Life With Chevrolet Sail: Ownership Review


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This is the ownership experience of our Chevrolet Sail Sedan which was bought in 2013. The reason why I am doing this after owning this car for 9 years is to help other Sail owners who are finding it difficult to live with their car since GM left India.

The car has run very less for a 9-year-old car with a current ODO reading somewhere near 30000 km. During the initial time of ownership, the car had intermittent starting issues and had to be towed to the service center 3 times. It was later found out to be a faulty relay. It has never occurred since. 2 years back, there was a time when the brake system had a leak. Really don't know where exactly it was from since I was not with the car. It was towed to the service center and they replaced the whole braking system of the car for some 35K. Since I was not there to confirm if all those parts required replacement, my Dad went ahead and replaced everything. Other than these 2 issues, the ownership has been trouble-free.

The car as a typical GM petrol has very poor low-end torque and it's not at all enthusiastic to drive. It has the same petrol engine from Chevrolet Beat and it is underpowered for such a heavy car. The ride is comfortable and the steering feedback is pretty good too. Until now, we used to give it to the service center every year for service and I decided to put an end to it this year. This year was a maintenance-heavy year for the car due to some long-term wear and tear parts giving up at the same time.

The battery was shot after 9 years. Yes!, you read it right, the stock Exide battery lasted for 9 long years! And stock Apollo tires were asking for a replacement since it was some 10 years old even though they still had some tread left in them. Sourcing the battery was kind of hard since the battery is the right layout in the car and no one has that in stock for 45AH.

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Finally got an Amaron battery of the same capacity but in the left layout. The price was Rs.5600 after exchange.

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Battery fitted in the car.

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The positive terminal of the battery is on the left side being a left layout battery.

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Right layout batteries were available in some places online and they were asking for a higher price than left layout batteries of the same capacity. Therefore, I would like to advise anyone looking for a Chevrolet Sail battery to get a left layout battery and save money.

Tires were ordered from TyreMarket.com since I was not able to find a decent deal close to that anywhere else.

I got Goodyear Assurance Triplemax 2 175/70 R 14 Tubeless 84 H for Rs.4155 apiece including shipping. Tires were a month old and in perfect condition.

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During the installation of tires, a play was found in the front suspension and therefore wheel alignment could not be done without fixing it. It was first thought to be the mounting bush since the shock was working fine and there were no leaks.The stock mounting bush from Chevrolet costs Rs. 1300 apiece and they did not have it in stock.

Thankfully, boodmo had several options listed from major brands like Gabriel, Motherson, and Technix. All of them were available at 1/4 the price of the OEM part as well. I went with Technix since they had a better catalog that showed the actual compatible parts and their part numbers.

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I ordered CAV-A4600, CAV-A4608M, and CAV-A4608R 2 each for both sides.

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Mounting Bush.

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Bump stop, bearing, and dust boot.

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Mounting top retainer.

Replaced all this from an FNG (Friendly Neighbourhood Garage) and all of a sudden the car was undrivable as it was bouncing all over the place. Front shocks were found to be hard during the disassembly of the struct.

The only solution left was to replace both shocks. Boodmo came again for help as they had shocks in stock. Interestingly they had Monroe shocks for Sail at the same price as the OEM Chevrolet shocks. Since the OEM shocks gave away in 30000 KM, I decided to go with Monroe.

Shocks came from different sellers and one of them was poorly packed, due to which one of its clamps was bent with some impact during transport. I returned that to boodmo and placed another order for the same part since boodmo doesn't have a replacement option. Currently, I am waiting for the shock to start the overhaul.

The car was fitted with a generic fog lamp from an accessory shop which broke after a few years of usage. I never bothered to touch it since the OEM fog lamps cost some 7.5K a pair and it did;t justify the price.

But then, I came across an aftermarket fog lamp in boodmo made by a company called Globex which had the right clamps to directly screw it onto the bumper. Ordered it without thinking twice.It was just Rs.800 per pair and so I wasn't expecting a lot. It is a basic unit.

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Replaced the cheap unbranded bulbs which came with it with Bosch H3 45W bulbs. I tried a lot to get 35W H3 bulbs to reduce the heat and avoid getting it broken again, but they are only made by Hella and are not available in India.

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Removing the bumper of the Chevrolet Sail is one of the hardest jobs in this car. There are so many screws and clips in weird locations. Since the wiring was already laid for the previous fog lamp, I decided to install the new fog lamp by removing the front wheels and wheel well.

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Fog lamp view from inside after installation. The wiring for this is done using a relay and a fuse and the switch is placed under the steering rack. The car also has a Roots Wind tone Skoda type horn installed with similar relay and fuse wiring.

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The end result.

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The throw is nowhere near an OEM fitment as there is no level adjustment in this. Acts more like cornering lights than fog lamps!

