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Old 01-06-2016, 08:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I 4-Wheeled in my 1992 Samurai with some friends who had Toyotas and Jeeps on some pretty tough trails and we all did good. We all got stuck in different spots so the differences in them was there to see, but at the end of the day none of us could claim to have a superior vehicle.

I really liked my Sami, and I didn't mod it much. It rode hard though and didn't have any A/C so it wasn't the most comfortable ride off the trail. A stock Tracker is a lot more comfortable ride than a stock Samurai.

I've seen Sidekicks do pretty darn good on some pretty tough trails with just a few mods too. If you're going to do a lift and bigger tires you'll want to gear it down. I put a Rockcrawler Transfer case and 31" tires with 2 inch shackle lift on my Sami and that's all it needed to keep up. I think something similar would turn a Sidekick into a pretty fair trail vehicle. Without the transfer case it wouldn't climb at all, just burn the clutch. With it I could practically idle up steep climbs without any slipping at all.

The main reason I chose the Sami over a Jeep is they're easier to work on. The transmissions and transfer case, and pretty much everything else are all smaller and lighter. The 4cyl engine parts are easy to get at, and overall I'd still say parts will cost you less in the long haul.

The small size of the 2dr models has some advantages on trails that we all learned to appreciate. There were spots I could wiggle through a lot easier than the bigger vehicles I wheeled with, and some places I could get they just couldn't.

Years ago my wife and I had a 1992 Suzuki Sidekick 4dr 4wd that we both loved. It was stock, and I never took it on any 4x4 trails, but I did take it off road on dirt trails that most cars would never get far on and I think they'd make a great trail rig with just minimal mods.

We just bought a 2000 Chevy Tracker 4dr 4wd about a month ago and that was going to be my new trail car but my wife drove it and said she'd be taking it and I could have her old car, a 2000 Merc Cougar. They're no fun at all off road.

So I just bought a 91 Geo/Chevy Tracker 2dr instead and that's my latest "Project Car". I'm not sure if I'll mod it all yet. I'll need to take it on some trails to get a feel for how it does here first but I suspect it will do pretty good as is. It has an auto trans and already has aftermarket wheels and tires that are bigger than stock, so I really do not know what to expect from it. It might need to be geared down too.

I might sell it though, and buy another 4dr instead. I can get one of those here that's still pretty nice and rust free for a pretty decent price and then mod it all I want and end up with a pretty great trail rig.

And that brings me to pretty much where you are and I have to say that's a pretty good way to go. I won't claim to be an expert on off road vehicles but I did build and customized a lot of cars when I was younger, including some "Monster Truck" show cars (but that really doesn't count because they were never driven off road or anywhere). And I've driven a lot of high-end cars (and pushed even more), and I've really come to love these Samurai/Sidekick/Trackers.

Of all the cars I've ever worked on or owned these are my favorite to own and drive.

Here's a link to some photos of a gathering of Samurais in Disney Oklahoma back in 2001. There were some pretty tough Zuks there.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I love my sidekick. With 30" tires, a 3" lift and a rear locker it does great on trails. It is a great hill climber due to the light weight. My only complaint is that there is no aftermarket support as far as gearing to run bigger tires than 30-31". I still get 23 mpg or better with mixed driving including country roads, highway and offroading in a tank of gas. I just really like the way the little Zuk drives and handles the way it is set up. My buddy has a 99 Jeep Wranger with 31" tires of the same model as mine and I prefer the Sidekick for fun in the mud. For me it is easer to control and steer out of slides. The Jeep feels like I am driving a full size truck compared to the Suzuki which feels as easy and intuitive as a Honda civic. I do like Jeeps and they feel very solidly built in the rough terrain but at the end of the day its a Chrysler product. The Zuk has that Japanese mechanical quality that is simply more reliable.

And even though I wish I could run bigger tires sometimes, like 33's or so, most of the trail obstacles and mud holes are doable with the 30's. The bigger your tires are, the smaller the obstacles. With the exception of some deep mud holes that have been dug out by bigger tired vehicles, it is rare that I get stuck in the Zuk. Really I think its best to be smaller and keep the trails a bit challenging on average than to just monster truck over everything.

So if you're just looking to have fun and not claim the title of world's greatest rockcrawler, just grab a sidekick/tracker, 2 or 4 door lift 2-3" and put some 30" tires on and have a blast.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just figured out how to change pages to read more comments (just got into the 21st century recently). I really appriciate the information. I"m getting more excited about the decision to go with a sidekick the more I hear from this community. The advantages you mention really excite me. My experience with Jeeps and Jeep people has been very positive but something about what you all describe resonates with me. Lack of aftermarket parts/mod items concerns me a bit but the simplicity and ease of working on these that you've talked about overrides the concerns. I found one I like but have to wait until Tuesday to see it. Now that I have made the choice, I feel like a puppy waiting to play.
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Old 01-07-2016, 09:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hope you find a nice sidekick/tracker. I just drove my friend's Jeep today and I do like it, don't get me wrong but it reminded me of one more positive point about the Sidekick 4 door. It's like driving a greenhouse. The visibility is amazing. Even coming from my Honda Cr-v to the Sidekick is like night and day. The Suzuki is so open and bright.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebucky47 View Post
Here are my thoughts:
SNIP
.
Excellent write up.

One thing I will say is in the southwest [AZ, NM, TX, SoCal] There are virtually no rust issues.

Anything from the 'Rust Belt'...... well it's called that for a reason.

Never had a jeep, but I really like my 'kick as a daily driver, need it just to get up my driveway. No Mods at all, just one size bigger tires.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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does anyone know the biggest tires you can put on a Suzuki sidekick without lifting it

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Old 07-16-2019, 07:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justisbetoff View Post
does anyone know the biggest tires you can put on a Suzuki sidekick without lifting it

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this is covered in numerous threads on this forum, use the search feature.
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justisbetoff View Post
does anyone know the biggest tires you can put on a Suzuki sidekick without lifting it

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Ah, welcome to the forum. Itís really best to start a new post for something rather than piggybacking on an old thread. But to answer your question, the largest that you can safely put on is probably 225/75/15. Some people are lucky enough to be able to put on the 235/75/15 without rubbing, but many do have rubbing at full extension. Note that your speedo will be off with the larger tire - I have 235ís on mine, my speedo is off about 6% (I am going 6% faster than the speedo says) and the heavier tire has impacted my mpg in local traffic to about 2 mpg. I was driving the 225ís for years, and loved them, but they are getting hard to find here.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:21 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I had this same choice a wrangler or a Suzuki. I wanted a tin top but I couldn't afford a clean one. I found a cheap sidekick 4dr and I pulled the trigger.

These cars with 2in body and 1 or 2in coil , 31s or 32s, and some lockers is a bad ass rig. Steel front differential and a stubby axle mod are on my list too.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Fuzzy thinks: "What is this JEEP you speak of... (J)ust (E)mpty (E)very (P)ocket...
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