Team-BHP > Technical Stuff


Reply
  Search this Thread
13,724 views
Old 26th April 2024, 01:29   #1
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion

Make & Model- Maruti Omni E 8 STR.
Colour- Phoenix Red.
Date of purchase- 22.10.1999.
Odo reading- 120000km
Engine specification- 3 cylinder 796cc F8B (Carburetor fueled) , 37 bhp (max power) & 6.32 kgm (max torque).
Suspension- McPherson strut (front) & leaf spring with shock absorber (rear).
Fuel tank capacity- 36 litres.
Brakes- All round drum brakes without brake booster.

Circa 2002:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-me-omni.jpeg

Circa 2023:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-omni-latest.jpeg

BRIEF HISTORY

On 22th October 1999, 3 days after my 5th birthday, our Omni in Phoenix Red colour came home. She has been with us since then, through thick and thin, through birth and death and everything in between.

This was the first car (or for that matter any vehicle, since we didn't ever have a 2 wheeler) that my father bought, also one of the first 4 wheeler bought in our extended family. Now why the need for a car arose is something I am not sure even now. In our family back in 1999 buying a 4 wheeler, that too a brand new was a huge thing. My Dad was a first generation settler in the capital city of Guwahati, was in his mid 30s, married with a kid (that would be me). Him buying a brand new car in 1999, is something no one could imagine (family & friends alike), but he did get the Omni home & 25 years later its still with us.

The story goes like this, within 15 days the decision to buy a car & bringing the Omni home was done, with the car loan being processed in record time by SBI New Guwahati Branch (apparently getting car loans back then was a bit difficult). I have been told that the initial booking was done for a metallic green Omni, metallic colours were kind of a new thing back then. The green Omni never came, we ended up with a pink Omni (which was readily available).

We were a family of 3 then (my kid sister is newer than the Omni), so my Dad deciding to get a 8 seater with 3 rows of seating is something that doesn't make sense even now . M800 would & should have made more sense, considering all things.

On the delivery day, dad, my maternal uncle, me & a driver (since no one knew to drive) went to take delivery of the Omni. I have some blurry memories of seeing her for the first time near the washing area, undergoing final cleaning. The Omni was bought from the only Maruti dealer in Guwahati operational at that time, Bimal Auto. My Mom (who is more into cars than Dad), tells me that on the first night Omni was home (we used to live in a rented place then), she couldn't sleep properly, she would get up many times & glance at the Omni. Getting a new car home was such a huge thing for our family.

The owner's manual:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-user-manual-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-user-manual-2.jpeg

Fast forward to 2012, Omni's replacement is here, a 2012 Punto MJD (link to Punto ownership thread:Punto story (Living with a Fiat Punto for 4.5 years & 1 lakh km)). Omni by that time had done 80k km & was in perfect shape (both cosmetically & mechanically). Omni till then had served us faithfully for 12 years, never broke down, never needed any more maintenance than regular service. The logical thing at that time was to sell the Omni, since there was no need for a second car at home. But of course selling the Omni was never an option, so she stayed. After that Omni's running came down drastically, I also went to college in 2013, got my own car in 2016 (an used 01 Zen, link to the thread: 01 Zen & 06 Swift (My experience with cheap pre-owned cars)). The Omni even in this period was always serviced on time, kept in perfectly running condition, whatever needed fixing mechanically was fixed (like a new half engine in 2013). The body though had started to rust at few places & the paint condition deteriorated over the years. Finally in October 2020, it was decided that the Omni will go through a proper cosmetic restoration, whatever needs fixing will be fixed properly.

With Punto on the delivery day (Jan 2012), Punto was sold in Aug 16, had done 103k km:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-punto-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-dsc02478.jpg

Special thanks to my good friend & Bhpian Tanveer02 for helping me in compiling this review .

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 01:14.
chiranjitp is offline   (53) Thanks
Old 27th April 2024, 01:02   #2
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter I- Restoration

Special thanks to dear friend & Dbhpian Leoshashi for guiding me through every step of the restoration, without him the restoration upto this level wouldn't have been possible.

As I had mentioned in the previous post, with time the body had started to rust at few places & also the paint quality had deteriorated. Paint quality becoming bad was anticipated only, since 1999 over a dozen people have learnt driving in the Omni, as expected there have been many minor mishaps here & there, & as a result many panels have been painted multiple times. Fixing the paint was relatively simple, fix the dents & paint the whole body in one go.

The bigger problem was the rusting body, a car body catching rust is like cancer, it will keep on spreading. Even if rust is taken care of, one can't be fully sure that the rust won't come back after some time. Even now, after all the precautions that I took during rust proofing, there's always a possibility that the rust might make a comeback someday.

Anyways after discussing with Shashi, it was decided that wherever possible, we will put new MGP panels, keeping the patch work to minimum. With new panels, chances of it rusting is negated to a large extent, whereas with patch work, there's a bigger chance of rust. Of course, we had to do patch work in few places, but in most of rusted areas, new MGP panels were put in. Then next was the process of welding, arc (or mig welding) vs gas welding. Shashi advised to go with arc welding, as it was the better form of welding w.r.t strength & rust proofing. With gas welding, there's always a risk of damaging the Zinc coating of the metal (due to heat). After visiting many garages, I quickly realized no one does arc welding here for passenger vehicles (at-least I couldn't find one), even MASS uses gas welding (though arc welding is what Maruti recommends). Finally we had to go ahead with gas welding, Shashi suggested the best we can do is coat the panels properly with rust proofing materials, so as to minimize the rust threat.

Next task in hand was to select a FNG for the job. My priorities for selection were clear, FNG should be open to listening to us, as I wanted the whole process to be done as I wanted (more like how Shashi would advice), under my complete supervision. Next in line was that rust proofing should be done properly, as thoroughly as possible. I was neutral about the paint quality, as long the car was painted in one shade, I was okay with it. After going to many FNGs, discussing, taking quotes, finally went with the FNG that I have been going for the last few years for Carb tuning works. The owner (& head mechanic) had good knowledge on old cars, workshop was big with sufficient mechanics (this meant the Omni was never left unattended to), also he had (still has) a 84 SS80 as his personal vehicle.

It was time to handover the Omni to the FNG, before that I wanted to take a proper look at the extent of the rust. So, Omni's under-body was thoroughly washed, I checked each nook & corner, clicked tons of photos to share with Shashi. We came to the conclusion that the main areas were free of rust, only the areas which were constantly in contact with road surface (wheel well, running board etc.) had badly rusted. Basically the areas where mud/water is sprayed were rusted, under-body cleaning (or for that matter proper washing) was not properly done in the 2012-2020 period which might have accentuated the rusting. Even otherwise Omnis are notorious for rust issues in all these places. The rest of the under body which doesn't come into contact directly with mud/water, was free of rust. The upper body (A-pillars, doors, window sills) as expected were free from rust, the Omni has never been parked in the open.

Underbody photos:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-9.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-10.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-14.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-12.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-13.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-15.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-front-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-front-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-front-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-underbody-7.jpg

Front wheel arches, were rusted:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-front-wheel-arches.jpg

Rusted rear wheel arches:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-rusted-rear-wheel-arches.jpg

Rusted running boards:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-rusted-running-board-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-rusted-running-board-3.jpg

Some rust near the A pedal area:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-some-rust-near-pedal.jpg

Front floor was in decent shape:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-front-floor-good-enough-shape-2.jpg

Clean rear floor:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-clean-rear-floor.jpg

Worn out steering wheel & dashboard:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-worn-out-steering-dashboard-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-worn-out-steering-dashboard-2.jpg

Sagging roof liner:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-sagging-roof-liner-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-sagging-roof-liner-4.jpg

There was a hole on the rear lower panel:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior-had-developed-hole-rear-lower-panel-6.jpg

Some exterior photos:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior-7.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exterior.jpg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 12th June 2024 at 21:01.
chiranjitp is offline   (37) Thanks
Old 8th May 2024, 01:15   #3
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter I- Restoration (Contd.)

Long before handing over the Omni to FNG, I had started collecting/procuring the cosmetic parts, like door trims, steering wheel, door handles, roof liner etc. As for the major parts like body panels, it was decided that we will get whatever is required after dismantling the car. In 2020 (even now I suppose), getting Omni body panels was very easy.

Parts collection at home:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-collection-home.jpg

Handing over the Omni to the FNG:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-omni-handed-over-restoration.jpg

The FNG:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fng.jpg

So, Omni was handed over to the FNG, tentative timeline for the whole project was set at 2 months . This is the procedure we decided to follow for the body work:
  • Dismantle the whole car.
  • Cut out the rusted pieces.
  • Weld in new MGP panels/otherwise patch work.
  • Apply Zinc spray over the weld (we used Wuerth Zinc Spray)
  • Apply seam sealant properly over the weld joints.
  • Apply Cavity wax in the nick & corners where zinc spray/paint might not reach properly.
  • Do denting/putty work.
  • Paint the whole car in Epoxy primer.
  • Finally painting her in Phoenix Red (both inside & outside).
Cavity wax:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-cavity-wax.jpg

The FNG did a swift job of stripping the Omni, thankfully no further surprise after removing all the fittings. The upper body was fully free of rust! Next step was cutting out/removing the rusted panels, this process was a bit sad to see her getting dismantled like this. But of course, brand new panels were to go in place soon & all would be fine.

