Suzuki Forums banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm about to buy a 1996 geo tracker 16v automatic 4x4 that is owned by a really old couple.

i test drove it 2 nights ago and i'm suspecting they don't drive it often (because the battery was dead).

anyways, my main concern is:

in park with the a/c on, the car idles fine and blows cold air.

in drive with the a/c OFF, the car drives fine.
in drive with the a/c ON, the engine boggs. to the point that i can floor it and it barely moves. if i back off the pedal, it will slowly spool up to speed.

i talked to my trusty mechanic and his initial diagnoses is that the compressor might be locking up.

i haven't bought it yet but i'm suppose to tonight. here in FL trackers (especially 4x4) sell for a pretty penny. the deal i have worked out with the owner is $1500 so i'm pretty stoked....and concerned at the same time.

any advice would be greatly appreciated
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
25,561 Posts
You would really need to advise some more information - idling 'fine' can be a misnomer. The 16v should start up from cold and idle at about 1500 or so rpm, slowly dropping as the car heats up. The check engine light should be on with the key on and off once the car starts. Idle is normally a symptom, and who knows if this 'really old couple' has ever timed or tuned the car? The spark plugs need to be gapped at .028", and timing - both valve and ignition - can affect a lot of things. If you are able to look at it with a compression tester and check the compression of the engine, that will tell you a lot of things. There is a particular solenoid whose job it is to maintain idle when there is a load on the engine. A basic test would be looking at the idle when the A/C is on (it should actually rise), or looking at it with the headlights and heater blower on (it should remain the same). This solenoid can be cleaned with carb cleaner, if, indeed, it's a problem. Another test would be to take a pliers and pinch the air hose that runs from the air pipe at the air filter, directly to the idle speed solenoid - the idle should drop considerably. By the way, normal warm idle is 800 rpm. Without looking at the car, it's difficult to say, but if the A/C is blowing cold, I would tend to doubt a compressor issue. In any event, for $1500, I would grab it - worse case scenario, you can double your money parting out the car. But I would find that doubtful. These cars are fairly easy to fix, and, unless the thing was crumbling with rust (get under the car and check the frame, particularly by the gas tank and rear suspension, by the way), I would grab it.....:) (caveat: although I would prefer the 5 speed manual....)

Also, it will be advisable for you to pick up a code scanner (not just a code reader) for the car....either you, or your mechanic, should look around the forum here for info - lots of mechanics are not familiar with the little quirks of this car....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bex,

1st. thanks for the reply.
2nd. i've been doing A LOT of reading on here and let me take the time to say that you are amazing with the amount of knowledge you have on these machines.

as far as the tracker goes, one of the things that didn't work was the tach. i don't know what rpm it was idling at.

i was told that it has a rebuilt transmission, new starter, new radiator hoses and water pump, and new plugs.

very sweet old couple i don't they were lieing about the transmission. i'll double check the other stuff.

but in thinking like you: for $1500 you can really go wrong. body has no rust, aftermarket wheels, and the interior looks great. needs a new top (not leaking but worn and aged)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the lil old lady just called me to tell me they took the tracker to their mechanic :mad:

she said her mechanic told her it wasn't the timing but he believes it's catalytic converter.

looks like i won't be picking it up tonight but tomorrow instead. i'm sure she'll adjust the price accordingly :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Bex,

1st. thanks for the reply.
2nd. i've been doing A LOT of reading on here and let me take the time to say that you are amazing with the amount of knowledge you have on these machines.

as far as the tracker goes, one of the things that didn't work was the tach. i don't know what rpm it was idling at.

i was told that it has a rebuilt transmission, new starter, new radiator hoses and water pump, and new plugs.

very sweet old couple i don't they were lieing about the transmission. i'll double check the other stuff.

