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2004 Grand Vitara 1.6 8v
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, first post here also first time owning a 4wd and also first time owning a Suzuki, I’m sure it will be fun.
I’ve been searching around this forum and have learned a lot but I’d just like to be sure I don’t do any harm to my Grand Vitara. Its a late 2004 GV swb 1.6 petrol. I bought it off a lady that had it for 11 years and I’ll be collecting it this weekend hopefully.It drives perfectly in 2wd but she has never put it in 4wd since owning it so could it be seized up? Do I risk damaging it if I just try and put it in 4wd H straight away or should I change some diff or transmission oils before I try anything? I’ve read up on this forum about checking the air actuator pump and will do that as soon as I get it home.
Also I’m aware that I shouldn’t drive it in 4wd on good surfaces but how do I check that it actually works if I have nowhere else to drive it? Is it ok to just run it in 4H and 4l for a very very short run or do I put it on jack stands to check it’s working?
Thanks in advance
 

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There is only one way to find out if it works, and that is to test it.

Find soft dirt, sand or a grass slick area to determine if your 4WD is operating. Having a partner observe the wheel turning action with you would ease the testing procedure.

Jack stands or lift can help to a certain extent, but you really want to load the drive-train to test it properly.

And if gear oil changing maintenance has been lacking, then you should pursue doing just that! :)
 

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2004 Grand Vitara 1.6 8v
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Discussion Starter #3
There is only one way to find out if it works, and that is to test it.

Find soft dirt, sand or a grass slick area to determine if your 4WD is operating. Having a partner observe the wheel turning action with you would ease the testing procedure.

Jack stands or lift can help to a certain extent, but you really want to load the drive-train to test it properly.

And if gear oil changing maintenance has been lacking, then you should pursue doing just that! :)
Hi Max, thanks for the swift reply. I think changing the gear oil will be my first job and after that I’ll try it out in a field. There’s usually plenty wet boggy fields here in Ireland but currently we are having a pretty long dry spell. Is there a possibility of something being totally seized even after the oil change and me badly damaging it by trying it out?
 

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a possibility of something being totally seized
Probably not, given the way the system is designed, but testing is the only sure fire exploratory solution.
 

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You can test the actuator pump operation in your driveway. Just engage 4H with the transfer case shift lever and the "4WD" indicator should illuminate. If it stays lit, you're halfway home. If it flashes at all, you need to check the pump and lines.

If it doesn't light up at all, ... Check back in.

If it stays lit like it should, disengage and drive to a gravel road, then reengage and do some burnouts.

An oil change is never a bad idea.
 

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2004 Grand Vitara 1.6 8v
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Discussion Starter #6
You can test the actuator pump operation in your driveway. Just engage 4H with the transfer case shift lever and the "4WD" indicator should illuminate. If it stays lit, you're halfway home. If it flashes at all, you need to check the pump and lines.

If it doesn't light up at all, ... Check back in.

If it stays lit like it should, disengage and drive to a gravel road, then reengage and do some burnouts.

An oil change is never a bad idea.
I’m going to change all the oils first thing as soon as I get them. Due to Corona virus things here in Ireland are only just re opening and slowly at that so I’ll have to order the oil online. After everything I’ve read online I’m confident it shouldn’t be a major job to get it working properly. Thanks for the help
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So just an update. I still haven’t changed the oils as I got off to a poor start. I went from not knowing what a slave cylinder was to fixing a leaking one and bleeding a clutch (poorly) last weekend. The exhaust needed a bit of tlc so I am a welder by trade so it was a relatively easy fix, welding being the easy part and wrestling underneath the vitara to get it back on being pretty tough. I don’t own ramps so I used cheapo axel stands I found in our workshop and boy did they give me the Willie’s. Being under the Vitara was a bit unnerving so I made the decision to let a proper mechanic change the oils and the slave cylinder and give it a general once over to be safe. He can’t do it till late next week though so I’ve been cruising around in it for the last few days and besides the poor feel of the clutch pedal it’s in pretty good nick. No scary knocks or rattles and engine sounds smooth for a 15 year old car. My curiosity got the best of me and I said I’d try the 4wd lever even though I said I wouldn’t till after the oil change, I just couldn’t resist. Tried it with just ignition on and sure enough I heard the pump come on and turn off after maybe 5 seconds or less, the 4wd light came on, flashed once and stayed on. Then I started it up and tried it and same result. Started driving and it drove fine but I’ve know idea if it was actually powering the 4 wheels. Then I stopped and put it in 4L and drove another tiny bit and yeah it was driving very slow as I was expecting. I’m. A total beginner to 4wd and Vitaras so please excuse my stupidity but does all this mean it’s working fine?
I will take it to a wet grassy field tomorrow with a friend and get him to watch the wheels to see if I can spin the front ones to be sure.
 