Omni being stripped:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-removed-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-removed-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-removed-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-removed-4.jpg

Interior stripping in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-interior-stripped.jpg

Shiny original paint:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-shiny-original-paint-also-zero-rust-window-channel.jpg

Equipped with the list of the panels required (that the FNG had prepared), I went to the MGP store. All the required parts were available (except one) & super cheap. There was a small hole that had developed in the lower rear quarter panel, in MGP the whole rear quarter panel was only available. That would have been expensive, moreover replacing the whole rear quarter panel would have meant lots of cutting/tinkering with the basic monocoque structure. It was decided that we will get an aftermarket panel for the rusted part, to my surprise even that small portion of rear quarter panel was available separately. Of course all these was possible because Omni was in production since 1985 (discontinued in early 2019), & was always a strong seller.

Parts hunting at MGP:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-buying-body-parts-mgp-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-buying-body-parts-mgp-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-buying-body-parts-mgp-3.jpg

So all the parts were procured, it was time to put them back in place & make the Omni complete. I (on advice of Shashi) specifically asked the welder to try to replicate the welds, as far as possible with factory weld points. I think the welder did a decent job, also he's a nice chap, still in touch with me. Also some patch work were needed, which the welder did as well.

Next up was rust proofing, this was the most important step of the whole restoration. If this is not done properly, there would be no point of doing the restoration. This process was done under the close supervision of Shashi, him overseeing every process. Of course, we couldn't follow everything perfectly, but I would like to believe a good enough job has been done. First was coating the weld spots with Zinc coating spray, then applying seam sealant over it, finally cavity wax on the unreachable nooks and corners. Then painting the whole body in epoxy primer was the last step in rust prevention.

Old rusty running board out:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-rusty-running-board.jpg

Removing the old wheel-arch:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-welding-out-old-wheelarch.jpg

Rust on the front side, these had to be patched up :

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-rust-front-side-had-patched-up-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-rust-front-side-had-patched-up-2.jpg

Grinding out the old putty/paint, many panels have been painted multiple times over the years:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-grinding-out-old-putty-many-panels-have-been-repainted-many-times-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-grinding-out-old-putty-many-panels-have-been-repainted-many-times-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-grinding-out-old-putty-many-panels-have-been-repainted-many-times.jpg

Final step was preparing the body work for paint, i.e denting, putty, sanding. Regarding sanding it's always recommended to do dry sanding rather than wet sanding, which is done most commonly in India. Since childhood (like most), I have grown up seeing only wet sanding. However it turns out that with wet sanding, there's a risk of water being trapped inside, which would later cause the paint to bubble up. Shashi enlightened me about this & told me to proceed with only dry sanding, accordingly I passed on the information to the FNG owner. However what happened was that they anyways went ahead with wet sanding only, citing that dry sanding was taking too much time, along with the whole garage getting covered in putty dust. After discussing with Shashi, we decided to let the car bake in the sunlight for a few days, before going with the primer coating.

Running board installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-running-boards-installed-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-running-boards-installed.jpg

Front wheel arches welded in:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-front-wheel-arch-welded-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-front-wheel-arch-welded-3.jpg

New rear wheel arches:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-rear-wheel-arches-welded-.jpg

Non MGP panel welded in:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-panel-welded-non-mgp.jpg

Zinc coating applied in & around the weld:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-zinc-coating-applied-welded-prevent-quick-rusting-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-zinc-coating-applied-welded-prevent-quick-rusting-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-zinc-coating-applied-welded-prevent-quick-rusting-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-zinc-coating-applied-welded-prevent-quick-rusting-4.jpg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 12th June 2024 at 21:07.
chiranjitp is offline   (34) Thanks
Old 9th May 2024, 01:47   #4
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter I- Restoration (Contd.)

Front patch welded & Zinc coating applied:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-front-patch-welded-zinc-coated-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-front-patch-welded-zinc-coated-2.jpg

MGP seam sealant:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-seam-sealant.jpg

Seam sealant applied:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-seam-sealant-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-seam-sealant-applied-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-seam-sealant-applied-2.jpg

Putty work:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-6.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-putty-work-7.jpg

Wet sanding sadly :

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wet-sanding-sadly.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wet-sanding-sadly-2.jpg

Epoxy primer:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer.jpg

Epoxy primer applied:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-6.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-7.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-epoxy-primer-coated-8.jpg

Final putty work:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-putty-work-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-putty-work-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-putty-work-3.jpg

Application of cavity wax:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-application-cavity-wax-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-application-cavity-wax-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-application-cavity-wax-3.jpg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 12th June 2024 at 21:07.
chiranjitp is offline   (40) Thanks
Old 10th May 2024, 01:05   #5
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter I- Restoration (Contd.)


The whole car was painted with epoxy primer, part of rust prevention measure(s). After that one more final round of touch-up of putty was done, to take care of the minute imperfections in the body. Regarding imperfections in body, I think they have done a decent enough job. After that the Omni was painted in another coat of primer, the one which they normally use before painting. Then the Omni was moved into the paint booth, the FNG didn't have proper heated paint booth, but it did have a closed booth kind of area, which was clean enough. I guess this was easily better than painting in the open, but not as good as painting in a heated paint booth. Also I made sure that the Omni was kept in the paint booth overnight, so as to minimize the changes of dust getting in the paint.

Before painting one final wipe was done with degreaser, to remove any grease/oil left in the surface. Then finally it was time for the Omni to be painted in Phoenix Red colour, both exterior & interior were painted. Note that Phoenix Red is a solid colour, not a metallic colour. After the first coat was applied, I took a peak inside the paint booth, to my horror the colour looked pink. Even after the final coat, she was still looking same, albeit less pink. I was assured by the FNG owner that she will end up in the OE shade, after the paint dries up, also exposure to sunlight will also make the paint a bit dull (read less pink). Thankfully, the final product did end up looking less pink, almost in line with how she rolled from the factory (still slightly more pink).

I since my childhood didn't like the Phoenix Red colour on our Omni, I always thought of it as a darker shade of Pink. Also we had originally booked the Omni in metallic green colour (Metallic Exotic green I am assuming), which looked (still looks) infinite times better than this shade. However over the years, I have started liking this colour, this colour in today's time does stand out. One more thing that I have observed that this colour was a very popular colour for M800, Omni in the 97-00 era, maybe Maruti prioritized production of this colour (over other colours).

Whole body painted in primer:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-prep-before-painting-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-prep-before-painting-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-prep-before-painting-4.jpg

Inside the paint booth (or whatever it can be called):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-prep-before-painting-1.jpg

Engine bay covered:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-engine-bay-covered.jpg

Final wipe with degreaser:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-wipe-degreaser.jpg

Phoenix red paint:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-phoenix-red.jpg

Painting the HL bezels (these have been discontinued & were impossible to find new ):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-painting-hl-bezels-they-have-been-then-discontinued-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-painting-hl-bezels-they-have-been-then-discontinued-2.jpg

First coat done:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-1st-coat-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-1st-coat-2.jpg

Freshly painted:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-6.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-7.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-freshly-painted-8.jpg

Inside painted:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-inside-painted-well-2.jpg

Rear doors painted separately:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-rear-doors-painted-separtely.jpg

Swift checking out the Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-swift-checking-out-omni.jpg

Fitting back everything:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fitting-back-trims-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fitting-back-trims-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fitting-back-trims-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fitting-back-trims-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fitting-back-trims-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fitting-back-trims-6.jpg

Polishing in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wet-sanding-polishing-paint-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wet-sanding-polishing-paint-3.jpg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 12th June 2024 at 21:11.
chiranjitp is offline   (40) Thanks
Old 10th May 2024, 02:01   #6
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter I- Restoration (Contd.)

Final shots:


Exterior photos:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-6.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-7.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-8.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-9.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-10.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-11.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-exterior-12.jpg

Interior photos:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-2.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-3.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-5.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-6.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-final-interior-7.jpg

Also put a new lock set, as the old key had worn out:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-lock-set.jpg

Changed the whole wiring harness, now getting a new wiring harness for my specific model was very difficult. The particular model we have, only had a production run of 2 years, facelift Omni (aka Type II) was launched in 98. Then in early 00 Omni (& all other MSIL cars) were upgraded to MPFi system. So, my specific wiring harness was only in production for 2 years, naturally MSIL discontinued it a long time back. Of course as always Shashi came to the rescue, he managed to source the wiring harness for me :

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-wiring-place.jpg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 01:31.
chiranjitp is offline   (42) Thanks
Old 17th May 2024, 00:23   #7
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter II- Front Disc brakes & Brake booster upgrade

Special thanks to dear friend & bhpian Ashtoncastelino, without him this project wouldn't have even crossed the planning phase. He is more responsible for the success of this project (& the next one) than me!

