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Chevy Tracker



  • scotterscotter Posts: 14
    I am a refrigeration engineer, and back in the mid 90’s I worked for GM on their new R-134a A/C systems. You said you compressor is “out” again...what does out mean. Exactly what failed, and is it the same issue as the first failure.

    I own a 2002 Tracker with 125,000 miles and haven’t had any compressor issues, and honestly the compressor used on the Tracker/Vitara is a pretty robust unit. As far as adapting another unit to your vehicle, I would not suggest it, as you will get marginal operation at best, and the likelihood is it will not perform at all. Auto A/C is an extremely difficult system to design, and it is a miracle it works as well as it does. The system has to work in what we used to call “hot dog stand conditions” with everything being a variable such as compressor speed, amount of air flowing across the condenser, amount of latent heat the system needs to remove etc. Each component of the system is designed exactly for the vehicle it is used on.

    A few things to be aware of on this system. There is no accumulator, so the system is very charge sensitive. An overcharge situation can cause liquid refrigerant to flow back to the compressor which will cause failure. Remember that an A/C compressor is nothing more then a pump for vapor that turns into a pump for liquid one second before it turns into junk. Also these compressors have no crankcase or oil reservoir, and use the oil that is carried through with the refrigerant to lubricate the compressor, similar in theory to the oil and gas mixture in a 2 stroke engine. If you have a refrigerant leak, oil has leaked from the system, and if you just add refrigerant you will be low on oil. On systems without an accumulator, the oil charge is very low in order to avoid oil slugs from forming and getting into the compressor, so even a little oil leakage lead to failure.

    Another thing that isn’t good for the compressor, is going from zero rpm, to 2500 rpm in the push of a button. As much as manufactures tell you that the compressor is designed for “slamming” on, it isn’t. You should take you foot off the gas and let your engine slow down to about 1500 rpm before you turn on the A/C…...this slower start of the compressor puts less stress on the reed valves, and the output side of the rotary veins.

    Not that any of this helps your current situation, but I just wanted to share some thoughts, that will hopefully keep you from having to replace the compressor again.
  • snicholsnichol Posts: 28
    Thanks for the reply and the good information!
    I'm not sure what the problem is with the compressor???
    I had it checked out in a local shop. They found it out of freon, so they tried to charge it. They then found that the compressor wouldn't kick on due to an "electrical" problem.
    After they checked the electrical, they told me the compressor is bad and won't work and thus the electrical problem.
    So now I'm checking my options out.

    The first time this happened, the system stopped abruptly during a very hot summer day. (This was the original compressor.)
    The mechanic (A different shop than the one I am using right now)told me it had locked-up and was damaged. He put on a new one (Dealer Item) and got it going again.
    It didn't cool as well as before.
    I took it back and they checked it out and said the expansion valve was bad. (May have helped cause the failure of the compressor. ???)
    They replaced the expansion valve and it ran/cooled good for more than a year (past the warranty period on the new compressor.)
    Then the compressor stopped coming on, it acted like a blown fuse. The switch lights up like it's on, but the compressor doesn't run. (I guess this is what they called an "Electrical Problem", the clutch doesn't kick-in.)
    Their evaluation is the compressor is damaged/locked-up and needs replaced.

    That's where I'm at now.

    I was told that these new compressors are not as "Bullet Proof" as the old GM compressors were. From what you said about the RPM startup speed, it sounds like it may be more fragile.
    Anyway, I'm looking for an inexpensive fix, or at least, a fix that won't be re-occurring.

    I am also wondering about/questioning the ability of these mechanics in their expertise on working on this type of system. They may be damaging more than they fixed.
    Should I bite the bullet and go back to the Chevrolet dealership and pay their outrageous prices for a better job???
    Sorry for the long message, just wanted to get it off my chest and get some possible advise.
    Thanks & Regards,
  • I've had a Tracker since Oct. 2001. I have not had any major issues with it until today.
    On my way to work today i was clipping at a nice 65mph when all of a sudden, the service engine light lit up, and the vehicle stopped running. I pulled over, noticed that when i attempted to start the car, the oil pressure was good...the car just will not start.
    waiting to hear what my local repair guy says...just figured i would see if anybody had any suggestions. the car has over 72K miles on it. It took me to washington state, and back, with no issues at all.

  • scotterscotter Posts: 14
    It depends on what old GM compressor you are talking about. The old A6 rotary compressor was truly bulletproof. It had a crankcase with an oil reservoir, 6 cylinders driven by what was called a swash plate, however it was the size of a loaf of bread, so unfortunately downsizing has its drawbacks. But the compressor you have is much better then the later R4 pumps the GM put out.

    Anyway, the fact the expansion valve was bad, may say something. The only real way they go bad is if the orifice gets jammed up with crud from a compressor failure. Metal pieces floating through the system are never good, and I would almost bet that when the first compressor was changed, they never truly flushed the system, so my guess is you have bits and pieces floating through the system.