but in thinking like you: for $1500 you can really go wrong. body has no rust, aftermarket wheels, and the interior looks great. needs a new top (not leaking but worn and aged)
Buy it now, I'd buy it if I saw it. I'm looking for a 96-98 automatic 4 wheel drive for my wife, pretty hard to find one in good shape. That's worth more than 1500 bucks, jump on it. Well, that's just my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Buy it now, I'd buy it if I saw it. I'm looking for a 96-98 automatic 4 wheel drive for my wife, pretty hard to find one in good shape. That's worth more than 1500 bucks, jump on it. Well, that's just my opinion.
i'm trying!!!! lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
the lil old lady just called me to tell me they took the tracker to their mechanic :mad:

she said her mechanic told her it wasn't the timing but he believes it's catalytic converter.

looks like i won't be picking it up tonight but tomorrow instead. i'm sure she'll adjust the price accordingly :(
What you described sounds to me like a power loss when you press on the gas... yes/no?

IF so, Beware as these engines are known for crankshaft/keyway damage which causes the timing to retard. Search this forum for plenty of lively discussions.

Some swear by an epoxy fix yet they have never done the "fix". It may have been tried already on this engine but we all know what heat does to epoxy over time.

A crankshaft will likely cost more than you paid for the truck. Because of this problem finding an engine is difficult and finding an engine w/o the problem is not likely. But give it a go.

The choice is yours... Just go into this with both eyes open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What you described sounds to me like a power loss when you press on the gas... yes/no?

IF so, Beware as these engines are known for crankshaft/keyway damage which causes the timing to retard. Search this forum for plenty of lively discussions.

Some swear by an epoxy fix yet they have never done the "fix". It may have been tried already on this engine but we all know what heat does to epoxy over time.

A crankshaft will likely cost more than you paid for the truck. Because of this problem finding an engine is difficult and finding an engine w/o the problem is not likely. But give it a go.

The choice is yours... Just go into this with both eyes open.
that's correct BUT ONLY WITH THE A/C ON. if you turn the a/c off, it runs and drive normal.

so are the 8v motors better? or does it suffer from the same crankshaft issue?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
that's correct BUT ONLY WITH THE A/C ON. if you turn the a/c off, it runs and drive normal.

so are the 8v motors better? or does it suffer from the same crankshaft issue?
Could the AC increase the load on the crank keyway right now? Could it get worse?

I wouldn't go for an 8v but that is me. 99 and newer is where I would look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
fwiw - it is common knowledge that I had the crankshaft keyway problem with a 95; w/a98; & then w/a replacement engine from the junkyard.

3 strikes
- if you have enuff money you can fix anything :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
529 Posts
I try to avoid cars with AC, but, if the compressor was locking up, wouldn't it burn the belt off ? Really old people tend to drive slow, I'd start with the cat.
If you haven't bought it yet, Do it now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
686 Posts
If I saw it for even $2000 it would be in my driveway today.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
25,561 Posts
fwiw - it is common knowledge that I had the crankshaft keyway problem with a 95; w/a98; & then w/a replacement engine from the junkyard.

3 strikes
- if you have enuff money you can fix anything :)
Was not your original information that the crankshaft bolt 'broke off', thus causing your problem? In any event, the TSB for the crank pulley bolt was published in July 1996. And herein comes a bit of mystery logic: if you actually referred to the FSM to find out what the torque of the bolt was, prior to 1996, you would have found the earlier information. But, if you actually referred to the FSM to find out the correct timing belt procedure was, you would find the instructions NOT to touch the bolt at all. Strangely, there is no indication that any keyway shearing actually occurred when that bolt was never touched from the factory. It appears that it only occurred when people mistakenly removed the bolt in the first place. Interesting, no?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Charles, you need to start your own post, with your cars specs, what the symptoms are, what tests, if any, you have done! All situations are different, and what is happening with this post, is not similar to the problem with your car.

Daddy - first, the crankshaft issue was only for 1995 and earlier cars, so is not applicable to yours, and, frankly, was only 'common' to people who mistakenly removed the center pulley bolt when doing their timing belt.

