My Suzuki Grand Vitara turns 15: 97K km on the odo & still going strong

Its rock-solid construction, ability to hold up well with time & great driving experience, more than makes up for the below-average fuel efficiency.

BHPian vigsom recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


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:

  • The car has been with me through many ups and downs
  • The car has proven its mettle on several occasions, especially in big deluges
  • The car has been a reliable performer throughout except for the replacement of ageing parts
  • I've gotten used to the car and the car has gotten used to me
  • I have the service manual handy and it is of immense help in the diagnosis of issues
  • 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.

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.

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 great driving experience more than make up for the below-average fuel efficiency. I've typically managed between 7 and 9.5 kmpl in the 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 manoeuvres. 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 of these were solved with some effort.

  • Steering wobble - arrested by adjusting the rack end nut
  • 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
  • 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
  • Tappet cover gasket and the four spark plug tubes O-rings leaking - SGP parts imported and replaced
  • Drive belt - replaced with a 5PK1650 SGP belt imported from the UAE

Maintenance in 2021 - at age 13

Inspection of the HVAC Unit - documented here.

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:

  • Remove the power steering reservoir and place it suitably without disconnecting the hoses
  • Remove the coolant expansion tank with the hose from the radiator neck and place it upright at a safe location such that the coolant doesn't spill
  • Remove the air filter inlet duct and place it carefully somewhere
  • 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

Note the automatic transmission oil cooler hoses at the bottom of the radiator

Twin Fan assembly - the fan that sits lower is the condenser fan

Condenser fan motor open - note the dirty commutator

Fan motor bearing - 608Z

Fan motors overhauled and ready for refitment

Maintenance in 2021 (Contd.)

Idler pulley bearing

I replaced the idler pulley bearing with an SKF metal shielded bearing in end-2018. While that ran smoothly 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 goes 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

6005ZZ bearing useless after just 2.5 years

The original idler pulley bearing that came with the car

Idler pulley with a new NSK 6005 DU bearing

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.

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

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