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Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 and earlier)



  • venusvenus Posts: 2
    I am really pleased with the Clifford alarm system that was installed (aftermarket by a very reputable dealer). It has some hi-tech features that are supposed to foil even the most sophisticated burglars. Mine is the Sabre II.
  • This is a bit off topic, but I opted for no electronic security system for our GV. Instead, I attach a Club to the steering wheel. Isn't the Club better than an electronic system at a much much lower price? It's a pain to store for sure.

    I guess I'm asking how a thief goes about stealing a car with a Club--does he just cut the steering wheel?

  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Swest, the thief can either cut the wheel, I've seen demonstrations in which it takes less than 15 seconds to saw through the wheel, or use Freon to spray the lock, which will easily shatter when hit with a solid object.

    Kelly B
  • I had a friend who had his car stolen. When he came out in the morning all he saw was the club lying on the ground... A theif can beat any system I suppose the trick is to make it more difficult to steal than your neighbors'...

    Venus: Do you mind saying how much you paid and where you got it?
  • Have any of you guys had a problem shifting your GV from 2H to 4H? According to the manual, I should be able to do it as long as my wheels are straight and I am under 60MPH. But it also has a note that "if it is too difficult to shift between 2H and 4H while the vehicle is moving, stop the vehicle and operate the transfer lever." I tried it last night in the pouring rain and it was pretty hard to shift from 2H to 4H while moving. If I stopped the vehicle, no problem. After shifting it once, it was easy to shift back and forth even while driving. Could it be that it is supposed to resist the first time you shift? Although, I can't figure out why? Or is it that the shifter needs to wear a little before catching real good? This is the first time I try shifting to 4H since getting the GV. I did notice that the dealer also had a problem shifting the GV that I test drove.

    I figure, if I have to stop the vehicle to go from 2H to 4H, this defeats the purpose of "Shift on the Fly", no?

    Your responses will be greatly appreciated.


  • venusvenus Posts: 2
    I'm not ignoring the request for more info on the security system - I have responded to dawing privately so I don't bore everyone with details. Long and short - I don't know how much a Clifford alarm system costs because I had ordered a different one - my dealer installed the Clifford (an upgrade from my order)because he was out of stock on the one I had ordered - but charged me the original price. I don't think this happens often! I did find the Clifford site yesterday at and see that they have a lot of detail on the Sabre II.

    Re.: the sticky lever. I have had to use the 4WH a bit over the last 24 hours. Miserable weather here in Ontario, Canada. The lever is, I believe, designed so that it offers a bit of a challenge to get it into 4WH - so that you don't accidentally go into 4W gear. But, it shouldn't be as stiff as you describe, Ed. Now that I've had it in and out of gear a few times, the lever seems to be loosening up. I'm sure the same thing will happen for you. Last night, I went into 4WH at about 40 m/h with no trouble at all.
  • My 1999 GV (which I really do love) has had major problem with vibration and it wasn't just the tires. Had to replace driveshaft, differential, all four tires and turn the rotors and drums on the brakes. A/C leaked into passenger side (about 1/2")and the acceleration is really bad one else having these problems??
  • fsumom28,

    I have the vibration. Did yours finally get fixed with all the stuff they've done???

    I need to know a few things:
    How bad is the vibe and where did you feel it coming from?
    At what speeds did you feel it?
    What State or Province are you in?
    Who was the dealer who worked on it?

    Thanx !!!!
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Personally, I think the vibration is caused by the mediocre tires fitted to the GV. You can replace parts to your hearts content and it might not solve the problem, because the parts *aren't* the problem. Could be as simple as the GV being more sensitive to wheel balance than the dealer's balancing machine is capable of. What I mean is, if the GV is sensitive to say, a half an ounce of being out of balance, but the dealer's balancing machine is accurate only to a whole ounce, there's the problem, and it'll never be fixed, or figured the dealer. Same thing with tires, if they're replaced with new, but identical, Headstone Duelers, then the problem won't go away. The GV I test drove, which wasn't the one I bought, had a terrible shake with only 200 miles on it. That isn't enough time to wear a tire 'funny' on a new car, it's manufacturing or balancing defect. My GV, however, hasn't ever been bad enough to complain, but it's still noticable on occasion. I have noticed odd tire wear on the left-front corner, excessive wear on the inside of the tread. Obviously, an alignment is called for, even though I've never had to align a car more often than every 50,000 miles, or so. Probably wasn't right from the factory.