In any event, normally a clogged cat will affect the car with or without the A/C on - If it was me, I would have these people adjust the price for the issue, and take the car as is (and it's a REALLY nice color, too, for what it's worth). You will have to go through the car when you get it anyway (replacing fluids, filters, spark plugs, etc) and, as your issue is ONLY when there is a load on the engine, may either be that solenoid or a timing issue. Were you aware if the check engine light is on with the key on (and off when running)? I would sit on these people's doorstep with maybe $1200 in one pocket (for negotiation) and $300 in the other (just in case) - my fear being that if someone else sees the car, they will grab it (someone at the mechanic's shop - maybe even the mechanic himself, who knows??) It's a great deal, and I would be pretty 'antsy' to get it done.
good to know.

the original asking price for the tracker was $2500. after my initial look over i offered $1200 and then they countered with $1500 due to all the issues i pointed out to them.

i've already sent them a text inquiring if the mechanic was done with it but haven't heard back from them yet.

the check engine light was not on with the motor was running. i don't recall if it was on with just the ignition because the battery was dead and we had to jump start it.
 

·
Registered
99 Tracker, 5 door, 2L, 4x4
Joined
·
11,270 Posts
With the battery being dead, the ECU would not have any stored codes.. and will not record any until the appropriate drive cycles have been completed..

Pay the money, grab the vehicle and start fresh....

.... Philip
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
update: i spoke with the old couple and they said their mechanic said it wasn't the catalytic converter and instead the O2 sensor. the mechanic spent all day finding one and then installed it and the tracker still isn't running perfect.

to which i replied:

so you paid for the part and the mechanic is going to charge you labor for the job and it's not even fixed. seems like you're just going to end up shelling out more money. let me pick it up as is.

they want me to tow it back since they are uncertain of how mechanically sound it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
Was not your original information that the crankshaft bolt 'broke off', thus causing your problem? In any event, the TSB for the crank pulley bolt was published in July 1996. And herein comes a bit of mystery logic: if you actually referred to the FSM to find out what the torque of the bolt was, prior to 1996, you would have found the earlier information. But, if you actually referred to the FSM to find out the correct timing belt procedure was, you would find the instructions NOT to touch the bolt at all. Strangely, there is no indication that any keyway shearing actually occurred when that bolt was never touched from the factory. It appears that it only occurred when people mistakenly removed the bolt in the first place. Interesting, no?
No not at all ma'am... It was my mechanic who snapped the bolt while troubleshooting the "all too common power loss" problem in the 95. It was the dealer who snapped the bolt in the 98 while troubleshooting a power loss problem which surfaced AFTER I bought it. Both had evidence of the Loctite fix.

It wouldn't have helped for me to read the TSB as both trucks had the same problem develop AFTER I bought them. So the thinking is that someone used the epoxy fix on the bolt then overtightened it.

So your advise to check the bolt torque and if in spec that the keyway isn't the problem really doesn't hold.

Regardless when the TSB was published doesn't mean that I (or anyone else) read it on the date it was published. And that didn't help me as a buyer as I didn't hear about the TSB until many months (maybe yrs) after joining this forum. Also my first problem happened BEFORE I joined; I came here searching for answers. At that time either no one was aware of the problem or they kept it secret.

There were posts describing power loss but w/o a solution and you always deny the problem exist if I mention it but when you mention it it is ok.

Your efforts would be better served in helping the OP identify his problem; even pointing him to this TSB you refer to.

Perhaps you can advise how to make certain this bolt has never been removed BEFORE you make a purchase.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
25,561 Posts
Daddy - grab it and tow it. It's a great deal.

Gumby - your post indicates that both your engines had the loctite repair done prior to you even buying the car. And not done properly, either, as if the crank bolts needed to be 'snapped' off, they were certainly stuck on tight enough to avoid any stress on the keyway. Again, there is no accounting for previous owner error, which is exactly what your problems appeared to be. Certainly, if you have evidence that the crank snout has been previously repaired in some way, that is a different scenario - otherwise, if the bolt is tight enough where it is difficult to move, or indicates an appropriate torque, you shouldn't remove it.

Edit: By the way, the 1998 FSM would have had the proper torque in it, so the TSB would not have been necessary to see.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top