Suzuki Sierra any thoughts?

Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 08:11

GoneTroppo Member (FNQ)

Have been thinking and looking at these as a farm vehicle as an alternative to one of these.

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The polaris is about $22k the Suzuki about $4k for an early 90's with 200k's on it.

The reason is that we have very steep, slippery, wet, muddy clay tracks to negotiate regularly, as well as driving across paddocks etc.
The 4x4 ATV gets there fine. The Defender with twin airlockers and swampers gets there but chews everything up big time.

So we need something very light, carry two people and a bit of gear. Sort of like a bigger ATV. The Ranger is ideal and purpose built for the job but hard to justify on $$$

Question is: Am I heading in the right direction with the Suzuki? does anyone have any firsthand experience with them in the sort of conditions I'm talking about?

Secondly: What are the things I should look out for with a high mileage vehicle under the $4000 mark.
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AnswerID: 240700   Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 09:00

Willem replied:

Mate I had 7 Suzukis over a period of time. They are great little vehicles.

You may be able to pick up a ute.

Suzukis are Go Anywhere Machines, The only thing that limits them for travelling is the space to carry stuff. Our last Suzuki was an 1986 Sierra 1300, 5speed. We crossed the Simpson North/South in it and it lived in Darwin for most of its life. Lots of muddy tracks.

Shod with BFG Muddies the Zook will take you anywhere. At 200K the gearbox of the Zook might need attention. The swivel housing housing may have problems and the Birfield joints might be cracked but parts should be plentiful and cheap. Also the gear lever seal has a habit of freezing up especially when in the wrong It is also is easy to repair. Generally they are a pretty uncomplicated piece of machinery and excellent power to weight ratio.

Another forum member farmer has one for his muddy cow paddock and it is still going great despite many workers driving it on a daily basis

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AnswerID: 240705   Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 09:30

Waynepd (NSW) replied:

I am looking for one as a daily driver and plaything so i can leave the nissan at home through the week, with the price of fuel the way it is..

Mates i have that used to or still own them reckon they are the best small fourby you can lay your hands on. I know it isn't first-hand experience from me but i am constantly on the lookout for a cheapie i can mod and get registered.

I have seen them do stuff offroad that is amazing, to me anyway, so a trip across a few paddocks and up some steep inclines would be a doddle. I've seen them climb rocks from flat, the departure and approach angles are brilliant. The ramp-over is not a problem because they are so short. just don't get on too much of a side slope because they are tallish for their size.
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AnswerID: 240716   Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 10:23

Member - Stephen M (NSW) replied:

Hi havnt had sierra's but have had 2 vitara's The first 92 model the other a 2000 grand vitara, I konw these are different suspension wise as they were both coil but engine wise virtually identicle but were fantastic vehicles. Very capable but as said above the only reason we got rid of the 2000 model was due to lack of aftermarket acc snorkel etc and ground clearance even with a lift it was still lower then the hilux or the prado. I have been thinking of doing the same thing as yourself in getting one just to have some fun on the weekends and not worry about putting dents and things in it. I know you are looking at it for another reason but I dont think for a minute you will regret getting one. Piece of bleep to work on and the only other thing I have found was the rear diffs seem to get a bit of a wine up when the klms start to get a bit high eg 200klm + but not a major problem. As said parts a plenty. Dont forget the old holden drover not as many around but just as good just with a holden badge but all suzuki running gear top little thing as well. Regards Steve M
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FollowupID: 501661   Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 12:00

GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) posted:

Good tip Steve I'd forgotten about Drovers
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AnswerID: 240717   Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2007 at 10:24

howie replied:

they are go anywhere machines due to the power to weight ratio.
people in the club have said that they are prone to rollover in extreme situations but i didn't see any.
only thing that stopped them sometimes is the width of their track didn't always fit into existing tracks.
my son followed me over some sand and mud tracks which i thought would sort him out in his suz, but he always appeared in my rearview.
he sold it to a farmer who wanted it for the same purpose you do as well.
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AnswerID: 240922   Submitted: Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 00:11

Ianw replied:

Use 'em every day as general farm runabout. Got 5 of them where I work. When wet (will be again I guess sometime) go any where with 235 - 225 - 215 or 205/70 AT or MT tyres. Only time I got bogged was towing heavy fencing trailer loaded with wire/ posts etc through a wet creek. Unhooked trailer and it jumped out easy. Will fly over places where other farm utes won't even look at (hilux, Navara etc.) Not so good on fuel economy cos you tend to rev the hell out of them but they go forever. Love to redline to 6500 revs. Not so good for road use, bit unstable and rev too high - (3500 at 100k)
Check wheel bearings, king pins, driveshaft splines and uni joints for wear; wiring problems are normal (blinkers come on when braking, clock stops when lights on etc). Rust can be a real problem especially if driven on beach etc. Check bodywork around wheel arches, doors etc. Doors will develop cracks in them as will the roof pillars. Springs can be weak or broken but are easily replaced with OME or similar for a couple of hundred bucks. We use them on rocky lava flows where nothing else will go for mustering sheep and cattle so they have to be tough. Also in and out of creeks, rivers etc,. Basically just point it where you want to go and hang on!! If it stops moving then engage 4wd. Hardly ever need to.
The post 1986 models are more stable due to increased track width. 87 to 95 are virtually identical.
Subject was raised before on post 35575
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FollowupID: 501860   Submitted: Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 11:24

GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) posted:

Thanks for that Ian good info, just what I'm looking for.
Thanks everyone else also.

How do you find them ride comfort wise?
Reason I ask is I was in the neighbours 80's Hilux farm ute and nearly rattled my brain loose going across a not so rough paddock.
I'll have look at 35575 also

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FollowupID: 501995   Submitted: Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 22:19

Ianw posted:

Large tyres, new springs and shockers and they ride the rough stuff pretty well. With old springs/shockers tend to bottom out a bit. Much better than the Navara of the same age. (Don't like driving that one) Also seats can break springs but easily fixed and reasonably comfortable unless you are too big.
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AnswerID: 241128   Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 08:05

Robin Miller replied:

Had one on our hills and on 30 degree plus slopes oil in gearbox would overheat
very quickly , think not designed to handle this.

Perhaps it could be overfilled , not sure - ours got dumped.

Robin Miller
Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 502060   Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 12:42

Mike Harding posted:

My son's has been all over the High Country on some pretty steep stuff - never had any problems.

Mike Harding
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AnswerID: 241168   Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 13:03

Trevor R (QLD) replied:

I have a Toyota Blizzard as a play thing, it is basically a Diahatsu Scat. Great for everything except side slopes. The rear diff is welded up in mine and that makes a HUGE difference offroad. The benefits of the Blizzard over the Zook is the 2.2 diesel motor as opposed to the high revving petrol in the Zooks. You can pick these up for a song in most country areas, 2 grand will buy you a good one. There is a picci of it unmodified in my rig pics.

Cheers, Trevor.
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