Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repair"
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Author:  ernymodule [ Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repair"

Hi all,

First post here - glad to have found this place! Had a quick read through some of the topics and it looks like there's some very knowledgable people here who love these cars, so fingers crossed.

Here's the thing: We have a Swift 1.3 GTi, built 1989, bought new from a dealer in Munich, Germany. It's my wife's car and she loves it - won't have anything else. Of course, it breaks her heart if something goes wrong with it or some ham-fisted mechanic botches things. It's been properly serviced and looked after and has only had to major fails, one being a broken cam belt more than 10 years ago, but nothing massively serious. We've replaced exhausts, filters, shocks and springs and all the usual stuff that you might to given the age of the vehicle. We now live in Hungary where Suzuki cars of all types are common - they even build them here, so they're not unusual or rare by any means.

Just recently we noticed a strange noise coming from the gearbox but couldn't identify what it was. We took it to our local Suzuki garage and they diagnosed it as worn bearings in the gearbox, so they'd have to get the gearbox out, open it up, and see what needed doing. They had it for about four weeks, as apparently they had to wait for the parts. Eventually we go the word that it was ready, so we collected it and went for a test drive. Now, this thing goes like stink - on the motorways in Germany it's been over 210kph, and has wicked acceleration. Just before it went in, it was doing over 180kph with no problem. My wife drives it like a motorbike and is intimately acquainted with everything about it, so she's knows immediately when something's not right. And it was most definitely not right. First off, it sounded completely different. Second, the acceleration was lame, to say the least, and it topped out at about 140kph, even with the gas pedal hard to the floor - she's never had to do that before - there's always been a bit of room. My first thought was "this is not the same gearbox". I'm no expert as far as cars go, but I know enough to be able to make educated guesses. We took it back and told them, and that we wanted it back the way it was. Yesterday, we were told that they couldn't fix it and it wouldn't go over 140, so we went there today to see what was going on. It turns out that they'd had trouble with the original gearbox and had replaced it with one from a 1.6 GLS... so they're now in the process of putting the original one back on, which is now apparently fixed. We have a friend who's a mechanic - he's worked on cars all his life and knows what he's talking about - he doesn't think it'll make that much different and the problem is something else - possibly the catalytic converter or something else in the exhaust. I've had a look through some of the posts on performance-related problems and it looks like it could be lot of things, but I suspect that the wrong gearbox makes a big difference, especially on a 1.3 GTi. We shall see.

Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts or advice I'd much appreciate it. We really love the car and don't want anything else!

Couple of pics:

Thanks in advance!

Author:  codyb76 [ Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

If they somehow swapped from 4.1 final drive (gti stock ratio), to 3.35 or 3.79 from a more fuel mileage oriented model(single cam 1.3 cars normally used 3.52 here in north america), you would definitely feel a difference. Now I believe e 1.6 gearbox won't easily bolt up to 1.3 so I don't suspect that's what went in there. What a weird deal, bearing replacement isn't a terribly big job on these cars, at a dealer I would expect they would just simply order all new bearings and possibly synchros and rebuild your gearbox rather than use other parts or another gearbox.

Author:  ernymodule [ Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

Weird deal it certainly is! We were there again today, they had the car up on a lift with the gearbox out. There were three gearboxes lying about so we asked which one was the original, and which was the one they'd taken out - and yes, they'd replaced the gearbox with one from a 1.6 GLS, so we insisted to have the original one put back. Some hours later... all back together, went for a test thrash. 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears - all fine. Sounded and felt like it used to, and the noise that was the source of the original problem has gone, so that's something positive.

Got up to about 140kph, put 4th in and the revs dropped and the power disappeared - 5th was even worse! So now the thinking is that they might have done something non-gearbox related while they've been working on it. Tomorrow, they'll change the oxygen sensor, and also try it without the exhaust on at all to see if there's something amiss there. Possibly the cat converter, maybe something else. But there's much head scratching and guesswork going on and I suspect we've reached the limit of their expertise. I'm frantically trying to learn as much as I can about the more technical aspects of the engine and injection system to see if there's something that hasn't been thought of yet. If they can't fix it we'll try to find some sort of specialist Suzuki tuning outfit here and see if they have any ideas.

