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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I am trying to get an old Suzuki SJ 1989 jeep back on the road. The front wheels when jacked up don't spin at all and are completely jammed. Can anyone tell me what to look at first? Could this be brakes, transmission, the axle? Is there any troubleshooting I can do to find out what to look at?

Thanks in advance.

Dan
 

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First - if could be any of them - are you asking us to guess without seeing the vehicle?
Second - what is your experience fixing things automotive or mechanical?

If the rear wheels can be turned it's unlikely to be the transmission or transfer case, an 89 Samurai should have front disk brakes, if you're familiar with how disk brakes work, it shouldn't take you more than an hour or so to figure out if they are the cause or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First - if could be any of them - are you asking us to guess without seeing the vehicle?
Second - what is your experience fixing things automotive or mechanical?

If the rear wheels can be turned it's unlikely to be the transmission or transfer case, an 89 Samurai should have front disk brakes, if you're familiar with how disk brakes work, it shouldn't take you more than an hour or so to figure out if they are the cause or not.
Thanks Fodem. I’m just a beginner in terms of mechanics bit I’m super interested so am willing to give anything a go. Not expecting anyone to guess without seeing it but for advice likes urs is brilliant as things to look at. The back wheels do spin, it’s just the front that don’t so u think it isn’t the transmisson? I’m guessing if its the breaks it’s an easier fix?
Thanks again,
 

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Do the wheels spin if you run the transfer case on 4X ?
 

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OK - now I know what level you're at, I can walk you through a little more slowly - how familiar are you with disk brakes? Do you know how to get the disk pads out? If you do, remove the disk pads and see if the front wheels are still jammed.

Do you have anyone nearby who has hands on experience to guide you?
 

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OK - now I know what level you're at, I can walk you through a little more slowly - how familiar are you with disk brakes? Do you know how to get the disk pads out? If you do, remove the disk pads and see if the front wheels are still jammed.

Do you have anyone nearby who has hands on experience to guide you?
I have my father-in-law who is a farmer, so not a mechanic but quite handy with fixing things. I'll look today if I can remove the disk pads and let you know how I get on. Thanks.
 

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I have my father-in-law who is a farmer, so not a mechanic but quite handy with fixing things. I'll look today if I can remove the disk pads and let you know how I get on. Thanks.
I removed the front brakes on both sides and the wheels still do not move. The Passenger side wheel moves a few inches but no more.
 

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Thanks for the pictures - makes it a lot easier.

That vehicle does not have free wheel hubs - in the center of a wheel hub is a small circular plate attached by 6 bolts - remove the bolts and take the plate off - that plate connects the axle shaft to the wheel hub. If the wheel hub turns now the problem is most likely internal to the axle - if not it's the wheel beaings.
 

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Thanks for the pictures - makes it a lot easier.

That vehicle does not have free wheel hubs - in the center of a wheel hub is a small circular plate attached by 6 bolts - remove the bolts and take the plate off - that plate connects the axle shaft to the wheel hub. If the wheel hub turns now the problem is most likely internal to the axle - if not it's the wheel beaings.
ok thanks, I’ve removed the 6 screws and the wheel turns more now about a whole spin around. The right wheel doesn’t budge at all stil. Do I take the whole black part off? It’s quite difficult to remove...
 

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You need to get that center disc off - the back side of it has splines that lock onto the axle shaft - that is how the engine torque reaches the wheels in 4WD.

From the sound of it you've removed the bolts and can turn the wheel which would indicate the problem is internal to the axle. Get under the vehicle and locate the front drive shaft from the transfer case to the axle, mark the flanges so you can put it back where you took it from and then remove it and see if that allows any more movement of the wheels - I doubt that it will, but you can never be certain.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You need to get that center disc off - the back side of it has splines that lock onto the axle shaft - that is how the engine torque reaches the wheels in 4WD.

From the sound of it you've removed the bolts and can turn the wheel which would indicate the problem is internal to the axle. Get under the vehicle and locate the front drive shaft from the transfer case to the axle, mark the flanges so you can put it back where you took it from and then remove it and see if that allows any more movement of the wheels - I doubt that it will, but you can never be certain.
ok great. I took the drive shaft off completely, then put the wheels back on loosely and managed to spin them. Now they all spin. wod by taking the drive shaft off make a difference do u think?
 

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ok great. I took the drive shaft off completely, then put the wheels back on loosely and managed to spin them. Now they all spin. wod by taking the drive shaft off make a difference do u think?
That is why I asked it the wheels spin with transfer in 4X
 

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Lets start at the engine,
power is transferred via clutch or torque converter, through the transmission to the transfer case..
Transfer case has 2 functions, 2 wheel and 4 wheel H/L
in 2H power is sent to the rear diff only, via the rear drive shaft.
in 4H power is sent to rear and front diff via the drive shafts.
In 4L power is sent to rear and front diff via the drive shafts.
In either 4X position the front diff is coupled to the wheels via a pneumatic diaphragm in the front diff, via the 1/2 shafts to the wheels.
 

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In either 4X position the front diff is coupled to the wheels via a pneumatic diaphragm in the front diff, via the 1/2 shafts to the wheels.
This is a 1989 SJ Phil - think Samurai and solid axle - so no pneumatic anything in the front differential - also, and whilst I could be wrong, I don't think lookatdan has the vehicle all four wheels off the ground and trying to see what spins under engine power - I think he is turning the wheels by hand.

Regardless of what has been select in the transfer case if the wheels at either end of the car are off the ground they should be free to rotate (as in can be turned by hand) provided that both wheels at that end are off the ground - this will happen because of differential action, and that is assuming the axles have not been modified..

lookatdan - we need to know whether the six bolts holding the hub are in place and secure - or whether they are still out - we need to know what is turning and what is not - is the axle shaft turning when you spin the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks guys for the information. It's so helpful for me to get my head around it all. Yes, I haven't managed to get the four wheels off the ground yet. So I have the wheels moving but this is without the driveshaft, front brakes, or the 6 bolts on the hubs in place. I'll add these back in and see if they still move.
 

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Presumably you have at least one pair of jack stands - if you don't, make that your #1 priority - this is a safety issue, you do not want to be getting under a vehicle supported only by a jack.

Jack the front of the car both wheels off the ground & support on stands - with the transfer case in 2H, you should be able to rotate the front output flange on the transfer case, in 4H or 4L, the front output flange will be locked to the rear, and since the rear wheels are on the ground and cannot turn, the front output flange should also not turn.

Put back the six bolts on one side front hub and see if you can rotate that wheel - it should turn - if not there is a problem in the axle, repeat on the other side - if you can turn both wheels, put back the drive shaft, and see if the wheels still turn.

If you've reached this far and everything is still turning, put the brakes back in.
 
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