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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey gang, before I take everything apart I did last summer, figured I'd ask. got the 94 tracker 2dr 4x4 for super cheap, pretty much everything worn out but it did all work (4x4) Installed new wheel bearings (National from Napa) and some new Rock Auto half shafts....new rotors, pads ect while it was all aprt. Manuel Hubs, cleaned and re greased. Seemed to all go well til winter when I needed 4x4 to get out of the hood.... while in 4x4 no noise. When hubs are locked and in 2wd it sounds like 2 owls trying to escape... hit a little bump it goes away, hit the next bump and its back. I did notice a plastic spacer on one side that the other didn't have. Would take up CV slack I guess. I did a recheck to make sure the Front diff had oil, and is full. Kinda sounds like the input sleve into the diff was dry? its why I checked. we have a small fleet and finding out Rock Auto isn't for everything... maybe bad length on the half shafts? any clues before the tare down here soon to get ready for the Rocky Mtn Rambler 500 here in Colorado...
 

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Let's start with which end of the vehicle are we dealing with? There's a discussion on wheel bearings and half shafts which makes me think rear axle, and then it moves to rotors pads and manual hubs, which sounds like front axle - hubs locked in 2WD, seems to confirm that

The more common term for what's in front would be CV axles.

Now the only difference between operation in 4WD with the hubs locked and 2WD with the hubs locked is the position of an engagement hub in the transfer case - as long as the hubs are locked, everything in the front axle will rotate when the vehicle moves, same as if it were in 4WD - the only real difference in the axle is that the wheels are "pushing" the gears, rather than the gears "pushing" the wheels.

If you're certain the noise is coming from the axle - maybe it's time to take a look at the ring & pinion - see if the "coast" side of the gears shows a significant difference to the "drive" side.

One last thing - if there's a plastic spacer on one of those CV axles, someone put it there, as far as I know, they don't come with one - Suzuki did release a "nylon support bush" for use on the 99~05 models, which can be fitted to the earlier ones, but I'm not certain if this is the spacer you mention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Let's start with which end of the vehicle are we dealing with? There's a discussion on wheel bearings and half shafts which makes me think rear axle, and then it moves to rotors pads and manual hubs, which sounds like front axle - hubs locked in 2WD, seems to confirm that

The more common term for what's in front would be CV axles.

Now the only difference between operation in 4WD with the hubs locked and 2WD with the hubs locked is the position of an engagement hub in the transfer case - as long as the hubs are locked, everything in the front axle will rotate when the vehicle moves, same as if it were in 4WD - the only real difference in the axle is that the wheels are "pushing" the gears, rather than the gears "pushing" the wheels.

If you're certain the noise is coming from the axle - maybe it's time to take a look at the ring & pinion - see if the "coast" side of the gears shows a significant difference to the "drive" side.

One last thing - if there's a plastic spacer on one of those CV axles, someone put it there, as far as I know, they don't come with one - Suzuki did release a "nylon support bush" for use on the 99~05 models, which can be fitted to the earlier ones, but I'm not certain if this is the spacer you mention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oops sorry I guess, 28yrs Mechanic here semi retired, so the lingo has changed, we just called them Half shafts... yes front end... thinking I may take that spacer out then . HAs over 400,000mi on the clock , so who knows how many folks have been though out the unit.. Yes, the tension on the front driveline while in 4x4 seems to quiet it whatever it is. Just free spinning while hubs are locked (with the "other very slight" tension...something has a little play some where... Like I said, It didn't do it before... until I replaced the half....CV axle... the old ones were toast but still had 4x4... with no noise ether way. That shim or spacer through me for a loop, as Honda, Toyota along with many other FWD half s....CV axle drive lines didn't have them.... Ol Jeep builder.... so,me of the Dana front axles or Spicers (ford) used them but never seen them via Jap manufacturer...
 

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Why would you lock the hubs while in 2wd other than anticipating the need to shift into 4wd? I would think the owls are from the 1/2 shafts & dif. turning for no reason & complaining they are being used the wrong way.

Don
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yes, also for me the "When hubs are locked and in 2wd it sounds like 2 owls trying to escape" doesnt make sense...
why lock the hubs in 2WD?
not sure also what you mean by "tension".
some pics will help too, specially of that plastic spacer in place so we know what you are talking about.
As fordem sometime says, its not like we can peek over your shoulder.... so help us help you
 

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Guys - whilst there is perhaps no real reason to be in 2WD with the freewheel hubs locked, it's also not an incorrect mode of operation - think about it.

