Honda Jazz Mk2 (Fit Mk2)

The reputation of Hondas is generally good: the cars are considered to be quite reliable, moderately simple and pleasant to drive. In the case of Honda Jazz and its right-hand drive twin Fit, practicality is usually praised as well. But there are a lot of details and nuances. 

Jazz/Fit is one of the bright examples of B-class, which "inside is more than outside", and all this is a fruit of Japanese engineering ingenuity. Thus, the fuel tank under the front seats allowed to make very voluminous rear seats, large for its class trunk and interesting variants of salon transformation, including absolutely flat surfaces for rest with length of 2400 mm. And on cars for Asian markets, the Ultra Luggage variant is offered, in which there is no spare tire, and there is even more space.  

In technical part the car is quite traditional: transversely located motors - only gasoline atmospheric "four", automatic transmissions - hydromechanics or variator, in suspension McPherson - in front and beam - behind. At the same time there are hybrid and electric variants and all-wheel drive transmission. The body is only a five-door hatch, although a Fit Aria sedan was also sold in Japan.

The small strong body has the most simplified design, and it does not always go in its favor - about it below will be in detail. But the paintwork of the cars is of very good quality, especially taking into account that this is a Japanese car of the beginning of the century, and Hondas of this period were not distinguished by strong anticorrosion protection.  

Now we return to the harm of simplicity. The car in the factory set does not have lockers in the arches. Stones and sand damage surfaces of arches, edges and seams, in neglected cases holes are formed, small and not so small. The worst versions of the cars may not have a piece of the arch and "fringe", but fortunately there are still few of these.

Option lockers come in different qualities. Usually they are installed crookedly and on screws, which does not add to the health of the metal. The trouble is that no one thinks about ventilation of the cavity above the locker, moreover - often the locker is placed to simply cover the holes in the body itself.

Another problem area at the rear of the body is the seams of the opening just above the taillights. Condensation from the roof runs down the rear pillar. In addition, sometimes the roof seams are not sealed, which increases the water flow. If the trunk is even a little damp, the seams will begin to rot - up to and including penetrations into the area under the headlight. Take off the side trim and check it for sure. The trunk floor is also at risk, but this problem is usually clearly visible, and normal owners fix it in time.  

Also check the lower edge of the sill under the plastic, the inner seam of the doors, the front edge of the hood, the area around the gas tank neck and the doors under the handles.  

In general, the condition of the body underneath is usually not bad, holes in the bottom and rotten seams - a great rarity even on the oldest "Japanese" before restyling. But the process, as they call it, has already started. Cars obviously need a quality anticor every couple of years, but most owners don't bother with it.

As for any Japanese mass-market car, there are enough body parts for Jazz/Fit from "sawing", and even serious repairs can be carried out, if the car has not rotted all over. Prices for body "iron" are minimal. However, such car is bought usually not for sawing and restoring from the corpse, so look for a copy with a good condition of a body, there are still enough of them even among inexpensive prerestyling versions. 

The rest of the body equipment is the same as the car. Everything is practical, but a bit flimsy, by our standards. Killed optics, dead fog lights, wind whistling in door seals, broken bumper mounts and dangling mirrors are mainstream. The front headlights not only scratch the body, but also melt the bulb connectors - the sockets are plastic and the wires are weak. And it's hard to change bulbs if you don't remove the headlight. Access to them from under the wheel arch is difficult: it is necessary to bend a plastic mudguard of an engine compartment, and chances to break it or fastenings are very great. The resource of the wipers' trapeze is 200 kilometers, then the joints become loose. There is no outright "crime" in the form of mass failures of anything, largely due to a very simple design of absolutely everything. In particular, here you can meet manual window lifters in front doors, versions without central lock and lock control panel in the key, and lock actuators are made as a separate part (which is rare) and cost kopecks.  

Interior

The condition of the interior even with mileage over 200 thousand kilometers is surprisingly good. Still, the quality of materials in Honda is high even on budget cars. Here and bulbs in the dashboard are all LEDs, a very reliable solution. It will be necessary to disassemble the interior, for example, for replacement of gasoline pump.  There are serious problems with the equipment, mainly of electrical character: ignition switch contact group fails, and it itself sometimes jams, the light control lever fails, contacts of the window elevator control unit burn up (if there is one).

Wear of steering wheel and seats, of course, is present. Plastic steering wheel and fabric are not badly saved, but leather braiding and velour are strongly wiped out already at mileage up to a hundred. However, everything depends on care, so it is hardly possible to use the condition of the interior as an indicator of mileage. There are some cars, keeping perfect interior at mileage far beyond 300 thousand.