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Also i don’t think it will break if you drive it on hard surfaces every once in a while.
NEVER engage 4WD on hard surfaces. ;)

Suzuki provided directive;
Bulletin No:TS 3-02 02096[R]
Model(s):all suzuki models
Section : drivetrain
CONDITION:transfer case bind-up
CAUSE: operating the vehicle 4WD with automatic or manual hubs engaged on dry pavement or on hard surfaced roads.
CORRECTION:follow procedure as listed
REVISION:Transfer case bind-up is a phenomenon that can occur if a 4WD vehicle is driven on dry, hard surfaced roads
Should the vehicle continue to be driven in this condition,the transfer case gear shift lever will be come stuck,the vehicle may become immobile and serious transfer case damage may occur.
To relieve this situation,place the transmission in neutral,and jack up each end of the vehicle,one at a time,and allow the wheels to spin freely.This procedure will allow all driveline pressures to be relieved and the vehicle can be operated normally.


Above are referenced from this FAQ'd thread. :)
 

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2004 Grand Vitara 1.6 8v
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Discussion Starter #10
NEVER engage 4WD on hard surfaces. ;)

Suzuki provided directive;




Above are referenced from this FAQ'd thread. :)
Hi Max, so say I’m driving in a wet field or loose gravel in 4wd but the front wheels never actually lose traction and spin, will this also cause wind up or will the force of the wind up actually make the wheels spin out on those looser surfaces before something gives way or breaks?
 

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You may never see the front wheels brake traction & spin, but it doesn't mean that the 4WD is not working.

There are a couple of different ways to test - the easiest way is probably this - jack one front wheel off of the ground, put the transfer case in 4H, transmission in neutral, engine off, ignition on - the 4WD light should be on at this point - and then try to rotate the wheel - if the 4WD is working, it should not turn. Note - it may rotate a little before the free wheel clutch engages, but you should not be able to turn it freely.
 

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For the easiest and most conclusive test procedure I still vote for...

Find soft dirt, sand or a grass slick area to determine if your 4WD is operating. Having a partner observe the wheel turning action with you would ease the testing procedure.

Jack stands or lift can help to a certain extent, but you really want to load the drive-train to test it properly.

:)
 

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Hi Max, so say I’m driving in a wet field or loose gravel in 4wd but the front wheels never actually lose traction and spin, will this also cause wind up or will the force of the wind up actually make the wheels spin out on those looser surfaces before something gives way or breaks?
See again the two reference bits of earlier. Wind-up is not achievable when the tires are afforded a slippery grip, UNLIKE when on a hard surface. :)

On a slippery surface you will not observe the tires actually slipping / relaxing their drive-line bind, but it is taking place.
 

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For the easiest and most conclusive test procedure I still vote for...

Find soft dirt, sand or a grass slick area to determine if your 4WD is operating. Having a partner observe the wheel turning action with you would ease the testing procedure.

Jack stands or lift can help to a certain extent, but you really want to load the drive-train to test it properly.

:)
You need TWO partners for that and it can be difficult to determine if the rotation of the wheels is due to drive or forward movement of the vehicle unless you can arrange for the car to be bogged.

I've tested on loose sand over concrete by stepping on the gas hard enough to break the tires loose and then checking the tracks made - because of the open differentials the results are nowhere near as conclusive as you might think.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So just back from field testing, literally 😀. Anyway unsurprisingly I could drive around the whole field in 2wd no problem but we did find a few slightly wet patches and sure enough the front wheels spun so were driving, unfortunately less than a minute later there was a rough gear sound and it kinda jumped out of 4wd and i stopped immediately and struggled to get it back into 2wd. I gave it a second try and same result, I never came out of first gear and never drove more than 50-80 yards each time. I failed to notice what the 4wd light was doing as I was panicking a bit that I’d be stuck with no drive and be stranded in this field. I got it back into 2wd, got out the field and had a look under, could see nothing wrong and no leaks or anything. It drove home fine (5km) too. Any thoughts?
 

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Let's get a little more detail - the transfer case shifter has four positions, 2H, 4H, N & 4L - which position were you in when "it kinda jumped out of 4WD" and where was it when you started "struggling to get it back into 2WD"?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Let's get a little more detail - the transfer case shifter has four positions, 2H, 4H, N & 4L - which position were you in when "it kinda jumped out of 4WD" and where was it when you started "struggling to get it back into 2WD"?
I was in 4H when it happened and to be honest I never fully took note of where it was after as I panicked and just tried to put it into 2H straight away. I realize I should have paid more attention now but in the moment I was just hoping i didn’t just destroy my little 4x4. After the second time I called it quits.
 

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That is a sign of windup, just move in the opposite direction to relieve the load.. or raise a wheel..
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That is a sign of windup, just move in the opposite direction to relieve the load.. or raise a wheel..
I had both wheels off the ground last weekend as I was fixing the leaking slave cylinder and they didn’t “unwind” or anything. Now it was in 2H at that time so does it need to be in 4H and off the ground and in gear to unwind?
 
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