Unlocking the freewheel hubs allows the vehicle to be driven without the front drive train rotating, reducing wear and drag, allowing for a tiny increase in fuel economy, but, what would happen if the vehicle were constantly on an unsurfaced road in 4WD - the front drivetrain would simply be rotating constantly, as designed to do

It's also worth mentioning that the US market is possibly the only market in which the first gens had front freewheel hubs fitted as standard, it was an option in Africa, Europe and the Pacific markets, and there are probably thousands of vehicles without freewheel hubs out there. The second generation models have the freewheel mechanism internal to the differential so there are are certainly thousands of those out there with the CV axles and differential "turning for no reason".
 

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Why would you lock the hubs while in 2wd other than anticipating the need to shift into 4wd? I would think the owls are from the 1/2 shafts & dif. turning for no reason & complaining they are being used the wrong way.

Don
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I have driven many winters with hubs locked the entire winter. Never with any issues. Not just in a Sidekick either. Help the guy if you can.... but your post just wants to question something that in the 45 years of owning many 4x4 I have never experienced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
used the wrong way? I always lock my hubs in when on the trail and run 2wd until i need 4wd, a simple shift at the transfer case and Im golden, plenty of 4x4 trucks and suv's run a "locked front drive line" all the time, Jeep is one of them. Kills the MPGS turning mass thats not need at the time but its where "shift on the fly 4wheel drive" came from. Anywho, its should not make any noise if hubs are locked and no power is to the front drive line, I wouldn't drive the geo that way all the time, but winter time to get out of the neighbor hood, some times 4x4 is needed, then once on the main paved roads, I shift out of 4x4 and go to work..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
and if you need photos, I have to take it all aprt anyways... while I'm in there I might as well inspect everything that was changed and look for clues. As for "tension", when a front drive line system is "locked in" but in 2wd you have rotating mass and some "drag".... hence the first responce of noise coming from the back side of the ring and pinion, I have heard the 'Howl" of bad ring and pinion before and this isn't this noise. As I said , when I first drove this home , and messed with it, the 4x4 worked, with the hubs locked in and in 2wd mode... the half sh....CV axle boots were just about gone and plenty of play when grabbed by hand... its what I ment by well worn out... but did work. I do know the front diff had some issues when abused with over sized tires... But I feel it may be the what the half sh...CV axle rides on, its a brass shim in the diff... the plastic "spacer" goes on the half shaft splined section and rubs or mates against the Diff... Ford comes to mind that used them alot... Bronco 2's Ranger, early explorers ect... I just never seen them on Jap stuff, Nissan, Suzuki, Toyota, Honda ect... Looks to see I'll just ahve to tear it apart and inspect. I will post pics if I do find it incase this happens to someone else. When I get around to it...
 

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I mentioned a nylon support bush in an earlier post - I've attached the TSB that documents this fix, as I mentioned, this was meant for the later generation, however, it does fit the earlier models - this is the only plastic spacer I know of in the front drive train of these vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I mentioned a nylon support bush in an earlier post - I've attached the TSB that documents this fix, as I mentioned, this was meant for the later generation, however, it does fit the earlier models - this is the only plastic spacer I know of in the front drive train of these vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
without taking it apart, which looks like is whats going to happen, best I can discribe the 'plastic spacer" is what Ford calls a "Collapsible Spacer " on their Dana 28 bronco 2, front IFS (83-97) . Its just for floating wear... ..anywho, thanks all , I'll do some detective work and if I see anything I'll take pics and post... Best I can do is put it up on 4 jack stands and run it in 4x4 and hope to pin point the noise... before tear down... It hs something to do with half shafts for sure.... but Idk what...? yet
 

