FAQ:  Frequently Asked Questions , about SideKick/Trackers              

centric. (not all cars work the same in all countries, by LAW)
I can never speak for all 53 listed Suzuki markets nor the 56 Engines made   , not now , not ever. I'd bet no one can , not even Joe Suzuki..
This is my Junk food page.  (short as possible) Just common issues.   Go back one page for all topics and all issues.

1st Question:
Does my ENGINE  have  a  Free
running or interference engine?

The 1.8L and larger displacement engines are  interference, we have lots of evidence, (bent valves)

The G16 engine stock in the USA , is mostly free running. despite Suzuki warnings.

Related: (timing belt replacement time) or chain, or tensioners.

The 2 enigines, have differnent cams, in that one allows easy belt swaps and the other needs, lifter screws loose.
The bias is different. The friction as you turn the is way worse on 16v head. (preventing easy belt tensioning)

Question 1: You have engine or 4speed tranny  problems, or some odd electric problems.?
 A: Did you check all fuses in cab  and  engine bay?
Did you check all fluid levels and tire pressures (not flat) ?
Is the CHECK engine lamp glowing all the time running?
Some people come here to save money and time, others come here to see if their mechanic is ripping them off.
These pages are for people in real trouble, stranded or in dire need.  I want to help, those who need it the most !

And now, the Q and A list:  Questions and Answers.
How do I TOW  this SIDEKICK?  89-98 only  (example below is 95')   "So much Dis-Information in the net"
You must  know if car has 4 wheel drive, what transmission you have and which locking hub devices you have, (manuals or autos)?
For sure there are bearings that run dry if the engine is not running ! hard cold facts.

A:  Method  A to E    ,   Method A  ,   Method B  ,          Method C        ,    Method D,        Method E
Why  do the  3 transmissions and  4wd transfer case lubrication fail if towed incorrectly , the exact details.

RTM , Please  Read  The Manual, the operators guide!   or ask any Suzuki dealer for this free manual.    

Q:  Why does my Automatic transmission hate being towed?  (even the 5sp has problems)
A: That is because your transmission does not have a rear pump (as other car use) and the front pump is not pumping engine off, causing bearing starvation.
Some folks add an extra lube pump or a rear propeller shaft (drive) cut out device.
The 5 speed and the transfer case are splash lubricated, no splash , it DIES.
2wd and 4wd, who dies? first, depends on what you have.  end to end.  Thus  the complex oper. guide  methods. (flat towed or otherwise)
The damage can happen today, and not show up for 3 months, called the walking wounded, (Timken has great white papers on this topic)

Part time 4wd , four wheel drive.   (that crude system that puts all torque the the tire with no traction !) (modified LSD and custom locked close axles excepted)
When I say 4wd, that means the front locking hubs are locked, not that simple shifter in 4H or 4L, nor the silly dash lamp glowing, that lamp means zero, to me.
Do no drive on dry pavement in 4wd, nor simple water only wet pavement !
Try to keep traction on both front tires or back tires, on say ICE, or car will not move, to correct this problem, drag the foot brake under power.
I call this, trick, poor mans LSD . (limited slip diff.)
Q:Can I drive in 4WD, on paved streets. ? No.
 (driving on dry or only wet pavement is bad for the transfer case, but ,on any  ice, snow and off road dirt/sand /gravel , or grass are ok)
A: No , this damages the transfer case, at least stretching the chain, yes, there is a chain, in there. and extra wear on tires, suspension ,etc.
A: The car will steer like a Sherman Tank too.  In-tractable and dangerous . Driving in 4wd (hubs locked) on pavement with no snow or ice.. is bad. (to you and car)
These cars are NOT AWD (all-wheel-drive) cars, they do not have a center differential. (or slip clutches)   So the suspension winds up (bad) on  pavement.
This rule is suspended (not valid), off road, on gravel/dirt/grass/ ice or snow . (The car loves off road or on snow or ice, in fact, excels at it !)

If you unlock the hubs( any way , including unbolting them and throwing them in storage compartment)  you can drive anywhere in 4wd(selected), because you really are not in 4wd actully.  If the front end makes huge chattering noises do that, take off the hubs and do a test drive. The locking hub caps, do not hold the wheels on the car.

4WD locking hub rules:   Page 1    Page 2      Page 3

Q: Can I shift the 4WD lever (read the rules first)  at any speed,
Answer:  Yes you can, but No you should  shift as slow as possible, not to mention, it is not safe ENGAGING 4WD, going fast !
The any speed comment in the manual is wrong.  ( the word ANY , is the clue  and is wrong. ( Suzuki uses the wrong word there, huh? )
The transfer case has NO synchromeshed gears, only simple dogs, if you damage the dogs, the transfer case will be useless.  It's yours, do with it, as you like.

