Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair



  • cosmo2cosmo2 Member Posts: 61
    Mine is a 1999 Tracker 4-door with 2.0 and manual tranny. Despite all the bad PR regarding the manual tranny, mine has been flawless except when Mr. Goodwrench put in the wrong fluid at 15,000 and 30,000 miles. The A/C condenser has been my only significant problem with the rig itself, and I have 65,000 miles on it now. Mr. Goodwrench hasn't had a chance to mess it up since the warranty expired. I chose the Tracker over the GV because I did not like the ride or handling of the GV. The sport suspension and wide, low profile tires on the GV give it a harsh ride and unstable handling IMHO. Also, comparative road tests, even CU's, rated the Tracker better for off-road use than the GV. I don't believe the additional power of the V6 is worth the sacrifice in gas mileage, either. As for Japan built vs CAMI built, I don't know if there is a difference in quality. Both my '95 Sidekick and my Tracker are CAMI products. The Suzuki dealer parts manager did tell me that parts for the Japanese built rigs are more expensive.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    1. Alternator and wiring harness pooched at 4K, needed new alternator and main harness coming off the back down to the starter.
    2. Just got back from dealer and I have a heluva leak where the reciever/dryer join the condensor! Guess what? New condensor baby!

    Otherwise, its been a tough rig. THe vitara 2 door and 4 door as well as the tracker lineup comes from CAMI Ingersoll Ontario. The GV is pruduced in Iwata Japan along with the XL7.

    THe entire drivetrain is native to suzuki, its shipped over here and the body is attached to the frame......there ya go! Instant Vitara/Tracker.

    My rig is the 4 banger, basic 4 door Vitara Five speed. 4WD.
  • sherryb1sherryb1 Member Posts: 1
    I've been hearing some chatter about timing chain tensioner rattles and wondered if that could be my GV's problem. I have a strange rattle/vibration going on at 2500-2700 rpm. It doesn't do it when I'm changing gears (yes, it's a 5 spd) but it does it pretty consistantly at those rpms in any gear. I had the guys at the shop see if the exhaust heat shield was loose but they said no and could not find anything else loose either. The rattle does not seem to affect the performance but it is very annoying. I have just turned 80,000 on my '99. Any ideas?
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    from what I have been reading. Not sure if you can live with it or if it needs immediate attention. Mine does not make the noise.
  • specjockeyspecjockey Member Posts: 1
    my 2000 GV won't start in cold weather (Below -10 to -15 Celcius)I use 5w30 semi synthetic oil and bosch platinum plugs. The battery is good but it just won't fire. Suzuki says it is a known issue but they have no cure. Can anyone help?
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    but ifyou do a search on Alldata or someplace like google for suzuki TSB you will find one I am sure.
    I'm sorry but at the moment I cannot exactly recall what it was but I do recall seeing something about your problem.
    Good luck.
  • howardkentuckyhowardkentucky Member Posts: 4
    There was a recall for the GV dealing with the fuel pressure regulator. I'm not sure if this link will work, but give it a try:
  • dixie100dixie100 Member Posts: 4
    About 7-9 Months ago I went to start up my little Suzie Q and the starter just would spin, but not the engine. It would not start at all! My husband said he use to have an old Chevy pick-up truck that use to do the same thing, anyhow, he fiddled with it until he got it to start. Then everything was fine again until yesterday when I got ready to leave for work and it happened again to me! Does anyone know why?
    Dixie and Suzie Q
    Cameron Park, Ca.
  • cone7cone7 Member Posts: 1
    Do you know where I can purchse a positive traction enhancement for said car? Given the flat tow capabiltiy of the Vitara, positve traction rear end would be a plus and I would forget about buying a Subaru Forester.

