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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have recently traded for a 97 Tracker Convertible with 135K miles. It runs strong, starts easily and uses no oil. Being used to britmobiles, I cannot understand it. I have a few questions which have come up since I started commuting in it.

1. The steering seems responsive, even tight, but the car wanders with every divot and seam. Is this usual or does it show wear?

2. Is there a place to get an inside rearview mirror? Mine just wobbles.

3. Is there a timing belt I need to worry about?

4. My top is crap...how easy it is to replace it. Are there ones to avoid? There seems to be a GLUT of tops out there.

5.My Engine light stays on. The Previous Owner states he replaced the O2 sensor and the exhaust. I have a muffled tick when it is cold and seems to go away when it is warmed up. Related?

6. Are the rear brakes self-adjusters and does the E brake need occasional adjusting?

7. Is there an adjustment on the clutch pedal that would change where it engages/disengages? Mine is on the absolute bottom of the pedal movement.

I am an old school mechanic but I can still do some things. Mostly I just looked a the engine and transmission and scratch my head.
 

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  1. my tracker does the same thing. Mine is also 20 years old.
  2. unknown
  3. yes there is a timing belt. it is cheap so not a bad idea to replace it, while also doing your engine timing
  4. i bought a $140 top from amazon or ebay by rugged ridge or something. it works wonderfully, but mine is a different style than a 97 so i don't know if there are any that cheap but yet still good.
  5. you have a 1997 model which is OBD2. connect an OBD2 scanner to it and then you will know what the codes mean.
  6. i wonder this myself
  7. mine has the opposite problem. i wouldn't complain if mine was like that, sounds like a fresh clutch. how far do you have to let off until it has fully grabbed?
 

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1. All of mine wander a bit, some more than others. Short wheel base makes it worse. The cops use it as an excuse to stop and check.... expect it.

2. Unknown, you might need to replace the mirror.

3. If you do not KNOW when the timing belt was changed, you should plan on changing it. If you loosen the cover you should be able to get a look at the belt. If it doesn't look BRAND NEW, put this fairly high on your to-do list. Change the water pump at the same time. The same goes for the fluid changes and other preventative maintenance.

4. unknown, I do not do soft tops.

5. Depends on were the tick is coming from. Muffled tick might be that you need to adjusts valve lash... it is a preventative maintenance item.

6. Yes, the rear brakes have self-adjusters... if they are working.

7. unknown, I do not do clutches.

"Old school mechanic" is all it really takes. Just ask questions if you have problems. I am fairly sure that nothing you ask will be the dumbest question ever asked. ;)
 

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your adjusters are not working and i dont think any of them do on that style of tracker. i had a 92 and a 96. remove rear wheels and drums ratchet the adjusters tighter till the drum will barely go on. assemble and you will have about 4-5 clicks and park brake will be set. ps i had 245k miles on my 92 original rear shoes. 96 had 165k original also. they wear like iron.
 

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check to see if ur clutch pedal is breaking. for clutch issue and also check cable for bad spots. for loosness of ride quality= check rear leading arm bushings for wear.
 

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1. Check your tires and tire pressure, as well as manhandling your front suspension for play. There should be none. If your car is catching the seams in the road, this is often a tire issue, however.

2. Rearview mirror - your best bet is a junkyard or someone parting out a car, for a replacement. You can get this at the dealer, as well, but pretty pricey, and sold as components:
1997 Suzuki Sidekick Parts - Suzuki Car Parts Catalog Online Store

3. Timing belt should be changed every 60,000, according to factory spec. The 8v engine is free wheeling, and thus far, despite speculation, it appears that the 16v is free wheeling as well. There is information on the forum as to how to time the engine on this car - done to cylinder #4 firing.

4. The top and hardware for the top changed in 1995, so confine your search to 1995-1998. There are aftermarket carriers, like Bestop, etc. Tops also come on to ebay every once in a while.

5. If you plan to keep the car, get a scanner (not a code reader). Your CEL is on for a reason - the computer is trying to communicate with you. A scanner will give you real time information about how your car is running. In the interim, places like Autozone may read your codes for free. Do not ignore your CEL. The ticking is most probably your valves - what is the viscosity of your oil (presumably you changed it when you got the car). When you do your timing belt, you also will be doing the valve lash, as well, so you will be able to check the adjusters. Info on valve lash on the forum. Note that your computer will only pick up sensor related issues - not mechanical ones (like valve lash, etc).

6. Rear drums are self adjusting when used, and front discs self adjusting when you make a 'moderate' stop. Rear brakes, however, are often 'neglected' and should be checked. The parking brake uses a cable which can stretch and be adjusted at the console.

7. The clutch cable can be adjusted. The cable exerts a tremendous amount of force, and should be checked for kinking, etc., particularly at the grommet on the firewall where it comes through. It can crack the firewall, break the pedal welds, etc. The pedal should only need a light touch to depress if set up correctly. There are adjusting nuts at the pedal, and at the cable bracket by the tranny.

Just for your info, the 1996 FSM, which will be comparable to your car with only few minor changes, is free to download on Acks FAQS. Do not use the information from Chiltons or Haynes when working on the car, as they are filled with misinformation.
Ack's FAQ Site Map
 

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The steering shouldn't wander. These cars require relatively low tyre pressures (23psi) and have a steering box that may need adjusting. All the bearings and bushes should be checked first though.
The ticking could be caused by a cracked exhaust manifold which would result in an O2 sensor error.
The rear brake adjusters should work if properly maintained but when the shoes are replaced they need to be adjusted up quite tight to the drum to get them to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the information. It sounds like my experience puts me in the ballpark for fixing, except for code readers and the like. I liked it from the start for being basic. It does help to know that others are having the same things. I will be putting a new timing belt on as preventive maintenance, adjust the brakes as prescribed, adjust the valves and time it, and get the tire pressures right and equal. The clutch works smoothly, just at the very bottom of pedal down. The starter does not work until the pedal is all the way down to the floor. I am sure I'll have more issues but I appreciate the responses and now it is time to get after it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Feeling Welcomed

Thank you for the information. It sounds like my experience puts me in the ballpark for fixing, except for code readers and the like. I liked it from the start for being basic. It does help to know that others are having the same things. I will be putting a new timing belt on as preventive maintenance, adjust the brakes as prescribed, adjust the valves and time it, and get the tire pressures right and equal. The clutch works smoothly, just at the very bottom of pedal down. The starter does not work until the pedal is all the way down to the floor. I am sure I'll have more issues but I appreciate the responses and now it is time to get after it! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the information. It is helpful when you know others have seen it and fixed it...or to put it into preventive maintenance list.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for the information. It sounds like my experience puts me in the ballpark for fixing, except for code readers and the like. I liked it from the start for being basic. It does help to know that others are having the same things. I will be putting a new timing belt on as preventive maintenance, adjust the brakes as prescribed, adjust the valves and time it, and get the tire pressures right and equal. The clutch works smoothly, just at the very bottom of pedal down. The starter does not work until the pedal is all the way down to the floor. I am sure I'll have more issues but I appreciate the responses and now it is time to get after it!
 

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The clutch cable should have 1mm of play at the gearbox end, if that's correct then you should look at the pedal height adjustment.
The starter issue is probably the clutch switch, I'm sure that its supposed to be like that, we didn't have those in the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes we Americans are too stupid to drive cars without interlocking switches and lockouts. One of the reasons I wanted a Tracker/Sidekick was their simplicity. Thanks for the info...sounds like I might find some adjustments in the clutch linkage somewhere.
 
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