Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair



  • mopar67mopar67 Member 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 Member 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.

    [email protected]
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 728
    Still waiting on the frigging alternator....I guess they must be shipping it from Japan or from outer space.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Member Posts: 15
    One thing I've learned from this whole condenser fiasco was BUY AMERICAN!

  • mopar67mopar67 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.

  • zeke707zeke707 Member 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.
  • bmuelle1bmuelle1 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Member Posts: 61
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 728
    Any problems? Things that weren't fixable?
  • litlclitlc Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • zeke707zeke707 Member Posts: 74
    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 Member 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"...
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    could be!
  • zeke707zeke707 Member 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 Member Posts: 728
    I have been watching damage.
  • zeke707zeke707 Member Posts: 74
    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.
  • brandonsdadbrandonsdad Member Posts: 1
    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!!!
  • geversgevers Member Posts: 1
    I dropped off my 02 zr2 tracker 2.5L v6 11,000 mi with a possible head gasket leak on drivers side. It is leaking oil where the head meets the block. Anyone had this problem?? Otherwise great vehicle
  • coloradogvcoloradogv Member Posts: 1
    Gas-like fumes enter passenger area from engine during very hot days.

    On very cold days at altitudes around 10,000 feet the 4-wheel drive won't work. It's fine at lower altitudes; and was fine at higher altitudes in the summer. But it doesn't like it high and cold.

    Anyone else have these problems?

    We brought our 99 Grand Vitara to Colorado from Eastern Canada last summer. During very hot days we noticed a fumey-gas-like smell entering the vehicle from the vents or from the direction of the engine. Have any other drivers noticed these 'fumes' in hot weather?
    We understand the charcoal filter in the engine fills up with fuel in the hot weather to avoid dangerous expansion in the gas tank. However, the charcoal filter can't seem to keep up on very hot days.

    Someone suggested the pump may need replacing to engage the 4x4 at high altitude in cold weather. Anyone else have this problem?
  • jb12798jb12798 Member Posts: 1
    Only 64,000 miles on a 5 speed 4x4 Grand Vitara and the engine locked up.

    It is at a Suzuki dealership now and I am hoping to get assistance in fixing this problem from Suzuki. I get oil changes every 3,000 miles and take care of the car.

    They found the #3 crankshaft bearing spun locking the engine. The district manager is involved hopefully to get assistance.

    They have told me 'With so many miles on the car (I stopped them there and told them 64,000 is not a lot of miles. They said it is a lot of miles when you consider the 3yr/36,000 mile warranty.

    I am new waiting to see if they stand behind there car.

    Anybody have any similar problems or #'s at Suzuki I can call to get assistance?

  • p100p100 Member Posts: 1,116
    The last post (#86) makes me wonder if this vehicle is worth buying. I just looked at brand new left over 2002 Grand Vitara X-7 4X4 and they are advertising $ 6000 off the MSRP. Very tempting, as this brings the price down to about $ 19K, but I need a reliable vehicle, not something that will not last 70K miles. What happened to the old Japanese bullet proof vehicles that you could drive 300K+ miles on the original engine? (Toyota trucks, 80's Honda Accords, etc)

    BTW, the statement by the manager that 64K miles is " a lot of miles" is BS. I sold my 92 Mazda Protege with 125K miles on it and it ran like a car with a new engine, most likely good for another 100K. No engine problems at all - ever- in 7 years of ownership. Any modern well built passenger car or truck engine should last at least 150K miles when properly maintained.
    I also own a 95 Nissan 4X4 SE V6 pickup with about 76K miles on it. The engine has been absolutely trouble free. I know several people who have almost 300K miles on the original engine on V6 Nissan trucks and still running strong. I think I will stay with what I have.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    The GV motors are Japanese made so 64K being a lot of miles is pure know what.
    Stay with this and get them to work with you on a new motor.
    My rig has been utterly reliable and I would not trade it for the world....well maybe for an XL7!