    Thank you for reply.
  • zeke1312zeke1312 Member Posts: 7
    It has been several months since I posted my experiences with the condenser fin issue. After reviewing my problem with Suzuki when I first discovered the problem, they agreed to replace the condenser at no charge. The vehicle, a 2000 Suzuki Vitara, CAMI built 2dr now has 25k on the clock with no visible condenser fin damage. Other than the plastic interior marring easily, the seat edges developing "fuzz like a sweater", the car continues to perform quite well. I use Mobil One 5/30W oil and had the auto trans fluid changed (pumped out) at 13K. Heater works very well as does the A/C. Have considered installing a hardtop and larger tires...any experience with either of these?
    Also, I take it that Suzuki no longer offers the 2dr? If so, too bad...same as the X90. Great little vehicles.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    hope this little beast keeps on keeping on runnign well.
    Yes, the 2 door is history. And Cami will no longer build the vitara or tracker.
  • dixie100dixie100 Member Posts: 4
    My Little Suzie Q is a 2002 Grand Vitara, does anyone have any idea why my starter doesn't always connect with the engine?
    Thanks for any reply
    Dixie in
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    either at the battery or starter?
  • dixie100dixie100 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks so much for the response Mopar, the starter does spin, but your saying that perhaps there is not enough connection from the battery to the starter to engage the bendix?
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    or a dead short in your starter can cause the problems you just described.
  • jon1477jon1477 Member Posts: 11
    Hello all There is a problem with the 2.5 and 2.7 in cold weather starting thay run to rich and foul out the plugs. The bulliten calls for a cylinder compression check (waste of time) and to install a new up graded spark plug NGK Iridium plug #IFR5J11. If the problem occures then thay will install a counter measure ecu. Good luck.
  • shooter8shooter8 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought my 2002 Grand Vitara on New years Eve it has 47K miles on it all of the speakers were blown, the windshield wipers did not work and everytime I hit a bump the thing seemed to bounce all over, I only have 30 day 1K warranty on it and want to make sure it will last. I have taken it back to the dealer to make these repairs would someone suggest me getting a tune-up out of them too? Also shall I check the 4x4 before my 30 days is up?
  • cneacnea Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased my new/used 2000 Vitara (80 k)two days ago and noticed that when I start it there is a vibration that immediately goes away but happens sometimes when I press the brake peddle. I thought it might be a problem with the brakes because they feel weird, like they need to be tightened or might have air in them, but they stop the car fine and I don't hear any squeaking or rubbing? What do you think?

    Also, after purchasing I drove 10 hours to get home, with no problems, but the gas mileage doesn't seem to be as good as I thought it would. Any suggestions? Perhaps it needs a tune-up?

    I had a friend start it up to "diagnose" the vibrating and he said that it was just the motor moving, but not a serious problem.

    What sort of oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid would you guys recommend?

    Also, does anyone know what the little buttons by the gear shift stick mean? They have something like P, N, and A/T on them, I'm not looking at them right now so I'm not didn't come with a manual.

    Thanks for any help you're able to offer.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    and or drums.

    The P N means "power" and "normal" it governs the shift characterisics of the transmission, power mode holds it longer in gear for a slight improvement in performace. N is the normal mode for every day driving.
  • cneacnea Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the help. I'll have it checked out.
  • alievensealievense Member Posts: 1
    I just bought this used vehicle in December from a well established dealership. A couple of days ago the brake fluid pump broke on it. The part is a dealer part only and they are telling me it cost $800.00. Should the dealer be some what responsible? Any suggestions? Remind you that I just bought this vehicle in December and haven't made a payment on it yet.
  • zeke1312zeke1312 Member Posts: 7
    Recently my 2000 Vitara interior door handle assemblies broke. The result was although I couls still open the door, the plate directly behind the handle was loose, allowing the handle assembly pull away from the door when the handle was pulled. I resolved the problem by drilling a small hole in the upper right corner of the plastic plate just behind the door handle. Continue to drill the hole through the metal behind the door assembly. Using a small automotive type metal screw (used to fasten interior parts), start the screw into the hole you just drilled, allowing it to "bite" into the metal to start the thread of the screw. Remove the screw and clip the end of the screw until the thread is about 1/4" long. Install the screw into the hole and tighten. Your door handle should once again be tight against the door interior! The problem with the door handle coming loose begins when the plastic plate behind the handle breaks the "finger" used to clip and hold the plate to the door frame.
  • arcieriarcieri Member Posts: 1
    I guess I should consider myself fortunate in that my timing chain tensioner is just now failing at, almost 65,000 miles. Suzuki, admits that they have had several (maybe as many as 5), modifications to address the problem but does not regard that as a recall issue because it is not a, "Safety Issue". Well, if you timing chain pops or slips at 60-mph on a freeway and you have a 75-mph "Eighteen Wheeler" barreling down on you from the rear, it darn sure is a "Safety Issue".
    Dealer said they would go to bat for me on this but I would need a history of my maintenance. I took a history to them, but they then told me I would need "Individual Receipts" from Jiffy-Lube, which Jiffy=Lube says they don't retain. Not sure why the computer generated "History" is not good enough. Then I also find out that My "Y Pipe", is bad. Heck, I've not had an exhaust problem on cars since the 60-s.
    So far, no response from Suzuki Dealer nor the regional manager.
  • dan8dan8 Member Posts: 1
    Leaking rear main seal was replaced at 22k miles and is now leaking again at 44k miles. Appears to be a TSB out, but Cdn dealer does not have. Suzuki not offering any goodwill. Any others out there? Model is JLX+ automatic.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    Was basically told by dealer today that after discussion with district person and office in Brea, to go suck air. Nothing can be done. I thought it odd that they could not offer any type of solution.
    I then asked if this vehicle was OUT of warranty, would they have the same answer or would they throw parts at it in an attempt to fix?
    I got no response.