Also special thanks to dear friend & Dbhpian Leoshashi for guiding me through every step of the project, without his expertise the project wouldn't have been possible.

Omni was launched in 1985, after the 800 (launched in 1983). Maruti 800 got front discs & rear drums brakes without brake booster, which was quite revolutionary for its time. The old timers like the Ambassador, Padmini etc came with all round drum brakes. Omni was also launched with all round drum brakes (without brake booster), non self adjusting type. The braking setup for that time must have been adequate (or even good), but in today's age this setup is simply poor. From 1985 to 2005, Omni continued with this braking setup, all round drum brakes. Then in 2005 Omni was given a minor facelift & engine was also upgraded to meet BS III emissions. The braking system was thoroughly upgraded as well, out went the front drums, in came front discs, that too with brake booster.

Brake master cylinder + pedal arrangement in old Omnis:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-master-cylinder-without-booster.jpeg

Brake master cylinder + brake booster + pedal arrangement in new Omnis:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-master-cyclinder-booster-arrangement-t3-omni.jpeg

I learnt driving in 2012, in this Omni & my uncle's 09 M800. Ever since, I have always found the Omni's braking setup to be very bad, even compared to the M800's weakish brakes (front disc, but without brake booster). The stopping power was very weak, especially at high speeds (high speed as in above 50kmph), brake bite wasn't at all linear, it was like an on/off switch. Also the Omni under hard braking would be always pulling to one side (strongly as well). Requiring constant steering correction under braking. This behavior was attributed to the non-self adjusting brakes, meaning needing manual adjustment of each brake shoe (perfectly) for her to not move under braking. I got this adjustment done many times over the years, only a few times the adjustment was done to my satisfaction. Even then, the braking adjustment would get disrupted in a few months time . Another issue was brake fade, brake fade after driving through water logged roads (so very common in Guwahati) was horrible, it would be like no brakes till the drums were dried! Funnily, despite the poor braking performance there was huge nose dive under braking.

So, upgrading to the latest braking setup was always on my radar, I over the years even approached quite a few FNGs/MASSs to do the swap for me. But every-time I would be told that it will be difficult/too costly, so the plan never materialized. Do note that installation of brake booster in M800s has been done many times, even documented online (in teambhp as well). M800 upgrade is relatively easier, as it already comes with front disc brake. Just remove the old brake master cylinder & put in the new brake master cylinder with brake booster (this setup came briefly in some 5 speed 12 valve M800s), tap in vacuum from the intake manifold & you are done. In Omni even the front drum setup would need to be swapped for front disc brakes, over & above brake booster installation.

Then in 2017, I become a member of teambhp, & subsequently become close friends with Shashi. Along with many things, I also discussed with him regarding the possibility of brake upgrade. I still have this message (from him) saved. On 16.12.2019 he sent me a text message regarding all the parts that will need changing after discussing with his trusted mechanic.

The list was like this:
  • Brake booster & master cylinder assembly.
  • Dash support pipe (In the Omni the brake master cylinder assy, steering column are all mounted on this pipe)
  • ABC pedal mount.
  • Front shocks, knuckle, discs, calliper, hoses-both steel & rubber.
  • There's a weight added in Omni's rear to prevent stoppie with disc brakes. That will need to be added/welded in.
  • Tap in for vacuum from the intake manifold (by drilling a hole).
The list was quite extensive & quite a lot of things would need to be replaced. If I were to get all parts new, the cost of the project would be very high. The cosmetic restoration of the Omni was of more importance at that time, accordingly the brake project was sidelined for the time being.

In 2021, I met & became close friends with bhpian Ashtoncastelino. There was one more project in my head for the Omni, to swap the Carburetor setup for a MPFi setup. He then suggested that I should look for an Omni getting scrapped, & get all the necessary parts for both the projects. I don't think he even in his wildest dream would have thought that he would have to be the one finding scrap Omni(s), that too 2 of them!

As it happened, Ashton called me up one day in May 2022, told me that there's one Omni that is being scrapped & would I be interested in getting parts from it? I was like of course, if it's not too much of hassle for you! Next day he went to the scrapyard, as luck would have it the engine & wiring, all were already removed. I then asked him to check for the brake parts, thankfully those though removed were not sold. So, it was project on.

The donor Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-donor-van.jpeg

From the scrap Omni, I wanted the brake booster + master cylinder assembly (the most costly part), ABC pedal assy, brake pipes, brake calliper setup, front wheel hub & other small misc. items (which though wouldn't cost much, but would be difficult to find). Of course the biggest doubt we had was regarding the condition of brake booster, there was no way to properly check it's functionality since the engine was already out. Still I told Ashton to physically inspect it & check for rust. After everything seemed fine, we decided to buy the parts from scrapyard. The hub & all were (as expected) a bit rusted, so separating unnecessary parts like brake discs, old strut assy. took a bit of brute force.

Parts removed from the donor Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-removed.jpeg

Parts loaded in the famous azure grey Swift:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-loaded-swift.jpeg

Now all these things were done by Ashton, in Karnataka & I lived (more importantly the Omni) in Assam, the distance between both the places was over 3100km. So, the challenge was how to ship the parts to Guwahati, at an affordable rate no less! After lots of discussion (& brainstorming), it was decided that we will get rid of (as in remove) the unnecessary heavy parts, pack it in 2 packages & ship with India Post. Ashton & his father painstakingly did the packaging with perfection, so that it doesn't get damaged in transit. Big thanks also to Ashton's father. Finally both the parcels were shipped through India Post, combined weight was around 25kg.

Parts packed perfectly:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-packed-perfectly.jpeg

Weight of the 2 boxes:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-weight.jpeg

In the meantime I also placed order(s) for the remaining parts that we had decided to get new. The list was getting bigger with every passing day, more so because I had decided to get the whole suspension overhauled as well. The disc brake equipped Omnis got different front struts compared to mine & both were not interchangeable. I am not sure of the exact technical term, in the Omni the front wheel hub is directly connected to the strut assembly with an adapter, or the drum brake rear plate in my existing setup. The struts on the newer models are stiffer as well, to mitigate the issue of nose dive under braking. Also my 99 Omni was still running on stock struts, 22 years later. The Gabriel make OE shocks had become weak no doubt, but they were not fully dead. Next up was overhauling the rear suspension, that was also stock with the shock absorbers & leaf springs from 99. Interesting thing here is Omni over the years, got slightly different rear suspension setups, mainly the difference was related to the leaf spring (read as number of leafs). My model got the most number of leafs, 3 main leafs & one supporting leaf, I believe this change happened when the 8 seating configuration was introduced in the Omni sometime around 95-96 (till then Van/Omnis were only available in 5 seater configuration). Then around 01-02 the rear suspension was once again modified, the number of leafs were reduced to 2, & this setup continued till the end of production. In 2022, the old type leaf springs were impossible to find, so I had to anyways fit the new type leaf springs.

Front Gabriel make OE strut, was on duty since 99:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-oe-strut-assy.jpg

My OE leaf spring:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-leaf-spring-design.jpg

New design leaf spring:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-leaf-spring-1.jpg

Also the issue of nose dive was there in my mind, even with the weak all drum setup, there was huge nose dive under braking. Now, with front disc brakes (along with brake booster), there was a possibility of the Omni doing a stoppie under hard braking , which wasn't something I was looking forward to. So, to put whatever suspension came as OE in later models was of utmost importance to me. Also as Shashi had said, there was a weight added to Omni's rear in the new models for better brake balance, I wanted that fitted as well. Sadly we couldn't find any part number for it, we finally concluded that weight must be part of the rear floor panel (as in no separate part number). It was finally decided we will continue with the upgrade without adding the weight at rear for now. It has been almost 2 years since the brake upgrade, I can confidently say the issue of nose dive is sorted, even with the more powerful braking hardware, there's way lesser nose dive compared to before. The modified suspension must be at play, also our Omni was notorious for rear wheels slipping at every opportunity (especially with no load at back), this seem to have reduced as well. Regarding the weight at rear I do intent to put something at the rear (even if it doesn't seem needed at this point). Any suggestions would be welcome. I don't want to weld anything, nor want anything placed on the inside that might keep moving.

