1 2 3 4
Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 9:32 a.m.

So a couple years ago my wife was in need of a new car - she had been driving a 2002 VW Jetta and was ready for a hatchback. Naturally we looked at Golfs right away, but quickly found them budget prohibitive - what we could afford had a bunch of miles, and the mk5 and newer VW's haven't won me over in the same way the previous generations have so I wasn't too enthused about spending $6,000 on a 140,000+ mile car. What we did find for her was a 2014 Hyundai Accent with about 60,000 miles in our budget. This was my first foray into Hyundai and I was impressed, so much so that when it came time to replace my driver I sought one out for myself. 

 

What I found, was something I didn't even know existed; the Accent SE. Stiffer springs, 16" alloy wheels and lower profile tires, factory installed B&M short shifter, snazzy aluminum gas door, and available AEM cold air intake and strut bar. All factory options as far as my research tells me. Beyond that the car has a DOHC 1.6 and a 5 speed manual. Rear swingarm/beam axle whatever you want to call it and traditional front struts. 

Here it is the day I got it. It's a simple, no frills car and I like that. The interior is notably cheap, but that keeps it light. It does not have cruise control, it does however have air conditioning and power windows. Mine was ordered with the fancy aluminum door sill plates, the B&M short shifter (which is absolutely brilliant), and the boy-racer gas door. 

This will be more 'ownership log' than 'build thread', but I know there are some Hyundai enthusiasts on here and I always like the input the hive has so here we go!

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
4/2/20 9:47 a.m.

I've been side eyeing these ever since Pete gossett and....I forget who else told me they were the joint for rally-x. They're usually cheap too. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
4/2/20 9:50 a.m.

These always seemed cool to me as well.  I've never driven one though.  I wanted something a little larger so I never cross shopped them and ended up with my Suzuki SX4.  Maybe my loss.  Any areas you plan on improving beyond maitenance items?

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 10:13 a.m.

Driving impressions: The B&M shifter is absolutely brilliant. It may be the best feeling shifter I've had in a car yet. The throw is realistically short and the movements are firm and precise, without feeling overly tight and cumbersome. Furthermore, the gear box itself is pretty awesome. Short, happy ratios keep the engine where it wants to be and make it a riot to drive around town. The car is tiny, light, and the 1.6 produces sufficient power for just about anything you require of it, short of winning a drag race. This is not a fast car, but it also manages to not be a slow car. 

It doesn't like to rev much however. For a twin cam 1.6 I would expect power to 6,500 rather easily... this one seems to fall flat around 5,700. I've changed plugs once and it got a little better, but it just doesn't seem to want to spin much. No matter, it magically produces enough torque down low that it's pretty fun under 6,000 rpm. It is also, at the end of the day, a car I drive every day and rely on, so it probably doesn't need to be wound too tightly anyhow. 

The interior looks nice, the seats are pretty flat, the plastics are cheap, but it does have a CD player and AUX cord provision from the factory, and the stereo sounds pretty good. The carpet feels more like astro-turf or all-weather boat carpet than anything, but again - this keeps it light and cheap and is perfectly acceptable to me. I actually find it kind of endearing. As I've found with most economy/compact cars the room in the interior is pretty awesome. I'm 6'2" and it's very comfortable, not sure the backseat would be the same story, but that's ok, it does fold flat and fit a surprising amount of cargo if need be.  

One thing I've noticed is due to the length of the doors and the position of the B-pillar, the seatbelt is really far back, to the point of being kind of cumbersome to grab a hold of when you're first belting into the car. Once it's buckled it's perfectly comfortable but it's just a weird reach behind you to get to it. 

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 10:15 a.m.

In reply to Mndsm :

This one was $2,900 with 115k miles. I'm the 3rd owner. Light hail damage on the roof and some typical driver paint chips on the bumper cover, but otherwise in great shape. 