Q: Can I drive with transfer case shifter in 2H and the manual hubs locked?, sure, it just wastes gas, and is recommended to drive in this mode
at least 1 time per month (or real 4wd) to keep everything lubed and seals happy. This is mentioned in the operators guide.  95' and older.
Ah, but as one poster said, his newer Operators manual 96 ,says never run in 2wd with the hubs locked. (says danger or something like that...)
I guess? the lawyers WON, this one.   If you drive on ice , in 2wd with the hubs locked , yes the front wheels will skid easier. (think above DRAG? on ICE !)
Yes, it is safe, and good to do so 1 time per month , slow and around the block on dry safe roads.
Sure, don't do this lube run  if the road is black ice or the like. (the 96 and newer manuals warn)

Q: How do my locking hubs work and how to take care of them.(my page)  Auto or Manual type.?

A: See what AA1car has to say.

A: Autozone has solutions on their Repair pages, but you must log in to see them.

A: Buy new hubs . $177 or less  here or from Warn hubs, a pair.

A: View of a typical auto lock hub.

A: Manual Locking Hub rebuild "THE BEST"

Q: Can I clean and service auto locking 4wd front axle hubs, yes you can, on some brands. (yes, it takes skill and tools)

Q:Why do my hubs ,  fail to engage or disengage or are  making funny sounds?  (you can unbolt them, drive and see if they make noise now)
A: They are dirty , rusted solid or in bad need of cleaning and greasing, or are bad. Examine them and the truth be known.
A: Just remove the screws on the edge and simply pull  them off.  The wheels will not fall off car.

Answering the Dis-information topics.  I cover it 100% here this topic.
"I tow my car vast distances (1000 miles reported)"  ( I also walked across the freeway blind folded, 3 times) So does that make it safe, or good, or smart?)
With no  damage ! ( you did? how nice, but  you never looked deep enough, did you? , see the bearing spalling going on,  I guess not?) 

Running the rear bearings dry, in the gear boxes, does damage.  (it adds up, and can compound  too)  (out of site, out of mind, echo's here)
The Automatic"tranny" for sure, has no pump running without the engine running, so the rear bearings if spun , run dry. (and will suffer damage)
There are 2 kinds of gear box lube systems , splash or pumped. Ours is Splash, no splash nets you zero lubrication. Sorry its just FACTS !
As A. Einstein said,"if you don't like the facts, change them.!" ( you can!)
The same thing happens in the 5speed box, unless you make the cluster spin and slash GL4 up on the top rear bearing (facts )
2wd cars have no transfer case, so the front tranny dies for the same reason.
The xfr case works the same way, on 4wd, the rear bearing is splash lubricated, there is no pump, sorry , it's not there.  and the bearings WILL go dry and will be damaged.
The factory rule is 200 miles. (one  more factoid to digest ) RTM (FSM and OP guide for the Suzuki)
Ponderment 1:
Now I ask you?, what if you parked car for 1 long  year, then towed it dry.
By Dry I mean, not one drop of GL4 on that top rear transfer case bearing.  (you skipped the pre run test in the operators guide, huh?)
I promise you, the bearing will never go 200 miles. It will suffer damage. (starting from the dry 1 year bearing)
End Tow damage.

Q: My engine runs crappy and has low power.
A: Did you tune it up first?, did you read the maintenance tables ? Circa 95' Table A,       Table B.
A: Did you pull the CEL DTC codes from the ECU?  is car throwing code 12 good, or some other bad code?
A: Loss of fuel pump pressure
A: Clogged injectors
A: BAD ECU (last , as always, but common for capacitors to be bad 95' and older)

Q: My 5 speed manual  car shifts funny?  (or is it an automatic problem?)
A: Did you put in fresh new tranny oil in the tranny?  GF4 Lube? Did you check the level
A: Did you do my 1 inch rule test, on the clutch.
A: Did you inspect the plastic parts here, part 19 and 26 , break easy.
A: Did you lubricate the top casing Id.14 above?  it is not automatically lubed by the tranny. It is a YOU DO , issue.
A: Did you set the clutch free play?  (not applicable to 1.8L Sports, does sport clutch need bleeding? or is it full of air and leaking?)
A: Did you inspect the clutch cable from end to end , every inch for damage?
A: Is the cable over 120k old?  then the insides like to wear a groove (not visable) and this causes it to jam. (bad cascade failures can happen)

Q:My car doesn't Crank, A:Did you read my no crank page.

Q:My car cranks but does not start? A: Did you read my no start page.? (see the Scotty video there.. priceless)
A: Have you tried test fuel?

Q: I don't have spark, what can I do?   A: Did you read my No Spark Page?

