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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a USA, 1998 Suzuki Sidekick JX 4dr, I believe it to be a 1.6 L with 16V, auto trans and 4WD.

Little backstory:
I've had this for a while, got it cheap because it was rolled through a cornfield at 55mph. Girl walked away fine but it was totaled. I bought it, got it running and turned it into a side by side for work and play on the farm. It's driven hard and jumped often and I finally exploded the front diff coming off a jump.

The problem:
The front diff housing exploded and the pinion gear has at least one tooth broken. I still need to take it apart yet to confirm all that is broken and confirm some parts.
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The current questions:
  • how can I differentiate the 1.6 vs 1.8 engine?
  • I believe I should have 5.13 gears according to my research, does this sound right?
  • Is it worth getting a steel diff housing and setting up new gears or just getting a junkyard diff and throwing it in? Keep in mind this is used like a side by side so it's abused pretty hard.
  • how difficult is setting up gears in this axle? I've setup gears in a C8.25 before but have no idea what it's like in these axles.
  • is there a way to strengthen the front diff to keep from blowing it up?
  • anything else I should upgrade while it's apart to avoid/reduce the chance of future damage?

I'm sorry for so many questions, I've been researching as much as I can but am struggling to find good info. There's a lot of conflicting information on these and I am not all that familiar with them. My expertise lies in Jeep XJs and MJs so this is all new learning for me.

Below are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure, I have a build thread of this Suzuki on the ComancheClub forum with a lot more pictures and info, is there anywhere here for build threads at all?

As it was when I got it
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High centered it here but it's had a lot of work done, even after this photo.
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I think youll get much more info on this item in the more off-road oriented suzuki fourms rather then here.
im looking into this mod myself even if i dont jump the car, just for the peace of mind while being high up in the mountains middle of nowhere.
most people use the cast iron (not steel...) front diff from later models, but you have to transfer into it the crown and pinion with 5.13 (if thats what you have now). Since yours has a broken tooth, you need to buy another diff with 5.13 AND the cast iron diff.
In europe we have a nice supply of iron front diffs form the 1.9 diesel version but they are costly as breakers know that peopel seek them for upgrade, hard to find them here under 300$. In USA looks like you can grab it form the LX-7.


Expense doesnt end there as also the front shafts need to be changed to fit, best to use the stronger 26 spline ones, so it gets expensive quite quick...and you need to know what you are doing. Setting up the intenral parts of a diff is specialized work.
have even more money to spend? there's the calmini kit.... c'mon, you only live once... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info! Do you have any recommendations on an offroady forum I may be able to get more info from? A lot of what I'm seeing seems to be mostly dead.

I'll have to look more into the cast iron and see if I can find one for a decent price. Having to buy both the cast housing and gears may make it worth spending a little more and getting the steel housing, I found a source for the steel version at $400. The setting up of the gears I'm comfortable doing it if I can find some good information on how the preload is set on these axles.

That calmini kit is a little too expensive for this project but that would be real nice to have!
 

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i came across pirate 4x4 Suzuki as well as ZUKIWORLD Online | Suzuki 4x4 Editorial and Forum - Index but take into account that by now these sukis are getting really old, so not as many people doing big mods to them, so not many posting either. Guess there are good tracker FB groups, but i am not into social media.
Samurai forums are much more alive but you dont want one to commute with.... :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah I'm definitely finding way more on Samurai than sidekick or tracker. Here in the states there are quite a few trackers but they were mostly all used for a cheap commuter car so there are not too many people running them off-road. Most everything is Jeeps and now side by sides are about to outnumber the Jeeps.

Thanks again for the additional info, I'll go start searching through those forums for more information.
 
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