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Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    Chuck, I have a '99 Tracker and have never had a problem with the A/C. However, after reading your posts, I inspected my condenser and found exactly what you described. It is difficult to see without holding a light at the right angle, but there is a definite circular pattern of bent fins. I plan to pull the fan shroud off on the 4th of July to get a better look. My guess is that the fan blades rub the condenser fins when the fan is free-spinning at freeway speeds. That is when the blades may be bent back toward the condenser. When the fan is powered on, the blades should bend forward like the props on an airplane. This looks like it may become a recall issue if it can be demonstrated that any damage may be safety or pollution related. I suggest all you Tracker, Vitara, GV, and GV XL-7 owners take real close looks at your A/C condensers
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    for bent fins....cannot find any bent fins at all.

    Wonder if your fan(s) has a blade of round or perhaps its flexing too much at hiway speeds?
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I read your message concerning your damage to the condenser on your Tracker. My wife has a 1999 Tracker that I just spent $1500 on to replace the condenser and cooling fan. The parts are very expensive for this vehicle and to install the parts are a pain. The vehicle has never been in an accident nor have I ever heard the fan rubbing against the condenser. The vehicle was exactly three years old last Friday but has 51,000 miles on it so Chevrolet refuses to cover the costs. I believe there is a design flaw in the condenser. My fan blades were not damaged. I would advise you to check your condenser to see if it has a perfect circle the same size of the fan in it. And, if it is still under warranty I would return it to the dealer because, as in my case, the condenser was worn to the point where the freon flow was restricted and the air conditioner refused to go on.

    Could you please let me know what you find when you check your condenser. Oh by the way, the cooling fan motor and housing has been back ordered now for a week because there were none to be found in the Detroit area where I live. Please let me know.

    Bernie
    bm1279@hotmail.com
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    You are right, Bernie. It is a pain disassembling the fan assembly. The fins on my condenser are damaged far beyond being able to comb them straight. The circular pattern of damage is peculiar. The fins are bent inward behind the channels, and the damaged area is shiny. There even appears to be some pitting on the surface of the channels. The fan blades do not bend forward or backward easily, but the blades do twist easily. However, I was unable to manually twist the blades far enough to make contact with the condenser, even when I pushed the blades back toward the condenser. Despite the damage to the condenser, the fan blades showed no wear on the trailing edges. It looks like the fan just sandblasted the condenser. I'm stumped! Bernie, have you tried going over the dealer's head to Chevrolet customer relations? Chuck, have you brought this problem to the attention of your Suzuki dealer?
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I called 1-800-222-1020 and talked to a Chevrolet representative who stated that nothing could be done because the vehicle was out of warranty with over 51,000 miles on it. I suppose all I can do is have the Tracker repaired and keep an eye on it. No way should've the condenser went bad only after three years especially under such weird circumstances. Must be a design flaw in the condenser, and because the part is hard to find in the Detroit area where I live (motor capitol of the world) I'm sure we're not the only one having this problem. Funny thing is my sister was just about to trade in her Jeep for a Tracker and after hearing of this problem she decided to change her mind and buy another Jeep.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I have not taken my Vitara to the local dealer yet but plan to do so in the next few days. I wanted to wait and get some feedback from my original posts. I believe this bent fin phenomena is a design problem, especially now that others report the same condition. Yes, I noticed the thin tubing between the fins appear to have pitting on them. My guess is the condenser itself is "too soft". The metal is easily damaged. It's amazing, I can look at the front end of the vehicle after I wash it...it looks brand new, absolutely no marks, pitting, etc. I have a 2000 Vitara. The warranty book says the A/C "accessories" are covered for 3/36000. I hope. I did call the local dealer and the dealer I bought the vehicle from and of course I got the "deer in the headlights" comment, duh!
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I also wanted to let this board know that the reason that I had to replace the condenser fan motor was because it started to squeek and finally seized up and started to blow 25amp fuses. The fan motor and assembly is the part I'm waiting for.
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    I have checked all the GM service bulletins for the '99 Tracker, and no mention is made of this problem. Since only three people, including myself, have reported experiencing this problem on 1999 and 2000 Trackers/Vitaras, I assume that the problem is not epidemic. I am asking that those who have noticed this problem post where they live and their typical driving conditions. I also ask that those who have inspected their A/C condensers and found no doughnut-shaped pattern of bent fins behind the fan report where they live and their driving conditions. Maybe we can figure this problem out.

    I live in Washington state, and my usual driving conditions are city driving mixed with some secondary highway driving, freeway driving, and a little "primitive road" driving. I drive in conditions from 105 degrees to -10 degrees, including 2-3 trips each winter over mountain passes in blizzard conditions.

    Since the Tracker is the first vehicle I have owned with the cooling fan IN FRONT of the A/C condenser and radiator, I am wondering if the fin damage is due to the fan coming on when there is ice and/or snow build up on the condenser during highway driving in blizzards or freezing rain.

