24th May 2002, 08:47

I have just bought a 99 Barina Swing 1.4 about two days ago. It seems to be the opposite - the temp gauge hasn't moved over the 90 mark - I initially thought it might be reading too low. Does this sound OK or do I have cause for concern? I have about six weeks new car warranty left so I'd rather find any faults now. So far - love the car!

How often should the cam belt be replaced and can the plastic tensioner be replaced with a better quality one?

15th Mar 2003, 00:42

We have a 1998 SB Barina City, its got airconditioning and dual air bags, it's a basic car, but so far is reliable and fun to drive.

The car has been so reliable that when my wife called me on the phone to announce it had broken down I was shocked.

Problem - Engine would crank, but not start.

Cure - Ask the wife if the Ignition key opened and a little black plastic rectangle shaped object 10mm by 5mm fell out -This is a Transponder (Anti-theft device) it basically is sensed by a coil around the ignition switch and if this Transponder is not present the fuel pump will not work, consequently car will not start.

I need to buy a new key/transponder $80 AUD from Holden.

14th Mar 2006, 03:53

Hi Guys;

My name is Nick and I have just bought a Holden Barina Swing 95, which I thought I got a good deal with 50'000 km on the clock. It had papers up to date from a dealer, and one owner lady driver.

From reading some of the comments, I have a mixed reaction about it. I have had it for two weeks and it's gone back to the dealer for some adjustments under warranty, such as the temperature hitting between 95C and 98C in traffic, and the fans not kicking in.

By reading one of the comments, apparently it's normal and I was told by the dealer it's normal. Should I have any concerns about it? Can someone help please so I can fix it while it's still under warranty.

I was just surprised when he said it's normal to hit to about 100C before the fans kick in. I have not experienced this with my other cars I have owned in my 12 years of driving.

How is the car overall? I have been happy so far for a second running around car. I was mostly concerned about the temperature, but it sounds normal.

Maybe I need to take it to my mechanic for a second opinion? What do you guys think?

THANKS GUYS, hopefully I'll hear from you soon.

4th Oct 2006, 03:48

Hi Guys and Gals.

I just picked up a 1996 Barina, 114 000 on the clock, manual and I too am concerned about the following:

- Intermittent loss of power during first few minutes of running. can also happen in stop start traffic or when you suddenly floor it. I am unsure about the oil used by past owner, maybe I need to use a light weight oil?

- In stop/start traffic, which I drive in most of the time, engine temp gauge will push 100 +. It is OK once moving. Could this be a fan issue because I have heard others say this is normal.

I'm putting into my local garage to get this all checked out next week. Any advice what I should tell the guys to look out for? Email me at nicoe@hotmail.com.


26th Oct 2006, 04:55

Hi everyone. I have a Barina ML 1988 auto - Suzuki engine. Since last Christmas I have been having trouble with the engine/transmission flaring. It will run well, but all of a sudden decides that D is not the appropriate gear and I have to put it down to L till it decides that this gear isn't right either.

I have had a reconditioned transmission put in and while it has helped the problem has not been successfully fixed. Trouble is I can't afford to buy a new car and only have limited funds to fix this. My mechanic has run out of ideas of what can be wrong. Can anyone suggest a solution.

Please contact on xandy62@hotmail.com.


12th Feb 2007, 05:00

Hi Guys.

I've got a 95 Barina and I want to install a sports car seat on to it. Does anyone know whether it's going to be possible and how to do it if it's possible?

Thanks heaps!

14th Sep 2007, 16:50

I just picked up a 1999 model City Auto a couple of weeks ago, and it too has intermittent problems of the "S" sport mode light flashing on the dash. I managed to track down what this is. When you connect diagnostic equipment to the car it shows a code 56, which is a transmission selector switch error. Basically the computer is getting the wrong signals from the automatic and doesn't know what gear you have selected. According to the service manual the switches need to be adjusted by a dealer, and there is no information on how to adjust it in the service manual so you cannot do it yourself. I found switching off and restarting the car removes the light and things return to normal.

On another side note, did any of you notice the black octane select chip in the engine bay on the drivers side. It is a little black thing with either a 91 or a 95 clearly written on it. What you can do it pull it out and flip it over to select which fuel you use. 91 for normal fuel, and 95 if you want to run on premium to get a little more power and a slight improvement in economy. I believe this is on the 98 and 99 model 1.4L motors only. Just a handy little tip for those that didn't know. I only just selected the 95 mode and filled up on BP Ultimate to see how things go. The motor runs a little smoother for sure, but it's not a huge improvement. Maybe just a little more torque off the traffic lights.

The temperature thing is normal. Here is a little data on the cooling system to help understand what is going on. The cooling fan is designed to not turn on until the engine reaches 100C, and then switch off when it cools down to 95C. That is the low speed fan. High speed does not kick in until 105C and will switch back to low speed when it cools to 100C. The thermostat should start to open at 88C and is fully open at 106C. So in plain english, the car will run up to 100C if you are stuck in traffic and then slowly cool down. If you start to drive, air is pushed over the radiator and it starts to cool without the fan. Turning on the A/C causes a fan to turn on to keep the A/C system cool, and the air from this cools the radiator too bringing down the temps.

For motor oil I use a 10W40, and a dexron3 for the automatic. I can see why a blocked radiator is a common problem because the lower radiator hose is halfway up the side of the radiator. This means when you drain the cooling system to flush it, half of the radiator cannot be cleaned unless you pull it out of the car and there is no drain bolt on it, or even on the motor for that matter. Stupid design if ever I have seen one!

Another very common problem is a low idle speed and occasional stalling. There is a very easy solution for this. On the throttle body there is a large-ish device attached to it on the firewall side with a 4-pin flat electric connector. This is the idle control motor. There are two torx bolts holding it in (star shaped allen head). If you get the right tool and unbolt it, you will find the tip is covered in black gunk. Clean it with some carburettor cleaner spray, and clean a little inside the hole it came out of. Put it back together and it should run like new. Something you can do yourself at home on the weekend, and any car more than a couple of years old will need this done.

I hope some of this info helps someone out there. I am an engine management programmer in Sydney and so I am fussy with how a car runs, and bought this car for my wife to get around as her first car. Of course I fully went over the car before she started using it, so that is how I found out most of the details. Other than the small quirks it is not a bad car for what it cost, and is a great starting point for a first car before later upgrading to something better and new.