Electrics

The notorious "Japanese Imperial quality" fails when in contact with electrical components. The real curse is the ignition control system on the L12A and L13A engines, (1.2 and 1.4 liters in European designations). There are two ignition coils and plugs per cylinder. Total of eight coils and plugs, each with its own spark plug tip, and they on heavily run cars provide owners with an increased amount of hassle. Original parts are expensive, and the resource of "contract" and non-original parts is very floating. Prevention with the replacement of tips, springs and, in fact, plugs prolongs the life of ignition modules, but still there is always a risk of loss of power and errors due to this system. One joy is that the modules are individual. 

Generator resource in general is normal, up to 200 thousand before replacement of bearings and brush unit, but the battery is quickly saturated. The reason is the format of the battery, it is practically "toy" here - a normal one fits into the engine compartment only with serious modifications of the platform and connectors. In general, Jazz owners do not listen to music in the parking lot.

When the mileage exceeds 200 thousand, contract groups of various control elements in the cabin, wiring of the rear and driver's door, and about headlight connectors I have already mentioned above start to fail. "Rarely, but aptly" the fuse box and the braid of the interior wiring fail - short circuits, burned out tracks and even fires happen. In most cases, the fault is inexperienced intervention of electricians and fragile insulation.

Brakes, suspension and steering

The front disc brakes last all of their 10 years before the calipers need to be rebuilt. Disc and pad life is usually 50+ even with the variator. Rear drum brakes sometimes fail. Not because the design is bad, just their maintenance is forgotten, and wear and corrosion of elements of fasteners of pads over time lead to "chattering" of pads and their displacement from their places. Often it all ends with the replacement of the drum and the whole assembly - a loose shoe usually grinds everything into dust, including the brake cylinder.

ABS failures are mainly related to the wiring to the sensors, it is not very reliable - we talked about it more in the first part.

Suspension is simple and very reliable. So much so, that by mileage of 200 thousand many owners are surprised to find original parts. But it is at very calm and thrifty. More often after 150 thousand fail not only supports of struts of front suspension, but also silent blocks with supports of shock absorbers of rear. Supports of struts in general are delicate things, they do not like bad roads. And hub bearings usually require replacement by such mileage. But everything is relatively inexpensive, and the choice of non-original is impressive. It is a pity that non-original details often have resource within 60 thousand kilometers of mileage, and variants from grands of bearing construction cost almost as original details.

Steering control with EPS does not please with gear ratio: it is here approximately as at Volga - revolutions five from a stop to a stop. And also EPS is not very driver's, with a coarse moment sensor, besides its control unit and motor fail relatively often. However, here the gear ratio of the rack helps, many people do not suspect that they had an amplifier.

The rack itself is quite reliable: with careful handling, it slightly taps, but it does not play much and at mileage of 300+. And if it breaks, the repair is inexpensive. Also it is necessary to watch for backlashes of a shaft of a steering column and its fastening: bolts tear off, and gimbals luft. 

Transmission

The manual transmission in the Jazz/Fit is practically trouble-free, except that the gearbox drive is loose. Five-speed manual transmission requires occasional oil changes and monitoring of its level - over the years, the boxes start to sweat, although rapid oil loss is not typical for them. The release bearing is strong and reliable, usually when replacing the clutch set it is not touched. 

Drives, both on mechanics and cars with automatic transmission, tubular lightweight and very small diameter. Corrosion will wear the tube down over time and it will break off. Don't forget to do your anti-corrosion and take the paper stickers off the drives, they are usually the catalysts for failure.

It is unlikely to find a car with a five-speed automatic, as American Jazz was almost never brought to us. The boxes are very reliable and unpretentious - I wrote about them in detail in a separate large article about Honda shaft automatics. There are no junior four-speed automatics on Jazz/Fit.

In principle, the variator of SLYA/SZCA series, which is supposed to the junior motors, is also a very reliable thing. Not least because of its simple design and conservative nature.

The belt is a Bosch push belt - like on a lot of Jatco/Toyota/GM designs. If the Honda original is too expensive, you can get the right one from any other variator. There is no torque converter, but there is a main friction. 

The main problem is wear of the belt and cones. Bearings here are very good, the hydroblock is very simple, if not to say "primitive". The box requires strictly "its" oil, it does not drive for a long time on someone else's oil, the main friction works badly with it - sharp and hard. But if you pour HMMF-compatible oil and drive carefully, the friction resource is 200+, and the belt - somewhere 250-300 thousand. 