The weight placed at rear in newer Omnis:



Theory over, now time for the actual process. Shashi had told me the basic changes that will be needed & we got an idea of the subsequent parts that will need to be changed. We didn't however have the exact list of parts needed, so what I did was go through the Omni parts catalogue & made a list of all brake/suspension related part that was meant for the type III Omni (2005 & beyond model), & accordingly placed order (except the parts we got from scrap) on Boodmo/MGP. For the brake pipes/hoses, we decided to get everything new. Regrading the brake piping, there's a brake proportionating valve, placed on the under-body in the Omni. The brake pipe plumbing upto the valve was different compared to mine, after the valve it was same. So, we needed only the brake pipes upto that valve. After that we will use the existing brake pipes. Some parts were readily available on Boodmo, some took time, but that was expected, brake pipes, hoses etc aren't something that go bad frequently.

New suspension parts + crash beam:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-suspension-crash-bar.jpg

New T3 strut assembly:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-t3-front-strut-assy.jpeg

The proportionating valve, brake pipe plumbing after the valve is same:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-proportionating-valve.jpeg

Parts loaded in the Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-loaded.jpeg

So, it was time to hand over the Omni to the FNG, I went with the same FNG who handled the restoration process. Also I don't think any other FNG would have agreed to this modification job! I handed over all the parts & explained what all was to be done to the owner. I & Ashton had figured out the process, except one step. For the brake booster to work, it needed a vacuum line, which in petrol cars is taken from the intake manifold. In my stock setup there wasn't any point for vacuum from factory (or so we thought), so a hole had to be drilled (threaded) in the intake, put a nozzle on it & connect the vacuum hose to it. Also in the Omni the brake booster (& master cylinder) are on the inside of the vehicle & intake manifold on outside. So, routing of the vacuum hose also seemed like an issue, in the new Omnis the vacuum hose is routed through an opening on the floor.

The adapters where the front hub fits:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-adaptors.jpg

Brake caliper + front hub, the brake calipers were properly overhauled, put new brake pads & discs:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-disc-calliper-new-hubs.jpg

Front hub + new MGP wheel bearing in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-hub-new-bearing.jpeg

The rest of the part swap was done easily, was simply plug & play. The basic chassis of Omni is same, so everything fitting perfectly was expected only. Finally it was time to figure out the vacuum part, we had decided to remove the intake manifold & take it to a lathe shop to make the hole & thread. Just as we were about to remove the intake, something strange caught my eye. There was this small bolt on the intake, which wasn't connected to anything, so I immediately asked the mechanic to remove it & inspect. The owner of the FNG also joined in, we removed the bolt, basically it was put there to seal/cover a vacuum tap in point. Then it came to our realization that in late 80s/early 90s, there was an option of Omni with a factory AC. In Carb AC setup, vacuum is needed for the FICD (Fast Idle Control Device) to work, FICD is a mechanical system that is connected to the carburetor, which raises the idling RPM when the AC compressor is switched on. Maruti being Maruti never bothered to change the intake manifold design for the Carburetor Omnis (which were sold till 99). So, the intake needn't come out, also no need for drilling a hole. Only thing needed was a threaded nipple of the same size as the bolt, which we could find easily in a hardware store. So, like that we had figured out the vacuum tap in problem. Next was routing the vacuum hose from the booster to the intake manifold, even here we got lucky, the hole for routing the vacuum hose through the floor was already there, covered with a rubber grommet. We checked with another new model Omni, the hole for the vacuum hose was in the same exact place. Do note our Omni is from 99, & brake booster only came in 2005 when the facelift was launched. We faced one last hurdle, the flexible brake hose (moves with the wheel) that connect to caliper was different than what I had for my drum setup. This was very strange, as I had ordered every part from the parts catalogue. Anyways I went to the MGP store, got hold of the senior most guy & asked about this part. After a bit of brainstorming, he got the part. I checked the part number & checked with the annexure of the parts manual, the part number wasn't there in the manual. Over time, I have figured out that the Omni parts catalogue isn't 100% accurate when it comes to parts for the new Omnis.

Old strut + drum removed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-strut-assy-drum-out.jpeg

Comparison of both the struts:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-comparison-strut-assys.jpeg

The brake hose whose part number wasn't there in the parts manual:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-brake-hose.jpeg

New strut assy, adapter for hub & brake hose in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-brake-hose-place.jpeg

Finally disc brakes in my Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-brake-disc-place-lhs.jpg

New crash beam + brake pedal assy in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-crash-beam-new-pedal-assy-place.jpeg

Brake booster in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-brake-booster-place.jpeg

Tap in point for vacuum:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-tap-point-vacuum-hose.jpeg

Vacuum hose connected to the intake manifold:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-vacuum-line-booster.jpg

Vacuum hose routing, strangely the hole was already there in my 99 Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-brake-booster-hose-routing-strange-hole-already-there-our-99-make-omni.jpeg

New brake pipes in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-brake-pipes.jpeg

New brake pipes going to the proportionating valve:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-brake-pipes-going-propotionating-valve.jpeg

So, everything fitted, now was time to put brake oil in the system, bleed it & check out the braking performance. Also note till now we had no idea if the brake booster & master cylinder were in working condition or not. Brake bleeding done, it was time to test the braking. I got behind the wheel first, checked the brake performance at various speeds. Simply put, there was day & night difference in braking performance, whatever the speed. The brake booster meant the brake pedal was soft to press, not wooden like before. I had this big doubt about the Omni doing a stoppie with the upgraded braking hardware, thankfully it was not the case. In fact nose dive under hard braking was noticeably better than before, of-course this is a top heavy vehicle with a very short wheelbase, so some amount of nose dive is there. The next big improvement was that she went in a straight line under hard braking, no more constant fighting with the steering under braking. All in all I was over the moon, job well done!

All the old parts that were removed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-parts.jpeg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 01:46.
chiranjitp is offline   (42) Thanks
Old 25th May 2024, 00:24   #8
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter III- Carburetor to MPFi system


Special thanks to dear friend & bhpian Ashtoncastelino, without him this project wouldn't have even crossed the planning phase. He did the bulk of the heavy lifting. He is more responsible for the success of this project than me!

Also special thanks to dear friend & Dbhpian Leoshashi for guiding me through every step of the project, without his expertise the project wouldn't have been possible.

Our Omni was bought on 22.10.99, at that point of time the prevailing emission norms were BS I in metros (since 95) & rest of the country was still in pre BS era. BS I & pre BS (of course) could be met with carburetor setups, with the addition of a catcon needed to meet BS I norms, so all manufactures (expect some new comers like Hyundai, Daewoo) were still selling carburetor vehicles till 99. Guwahati didn't (even now doesn't) fall in the metro list, so even in Oct 99 one could legally sell a pre BS vehicle, ours was a pre BS model, which meant carburetor & no catcon.

Come 2000, BS II norms were implemented in the metros, while the rest of the country moved to BS I norms. BS II norms meant, carburetor setup had to go out & finally MPFi system would need to be made standard in India. So, in early 2000, all of the Maruti lineup was upgraded to have a MPFi setup, as a result gems like M800 5 speed, Esteem MPFi (85 bhp vs 65 bhp in carb setup) were created. For the Omni, the engine block & head remained same, only in place of carburetor setup, MPFi system was put in. With regards to the ignition system, M800 & Omni (same F8B engine) in their carburetor avatar came with a contact point type distributor & mechanical fuel pump (similar setup in Ambys, Padminis of that era). With the coming of MPFi system, the ignition system had to be upgraded as well, in came an electronic distributor system & an electronic fuel pump placed inside the fuel tank (in carb Omnis/800s, there's no fuel pump inside the tank). Do note that Zen & Esteem even in carburetor avatar, came with an electronic distributor and an electronic fuel pump. The rest of country (non metros) moving to BS I norms meant that one could legally sell carburetor vehicles equipped with catcon, which Maruti did for 2 models. M800 & Zen were also available with carburetor engine even post 2000, though most bought MPFi equipped models only. As for the rest of the MSIL lineup (including the Omni), only MPFi models were sold post 2000, in both metros & non-metros. That makes our October 99 Omni one of the last Omnis to be equipped with a carburetor!

The OE Carburetor, ours was an UCAL Mikuni make, some got Solex make as well:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-oe-carb.jpeg

Contact point distributor in Carb Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-point-condensor-distributor.jpeg

Mechanical fuel pump:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mechanical-fuel-pump.jpeg

The MPFi system not only lowered the emissions, it also vastly improved how the cars performed. The MPFi equipped cars first of all didn't need any tuning, whereas the Carb models need Carburetor (& other) tuning every now & then. MPFi system meant sensors to measure many parameters, then feed the data to the ECM (16 bit microprocessors in BS II Marutis), which finally adjusts the air/fuel ratio to perfection. In carburetor system there are no sensors, nor there is any ECM, everything is calibrated & done manually. All these meant, the MPFi equipped cars start in one crank, whatever the outside temperature, altitude be. Whereas for Carb models, depending on outside temperature & altitude, one needs to make judicious use of the choke. Even then on cold start, multiple cranks is the norm, especially during winters. Then driving when the engine is cold is a bit of pain, in Carburetor there's no ECM to alter the air/fuel ratio or to raise the idle RPM. As a result when the engine is cold, it would be a bit jerky, also possibility of stalling if you let the revvs drop too low. Of course this behavior is only for the initial 1 km or so, so not much of an issue in reality.