    Placed a call to zuke CS in Brea advising them of three options.
    1. Fix the *&*$&&$ thing. The knock is there, even a neighbor who never rode in my rig last week commented on it.
    2. Buy the vehicle back.
    3. Alienate me and then watch me make sure everyone knows that when you buy suzuki products, you're pretty much on your own as far as service and warranty.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    Have not heard from Suzuki rep. I sent a letter to Brea outlining my complaint and expected resolution.
    Also filed a complaint with BBB for Western PA. That might not go anywhere, but perhaps it will make the non-responsive dealer's a** ache a little. The BBB complaint will also be on record should future buyers of suzuki products investigate.
  • ianthomianthom Member Posts: 5
    Handbook says to open the radiator cap and bottom tap to drain the coolant - approximately 8 litres. Did this and only got out 3 litres. Problem appears to be that the top and bottom hose connections to the engine are via a Siamese inlet located at the top front of the engine. Short of turning the car upside down or dismantling the engine, how do I get the other 5 litres out?
  • ianthomianthom Member Posts: 5
    I am due to change the tyres. Any opinions as to the best to fit. Do not do any off-road work and in the winter change to studded ones. Looking for a comfortable quiet tyre. By the way Swedish law requires I fit the original size.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Member Posts: 552
    I know where you can buy a good used Dodge Dakota <grin> Rick
  • rogerd80rogerd80 Member Posts: 2
    I just bought a new 2004 Grand Vitara EX 4WD 19,500 after rebates. So far I like it. I went to to print out Service Bulletins and Recall Notices. Nothing major so far. I can speak for prior models but having a frame under you is great. It lowers center of gravity and can be straightened if bent. Unibody construction is very hard to straighten. V6 is also a plus.
  • kc5ytikc5yti Member Posts: 38
    I have never drained an engine completely. They make flushing kit that can be purchased at auto stores. What I have always done, and am getting ready to do on my XL-7, is to drain out the radiator, then begin running clean water through it. While doing that, start the engine, and warm it up so that it would circulate the clean water through the engine. Once the water released by the radiator comes out clear, I would know that the engine has been flushed. I would then refill the radiator with the water/coolant blend, keeping in mind that the engine has a large amount of pure water in it. I would make the blend heavy enough to ensure that I end up with at least 50/50 water and coolant once it mixes the fluid up on its own. Just my perspective, I am sure that there are other methods for do it yourselfers. The main thing is to avoid geting an air lock in the water pump. That is when you have an air bubble in the water pump. This keeps it from pumping properly, or at all. Good Luck
  • kc5ytikc5yti Member Posts: 38
    Is the vibration like a rapid and short burst as if you turned on a garbage disposer on of a couple of seconds? Or is it a pulsating vibration that you can feel? Also, does it occur when your start the vehicle, or only after putting it into gear?


