1st question " rally car Saar " ? Some educated chaps who dint know a jack of cars are also included in this list ( no offense to anyone here) .
I was darn keen on selling the car only to someone who would take good care of her. Held on for over 3 months coz I needed her at home due to mom's illness. She had a problem with her ankle and the baleno was perfect for her daily commute for physiotherapy.
Come March and I started looking for serious buyers. Once again, it was as simple as the fact that I was choosy in selling the car. I dunno why I never wanted to see my car lying battered somewhere after I had sold her off.For me it was finding a the right person, than selling the car and making that quick deal.
1st week of July, my phone rings one evening. Pick up the call and hear a lovely young lady's voice asking me if my car is available. I was
like " ooh god not again" , she broke every single perception I had about woman and cars.
Well picture this,a lady calling you and talking to you about headers, torque, tyre sizes,k&n and yaada yaada. Something rare !! Deep down
inside I decided ok, lemme show the car and see what the response was.
Met up with the lovely young couple one Saturday morning and showed them the car. Both were convinced and the car was to be driven by the
young lady. Hats off to the husband who is so supportive and has agreed to have his lady love drive a FFE'd baleno.
July 7th was the D-day . I couldn't sleep the previous night and was up by 4am on the 7th morning. The car was to be handed over to the new owner who promised me that she would love the car like I did.
Woke up my better half and asked if she fancied a drive to Nandi hills to re-kindle the good ole drives we did. In an instant she said " am
driving the car " and only then was the approval given.With a broken knee
I haven't been driving for the last 2 months or so. 5am and we were off to Nandi Hills and for one last time I drove her to full satisfaction.
She purred and revved like always not missing a single beat.No complaints and no rattles anywhere, to me that very morning she sounded like she had just come outta Raj's garage when the FFE was installed. I pulled over for a few pictures and kissed her on the hood. The 2nd love of my life was gonna find a new owner today.
I promised my wife, that I will buy her back someday when I can afford another car and keep her with us. Back home, I gave her a nice last wash and applied a coat of wax. She still looked appealing even after 3 years.Deep down inside,there was a lull which I knew will last for long. However handed over the car to the new owner and hoped that she will continue to serve the new owner like she did.
Like all good things come to an end my episode with the baleno is over for now.
A word of thanks to all people here on this very forum who have helped me with their invaluable suggestions .
Mallik and Maggie thanks for being around always for giving me suggestions on what was best for my car.
Viddy you deserve a pat on your back for listening me out and guiding me.
Ishaan and kpzen , the official tyre gurus here thanks chaps.If
not for you guys my car wouldnt have had changed footwear so many times .
Rahul thanks to you to buddy.
Folks at RNS
Big shout to Mr.Kumar and Sachin from RNS for taking such good care of my car whenever I left it with you.Both these chaps have quit RNS apparently and most of the older folks at RNS.
Those endless hours spent by you guys standing by my car, ensuring that no one drives it around for a test drive. Go that extra mile to
ensure my car was delivered as per my satisfaction. RNS sure has lost 2 feathers in their cap. All the very best to you guys where-ever you are.
She lived up to my expectations and being truly a " Poor mans fast car " .
To rest thanks for your time reading my banter. Let the brickbat hurling start now .
PS : folks post 1 are all older pics and this post contains images which was shot a week back.
Last edited by rjstyles69 : 18th July 2009 at 12:51.
|18th July 2009, 13:12||#14|
Senior - BHPian
I am very disappointed. I fail to understand how you could sell the car after loving it so much. I am sure you had a valid reason and it would have been very difficult for you to part ways. I must admit that I have a soft corner for your car, pictures and travelogues.
Anyway, what is coming next? All the best friend.
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