Also in M800/Omnis, which were equipped with contact type distributor, the contact points needed frequent replacement (it's normal wear & tear part in this system), a weak point (pun intended) in these models. The electronic distributors are maintenance free in comparison, of course these can go bad as well, but just that they don't have any wear & tear parts that needs periodic replacement. Having said that, Carb system works just fine, all cars before 00 were equipped with Carb only. Even our Omni run on Carb setup (flawlessly for many years in fact) for 24 years. It's just that the MPFi system is considerably better in all aspects, also it negates the human aspect (read mechanic's skill to tune one properly).

Omni MPFi review, courtesy ACI:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-omni-performance.jpeg

Till 2012, Omni was the only car in our garage & a daily runner, & was super reliable up-to that point. Also till that time, mechanics who could work & tune carburetor equipped cars were there in good numbers, parts supply for Carb models was good as well (point condensors, ignition coil etc). As years passed by, expert mechanics who could work on carbs model came down (remember ours was from the last year of Carb 4 wheelers in India), then the next issue was diminishing quality of Carb specific parts, even those in MGP packaging had poorer quality.

In these Omnis (& M800s) with carburetor setup & contact point distributor, the tuning of these (as to tune perfectly) is a bit tricky. Three things need to be adjusted & set properly. Set the dwell angle (using a dwell meter, which shows the RPM as preferred), Ignition timing (using a timing torch) & Idle RPM. In recent times finding a mechanic who knows how to set these parameters was becoming difficult, even more difficult was to find a FNG (or MASS for that matter) with a working dwell meter (timing torch is still easier to find). Of course, mechanic can (& do) set these parameters with feel & years of experience, & the car will run, but will not be running to perfection.

In recent years, the biggest problem I was facing was starting issues. On a cold engine, it would take many cranks to fire up (even during summers), on few occasions (very few), the Carb would get flooded due to the cranking & the only way to start then was by push starting it. Even on moderately hot engine (as in after parked for a few hours), sometimes it would take around 10/12 cranks to fire up. She didn't ever leave me stranded anywhere due to the starting issue, but the fear of her not starting up was always in the back of my mind. To cure this issue, I ended up replacing many things over the years, in no particular order all these were changed (brand new MGP parts), new Carburetor, new distributor, new ignition coil, new HT cables, new fuel pump, new fuel pipes, new battery etc. Many visits to different FNGs followed as well, the issue of starting was never completely eliminated, even if it was fixed to a certain level. The main engine health was also not a question, a new half engine (as in the lower half, pre-assembled in factory) & the engine head overhauling was done in 2013. Even to this day I believe it was a small tuning related issue, which the mechanics here couldn't figure out properly.

When I was a young kid (& already into cars), always used to wonder why the check engine light was missing in our Omni. Many years later I finally understood that ours is a carburetor equipped model, which doesn't have a CEL, only the MPFi models get a CEL. Then in 2016, I got my own car, an used 2001 Zen VXi MPFi, that Zen was also only 2 years younger than our Omni, yet the difference in Carb vs MPFi setup was very obvious, the Zen always started in one crank, the ignition system (electronic distributor here as well) also never required any maintenance. So, the wish to convert the Omni to MPFi was always there, the kid in me would be happy to finally have a CEL, the adult in me would be happy with the fact that she would run trouble-free.

In Omni & M800 (4 speed) models, the basic engine was exactly same between Carb & MPFi models, the engine block & head were same. So, for the MPFi swap, I needn't put in a new engine. Carb to MPFi conversion has been over the years carried out in some M800s & Omnis, there's even a video on Youtube of a Carb Omni being converted to MPFi. I have been also thinking & studying about the parts that would need changing over the years, from various sources. The following things were different & would need swapping:
  • Wiring harness (the carb wiring harness didn't have any wires for sensors, so as expected the wiring harness is completely different)
  • ECM.
  • MPFi intake manifold with injectors.
  • Throttle body.
  • All the various sensors.
  • Air filter box (in the Carb setup, Omni had a 2 filter setup, one cyclone filter was there as well).
  • Exhaust manifold (this was needed because mine didn't have the hole for the O2 sensor)
  • Fuel tank & electronic fuel pump (fuel tank since mine didn't have the slot for the fuel pump to go in)
  • Alternator (MPFi models got a upgraded 45 amp alty vs 35 amp on carburetor models)
  • Starter motor (I don't know the exact reason, but part numbers were different, so decided to swap this as well)
  • Distributor (Electronic distributor vs contact point distributor)
  • Ignition coil & Igniter (Ignition coil was different, also no Igniter in carb models)
  • Speedometer assembly (No CEL in my existing speedometer)
  • Accelerator cable.
  • EVAP Canister
  • Fuel pipes/hoses (whole plumbing from fuel tank to injector rail was different)
  • Fuel filter
  • Coolant hoses (some coolant hoses were different)
  • Thermostat valve.
  • Air intake hose.
  • Some MPFi specific gaskets.
The youtube video of Carb to MPFi conversion:


As one can see, the parts list was huge. Shashi had long back suggested to do something like this, best is to have the donor car side by side, then swap whatever is needed. Of course idea being to use new parts wherever possible, but most of the things would come from the donor vehicle. After the brake upgrade, the MPFi project was always on my mind, so I would occasionally be scouting scrapyards to see if any MPFi Omnis had come. Since I didn't need the engine, even a car with a dying engine and rusting body would do. I mainly only needed the electronic parts. But, alas I couldn't find a scrap Omni here, of course Omni scrap parts were available, but never the whole Omni.

Finally like last time, Ashton came to the rescue. One fine day last August (2023), he called me that there is a 2003 Omni that has come to be scrapped, as per the scrapyard guys it had come on its own power, which meant that all the parts I need should be in working condition. Again like last time, both the donor & my Omni were 3000km apart. But this time we were both confident that distance won't be an issue, as long as the will was there. I was like lets get whatever we can from the donor Omni, will check & overhaul each component, will get new parts wherever we feel like necessary. Also I am a firm believer that to finish something, you have to first start it, accordingly I gave the go ahead to Ashton! As luck would have it, by the time he reached the scrapyard, they had already dismantled the donor car. Thankfully the parts were not yet sold, so we got everything we needed, some parts were missing/cut, but had already decided to go ahead with the plan. Following are the things that we got that day.
  • Fuel tank (Was planning to get a new fuel tank, but Ashton told me the inside of tank was in great condition, free of rust or muck).
  • Fuel pump.
  • Exhaust manifold.
  • Intake manifold.
  • Wiring harness (it was damaged/cut at many places, anyways I had planned to get new wiring harness)
  • ECM
  • Throttle body assembly with all sensors intact.
  • Distributor.
  • Ignition coil & Ignitor (Ignitor for Omni/800 is SGP, costs a whopping 20k new)
  • Starter motor.
  • Alternator.
  • Speedometer.
The Donor Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-donor-van-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-donor-van-2.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-donor-van-3.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-donor-van-4.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-donor-van-5.jpeg

Throttle Body (was very dirty):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-throttle-body.jpeg

Distributor assembly with HT cables:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-distributor-assy-ht-cables.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-dsitributor-assy.jpeg

Ignition Coil + Ignitor:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-ignition-coil-ignitor.jpeg

Intake manifold:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-2.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-3.jpeg

Exhaust manifold with O2 sensor:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exhaust-manifold-o2-sensor.jpeg

MAP Sensor, since the donor Omni was from the early days of MPFi era, many parts were still SGP:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-map-sensor.jpeg

O2 sensor:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-02-sensor.jpeg

Injector rail removed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-injector-rail.jpeg

Closeup of the injectors, Ashton tells me they were very clean:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-clean-injectors-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-clean-injectors-2.jpeg

The old wiring harness from the donor Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-old-wiring-harness.jpeg

I had hijacked one of Ashton's cupboard :

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-cupboard-filled-my-parts.jpeg

Deep cleaning in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-cleaning-progress.jpeg

Intake manifold cleaned:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-cleaned.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-cleaned-2.jpeg

Exhaust manifold cleaning in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exhaust-manifold-cleaning-progress.jpeg

O2 sensor cleaned:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-o2-sensor-cleaned.jpeg

One of the important & expensive thing for a MPFi system is the ECM, since the donor car was not in running condition we had no idea about the condition of the ECM. With luck on our side, Ashton found two Omni BS II ECMs that day in scrapyard, he took both informing the scrap guy that after checking he will return one ECM. For the rest of the parts, Ashton volunteered to clean them thoroughly & overhaul them to factory spec, which he did perfectly. All the parts were very dirty, with years of dust/mud accumulated over them. Ashton painstakingly removed each & every part, cleaned them perfectly. Some parts like the injectors were found to be in very good shape, I guess injectors & fuel tank both being clean were correlated. Throttle body was dismantled, TP sensor & ISC valve properly cleaned & new gaskets were put in. Next step was taking stock of all the sensors, thankfully all the sensors were with us, including the valve solenoid for the EVAP Canister. ECM testing was yet to done, finally Ashton's trusted mechanic from his village came to the rescue, he volunteered to test it on someone's 2002 Omni (Same BS II) he had access to. The result came out positive, that Omni fired up in one go on our ECM , so the big problem was solved.