That's it for now. I am planning to change the engine, gear, and steering oil next week along with the shock replacement and I will update you on the hurdles here as this car uses some not so easy to get oils for steering and transmission.
 
Thread Starter #2
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Sourcing Oils

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Gear Oil - 75W-90 GL-4
Bosch 75W90 Glide Synth 2L @ Rs. 600/L

Almost all, if not all major oil brands have stopped selling retail bottles of 75W-90 gear oil. Motul used to be in stock a while back but since then it's out of stock.
Liqui Moly sells one GL-5 75W-90 oil which costs about 2K per liter.
All other available oils in this specification are from unknown Indian brands like Deemoil and Zoomol and they are also marketed as GL-5.

My FNG had this in stock. Decided not to use it since the Viscosity Index in their technical datasheet was not in range with other gear oils of the same grade.

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When I felt like giving up and using some brand, I came across Bosch Semi Synthetic Gear Oil F002H24629- Glide Synth GL4 75W90 for 2 Wheeler on Amazon.
This is not just meant for 2 wheelers. You can look for it in Bosch commercial vehicles product catalog and it is listed as oil for 'Gearbox, Differentials, Transfer Case, Steering Box of all HCVs, LCVs, Tractors'. So, it can certainly do the job in a car.

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I would like to include a quote from Rymax lubricants.
The main difference between GL-4 and GL-5 gear oils is the amount of EP additives. GL-5 has roughly twice the amount of EP additives compared to GL-4.
Sulphur/Phosphorus additives however have an unfavorable property: they can react aggressively towards bronze and copper. This can be disastrous for the synchromesh rings of a gearbox. Therefore it is not recommended to use GL-5 in a gearbox unless the manufacturer allows this.

After reading this, I was in no mood to try my luck, especially for a car with a scarcity of spare parts.
Bosch Glide Synth 75W90 GL-4 is the only gear oil available in its specification currently in India. And I believe they have stopped its production since the oil I got was a year old stock.
Being something made by Bosch, the quality is guaranteed.

Therefore, if your car needs 75W-90 GL-4 gear oil, this is the best option you have in India.
The car takes in 1.6L as per the manual. So, I got 2 X 1L.

Steering Fluid - Dexron 6
SK ZIK ATF 1L @ Rs. 620

Dexron 6 is a GM proprietary grade that no other vehicles use. So, it is literally impossible to source in India if not imported.
I was not risking using any other steering fluid since the resulting damages would be costly.
The existing steering fluid still had red color and the steering was also smooth. I wanted to do this change as preventive maintenance since it is 9 years old fluid.
Thankfully, again I was able to find oil, SK ZIK on amazon, although it was sold by a third-party seller which was not amazon fulfilled.
I was doubtful about this brand, SK ZIK. But, after some research, I came to know that they are a conglomerate in South Korea and moreover, they are the supplier of Dexron 6 steering fluid to GM factories.
They have also listed their certificates of approval from all major manufacturers on their website.
The oil is made in Korea.
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Engine oil 5W-30 GF-4
Shell Helix Taxi 4L @ Rs 1420.
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This was the easiest to source since there are many choices.
The engine oil in our Chevrolet Sail Petrol 1.2 was changed 11 months ago from the ASC. They used Total Quartz 7000 FUT GF5 5W30 as per the invoice although I highly doubt if it is the reality. The vehicle has run only 2000 km since but the condition of the oil is pretty bad as the color has considerably darkened for oil which has only run 2000 km and moreover it has a petrol smell. The vehicle is not burning any oil as was evident from the extremely low HC reading from the emission test for a 9-year-old car with some 30000 km in ODO and zero-carbon soot in the exhaust tip.

I have read in some older posts that the Quartz 7000 has great detergent properties which darken the oil pretty quickly. But I was using this oil for the past 9 years and replaced it every year with 5000 km or less. It is for the first time I am noticing such a quick degradation. I have my doubts on the ASC who might be using inferior quality oil and billing it as Quartz 7000 since Total seems to have stopped the sales of the oil in question in India after Chevrolet left India.

Another reason for my suspicion is that they billed me only Rs. 1000 for 3.75L of oil which is cheaper than what Maruti charges for mineral oil for small cars.

Therefore, I decided to replace the oil from an FNG this time with the oil of my choice. The manual specifies SAE 5W-30 API SM GF4. After going through all the available options and considering the low running of the vehicle I went for Sell Helix Taxi 5W30 which is semi-synthetic. It has not mentioned anything about GF rating but it is SN+. And it's said that SN+ is equivalent to GF5.
Some may doubt that it would be a cheaply made oil since it is marketed as 'Taxi'. I cross-checked the datasheet of Helix Taxi with Helix HX5 and they are pretty similar.