    The fact that the new compressor doesn’t engage is electrical….so here’s my thoughts. The low pressure switch could be bad and/or plugged up with the aforementioned crude from the previous compressor failure. In the low side line there is a pressure switch that opens when the pressure in the low side in below its set point, usually about 20 psi. This is to prevent the system from starving itself of refrigerant and thus oil, and self destructing. That is why the compressor wont engage in the winter. If you can find the switch, unplug the lead, and jump it out with a piece of wire, and see if the compressor engages. Second thing to check is the relay that actually sends power to the clutch. What I would do is strip off some of the jacket on the two wires going to the compressor, and takes 2 lengths of wire and hook them to the battery. No need to start the car, connect the wires from the battery to the clutch wires. You will hear a loud “click” which is the magnetic clutch pulling in. if you hear the click then it is either the low pressure switch, if you haven’t already ruled that out, or the relay.

    I am not sure who you have taken the vehicle to, but auto A/C is a specialty in itself, and if I were you I would take it to a shop that does only auto A/C. Expensive yes, but they truly know what they are doing……
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    Have you been able to restart your tracker at all? I ask because you can take it to a autozone or advanced autoparts and they can connect a computer to the tracker and read the codes that caused the check engine light to come on.
  • No..the car will not turn over. its as if there is no fuel going to the intake. another friend suggested it may be the timing belt. will be having it looked at this morning. thanx for the info though. I will probably go to autozone once i get my ride back, so i can make sure all is swell.
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    from 1999 on the timing belts are timing chains. If that timing chain snapped then you might have alot more to worry about that just replacing it....
  • hernlhernl Posts: 1
    does anybody know if there is a re-set button for the power windows on a 97 Sidekick? All 4 windows have stopped working all at once. The fuse was checked and is fine. Any suggestions?
  • hibblerhibbler Posts: 1
    I’m working on a Chevy tracker 2.0l DOCH for a friend, after the timing chain broke (upper) and would not start after trying. Installed new Timing chain and gears( upper & lower), Set timing, still won’t start and has no compression at all. Is the engine shot? Can the head be repaired to salvage engine?
  • snicholsnichol Posts: 28
    Hi, snichol here,
    You might want to go back and read my previous messages about timing chain breaking & A/C repairs.

    I have a 2001 4 door Tracker w/2.0 L engine.
    Broke the top timing chain, it wiped out the gears.
    When the chain breaks the valves are no longer in sync with the pistons. There is no space in the cylinder to allow them to be in the same place at the same time, results: BENT VALVES! Thus, no Compression!
    If it turned over more than one or two revolutions, it probably bent them all. May have punched holes in the pistons too.
    So, you'll need to do a major head job and examine the tops of the pistons and replace them if needed.
    I found out that it is very, very expensive to get parts/engine repair on it. I searched and found a used engine in a wrecking yard with low miles on it and had a mechanic change it out.
    I had 207,000 miles on it at the time, so it was like getting a new engine, but at about half price (cost & Labor to install)
    So, my friend, you have internal damage...
    Welcome to the world of Trackers!
    (That Chevrolet doesn't talk about!)

