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Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • 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
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    bmuelle1:

    I contacted the Suzuki Customer Service Department in CA and registered a complaint. The regional service manager is to contact me early next week. I will update you when I have new information. I plan to refer Suzuki to this web site for additional information.
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    Bernie, when you get your new fan/shroud assembly, I would like to know if you see any differences in the design of the unit. For example, is the shroud deeper, are spacers added between the assembly and the condenser, is the design of the fan blades different, etc. Also, does your new condenser appear to be identical to the old one (before the old one was damaged, of course)? Thanks for your help on this problem.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    The condenser and the cooling fan looked the same to me.

    Bernie
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I contacted Suzuki Customer Support in Brea, CA. They asked me to contact the local dealer service mgr, set up an appointment to review the condenser damage and then the service mgr will discuss with the Suzuki regional rep. Will let you know the progress.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    Take the front bumper (plastic) off the front end of a 2000 Vitara? Looks like 4 plastic fastners at the top of the grille allows the grille cover to come off, then you can remove the bumper. Anyone have info on how to do? Regards
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I met with the local Suzuki dealer service manager today. The mgr looked at my condenser and the whole front end of the vehicle. He called the Suzuki district mgr and after discussing the issue, Suzuki agrees to replace the A/C condenser under warranty.

    The district mgr had prepared the service mgr to tell me this type of damage was "normal" from sand, dirt, etc., which of course I did not buy. (I was born at night, but not last night.) In any case, the point was made to me that I will probably see the same damage to the new condenser in the future. While at the dealer,we looked at a XL7, Grand Vitara V6 and I4. The XL7 or V6 did not exhibit the problem (and their condensers appeared to be of a different design) while the 4 door Vitara 4 cyl did have some damage, but not near what my vehicle shows. All the vehicles we looked at were used.

    The sales mgr who also looked at the damage ageed this appears to be a design flaw. Of course unless many owners complain a fix will not be available. I contend as time goes on, the damage will continue until the condenser fails (develops a leak.) Unfortunately this will probably be after the warranty period. I am more convinced this problem can be displayed in any 1999 to current 2.0 litre with air conditioning, the degree of damage dependent on the amount of highway speeds, say 55 or greater while using the A/C (electric fan in use.) I also would suggest those who own such vehicles closely check the condenser, especially nearing the end of warranty. If you have some damage now you would do well to contact Suzuki Customer Relations in Brea, CA. Their phone number is in your vehicle manual.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    Can anyone recommend a govermental agency or a consumer group that will take our complaints? Maybe all of us can write a letter to the particular group, whom ever they are, and get their attention. What about placing a mesh window type screen in front of the condenser fan? My new condenser was put on a few weeks ago and I'm seeing wear already. Chevrolet/Suzuki should'nt be able to get away with this.

    Bernie
    bm1279@hotmail.com
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Just up and quit right before I noticed the lights were very dim.
    Might be the alternator or the battery....funny thing is, the idiot light never came on.
    Pretty shocked to say the least......I was under teh impression Japanese vehicles were invincible.
    Guess I was wrong huh?
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    The wiring harness from the alternator to the starter relay and on up to the battery shorted out and melted. Also took out the alternator.
    Please pray for a speedy recovery.
    Thanks.
    Hope those with AC issues are on the track to getting them resolved and may your AC crank out the cold air this summer
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    Have you checked the NHTSA site?

    What is NHTSA?

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I saw the harness and it was melted from the alternator all the way back to the starter relay. The alternator is toasted too. Still waiting on parts and I still have the Esteem to drive.
    Keeping fingers crossed.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I submitted a e-mail complaint to the NHTSA last Monday and haven't heard anything since. I think it would help if others with the same condenser problem would submit a complaint also. Might just get their attention if more than one complaint was turned in.

    Bernie
    bm1279@hotmail.com
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    I plan to check with the local Suzuki dealer's service department this week regarding replacement of my A/C condenser. (I trust them more than the local Chevy dealer.) After I have a new condenser I plan to remove the fan assembly and mounting brackets and place a decorative aluminum sheet cut to size in front of the condenser. I'll use the fan assembly mounting brackets to fasten the aluminum sheet in place, and place washers on the four bolts that hold the fan assembly to the mounting brackets to create more space between the fan blades and the aluminum sheet. That should protect the new condenser from damage from the fan blades, unidentified flying objects, excess air pressure, or whatever is causing the damage. I bought the aluminum decorative sheet at a local hardware store for $25.00. It is 36" X 24" X .02" and has nine 1/8" holes and 100 1/16" holes per square inch, so there should be ample air flow.