  • urmymomurmymom Member Posts: 1
    have to ask what the outcome was?

    i have a 2002 xl7, its a nightmare from hell, well the service is. it has 32,000, still under warranty. hmmm whats that.

    i have taken it in for the 4th time for the same problem. lets see they said there was no such thing as spark knock, yeah okay. they changed the tensioner, because when i first got it there was an oil leak, when they put it on it was not right. so they had to replace their screw up. then i was told that it was the shield, to live with it. it sounds like spark knock. well they said that they re clamped the shield. yeah right. after speaking to the district manager, doesn't do any good. i have been informed that i am no longer welcome at the dealership. why BECAUSE I WANT MY CAR FIXED. well my husband is a mechanic and now is going to get his hands dirty on a car that is IN WARRANTY. we went outside tonight and when he was looking in the engine, i had foot on brake and gas. i had him humor me and look under the car and sure enough it is the shield. it sounds so much like spark knock, its not even funny. it does it really good at 30 - 40 miles an hour. well he is going to take it to his work tomorrow and REALLY fix the shield, which they said they did. he is going to clamp the snot out of it. and hopefully this will fix the problem.

    i will then get a big yellow piece of poster board and write on it Mohegan Lake Motors cant and will not fix my car had to take to take it to a local shop to be fixed the first time right.

  • notlikinggvnotlikinggv Member Posts: 1
    Is anyone else having problems with their exhaust?

    I have a 2000 GV and it has made humming and vibrating sounds for years. Just as the warranty ended it was finally diagnosed by an independant mechanic.

    Suzuki says sorry charlie it ain't fixing it. Now I'm being told by another mechanic that it's only going to get worse and that even if repaired there's no guarantee that, because of the design, it won't be a problem again in the future. Both mechanics indicated that the hole in the Y pipe is not related to any kind of impact but is a design flaw.

    There is also no after market for repair parts and it's about $450 just for pipe parts. I'm an unemployed single mom and it just isn't going to be fixed at that price.

    My mechanic says that they have very few pipes in stock which suggests that it's a problem suzuki is having to supply parts for.

    Anyone else have similar problems or are familiar with this issue? Thanks for your feedback
  • naner82naner82 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1999 Vitara that I bought brand new. It has always done that from the day I bought it. It usually only happens when you start it for the first time each day. It will usually only do it once and only the first time I come to a complete stop and let "do it's thing". I've never had any problem arise from the vibration.
  • naner82naner82 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1999 Vitara JS 2.0 2 door. I bought the vehicle brand new. I have already had the transmission rebuilt once and am having to do it for a second time. It is a 5 speed manual transmission that I have pretty much babied since I got it. It's not the first vehicle that I've ever owned with a manual transmission but the only one that I've ever had problems with. Has anyone else had transmission problems with this vehicle?
  • cosmocosmo Member Posts: 203
    I have a '99 Tracker with manual transmission. Twice Mr. Goodwrench put the wrong transmission lubricant in it, and shifting into 3rd when going faster than 30mph was a grinding experience. I stopped going to Mr. Goodwrench for servicing, and no shifting problems since. However, the transmission started leaking lubricant at 77,000 miles, so I took it in to an independent garage. No leaking seals. A rubber plug on top the transmission had popped out. They had to drop the transmission to fix it, and good ol' Mr. Goodwrench's parts department could not find a part # for the plug. The independent mechanic fashioned a plug and siliconed it in. The handcrafted plug was free. The labor was another story.


    Some of the '99 and '00 manual transmissions were bad. There was a warranty fix for the syncros and springs. Double check that you have the right lubricant in your transmission and that your transmission was rebuilt with the updated syncros and springs.
  • naner82naner82 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info, I'll check that out.
  • thechillthechill Member Posts: 1
    The starter motor went south after 80k miles. I got a rebuilt unit, unbolted the bad starter, but I can't get the old starter out of the vehicle. What's the easiest thing to remove so I can get the old starter out and the new one in?
    Thx for any help.
  • tsanderlin1tsanderlin1 Member Posts: 2
    I own a 2004 GV with over 25,000 miles and the transfer case shift lever buzzes loudly when in 2WD. This is very annoying. The dealer says this is normal on some of the GV's however, there must be some fix. Has anyone else experienced this problem? If so please let me know what your disposition of this problem has been.
  • vit3vit3 Member Posts: 1
    Is anyone had trouble with their remote lock? I have a 2002, and I put a new battery in my remote lock transmitter, and it works for about a day. I've done this twice to rule out a bad battery. What battery is everyone else using? Is there something I'm missing here?