The Mitsubishi make ECM:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-ecms-2.jpeg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 02:02.
chiranjitp is offline   (39) Thanks
Old 2nd June 2024, 01:33   #9
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter III- Carburetor to MPFi system (Contd.)

Then it was time to check & order new parts, wherever necessary. From the donor Omni, we couldn't retrieve few parts, & few parts we decided to get new anyways, considering the future reliability. Following are the parts we got new-
  • Wiring harness- Omni being a very basic & simple vehicle, as expected it has the bare minimum wiring. For Carb Omni, there are 2 nos of wiring harness, one for the front part (Fuse box, HL, instrument cluster etc), one for the rear part (ignition coil, alternator, rear lights etc). For the MPFi Omnis, one more wiring harness was there, called "ENGINE HARNESS", for all the sensors & MPFi things that were missing in Carb versions. Engine wiring harness was found to be in good condition. Ashton told me firmly that we can easily fix & reuse this harness, which we did. As for the rest of the two wiring harnesses, we got brand new from MGP. Thankfully Maruti hadn't discontinued the wring harnesses, they have been discontinuing many parts post Covid, especially for old discontinued models.
  • Air filter box (since we couldn't find it in scrap)
  • Ignition coil & HT cables (decided to get new since these were cheap)
  • Fuel pump motor- Shashi specifically told us that we can use the older fuel pump assembly, but it would be best to put in a new fuel pump motor, considering the future reliability.
  • Fuel pipes & hoses - Since the MPFi system had a electronic fuel pump in the tank, we needed high pressure fuel hoses. So we couldn't use my existing hoses even if dimensions matched. Metal fuel pipes were reasonably priced. But the high pressure MPFi hoses were a bit expensive, since these were all SGP.
  • EVAP Cannister- Our donor car was a BS II Omni, sadly the exact part for our model was discontinued. We could only procure a BSIII/IV model cannister, which also works fine.
  • Coolant hoses & Thermostat- Some coolant hoses were different, we decided to get new MGP hoses.
  • Accelerator Cable.
  • Starter motor cable- The existing one in our car visibly looked similar, but since both had different part numbers, we decided to get the MPFi one.
  • New gasket set.
Orders were placed through Boodmo & MGP store. Most of the parts were easily available, though some parts (SGP ones) took some time. I would go through the parts manual many times, check & cross check if I had missed any parts, & again order part(s) if need be. In the meantime, Ashton had overhauled all the donor parts & had started to ship them to me. Some were shipped through Delhivery, some through India Post. Finally after a few months, all the parts (new, old) were at my disposal!

Fuel tank exterior photos, before cleaning:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-before-cleaning.jpeg

Inside of the fuel tank, was very clean for a 20 year old Omni, more so for a car that has come to be scrapped:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-inside-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-inside-2.jpeg

Fuel tank cleaned, rust proofing done & painted:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-cleaned-painted-4.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-cleaned-painted-5.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-cleaned-painted-1.jpeg

OE Denso fuel pump:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-denso-fuel-pump.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-pump-assy.jpeg

New Delphi make fuel pump motor:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-delphi-fuel-pump.jpeg

Fuel pump cleaned & new motor installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-pump-cleaned.jpeg

Fuel tank with fuel pump installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-fuel-pump-place.jpeg

Distributor + housing cleaned:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-distributor-housing-cleaned.jpeg

Mitsubishi make distributor, the donor Omni had quite a few Mitsubishi make parts:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mitsubishi-make-distributor-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mitsubishi-make-distributor-2.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mitsubishi-make-distributor-3.jpeg

Dirty ISC valve:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-isc-valve.jpeg

ISC valve cleaned:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-isc-valve-cleaned-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-isc-valve-cleaned-2.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-isc-valve-cleaned-3.jpeg

Throttle body before cleaning:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-throttle-body-2.jpeg

Throttle body after cleaning:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-throttle-body-cleaned-2.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-throttle-body-cleaned-3.jpeg

Engine bay wiring cleaned & properly restored:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wiring-harness-cleaned-repaired-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wiring-harness-cleaned-repaired-2.jpeg

New MGP wiring harness:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wiring-harness-new-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wiring-harness-new-2.jpeg

New MGP HT cables + Ignition coil:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-ht-cables-ignition-coil.jpeg

Even if the swap was supposed to be kind of plug & play, the list of parts to be swapped in was huge. So, I had decided to assemble all the parts in my home (bedroom to be precise) carefully, take tons of photographs, then take the parts as it is to the FNG, so that they (& me) don't get confused. Hours were spent going through service manuals, parts catalogue, and discussion with Ashton. In the process, me & Ashton also got a very good idea of how the MPFi system works.

Also got to learn a few quirks about the Omni like this one. In the intake manifold near the thermostat housing Ashton spotted two sensors adjacent to each other, we quickly figured out that one has to be the coolant temperature sensor. Then after days of brainstorming, we finally realized that the other sensor is also a coolant temperature sensor, same as the one on my Carb Omni. Now why the need for two coolant temperature sensors, that too placed in one location? The modern looking temperature sensor sends information to the ECM, whereas the other temperature sensor (same as the one in Carb Omni) sends signal to the Instrument cluster. Doesn't make any sense, but that's how it is in the MPFi Omni.

The two coolant temperature sensors + coolant inlet:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-coolant-inlet-2-temp-sensors.jpeg

Anyways I started assembling the parts in my bedroom, much to the amusement (more like shock) of my parents. Finally I assembled all the parts, like a jigsaw puzzle! I was almost sure of which part will go where, what needs to be connected where etc. One last thing remained, remember the donor Omni is from 2003, which meant from factory it had all round drum brakes (without brake booster) like my original setup. However I had put front disc brakes with brake booster. Again I needed to find a point to tap in vacuum from the intake manifold, unlike last time there was no extra vacuum point in this intake manifold. I had to take the intake manifold to a lathe shop, make a threaded hole, put a nozzle over it (where the vacuum hose will connect to). Now finally the time was to go to the FNG, get the swap done. After all the preparation I had done, I was wishfully thinking that the swap will be completed in one day. By this time, my FNG (owner & mechanics alike) had full trust in me, even for a one of a kind project like this.

First we removed the intake manifold & exhaust manifold, cleaned the mating surfaces, put the new intake & exhaust manifold. In the Omni, the engine is beneath the front seats, tilted at an angle (height constraints), which means there is scarcity of space. Specially to remove things like the intake manifold. Anyways the intake manifold with throttle body went in after a bit of effort, connected all the coolant hoses, EVAP lines, air-filter box etc. I could see the MPFi setup taking shape. Then the new wiring harnesses were installed. In the Omni the ECM is mounted on the front crash beam. My OE crash beam as expected didn't have the slot for the ECM to go in. However when I did the brake disc + booster modification, I had to put in the crash beam of a 2005 (& beyond) model Omni. That crash beam as expected had the slot for the ECM. Then we moved to the back, to fit the new fuel tank + piping from tank to the front. The OE fuel tank came out rather easily & surprisingly the inside was free from rust, the new fuel tank as expected fit perfectly in the existing slot. Fitting the fuel line plumbing took some time, as we had to figure out the routing of the three pipes, the OE pipe routing was a bit different, so were the attachment point (to the under-body) for the pipes compared to the Carb setup, so we had to some improvisation. In both the Carb & MPFi setup, there are 3 nos of pipe going from the fuel tank to the front. First one is the main fuel line, going from the fuel tank to the injector rail at high pressure (or to the Carb in the older setup). Second line is the return line from the pressure regulator (which lowers the fuel pressure, attached to the injector rail) to the fuel tank. Third line is the EVAP line from the fuel tank to the Canister. Also line for each job meant a combination of rubber hoses & metal pipes, for metal pipes we didn't (& couldn't) have to do any alteration, whereas some rubber hoses had to be cut as per requirement. Remember I had told that all the high pressure hoses were SGP (& expensive). They were also of the same length, with instructions written about cutting them as per the application. All these meant we had to do a fair bit of trail & error to fit the fuel lines perfectly. Then all the small remaining things were fixed, it was around 8 pm that time. Now it was time for the moment of truth, we connected the battery, no warning light on the instrument cluster, no light (headlight, taillight) was working as well, the starter motor would turn over (expected since it is directly connected to the battery), but nothing else was getting electricity. As it was getting late & everyone was tired after working whole day (That day had like 3 mechanics constantly working on my car), we decided to call it a day. Next day was a Sunday, which meant holiday for the FNG.

