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Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair



  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    My own mechanic also at one point stated that the fan blades caused the damage but at NO time did I ever hear the blades hitting the condenser. I still think the condenser looks like it was sand blasted. Did you ask him about the squeaking noise when starting up you vehicle? Also, my mechanic also placed spacers between the fan and the condenser just in case it was the fan blades. I'm going to keep an eye on my condenser before I install that screen that cosmo2 is putting in his truck. Good luck zeke on your new condenser but keep an eye on it.

  • kck6kck6 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 4dr Tracker less than 4000 miles and having a problem with the A/C. Intermittently freezing then warm with musty odor and now worse after service this week (Chevy replaced low freon) will check condenser but doubt the problem with low mileage. Looking for any input/suggestions to mention to my service rep next week(wants to keep the car all day) Enjoying my tracker. Tx
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Got him back today cmoplete with new alternator and wiring harness.

    I have also examined the condenser and not to disagree wth those who have issues, but I cannot see any damage as of yet. However, I only have 4200 miles so this may yet happen in the future.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I think in order for your vehicle to exhibit the bent condenser fin problem, you have to have driven highway speeds, say above 65mph for some period of time, with the A/C on so the electric fan is on. The combination of air entering the grille area at high speeds in combination with the electric fan additionally propelling the air into the condenser fins, creates the environment. As I post this memo, I can visualize other vehicles I have seen in the past who use an additional (electric) fan to cool the radiator area had the fan mounted so it faced the front of the car, pulling air through the fin area, not pushing the air. Don't know if that makes a difference. Would love to compare a 2002 or maybe a 2003 when available to earlier units to see if there is a design change. FYI, the repair order showed the condenser price at $325.00 plus 2 grommets at less than a $. They did not indicate the time spent to install, but it seems about 2 hours. The dealer stated they needed to return the damaged condenser under warranty requirements. I failed to mention the squeek problem that is sometimes present when 1st starting the engine in the morning. Sounds like the serpentine belt or water pump, don't know though. Will keep an eye on it as it seems more pronounced now. I must say overall, we like this car very much. It is used primarily by my wife to go back & forth to work. Has a great A/C and heater! Power seems OK, and we like the automatic. I guess besides this A/C condenser issue, the only other negative I could comment on is the plastic material used in the cab of the car and the seat material (tends to fuzz out on the edge of the seat back). I think if Suzuki beefed up the overall body materials like the plastic, carpeting, etc., they would really have an excellent car. We have 17k on the clock and I use Suzuki oil filters and Mobil 1 oil. Had the auto transmission fluid changed (pumped out) at 12k. Plan to keep the vehicle for some time. If the A/C condenser issue appears on the replaced condenser, I may have to reconsider keeping the car.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I use a AC Delco PF1245 Oil filter on my 2.0 litre engine. It's twice as big as the Suzuki filter and probably less expensive. I also use Mobil 1 oil.
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    The service manager at the local Suzuki dealership states that he has seen no Vitara's come in with the same damage to the condenser. To save some labor costs, I think I'll take my Tracker to the Firestone shop. Here is what I sent to NHTSA:

    "A/C condenser fins are damaged and freon tubing is abraded in a doughnut shaped pattern on the front side of the condenser. The condenser outside the condenser fan blade area is undamaged, and the radiator is undamaged. The damaged area is free of debris and is shiny. When the condenser tubing wears through and freon escapes, the A/C will become nonfunctional. This will decrease the effectiveness of the defrosting capabilities in high humidity conditions and create a low visibility hazard. The vehicle has been fitted with a mask and screen from April to October each year to keep insects out of the condenser and radiator. The front of the vehicle shows no wear from road debris. Another owner of a similar vehicle experienced the identical problem, and his A/C actually failed. GM did not cover his repairs because the vehicle was out of warranty."

    I encourage other 2.0 Tracker/Vitara owners with this problem to submit complaints to NHTSA and emphasize the safety hazard associated with the potential for poor visibility due to decreased dehumidifying capabilities.
  • I replaced my condenser last week and spent some time talking with the Firestone service manager who did the work himself, and since then I've been looking at the old condenser trying to figure out how the damage occurred. (Okay, so business has been slow.) The service manager, who has been a good friend for fifty years and a mechanic for forty years, believes that the damage was caused by a combination of recurring ice build up and high air pressure inside the auxiliary fan shroud. We noted that the fin damage extends outward to the foam gasket on the rear edge of the fan shroud, at least a quarter inch beyond the end of the fan blades. Also, the fan blades showed no indication of ever touching the condenser, and, in fact, the way the fan blades are shaped, the hub of the fan would have to bore halfway through the condenser before the fan blades could ever touch the condenser. The fins are damaged in a doughnut shaped pattern with a six-inch diameter center with NO damage. The fins are not bent in any one direction, but rather appear to have collapsed upon each other in different directions, as if pushed straight back toward the radiator. The undamaged fins are soft and bend easily. The damaged fins are brittle and crumble to the touch. There is no evidence of rocks, dirt, or insect parts in the damaged area.

