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Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
What problems have you experienced with your Grand Vitara? Please share any solutions!

Owner's Clubs


  • It happens every once in a while, especially on the long trip. However, it always stops at the dealership so they refuse to fix it. Believe it is because of the differacial components.
  • I purchased a Touring model 01,at the end of July.After about 1 week I heard a noise coming from the back end, so I thought. I took it to the dealership for repair,the problem was actually coming from the front. It was a loose clamp that was rubbing. I've heard nothing since.
  • Well, just for starters, my '99 Grand Vitara XLS has been in for several noises, there seems to be a continueing rattle, this i have been told by the first dealer that it was my heat sheild and it would need to be cleaned every once in awhile, to just keep bringing it back (ha), the second dealer stated it was my exhaust and has replaced the exhaust, needless to say i still have the rattle. This SECOND NOISE it is in for now I was told was a common problem with the 99 and 2000 Grand Vitara's is the Timing Chain Tensionure.
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    the 1999 Grand Vitara made the 2002 comsumer reports buyers guide as "used cars to avoid by make and year" it said that this car has Below-average reliability... and you should avoid buying this year and model.. i dont know if they fixed ALL the problems for 2000 or not. but out of the whole entire suzuki line of cars and years, that one was the only one that made consumer reports "avoid" list...
  • I rear ended a mini van with my 2000 Suzuki Vitara going 30 miles per hour (Yep It was my fault - I know) The Vitara had over $5,000.00 worth of damage (Drive train damage, transmission was shot, the frame was bent) It is now 3 months and I still don't have my Vitara back. I have made three car payments and I have no Vitara to drive. The transmission took over a month to get from Suzuki. They said they were shipping it from Japan and it was stuck in customs. Anyway, my point is I don't think this truck holds up in a crash. What if I had been going 50 or 60 miles per hour, Would I be dead? Would this truck crumble? A lot of damage for a small rear end collision. I would not buy another truck from Suzuki just because of this. I want a truck that can hold up in a crash and I can get parts for in America. By the way my air bag did not work and I hit my mouth on the steering wheel and cut my lip. The air bag probably did not deploy because I was not going fast enough. I must say before all of this I loved the Vitara. Has anyone else had these problems that I have mentioned?
  • ccskwccskw Posts: 1
    A year ago I saw a post about someone who bought a cd changer the same as the dealers for about $189? it plugged right into the harness. Do you remember the site?
  • sbunchsbunch Posts: 3
    My 99 GV (bought in April 00)had a 4wd popping sound coming from what seemed like the front differential right from the beginning. (There was no place to test the 4wd in Denver, the asphalt jungle. So I just took it home trusting that it was ok. Wrong choice!)
    I took it back for a warranty repair (some of you may remember the story about the defective "clip") and they changed out the whole front differential. So far, so good until August 02, when it started making that awful popping noise again, only now it only does it when climbing STEEP terrain or backing down the same. So...back to the dealer I went. They gave me some story about the differential fluid being low and old (with only 38000 on it?). Low, maybe I could believe. They did a full 4wd service (new fluid in both differentials and the transfer case) and said they test drove it and it only Popped once. So.... off I go to the San Juan Mtns and it STILL does it! Now, nobody wants to talk to me and they say it will cost $1500 for a new differential or $1200 for a new transfer case, whereever the problem really is. As far as I am concerned, the 4wd has never worked reliably or properly since I got it and I feel like I have a lemon. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the transfer case lever pops from 4high to 2wd on it's own frequently.) I have registered a formal complaint with the NHSTA since the dealers and Suzuki Corp have been uncooperative. If I can't get this resolved through them I am going after the Colorado Lemon Law. I bought this vehicle SPECIFICALLY for moderate duty off-roading and since that is SPECIFICALLY the function it is unable to perform, I will not be stuck with it.
    Unlike many of the other complaints I have read about in the forum, my Suzi is PERFECT except for the above problem.
    I don't mean to sound like a whiner; I really love my Suzi and want to keep it but I don't know what else to do and it seems unfair that the warranty repair never really took hold and now I am responsible for such an expensive repair on such a relatively new vehicle. It is now out of warranty.
    Any comments? Suggestions? Similar stories?
  • stank29stank29 Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 Grand Vitara with 52K miles.
    Just recently I notice a hole the size of a quarter through the cloth upholstery on the drivers side back rest just above the seat. Upon closer inspection there appears to be a sharp metal bracket that after a period of time getting in and out of the car causes the bracket to wear through the cloth.
    Since the car is out of warranty I'm sure I'll
    be stuck with the repair.
    Just wondering If any one else has experienced
    this problem?
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    BTW>>>>>>>>>>>they are made by General Seating in Franfort Indiana.....also suppliers to FUJI/Isuzu factory in Lafayette
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
  • peter_dykpeter_dyk Posts: 1
    When I purchased the vehicle there seemed to be a problem with manually controlling the lights. It was new and I thought it must be working properly. I read the manual, and it didn't seem to agree with how the lighting system actually worked. Basically, you have no manual control of
    the lights. I even went to the dealer, and they told me everything was working fine.

