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My Son has purchased a Vitara for off road use.It requires some work to make it fit for even off road use! The registration plate is for 1996, it seems to have a 1.6 engine, 2 doors, a tonneau cover on the roof and 4 wheel drive. Not exactly sure what it is, which is not helping the search for parts. Is it a mk1, 3 door, open? I know nothing about these cars and wondered if this forum could help.

When we collected the car we pushed it out to have a look, before starting it and driving it a few meters. When it arrived home it was difficult to push, even with it in neutral, brakes binding perhaps, resulted in towing up the drive? First job was to fix front offside caliper. With that wheel in the air and no caliper I tried to rotate the wheel. I was surprised to see that as I did this it was trying to move the nearside wheel which is on the ground. As the car is in neutral I was expecting it to turn the pinion wheel on the front differential instead. Is this correct or is there some issue with the differential?
 

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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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Welcome to the Forum. This is the right place. Lots of knowledgeable people here. I'm not familiar with your Vitara, and can't comment on your problem, but My guess is what you are seeing is normal. However, since it is new to you, you should check out all the systems -- which means get a service manual -- and complete all of the routine maintenance, assuming that they have never been done. That will keep you busy for quite a while, and get you familiar with all of the numerous systems of the Vitara.

Again, WELCOME, and as you go along, start new POSTS for each problem/question you encounter.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. This is the right place. Lots of knowledgeable people here. I'm not familiar with your Vitara, and can't comment on your problem, but My guess is what you are seeing is normal. However, since it is new to you, you should check out all the systems -- which means get a service manual -- and complete all of the routine maintenance, assuming that they have never been done. That will keep you busy for quite a while, and get you familiar with all of the numerous systems of the Vitara.

Again, WELCOME, and as you go along, start new POSTS for each problem/question you encounter.
Thank you for the welcome and assurance this is the right place. Looking forward to learning more from the knowledge base.
 

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First, the vehicle identification - a 96 model year would be what is considered a "gen 1" or first generation Vitara, also known as SE series, it should have a 1.6 litre engine, which could be 8 or 16v, with either a carburettor or fuel injection - there should be an ID plate under the bonnet with a chassis number - if you let me know what that is I should be able to look it up

Second - the front differential - the standard fitting on a Vitara is an open differential, and the vehicle may or may not have been equipped with freewheeling hubs from the factory - your expectation is correct for an open differential, but on a used vehicle, there is no telling what may have been done by a previous owner, especially an off road enthusiast - several types of locking differentials are available, the diff could have been welded (known as a "lincoln locker" after the lincoln brand of welders) and I've heard of one instance where the diff was actually missing.
 

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First, the vehicle identification - a 96 model year would be what is considered a "gen 1" or first generation Vitara, also known as SE series, it should have a 1.6 litre engine, which could be 8 or 16v, with either a carburettor or fuel injection - there should be an ID plate under the bonnet with a chassis number - if you let me know what that is I should be able to look it up

Second - the front differential - the standard fitting on a Vitara is an open differential, and the vehicle may or may not have been equipped with freewheeling hubs from the factory - your expectation is correct for an open differential, but on a used vehicle, there is no telling what may have been done by a previous owner, especially an off road enthusiast - several types of locking differentials are available, the diff could have been welded (known as a "lincoln locker" after the lincoln brand of welders) and I've heard of one instance where the diff was actually missing.
Thank you for the information, I will get the numbers from the plate as soon as I can for identification.
Sounds like I need to remain open minded on the front differential/axle for now. Lets see what the situation is when there are brakes.
 

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The fact that with one wheel off the ground, the opposing one is trying to turn would indicate that you’re in 4wd. Make sure that your lever inside the car Is in 2wd, and that your hubs are unlocked.
 

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The fact that with one wheel off the ground, the opposing one is trying to turn would indicate that you’re in 4wd. Make sure that your lever inside the car Is in 2wd, and that your hubs are unlocked.
Thank you, sorry don't know what you mean by hubs are unlocked, how do I check that?
 

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As I mentioned earlier, some vehicles are fitted with free wheeling front hubs - it could have a splined disk so that when the wheel turns the CV axle turns, it could have a manual free wheel hub with a disk that you turn to lock/unlock, or it could have autohubs - take a picture of one of the front wheels and post it.
 

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Take a look at this diagram here:
At the center of your front wheels, it will either look like #7 or #14 (where it either says ‘auto’ or has a place for you to turn the hub). Which one looks like yours?
 
