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 Post subject: Baleno Buyers Guide
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:49 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
So i have had my swift for a year and looking for some EFI goodness,
..wanting to move onto something a bit faster and more luxurious then my cino spec.

Have found a decent looking GTX baleno for sale in Perth (which is reasonably rare) for a very decent price, and looking to pick it up.

This is a start to the Buyers Guide- other good points will be added in as they get posted

GTX Buyers Guide:

* Uses J18 engine - same engine family Vitara J18 / J20
* ABS and air bags were optional extras - about the only options available
* Metalic paint has same problems as any Jap car - the clear coat breaks down and peels
* Check Power steering pump / rack for noises
* Check the air con does cold air and not just cool
* If it has ABS - make sure it works
* Even with 200000 K's engine should be quite - bad sign if it rattles on first start before oil pressure is up (cams are chain driven on a GTX)
* Radiator cost an absolute fortune to replace - plastic tanks so can't be repaired.
* Look out for stuck thermostat - mine only showed temp problems after a hard uphill run. No problem any other time.
* Gearbox is very good till it stuffs up. Cable shifter can be slack and nothing like a GTi. DMWDAVE will do the rebuild plus PG LSD for about the same as a GTi box, BUT he does not have one for exchange so you have to send yours to him for the rebuild.
* Diff ratio is something like 3.7 so acceleration is not quite as good as a GTi but with 90KW on tap don't think it will worry. A GTX is not much heavier than a MK3 GTi but has an extra 15KW's out of the box.
* Struts will be leaking if they are originals. Look inside the front wheel arch - directly above the top centre of the tyre - if there are rub marks there, front struts are (or have been) stuffed. If the back bounces up and down really easy - back struts are gone. Both ends should be firm.
* Make very sure the front strut tops are good - no cracks in the rubber isolator. Rear strut tops should be OK as there is very little load on them
* Check all suspension bushes. Aftermarket poly bushes are available to fix any worn bushes
* O2 sensor - if it hasn't been replaced, it will need changing. Makes a big difference to highway fuel usage - $150 OEM (same as Vitara) or about $55 off ebay
* The remote alarm is a real pain. If you don't start the engine within about 30 seconds of unlocking the doors, the engine immobileiser cuts in again. You have to press the remote again so it will start (not as far as locking and unlocking the doors again) One you have it you will see.
* 205x45x16 tyres fit without any scrubbing problems
* Genuine Rear swaybar rubbers are very expensive and will most likely need to be replaced ($50 a pair from Suzuki). Look for aftermarket.
* Front swaybar rubbers will also need replacing (if they haven't been done already)
* Get a diagnostic scan run - most mechanics will have a scantool to read the ECU. It does not use normal OBDII. The scan should see O2 and temp sensor problems.
* GTX has 4 wheel disc brakes - 1.6 is discs and drums. Discs may need machining to pass test.
* Runs 4 x coil on plug (no dissy) The rubber plug caps can leak spark. New extensions from the coil to plug are $30 each. If you degrease the engine, expect water to get down past the coil / plug extension if the extension is not 100%. Plugs are 5/8 (small plug) and down deep in the head.
* Engine only needs 91 RON but runs better on 95 or 98 RON. Can use E10 or E20 as well.

After that - check all the usual stuff - interior, safety, CV joint / joint boots etc.

The Koni insert conversion can be fitted front and back along with King Springs.

Suzuki and Suzi Auto have OEM spares. Suzuisport and Suzitech have some nice aftermarket bits - mostly for the G16 Baleno / Esteem but some extras fit the J18 GTX.


This car has done 199000km....1996 Model


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:01 pm 
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That's a fair few kms. I would be checking for wear on engine, gearbox and clutch. Also make sure the timing belt has been replaced.

Bear in mind that if the struts and bushes are original then they're up for replacement straight away with 200k on the clock. Ditto for the timing belt if it hasn't been done since 100k.