    A couple months later, I had a problem with the lights staying on after the vehicle was turned off and the keys removed. There was no buzzer sounding when the door opened.

    Next problem was sometime in November when the headlights stayed on, no matter what I did. I had to disconnect the battery cable at night so the
    battery would not die. Next day I took it to the dealer, with the problem still occurring, and they indicated that the day/night sensor was
    malfunctioning and replaced it.

    Between November and December I had a problem with the left turn signal. It worked intermittently. I called the dealer, and Danny (service manager) indicated that they could not fix it if I did not bring the vehicle to them
    with it not working. By the end of December, it was not working at all anymore. I brought it in between Christmas and New Years. They replaced the
    switch on the steering column. The next day I drove to Niagara Falls, and still had a problem with the turn signal when making a turn, but now the cruise control did not work!

    Due to the policy of the dealer's shop, that they have no vehicle loaners, I found it difficult to bring the vehicle in to the shop during January or
    February. In the meantime the left had turn signal problem was back. At the end of March I was trying to book an appointment to bring the vehicle in to the dealer. I finally made an appointment! When I brought the vehicle in,
    the left turn signal was failing intermently (50%), the manual head light control did not work. Danny advised again that he could not fix the intermittent turn signal problem. So, I pressed him on the manual lighting control, and the cruise control.

    Danny finally made a call to Suzuki Canada to ask what the problem might be. This was April 23, 2002. Danny was advised to replace the wiring harness (order number 014489073, reference V69935). He indicated it would take 3 to 4 weeks to get the part. It is now May 17, 2001. I went to see Danny last night. He indicated he had no idea where the part was, whether it had even
    been shipped, and it has to come from Japan!

    Now I emailed Suzuki.

