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Old 18th October 2021, 22:56   #1
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Default My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Introduction

I’ve been holding a pre-owned 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara AT for over 7 years now. The odo is close to 97,000km and the suspension is stock, except for the doughnut bushes on the lower arms. Of all the cars I’ve held this far, this is the one I’ve held for the longest time; plus I'm the owner that has held this particular car for the longest time. That is purely because

a) the car has been with me through many ups and downs
b) the car has proven its mettle on several occasions, especially in big deluges
c) the car has been a reliable performer throughout except for replacement of ageing parts
d) I've got used to the car and the car has got used to me
e) I have the service manual handy and it is of immense help in diagnosis of issues
f) it's Made in Japan

Yes, despite the Japan tag, this car has seen uncommon issues eg. a torque converter clutch input cable getting clipped by mice, ABS hydraulic unit leak, which have been documented in moderator @Samurai’s thread on the Grand Vitara

1. TCC cable clipped by mice (The First Grand Vitara on Team-BHP).
2. ABS Leak (The First Grand Vitara on Team-BHP).

I have also experienced the sub fuel gauge wiring being clipped by mice and it took a logical approach to get to the issue and solve it; documented here (Suzuki Grand Vitara | Solving a weird fuel gauge issue).

Last edited by vigsom : 19th October 2021 at 01:52.
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Old 18th October 2021, 23:02   #2
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Default re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Experiences with the Grand Vitara this far

My only complaint with this car has been its fuel efficiency, given that this is a 2.0L petrol engine, full time 4WD with the default driving mode being 4H, and options to move to 4HL and 4LL via a switch. However, the car's rock solid construction, ability to hold up well with time, and a great driving experience more than makes up for the below average fuel efficiency. I've typically managed between 7 and 9.5 kmpl in City and a max. of 12.5 kmpl on the highway at a max of 100kmph.

The automatic transmission lever allows slotting the car in any gear - D, 3, 2, L. I've used this feature to downshift to 3 and 2 for overtaking maneuvers. Gear#2 is the best as here is where the car takes off like a rocket.

Maintenance issues this far

On the maintenance front, I have seen a host of issues cropping up post Jan-2018 (when the car was a little over 10 years). All o fthese were solved with some effort.

1. Steering wobble - arrested by adjusting the rack end nut
2. ABS Hydraulic Unit leak - took nine months to detect and I managed to source a hydraulic unit from another Grand Vitara which had a dead engine
3. Rear brake shoes making noise - the shoes had life in them but I decided to import the parts and have the complete rear brake set up viz. shoes, wheel cylinders replaced with SGP parts
4. Tappet cover gasket and the four spark plug tubes O-rings leaking - SGP parts imported and replaced
5. Drive belt - replaced with a 5PK1650 SGP belt imported from the UAE

Last edited by vigsom : 19th October 2021 at 01:46.
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Old 18th October 2021, 23:33   #3
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Default re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Maintenance in 2021 - at age 13

Inspection of the HVAC Unit - documented here (Aircons! Demystifying the car air-conditioning system, Part 2).

Radiator and AC Condenser Fan noise

Both the fans were making noise; although not severe, I decided to have them removed and check on what was wrong. The condenser and radiator fans sit next to each other in one assembly. To remove this without disturbing the radiator hoses,

1. remove the power steering reservoir and place it suitably without disconnecting the hoses
2. remove the coolant expansion tank with the hose from the radiator neck and place it upright at a safe location such that coolant doesn't spill
3. remove the air filter inlet duct and place it carefully somewhere
4. remove the condenser and radiator fan assembly by decoupling the two couplers and removing the bolts holding the assembly to the radiator

On opening the fan motors, i observed that the brushes were wearing out, there was severe carbon build up inside the fan motor housing plus the bearing in the Condenser fan motor was making noise. Both the fan motors were serviced and refitted.

Fan assembly out of position - note that the radiator top hose hasn't been disturbed
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_fanassembly_removed.jpg

Note the automatic transmission oil cooler hoses at the bottom of the radiator
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_transmission_oilcooling.jpg

Twin Fan assembly - the fan that sits lower is the condenser fan
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_condenserradiator_fanassembly.jpg

Condenser fan motor open - note the dirty commutator
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_condenserfanmotor_open.jpg

Fan motor bearing - 608Z
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_radiatorfanmotor_bearing.jpg

Fan motors overhauled and ready for refitment
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_radiatorcondenserfans_overhauled.jpg

My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_fanmotors_afterservice.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 19th October 2021 at 00:56.
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Old 18th October 2021, 23:49   #4
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Default re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Maintenance in 2021 (Contd.)

