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Suzuki Vitara Maintenance and Repair



  • I replaced the front brake pads on my 2002 Suzuki Vitara (JLX?) the other day and saw evidence of something slinging oil all around the right front fender well. I trace it to the right front axle seal on the front differential (is a 4WD). I have not had a chance to check the oil level in the front differential. Uh oh! How does an axle seal seize? Do you mean that it is frozen onto the axleshaft and is spinning in its seat on the differential? Something does not sound right here. The seal is "rubber" lip on the metal axleshaft, maybe with a spring band behind it to keep a tight grip on the shaft going thru it, but I cannot see how the seal would seize on the shaft; seems sort of an impossibility to me. Is the individual working on it an independent repairman or is he working for a Suzuki dealership? If he is an independent, I would suggest getting a second opinion, preferably from a dealer. Sometimes they cost more, some times they don't, but in any event, you're more likely to get an honest answer to what ails the car. If the shaft gets scratched removing the seal, fine emery cloth can probably polish it up good as new again. I would also suggest buying a Haynes or Clymer repair manual so you can understand exactly what is involved in removing the seal and what exactly seized up!! Good luck to both of us. If I was 10 years younger, I would probably attempt to replace the seal myself.
  • Just picked this up from a dealer with 26,700+ miles on it. Clean as a whistle inside and out...however; I'm now hearing what sounds like coke bottles rattling around and it seems to be coming from up front. I checked under the hood and can't find anything loose. Rattles on bumpy roads or when I hit a dip on the left or right side. And can't tell where it's coming from....I'm leaning toward something in the suspension. Motor mounts, hoses, brackets, etc all look fine..only place I haven't been is under the thing. :confuse:
  • Sounds like the place you need to go IS under it. Mine has a squeal somewhere in the engine, possibly a bearing on something that the fan belt runs over. I am considering trading it on an '06 Prius since it has 77K hard miles on it. Suzukis have come up in quality so much in the last 4 years it isn't even funny. I consider my '02 Vitara a bit of a tin can, but checking out an '06 Grand Vitara, it doesn't look like they were made by the same car company.
    On your problem, check the running gear closely, including the wheel and drive shaft bearings. One good place for a rattle is the exhaust system: not just how the pipe runs or may be loose, but the guts of the muffler and/or resonator can get loose and rattle. Also check the exhaust heat shields on the pipe and over the manifold. These are the most likely places that come to mind, and I have had a problem with just those same things over the 45 years of driving. Good luck with it.
  • Just bought 2001 suzuki GV 4wd. Was wondering why my tach shows 3100rpm @ 75 mph. Is this normal. Also went 105 miles and used a 1/2 tank of gas.
  • OK, so I'm a coward, or at least taking the coward's way out and am trading in my Vitara on a 2006 Toyota Prius. I have just had knee surgery and it has been very debilitating and I don't have the time to mess with an engine miss or skip, vibrations that did not use to be there, oil getting slung around the wheelwell from an unknown leak and so on. Basically, I think the handwriting was on the wall and it was telling to me get rid of the car before I had to spend lots of money on it and it would have to spend lots of time in the shop. Oh well!
  • cobcob Posts: 210
    I have a 2004 Tracker v6 and the tach is the same around 3100 at 75. I get around 21 miles per gallon and normally have about 150 on the trip odo when I get to half a tank.
  • trixitrixi Posts: 1
    Hi Robbo, bonnet release catch is in the glove compartment box on the top left. I'll try and get some photographs of my own roof being taken off to send you- its not half as bad it looks!!!
  • Sort of sounds like the electric overdrive switch is "Off", or the transmission is stuck in the power mode (if you have a "normal-power" mode selector switch. My 2002 Vitara had this problem and my mileage/engine rpm figures were similar to yours. Look for indicator lights on the dash that say either "O/D OFF" or "POWER". Good luck with it!
  • cobcob Posts: 210
    I don't have a problem with the RPM'S I was replying to Workingman6 post about his 2001. My O/D switch is on the light on the dash is off. The other switch is in the normal mode otherwise the Power light would be on. BTW if you are in the power mode at a steady speed the RPM's are the same as if you were in the normal mode. The only difference between normal and power is during acceleration where the shift points change.
  • No lights on the dash. But thanks for answering my message.
    RPM's just sounded high to me. Thanks again
  • Does anyone know how to keep the back door from rattling when you hit any bumps? Every thing seems to be tight.
    2001 Suzuki GV.
  • i just bought a vitara with 21565R16 tires, my question is if i drop down to a 15 inch tire would i see an improvement in gas mileage? and what size 15inch tire should i look at getting?
  • I'm having the same problem with a '04 Suzuki Grand Vitara . works most of the time. I've had the dealer look at the problem but when I get there its working. They've looked into it but have no idea why they work most of the time but for that 5% they don't. They have replaced the batteries in both remotes but still acts up.
  • Have had this car a year; now has 62,000 miles on it. She needs a new serpentine belt and while having worked on, wondered about Timing belt. You guys are going to love this: one mechanic said the car had no timing belt, one guy said it would need a new chain at $700, and one mechanic tried to argue with me that the 4 cyl had a 1.5 engine (it has a 2.0). How frustrating/scarey to be a woman and trying not to get ripped off these days. So question: Does it have belt or chain? When does it need to be changed? Serpentine belt is squeaking, mostly on the high humidity days we have here at the beach. Advice please!!!! :confuse:
  • 2004 Vitara. Left the rear view mirror light on and it drained battery down. I was able to start on 2 try but CD player ejects CD and wants to constantly eject with engine off and creates Err message in the tuner display. I current have a CD stuck in 1/2 way to keep the CD player from doing this. Radio works fine. Really wierd. Also have a odd rattle that sounds like it's coming from left side beneath the side door. More noticeable when I make a left or right turn
  • The timing chain on the 99 Vitara is gets changed when it breaks. That should be at around 250,000-300,000 miles. There is however a plastic guide inside the engine that's a wear item. When it starting to go bad, the engine will make a rasping sound on a cold start. As the engine warms, the noise will go away. Hearing that sound is no reason for panic, just get it fixed when you get a chance.
  • Hey guys,
    I've got a 97 TD Vitara, and the clutch went wrong on friday.
    I press the clutch down and the car just wont go in to gear.

