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You two are showing your age - making gaskets is one of the first things I was taught to do - sadly, it seems to have become a lost art, especially with the ready availability of RTV sealants, aka, "FIPG" or Formed in Place Gaskets
 

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99 Tracker, 5 door, 2L, 4x4
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You two are showing your age - making gaskets
YEP! Made my first gasket at age 12 (60yrs ago), when my dad was posted to the Mediterranean and parts had to be shipped (literally) from the U.K. and the local mechanics worked with hammers and chisels and a few spanners...
 

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If you do not have official gasket paper, an old cereal box will suffice, have used Kelloges Cornflakes for yrs...
and a coating of wheel bearing grease as a sealant on it, yep, done that too, works well
 

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Last yr, I had a gasket blow out on a roofing nail gun, could not get replacement, too old a unit, dealer told me to bin it and buy a new one..(>$300.00.. being cheap, I took one of the cereal boxes and cut a new gasket ($0.00), soaked in oil and put it together, had to turn the air supply down by 20psi, it worked better than when new.... It has since completed several roofs..

Cannot use RTV in these circumstances as the pressure would blow it through...
 

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Last yr, I had a gasket blow out on a roofing nail gun, could not get replacement, too old a unit, dealer told me to bin it and buy a new one..(>$300.00.. being cheap, I took one of the cereal boxes and cut a new gasket ($0.00), soaked in oil and put it together, had to turn the air supply down by 20psi, it worked better than when new.... It has since completed several roofs..

Cannot use RTV in these circumstances as the pressure would blow it through...
be nasty, shellac the sucker in there

 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #46
Ok so I found the gasket at Napa’s. I just installed everything without the cover and it started up. No leaks everything seems good except the idle seems a little off. After it warms up it drops lower then 800 rpm and bounces up and down slightly. It sometime seems to go as low as 300 rpm and at one point I thought it was goin to die out. Could I have missed a tooth on the timing or something?
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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153 Posts
Discussion Starter #48
I’m assuming that your 96 thermostat housing is factory to your car. Your thermostat should have the rubber o-ring around it - no gasket. Like this:
Yes, my thermostat didn’t come with a gasket or o ring but I just bought both today and realized my car only needed the O ring. I installed it and theres no leak. Could the thermostat be the reason for the rough idle?
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #49
You two are showing your age - making gaskets is one of the first things I was taught to do - sadly, it seems to have become a lost art, especially with the ready availability of RTV sealants, aka, "FIPG" or Formed in Place Gaskets
YEP! Made my first gasket at age 12 (60yrs ago), when my dad was posted to the Mediterranean and parts had to be shipped (literally) from the U.K. and the local mechanics worked with hammers and chisels and a few spanners...
Dont know how I passed this but I just seen these now and I love it lmao 😂. Hearing how you guys not only would come up with your own solutions, but also doing it at 12! That is super cool lol
 

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Normally, if the thermostat is preventing the engine from heating up, it would cause a high idle, as other sensors would be advising the ECU that it needs to warm up the engine. Rough idle is a somewhat general term - and may be difficult to define in an auto car that has no tachometer. More often than not, though, rough idle would be a mechanical issue - a compression test would indicate the engine timing, checking the valve lash, spark plug gap, ignition timing, etc.
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #51
Normally, if the thermostat is preventing the engine from heating up, it would cause a high idle, as other sensors would be advising the ECU that it needs to warm up the engine. Rough idle is a somewhat general term - and may be difficult to define in an auto car that has no tachometer. More often than not, though, rough idle would be a mechanical issue - a compression test would indicate the engine timing, checking the valve lash, spark plug gap, ignition timing, etc.
I’m thinking of removing the thermostat first since the car came without one and it was idling fine before I changed it. I’ll try that and see what happens
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #52 (Edited)
So I tried without the thermostat and it’s doing the same thing. The rpms are fluctuating slightly around 500 to 400 and occasionally 300 and my car comes kind of shakey

Do you think I could finish the cover replacement for now and figure out the idle situation after or is there something I could adjust behind the timing cover that could possible help the idle?
 

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If you have verified the timing, the water pump and thermostat are not leaking, install the cover..hunting is usually associated with the throttle control..
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #54
If you have verified the timing, the water pump and thermostat are not leaking, install the cover..hunting is usually associated with the throttle control..
How would i verify the timing again? Sorry if that’s a stupid question. But yes nothing is leaking and I’ll install the cover , sounds good
 

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If you were set properly and tension-ed correctly you should be OK, However if you still have the valve cover off, set the #4 to TDC Compression (Valves closed), the TDC mark on the crank will be lined up.. (That is engine timing)

Ignition timing, set the distributor with the rotor facing the #1 tower on the cap, firing order 1342, then use a timing light on #1 and strobe the crank, adjust the light/dist to 5degBTC. (by rotating the dist)
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #56
If you were set properly and tension-ed correctly you should be OK, However if you still have the valve cover off, set the #4 to TDC Compression (Valves closed), the TDC mark on the crank will be lined up.. (That is engine timing)

Ignition timing, set the distributor with the rotor facing the #1 tower on the cap, firing order 1342, then use a timing light on #1 and strobe the crank, adjust the light/dist to 5degBTC. (by rotating the dist)
ok sounds good I’m about to do that now. One more thing.. the way I tensioned it was.. I made the tensioner pulley loose and attached the spring... I tightened it right from there, the amount of pull the spring caused. Is that the right way? Also i spun the camshaft pulley when attaching the ac and alternator belts. Is it okay to rotate the timing from the cam pulley?
 

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As long as you had the timing marks lined up, and there was no slack on the "tight" side of the belt (as in you had all the slack on the tensioner side) when you installed it, the timing should be correct, along with the tension.

Turn it over by hand using the crank bolt and line up the marks again and confirm they line up.

Not the best practice to use the cam pulley to turn the engine over, its not designed to do that.
 

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1996 Suzuki Sidekick 2 Door Automatic 16 valve
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Discussion Starter #58
As long as you had the timing marks lined up, and there was no slack on the "tight" side of the belt (as in you had all the slack on the tensioner side) when you installed it, the timing should be correct, along with the tension.

Turn it over by hand using the crank bolt and line up the marks again and confirm they line up.

Not the best practice to use the cam pulley to turn the engine over, its not designed to do that.
I ended up double checking by testing the #4 cylinder TDC and the marks added up.

Damn I had a feeling afterwards that turning the cam pulley probably wasn’t the best idea.

So I tested the car already yesterday and everything seems fine until the engine warms up.. then the idle fluctuates from around 500-400 rpms and sometimes it goes to 300. It seems a little shaky and at times , seems like the engine is about to die. It doesn’t seem too bad tho and it only does this in park. Have any ideas on what I could check for? Because I don’t remember it idling like that before?
 

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Please advise exactly what your idle does from cold start - what the cold idle is, how long it takes to warm up, warm idle, etc. I’d still do a compression test, frankly, to verify your valve timing - discrepancies in the valve lash will show up in the compression test results. And confirm that your check engine light is on with the key on, off when the engine is running, and that you can get a code 12 from it. Your plugs should be gapped to .028”, ignition timing done to cylinder #1, and note that your rotor spins counterclockwise, firing 1-3-4-2.
 

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I’m thinking of removing the thermostat first since the car came without one and it was idling fine before I changed it. I’ll try that and see what happens
Many "shade tree" mechanics will remove the thermostat and try to convince you it's not necessary, especially in the warmer climates - don't believe them. An engine running without the thermostat will take longer to warm up, in the process burning more fuel than necessary, pumping more emissions into the atmosphere and also wear internally at a higher rate.
 
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