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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:16 pm 
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[YLD80Y] wrote:
That's a fair few kms. I would be checking for wear on engine, gearbox and clutch. Also make sure the timing belt has been replaced.

Bear in mind that if the struts and bushes are original then they're up for replacement straight away with 200k on the clock. Ditto for the timing belt if it hasn't been done since 100k.


Forgot to add, that i will be doing an RAC check on it,

would the bushes and struts likely come up with such an inspection, or just best to ask the owner

edit: also aware km are high, i was still tossing up with this and a gti with similar km, but wanting to try something new, so taking a chance on this


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:48 pm 
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RAC check should catch anything broken, but not wear and tear on suspension etc.

What's the asking price? More than $4k and I'd be getting shifty feet.

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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:55 pm 
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Location: Perth
I know mines only a gs but ive offered u a drive plenty of times and u always rejected. If u want the general feel of a baleno ask me :D


Just dont crash it please

Also, there is a stock gtx also for sale up my way. Bit more ecpensive but in really ggood condition on the inside and out. should have a look at that

Edit: I can come have a look with you if you like cos after all the stuff thats gone wrong with my baleno i think i could help you out :P


Last edited by GONZALIS on Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:49 pm
Posts: 22
Location: nsw
Hey mate,
I bought my GTX with 220 000kms on the clock, things that were wrong with my car and they have gone wrong are:
Suspension struts are buggered
aircon does not work a pipe in the enigne bay has actually broken of in the engine bay
cv joints replaced once
clutch replaced once
washer jets do not work
Other than that i have found this car very strong i flog the s**t out of it, the gearbox and motor are showing no sign of slowing down either. These motor's do not have a timing belt they contain a timing chain which is cool:) And nothing has gone wrong with the motor either. I paid $1900 for mine so yours under $4000 would be sweet.


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:15 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Car is for sale for $3500 ....

Linky: http://perth.gumtree.com.au/c-Cars-for- ... dZ87962282


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:49 pm
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Location: nsw
That has airbags! Mine doesn't.
How much are you willing to pay for it?


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:42 pm 
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[YLD80Y] wrote:
Also make sure the timing belt has been replaced.
GTX / J18 uses a CAM chain - 1.6 / G16 uses a CAM belt. But the same statement does apply - the chain has a service life just like a belt - don't know the chain replacement interval.


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:49 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
simon_gtx wrote:
That has airbags! Mine doesn't.
How much are you willing to pay for it?


Im not really judging a price till RAC looks at it, i still havnt seen it.
If its all good and i get it $3000 i will be singing all the way to the bank


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide ???
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:42 am 
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86mk1gti wrote:
[YLD80Y] wrote:
Also make sure the timing belt has been replaced.
GTX / J18 uses a CAM chain - 1.6 / G16 uses a CAM belt. But the same statement does apply - the chain has a service life just like a belt - don't know the chain replacement interval.


Suzuki K10A specifies 140k for a timing chain, J18 would probably be the same. Bloody expensive job too - half the motor needs to be pulled apart to change it!

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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:14 am 
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Location: NSW
A good guide. 8)

Air conditioning was an $1850 option also.
ABS/Air bags were standard in NSW delivered cars in 96.
It seems the later cars and ones available in other states cheaped out making ABS / Air bags optional.

It depends on the year model and state they were delivered to as to what they had in regards to ABS / Airbags and immobiliser as different states had different importers.

Problems I had with my old GTX in the time I owned it. (I owned it from new in 96 till 2001)
1. Squealing from drive belt was an ongoing issue... They replaced drive belt tensioner and idler pulley along with two drive belts under warranty... something must have been glazed or out of whack as the squealing soon came back and belt was again changed not long before I traded the car in.
2. Sump pan leaked oil due to a crack that developed in what looked like casting defect. (replaced under warranty after warranty had expired as a good will gesture)
3. It didn't seem to cope with open uni filter when started from cold. It stalled first time it was started no matter what you did. but every start after that it was fine... This was with premium fuel... There was no problem when using normal unleaded or using premium fuel when original air box was refitted.... No faults with anything and Suzuki couldn't figure it out. :lol:
4. Oil filler cap cracked and started to leak oil. - This was after warranty had expired I replaced it.