Q: I have no fuel pressure (using a real GAUGE) , or is very low, what should I do next?
A: Is fuel filter new?
A: You should see if the pressure rises to 60psi , while  you pinch the Fuel Pressure regulator return line (only 5 seconds test please)
A:  Did you check the Fuel pump ground behind the left rear tail light.? It may be corroded there, at 2pm at a body ground screw. (common).
A: Did you check for 12vdc at the pump (connector is hidden at center line behind rear bumper see harness there). 12vdc lasts only 3 seconds at key on.
A: Did you Rap on the Fuel pressure  regulator to unstick it.
A: Did you  Apply a vacuum hand pump to the Fuel Pump regulator too see if it is working.
A: Did you smack the Fuel tank to kick start the fuel pump.
A: Did you listen to the pump at the Fuel cap hole ?  only runs for 3 seconds at key on, so needs 2 people. (an ECU rule)

Q: I have good fuel pressure ( and no injection)?
A: Did you do a NOID lamp test on the injector(s).?
A: Did you check for power on the power side of MPI injectors? ( TBI 8v has no static power to the injector, both wires are pulsed by ECU. )
A: Did you check the injector coils for  1ohm TBI and 12 ohms MPI?
A: Did you listen to them with a stethoscope? click click ?
A: TBI did you watch it squirt , while cranking?  It is viewable on TBI, just remove the plastic black cover and then screws to uncover the air horn.
A: MPI did you check for wet plugs? or are they dry as a bone? after long cranking.?

Q:Why does my engine shake?  (not driving, that is a very serious problem for a professional) Just at idle in the drive way.
A: The RPM is way too low, say 500 , due to EGR stuck open.
A:  Bad spark on 1 or more cylinders.  TUNE UP forgotten ?  Cap , rotor, wires and plugs.
A: Dead injector (s) or weak.  (ECU has bad driver transistors)   (do a  power balance test?)
A: Weak cylinder compression. Or a dead cylinder.
A: Bad engine mounts.
A: It is flooding (to rich) while running.  Rich MISFIRE.
A: Clogged up (melted) Cat Converter.
A: Stuck open engine head valves.
A:  Slipped timing belt for cam. Stripped out crank key on its snout.
A:  Flat cam lobs, or broken rocker arms.

Q: Why is my idle speed random,  both hot and cold.  A: Idle controls failing is usually just a symptom of limphome, but can be air leaks,etc !

Q:My front axles make bad noises, what might that be.

A: Did you inspect Hubs every 15k miles as Table A , shows in the first question above?
A: Your bearings could be bad, the lockers breaking up, or the CV joints going bad or even suspension parts or worse brakes.
A: If the brake rotors crack , they can cause a very bad accident.  Inspect them every 15k. (do it at tire rotation)
A: First make sure you can unlock the locking hubs, if unsure, then just remove lockers, they do not HOLD the axles and wheels on the car, then
retest for noise.  I always inspect rotors and calipers first.  Ask for help on brakes, I will not show procedures here.
Brakes first, then wheel bearings, then CV joints. ( in order of your risk )  At the same time eyeball the suspension and do some flexing of its parts.

Question,  why do my brakes act odd?, (first , stop driving the car). BRAKE PAGE.

Q: I have no tools, what can I do.
A: Cry! (there is no free lunch , you can pay for labor to use their tools or buy yours. Pick one.)

Fixing cars with out tools or parts is very expensive and a huge waste of time.
Using used parts is cool , I do it all the time. but I test them first. Untested , used parts can cause you to chase your tail.
Keep in mind you can rent tools and gauges. Most Autostores loan for free, tools or rent them dirt cheap,  get on the horn (CELL) and ask em'
Checking fuel pressure ,engine compression and vacuum can save many long hours of frustration and bad feelings, about your car.
The is a rule fixing car engines.
1: Do the tune up now, do the 60k mile service now. (use top brand parts not some no name crap off of  flea-bay dot whatever.) BOSCH or NGK.
2: Good engine. (cam actually timed, right) EGR closed at idle, and Cat not clogged.  (It must breath and pump air, if not, all bets OFF)
3: Good spark , #1 made this this happen but must be timed to spec. And must advance right.
4: Fueling issues, (this is last , not first)   Misfire, or flooding or bogging. type those works in my seach box , 1 page back.

The car systems are complex and can be hard to diagnose.
If your car is a 1996 and newer car (USA) then by all means check the sensors on the engine using a full OBD2 scan tool , not just a code reader.
Yes, pull the fault codes first , as always.

On 1995 and older , all we have are  the factory blink codes. (just needs a paper clip to get them , nothing else)

Inspired by:  Ahhh crap, my Suzuki crapped out again.!  1/2 joking...

 and my car runs like crap.   

Direct questions:
Post questions to the forum  here: http://www.fixkick.com/bbs2/Suzuki-bbs/forumdisplay.php?fid=2

rev .4. fixed dead links.  3-1-2013