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Hey gang, before I take everything apart I did last summer, figured I'd ask. got the 94 tracker 2dr 4x4 for super cheap, pretty much everything worn out but it did all work (4x4) Installed new wheel bearings (National from Napa) and some new Rock Auto half shafts....new rotors, pads ect while it was all aprt. Manuel Hubs, cleaned and re greased. Seemed to all go well til winter when I needed 4x4 to get out of the hood.... while in 4x4 no noise. When hubs are locked and in 2wd it sounds like 2 owls trying to escape... hit a little bump it goes away, hit the next bump and its back. I did notice a plastic spacer on one side that the other didn't have. Would take up CV slack I guess. I did a recheck to make sure the Front diff had oil, and is full. Kinda sounds like the input sleve into the diff was dry? its why I checked. we have a small fleet and finding out Rock Auto isn't for everything... maybe bad length on the half shafts? any clues before the tare down here soon to get ready for the Rocky Mtn Rambler 500 here in Colorado...
1996 Geo Tracker 2dr
Replaced CV frt half shafts Rock Auto, tow behind motohome was told axles were squealing by onlooker when we pulled in for dinner. Stopped for night, morning go to Walmart spray inner axle seals with WD 40 squealing stop, seal drys squealing returned. First replaced wheel bearings because the original axle seals permitted water intrusion destroyed bearings less than 2yrs old. Sprayed several ctimes after 5,000 towed miles no noise, no water in hubs. Good luck
I have mine for sale after much maintenance traveled behind motor home from Everglades to Fairbanks and many miles between. Refer to sales category
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
1996 Geo Tracker 2dr
Replaced CV frt half shafts Rock Auto, tow behind motohome was told axles were squealing by onlooker when we pulled in for dinner. Stopped for night, morning go to Walmart spray inner axle seals with WD 40 squealing stop, seal drys squealing returned. First replaced wheel bearings because the original axle seals permitted water intrusion destroyed bearings less than 2yrs old. Sprayed several ctimes after 5,000 towed miles no noise, no water in hubs. Good luck
I have mine for sale after much maintenance traveled behind motor home from Everglades to Fairbanks and many miles between. Refer to sales category
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
manuel hubs? and if so, the seal? like a dust seal? I figured being towed behind a rv, unlocked hubs (manuel or automatic) making noise? be tough to find... I did hear towing a tracker/side kick on all 4 wheels may be a issue due to the transfer case lube system (rear out put seal ect) Not sure if it effects all yrs? or just a few? but due noted on your issue/info, thanks!! I'm just going to take it all apart and try and see if I CAN see any signs of the noise. had it up on 4 jack stands last weekend , running in 4wheel drive at verious speeds to try and simulate... not a peep.
 

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manuel hubs? and if so, the seal? like a dust seal? I figured being towed behind a rv, unlocked hubs (manuel or automatic) making noise? be tough to find... I did hear towing a tracker/side kick on all 4 wheels may be a issue due to the transfer case lube system (rear out put seal ect) Not sure if it effects all yrs? or just a few? but due noted on your issue/info, thanks!! I'm just going to take it all apart and try and see if I CAN see any signs of the noise. had it up on 4 jack stands last weekend , running in 4wheel drive at verious speeds to try and simulate... not a peep.
Manual hubs, but seal is on axle shaft backside of spindle. While apart clean the female side metal where axle seal inserts, old seal wears creating gap allowed dirt and rust, new seal has “0” clearance needs clean rub surface. Hard to explain, even harder to photo when installed.
All those toad miles transfer case never an issue. I am forever having people telling Geo motor home stories, amazing the RVers that know exactly what my Geo is. Just need something to transport grandchildren and more comfort during those 200 mile side trips. Good luck with your issue.
 

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I have driven many winters with hubs locked the entire winter. Never with any issues. Not just in a Sidekick either. Help the guy if you can.... but your post just wants to question something that in the 45 years of owning many 4x4 I have never experienced.
So sorry didn't mean to start an argument. In my 40 years of driving 4x4's the first being a 1981 Toyota pickup with manual hubs which I drove for 13 winters. I never liked having to stop, get out and unlock them prior to getting on the freeway to drive another 55 miles to work. The next was a 1991 GMC K2500 with (insert harp music) auto locking hubs. I loved not needing to stop, get out and unlock the hubs. Since retiring I have enjoyed my 94 Tracker with auto locking hubs which are used every time I drive out my driveway. I also enjoy not needing to stop, get out and unlock the hubs. The 99 Tracker has manual hubs but I don't mind getting out to lock them, If they need locking it means I am out playing and when I am done they get unlocked.
In all my 4x4 driving it's mostly been in snow & ice and on the way to work. Adding additional things to do just to get to work was never any fun for me.

They've all been good vehicles and I've never needed to do any repairs on the hubs. So as they say to each their own.
Happy and peaceful motoring to all! (y)

Don

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