TeamSwift

Home of the Suzuki mini-compacts ! Your Home for all things Suzuki Swift, Geo Metro, Holden Barina, Chevy Sprint, Pontiac Firefly, and Suzuki Cultus. TeamSwift is a technical performance oriented community!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:14 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Vancouver
Hello everyone
I am a newcomer to this board, and a newcomer to the Swift as well. My situation is that I am contemplating the purchase of a '90 Swift GTi race car that has been in storage for about 7 years (and will need considerable mechanical attention) and I am writing to ask your opinion on how large the support community is for this car. My past experience is in mainly BMW E30 which has a gigantic base of support from parts vendors, repair shops, clubs and individuals. I’ve also raced a borrowed Honda Civic and have been taught that getting parts and know-how for the Civic is pretty easy and not expensive. How difficult is it to find help for the Swift GTi? How many vendors are out there with stock or tuner parts for this car? Is it an easy car to work on, for a beginner?
I assume that it will be impossible to find another Swift enthusiast in my town so I will probably be on my own, other than what help I can find on the internet, from family, and from specialty vendors. This is a worry because while I’m learning to race, I’m also learning to wrench, and don’t currently have a lot of skill. Is there a shop manual (ie. Suzuki or Bentley) available? Does the car require any highly specialized tools? Is the cost of stock parts ridiculously high, or about average? Is it easy to find parts that fit from other models? Are upgrades available (I did read about brake upgrades already)?
Can a GTi be a reasonable race car, or does it have weaknesses that will plague me (for example, I’ve read about transmission or diff problems)? I’m pretty sure I won’t be winning races in this car, but if it runs well, I’m sure I can have fun with it. I will be aiming to run in our local IP3 class here in Canada (improved production, small displacement), or roughly similar to SCCA F production, I think.
I’m looking for any opinions that might help me decide if this is a good beginner’s race car, not so much from the driving point of view, but from the mechanical and reliability point of view.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:36 am
Posts: 885
Location: Vancouver BC
Welcome. There are many Vancouver swift owners. (Myself included). Consumable parts are cheap and plentiful. Mk2 body is still in production in other parts of the world. Tools required are standard metric tool set. 10 mm and 12mm wrenches will allow you to dismantle most of the car!

Main thing to start from is a rust free car. Or.. fixing any corrosion in key parts of the chassis. See the FAQ sections for the list. Example: http://www.teamswift.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6700


Last edited by suzukitom on Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 10:08 pm
Posts: 625
Location: texas houston
It's a good start. The car has much popularity in Rally, circuit racing , hill climb, time attack , autocross, and a few drag racers. But the last you need BIG$$$. Your best improvement will be weight reduction, and yes the glass transmission they have. "But all areas are covered on team swift". This car has been in competition sense the 80's, but you are going to have-to rely on a much smaller crowd for your tuning needs. But the good news is. "You can find it all".


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:56 pm
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Location: Wahiawa, HI
I don't know if you can "find it all", but you may be able to build what you can't find. This is a small community, tiny by comparison to those that run E30s or Civics, but there's not a lot of BS and those that compete (see track talk) are serious about what they do. For better or worse that does mean that, while you will get some good advice here, you are unlikely to find information on how to duplicate the setup of a championship winning car in whatever class you run or build a fast setup easily from off the shelf parts.

Aftermarket is virtually nonexistent, there is little plug and play, but as others have mentioned, 10, 12, 14 and 17mm sockets will dismantle 90% of the car. The car does have some limitations--it does better for it's class in power to weight than it does making grip, so it does better in road racing and rally than in autocross, where I compete with one anyway :thwack: It is camber challenged, and yes you will be into the gearbox a lot. What's specific to the GT is truly rare, but you can find it here if you have some patience; the parts that are shared with Geo Metros are easier to come by, though they are getting harder to find in salvage yards.

It's a great car to learn in because it is inherently better balanced than most FWD cars, you can steer it with your feet, yet it won't bite you if you screw up. The engine is quite durable, as good as a Honda or better, but the chassis, to put it in the best possible light, is not overbuilt. It's light, but easy to twist, pull apart, or mangle, so brace it up, seam weld it if you are allowed, etc...

This guy is kind of our resident road racing guru:

http://teamswift.net/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=35424

And, though it may be less relevant to what you're doing, here's my autocross thread:

http://teamswift.net/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=53180

I am less a fount of knowledge, but maybe you can learn from my mistakes :oops:

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http://www.teamswift.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=57216


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:14 pm
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Location: Vancouver
Thanks for your comments. It is encouraging to hear that the car is relatively simple to work on. It is also encouraging to hear that there are aspects of the car that make it a good platform for a novice racer like me. Things like decent balance and durable engine are good news. The car that I'm looking at was built as a rally car, so we might assume it already has some useful reinforcements that might help me, although this bears some checking. It also comes with an interesting collection of spares including engine parts. One concern remains and that is the transmission. I have no facts in hand, but a general review of forums seem to indicate that it is not especially strong. This is concerning given that in my last race outing I broke the transmission in the Civic I was in, indicating that I still need to learn how to treat these things a bit more carefully. And we all know that transmission repair is not an easy or cheap job. Obviously others have figured out how to work around this as there appears to be a lot of racing activity with this car worldwide, especially in Australia.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:26 pm 
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Location: Etobicoke, Ontario
You can with some mods install a trans out of a J series engine which is much stronger. There is a detailed thread about it in the transmission section of this forum.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:56 pm
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Location: Wahiawa, HI
Well, the good news is that the transmission is shared with the Geos, so parts are not growing on trees, but they aren't impossible to find either.

Also, because the trans is the weak point, there is excellent step-by-step information on the forum with pictures and circles and arrows--I didn't think I would be able to put it all back together if I split the cases, but it really isn't that hard because it is dead simple, like everything else. You'll just need access to a good press.

Finally, once you know the transmission can be an issue, it tends to last a lot longer :D because you know it's worth changing the gear oil more regularly than usual. Also, it's usually the 2nd gear synchros that go, so be careful getting up and down into 2nd until their gone, then learn to double clutch :roll:

_________________
Quote:
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Spanish Inquisition Racing chip burning service--build yourself a custom chip!
http://www.teamswift.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=57216


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