  • bajazonabajazona Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Vitara JLX w/auto and have already replaced the condensor because of the bent fins. The car never overheated, but I have driven from Arizona to Cabo 4 times and many other trips down Baja with alot of off-roading and wanted to protect the vehicle from overheating. I purchsed a used condensor from a junkyard for a $100, and had a friend put it in. The mechanic at Suzuki said the damage is from debris entering the fan shroud and not having a way to exit(poor design). He suggested cutting a space at the bottom of the shroud to create this. I do remember getting something in the fan and it sounded like a plastic bag blowing in the wind. After I returned from a long trip, I then noticed the perfectly bent condensor blades in the shape of the fan. The only other problem I had is when I run then the AC on the lowest fan speed and it will shut down because it actually freezes up. Now I just run the AC with the fan on medium or higher, and have not had a problem since. I have 98k thousand miles, change the oil every 5k and the car runs great. My last car was a Toyota with 251k miles on it, and I plan on going 300k with this one. I use medium grade or higher fuel, and don't make jackrabbit starts. Otherwise this car should run for many more years to come. My only other off-road trick is to carry 2 spares when I travel to Baja.
  • luchiluchi Member Posts: 1
    Recently I have been experiencing starting problems with my 2000 grand vitara 1.6L. I need to find the data link connector so that i can access the ECM. Can anyone help me
  • cheetah1cheetah1 Member Posts: 1
    I noticed my 2001 XL-7 seemed to get a little hot.. I tuned the a/c off and the temp went down to normal. I got home turned on the A/C and heard an awful noise coming from the compressor. I wa told by my mechanic.. the compressor is about 1100 dollars anyone know where a rebuilt on can be found cheaper. Cheetah1
  • lloyd3lloyd3 Member Posts: 1
    the whine starts at 30 mph up to 60.have been told that its the pinion.took it to local garage who said that the back axel had been weilded around the filler plug and it could be alot of trouble if disturbed.has any one any ideas please lloyd3
  • giacomo1giacomo1 Member Posts: 1
    I bought it from a dealer in indy in 2002 ...
    1st the seat air bag light malfuctioned
    Less than three months later the air conditioning compressor went out
    then the altenator $350 dollars at the dealer to replace
    this month both rotors had to be replaced
    this week it threw a rod
    the dealer wants 4600 to rebuild the engine..
    I know there was oil in the car but when the rod punched threw the oil pan it all
    leaked out no warning light came on prior to the rod going
    has any body had these problems
    I can mail order an engine for $1495
  • fritzzfritzz Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone out there had problems with oil leaks between the oil pump and engine block on a Vitara JX? (1600). We have a problem on ours that seems to be a regular occurence. The spanner man tells us it is a major problem to sort, having to virtually strip the front of the engine, and part-lift the engine to clear the front axle so that he can do the job properly. Is this true? he has already charged us enough to not fix the problem. Any one out there with experience of this problem and how to solve it?
  • john65john65 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Suzuki GV V6 4x4 and the a/c went a couple of days ago. I now hear a hydraulic-pressure-release-like noise coming from the compressor area when I turn on the a/c. The noise lasts for 2-3 seconds. Has anyone had this problem?
  • welshmanwelshman Member Posts: 1
    Can anyone advise me where i can obtain O/S and N/S outer sills for my 1994 suzuki 5 dr Vitara JLX SE ?

    If they are unobtainable is there a close match with another vehicle so that i can doctor them to fit ?

  • reamsreams Member Posts: 2
    I had the same issue. The heat sheild on the exhaust had to be fixed multiple times. I had a hard time getting it fixed. I'm not happy with the warranty coverage. It is like you have to prove everything. If you don't know a little bit about a car so that you can explain what the problem is I don't think they would every fix it.
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