Idler pulley bearing

I had replaced the idler pulley bearing with an SKF metal shielded bearing in end-2018. While that ran smooth until early this year, I noticed a weird behaviour - a terrible squealing noise would develop if the car was driven over, say, 30kms, and the noise was traced to this bearing. Spray some WD40 on the bearing and it would immediately go silent. I had a spare OE NSK 6005DU bearing that came in handy and the defective idler pulley bearing was replaced with this; no noise thereafter. I then realised that the ZZ bearing isn't the right type for this application.

The 6005ZZ bearing that was installed in 2018
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_idlerbearing_6005zz_2018.jpg

6005ZZ bearing useless after just 2.5 years
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_idlerpulley_oldbearing.jpg
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_idlerbearing_6005zz_removed.jpg

The original idler pulley bearing that came with the car
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_idlerbearing_nsk_original.jpg

Idler pulley with a new NSK 6005 DU bearing
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_idlerpulley_newbearing.jpg

Other inspection

OE Brake pads were found in satisfactory shape after 36,000km. They seem to have at least another 20,000km of useful life left.
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_brakepads_36kused.jpg

Driveshaft boots on the front and rear were inspected; all found intact. Shown here is a sample

My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_frontdriveshaft_bootsintact.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 19th October 2021 at 01:48.
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Old 19th October 2021, 00:37   #5
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Default re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Maintenance in 2021 (Contd.)

Oct-2021 - Aircon compressor clutch not engaging

In all my years of experience, I've always known AC compressor clutch electromagnets to first weaken gradually and then fail. Weakening would mean the compressor not engaging after a few minutes of operation since the magnet would go weak and not have the energy to engage the compressor clutch.

In the case of my Grand Vitara, I observed that after approx. 20 days of shutdown, when I connected the battery negative back, started the car, and after sometime, started the aircon, the compressor would not engage. Electrical supply to the clutch was on, but the magnet wouldn't energise. In a normal case, this would require recovery of refrigerant, removal of the compressor, fitment of a new clutch magnet, and then the usual leak test, evacuation, and refrigerant filling. In my case, the job was accomplished without removal of the compressor.

1. The radiator-condenser fan assembly was removed
2. Coolant was drained out and the radiator lower hose disconnected from the thermostat elbow

Removal of the lower hose helped open the compressor mounting bolts and lift it up to a convenient height to be able to remove the compressor clutch disc, clutch pulley and the magnet without removing the refrigerant charge. The operation was a little tricky, but folks working on the car were skilled to adopt the right procedure to ensure that there was no damage to the compressor hoses in the process.

Drive belt removed
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_drivebeltremoved.jpg

Fan assembly removed to create more working room
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_fanassemblyremoved.jpg

Compressor clutch magnet being removed
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_clutchmagnetbeingremoved.jpg

Compressor clutch disc - in good shape after 14 years
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_compressorclutchdisc.jpg

Compressor clutch assembly removed
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_compressorclutchremoved.jpg


Back in 2014, I' d got the coolant drained and filled in fresh Toyota Genuine Super Long Life red coolant concentrate that I'd procured; diluted that 1: 2.5 with distilled water and that is what was doing duty in the car all these years. However, the replacement in 2014 left some old coolant back in the block as the old coolant wasn't flushed out totally. Despite that, even after seven years, the coolant was in top shape, retaining its characteristic oily properties. There was zero residue or particles in the coolant that was collected. You'd see a brownish green tint to the coolant and that is because some of the old green stuff remained in the block.



Although the same coolant was fit to be reused, I thought it appropriate to change the coolant. This time around, I ensured that the system was flushed thrice with distilled water, and even collected a sample of the contents after the third flush. Post that added fresh brew viz. Toyota Genuine Super Long Life Pink coolant, which now comes as a factory 50-50 pre-mix and is ready to use.



Coolant Expansion tank - before cleaning the inside and outside
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_coolanttank_before1.jpg

Coolant Expansion tank - after cleaning
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_coolanttank_after1.jpg

New coolant - before level top off
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gv_freshcoolant.jpg


The compressor was fitted back with a new electromagnet, compressor refitted in position, fan assembly, coolant tank, and Power Steering fluid reservoir refixed. The coolant system was filled with fresh coolant, air-bled and post that, the Grand Vitara was back to old ways.

Expenses in 2021

1. Idler pulley bearing INR 150
2. Radiator and condenser fan motors overhaul INR 2,100
3. AC Compressor electromagnet INR 2,000
4. Toyota Genuine Coolant 6 liters INR 1,800
5. Brake discs skimming INR 1,400
5. Labour INR 2,400

Total INR 9,850

What's changed from 2014 to now?