    Any help with be appreciated.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I live in Nebraska and own a 2000 Vitara with 16k miles on it . We bought the Vitara new. Primary use is driving around town. Longest trip has been about 130 miles one way on the interstate at speeds of 75 mph. I noticed the bent fin problem about a month ago just by chance...nothing led me to look. I have looked very closely at the fan blades and can't notice any marks or damage to them, only the condenser fins behind the fan area. We baby the vehicle, no apparent damage to the front end. What I assume at this point is the damage is done only when the electric fan is on (the air conditioning is on) and the vehicle is moving, probably at high(interstate) speeds. Also, possibly while rain is entering the grille area, being propelled by the vehicle speed and the fan turning. I can't for the life of me, really figure out how this damage has happended. I sent an email to www.cami.ca but of course, did not receive a reply. I think this problem is commomplace and those who use their vehicle similar to me probably have the problem. If the phenomena continues, when will the condenser fail, that's my real question.
  • pallovepallove Posts: 9
    Hello all. I have a 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara 4 WD. I noticed that when I am on the highway, going about 60 to 70, my front passenger seat begins to shake repeatedly to the left and to the right. A side to side motion.

    I have had my tires balanced and they are at the propper psi value (26).

    Has anyone experienced this type of behavior. When I go above 70 it fades away.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I've not had experience with vibrations but I did have a problem with wandering at hiway speeds.
    What I did was inflate the tires to 32PSI all around. THis solved the tendancy to wander around on the hiway. Perhaps this might work for you?
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I would take your vehicle into your dealers service department and show them the condenser and at the least have them put it in writing that the damage is occurring because the condenser WILL prematurely fail like mine did on my 99 Tracker. Your looking at bill of almost $1000.00 dollars when it does. Keep in mind that my condenser cooling fan motor also went a few days later that added another $500.00 to the bill. I have the old condenser and I'd like to place a picture of it on this board when I can get a hold of a digital camera. I wish there was a way to get the word out for other owners of 1999 and newer Tracker and Vitara owners to check their condensers and return them back to the dealers to, at the minimum, put it on record that this problem is occurring. Don't get me wrong, my wife loves her Tracker and this has been the first major problem with it, but I believe that a condenser should've lasted longer than three years.

    Bernie
    bm1279@hotmail.com
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    This is a picture of the damaged 1999 Tracker condenser. Keep in mind that the vehicle has never been in an accident. Click on the link below to view.


    Bernie


    http://www.liquid2k.com/brody28/condenser.jpg

  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    Bernie, the doughnut shaped damage to your condenser looks identical to mine, except mine is still functioning (at 50,000 miles). I've been thinking more about what may be causing this damage. Like mine, your condenser shows minimal to no damage outside the shrouded area. I cannot imagine that airflow from the fan blades caused the damage (including pitting and scratching) on my condenser. And since I could not force my fan to actually touch the condenser, I assume that something must build up on the front of the condenser and be forced into the condenser by the fan when it powers on. The only thing I can think of is that some driving conditions must cause an ice build up on the front of the condenser, and when the fan powers on it forces the ice crystals into the condenser. The vehicle would have to be moving fast enough to prevent heat transfer from the radiator from melting the ice. My guess is that the damage occurs when the defroster is turned on after the vehicle has been driven, or parked, in snowy/icy conditions long enough for ice to form on the condenser. That happens to me two or three times a year. Does that theory make sense in regards to your driving experience with your Tracker?
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    My 1999 Tracker has alot of expressway miles on it. How and why the damage occured on the condenser is a mystery. Frankly, I think the problem is the cooling fan pushing debris into the condenser. Snow, slush and ice being included. This being the case, and unless my new condenser is built better than the original, I'm going to assume that the condenser will be gradually damaged again in the future. I'm going to keep an eye on the condenser and maybe even try to figure out a fix for the problem. I'm thinking maybe some sort of screen in front of the cooling fan.

    Bernie
    bm1279@hotmail.com
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I wonder if the fan blades flex excessively in rain or snow or sleet and push back against the condensor at highway speeds? IF so, then its a crappy design for sure.
    I have checked and rechecked and I cannot find any evidence on the 2002 vitara I drive of this same damage.
    Still you got me really interested. Going to check out my buddies tracker 1994 and see if the same thing is happening to his. So far as I know, his AC still works.

    Good luck with yours......Chevy/Suzuki ought to chip in some $$$ to assist with the repairs!
  • pallovepallove Posts: 9
    WOW! It looks like a bad design. Did you see any pitting on the fan blades?
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    bmulle1:

    damage looks similar to mine. I am going to the dealer with my 2000 Vitara.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    The fan blades are made of plastic and there was no damage to the fan blades.

    zeke707- can you please let me know what your dealer says and what they plan to do about it(if anything). If you want I can e-mail you the picture of my condenser so you can print it out and show it to them. Please provide me with your e-mail address if you want it.

    Bernie
    bm1279@hotmail.com
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