    Keep in mind zuki has a 7 year 100K powertrain warranty if you are concerned.
  • tony1011tony1011 Member Posts: 1
    My 2001 Suzuki Vitara has 73k on it. I only have it 18 months. The cost to replace
    the compressor will be $850.00. Suzuki refuses to to a goodwill gesture to
    repair it. The dealer Ertle Motors in Stroudsburg Pa refuses to speak with me.
    As anyone had a problem like this with this model.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    YOu might check aftermarket parts houses for that part. 850 is a bit high for an AC compressor.
    ANd, no kidding, try'd be amazed at what is on there.
  • tensionertensioner Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 Grand Vitara 6cyl needs the timing chain tensioner replaced for the second time ($1,072). This is what causes loud clicking engine noise. The first went at 39,000 and was covered by Warranty, and now again at 58,000. Has this been common? Should Suzuki be covering this repair? Any advice is appreciated.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    Unless they can prove your maintenance is not sufficient.
    Do you have an extended warranty?
    What was the cause for the first failure?
  • marysol720marysol720 Member Posts: 1
    My 99 GV didn't pass the Emission part of the inspection. I was advised to take it for diagnostic testing which I know will cost me. I purchased this car through a dealer and it only had a 60 day warranty. It came with the inspection and everything else! And though I purchased an additional warranty it doesn't cover this part of the car! R&S strauss claimed that they couldn't fix the problem b/c of the year and make of the car is too new???
  • igchanigchan Member Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem with my 99 GV not passing emissions insp. I have been told by the service tech at the dealer to just drive the car and I have placed over 1500 miles on the car to try to get through the drive cycle and it is not working. Just wanted to know if anyone knows what to do?
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Member Posts: 61
    I went in to Firestone today to order tires to replace the originals on my '99. The service manager told me that he serviced two '02 Trackers this week, and both had smashed condenser fins identical to the damage to mine. Neither owner had a clue anything was wrong. He suggested they could either go to the dealer to try to get the condensers replaced under warranty, or to bring the Trackers back when the A/C quit. He assured them he would know exactly where to start the A/C diagnostics. As far as I know, neither Suzuki or Chevy has acknowledged this design flaw. My replacement condenser still looks brand new. I have run the A/C constantly for the past four months, but I did no driving in blizzard conditions last winter.
  • phill5phill5 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Vitara convertible and the heat does not work in the winter. Last year the heat would not shut off in the summer! Any suggestions, before I take it to the shop and await the huge bill? Thanks!
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    their is a cable that controls the air damper which directs air either through or around the heater core. My guess is that the cable slipped or came loose.
  • phill5phill5 Member Posts: 4
    Thank you! How would one get to the cable? Is there a Chiltons book on this vehicle? I have looked around and the gentleman at the auto shop said that the vehicle is too new for one to have been published. Any suggestions?
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    I would remove your glovebox first. Then follow the cable from the temp control lever down to the air damper on the HVAC box. On there, where it terminates at the HVAC box is a clip that holds the cable in place. Move the temp control and verify you have movement of the temp control door in both directions. Verify its connected to the temp control lever on the HVAC panel.
    IF all is good, then I would venture a partially blocked heater core or collapsed inlet or outlet hose.

    Good luck.
  • ianthomianthom Member Posts: 5
    1999 Grand Vitara 2.5L V6 with 20,000 miles. On start up 9 out of 10 times I get a rattle/tapping noise from the top of the engine from both sides of the camshaft banks. This disappears after about one mile when the temperature gauge has moved into the marked area. The vehicle has been regularly serviced by the agent (I live in Sweden) and he uses Castrol 10w-40 semi-synthetic oil. Anyone experienced this problem.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    5w30. Your current grade is a bit heavy for this engine, especially on cold startup.
  • ray127ray127 Member Posts: 4
    I've been reading this whole thread and I thought you guys did a great job finding the condenser problem. Hats off to you all. I was wondering what year model and engine size do you guys have, and are they CAMI-built or Japan-built. I am planning to buy a used GV, preferably 2001 and up because people are telling me never buy first/second year model because of the little quirks and stuff. Should I also used CAMI-built or Japan-built as a factor in choosing a used vehicle?
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