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Old 01-05-2016, 11:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default sidekick or jeep?

Hello Suzuki-forums! I would like to hear from people who drive sidekicks/trackers. I would like to know why you love your vehicle choice, whats better about it than anything else. Suzuki and Jeep are my last two remaining contenders. I went to some Jeep forums and their members have no end of praise and admiration for their machines. I have no experience with suzuki. I am interested in a four door sidekick early to mid 90's. Thank you for your opinions.
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I love my Suzuki because it is light, reliable and gets 25-28mpg on the roads with the lowest I have ever gotten off road was 22mpg and that was pretty rough, slow going. My friends with jeeps got 10-12mpg on the same trail. n other words, I can drive a lot more trails on 5 gallons of gas than the jeep drivers.

It is very maneuverable on trails and rides pretty well around town. Plus the community here is friendlier than the Jeep guys
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1993 Tracker 4x4, 2 door, 8v, 3 sp auto, 135k - 24.3 mpg
1996 Tracker 4x4, 2 door, 16v, 3 sp auto, 107k - 25.9 mpg
2005 Volvo S40 T5 AWD, 69K - 26.0 mpg
1987 Mercedes-Benz 300D turbodiesel, 4 sp auto, 152k - 27.9 mpg

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Old 01-05-2016, 01:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don`t know in which area you`re living.

I got my first Tracker ever last year, It`s a 94 4wd 1.6l 8v. As Colonel said , one of the good thing is that this little 4wd is light, it makes work on it very easy.

I got a GMC SIERRA 5.3l 4wd. Let say that I wouldn`t want to be stuck in the snow with the Sierra, it`s heavy. The Tracker is amazing , even in the deep snow.

I also like JEEPS, however for the difference of price (gas/repairs/etc) I`m happy I chose the Tracker. One of my friend had many Jeeps(still got one). One thing is sure, , he would never have a 4 engine again but only 6 engines. He had to invest a lot more money than I did, but it`s his main vehicule, my Tracker isn`t mine.

It dépends of your needs. if you`ll have to tow heavy stuff with it, it will be to much for those Trackicks. i won`t say anything neg about those Jeeps, I never had any. But for sure, I`m very positive about tose Trackicks. I went to work with mine last years, (distance 90km a day) more then half was highway. I simply loved it, but don`t expect to make a race with a Ferrari with it !!
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Old 01-05-2016, 04:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here are my thoughts:

JEEPS the Good

Millions sold, dealer support (sold in US) massive aftermarket network of parts and customization possibilities

A large and loyal following

Solid underpinnings of a body on frame construction 4x4.

Jeeps the Bad

Millions sold---you are anonymous. There are a 100 Jeeps on the road for every Suzuki/Tracker. Own a drive-able Suzuki X-90? There are MILLIONS of JEEPS on the road for every X-90 still out there.

Jeeps are EXPENSIVE in the Used Car World. Jeeps from the 80's, 90's, and early 2000's (the ones you can afford) are $3,000 to $15,000. Most are lousy, worn, high-millage at that. JEEPS have GREAT RE-SALE, which is good as a seller, NOT SO GOOD as a Buyer

80's-90's Jeeps/Chrysler (except Diamond star/Mitsubishi) were very poorly built vehicles. JEEP has had 3 owners in the last 30 years (AMC, D-Benz, and Now Fiat) because of financial problems directly tied to the quality and reputation of their product. Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge Transmissions from the 80's and 90's? The worst in the automotive world. Jeep lost millions on auto transmissions as warranty work in this period, and they only had a 36,000 mile warranty! My dad was a Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler mechanic for almost 40 years. These transmissions had a usable life-span of no more than 50,000 miles. Chrysler was having massive financial problems trying to keep the company afloat in this period and cut corners everywhere: suppliers parts, engineering, fit & finish, etc. I had a Jeep and so did friends in this era, we spent half the weekend fixing em.

SUZUKI the GOOD

A robust little engine and solid frame construction. These little trucks will go through almost anything and get good mpg. The simple design is easy for repairs and fixes.

They are CHEAP. Search Craigslist in any city, Geo Trackers, Sidekicks, X-90's Samurai they are on there. I bought a 1996 Geo Tracker 4x4, running and driving for $350. The mechanicals were solid, the body was solid rust. The best one i ever bought was a 1994, 4x4, new soft-top, new tires, 71,000 original miles. I bought for $1,500 in 2012, still drive today. With the $500 total I have put in the tracker in parts in the last 4 years (wiper blades, fuel filter, rear shocks, oil and air filters) it has cost me an average of $500 a year to own and drive a nice little vehicles. For new car, this would be one payment.

