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Hey everyone, I currently have a 97 Sidekick soft top that I absolutely love but looking to get something a little more family friendly. A 2002 Grand Vitara 5 door recently came for sale near me and I’m planning on going to take a look at it.... just wondering what some common problems or issues I should look for with it before I buy. It has 215000 km, they seller says the check engine line comes on intermittently but has ran the code and it’s just a O2 censor.
 

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99 Tracker, 5 door, 2L, 4x4
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Take a scanner with you and run a diagnostic, make sure all the monitor are set..
 

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I'd want to know if the timing chain has been replaced. Check the FAQs at the top of this section of the forum for further detail. If the chain hasn't been replaced, plan to replace it yourself or pay someone to do it. It's not an easy task! The shop manuals quote 8.3 hours for the job - and that's with a trained Suzuki mechanic (which would be hard to find these days). I've heard of shops that look at the manual for the job and refuse to do it.
 

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Just so that it's clear - the timing chains on these engines are not scheduled replacement maintenance items in the way that timing belts are - there is no reason why any owner would/should need to replace the chain unless there has been a problem, and no need for a prospective purchaser to know when or if the timing chain has been replaced - what he would/should want to know is IF it needs to be replaced, and if it does, then that is reason to walk away and find another vehicle.

How do you know if it needs to be replaced? Listen to the engine from a cold start, anything more than 1~2 seconds of rattle from the front of the motor is a bad sign.

The cause of premature timing chain failure is poor maintenance, missed oil changes, use of the wrong oil & use of the wrong oil filter - with proper maintenance the chains are good for the life of the engine, Max, what did you have on your engine, 300,000+ miles?
 

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Yep. And noise and problem free!
 

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Here is a thread discussing common problems. Unfortunately, the FAQ threads in reference are currently out of bounds with this new forum launch. But they are working to correct the problem.
 

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On whether and when to change the #1 timing chain adjuster. I'd go with the technical service bulletin on that subject. NHTSA TSB TS 07 04213R.

I think it's in the database on this forum or just google it and d/l from NHTSA.
 

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TSB No. TS 07 04213R
Division: Automotive Section Title: Engine
Category: Grand Vitara/XL-7
SUBJECT: TIMING CHAIN TENSIONER
MODEL(S): GRAND VITARA/XL-7
YEAR: 1999-CERTAIN 2002
CONDITION: Loud chain rattling noise from right front of engine behind the timing cover.
Noise is usually loudest when engine is started cold.
CAUSE: Number 1 Timing Chain Tensioner not adjusting properly.
CORRECTION: Remove front timing chain cover and replace ONLY the Number 1 Timing
Chain Tensioner (Part Number 12831-85FA5 or latest part number). For
removal and installation procedures for the Number 1 Timing Chain Tensioner,
refer to the Engine Mechanical Section of the applicable Suzuki Service
Manual. Reseal front timing chain cover as outlined in TSB 06 01173R.
NOTE: DO NOT REPLACE TENSIONER #2 OR #3.
AFFECTED VIN(S):
GRAND VITARA XL-7
~JS3TD62V424155323 ~JS3TX92V424116207
~JS3TE62V324152023 ~JS3TY92V224104358
 

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Here is a thread discussing common problems. Unfortunately, the FAQ threads in reference are currently out of bounds with this new forum launch. But they are working to correct the problem.
Note: As of this writing the old Forum link problem has just been corrected! :)

 

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Thumbs up for the timing chain tensioner replacement. My Suzi rattled like a old cold diesel on cold start - bought her anyways. Spent a Saturday replacing the #1 tensioner and the water pump (after tearing it all down it makes sense to do it at the same time) and I've had 4 years (so far) of joy with a great little trucklet. So I wouldn't worry about the age of the chain so much if it has been decently maintained. Actually, the O2 sensors caused me much more pain and lost skin than the tensioner!
 
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Actually, the O2 sensors caused me much more pain and lost skin than the tensioner!
Don't you just love that connector location at the back of the block hehehe
 

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Don't you just love that connector location at the back of the block hehehe
I've had heart surgery. THAT was easier than the O2 sensor connectors!
 
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One other thing to check is to pull it into 4 wheel drive. If the indicator light blinks you may have a problem that could be as simple as a leaking air line, or mean resealing the 4x4 air pump or more. But information for all that is in this forum.
 

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One other thing to check is to pull it into 4 wheel drive. If the indicator light blinks you may have a problem that could be as simple as a leaking air line, or mean resealing the 4x4 air pump or more. But information for all that is in this forum.
u mean if the light blinks there is a problem with it?
 

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Yes. See the top of this section FAQ thread on subj drive-train issues.

And welcome aboard! :)
 

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Constant flashing is an indication of a leak in the system, the bigger the leak, the faster the flash rate - if you happen to notice the light "wink out" and back on occasionally, for example, once every 5~10~15 minutes, consider it a non issue.
 
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