    From what I've heard, a couple of folks have gone to different tires, and the vibes went away immediately. Might be because the tire place they used had better balancing equipment, or the tires are better. Either way, a differential is highly unlikely to cause vibration. Gear whine? You betcha. Just ask any Grand Cherokee or Suburban owner... ;-)

    If you still have vibes after they've replaced the tires, suggest they send you to Discount Tire, or wherever, and let you get something other than the OEM tires.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 19,750 miles
  • Thanks Kelly, but already tried new tires (Yoko's) and balancing from a racing shop that the dealer knew. What else... oh yeah, rotation, alignment, even tried new rims just for the heck of it. They've replaced bushings and even took the driveshaft out and had it balanced.

    The vibe is remarkably less than what I had before, but it is still there.

    Waiting to see what's next.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Well, you've replaced/checked just about everything it could be. I wonder if, because of the mass of the large tires and wheels, if the GV is in need of a steering damper. I know Grand Cherokee's have 'em, though they use a completely different front suspension design.

    At least we don't have the infamous 'death wobble'. This is a situation when after hitting a hole or bump at highway speed, the front wheels occilate uncontrollably. Scary stuff, though not life threatening, as long as the driver doesn't panic.

    I guess the only large rotating components left are front axles, and it probably isn't those. I wonder if there could be a wheel bearing problem, causing the slightest amount of play. Highly unlikely, but you never know.

    I think it would help if we asked the owners of Trackers and regular Vitaras to see if their trucklets suffer from the same malady. They have smaller wheel/tire combos. I'll see if I can round any up.

  • The dealer replaced all four tires with Michelin..still didn't cure it. They have the GV
    back in their shop now...Vibes at 55-70, if you can get to 80 it will stop..don't like to drive that fast for long periods on the interstate. They said it was the drive shaft that caused the differential to go bad...loud roaring noise in the rear of the vehicle, quit after replacing the differential. Now, I believe I have a problem with the transmission..doesn't have the same shift pattern or acceleration that the other ones I have driven have. In fact, we are driving a rental GV (paid for by Suzuki) and it is totally different than mine. Met with District Manager from Suzuki yesterday...have filed lemon law papers and they are "supposedly" fixing it "again"
    Like Akashino said...what's next???
  • Sorry, I forgot to tell you, I am in Florida, and my dealer was Ed Morse Auto Plaza in Port Richey.
    They have been very good with the service, and Suzuki responded extremely fast to my filing the papers, but I am just not satisfied with the performance of the vehicle. Like to keep a car for a while, don't think this one will make it.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    fsumom28, is yours an automatic or a 5-speed manual?

    Sorry to hear about the diff and driveshaft problems. Sounds like a universal joint went bad on you, either partially seizing, or maybe even cracking. Definitely unusual for a new car.

    Oh, and I was noticing last night, the right combo of bumps still makes the front-end of my GV shimmy a bit. What with everything y'all have replaced, I fear it may be either a suspension design flaw or incorrect suspension bushing materials (could be too stiff or too soft). Maybe, when they finally figure it out, there will be a recall.

  • My car is an automatic...they replaced some type of bushing at the very beginning of trying to stop the vibration when they balanced the drive shaft. When that didn't work is when they decided to put in a new one...then the differential was bad..loud roaring noise in the rear of the car. I am afraid it is a design problem, so my concern now is do I take another GV or ask for a refund? Under the Lemon Law in Florida you have your choice. I really do like the car's design and size, but wonder if all the cars are the same.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    I've got just under 20,000 miles on mine, in the first seven months of ownership. Been back to the dealer only once and that was for a leaky rear axle seal and some truly minor trim problems. Sounds like you got a bad one, possibly made worse by a clueless dealer.

    I recommend, if you really like the car (truck), give it another shot.

  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    It's common for vehicles which are stiffly sprung, using a 'live' rear axle. Almost all trucks have this characteristic, and I remember mid-80's Mustang GT's doing the same thing. I agree that it can be unsettling, but it really isn't dangerous, unless you're going too fast into a wet, bumpy turn. My old Grand Cherokee, having live axles both front and rear, tended to jump with the front and rear wheels. Now *that* was creepy.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 19,800 mi
  • I've only had my 2000 GV JLX+ for ~3 weeks, and have less than 300 miles. I'm grateful I'm not having any of the vibration problems I've been reading about, so my problem may seem trivial to others.