Strangely enough, one of the important problems of Jazz is... low price of contract variator. And since any repair is guaranteed to be more expensive, it is easy to buy a car with a box, which was decided to "finish". And you may not realize that the previous owner did not bother with maintenance and even oil change, and just decided to buy a "contract" as soon as the car gets up. 

If the logic of "to drive until victory" you like, then remember: the car can get up at the most inopportune moment, and cheap variators will end someday, and now it is not always possible to buy a unit with a good residual resource, often come and frankly worn out.

Therefore, it is better to change oil and starter pack in time and still keep an eye on the condition of the belt. If there are suspicions of wear, it is better to replace, good thing belts on sale are second-hand with still good side surface, and a well-repaired unit is better than a lottery with the purchase of a second-hand box. Well, if the start from the place is accompanied by dry squeaking and jerking, intensifying when gaining speed, then the repair really does not make sense anymore.

Part of the problems with jerks is a consequence of wear of the left support of the box. It has a very small resource, on average - up to 50 thousand kilometers of mileage. With its wear are associated jerks when loading the box and when braking the engine, as well as an increased level of vibration.

I note that the box does not like cold winters, why - read in the material about heating of automatic transmission, in the southern countries of Europe these boxes are really "eternal".

Engines

On Jazz/Fit put motors 1,2 and 1,3, aka 1,4 in Europe. Differences are easily explained: the working volume of the first has 1243 "cubes", and the second - 1339. They tried to "divide" them a little by classes. At the "top of the range" is a motor 1.5 L15A. All three are the same series L, gasoline, atmospheric. There are no diesels even for European consumers.

In addition to engine-specific problems, it is worth noting the very tight layout of the engine compartment (even a small engine is cramped in here), the cooling system with a weak radiator, hoses gradually disintegrating by the age of ten and thin metal cooling pipes corroding.

A weak starter and battery is another common problem. The motor starts very badly at temperatures below -20 degrees, slowly unwinds, especially if oils with winter viscosity of 5w, not "zero-value" are used. And it warms up badly, and calcium modern batteries in a cold state do not take a charge well.

The design of L-series engines is not so conservative. Aluminum block with cast iron liners, timing drive by chain, 8-valve cylinder head in L12A/L13A variants and 16-valve with one camshaft (SOHC) - in L15A. The throttle can be electronic: on European versions of motors - always, and on Japanese - only after restyling. VTEC and even i-VTEC are also available on them.

Iron is very reliable, piston group and timing can easily withstand 300+ thousand mileage, resource is limited mainly by oil appetite and mistakes of owners due to aging of control system and cooling system.

The main problems are related to ignition modules and spark plugs of i-DISI ignition system on 8-valve variants. The plugs on these are hard to change, especially the rear row. You have to remove the entire intake to access it. The upper plugs are easier to replace, a good head extension is enough. And at rare replacement of plugs and in the absence of prevention of tips, the system fails: the motor works with interruptions, greatly underpowers and gradually kills the catalytic converter. Ignition modules themselves fail, and it is not worth to put non-original, except NGK, which works with a guarantee.

EGR valve is another headache of motors. Its gaskets leak, it jams itself and requires cleaning. And you just can't turn it off. Dirty intake manifold is mainly its merit. The EGR error (code P0409) is also manifested when the harness in the valve is damaged.

Suction through the throttle body is inherent in L12A/L13A motors with mechanical throttle, electronic throttle of European versions and on the 1.5 motor is devoid of this defect. Sucks through the axis of the throttle unit - a characteristic problem, it manifests itself in the form of floating idle speed, and on cars with variator - also in the form of jerks when starting.

Breakage of wiring on the crankshaft position sensor (DPKV) is a standard, but rare trouble. It is connected mainly with oil leaks on the front cover of the engine, it gets on the wiring, and the insulation falls apart over time.

Well and valves need to be adjusted often, at least once every 50 thousand kilometers. Unlike the "big" Honda motors, the gaps on 1.2-1.5 change a lot. 

Another typical trouble is a strong oil leak through the camshaft plug. All gaskets, front cover and valve cover sweat, and oil seals by this mileage usually ask for replacement. A good owner reseals the joints, a bad one tops up the oil.

Conclusion

The car turned out to be nice and practical - both in terms of consumer properties and reliability. Yes, the ignition system is unjustifiably overcomplicated, and if you want to pick on it, you can criticize the quality of wiring and short-sighted decision with body arches. But if you need a small, roomy hatch, the Jazz or Fit of the first generation is not a bad option.