    My mechanic, at the time, told me .... " there's something about this engine that they aren't telling anyone! They (Chevy) made it obsolete and change them out each year, even the re builders don't support them. There's something fishy about it, when the manufacturer won't support it." (To be fair, I did find that Chevrolet had a new Short Block for about $4300.00; one re builder here in Houston gave me a "Rebuild" price of around $1800-to-$2000.
    (Me furnishing the labor, in and out, which is about $800 to $1000.)
    I paid around $2300 for engine, labor, fluids/parts and a replacement of the front, external tension pulley (It was on the verge of locking up).
    So far, I'm happy with the outcome, an engine with low miles that purrs like a kitten.
    She' ticking along, like a Timex!
    Cheers & Good Luck.
  • johio44johio44 Posts: 1
    i just bought a 2001 2.0l 4 door and i was wondering if anyone knows any good websites for performance parts like full exhaust (headers) and suspension parts please help i cant find anything worth a damn
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    I forgot what was posted before on this subject, but i was wondering what is the largest size tire you can install on a 1999-2004 chevy tracker without having any issues? I currently have a stock size of 215/75-15. I would like to install some Light Truck tires on my 04 Zr-2 tracker.
  • I have a 01 Chevy Tracker 4x4, 6 Cyl, 2.5 lt... and I love that darn little SUV. When I first got it I wasn't so fond of it.. I really wanted a Jeep... but that dang thing has really grown on me over the past couple of years. I mean it's a hard working, easy keeper, with lot's of pep... until recently. I took on a new job as a courier. I figured my car would do great cuz it gets consitantly 23MPG when I drive it.. moslty in city.. sometimes 25 when I add some HWY driving. Anyway, my truck is pushing 105,000 miles. I have changed the oil pretty regular.. between 3000 and 6000 miles. So when I got this job I figured I better do the whole tune up thing and see if I can get better mileage. My neighbor is an ex-mechanic so I asked him if he could help. He removed the ignition coils to change the plugs and the boot and distributor disengaged from each other. Well, he poked at the boot and apparently put a nice little whole in it. (neither one of us knew that till I drove it the next day) Check engine light comes on of couse it's because of a mis-fire in cyl 6. Which then takes out cyl 3. So I buy 3 salvaged ignition coils from the junk yard to replace them. The car is running, but not like it was. I kept getting a check engine light when I drove it with code 0441, Evap malfuntion. The guys at Autozone thought it was probably do to the gas cap not sealing... so I bought a new one. So far so good. But I still don't think the car runs the same. My mileage is down from 23 to 21 or 22.. The car has lost it's "pep"... sometimes it seems to struggle in higher speeds when I'm driving home from Denver. I do realize I'm going up hill and that could be it.. but I never really had that problem before. So I was wondering if you all had any ideas of things to check next. My tranny fluid is a little black, it doesn't smell.. and I have never had it changed. I can't think of anything else that would make it have such a lack of performance.
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    were the spark plugs you replaced the proper ones for your model V6? I know the 2.0 and 2.5 use different plugs. also were the gapped before installing them? I was just wondering this too. When removing the coilpacks to replace the plugs did you do one at a time?
  • As far as I know yes to all your questions. The neighbor is a mechanic.. he used to work on Ford PUs. We bought the plugs at Autozone.. I gave him year, make, and model of the car. I bought a cheaper platinum brand, but was assured that they were the right size etc for the car. As for the gaping.. he said he gaped them. We took all the coil packs off and he put them all on one at a time. When he started the car up he noticed that it still seemed to misfire. He detached each coil one at a time till he found the one that didn't change at all when he unplugged it. He knew this coil had gone bad and replaced it with one of my original coils. Afterward the car seemed to work fine... To him.. to me it still seemed to run different. It has been a few days since I changed the gas cap. The mileage was a little better this last trip. I got a good solid 23 miles per gallon. So I'm back to where I was before. Is there anything else I can do to improve mileage? I saw some after market stuff on Ebay that supposedly gives you a 15% increase in mileage as well as a power boost.
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    "Ebay that supposedly gives you a 15% increase in mileage as well as a power boost."

    If your concerned about MPG, the last thing you want is a powerboost! If you are talking about them devices that trick the air temp sensor into thinking it is colder outside than it actually is, then you will burn MORE fuel because it wil increase the richness of the air fuel ratio. Thats now them devices work. You will then notice a Decrease in your mpg... btw i forgot, what Yr is your tracker?
  • My tracker is a 2001... thanks for the fyi about the ebay thing. It always seems like a good deal.. but then you never really know.
    btw.. my check engine light went on again today. Pretty sure it's still the code 0441 for Evap .. what else, besides a gas cap not being put on tight enough, can cause a vacum leak or evapuration to trigger the engine light. It has been pretty hot here (CO) the last couple of days. I drive nearly 200 miles a day. I spend most of the morning in Colo Springs.. with as many as 16 stops and starts. I then head to Denver and am on the road for consistant driving for a good hour. I find the light useally comes on when I'm driving home... and after the tank as emptied or is a little below a half tank. Any ideas? I've had the car for 3 years.. never had this problem. But then again I have never driven it 200 miles a day for 3 weeks straight.
    thanks... :)
  • ive had the same engine light problem,autozone did tell me is the same code u mentioned.. it comes and goes, ive got used to it. i used a can of sea foam and it went away instantly, i think it was coincidental..but who knows. my gas cap isnt stock,but its been checked and it fits fine.. we think. anyways, my question... i have 99 chevy tracker 4dr with a 2.0. it has 105xxx miles and the plugs had never been changed. last year i got 24 mpg, but ive used some fuel injector cleaners and like i said, sea foam is the last thing ive used for months, and ive changed the spark plugs for the first time just recently. before i changed the plugs i started to get around 26-27 mpg.. should i expect better gas mileage now with new plugs? i figured the 4cyl would do better than the 24mpg i got last year, but still, is what im getting now the best that it will ever get? thanks-
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paPosts: 473
    When i had a 99 tracker 2-door with the 2.0 engine and 4 speed auto i was getting 25-26 in the summer and around 21-23 in the winter. These are all country roads. My most recent tracker which is a 2004 Zr-2 with the 2.5litre V-6 engine gets 23-24 so far. Changing your plugs wont make a very big difference. Unless they were shot and not giving you a complete burn. I would go with NGK plugs, or something else in that high grade range. Im going to change my v-6 trackers plugs at 60k miles and i plan on using ngk plugs. Im glad to see you use seafoam. Its about the best stuff you can get!! I use it in my cycles. I used it when i got my used 04 tracker. I used it AFTER i changed my fuel filter and it made a big difference. I recently installed a k&n stock replacement air filter and i then disconnected the battery for 20 mins and reconnected it to reset the ecu. Now i get better performance at 3k-4.5K rpms. Has a noticable stronger pull..