    But that damn wind-noise at highway speeds is driving me crazy (sounds like the windows are open a tiny bit but they are closed tight), is it a design flaw that that I have to live with or is there something that can be done. ANY information would be greatly appreciated.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    I have a little wind roar, probably caused by the wrap-around water channels on the windshield. On the up-side, you can wash the windshield with the windows open. On my wife's Intrepid, the same move gets you a soaked left arm.

    You might want to have the door alignment checked out by the dealer. If it isn't just right, the door might not seal tightly against the 'A' pillar.

    Kelly B
  • to moschetf: Our GV has about 6kmi on it. There is very little to no wind noise to speak of.

    Also our minor vibration was cured by moving both front wheels to the rear. I expect I'll have to take up the issue with the dealer after the next tire rotation. Sounds like the Dueler tire issue...

  • Does anyone know of a bike rack that will actually fit on the rear hatch of a Vitara - perhaps attaching to the spare tire itself? Or is the type that holds the bikes upright on the roof the only option?

  • geoff7: When I had my Sportage with the rear-mounted spare tire, I got a Rhode Gear bicycle shuttle. It straps to the spare tire and holds two bicycles securely.

    List price is about $90. You can take a look at

    FWIW, I'm trying to sell my carrier. It works great, but my Xterra doesn't have a rear-mounted spare tire so I don't need the carrier any more.
  • What, if anything, does anyone hear about the 2001 larger Grand Vitara? This sounds interesting. Also, I saw a spy photo of a Grand Vitara SUT (Sport Utility Truck) in a magazine about 4 months ago. It looked pretty neat. It had four doors and held 5 people like the regular GV but also has a 4 1/2 foot pick-up box on the back. Has anyone else heard more about these two vehicles???
  • Thanks, Elizabeth. I should have known to check out Rhode Gear since I live in Rhode Island!

  • I have about 3000 miles on my 1999 GV. The noise I get at highway speed seems more related to tire pressure than wind. Keeping tires at 30 to 31 psi reduced highway noise quite a bit. Also lowering rear windows just a crack actually reduced wind noise up front with or without drivers window open.
  • Have just 1000 miles on my 2000 GV and it's great! Have had Subarus for many years; needed something with a more "chair high" seat, which is not available in Subaru, even with their electric seat on the new models. Extensively test compared and drove the GV against all the competition in mini-utes. There is no comparison. GV beats all in its class in terms of fit and finish, comfort of seating (Edmunds review about back seat not good for anyone over 4' tall is misleading), sound system (have both tape and CD changer), visibility, and POWER. All the competition are left in the dust compared to GV's V-6. I've only done 2 things.....had the windows tinted (to combat Colorado sunshine) and had the tires safety siped. It smoothed the ride and, as anyone familiar with this procedure knows, will extend the life of the tires. If you're shopping around for a great little SUV, just stop and go with a GV.
  • I was reading the following webpage and it mentions that their GV came with a Limited Slip Rear Differential. I din't know the GV came with Limited Slip... or does it? Anybody know????
    The grand Vitara has a similar four-wheel drive system to that on last year's Sidekick: a traditional (thank you) lever-operated two-speed part-time transfer case with a dedicated Neutral setting.
    Low-range gearing is 1.82:1, and sends power to a Corporate IFS open diff-equipped axle up front and a Corporate rear live axle equipped with a limited-slip.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Akashino, I wish I had the limited slip, but I think they goofed. Some magazines have a tendency to do that. I know for a fact, mine is an open diff. Of course, about $1500 worth of ARB air-lockers and a couple of weekends underneath the GV could fix that. ;-)

  • The 2000 GV I took ownership of in October has the limited slip. I've tried it out in Colorado high country snow, and it works as prescribed.
  • I spoke to the dealer who said that the GV doesn't have LS.

    He did mention that there are two after market products on the market to make it LS. One is electric ($$$'s), and the other involves opening up the diff and adding two plates that limit the slip. He says that the latter is less expensive, like a couple of hundred for the parts and the labour.
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