08-14-2019, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: The Netherlands
Rust/Valves ticking/Differential - My first drive in a GV
During the last few years I have been thinking of buying a 4x4 vehicle, mainly for holiday trips in areas like the Alps and the Pyrenees. I have been looking at various makes/models, such as Jeep Cherokee XJ and KJ, Toyota Hilux Surf (4Runner), SsangYong Rexton and a few others.
The V6 models of the Grand Vitara (1998-2004) and XL-7 (2001-2005) have been on my list, as they have genuine off-road capabilities, and compared to most similar vehicles the dimensions and weight are rather more sensible. Even so, I never seriously considered the Suzuki’s, as they have quite a bad reputation with regard to rust. Where I live, the roads are salted during winter, which obviously takes its toll. I have seen a few GV’s which were quite bad in this respect, mainly the undercarriage.
However, yesterday I went to have a look at a (fairly cheap) 1999 GV, which surprised me in a positive way. It did have some rust, but certainly not more than other vehicles of the same age. I hardly think this is a car which has been pampered, as it has had 5 owners. So apparently it IS possible to find a GV without too much of the brown crusty stuff ==> I will consider it more seriously 😊
After driving this 1999 GV 2.5 litre (which has done 175.000 km (110.000 miles)), a few questions came up:
1. This particular car is 20 years old, the vehicles I went to see earlier – which clearly had more rust – were 2004 and 2005 cars. Could it be that older GV’s are less prone to rust than newer vehicles, or was this just a coincidence?
2. There was a bit of rust on the right hand side rear wheel arch; how easy is it to remove the side cladding, and put it back on again? Are the seals which are along the upper edge of the cladding still available?
3. After starting the engine from cold, there was a light ticking/tapping noise, which did not disappear until the engine had warmed up. I read about the timing chain (tensioner) issues, but to me this sounded more like the valves. I know that for some engines (e.g. older BMW engines) it’s perfectly normal that the valves are clearly audible; how is this for 2.5 and 2.7 V6 engines?
4. At around 100 km/h (60 mph) I heard some whining of the rear differential; can this be considered normal, or is it likely to need replacement shortly?
5. Elsewhere on the forum I read the following with regard to 2003 to 2005 V6’s: “Suzuki increased the size of the oil passages in the timing chain tensioners and parts of the head and block to prevent the dreaded timing chain issues.” Is it known from which date of manufacture or VIN number this change applies? And does it actually solve the problems with the chain tensioner?
My apologies for the long text, I guess it got a bit out of hand. I hope you experienced Suzi-owners can shed some light on these issues, many thanks in advance!