2nd Nov 2007, 22:06

Hi there, my friend bought a 1995 Barina GSI Sports, 195k on the clock. It apparently ran out of petrol two months ago, was towed home and left idle. Fueled up and it turns over OK, but just won't start. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.



13th Nov 2007, 07:06

I have a 96 barina hatch with no air con. Has anyone put in an underdash air con in their car?

14th Nov 2007, 16:05

For the owner with the 5 points. I wrote the comment before yours.

The fuel consumption is an issue. Ours uses around 10L/100km and nothing seems to effect it to any great amount. We have tried 98 octane fuel and it improves a small amount dipping into the 9's, but not a lot. The octane select thing is just an electrical connector. You simply unclip it from the clip that holds it to the car, then you can unplug it from the wiring, turn it over, and plug it back in. The other side will have 95 written on it. I have a dyno at my shop, and tested the car with both fuels and both settings. On the 91 setting it maxes at 40kw @ wheels, and on the 95 setting it makes more power all the way through the range, and from mid rpm onwards makes significant gains topping out at 45kw. So a bit more than 10% more power. Not bad for free. These motors are rated at 60kw, but the dyno measures at the wheels and a drop of around 30% is not uncommon, especially with an automatic.

For the exhaust you may have to go to an exhaust shop and get them to add another muffler. The previous owner may have wanted it louder, and asked for one less muffler when they had the new exhaust done.

We have now owned the car for a few months, and it has generally been a reliable and easy to drive car. It is very punchy off the traffic lights, especially for an automatic with a little motor. Just after posting previously, I changed the brake pads which were only around $35 and did them at home in around 15 minutes each side. the drivers side front shock was history, and so I also put a pair of new shocks in the front. Also around 15 minutes each side, and just under $200. Now the car drives like new.

23rd Jun 2008, 20:24


I have just bought a 1996 Holden Barina City. The car runs well. The fellow I bought it off said that for a few months the temperature was up to about 100 degrees. He put a new radiator in and the temperature gauge hardly moves. My initial thought is that the thermostat is stuck open, or is this normal?

30th Sep 2008, 08:40

Hello, I'm Jay and I just bought a 1997 Barina City 3 door, and want to upgrade some of the parts on the car. Starting with a sport suspension, full exhaust, upgrade the brakes to cross drilled in the front and convert the rear from drum to rotors, and maybe a body kit later.

I was wondering what other cars use the same parts - I heard the Swift and Swift GTi, but not sure what years.

Thanks for the help, Jay


26th Mar 2009, 07:00

HI all.

I just got a 1996 Holden Combo with 108km on the clock. I too had overheating problems. The car would dramatically heat up just sitting still. I installed my own thermo switch to control the fan. I will be cleaning out the radiator soon.

Another thing was bad throttle response, so much so that I would press and release the throttle, then after the car would rev. I'll be cleaning the throttle body too.

And finally, has anyone had problems with their center digital display? When I got the car, there was no CD player in it, and half of the display was very dark. I put a DVD player in it, eventually the display stopped all together... Did I do something to it? I did notice a cut wire, I think it was red with a black trace in the car side of the plug.

Apart from that, the car is cool.

24th Oct 2009, 03:36

To the last entry, it sounds like you have blown a fuse for the display centre. I had the same problem as well.

19th Nov 2009, 17:24

I own a 1999 Barina Swing (automatic) which I have had very little trouble with until a few weeks ago. It heats up extremely quickly when doing speeds of 40km/hr or under, but mainly when waiting at the lights at this same time, the car vibrates quite heavily. I assumed it may have been because of the weather, but last night it was a cool night and no real traffic on the roads, so speed wasn't an issue, and it reached higher than I have seen it go.

So I pulled over, and switched the car off and waited for the car to cool down. This is when I noticed a smell resembling burnt toast lingered in the air, and the area around the gear box/ hand brake was hot to touch.

Any help on how much it would cost to repair and what the issue is, would be appreciated!

10th Jan 2010, 23:32

This link has advice on some of the cooling issues, it is a very common problem. www.vauxhallopelthermostat.talktalk.net.

4th Feb 2010, 15:45

My daughter drives a 96 Barina Swing fitted with the 1.4 engine.

Lately it has had a drama with warming up. It misses and farts and coughs until warm, then runs normally - this takes about 10 minutes of running.

I`m suspecting that the choke circuit is malfunctioning, but on inspection nothing is obvious.

How do the chokes on these things work? There appears to be no choke butterfly like the old days!!

Must be something I can do without spending megabucks for some dude to spend minutes fixing it.


7th Apr 2010, 07:49

I'm Sue Harland of Cambridge NZ. I have just taken over ownership of my partner's 1999 Holden Barina Swing, as he needed a bigger car to carry his work gear.

I have noted many comments re heating problems in these model cars. My car was heating up to 100 degrees c and the fan wasn't cooling the system. I got a new thermostat put in a few weeks ago when I had the cambelt changed. This thermostat opens at 80 degrees instead of 100. The car was having a worse heating problem and reached 104 degrees on the highway. My mechanic is a genius because when I took my car in, he checked the pressure and found the radiator was not letting the water through freely, so consequently the motor could not be cooled. The radiator was thoroughly cleaned and hey presto! no more problems. it boils down (excuse the pun) to this - get your radiator checked first. These radiators have very small cores and it does not take much to block up. Flush the radiator thoroughly before adding your coolant/ antifreeze each time.

9th Apr 2010, 05:07

Hi people..

I have just came across this site, and I also have a Holden Barina 96 SB model...

I have had it for at least 4 months. It used to drive like a dream, until today it over heated for some reason..

After reading all of the above topics, I am in the middle of changing the thermo.. I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow afternoon.