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Got the oil filter from boodmo. There were many options from Hella, Mahle, ZIP, Purolator, etc. Went with Elofic because there was some offer.
This is the same oil filter of Beat since the engine is the same in Sail.
Interestingly, the filter seems to be pre-oiled. Both the washer and paper filter inside was soaked in oil.
AIr Filter
Air filter was also ordered from boodmo.
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OEM filter was Mahle and was 3 years old. The ASC never changed it probably because it did not look so dark and dirty.

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But the difference, when kept side by side with the new air filter is day and night. Notice how the new one is transparent while the old one is completely opaque!

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The brake fluid was changed 2 years ago and still looks good.
The coolant was changed at least once in the past by the ASC in the past 9 years and it still looks good.

The total cost of oils and filters.
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mayankdixit

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Interestingly, the filter seems to be pre-oiled. Both the washer and paper filter inside was soaked in oil.
Very good homework you did before servicing your car.I like your passion in how you go searching into so many and so much details to get the best for your car.
Please ensure that oil filter is not pre-used (already used one,refurbished). I have never seen pre-oil filled oil filter. Filter cartridge is always dry. Sounds fishy.
 
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Thread Starter #4
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Very good homework you did before servicing your car.I like your passion in how you go searching into so many and so much details to get the best for your car.
Please ensure that oil filter is not pre-used (already used one,refurbished). I have never seen pre-oil filled oil filter. Filter cartridge is always dry. Sounds fishy.
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I tried running the carriage with a cotton swab and there seems to be no oil in it. I thought it's oily because of its color. Normally oil filters in my bike are all paper made and has a yellow color. This one was having a brown color which is what happens when the yellow filter gets wet. So, i suspected it to be oiled.
Coming to the washer, it was not oiled per se. There was a shiny coating of some slippery liquid. I don't know if it's oil or some chemical from the manufacturing process.
 
Thread Starter #5
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Very good homework you did before servicing your car.I like your passion in how you go searching into so many and so much details to get the best for your car.
Please ensure that oil filter is not pre-used (already used one,refurbished). I have never seen pre-oil filled oil filter. Filter cartridge is always dry. Sounds fishy.
I did not take a chance with the oil filter since it is a relatively cheap part. Got a OEM Mahle oil filter.
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Got the replacement struct from boodmo.
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Worn out bump stop/buffer
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Old mounting bush and bearing. The bearing is made in Germany.
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Old shocks from the car. The shaft is stuck and not returning once it is pushed in. There were no leaks.
A little research on it pointed out the reason as leakage of the high-pressure gas in the shock which is responsible for pushing it back.
The shaft was relying on the spring rebound to pull itself out.

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Long lost brother, Aveo. Suprisingly the interior elements of the Aveo, dashboard, steering, hand brake etc all look similr in design. I guess there are a lot of parts which can be shared between these two.
All shock bushes and mountings I used were that of Aveo. The sail is basically an Aveo derivative.
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The car is back to its glory again and running smooth. Need to do wheel alignment now.
Gear oil and steering fluid replacement are pending as well.

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It was way cheaper than going with OEM parts. Surprisingly, the struct was not the costly OEM part. It was all tiny bits of bushes and bearings that cost a lot more.

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Saved Rs. 3250 in parts.
I have been told that Monroe shocks are not the best out there. Decided to take the risk since the OEM shock gave up so quickly.
Monroe shocks have been given a 1-year warranty from the date of manufacturing. One of my new shocks is a month old while one was 2 years old.
Monroe India manufacturer Tenco extended the warranty for another 8 months after I contacted them.
 

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mayankdixit

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I did not take a chance with the oil filter since it is a relatively cheap part. Got a OEM Mahle oil filter.
.
That's a very good decision you took!
Changing oil filter after you have already filled in the engine oil is tricky and messy. Please keep that in mind.
Or is it that you have yet to change the engine oil.?? Then no issue.
 
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Thread Starter #7
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That's a very good decision you took!
Changing oil filter after you have already filled in the engine oil is tricky and messy. Please keep that in mind.
Or is it that you have yet to change the engine oil.?? Then no issue.
I changed the engine oil after getting the OEM filter.
 
Thread Starter #8
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Did wheel alignment today.
Did the steering fluid replacement as well.
It is quite a tricky job. There are several ways of doing it from the partial flush to the full flush.
I initially wanted to do the full flush. But the hose to the reservoir was so tight and I felt I might break something if I use any more force. The hose, if broken might be a costly job since the hose is not easily replaceable.
So, I decided to do the partial flush which was easier to do and without taking off anything. The only downside I felt is that I have to repeat this 3 or 4 times over a span of a few months.
Maybe, if I find a way to remove the return hose from the reservoir, I will do a full flush next time.