    I can get it into gear by stopping the engine and putting it in gear and starting the engine again... but the car just moves away by itself then without me touching the accellarator.

    Any help would be muchly appriciated.

    Many Thanks

    John :sick:
  • please can anyone tell me how to turn off the engine light which I think indicates that thejeep needs a service... I am selling the car and do not want to service it before selling... stingy I know... but that is life.... thanks
  • I have had the same problem with my 04 suzuki grand vitara V6. Going to work this morning car would not go over 50, had to pull over and call for assistance. Had car towed, mechanic looked at it and stated it looked like oil pump. They towed it to Bill Gatton Suzuki for them to look at car. Vehicle has 7 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. First they said it was a bad oil filter put in wrong from oil change. Then they came back saying a leak around the houseing unit for the oil filter. They also said it was threaded wrong when oil filter was put in. If it was thread wrong, then it would have lost the oil back in November when the oil was changed. They suggested belts need to be changed, my husband said to replace them. They were planning to replace the problem under the warranty. They sent my husband to get a rental car. Then they called and said you can't get a rental car. We can't approve. They were saying something was more wrong to the engine then they thought. Jeff one of the service reps for Bill Gaton was telling this all to my husband. He said a general district manager would have to approve this to be fixed. They wanted all maintence records for service done. I have always had oil changes done on vehicle and now they are trying to say a bad oil filter has caused my problem. This has happened on Friday and they have left us with no resolution. I am going to have to take off work to make sure something gets done with my car to repair it. I bought this car since it had that extra protection of a powertrain warranty. I thought it wouldn't hurt to have. I passed up a honda for this car. I now am regretting passing up the honda. Did they fix your car since it was under the warranty?
  • siberiasiberia Posts: 520
    Sorry Muckerz,

    This response is probably too late to help. I have an 2002 5 speed Vitara and it has a hydraulic clutch. What you describe is symptomatic of a low on fluid clutch master cylinder. The clutch slave cylinder down by the bell housing is probably leaking. If it's a slow leak you could refill the master cylinder (under the hood) and get by for a while.
  • siberiasiberia Posts: 520
    They also said it was threaded wrong when oil filter was put in.

