Alto Works is in the nest

Discussion in 'Suzuki' started by dmnd, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. dmnd

    dmnd Tuna Sandwich

    Joined:
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    The Alto Works is finally home. Exactly 2 months since the day I paid the the vehicle. I'll take some more pictures later this week.

    This has been the most interesting import for me. With a few hiccups along the way.

    Firstly, the shipping schedule changed on me last minute. I thought I was going to luck out with my vacation days being 2 weeks after it was originally set to land in Vancouver. Which would of allowed me to do a vacation/pick up. But the car got bumped 2 weeks back onto another vessel. I was in Vancouver for the first few days of July on my vacation and the car cleared customs the day before I was going home (Canada Day). It was interesting enjoying the +33C weather in New Westminister and looking across the Fraser River at the WWL port thinking to myself "That Alto Works is there somewhere but I can't take it home yet!". So I had to catch the plane home the next day leaving the Alto Works behind. So this is where Ben's Fresh Vehicle Service comes in (will elaborate more later).


    Secondly, I got a huge scare from my customs broker. Days before the car was set to land, I was told the Kei export certificate was going to "be an issue" more here: http://import-era.com/threads/kei-car-export-certificate-issues.1336/
    Which I'd like to thank Derek (Pacific Coast) Mark (Brave Auto) and Ben (FVI) for all providing insight and any assistance they could in the matter. Keep in mind I did not import the Alto through them and they stepped up to offer me help and advice. Ultimately the "issue" with the export certificate proved to be a non-issue, unfortunately I had to hire on a new customs broker which took care of it for me, no sweat. I've withheld the names of the brokers in both threads. But if anyone encounters the same issue, please PM me.

    Ben picks up the Alto Works for me from WWL on Friday with his spiffy new car hauler. And stores it at his partners place in Surrey where a battery charger is placed on it overnight. I'm out of bed at 5AM Saturday morning with 3 hours of sleep and hop on the first flight out to Vancouver from Calgary.

    Skytrain from YVR Airport to King George station. Tip! Grab a transit pass/day pass from the 7-11 store at the airport, this will save you the $5 fee the Skytrain ticket station will charge you. Make sure to validate it at the train station above ground in the machine before boarding the train.

    I arrive in Surrey at the King George train station and get lost for 20 minutes trying to find the bus stop where I'm suppose to catch the bus at to take me to where my car is. Some sketchy guy on a bicycle is starring me down and I feel like he's gonna mug me or something, lol.

    I finally get to my car and i'm happy to see that Ben has already cleaned the window marker off the car, which is one of the things I hate doing when picking up from port. Tip! A good razor and water on the window as lubrication makes removing window marker a much simpler task. I also got Ben to put in $20 of gas when he did the pickup, so it would not be running off fumes.

    The car itself! I find that the cigarette outlet is totally missing on the car, thankfully I brought my own charging packs for my electronics. And a bluetooth speaker that provided me tunes the entire 10 hour trip home. There is wiring all over the trunk and foot well area from a previous after market sound system. Ben's partner, Brent helps me verify the alternator on the car is charging correctly. After doing some quick checks on the car, it's time to drive it away.

    Right away I notice the brake pedal is quite spongy and the steering is a bit sloppy! I get a little nervous at this point. But I figure I will drive it to the first gas station I see and decide from there if I have enough confidence in the car to make the drive back to Calgary. I get to a Chevron to top up the fuel. And put some air in the tires. I like Chevron because they always have free air and a water hose to top off your coolant tank.

    The drive to Kamloops was the most hairy, the car has a lot of character, it whines under acceleration. Sounds supercharged. I haven't figured out if that's the engine/turbo or if it's a alternator/pump yet, or even a boost leak? But it's a unique noise which I quite like, lol. Going up the steeper hills, the car can keep 90KM/H quite well without you needing to mash the pedal to the floor in order for the transmission to kick down (yes it's an auto). At 100KM/H the revs sit right at 4000 and about 4100 at 110KM/H. Fuel economy on the highway was roughly 7liters to 100KM, that's with a lot of hills/mountains and A/C on which is not too bad. I was very happy to find the AC worked! You really feel everything on the road though, being only 1500lbs with the sporty works suspension and skinny tires.

    After Kamloops I felt a lot more confident and comfortable with the car and was able to relax and complete the rest of the drive without any issues. The car did however get lots of head turns and looks. More than any other JDM i've owned.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
    IMPUL likes this.
  2. Dah_Hunter

    Dah_Hunter Looking over your shoulder, so you dont have to.

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    glad the adventure worked out.
    My saturday morning was packed or else i would have met you at Brents house.
     
  3. lenglish

    lenglish Exiled Cult Member

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    Nice, sounds like a good trip. That first drive in a new JDM is always pretty nerve wracking!
     
  4. dagleykd

    dagleykd Kei fan extraordinaire!

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    Mahone Bay, NS
    Love it, looking forward to pics! This generation of Alto Works is a car I am seriously considering importing! :)
     
  5. dmnd

    dmnd Tuna Sandwich

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    It's parked away until the fall until I get the time to do some work for it to pass inspection. Needs a new front wheel bearing and I assumed some new strut pillow mount bearings as well. I've ordered the parts from Japan.

    I also found out it has electrical power steering. I thought it was manual, because there was no pump or lines running to the steering rack in the engine bay. I thought it was very easy to turn the steering wheel because the car's lightweight and small tires. But when I turned the car off, it was very hard to turn the wheels, turned car back on, easy. I searched online and found a picture of the steering linkage assembly for the Alto Works to discover there is an electrical motor mounted to the steering column shaft.
     
  6. Derek

    Derek Derek Weldon

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    Location:
    Yokohama Japan
    I am glad that you got the car and customs was not a problem. In my experience, Canada will let in any Kei cars no matter the month because there is no record of the month on the registration certificate.

    We didn't do very much- Just called Subaru in Japan to ask if they had any record of the month or production for this vehicle and they said that during this era, there were no records of the month. So yeah... not very helpful.

    then we got a big surprise and received a package in the mail a few weeks later -



    Thank you so much!
     
    _drew and Greg like this.
  7. _drew

    _drew New Member

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    love these videos!
     
  8. Lethbridge_man

    Lethbridge_man New Member

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    That was a great video. I've never seen poutine-flavoured chips before! :)
     
  9. Dah_Hunter

    Dah_Hunter Looking over your shoulder, so you dont have to.

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    they are everywhere.. Well in BC.. im sure you can find them at your local gas station.
     
  10. sunshine

    sunshine New Member

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    Where did you order your parts from in japan?