Unique---there are a 100 Jeeps on the road for every one Tracker. You like to be different? Drive a Suzuki.


Suzuki the BAD

No dealer support, an Orphan brand in the US. Some parts are getting hard to find, many have bit the dust. Not everything is available on Rockauto, I needed a ignition coil (tiny) and a ignition module (size of a book of matches) $74 for the coil at Autozone $93 for the module. I am afraid this will continue. The EGR is over $200, same for the Idle Control valve.

Little to no aftermarket support for customization. Samurai is better than all others. Tracker/Sidekick there are 4 or 5 companies (Low range, Rocky Mnt, Roadless Gear, Zuks) in North America---not many or cheap choices for customization. Jeeps have 500 + page catalogs with nothing but Jeep parts.
Millions of pages of parts on E-bay for Jeep. Suzuki? Few and far between.

RUST. WOW, do these things rust hard. The Toyota pick-ups of the 80's rusted the fastest of any vehicles I can remember, Suzuki's are a close second. You have to look at what you are getting and what you can live with. Many people see a little rust and think, "No Big Deal". Well, rust that is seen is tiny to what you don't see---like an Iceberg. Some are frankly unsafe to be on the road.

POWER----yup, every man wants more power. 1.3, 1.6 or 1.8 engines, that's not alot of power. Now for me, I think it is fine and understand the trade-off (power=money, fast=money, low power vs. lightweight). Some people will never be happy with 1.6 liters. Can you cram a 4.3 chevy or a VW diesel in a Track-Kick. SURE. But, for every job done right, 10 are done wrong and even worse, good vehicles that could have been driven and enjoyed are now Suzuki's with the engine out and sitting in barns and backyards, victims of owners with huge dreams and small skills and few tools.
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Old 01-05-2016, 05:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for the comments. I live in the pacific northwest--a great place geographically. I do have concerns about aftermarket opions and parts in general. Jeep aftermarket is awsome...some say neccessary I like the idea of a light 4x4 with four doors so the sidekick has alot of appeal. In my shopping I have found sidekicks in the $2500 range. Jeeps can be acquired for half that. I am leaning toward the suzuki because its #1000 lighter than even a cherokee, but the independant front suspension is something I have heard not much good about in any 4x4. The initial investment cost difference does not concern me as much because I plan to keep this machine for the duration. For the record though, I would love to find one in that $350 range that one of you- found! (sorry my screens so small I cannot read the name in that post) If I could get good info about the sidekicks IFS not being a problem & not costing a fortune to work on, it would be another point in the suzuki column.
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Old 01-05-2016, 05:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I forgot to ask about halting the rust problem before it starts. What do you do, what are you using to stop that. Rust is problem I do not want. I met a guy who "line-x"'ed his who car. He said it added #300 to he vehicle weight. Putting rust protection on is important to me but not #300 worth!
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What part of the PNW? I lived in the Willamette valley for a few years and it was a great place (possibly the best place in the nation) to find Suzukis, and most are rust free up there (unless it has lived in a coastal town).

The IFS is fine as long as you don't run huge lifts and drive moderate terrain. These things shine on trails, not rock crawling. I got my 93 and 96 for $650 and $500 respectively...I have found putting a wanted ad on craigslist brings nice examples with "major" problems (that often are simple) out of the woodwork.
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1993 Tracker 4x4, 2 door, 8v, 3 sp auto, 135k - 24.3 mpg
1996 Tracker 4x4, 2 door, 16v, 3 sp auto, 107k - 25.9 mpg
2005 Volvo S40 T5 AWD, 69K - 26.0 mpg
1987 Mercedes-Benz 300D turbodiesel, 4 sp auto, 152k - 27.9 mpg

WARNING: this post contains thoughts that may at any point be discovered by the state of California to cause cancer.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have never solved the rust problem, but continue the fight! Some are to far gone to repair, and must be enjoyed as beaters (rough cars for winter use or mudding). I have cut sheet metal and welded, bonded, seam sealed it in floor, rear pan, and rear corner and taillight areas. I recently cut the rockers out on both sides with a cut off wheel and bonded (automotive 2 part epoxy) on new rockers.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you all for taking the time out of your day to respond. You presented good rational reasons for owning them. For my criteria, these machines sound like a fit and I've decided to persue one in the morning.
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Old 01-06-2016, 05:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have both so I can compare. I guess it depends on what you are going to do with your vehicle. If you are doing heavy off roading, the jeep is the answer. Light off roading and most commuting to work, the Zook is the answer., Jeeps have MUCH more access to parts and service too. HUGE difference. Zooks are much cheaper. Its really up to you and what you are looking for
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