Thoughts on a 2001 Grand Vitara

925hell

New member
I was hoping that the forum would be willing to help me. I have the opportunity to buy a Grand Vitara with very low miles (low 80's). Friend of a friend thing, my concern is that with Suzuki's departure from the US market that parts are or will begin to dry up as it happens with orphaned cars. I haven't seen much on the boards about the Vitara but was hoping that someone here would have some information on this. It seems that other Suzuki's have a loyal following but not so much with the Vitara.

A little more information is probably warranted, the Vitara is going south of the border we are going to do the Pan-American highway from the Mountain West to the most southerly end then back up the East coast to Brazil. The Vitara would tentatively have a slight lift for some larger tires, skid plates, and a roof top tent real simple stuff we are hoping to keep the vehicle as inconspicuous as possible. Yes, the roof top tent isn't too obvious :sombrero: but we are trying to keep the bull bars, winches, lights, and the like to a bare minimum. If you think this is unwise feel free to say so, I welcome any experiences, information or ideas.

I am not as concerned with parts support once we are south of the border as Suzuki has a very strong presence in South America. Once the trip is over I would prefer to keep it instead of trying to sell it in the south.

Any information, experiences and the like would be hugely appreciated. Thanks again

jeff
 

stevec

Adventurer
There are still Suzuki dealers in the US servicing and selling parts, they just aren't selling new vehicles anymore. And with the internet, OEM parts are pretty easy to get, though shipping can be more expensive if coming from overseas. I just got new rear side body panels for my LWB samurai, and last year ordered all new steering components for a 1979 LJ81; newer models should be easier to come by.

Aftermarket parts are easy to find too, there just isn't as much of a market for modifications (i.e. lifts, bumpers, etc.)

The only concern I would have is if the prior owner(s) took decent care of it, but that is a concern for any used car. Vitara's are quite reliable, and if mileage is truly low 80's (not 180K) then I'd jump on it! Especially if it has the V6!
 

thepinproject

Adventurer
Suzuki Vitara in Africa

We did 2 years in Africa with this gem. It is a little 4x4 that will surprise you with its capabilities.

We had a Magiolina Airtop to sleep and changed the back a bit (removed the rear seats, installed a wooden frame etc).

Our only advice is to be extremely cautious with the overall weight. Max according to manufacturer is 2.000 kg.

As for the best suspensions setup, we went for a set of KYB shock absorbers and MAD coil springs (I can provide you with the part nrs if you are interested) that lifted the car about 5cm. After loading everything the car was about 2.350 kg so we had to install some coil spacers as well. This setup has been studied and tried in the field a lot in Europe (especially in Greece) and we were more than happy after 2 years in the African roads.

As for the spares & parts, you will have zero problem to find everything after Mexico. The Vitara are wide available everywhere. The two countries so far where the ratio of Vitaras against all the other cars is insanely high was Costa Rica & Ecuador (we are currently in Ecuador, so I dont if they rule further south).

Last thing we did, was to remove the pump that engages the 4x4 and install the group carrier from the first Vitara (98-05). The 4x4 engagement becomes totally mechanical and you dont rely on the pump which is prone to failure.

Finally, dont forget to install manual wheel hubs in the front wheels (check for WARN, AISIN etc). They minimize the tear and wear of the front diff and they help significantly to lower the fuel consumption.

As for the tires, there is only one option which is BFGoodrich. We managed to fit a bigger size (235/70 R16) and worked perfect.

In case you need extra help, drop us an email. Always happy to share ;-)


Cheers

Nikos
 

Ccrobbins

New member
Our 99

We have a 99 with the 2.5l that I have been very happy with. One thing to check is the smoking upon start up and while driving. If it wasn't maintained well you will need to remove and clean the valve covers.

All of the other issues have been things like window switches and other things that can be sourced from the junk yard.

I say get it and rock on!
 

925hell

New member
Huge thanks

Hi,
Thank you to everyone who responded. Fate can sometimes be a cruel mistress, the Vitara got sold, that being said after taking a long hard look at our plans we have come to the conclusion that the Vitara might be a touch too small for us and our gear. Thanks again, the mods can lock this thread if they decide it has run its course. Many thanks and we will see you on the trail.

Cheers,

Jeff
 

maquette

New member
There are still Suzuki dealers in the US servicing and selling parts, they just aren't selling new vehicles anymore. And with the internet, OEM parts are pretty easy to get, Quote

Steve,

Can you share where there are Suzuki dealers in the states selling parts? I have a '98 Sidekick and not having much luck finding some 4 speed auto trans parts.

Thanks,

Tom
 

follow Maggie

New member
There are still Suzuki dealers in the US servicing and selling parts, they just aren't selling new vehicles anymore. And with the internet, OEM parts are pretty easy to get, Quote

Steve,

Can you share where there are Suzuki dealers in the states selling parts? I have a '98 Sidekick and not having much luck finding some 4 speed auto trans parts.

Thanks,

Tom
Try GM dealers. The sidekick was the same vehicle as the Geo/Chevy Tracker
 

stevec

Adventurer
There are still Suzuki dealers in the US servicing and selling parts, they just aren't selling new vehicles anymore. And with the internet, OEM parts are pretty easy to get, Quote

Steve,

Can you share where there are Suzuki dealers in the states selling parts? I have a '98 Sidekick and not having much luck finding some 4 speed auto trans parts.

Thanks,

Tom
Well apparently the dealer in my area was bought out, and stopped selling Suzuki parts in April of this year. :( I'm sure they weren't the last dealer in the country selling them though. If you had a dealer that sold Suzuki vehicles at the time Suzuki ceased selling them in the US, there's a good chance they are still selling parts. Suzuki is still maintaining 2 of the three parts warehouses here in the U.S., so OEM parts are still here to be bought.

Maggie is correct that the '98 Sidekick was also sold as a Geo or Chevy Tracker, so a Chevy dealer may be of help. Regardless, if you can get hold of a parts manual, it'll be a lot easier to find parts. Also try googling "USA Suzuki Parts"; there are a number of dealers that will come up, though they may not be local to you. Again, a parts manual would be a very good investment so that you can look up by part number.

Megazip.net is in Japan, but I've ordered many OEM Suzuki parts from them. A lot of parts that are "discontinued" in the U.S. are still available in Japan. In fact, just this month I got new rear body panels for a LWB Samurai, among other things.
 

stevec

Adventurer
Well apparently the dealer in my area was bought out, and stopped selling Suzuki parts in April of this year. :( I'm sure they weren't the last dealer in the country selling them though. If you had a dealer that sold Suzuki vehicles at the time Suzuki ceased selling them in the US, there's a good chance they are still selling parts. Suzuki is still maintaining 2 of the three parts warehouses here in the U.S., so OEM parts are still here to be bought.
Another update - they are selling Suzuki parts again. They were under the name Auburn Valley Suzuki, and I guess it took awhile to get the contracts signed with Suzuki. It is under the name Sunset Kia Mitsubishi, in Auburn, WA, and it looks like my account has been transferred to the new ownership. If you still need parts, let me know and I can see what I can get through them.
 

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