I have to say despite these trivial matters it performed flawlessly for me and I gave the thing a hiding each and every day I had it... It was serviced every 5000kms though with Mobil 1.

The only thing I will add.
1. The carpets are very thin as with most Suzukis and wear easily if car has had no mats.... Check the carpets particularly the drivers side.
2. The Suzuki shop manual does state the timing chain is good for the life of the engine.
3. As stated they are mechanically very reliable... just don't overheat it or run it low on oil as they can and do stuff main bearings.
4. I agree with the comment on the gearing... the gearing really didn't do the GTX any favours. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:20 pm 
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Thanks everyone for there advice. Just having difficulty contacting the seller

(and convince my parents that i should upgrade from a 1994 model car to a 1996 model car with many more km on the clock)
Have someone offering me $3000 for my car, but think its probably just a typical timewaster.

itsdamo, or anyone else for that matter... how do you rate the performance of a gtx baleno, to the swift gti. Im aware more they are more powerful, but they do have the extra weight on them.

Would be nice to have a comparison (since you have owned both) of how this compares, as I see it, as if i want to modify this Baleno GTX later in the track (or any baleno for a fact) im guessing its going to cost alot more for parts to that of a Swift GTi


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:52 pm 
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fernandk wrote:
Thanks everyone for there advice. Just having difficulty contacting the seller

(and convince my parents that i should upgrade from a 1994 model car to a 1996 model car with many more km on the clock)
Have someone offering me $3000 for my car, but think its probably just a typical timewaster.

itsdamo, or anyone else for that matter... how do you rate the performance of a gtx baleno, to the swift gti. Im aware more they are more powerful, but they do have the extra weight on them.

Would be nice to have a comparison (since you have owned both) of how this compares, as I see it, as if i want to modify this Baleno GTX later in the track (or any baleno for a fact) im guessing its going to cost alot more for parts to that of a Swift GTi


Points to sway your parents:
1. It's bigger and safer particularly if you buy a GTX with ABS and air bags.
2. It has power steering.
3. Motor is strong and reliable and as it has a timing chain there are no expensive belt replacements.
4. Gearbox is much stronger as are the clutch and driveshafts.
5. Insurance may well be a bit less.

The GTX is not quite as quick as a GTi and it does use a bit more fuel due to being a much bigger engine.
As has been stated before the gearing really doesn't do the GTX any favours in the performance department... It is geared towards low RPM highway cruising / economy but when you wind it out it does get going... it tops out at 105kmh in 2nd gear for example.... 140ish from memory in 3rd.

If you do simple mods to a GTX intake and exhaust you will find it is as good as a GTi but slightly more refined and spacious... But in my opinion it has a lot of potential for more.


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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:45 pm 
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from my past experience with chained engines.. if the chain guide is still intact, then you're safe.
I'm not too sure how the chain is setup in the J18, but regardless, the condition of the guide is very crucial. You can expect the chain grinding off the head/block once the guide rail snaps. (nothing a new guide, and a good clean up won't fix).

Also, since the J18 is fitted with hydraulic lifters, make sure the engine oil is changed regularly. If the oil pressure is good, noisy valvetrain would be due to dirty oil, Flush it, and if you happen to have the camshafts out, bleed empty the lifters on a bench vise.

Otherwise, the J18 is just another engine. Take good care of it and it'll work for you no question asked.

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 Post subject: Re: Baleno Buyers Guide
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:51 pm 
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The first picture is of my Baleno engine bay. 8)

Someone can buy my Baleno GTX, has to be one of the best one's in Australia.
Low klms, one owner, GTX 18 plates, etc, etc,

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