  • the tracker has over 103000 and the plugs' electrodes were burnt down and rounded off and i put the gapper in there and it was like .080 or so... i havent checked the MPG yet. i was wanting to get a K and N for the tracker, because i have one for my truck and it runs alot better.
  • I just got a 2003 Chevy tracker it has some damage on hood so we have to paint it but we can't find the paint code >
  • erscoloerscolo Posts: 11
    Chevrolet Tracker

    That is where the paint code should be.


    P.S. Here is a link: vrolet&model=Tracker
  • wojowwojow Posts: 12
    I have 2000, 2 door, 2wheel drive, 2.0 Tracker. I have this vibration ( only around 2300 RPM) that is coming somewhere from driver side of the motor (front area). Checked for loose bolts, had muffler shop check exhaust out - no results. I keep thinking that this could be either timing chain or the tensioner - have 106K miles on the motor.
    When there is problem with timing chain or the tensioner - what kind of noise are we talking about here ??


  • snicholsnichol Posts: 28
    You need to do a search under "Timing Chain.
    Especially under the category that has "Repair" in the label.
    I broke my timing chain awhile back and it broke the engine!
    It would do you well to read all the emails pertaining to timing chains, as they mention noises it makes.
    Hope that will help.

  • wojowwojow Posts: 12
    I did read everything under "timing chain" . I don't see anything there. I guess I will have to tear into it and see if there is anything that needs to be replaced. Interesting enough: there is no timing chain replacement required at the maintenance schedule for Tracker.
    thanks SNichol

  • I just had to replace 2 valves,timing chain,guide, and a couple of other parts om my 2000 Tracker with 170000 miles. I bought it from my boss for $5oo after it broke on him, and a mechanic friend repaired for me. I got lucky, with it only bending the 2 valves on the last cylinder next to the firewall.I'd pull the cover off and drop a compression check if possible. But you might not be able to do that with the engine in that condition, or with out doing more damage.
    Hope this helps.
  • I just am on the tailing end of finishing my timing components and having the head done due to 4 bent valves. See my thread at suzuki-forums tjkashin Timing Chain

    Maybe you can find some tips there as the users are helpful, friendly and responsive. After all, a Chevy Tracker is just a badged Suzuki Vitara....
  • snicholsnichol Posts: 28
    You didn't check in the right category ....
    In Edmonds, go back to the category "Chevrolet Tracker", Under "Discussion Title" click on " Chevrolet Tracker Maintenance and Repair ".
    You can do the search there for "Timing Chain", or just browse through the 55 messages there.
    There were some detailed messages about it there.

    I have a 2001, 4 door Tracker with 2 wheel drive, automatic trans, with a 2.0 L, 4 cyl. engine.
    At about 209,000 miles, the timing chain broke while driving. It bent every valve. I looked at having it rebuilt, but cost were too high.
    Buying a short block was also too expensive. So I went on line searching for a better alternative, thus my discussions on Edmonds.
    I had a few discussions in Edmonds about it.
    I got lucky ...
    I bought an engine out of a wreck in a junk yard just a 100 miles from here, with low miles on it.

    Been running good since then and now have about 220,000 miles on my Tracker.
    It's been a good, dependable car and still is.

    But some of the things I learned about it makes me very upset with Chevrolet.
    They stuck us with a vehicle that is basically one-of-a-kind, in that:
    no other year engine with interchange with it;
    not many commercial re-builders will touch it!;
    the parts are expensive and/or obsolete, not easy to find;
    the AC Compressor has no oil reserve reservoir, so if you have a freon leak, you lose the lubricating oil, which "Whacks' the compressor...
    ... if you replace the compressor without flushing out the system to remove all damaged particles, it will clog the expansion valve and then "Whack" the compressor again! (I'm speaking from (dumb) experience here. :>)

    Sorry to get on a Rant, but they don't tell these things when you buy it.
    Anyway, if you suspect a bad timing chain, fix it BEFORE it breaks, or it will do a lot of damage.

    Good Luck!
  • wojowwojow Posts: 12
    just read your post and went to Suzuki discussion group. The picture of your new timing chains kind of show me what my Tracker looks like inside. I see that you did leave oil pan. So it doesn't have to be removed. I will need to instal new valve at the same time. I have 2 wheel drive with little over 106K on the motor. Do you have more pictures?
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