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 10:18 a.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

I have a couple improvements I've made already and hopefully some more minor stuff in store. What little I've found for aftermarket support seems minimal. That's part of why I'm posting on here; this group seems to know all the secret nooks and crannies of OEM parts bin interchangablilty so maybe some more upgrades will come to light. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
4/2/20 10:45 a.m.

The alpha is not a powerhouse or rev monster. At least the 1.6 has 2 cams and 110hp. The good thing with this motor is it's durable. Cast iron, solid block and aluminum head. It can take some boost. Or if you want, yank it and install a 2.0L Beta from the same era Elantra. That engine with header, intake and tuning should put you 140whp/tq.

The big thing with these cars is the chassis IMO. It's a gokart. Wife had the 4dr Rio. I installed H&R springs and some off the shelf monroe shocks. With 185/60/14 good year all season tires it was a "never lift" type car. With a good set of 205/50's on some 15x7.5" wheels it wold have been hilarious. 

Maintenance: Change the timing belt. Seriously. Just do it. They have a 60k mile or 5 year lifespan. They're cheap. They're not hard to change. And if it snaps, you bend all the valves. Make sure it has some oil and some coolant. They'll survive as long as there is some of each. 

Pull the resonator out from in front of the airbox. That opens the intake a little and it still pulls if from the fender area IIRC (that or a snorkel off the top of the rad, but that may have been the previous generation). It helps a little and will let it actually spin to 6k. Honestly, anything past that with these engines is wasting time. They make torque in the low/midrange. 

So much more... I'll get some free time later.

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
4/2/20 11:14 a.m.

On the seatbelt issue, the tib has the same problem. But the wife's Koup does not. They installed a little ratcheting arm to hold the belt up and forward making it easier to grab. 

johndej
johndej HalfDork
4/2/20 11:23 a.m.

Following closely as these seem like a blast.

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 12:06 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

Thank you sir - I specifically had you in mind when posting this smiley I knew you were the go to on these. Thank you for your insight! I'll try the airbox trick ASAP. 

Boost is always in the back of my mind, but the tuning/management side of things is a question mark for me. Do you know if the stock ECU's can be tuned on these or would it necessitate a standalone of some sort? That is a bigger hurdle to me than building the turbo kit. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
4/2/20 12:14 p.m.

In reply to Gunchsta :

"Back in the day" they usually ran a piggy back for these as no one has the codes to crack the ECU's stateside. Someone finally did but these are all old enough that it's gotten impossible to find anyone still doing it. So yeah, turbo will likely involve standalone at this point. 

Also, upgrade your battery cables. No, not those stupid grounding kit. The actual positive and negative cables with something 4ga. Makes a HUGE difference when the ac kicks on and bulb life. Factory stuff was barely adequate in 2008. 12 years later it's terrible. This actually goes for just about every Hy/Kia from 2002-10. Ground cable is short (usually 12-18") and the factory is tiny. Positive usually has some stupid design that sucks and its too small. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/2/20 12:14 p.m.

These have been on my radar for a while as a future daily for myself.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
4/2/20 12:37 p.m.

I wish they had more HP, I thinkj they look pretty great, especially in grey with those wheels.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
4/2/20 12:40 p.m.

In reply to Gunchsta :

Find a $30 "cold air intake" off eBay for that car. It really wakes them up. Seriously. 

I loved mine & would buy another one in an instant if I had any room to put it, or any reason to drive it.

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 12:44 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

Noted. I've been considering that as well, good to hear it's worth it. 

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
4/2/20 12:49 p.m.

Cool! I didn’t know these existed either.

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 3:00 p.m.

The previous owner had been pretty religious about oil changes, right down to ordering the correct replacement washers for the drain plug. He also gave me a new pair of struts for the front as well as some ball joints. Mind you, neither of these were loose but he thought it was going to be due for them sooner than later so he had them on hand for when the time came. I like this guy. We agreed that it was due for a timing belt as he had it done about 60,000 miles ago. This is after all, a used car. I can handle the timing belt job. 