The love for the car remains intact, despite the many hiccups in 2018. What has changed is the pricing of SGP spare parts, that is now inching close to 3 series territory. The good news, however, is that lower priced options are available on all parts, which wasn't the case earlier on line in India.

For quick reference, here's a link to Samurai's Maruti's Grand Vitara Long-Term Ownership Review.

Last edited by Aditya : 19th October 2021 at 05:14. Reason: As requested
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Old 19th October 2021, 05:11   #6
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Default re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th October 2021, 11:40   #7
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Default Re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Hey, wish I had such concise report of 14 history in one page. Mine is spread over 14 years. Yup, my Grand Vitara is 2 weeks away from completing 14 years, and as a single owner car. I had never thought I would keep a car for 14 years, let alone 10years. And that too as my primary family car. And it will be completing 150,000kms this month. Just bought my 5 set of tyres too.

The last service bill was ₹2680 since I didn't need to change oil.
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Old 19th October 2021, 13:54   #8
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Default Re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

The subwoofer in the Grand Vitara also started sputtering badly sometime in June this year. This is an active sub placed under the co-driver seat. I decided to see what was wrong, and if anything could be done to breathe some life into it. If not, I'd have to substitute this with an aftermarket underseat subwoofer OR add an amplifier and a subwoofer in the boot OR live without the thump.

1. Removed the three bolts holding the sub enclosure to the floor

View of the sub enclosure from behind the front co-driver seat
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubwoofer_viewfromrear.jpg

2. Separated the enclosure bracket from the enclosure back plate

Top view
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubenclosure_topview.jpg

Bottom view
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubenclosure_bottomview.jpg

Mounting frame removed
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubenclosure_frameremoved.jpg

3. Noted that the subwoofer is a 4" dual voice coil set up, and that there was some corrosion on one side of the circuit board

Sub with the PCB
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubenclosure_pcbcorrosion.jpg

4. Removed the subwoofer and tested the voice coils - one was working but sputtering while the other was dead

The 4" sub
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsub_removed.jpg

5. Located a speaker service point in my city (such weird places are generally tucked away in some galli); found one such place called Japan speaker service and was told he was in the business for many years
6. He took 4 days but could rectify only one voice coil that was sputtering but couldn't do anything about the second one. I wasn't able to find a similar sized subwoofer with a dual voice coil anywhere. SVC subs of 4" dia were available, but again, they were taller than this Sanyo

Sub after repair
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsub_repaired.jpg

7. Came back, cleaned the PCB with IPA, applied thermal paste on the heat sink, soldered some of the old points on the PCB again just to eliminate the possibility of dry solder
8. Installed the sub back, and found that it was sputtering again inside the enclosure, while it worked fine when tested separately
9. Switched the leads - installed the sub to have the working voice coil face the other two leads, provided some foam padding to eliminate some inadvertent vibrations, and it worked perfectly
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubenclosure_padding.jpg

Sub enclosure back in position with the wiring coupler connection waiting to be done
My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance-gvsubenclosure_backinplace.jpg

Ever since I got the car, I've always had to play around with the sub enclosure gain to prevent sputtering. This time around, it worked absolutely fine even with just one voice coil working. The set up works perfect to provide just the needed thump to complete the soundstage. Speakers in the Grand Vitara are still stock and are working perfect - yet another proof of quality of components. In my view, this is the best sounding 2000s Japanese UV car audio set up after the Mitsubishi Outlander's famed Rockford Fosgate set up.

All I spent on this exercise was a mere ₹100, and ended the project with some satisfaction of being able to bring a dead subwoofer back to life.

Last edited by vigsom : 19th October 2021 at 14:02.
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Old 20th October 2021, 16:55   #9
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Default Re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

I'm really impressed. 14 years and it seems you're still happy with the vehicle. I hope Suzuki is able to launch more premium cars in India.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my takeaway from your report is that if one wants a very long-lasting reliable vehicle, and a Toyota is out of budget, Suzuki quality comes really close?
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Old 20th October 2021, 20:41   #10
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Default Re: My Suzuki Grand Vitara AT turns 14 | Experiences & maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by kadanaJ View Post
if one wants a very long-lasting reliable vehicle, and a Toyota is out of budget, Suzuki quality comes really close?
Thank You, @kadanaJ. Japanese Suzukis, like the CBU Grand Vitara, come very close to Toyota quality. Suzukis built in India are still very reliable, but have gradually gone flimsy. I remember how reasonably built my Esteem was, and the next car - a 2003 Versa was way lower down the order w.r.t build.
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