1989 Suzuki Vitara SE416C Type1 JX Power Steering Conversion
I'm looking at buying an 89 vitara without power steering, I was wondering if anyone knew if it was worth figuring out how to convert it to power steering, I would have a mechanic do it, but what parts I would need, and if its relatively straight forward.
The car has been done up quite a bit, and pretty much fallen in love with it, but because of the roads I drive on, I would prefer power steering.
My first car was a 1992 Vitara jx, loved it! Looking forward to getting back in to one.
Thanks for anyone's answers, it would be much appreciated.
I haven't done it personally, but I don't see any reason it couldn't be done, and at least in my mind, the biggest challenge is likely to be tracking down the necessary bits & pieces - if you can find a power steering equipped donor in a junk yard, go for it.
You're going to need the steering box, possibly the column, pump, reservoir, mounting brackets, hoses & lines, crankshaft pulley and belt - you may also need to fit the "idle-up" actuators etc., if the Vitara is carbureted.
Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly, makes me feel much more confident about the whole thing.
I have found 2 likely donor candidates from a cursory search at one junk yard today, but I'm really not sure what models I can steal the parts from to make sure it fits into the 89 I'm buying with minimal fuss.
I have found some cars with power steering being junked at a local yard.
1995 Suzuki Vitara 5dr Hard Top - 1.6lt Efi, Manual
1992 Suzuki Vitara 5dr Hard Top - 1.6lt Efi, Manual
1991 Suzuki Vitara 3dr Soft Top - 1.6lt Carb, Manual
I am going to go on a junk yard hunt over the next few days so even a vague idea of the cars I can get parts from would be handy.
A pity I can't buy people a beer on here for the info.
I'm looking at buying an 89 vitara without power steering, I was wondering if anyone knew if it was worth figuring out how to convert it to power steering,
No, I wouldn't bother doing this at all. I have a Tracker with manual steering and a Vitara with power. I hate the power steering, and find it too twitchy, frankly. These cars are very light, and once you get the car moving at all, the steering is incredibly easy to turn. The only issue I ever had with the manual steering is if someone crams me into a parking space, with only a foot or so clearance front and back. Turning the steering wheel initially, while the car is standing still, is difficult, but certainly doable. And once you get it moving, it's a snap. Manual steering has far less to go wrong with it, frankly, and you will not miss it at all. IMHO, of course!!
I have done the swap on my wife's, off road only, 90 japanese made unit. Bex is correct that they drive fine without and are closer to pure sidekick. In my application the advantage is worth the trouble. Check out some of my youtube vids and when going from lock to lock with no effort and very quickly helps on the tight trails. What will be required from the donor will be: crank pulley (if yours is only a single), steering shaft (man steering is longer as the box is shorter), steering box and pitman arm, reservoir for box, also you may need to relocate coolant overflow so source that tank from donor as well.
Can't say I agree with you there Bex - and given the numbers of people I see asking about adding power steering on this & other forums, I'd have to say you're in a minority.
Three out of the four vehicles I currently have, have power steering, as did the last one I got rid of - properly setup power steering is a joy to use, and if you're running oversized tires it can be a down right necessity - strangely enough - of those four vehicles, the only one with oversized tires is the one without power steering - it's not unmanageable, but it is a pain in the backside to park and for that reason, only one of my womenfolk will drive it.
All three of my daughters learned to drive on that car (it was the only manual transmission vehicle available at the time, and learning on a manual is, in my opinion, an absolute must) and our test includes "parallel parking", there were afternoons when I felt sorry for those girls - sore aching arms from parallel parking practice.
Its usually a simple bolt on but you would need to check that you have a flat belt and not a V-belt. As well as the obvious bits you will need the steering shaft from a PS model as the length is different
The vitara has been lifted 3inch and fitted with much larger tyres which make turning problematic when going slow. I am going to drive it for a week or two to see if I prefer manual or if I would like to go to power steering. I just remember my old Vitara having power steering and it was a great help when parking. I wont need to do too much parking as this is going to be used off road mostly.
Thanks for the list of parts Loosenut, really appreciate that, going to really help searching today. You wouldn't happen to know compatibility of parts for the 89? would the 91-95 vitara power steering work?
I am actually contemplating doing this myself, would love to get to know the insides of a Vitara. Wiring one is easy... mechanical parts... not so much.
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