 

Funny story: So I found the car on Facebook Marketplace and started googling "Accent SE" wanting some further info about what this particular model brought to the table. Enter a very well written albeit a bit scathing review on edmunds.com from somebody who owned one of these cars (full review here for those interested). I read this, took it with a grain of salt, and went to look at the car I had seen on Facebook. Well from talking to the guy online I had a guess, and sitting down to look at the car with him in person confirmed it - he was the one that wrote the review. I don't agree with everything he said, but it was funny to have found a review online for THE exact car I was purchasing. He was a meticulous guy and that is always somebody I like purchasing a car from. 

Anyhow, long story short the car was in my possession and needed a timing belt. A quality Gates belt/water pump kit was ordered from Rock Auto for about $75 and showed up at my house a few days later. I tore into it that weekend ready to familiarize myself with my new purchase. While I was at it I replaced all of the V-belts (yes V-belts!!) for the PS/AC/ALT as a "while I'm in here" thing. 

Here's the kit and belts on the workbench

And here are the various engine covers and pulleys removed. 

I didn't take many pictures of this procedure, but overall it went well. There was however a little spring for the tensioner that was pretty tough to get into place, but once I wrestled that into submission everything else was straight forward and went fine. Water pump was done as well, though it isn't driven off the timing belt it's behind it and seemed better to do than ignore. 

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 3:09 p.m.

So now we're up to date on urgent maintenance on the new car, what is the second thing on the list? Lowering springs of course! 

Before even buying the car I looked up some eBay lowering springs from Megan racing and they seemed to fit the bill for what I was looking for. With the timing belt job behind me I ordered these wicked orange springs and promptly put them in. 

Again, not many pictures but it was a straightforward job and it went smoothly. Rear beam axle is great, unbolt the lower shock mounts and slide the old springs out and install the new ones. Front involves a spring compressor and some metric sockets. I can't recall for sure but I don't think I even had to take the axles out. The Megan racing springs were super nice quality, had some isolators and clear markings on them. I think they were like $150 for the set. 

Once lowered this is what it looks like! I could stand it being a bit lower, but overall I'm pleased. It still has sufficient ground clearance to get in and out of driveways, I can still get a jack under it, nothing rubs, etc. I'll call it a win. It still rides good and I like the look better. 

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 3:13 p.m.

 

Here's a bad before and after - in my mind the "lowered" version still doesn't look very low. But comparing it to the 'before' picture I think it was a huge improvement actually. 

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
4/2/20 3:18 p.m.

The tall roof line of this generation hides the drop. I did a really good before/after with the 08 Rio and its still looked tall. lol

I forgot that the side mount (front of the engine, side of the car) didn't have to come off for the alpha. The beta's the timing belt ran around it so you had to block the engine up and pull the mount. Still not as bad as some honda's I've helped with and it's not even in the same galaxy as a subaru timing belt. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
4/2/20 3:24 p.m.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/2008-rio-lx-wifes-beater-edition/99436/page1/ there's a before/after in there I think. Can't see them on this computer facey space is blocked

 

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 3:24 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

For what it's worth I did remove that mount I believe, I just didn't have it off in that picture. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
4/2/20 3:25 p.m.

In reply to Gunchsta :

did it make getting to the tensioner easier? Its been a few years since I've torn into one

 

Gunchsta
Gunchsta HalfDork
4/2/20 3:45 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

I'm going to say it did; I think it was just easier in general with that out of the way. Or, the youtube video I watched told me to do it so I blindly obliged. I can't recall 100% at this point, this was all done last August. 

Subscriber-unavailabile
Subscriber-unavailabile HalfDork
4/2/20 3:46 p.m.

 Very cool, I like little cheap beaters. I literally just got thru with my daily CL search and found this 


2005 but a GT for $1500...
 

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
7kdYOBlkKakeVwDvo79CXTswsFXMYTtfw2eGS6tvWaaOImWIPAPxIvdvrSGFBpCW