I & Ashton discussed over phone for hours, as to what we could have done wrong (or missed). He first asked me to check all the grounding points, then check for power in the fuse box. So I did check all the grounding points with a multi-meter, all the earth point were found to be good. Even then I sanded down the ground points & re-tightened each & every coupler. Didn't help, the situation was same as before. Then I proceeded to check the fuse box, as expected none of the fuses were getting power. Frustrated I left for home, & decided to call an electrician the next day to have a thorough look. Next day was a Monday, working day for me & FNG alike. I took sick leave that day, went to the FNG at morning. One of the senior mechanic started to check the wiring for continuity with a multi-meter, soon after we found the fault. One of the coupler which connects the rear section wiring harness to the front section harness was faulty. The wires were interchanged. So, we had to remove the coupler, interchange the wire & viola, all the warning lights came on the instrument cluster (including the check engine light), HLs & tailights worked as well. The wring harness being faulty was very strange, both the harnesses were MGP, bought brand new. Shashi told me later that QC for parts of discontinued vehicles has gone down significantly in recent times, anyhow for us we found the fault easily & could fix it.

Earlier that morning an elderly gentleman came to the FNG in a white Omni bearing same registration series as ours, that Omni was 2 months older than ours, still with the first owner, with a genuine 74k km on the odometer, on everything stock. As expected I struck a conversation with the owner, told him about the mods & changes I had done to the Omni. He asked me to take a TD of his vehicle & give my opinion about it. Strange it may sound, till that day I hadn't driven any other Omni other than ours. I have over the years, driven many vehicles, I have driven over a dozen different M800s (including two ss80s), even for a rare car like Abarth Punto, I have driven three examples. But never got the opportunity to drive another Omni, until that day, also what an example I get to drive, same spec as ours, only difference being it was completely in stock spec, with everything (almost everything as I was told) from 1999. Basically I got to experience my Omni in factory spec. That experience was very lovely, it drove very well for its age, one could tell it was a well kept vehicle. Even in the 1999 spec, with everything working perfectly, it was a good car. But for ours, I had already deviated from the stock, hopefully for the greater good.

The other 99 Omni in question:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-other-omni-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-other-omni-2.jpeg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 02:08.
chiranjitp is offline   (34) Thanks
Old 4th June 2024, 00:32   #10
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Chapter III- Carburetor to MPFi system (Contd.)

Finally it was time to crank the engine, we switched on/off the ignition a few times to prime the fuel lines. Then after taking a deep breath, I turned over the key, the engine came to life immediately, without any fuss, no missing/hunting or anything out of the ordinary were observed. Just how a MPFi system should behave. It felt like the engine was always running this setup, no one could tell that such a huge list of parts had been swapped. Every part (scrap, new, existing) was working in perfect harmony. The CEL wasn't on as well. I had this thought in the back of my mind, since we were adding CEL to the system, there was always a possibility of the CEL coming on. Specially considering we were swapping so many things and using old sensors. Thankfully nothing of this sort happened, also all the sensors, throttle body, injectors, ECM etc were in perfect shape, the engine simply ran without any issue. Next was to fine tune everything & fix everything back & go for a test-drive. Regarding tuning, I asked my mechanic how will he tune the engine, he casually pointed to the OBD port, I had forgotten about the fact we have an OBD port now. We could simply plug in a diagnostic tool & monitor various parameters. By tuning, the only few things that needed setting was the idling RPM (by adjusting the screw on the TP sensor) & distributor timing (using a timing torch). Rest of the things no longer needed any adjustment. I meanwhile left for office & let them do their job properly, at their own pace.

By evening I was there to take a TD & also to take delivery. Bhpian & close friend Tanveer02 was there to accompany me. The owner (& head mechanic) reminded me to always start her up without pressing the accelerator pedal now. Then I suddenly remembered the "Please start without pressing accelerator pedal" sticker that Maruti put as a warning label in all the early MPFi Marutis (including my 01 Zen). I was the first to take a TD, filled her up & took a through TD by putting her through the paces. Whatever the situation she drove like a dream, there was nothing that felt out of place or something that had been tempered with. As expected in the MPFi guise the engine felt more smoother, especially low down, even there was noticeable different in outright grunt. Idling was perfect & vibe free, no RPM jumping or anything was observed. Happy with the job done, I thanked all the mechanics & drove out. Next was Tanveer's time to get behind the wheel, we took the Omni on the highway, with him gunning the Omni. His observations were in line with mine, the engine felt smoother & punchier, drove without showing any signs of the huge operation that she had just gone through.

Carb wiring (top) vs MPFi wiring (bottom):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-top-carb-wiring-harness-bottom-mpi-wiring-harness.jpeg

Starter motor & Alternator were properly overhauled before installation:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-starter-motor-alternator-sent-servicing.jpeg

Hole drilled for vacuum in the intake manifold:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-hole-drilled-vacuum-3.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-hole-drilled-vacuum-2.jpeg

Scenes in my bedroom:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-scene-home.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-scene-home-2.jpeg

Fuel tank + fuel filter + fuel pipes installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-filter-hoses-installed.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-tank-hoses-installed.jpeg

Fuel line from tank to injector rail (high pressure) & return line to tank (low pressure):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-main-line-return.jpeg

New coolant elbow + hose:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-wiring-airfilter-box-3.jpeg

Intake manifold installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-installed.jpeg

Intake manifold + wiring + air-filter box:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-wiring-airfilter-box-2.jpeg

Parts loaded in the Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-parts-loaded-van.jpeg

Carb Intake manifold removed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-removed.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-intake-manifold-removed-2.jpeg

Distributor shaft & starter motor housing:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-distributor-housing-starter-motor-housing.jpeg

MPFi intake manifold installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mpi-intake-manifold-installed.jpeg

MPFi exhaust manifold installation in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mpi-exhaust-manifold-installed.jpeg

The MPFi system installed:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mpi-setup-place.jpeg

ECM in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-ecm-place.jpeg

Wiring installation in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-wiring-installation-progress.jpeg

Routing the fuel lines:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-fuel-pipe-routing-progress.jpeg

Hole for the now defunct choke cable:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-hole-choke-cable.jpeg

Finally CEL in the Omni:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-finally-cel-omni.jpeg

Omni MPFi review

Omni cold engine start up:




First up starting has become an effortless job. It starts in one crank, even in winters. The cranking sound strangely is a bit different (experienced in Carb & MPFi M800s as well). The starter needs to be engaged that fraction of a second longer in the MPFi setup. In Carb setup, the engine (when it fires up) fires up in jiffy, like in a half crank. Then on cold start, like any MPFi setup, it will idle at a higher RPM till the engine is warmed up. Once the engine is warmed up, Omni (& M800) will idle at 900 +- 50 RPM, the engine had become noticeably smoother at idle, vibrations especially have gone down noticeably. Getting off the line is same only, even in Carb setup she was one difficult car to stall. Low end grunt feels a bit better, also on cold engine there's no difference in drive-ability. In the Carb setup until the engine was warmed up, one could feel that the engine wasn't producing all of its power. Even up the rev range, she feels stronger, smoothness at high RPMs has improved as well. All in all, one can feel the difference in day to day driving. ACI quotes the Omni MPFi being faster than Omni Carb to 80kmph by over 4 seconds, I don't know if it has become that faster, but I can certainly say that she has become quicker. What strange is that Maruti quotes similar maximum power & torque figure for both the Carb & MPFi models, I guess the difference will be in how the power is delivered in the MPFi, throughout the rev range.

Another thing I have observed that the headlights no longer dim when idling, in the Carb setup the HLs used to dim ever so slightly when idling. With the MPFi setup, this problem has been completely eliminated. This is due to the upgraded alternator (45 amp vs 35 amp). The brake booster effectiveness has remained same as before, I had some doubts on this as we had to do a custom tap in for vacuum. Intake sound is same as before, since the air-filter box (& subsequent intake system) is similar between both, unlike M800s where there is a noticeable difference in intake sound between Carb & MPFi setups. M800 like most Carb vehicles (Padmini, Zen, Amby, Esteem etc) got a top mounted (on top of the Carb) circular air-filter box, these uses a down draft carburetor. Whereas in the Omni (most likely due to packaging constraints) uses a side draft carb & an air-filter box placed to its side (same as the MPFi setup). M800 Carbs has a nice intake sound, compared to the rather muted intake sound in MPFi M800s. Exhaust note as expected remained more or less same, what has become better is that the exhaust pipe doesn't vibrate as much as before while idling. In other MPFi Omnis, the exhaust is a bit more muted, in mine it's still a bit loud & has a throaty sound to it. This is because I am still running the stock exhaust without Catcon, MPFi Omnis were only available with a Catcon equipped exhaust system. I could use my existing Catless exhaust, because the donor car was a BS II Omni. In BS II & III Omnis, there was only one O2 sensor, placed in the exhaust manifold. The Catcon being placed downstream (on the exhaust pipe) to the O2 sensor. In the BS IV Omnis, there are two O2 sensors, one on the exhaust manifold, the other being placed after the Catcon.