    By the way, since the engine cooling fan is on whenever the engine is on and is pulling air through the A/C condenser, anybody know why the need for an auxiliary fan in front of the condenser?

    In regards to complaining to NHTSA, its worth a try, and I'll add my complaint. However, since this problem does not appear to pose a safety hazard, I doubt that there will be any action. I suggest owners of 4 cylinder Trackers and Vitaras with this problem also complain to Consumers Union. Maybe the bad PR will motivate CAMI to acknowledge the problem and offer a fix. I can't imagine anything irritating Suzuki more than giving CU more ammunition.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    After my condenser is replaced, I plan to install a bug screen in front of the electric fan area with the hope that will reduce damage to the fins. I also have wondered if by disconnecting the electric fan, the damage would be eliminated while allowing the A/C to function OK. I also have to believe Cami knows of this problem. I wonder how the 2002 or 2003 models are/will be fairing in regards to this problem? Would be curious to see for example, if the condenser has been redesigned, etc.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Still waiting on the frigging alternator....I guess they must be shipping it from Japan or from outer space.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    One thing I've learned from this whole condenser fiasco was BUY AMERICAN!

    Bernie
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I owned a Dakota, bought new, and it spent a LOT of time in the shop. I figured I could avoid that by getting an Asian vehicle.....well, guess I was wrong.
    Goes to show that problems can hit any car/truck today no matter where its made. Some just have more problems than others.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    After starting our 2000 Vitara 2.0 liter with 17k on the clock, a slight chirping or squeeking sound from under the hood. Sounds like either the serpentine belt or water pump? Goes away after a few minutes but is more pronounced than a few weeks ago.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    My wife had that problem with her Tracker also. The noise was at first her belts getting dry and was solved with a bit of WD40 but eventually had to be replaced. Our second round of squeaking came just a month or so ago when the condenser cooling fan went at a cost of $500.00. The fan squeaked and then finally seized up causing it to keep blowing fuses. For those of you keeping track this occurred just a few days after having my condenser replaced. However, my mechanic did warn me at the time that because of the squeak that the cooling fan was going and eventually needed to be replaced. A few days after that conversation the fan seized up.

    Bernie
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I took our 2000 Vitara to the dealer at 8AM today to replace the A/C condenser. They called me at 11AM and said the job was completed. I returned to the dealer and asked to see the old condenser and yes, the damage was just as pictured by a previous poster and his 1999 Tracker. What happened after that you would not believe. As I looked at the damaged condenser, I indicated I planned to place a screen over the fan area (in front of the electric fan) to hopefully reduce or eliminate the same damage to the new condenser. One of the mechanics came up to view and listen to what was being discussed. He said, "Do you know how the damage was done?" He went on to say the fan blades were hitting the condenser and caused the damage. He further stated he was the mechanic that worked on my vehicle and then held up the damaged condenser in front of his chest and stated, "This is what you were looking at from the front of your car" and proceeded to show me the back side (undamaged side) of the condenser. I told him what I saw when I looked into the front of my car was the damaged side. He began to raise his voice, indignant that I would challenge him, the technician, in how the damage was done. It was obvious after looking at the damaged side of the condenser, there was no directional pattern which you would expect from rotating fan blades, but rather as if something had pushed on the fins in a manner consistent with something pressing directly into the fins. But enough of that. The Suzuki is fixed with a new condenser (looks the same style as the old). I notice the electric fan noise is less now when standing near the front of the car with the A/C on. Oh, the mechanic stated if I used a bug screen in front of the vehicle, it would increase "head pressure" and not to do it. Now this guy looks like he knows his business, does OK work and has been around for many years, but I think he has an ego trip thing. He stated they used some spacers to hold the fan away from the condenser so the problem would not happen again. Ha, the foam piece between the electric fan and condenser is the same. They did replace 2 rubber grommet spacers between the condenser frame and the engine radiator and it looks like there may be a bit more space there. Anyhow, I don't think my problem has been fully resolved.
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