Thanks for the info though - most interesting!

Author:  bostssgt [ Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

you can check the air tube that goes between mass air flow and throttle body for a crack, may have tilted the engine to remove transmission and old rubber can easily tear when moved

Author:  ernymodule [ Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

That's an excellent idea! I think it's high time they were replaced as they're all original and are probably past their useful life already. Actually, there is a sort of whistling sound at high rpm which sounds like air either being drawn in or escaping. Thanks for the advice!

Author:  ernymodule [ Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

Update: It's now been tested without the exhaust connected, and there's no change in the performance, so we can safely exclude that as the source of the problem. It's a Public Holiday here on Monday, so nothing will happen till Tuesday. Also told them to check and clean the EGR valve, just in case.

We've contacted a gearbox specialist - all he does is rebuild gearboxes - and he thinks it sounds like a gearbox problem. More news as it happens.

Author:  91 ragtop [ Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

To be sure that your GTi gearbox is in there look at the bottom of it and make sure that there is an extra lug with a bracket that bolts between it and the engine block under the exhaust manifold. That threaded lug should be on the bottom of the bellhousing. If there isn't one they didn't put your transmission back in it.


Author:  ernymodule [ Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

Thanks Ken - I'll be sure to look out for that. The other thing I noticed is on the housing, there's a serial number embossed on the top. The original had the number "L155271" while two others from different models, were "W536542" and "W439799", so my thinking is that the "L" series is the correct one, while the "W" series are from something else, but I don't have another GTi gearbox to compare it with. Anyway... should know more today.

What I'd like to do is have the gearbox out and check the ratios manually - select gear, turn input shaft by hand, count to the turns on the output shaft to check the ratios for the different gears. Just going from the behaviour of the car - fine in 1st, 2nd and 3rd, bogs down dramatically in 4th, unusable in 5th - makes me think that when they re-assembled it, they've put the cogs for 4th and 5th in wrong. I don't know if that's even possible, but I wouldn't put anything past these muppets!

Anyway, thanks for the input - all valuable info.



Author:  codyb76 [ Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

I'm pretty much certain there is no gearing options for 5th gear in any gearbox that will bolt into your swift, and maybe the same for 4th gear. You simply can't change the ratio of those two gears. Realistically without sourcing gears from another Country (north American gti had different ratios for 2&3, but I just can't remember for 4th than the rest of the world, there is no way anything but the final drive ratio could have changed. Your car came with 4.1 final drive, there was 3.52, and some 3.79 but I don't think that ratio would be common at all in your location.
I really suspect you have 3.52 if you have had something changed, and due to the lower rpms in 4th and 5th the engine just won't carry it up to speed and feels draggy.

Author:  Woodie [ Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

The letter in the engine serial # is the year of manufacture, it corresponds to a letter in the VIN#

A 1980
B 1981
C 1982
D 1983
E 1984
F 1985
G 1986
H 1987
J 1988
K 1989
L 1990
M 1991
N 1992
P 1993
R 1994
S 1995
T 1996
V 1997
W 1998
X 1999
Y 2000
1 2001
2 2002
3 2003
4 2004
5 2005
6 2006
7 2007
8 2008
9 2009

Author:  ernymodule [ Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bizarre performance related problems after gearbox "repa

Many thanks for the info, Cody & Woodie - most interesting and valuable. Had another test drive today after they'd replaced the various rubber tubes, the oxygen sensor, air filter and spark plugs. No appreciable difference in performance to be honest. Maybe a bit, but nothing dramatic, and nothing like it used to be. Couple of things we did notice: fuel consumption is now much more than it was - 1 35L tank would usually take us over 500km, now it's down to just over 300km. The engine is nowhere near as hot as it used to be after a thrash, but the gearbox was incredibly hot - I seem to recall that they shouldn't ever get over 90C - I'd swear you you fry eggs on it - you certainly couldn't touch it, and it was definitely hotter than the engine. That seems very suspicious to me... heat in rotating mechanical things is usually caused by friction.
Some good news though - we've just found a replacement GTi gearbox not far from us and we just happen to be going to the town tomorrow - so we'll have that and bring it home in our hired Opel Corsa! Fun days ahead I think!

Thanks for all the help and info chaps - it's very much appreciated!

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