    I did not install a perforated aluminum sheet between the fan and the new condenser as I had originally planned. I am afraid ice and snow could build up on the aluminum sheet and damage the fan when I turn on the defrost. Instead, I placed two washers on each of the four fan assembly mounting bolts to move the fan assemble 1/8" more forward of the condenser, then I removed the foam gasket from the fan shroud. That leaves a 1/4" gap between the fan shroud and the condenser. Thus, there is no additional air flow restriction, but excess air pressure is allowed to escape around the circumference of the fan shroud. I am amazed at how much air is blowing out of that 1/4" gap when the electric fan is on, so the air pressure with the gasket in place must have been high, especially at freeway speeds. Hopefully, this will also reduce ice and snow build-up within the fan shroud.

    I really doubt that driving in rain at high speed could have caused the damage, because the fan blades would turn rain drops into a spray. I know that rocks and insects did not cause the damage to my condenser because the front of my Tracker is unmarked, and I use a mask with bug-screen from Spring to Fall. Besides, anything flying through the small rectangular grill openings could not cause that damage pattern.

    Since I live in Washington state, and the two other people who reported similar damage live in Michigan and Nebraska, this problem may be unique to some specific winter driving conditions. Either that, or a lot of Tracker and Vitara owners have the problem but haven't found it yet.

    By the way, my air conditioning is a whole lot more effective now.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Good analysis of this problem I gotta tell you though, driving in the summer months in W PA, I have not yet seen this damage but this winter, I will carefully check the condensor for damage.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Any problems? Things that weren't fixable?
  • litlclitlc Posts: 1
    I am having a hard time trying to find tire/wheels for my 99 2dr. 4wd Vitara with stock 16" tires.

    I am interested in American Racing 39 rims and am willing to go to 15 x 7. It seems these rims fit right into a 99 Tracker but the dealer is stating that is not the case with the Vitara as the offset is different. I am a bit confused as the 16" was optional on my vehicle with 15 as standard. Does anyone know if there is a difference between the Tracker and Suzuki when it comes to the 15".

    I would also love to hear about and tire/rim changes anyone has made. I am considering Bridgestone Duelers for tires. Thanks!
  • wy3wy3 Posts: 2
    2001 Vitara 2.0 L 5 Speed. Engine rattle when shifting gears at about 2500 rpm when engine running free, 6000k. Any ideas? Dealer says normal. Drove chev. tracker identical to mine &no rattle.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Oil filter getting clogged perhaps? These filters are pretty small
    Might be a timing chain tensioner too?
    don't know...I have a 2002 vitara 4 banger and I don't have the noise.
  • wy3wy3 Posts: 2
    Re:Condenser. I live in N Idaho & will keep an on mine this winter. An interesting problem & will let you know. Re; Rattle. Oil Filter & oil changed 4 times in 6000k. I am Wondering about timing tensioner & also drive belt tensioner but do not know if drive belt rattle at certain rpm or all the time if bearing was bad. Seems i read on Tracker they had some trouble w/drive belt tensioner.
  • For those who previously posted problems with bent A/C condenser fins, please post future observations regarding bent fins after your condenser has been replaced. Would guess the problem will not reappear until A/C use in 2003.
  • jamzzjamzz Posts: 1
    According to Suzuki's might possibly be another unsolved crop circle type pattern mystery. It was suggested that I watch the movie "Signs"...
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    Checked my A/C condenser recently and no fin damage since it was replaced last summer for such damage. Will update next spring/summer.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    I have been watching damage.
  • My outer dashboard vents had a tendancy to move freely during cold weather. When first driving the vehicle after it sat overnight, the vents would move themselves so they faced upward. Solved the problem by using velcro (the fuzzy side. not the "hooked" side). Cut into small strips and apply to the inner surface of the vent opening (not on the adjustable portion but the area surrounding the vent). By adjusting the vent to both the uppermost and lowermost ajustment, it exposes a surface where you can apply a small strip of the velcro. You can't see the velcro once applied. Works good for me.
  • I recently purchased a used 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara JLX+ with 22,000 miles.

    I've noticed that when I start the car during cold mornings, the SRS airbag light does not turn off. It eventually turns off when the car is warmed up but after I restart the car.

    Since the car is still under warranty, I brought the car to a Suzuki dealer (in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY).

    The technician was able to reproduce the problem and notice the code #B1062. They cleared the code and reported no further problems.

    The next day, I've noticed that the airbag light stayed on again. I then brought the car back to the dealership the second time.

    The technician was able to again reproduce the problem but this time replaced the SRS control unit (part no. 38910-66D20).

    Since the car was under warranty...I did not need to pay for the fix and the GV has been running w/o any problems...let's knock on wood!!!

    BTW...those who live in the NYC area...I recommend the Bay Ridge Suzuki dealership...they're very nice and they're open 7am in the morning to 12am in the evening M-F!!!
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