    Vigrad98, if they were saying that the oil filter was cross-threaded that is virtually impossible. Oil filters spin on by hand very easy. To cross-thread a filter would require a filter wrench and the installer would have to fight it the entire way on. Just not possible. I don't think it could be done even with a filter wrench without damaging the filter housing. Therefore, the old filter is evidence and the damaged threads would be visible.

    Even Honda's need their oil checked. And, Honda had its own set of problems with oil filters. The filter gaskets were sticking to the filter housing and pulling off the old filter. When a new filter was installed there were double seals that leaked oil and caused engine fires when oil leaked on the exhaust system. Apparently the fires started before the engines failed.

    Ask the dealer to see the old oil filter. If they say they threw it away ask them why they threw away their evidence since they cannot prove what they say.
  • doug58doug58 Posts: 1
    We just purchased a new 2006 Grand Vitara. My wife and I love the car. When driving at night the head lights seem to cast a shadow half way up the windshield. Everything is bright below the shadow but dark above. It's difficult to see when driving on a country road. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
  • revjim64revjim64 Posts: 78
    My 07 Grand Vitara has the same headlights that offer a limited line of site.

    I keep the high beams on whenever I can. I live on a country road where deer crossings are common.

    I think the headlights on the 06 and 07 GV's were poorly designed.
    My old Ford Pickup had much brighter headlights.
  • Hi. Just bought a 99 Suzuki Vitara Automatic 3 door 2 litre (1955cc)without a manual. I can't find the oil gauge / dipstick.
    Please advise where it can be found and any other crucial instructions/facts regarding maintenance to keep it running beautifully as it is now, what revs should it reach before taking it out of overdrive and when to use the power buttom option on the console? Thanks. Maureen
  • any suggestions where I can download a manual from the net for a Suzuki Vitara 1999 automatic 2L 1955cc - getting a little hard to find one locally in Oz.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You may want to look at Free Maintenance Manuals or Owners Manuals.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I got a 1995 Suzuki JLX Estate Vitara at 177,000 KM mileage, test everything fine but I noticed when I am driving (normal power) and Overdrive is turned on (no light indicator)on the display panel, when I accelerate past 30 to 40kph range...the OD display turns on then it if Im going to 2nd gear on manual but after a few seconds it recovers and goes back perferctly fine.

    What do you think is the problem? do I have to switch off the overdrive and switch it on when Im traveling at higher speeds above 60kph?

    Sorry been used to driving manuals, first time I used an automatic.
  • rxv2562rxv2562 Posts: 3
    Hi All -
    I am planning to buy the 2007 Grand Vitara and i need to get some feedback from people who own this vehicle.

    - How good is the reliability ? Any major issues that owners have face
    - How many mpg in city ?
    - Is it a worthy investment or better to invest in Honda Crv or Toyota Rav 4 ?

    Thanks all
  • bm000092bm000092 Posts: 70
    First with its permanent 4wd, locking center diff, and 4 Low, it is more a 4x4 than an SUV, it will use a little more gaz than the other SUVs. So if you don't need this capability it may not be the wisest choice, myself I needed that and its towing ability as well.

    Reliability, I now own it since 20 months, have over 30000km on it, no problem to declare, I just had to do periodic oil changes. I would say that the quality built is as good as the CRV ot Rav4. Most of the problems that owners are reporting is sometime rear end missalignment from factory and very few rare case of small vibration at 60mph from the drive train, some very few rare case of Rav4 have reported the same (often called drowning).

    MPG in US gallon, my city average is 19mpg and 28 on the highway.

    To get a CRV or Rav4 as well equipped, it would have cost me near 6000$ more. But keep in mind that I'm planning to keep it for about 10 years, so resale value is not an issue for me, the resale value of the Suzuki is less than the CRV or RAV4. If you plan to keep it let say 2 years , with higher resale value, the initial $$$ when buying a CRV or RAV4 may not be that bad at the end.
  • Good Morning all,
    I have a 1999 Vitara that I am having light problems with. Currently, my instrument panel and rear running light (along with plate light) are not working. I replaced the fuses and bulbs but still no lights. Brake lights and front headlights are working just nothing else. Does anyone know what could be causing this?
    I have been told that it could be the sensor and it also could be the wiring. Just wondering if anyone has had a similar problem. Thanks in advance to all who help.
    Tampa, FL
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