1996 Suzuki Sidekick 4 dr JX 4×4

When it was new

IT looked like this when new !

But it’s not new ..  it’s rusty , it’s had a dog living inside..  so it’s filthy.  The motor needs work.  The registration needs to be found.  What I’m I doing with it ?  Well it’s hard to pass up a bargain..  All it cost me was the trailer rental and gas to go get it.   So if I can get the registration ..  and repair the motor..  and not spend too much..  then I have a very cheap SUV.

Coming home

It looks like this now.. Loaded and coming home.

Yes It starts and runs.. drove it onto the trailer.. BUT.  The head gasket is leaking and the coolant is gone.. smokes like a diesel.   so don’t want to run the motor for more that a few moments.   This poor little guy was abandoned several years back .. most likely due to the motor.. and the Owner has passed away.   So efforts are being made to get the registration..   I won’t start work till I have that..  And I’m thinking a good winter project.  Haven’t decided how far to go with this after the motor is repaired.


It’s just dirty !   The seats are in good shape, no rips.  In fact it’s mostly intact..  except for the missing radio.. and the rear seat belts ?  But it smells like wet dog..  so I would need to remove all the carpets and clean everything.


Typical Suzuki rust..  all four fenders have rusty bits.. as does the rear doors and tail gate.   But the floors are still solid thanks to good under coating.. so  I can work with this..  New front fenders are easy to get..  And maybe a wrecker has good doors..


The only body damage that’s not rust is this right rear corner. An easy fix.

The Good Stuff !

It was pointed out to me that these mid 90’s Sidekicks & Trackers  had better motors and power steering.  And that they drove better overall.   All the electrical seems to work fine.. the brakes seem to be good.. even the parking brake works.  The snow tires are like new !   The windows work..  that’s a problem with the early models.   So we got a good place to start.   Oh and as a little bonus the owners manual is in the glove box.. always nice to see that.


Oh that dirt..  But I got in a cleaning mode today..  I really was just going to clean the motor so it would be nicer to work on.. Once I was done I got carried away.  Started cleaning the interior.


I bit cleaner inside..  now I don’t mind sitting in the seat.   Their was a dog that liked to chew and leave hair on everything , so it’s gross.  Must have been a big dog..  cause there is dog hair on the roof too.


And the dog was board and chewed on the gear shifter..  scratched up the panels..  drooled on everything..  Just reaffirms my thinking to never have a dog.


Lots of Kms !

But that’s normal for this age of Suzuki..   The other thing that’s normal for these buggies is the tail gate latch handle.  They always break, because they are plastic with a metal hinge..  that rusts while you are looking at it.  This one was no surprise to be broken too.  And that bugged me cause I had to remove the door panel to open the back door from inside.  So I removed the handle .


This is what I found..  The hinge pin rusted solid the lever broken off the handle..  Typical.   so I do what I do best and added a metal piece to reinforce the handle / lever.  And built a new mount with a new hinge..   Used the spring..  and it work like new.  Now I can open the rear door to see the dog hair better.  🙂

Oct 23 2015

Today I cleaned the rear seat and bolted it back in..   also the left rear door inside handle was in the box of parts..  I suppose they did not know how to remove the window crank so left it broken.  I removed the door panel and found out that the rod from the handle to the latch was missing.  So I made a new one and put it all back together. Good to go..   Tomorrow the Sidekick goes over to the shop where it will stay till work done on motor is finished and it’s drivable again.

Oct 24 2015:

Well all that work..  Yesterday the plan was to sell the Sidekick after registration was done and the motor fixed..  Because today I went and picked up a 1992 two door Tracker from Kamloops.   It is perfectly what I want..  just not perfect.. body wise.  But suits me more than the 4 door.   Click  HERE  to see that post.   In the mean time we wait for ICBC to reply for the registration before any other work is done. 

ICBC refused to give me the registration … So I sold the Suzuki AS IS to some guys from Kelowna…  Gone BYE BYE.