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Here is the VIN plate, hope you can see the number looks like SJAETA02C01102429 to me. Is that the VIN?

On the hub front they look like manual hubs to me and are locked. What does the lock/unlock do. Lock to driveshaft? So presumably unlocked means only 2 wheel drive?

Thank you all
 

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1991 Hardtop 3-door Tracker 1.6L 4WD 5-Speed No A/C
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You are correct -- FREE means 2WD & LOCKED means 4WD.
Next to the normal gear shift is the associated transfer case shift marked 4L - N - 4H - 2H --- that is used in combination. So if wheels are set for FREE this should be set for 2H.
For 4WD, set the hubs to LOCKED, and choose 4H for slippery roads/snow, or 4L for driving under 35MPH.

The wheel hubs SHOULD turn with just a little effort from FREE to LOCKED. Otherwise, the hubs probably need a good cleaning -- and yours look overdue.
 

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There are two videos in this link that will show you how to clean and service the hubs. You have manual hubs (far better, IMHO, than auto)

Remember, your vehicle is PART TIME 4wd. It should NEVER be put into 4wd (with the hubs locked and the transfer case lever put into 4wd) on a dry surface, or on any surface where one of the wheels is not able to slip.
 

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There are two videos in this link that will show you how to clean and service the hubs. You have manual hubs (far better, IMHO, than auto)

Remember, your vehicle is PART TIME 4wd. It should NEVER be put into 4wd (with the hubs locked and the transfer case lever put into 4wd) on a dry surface, or on any surface where one of the wheels is not able to slip.
Sorry I do not understand. Surely to get 4wd the hubs must be locked and 4h or 4l selected?
 

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Yes, but that assumes that they are working correctly. Frankly, your hubs look like they have not seen any service in some time. Is the lever set to ‘free’. And if so, can you move it to ‘lock’, and in doing so, actually feel the movement of the gear inside, as it pushes forward?
Again, unless there is something amiss with the front distributor, etc., normally, when you jack up one wheel, and the opposing wheel is on the ground, and you cannot turn the jacked up one (because the other wheel wants to turn) it means you are locked in 4wd. You can remove the manual hubs, intact, just by removing the 6 ‘screws’ that hold them on - I believe they are Torx screws, by the way. You do not have to remove the tire in order to do this. With the manual hubs physically removed from the car, see then if you can turn the jacked up wheel or not.
 

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1991 Tracker LSI, 5-speed 4wd...84,455 orig. and 99.9% intact! Rust-free New Mexico car
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Sorry I do not understand. Surely to get 4wd the hubs must be locked and 4h or 4l selected?
What Bex is saying is that you should NEVER attempt to drive the vehicle in 4WD if you are on pavement, concrete or any other hard surface where the wheels cannot slip... you WILL end up damaging the transfer case. Simply put, only use 4Wd when all the surface is the following: dirt, sand, gravel, mud, grass, weeds, sawdust, snow, or ice , etc.
 

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The picture shows that the hub is LOCKED. I assume both are, but who knows. And as BEX and I have said, those hubs look like they are WAY past cleaning time. I'd be surprised if they were functional at all -- tons of fun. Been there, done that!!!
 

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in an open rear, if one wheel is in the air and the other on the ground, if you attempt to turn the wheel in the air, the wheel on the ground will attempt to turn in the opposite direction. You must lift both wheels off the ground if you want to hand turn one
 

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Here is the VIN plate, hope you can see the number looks like SJAETA02C01102429 to me. Is that the VIN?
The VIN lookup returns the following information

SE416-3 - 2 door, canvas top, Color 38b (Gray Metallic), SubColor C10
Engine Number - G16B-555874, Transmission number - S131315
4 cycle, 4 cylinder, 16v, 1600cc and floor shift 5 speed manual transmission
Grade JLX
E02 market (United Kingdom)
 

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AND manual hubs! Nice rig. Well worth the rehab that will be needed.
 

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Sorry I do not understand. Surely to get 4wd the hubs must be locked and 4h or 4l selected?
heres also a good trick those of us with manual hubs use too, if you just need ratio, not traction, like when reversing a trailer around a yard or descending a steep road with good traction (we have one here thats known to fry even the best brakes by the time you get to the bottom), leave the front hubs unlocked, select 4L and idle around with the trailer and no need to ride the clutch all the time when maneuvering, or beter engine braking on a descent. Of course you must be stationary to engage 4L
 
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