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Old 07-09-2019, 12:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need advice - 1996 Geo Tracker

Dear Forum, this is my first post. I am looking for some professional advice as to what to do next. I own a 1996 red Geo Tracker, manual, base model. I recently had the engine rebuilt, new clutch, new rear shocks, new tires, new EGR valve, new stereo, etc. The car is basically my backup car and I also tow it behind my RV.

This past week while traveling in South Dakota I made a huge mistake. Long story but I forgot to take the car out of first gear while towing and I overrevved the engine. Once I discovered the error I could not pull over in time as there was no shoulder to pull over on and I was on a busy, fast road. I could have cried. I did tow it to a mechanic that confirmed the knocking from the engine was the rods. It does start right up and I can drive forward and reverse but the engine has a loud knocking sound.

I am faced with the following:
1. Sell the car for minimum value which I am reluctant to do. It's a nice car and I hate to see it junked.
2. Rebuild the motor again though I am reluctant to spend the $$. I dont have the expertise to do it myself. I could take the $$ and get my Honda CRV outfitted to tow instead.
3. Find someone who does know how to fix it and sell it to them so at least the car will still be on the road. Though I dont know how to go about doing this unless I advertise on Craigs List, etc

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and give any thoughts or alternatives on this. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area if that matters.

Still sick about the whole thing,
Kurt
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome aboard and sorry for your engine loss.

Give swapping in a good / used engine a thought. It's the only option not yet weighed in on it appears.

Beyond that, it's all up to you.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum. And what a horrid story. I’m really sorry about this. I think that Max’s suggestion might be a good one if you wanted to repair the car. Any 1996 Suzuki Sidekick or Geo Tracker engine would be pretty much a straight swap. A 97 or 98 engine might need the harness and ECU. You could also swap in a 91-95 engine, but again, you’d need the ECU and harness, and would be basically ‘downgrading’ your car to an OBD1 engine. There are internet junkyard websites that do searches like this for you. You might want to try to request a 96 Tracker/Sidekick from them, to see what kind of cost and availability there is for the replacement.
You also advised that you just had your engine rebuilt. Have you tried bringing the car to them, to see what they’d charge for the repair?
This is really a horrible story....
You might even want to think about buying an actual ‘parts’ car - one that runs, but has other problems like trashed body, suspension, etc. When Trackicks are in bad shape, they can be pretty cheap to purchase.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd like to get clarification on what happened. Within a week I'm heading out with my camper and my '96 Tracker 4wd, manual trans, towed four down.

The manual says:

transfer case in neutral
shift into 2nd gear
unlock steering and turn off all electrical accessories

Did you leave yours in first gear with the transfer case in gear?

If I am ever in a spot like you I'd look for a used engine to swap into mine. The body is rusty so a new engine would outlast it by wayyyyy too much.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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All I can think about after hearing this story is this...

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Old 07-10-2019, 08:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am sorry to hear about the engine problem, that is a sad story. I don't have any special advice, but wanted to offer some encouragement.

If it were me, I would try to fix the engine as a first choice. I know it's expensive, but I've always had best results with using a professional rebuild shop, that will offer best odds of a long service life. It will not increase the value of your car, however. So if you aren't planning to keep it long term I'd say sell as-is to somebody looking for a mechanic's special.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treeview View Post
I'd like to get clarification on what happened. Within a week I'm heading out with my camper and my '96 Tracker 4wd, manual trans, towed four down.

The manual says:

transfer case in neutral
shift into 2nd gear
unlock steering and turn off all electrical accessories

Did you leave yours in first gear with the transfer case in gear?

If I am ever in a spot like you I'd look for a used engine to swap into mine. The body is rusty so a new engine would outlast it by wayyyyy too much.
The OP didn't say, but I think it's a 2WD, not 4WD, thus the reason for towing with the transmission in neutral.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes Byron is correct. My tracer is a 2wd and not a 4wd. I should have stated that in my original post. Thats why I only had to put it in neutral. Treeview you should be good. I towed this vehicle countless times with no problem. One just has to put it in neutral in my case. If you follow the manual you will be good.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for you input. I may start out with the suggestion as a mechanics special and see what happens. If I dont get any takers I may just go back and get the engine redone. The orginal guy did a great job and maybe he will give me a discount for the second go around. I wont forget this lesson anytime soon!
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