    Anyone ever have a problem like this? Any advise on how to get these guys to fix the problem?
  • Hello,Several years ago my cousin had a Geo Tracker [Suzuki]. She blew the engine at about 40,000 miles. I called a friend in the bone yard about a good used engine. "1900 bucks". When I asked how come so much, he said the demand was driving up the price. I guess alot of these engines are going bad, at least they were. Does anybody know if the reliability has improved since then? I was thinking of getting one, but don't want to invest in a ute that has engine problems. Any help is welcome. Thanks.....Leo
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I was checking under the hood of our 2000 Suzuki Vitara 2.0L and noticed something wrong with the A/C condenser (small "radiator" in front of the engine radiator). Looking thru the blades of the electric fan mounted in front of the condenser, I noticed much of the condenser fin area has been bent over and in some places completely blocking any air passage thru the condenser. The fan blades are not touching the condenser and there is not apparent damage anywhere else on the condenser or front end. The engine seems to stay in the same heat range as always and the A/C cools as always. A casual look may not reveal this. Look at your condenser, does it have the same "damage"? I noticed the fins on the condenser are VERY fragile and just touching them with light pressure is enough to bend them. My guess is the fins may bend if you travel at highway speeds in heavy rain(?) There is no damage or marks on the plastic front/grille and the electric fan blades appear to be OK. I decided to look at this area after I noticed when I turned on the A/C while the car is parked and a window is rolled down, what seemed to be a high air movement noise when the A/C is switched on. I noticed this some time ago, can't place when the noise may have first started.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    but not too many. COuld it be the bugs getting thru the grill?
    Hmmmmmmmmmmm......interesting nonetheless.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    It seems the most "damage" is near the outer ends of the fan blade circumference..towards the center of the fan, nearer the fan motor itself, there are fewer bent fins. Beyond the fan area itself there are no bent fins. It appears that the force of the fan as it turns and moves air thru the condenser radiator and whatever is moved thru (air, bugs, dust, etc) contribute to the bent fins. Once again, after cleaning the car and closely viewing the front end (grille), there is absolutely no damage, marks, etc. As an example, if it was gravel, sand or whatever, I would expect to see some pitting or marking of the plastic grille and/or paint damage. I should add we baby this vehicle, never been off road, always on paving, never treating it rough. Gets Mobil 1 5W30 every 3k miles, now has 16k on it. I suggest this problem is commonplace and most vehicles inspected would find similar results.
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    Ihave a buddy with a 2 door traker, built by Zuki like ours. He has the 1.6L engine and let me tell you he picked this hamster up with 38K and now has over 140K on the clock. He has run Mobil 1 since the day he bought it. For kicks he had a compression test done and all 4 cyclinders show nearly perfect compression. He did get the valve cover gasket replaced and the top end was spotless.
    I ran this stuff in a Dak I used to own and I got 1.5 more MPG and dropped the engine temp a bit.

    Next oil change the hamster gets a full dose of Mobil1.

    Bear in mind, most condenser fins are pretty delicate and it doesn't take much to bend them at all. What I don't like is the design which makes in nearly impossible to run a comb thru there to straighten them out.
    As for reliability, I think these hamsters are tough little mothers! I watched the aforementioned buddy put his thru hell and back and it still keeps a going!
    Just do the maintenance, drive them like a 4 banger and watch the jackrabbit starts and you should be fine.
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    my concern is what is the negative impact of the bent fins? Assuming this an inherent problem, if I straightened the fins or replaced the condenser, they would bend again. Looks like I could pop off the grille, remove the fan motor, then comb the fins. But if there is no real need to straighten them, I will forget it. I worry about hot spots in the condenser or even the engine radiator. What do you think? I hope others that read these messages take a look at their condenser and report their findings.

  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Posts: 15
    I have a 1999 Tracker with a 2.0 engine thats just turned 52,000 miles on it and is a bit over three years old. I just spent almost $1000.00 on it to replace my condenser and fan and blades. The condenser fan blades had eaten into the condenser in a perfect circle. The vehicle has NEVER been in an accident nor have we EVER heard the grinding of the fan into the condenser. Has Chevrolet or Suzuki ever had a recall on this defect? This really burns me up and I do plan to call Chevrolet and complain for whatever good it will do. Bernie
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    I am still trying to figure out how the fins on the condenser behind the electric fan blades get bent/damaged. The damage on my 2000 Vitara looks like something impacted the fin area behind most of the fin area. Where the center of the fan motor is, there is no damage. Outside the fan area, the rest of the condenser looks new. I have to look closer but it does not look like the fan blades have touched the fins. Could be at highway speeds with the A/C on, the plastic fan blades flex, then hit the condenser? In any case, I hope others read these messages, then look closely at their condenser. I have a feeling this is a problem with any Tracker or Vitara built with the current A/C design. Those who don't have or use their A/C much may not see this type of problem. I believe in the past, I have looked at my condenser but saw no damage. We baby this vehicle, never used off road, change oil every 3k, Mobil 1 5-30w, front end clean. I would expect if something (gravel, dirt, whatever)damaged the condenser, I would see some damage to the plastic still looks new!
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
  • 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.

    [email protected]
  • 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 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 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.
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