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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm vostrotracker and new here.

First off, I want to say I'm an outdoors person but don't have a lot of experience working with cars (this is my 2nd car).

I just bought a 2000 Tracker (USA, 4 dr, 2.0L, 4WD) with less than 130k miles. Based on Carfax history, my guess is it was owned by some senior citizens, and then was bought at auction and then resold to me. Everything works great except during the test drive there was a bad vibration during driving. I bought it anyway, thinking it's just an alignment or tire balance issue. Well, when I tried to get a tire balance, the shop told me the tires had flat spots from sitting, so I instead I had to drop a few hundred dollars for new tires. Went a few sizes up to 235/75R15 Futura Scambler A/P. Now it runs great, no vibration, no rub even with the bigger tires! Can go over some seriously rugged terrain that my Civic definitely couldn't do! ?

As someone new to the Tracker, I had a few questions.

1. I have taken this on rugged terrain (fire roads, etc.). I've had a few occasions where the middle of the car seemed to scrape some obstacles (say, coming to the top of a hill). How bad is this? What am I risking? I'm not hitting boulders, but it's scraping the ground lightly in certain places where the terrain is uneven.

2. My mechanic told me the CV axle boots were leaking, which I already noticed during my inspection. Didn't think it's a big deal because my last car also had this issue and my friend said it's nbd. However, is it a lot worse if I'm driving this off road? Could I still replace the boots and save the axle?

3. I notice some quiet belt squeak when I turn on the car in the cold. It goes away after a few minutes. Is this bad?

4. Driving the car on the road, there are some very stuttered squeaks going over small bumps in the road. What is this from?

Best,
vostrotracker
 

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Hi vostrotracker. I have the exact same truck. My thoughts:

1. Be careful not to damage your transfer case. There was a guy on eBay recently who was selling OEM middle skid plates which are designed to protect that area. I'm not sure what years these skid plate options were available but I believe they would fit. Lots of aftermarket options.

2. I'd replace the CV axles; not a big fan of replacing just the boot. However the R side CV axle is kind of a PITA.

3. Twenty years old, I'd replace the belts esp if you don't know the service history. My belts squeak on my 4 cyl too, like yours. I recently replaced my belt tensioner on a V6 model and the squeak on that truck went away immediately. So I'm inclined to change my tensioner on my 4 cyl too, to address the squeak you're describing.

4. Can't help you with the body squeaks without more info. Likely suspension related.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply!

I'm a student right now so I can't dump a ton of money into it. The truck is also not worth a ton in general haha.

If it drives fine and I don't notice any looseness or vibration, do you think it's worth replacing the CV axle? Cuz that's like at least $500 if I don't do it myself, right?
 

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Leaking CV axle boots can be considered a "non-issue" - worst case scenario, you'll have to replace the entire CV axle at some point in the future, but, because you're not sending power to the wheels unless you're in 4WD, you're not in any real danger of getting stranded if they fail. You need to be aware that 4WD should not be used on a hard surface that does not allow for wheel slip, as that can cause transfer case issues, and also that the front axle design requires the CV axles to rotate whenever the car is moving, even in 2WD, this can be fixed by adding freewheel hubs.

Work with your budget and repair/replace the axles at your convenience, but recognize that the longer you delay the repair, the more likely you are to need to replace - some folks prefer to replace with rebuilt axles rather than go through the headache of replacing the boots, which is quite a messy job, you can make that decision based on price, but be aware that the most after market axles use a less expensive, less sturdy inner CV joint design, so they are not as strong as the factory originals - if you're not going to be beating on the vehicle off road, this is not likely to be a problem.

Squeaks over bumps in the road - you're driving a "body-on-frame" truck - the body is mounted to the frame with rubber bushes and there is movement between the two - this can cause many squeaks which have to be tracked down one-by-one - some of them you will eventually choose to live with. Just make sure the various suspension bushes are in good shape and you'll be fine.
 

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1998 Suzuki Vitara 4x4 G16a 8v Manual & 2004 Suzuki GV XL7 2.0TD 4x4 Manual
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Hi all, I'm vostrotracker and new here.

First off, I want to say I'm an outdoors person but don't have a lot of experience working with cars (this is my 2nd car).

I just bought a 2000 Tracker (USA, 4 dr, 2.0L, 4WD) with less than 130k miles. Based on Carfax history, my guess is it was owned by some senior citizens, and then was bought at auction and then resold to me. Everything works great except during the test drive there was a bad vibration during driving. I bought it anyway, thinking it's just an alignment or tire balance issue. Well, when I tried to get a tire balance, the shop told me the tires had flat spots from sitting, so I instead I had to drop a few hundred dollars for new tires. Went a few sizes up to 235/75R15 Futura Scambler A/P. Now it runs great, no vibration, no rub even with the bigger tires! Can go over some seriously rugged terrain that my Civic definitely couldn't do! ?

As someone new to the Tracker, I had a few questions.

1. I have taken this on rugged terrain (fire roads, etc.). I've had a few occasions where the middle of the car seemed to scrape some obstacles (say, coming to the top of a hill). How bad is this? What am I risking? I'm not hitting boulders, but it's scraping the ground lightly in certain places where the terrain is uneven.

2. My mechanic told me the CV axle boots were leaking, which I already noticed during my inspection. Didn't think it's a big deal because my last car also had this issue and my friend said it's nbd. However, is it a lot worse if I'm driving this off road? Could I still replace the boots and save the axle?

3. I notice some quiet belt squeak when I turn on the car in the cold. It goes away after a few minutes. Is this bad?

4. Driving the car on the road, there are some very stuttered squeaks going over small bumps in the road. What is this from?

Best,
vostrotracker
1. Generally I try to avoid scraping the underside of my vitara when I'm off road. My diff hits first, luckily the sump is higher and kinda recessed. Not sure what the underside of your car looks like but as other posters have mentioned you can get skid plates/bash guards that mount underneath your vehicle to protect parts.

2. As other posters have said, replace as your budget allows.

3. Have a proper look at the belts but I'd be inclined to replace them. I only have two, one for power steering pump and one for water pump/alternator. New belt cost me £10 and an hour of my time.

4. I once drove a truck that squeaked from every available contact point and I could never find the location. It went through multiple vehicle inspections and I mentioned it to the mechanics every time but no-one could ever find it.

I've just bought a 1998 Vitara, which I think is what you guys call a tracker. I'm on a limited budget too and bought a service kit online along with the belt. New oil, filters and belt cost me less than £75. Other bits will be done as time allows. Good luck with your truck. Enjoy it.

ST
 
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