Engine noise has become a bit muted, even if slightly. The change is more noticeable in idle RPM. There's less clatter/tappet sound from the engine now, very minor but I could notice it. Having said that, it's a basic 796cc three cylinder 6 valve engine in a light body shell (placed under the seat, no less), it still has very poor NVH compared to most (if not all) vehicles on our road.

Omni speedometer saga: Omni over its 30+ years production, got only 2 different speedometers (design wise). The original design speedo from 85-05, then in the 05 facelift the speedometer design was changed (05-19). Though the design from 85-05 remained same, the speedometer gained a CEL (& different wiring couplers at back) in 2000 for the MPFi models. My donor car was from 2003, accordingly it should have had the old speedometer, but what it had was the latest model speedometer (with a broken speedo needle). Thankfully Ashton found one more speedometer in the scrapyard, the correct one for a 2003 Omni (same look as my OE one), this speedometer seemed in better condition & accordingly it went in the Omni post MPFi swap. However there were some issues with the speedometer assembly, speedo needle shake (common issue in old vehicles with cable driven speedo) was very bad, the fuel gauge & temperature gauge would behave erratically at times, also the speedo backlit would glow when it wanted to!

So I wanted a new speedometer, but the old design one (MPFi version) was long discontinued & there was no live stock in whole of NE. The latest design speedo was available & could be interchanged without any issue, but I didn't want the new one. For the last 24 years I was used to seeing the old design speedo, moreover didn't like the looks of the new design as well. The new design speedo did have some practical advantages though, had a 6 digit odometer, as in could display odo in lakh kilometers. The old design had a 5 digit odometer, so after every lakh kilometers, it would roll back to zero. Next was the stay type fuel gauge in the new speedometer, for those who have driven (or owned) M800 (1997 & beyond models), Zen, WagonR (F10D), Alto (pre 2010), would know that the fuel gauge doesn't go down (to its resting position) even after the key is removed, the fuel gauge would always be showing the fuel level. In the old one, the fuel gauge would drop to resting position after the ignition key is removed.

However I wanted to keep the old design speedometer, only if I couldn't find one would I go for the new one. As always Shashi came to the rescue, he somehow managed to find one, that too an unused brand new piece. He also sent me the MPi Euro II decal, the initial batch of Maruti BS II models (2000-early 2001) got this decal, later models (early 2001 & beyond) models got the more common (& more appropriate) Bharat II decal. Since ours was from late 99 & only a few months before the MPFi norms, the MPi Euro II decal seemed more appropriate.

Carb speedometer vs MPFi speedometer (almost same in design):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-carb-t2-speedo-vs-t2-mpi-speedo.jpeg

The new design speedometer:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-t3-speedometer-1.jpeg

Brand new speedometer + MPi euro II decal from Shashi:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-mpi-euro-ii-sticker-new-t2-mpfi-speedometer.jpeg

New speedometer assy in place:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-instrument-cluster.jpeg

Overall I am more than satisfied with the swap, I believe this mod (& the brake upgrade) have transformed our Omni into a more modern machine, for daily use use. Simply crank the engine, start in one go, directly drive off!

Flying low:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-flying-low.jpeg

New tappet cover, in many photos on this thread one can spot a leaky tappet cover (covered in muck), few months back I finally managed to change it:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-tappet-cover.jpeg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 02:26.
chiranjitp is offline   (40) Thanks
Old 9th June 2024, 02:38   #11
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

Some Miscellaneous photos (in no particular order)

Aug 99 Brochure:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-maruti_omni_aug__99page002.jpg

Jun 00 Brochure:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-maruti_omni_june__00page002.jpg

Omni parts catalogue & service manual(s):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-whatsapp-image-20240613-12.01.29-am.jpeg

Circa 2004:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-2004.jpg

Circa 2009:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-circa-2009.jpeg

Circa 2015:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-2015.jpg

Clutch overhauling in 2019, the Omni is running on her 3rd clutch now:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-clutch-5.jpg

Engine photos just before the overhaul in 2013, basically what happened was the fan belt snapped & our driver (had appointed one for my tuition duties) drove her like this for over 20 km. Omni gets a mechanical fan, which is belt driven, when the belt snapped the Fan stopped working & engine overheated. The overheating saga meant the engine had partially seized, finally we decided to put a new MGP half engine (lower block) & overhaul the head:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-engine-overhauling-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-engine-overhauling-2.jpg

Current condition of the engine head:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-engine-head-condition.jpg

Exhaust pipe replacement was done in 2020, the OE exhaust had done its duty properly for 21 years, also note no Catcon in the exhaust:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exhaust-pipe-wo-cat-1.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-exhaust-pipe-wo-cat-2.jpg

Radiator replacement in 2019, for all Omnis (85-19) radiator part number is same:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-radiator-replacement-4.jpg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-radiator-replacement-7.jpg

New rims, the old ones were in decent shape, but since I wanted to put tubeless tyres this time, decided to put new rims:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-rim.jpg

New tyres, currently running on 5th set of tyres (first two sets were cross ply tyres, last three sets have been radial tyres):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-tires-rims-3.jpg

The Omni has been our family's preferred marriage shopping companion, across generations:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-shoppig-2.jpg

Washing in progress:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-washing-i.jpg

Linkages of the worm & roller steering system, Omni doesn't get a rack & pinion steering, instead gets an old school worm & roller steering:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-worm-roller-steering.jpg

Worm & roller steering gear box:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-steerin-gear-box.jpg

The secondary cyclone filter (for the Carb version only, MPi models doesn't have the secondary air-filter), placed on the under-body, adjacent to the front right mud flap:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-cyclone-filter.jpg

Brand new contact point type distributor, courtesy Shashi:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-distributor.jpg

New Lucas-TVS ignition coil (Carb system), these are in short supply nowadays:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-ignition-coil.jpg

Brand new MGP Carb, got in 2019 from Boodmo:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-new-carb.jpg

With our 16 Ecosport Titanium + D (125k km done & going strong) & my 01 Zen VXi (2016-2018):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-zen.jpg

With my 06 Swift ZXi (2018-2022) that had come all the way from Delhi:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-swift.jpg

With my 19 Polo Highline + D, Polo had 43k km when I got her, now recently crossed 90k km (2022-present):

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-polo.jpeg

Some recent photos of the Omni after a wax session:

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-recent-photo-1.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-recent-photo-2.jpeg

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-recent-photo-3.jpeg

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 00:59.
chiranjitp is offline   (46) Thanks
Old 14th June 2024, 00:59   #12
BHPian
 
chiranjitp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 542
Thanked: 4,514 Times
Re: 99 Maruti Omni - Restoration & Modernisation

CONCLUSION

1999 Maruti Omni - Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion-20200606_164547.jpg

The entire motive behind carrying out all these long & painstaking restoration/modifications were to future proof the car, as far as possible. It shouldn't run & drive like a car of the yesteryears, it should start & run whenever I want it to, without any tantrums. Its our first car, has been through every thick & thin of our lives for the last 25 years (& counting), & of course will never be sold. All these work might seem a bit unnecessary for a 25 year old car, that too for an Omni, but for me it makes perfect sense (& some). This car for me personally (& our family I believe) is not only a car, it's way more than that, in fact the closest non-living thing to me. Come this October, I will turn 30 & she will turn 25.

Last edited by chiranjitp : 14th June 2024 at 01:01.
chiranjitp is offline   (97) Thanks
Old 14th June 2024, 05:47   #13
Team-BHP Support
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 18,349
Thanked: 79,057 Times
re: 1999 Maruti Omni- Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Aditya is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 14th June 2024, 09:52   #14
BHPian
 
BeemerBug_06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 343
Thanked: 3,336 Times
re: 1999 Maruti Omni- Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion

Awesome thread Chiranjit ! The passion and love you have for your Omni Van is truly beautiful. Few people would actually take this kind of effort for a van, but you have really taken the pain to look after it well. Thanks for articulating everything, the thread made for a great read.

PS - Reading your thread makes me want to get a van

Last edited by BeemerBug_06 : 14th June 2024 at 09:53.
BeemerBug_06 is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 14th June 2024, 10:33   #15
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Location: Chennai
Posts: 36
Thanked: 58 Times
re: 1999 Maruti Omni- Restoration, Brake upgrade & MPFi conversion

Fantastic restoration on the iconic Omni! I learnt my driving in this beauty of a car. Amazing all around visibility, no worries about judging the sides of the car. Straight, no nonsense vehicle that has played many roles in Indian automotive history. Kudos and here's to many more years of motoring with this masterpiece you have restored back to its original glory!
superblover is offline   (3) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright 2000 - 2024, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks