Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Coolant Reservoir Tank

Small hairline cracks had started to develop strangely on only one particular area on the coolant reservoir tank (picture below) so I decided to get it replaced before the cracks become a hole. Blamed this on the heat from the engine bay slowly degrading the tank's plastic after close to eight years. Tao joked that this was due to excessive cleaning :P Apparently the crack and location is nothing new and I'm not the first to be afflicted.

Purchased a brand new tank from TCEAS. Expected to pay three figures and was pleasantly surprised when the bill was only RM 70ish. At such a cheapish price I expected the tank to be made in Bolehland but it is actually made in Taiwan. Comes pre-fitted with a rubber hose to be connected to the rad.

Install took bout 15 minutes as the tank is only held in place with one M6 bolt. Be careful not to spill too much of the coolant as you pour it from the old to new tank. Picture below of the spanky new tank installed.

If you're wondering, the coolant I am using is Neo Keep Cool mixed with good old H2O. Of course a custom fabricated aluminium reservoir with AN hoses will look trick but will also massively add to the cost and adding more weight. I'll stick with the stock tank unless the poisoning gets out of control..

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fit for a Daily Ride - Part 2

Arrived @ Kah Motor Sg. Pinang around 11ish the day before CNY to check out and collect the Jazz/Fit. Originally planned for 3M tint but settled on Kah Motor oem security tint called Wingard after I was given a deal I couldn't refuse which included a 10 year warranty and purchase price significantly below the typical 4+ figure. Pictures of my new ride below. There were also at least another 5-6 Jazzes waiting to be collected by new owners.

Took quite some time for the number plates to arrive. In the mean time I checked out the dash, lights, air-conditioning, power windows, etc. to ensure all were in working order. Only 11km on the odo.

MYDM Jazz gets the same orange lighted dash as the top spec JDM Fit RS minus the "RS" wording on the spot above the centre info cluster. We also get the same engine and auto (conventional 5-speed) drivetrain but strangely enough lower spec 1.3 bumpers which are the same as Jazz Hybrid, no sideskirts and rear spoiler, plain Jane seats, non leather wrapped steering wheel with zilch audio controls and no auto climate control air-conditioning. Cost savings exercise? @ only MYR 74.8K for the MYDM Jazz Petrol I am not complaining that much but I wish sometimes we can get better specs for Bolehland market cars without having to pay astronomical prices.

Here's how the JDM Fit RS looks like below. The Fit has a yummy 6 speed manual gearbox option but we only have autos here. Like the Fit RS chassis code for MYDM Jazz Petrol is GE8.

Build quality, fit and finish appears decent enough. I'd dare say even better than wifey's Civic. Dash is all hard plastics though. Engine bay is immaculate. Bonnet is super small and light to the point where going for a carbon version will mostly give an aesthetics vs weight saving advantage.

Honda claims the L15A7 single overhead cam engine makes 117hp (120ps) and 146 Nm torque but max power is practically at redline so one will have to really rev high NA Bagus style to enjoy the power advantage over a Vios for example. Engine and gearbox is same as the City. Honda is famous for fitting small sized batteries for less weight and better weight distribution on its cars. Compare this teeny weenie batt with the NS70 sized monster on Sharkie.

The plastic inlet manifold plenham chamber is stacked on top of the engine's cam cover for better packaging. Runners are cast aluminium.

Like majority cars nowadays the ECU is in the engine bay. Dunno why one would put a major electronic component there as to my logic an engine bay is hot and has certainly more vibration than inside the car's cockpit for example. Perhaps this simplifies the wiring?

Engine felt really tight during the drive home. Like most Jap cars in its class there is too much brake assist with the brakes prone to lockup at lowish speeds with the typical brake pedal press making it difficult to modulate the brakes. However once you go fast enough speed retardation is definitely way way less compared to for example the Wilwoods on Sharkie. Some say I have been spoiled :P NVH is good except for surprisingly loads of tyre roar which I blame on the teeny weenie Goodyear GT3 tyres. Can't wait to upgrade to larger 16 inched rims and decent tyres.

Handling is decent enough (comparatively) for this type of car and certainly better (to me) than a Myvi which is diabolical once you try to drive it like a hot hatch. Still quite a bit of noticeable body roll even when compared to the Civic. Will need stiffer suspension and anti-roll bars. Ride height is also too high and probably needs to be lowered 2-3 cm for the Fit to not look like a mini MPV. Oh oh! Here we go again...

First "mod" was to ditch the "Jazz" and "i-VTEC" badges for some original Fit RS ones. Since this was CNY I had plenty of time to DIY. All you need is patience and masking tape to get the alignment right. Having some pictures of stock JDM Fits is also required especially for the "RS" badge as there is no reference.

Do not collect your brand new car a day before CNY or even after the 2 day CNY public hols. Trust me coz I learned this the hard way. Can't even find any open shops to buy some decent car mats for the new ride so it was newspapers on top of the stock carpet mats for the duration of the CNY week until shops open for business :( A couple more mods are scheduled to go in but I shall stop here for now. Having said this I couldn't resist a teaser shot :P

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fit for a Daily Ride - Part 1

After nearly 8 years I've decided to retire Sharkie from daily driving duties. Frankly it's not worth it with the ever increasing 97 RON petrol costs and not to mention wearing out the clutch and my leg muscles in Penang's ever worsening traffic jams. Initially wanted to get a Myvi or even a Slutria Neo but wifey talked me out of it. Imagine a woman being more logical.. It's a very different market nowadays as far as B segment cars are concerned so took a bit of time to decide and test drove the below. Only auto as wifey also wants to thrash sorry drive the car..
  • Toyota Vios - Looks good compared to the previous gen Dugong Vios but drives bland. Ride too soft and ancient engine and gearbox is lacking in power and response. Driving an appliance comes to mind vs a Car. Sorry to Vios fans.. Also IMHO very expensive for what you are getting but it's a Toyota so you know what to expect in terms of resale value. Can't stand the fake stitching on the oh so plastic dashboard. Seriously it's fake stitching moulded on the plastic to make it look like a leather trimmed dash. More than 90K for the top spec super bling TRD model. Super Ouch!
  • Nissan Almera - Similar driving dynamics as a Vios perhaps worse. Super laggy throttle response. Big and relatively cheap though. Hokkien saying is "Pang Gee Tuah Tey". Pardon my spelling. Has external aesthetics only a mother or someone that paid hard earned cash will love. Starting to look nearly decent if you splash more hard earn cash to get the Nismo bodykit, shocks and wheels. 
  • Volkswagen Polo Sedan - Only took a look at it and didn't bother test driving. Let's just say not my cup of tea. Very expensive also IMHO for what you are getting unless you really dig the VW badge/branding. Apollo tyres anyone? 
  • Ford Fiesta - Excellent driving dynamics but new 1.5 litre engine lacks power when compared to earlier 1.6. Expensive too @ 86K but you get 2 or was it 3 year?s free service including parts. Not so expensive when you take this into account. Rear drum brakes despite the higher end price. Nice semi leather seats on the hatch. 
  • Pug 208 - Tried the 5 door variant. Very nice and lovely to look at. Fab interior where plastic aluminium trim really does look and feel like aluminium unlike the Fiesta. The interior really makes the rest of the cars I tested look outdated. Lovely seats! ICE head unit does not accept CD though. I know some of you are going to say who listens to CD nowadays but I do. 1.6 engine makes decent power and with good ride and handling though wifey complained the ride was hard and bouncy at the rear. Second hand value a suspect and after what I went through with my better half's Chevrolet Optra I'll compromise with something that has a better resale value. If one buys car purely on emotion this would be the very top of the list.
  • Kia Rio - Very nice and with tons of features and bling like all the latest Kias. Even has turning lights that come on when you turn. No kidding! Top spec features very nice 17" rims! 1.4 engine feels underpowered with all the bulk and large wheels. Probably not helped by the 4 speed auto-box. Decent ride quality despite the large wheels. Price not cheap (80K for top spec) and like the Pug suspect resale value. This was my final top 3 contender for ownership along with the 208 and the car below.
  • Honda Jazz Petrol. Looks small externally but has loads of interior space even for nearly 6ft me. 1.5 litre SOHC L15A7 engine makes decent power and throttle response. Decent ride and handling. @ 74.8K a very good bargain considering it used to cost more than 100K. On top of this the latest spec comes with 4 disc brakes and VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist). Also test drove the Hybrid but No Powerlah Bro! Might look tame and feminine in stock form but can also be done up to look like the below..

So I made up my mind and ordered the Jazz Petrol aka Fit in JDM land. Ordered back in November last year but waited till now as I wanted a 2014 car..

The N16 Files would like to wish

You A Very Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!!!