Stuck hose. It feels like as if it got welded to the the reservoir. Did not even more a mm.

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Sucking old fluid out.

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Old fluid color.

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New fluid
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The reservoir holds about 350 mL of fluid while the total quantity in circulation is 1L. Currently. I have replaced 1/3rd.
 

mayankdixit

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Power steering fluid is still reddish. It has only darkened a bit. It would have lasted much more. Its not bad yet.
Actually p.s fluid lasts really long and most of the manuals don't even mention a specific change interval.
 
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Thread Starter #10
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Power steering fluid is still reddish. It has only darkened a bit. It would have lasted much more. Its not bad yet.
Actually p.s fluid lasts really long and most of the manuals don't even mention a specific change interval.
The steering was still smooth. I thought I'll do a change only because the car is 9 years old. And I didn't want to wait till it gets black and risk the steering pump given the fact that parts are hard to source and they have increased the spare parts cost dramatically.
 
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Remove and check once in a while. Used to use the same cover before buying new knob. There was gel like formation.
Thanks for the tip. Yes it looks like some cheap rubber.

Replaced the gear oil today from a Bosch Service Center today. The job was done professionally and quickly.
Surprisingly, it took 2L of oil till it overflowed the filling hole.
The manual I got with the car says 1.8L and the manual I downloaded from Chevrolet India website says 1.6L.
The service manual of Shanghai GM also says 1.6L.
The Chevrolet beat which uses the same engine uses 2.1L of gear oil while the Aveo used 1.4L. Confusing!

I also requested the Chief mechanic there to take a test drive of the car and see if anything is wrong. He was positive after the test drive that everything was ok.

I did a tank full to tank full fuel efficiency test since this car doesn't have any inbuilt MID.
I was actually surprised to see 21 KMPL mileage. I covered 101 kms using 4.72L of petrol.
I am really skeptical about this figure. We are planning for a long trip in this car and I will do a more comprehensive test then.
This was done with AC ON 90% of the time and in village roads with frequent gear changes. Vehicle was also driven sedately at 40-80 KMPH and under 2000 RPM since there is no point in revving this car as it's not at all punchy.
We also have a Suzuki Ignis in our home which is driven in similar conditions and it shows 18-19 KMPL in the MID. But that one is driven more enthusiastically due to the punchy K12.

Everything works except for the radio in the car which is not getting the signal. I believe it's something with the wiring to the antenna. I really don't feel like taking out the headliner to get to it. And i guess it's better to always leave one thing broken as per Hoovie. [roll]
 
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Did a round trip of 1000 km to Ooty.
New Monroe shocks and Bridgestone Assurance Triplemax 2 tires are good. The ride was comfortable and didn't feel tired after the drive.
As expected, the actual fuel efficiency was far lesser.
From Kerala to Ooty including the hill climb and heavy congestion in between for 1 hour, the car returned an average of 11.5 KMPL.
On the way back downhill and back to Kerala, it gave somewhere close to 16 KMPL.
Overall FE was somewhere near 13.5 KMPL.
Never ever saw the car from this angle before and it looks really good. I never knew, there were so many lines!
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The antenna can be removed without removing the headliner. I tried connecting an external wire the the antenna base and the radio got reception. So the fault is with the antenna.
The current antenna in the car is something ordered from AliExpress since the original antenna's rubber base got disintegrated. The actual antenna was also longer.

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The antenna mast for this car is not sold separately.
Antenna with plastic cover removed.

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For time being, I added some more copper winding to the antenna and sealed it with a heat shrink.
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deville_56

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Did a round trip of 1000 km to Ooty.
New Monroe shocks and Bridgestone Assurance Triplemax 2 tires are good. The ride was comfortable and didn't feel tired after the drive.
As expected, the actual fuel efficiency was far lesser.
From Kerala to Ooty including the hill climb and heavy congestion in between for 1 hour, the car returned an average of 11.5 KMPL.
On the way back downhill and back to Kerala, it gave somewhere close to 16 KMPL.
Overall FE was somewhere near 13.5 KMPL.
Never ever saw the car from this angle before and it looks really good. I never knew, there were so many lines!
View attachment 294686

The antenna can be removed without removing the headliner. I tried connecting an external wire the the antenna base and the radio got reception. So the fault is with the antenna.
The current antenna in the car is something ordered from AliExpress since the original antenna's rubber base got disintegrated. The actual antenna was also longer.

View attachment 294688

The antenna mast for this car is not sold separately.
Antenna with plastic cover removed.

View attachment 294687
For time being, I added some more copper winding to the antenna and sealed it with a heat shrink.
View attachment 294690
The hack job looks stock, won't differentiate easily.

Check whether other OEMs would fit. Bought universal one for Polo. Works okay, better than no antenna, but not as good as stock.
 

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