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Buying Guide

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18 Jul 2015 13:35 #147937 by kirkynut
kirkynut created the topic: Buying Guide
OK, loads of posts have been made asking for Buying Advice and I usually link them to a Guide on the main Big Jimny Page that people seem to bypass and come straight to the forum.

I just went to find that guide and found that the frequently asked questions section seems to have fallen over.

In order to help potential buyers and new members, I have created this Sticky. If you are a new Owner or a potential owner, please don't just read this and shy away from posting. We are a friendly bunch and love to see pictures of people's newly purchased Jimny's - standard or modified!

Please feel free to add to this as I am not an expert on all the differences between ages and what engine is in what!

Here we go:

The Jimny as we know it came to UK shores in about 1998. The old SJ was known as the Jimny in some non European Countries. Don't confuse the two, they are similar in basic design but different in many ways. Many on here love SJ's too but this if a Jimny forum really.

The original cars all came with a 1.3 16v single cam engine which had a cam belt. It's a good reliable engine but can suffer head gasket failure and many examples of this have been discussed on this forum. It's not a hard engine to work on and the competent home mechanic could fix this. Just make sure you skim the head.

After about 2000 hard tops got a twin cam engine with a timing chain instead of a cam belt. Soft tops retained their single cam engine until the end of their production in about 2005.

You can buy hard tops to go on soft tops. This may be appealing as the soft top is in two parts with a front section over the front seats. You can remove just this section, which would be nice in the summer months! There were 2 designs of the hard top for soft tops and owners with more experience of these will tell you when they changed over and what he differences are.

New soft tops can be bought from Monsoon. Their quality is awesome but I am led to believe their UK Customer Service isn't as good as their products.

The main issue with buying a Jimny with a few years and/or miles on it will be Rust. It's not hard to find it.

The main places to check for rust are in no particular order:

Behind the headlamps and underneath them where the splash guard keeps moisture in.

Sills under the plastic covers.

THE BOOT FLOOR written in capitals as it's the main place! This extends forwards to under the rear seats and the sides of the rear floor. This is a massive problem on older Jimny's. The fuel tank is under the rear seats, so be careful welding and remove it for safety.

Parts of the axles where the Radius arm brackets are welded to the chassis and bottom damper brackets front and rear.



Mechanical issues as a rule are not numerous but there are a couple of problems that can pop up from time to time, especially if you go off-road.

The King Pin bearings in the front axles wear quicker on the Jimny than they ever did on the SJ. The movement created by this causes the axle tube oil seal to leak and mix with the CV grease. You then have the gunk created by their mixture leaking out of the Swivel Ball Dust Seals. This is no biggie for the DIY mechanic. The biggest issue will be rusted in bolts but they are all available in the Big Jimny Shop at a reasonable price with a very good and quick service from the site Owner - Martin Lines.

The trouble is that many Professional Mechanics do not see the old SJ very often to know the Swivels on Suzuki's do not have oil in them for the CV's like the Land Rovers they are used to repairing. The CV is just greased with a rubber dust seal that wipes over the swivel ball. They then quote silly things for the simple repair.

A home mechanic can change the King Pin Bearings in about 3/4 hours per side when all the bolts have been off before. There's a "How To" Guide within here: www.bigjimny.com/index.php/information/qhow-toq-guides

Moving on a little from the King Pin bearings but still linked to them is a phenomenon called "Death Wobble". It has it's own thread here: www.bigjimny.com/index.php/forum?view=topic&catid=7&id=51883

I won't repeat the contents of this thread again but essentially you can have a horrible wobble of the steering wheel, usually about 45 MPH that gets so bad you think you are going to die. Hence the name. Worn King Pin Bearings are one cause of it. The thread will tell you about all the others.

The Jimny is not the only Live Axle vehicle to suffer with it. Jeeps also suffer and I have known of Land Rovers to do so. The Jimny is particularly susceptible to it though.

In about 2005 the twin cam engine was developed to have Variable Valve Timing - VVT. This gave the Jimny a few extra Horses but there was also a new Gearbox added at this time and the 4WD mechanism went from a gearstick from the transfer box push button selection for 2WD, 4WD HIGH and 4WD LOW.

The Jimny is normally 2WD you see and has no Centre Differential like some Land Rovers do. You must only put it in 4WD when the ground is of a slightly lower grip (wet grass, gravel, ice, snow). Otherwise you will suffer what is called transmission wind up, where tension builds in the transmission as the front and rear axles have turned as different speeds from cornering etc.

Both methods of changing from High to Low and 4WD to 2WD appear reliable.

The transfer box has a chain inside which can stretch and start to make vibration noises through wear. To test, drive in second and go on and off the throttle to see if you can hear it vibrate as it goes slack when you take your foot off the throttle. Second hand transfer boxes are easy to get and cheap enough. Replacement is easy. They are divorced from the gearbox, connected with a mini prop and light enough for a single person to bench press up with one arm whilst guiding it with the other. Or use a Jack!

The VVT engine received a new gearbox though. This gearbox on the whole is reliable but being a forum specialising in these cars we hear of all the problems. One of them is that this VVT gearbox does sometimes go wrong and is expensive to repair and next to impossible to find second hand. When you do find one it will be expensive. The symptoms to my understanding are worn bearing like noises but the problem, a transmission specialist new to this site recently posted, is more syncromesh related, hence the expensive repairs. He suggested the oil Suzuki spec is too thin and burns too quickly. No other gearbox can be fitted in its place from older cars. So you have to fix it or find a like replacement.

I believe later models have a new gearbox again that is probably too new to show any issues. When this was introduced I am not sure.

There are many other small issues, such as the bolt holes for the rear radius arm mounts elongating, allowing the bolt to move and clunk. Sometimes they are just loose and need nipping up. I've experienced this twice. I've nipped them up and have not got elongated holes as a result.

The vacuum operated hubs can fail where the vacuum leaks from the rubber seals of the pipework. This can be solved by finding the leak and replacing the parts required or blocking it off and fitting manual hubs / fixed hubs.

I started this thread about converting your vacuum hubs to fixed for free: www.bigjimny.com/index.php/forum?view=topic&catid=7&id=55862

There is school of thought that this is no good for your front diff or transfer box as it is not designed to always have the reverse forces on the gears when you let off the throttle and are in over run. My personal experience is that there is no need to worry and my old SJ had fixed front hubs from the factory. You make your choice. I've run fixed hubs for a long time with no issues on my Jimny.

If you are planning to go off road you will likely want to modify your Jimny. The first things you will want to do are give it a suspension lift and bigger tyres. These are topics in their own right but a point to bear in mind is that the Low ratios in the transfer box are not that Low and you'll find tyres bigger than 215/75/15 will make Low ratio far too High.

We solve this problem the same way as SJ owners do. We use a Rocklobster Transfer Box. This is an SJ transfer box casing with some magic performed inside to give a slight reduction in High Ratio and a much, much lower Low ratio gearset. Richard Wattam from RAM AUTO DESIGN is the main man for this and does a great fitting kit. Jimnybits.co.uk also sell them.

I mention Rocklobsters in this Buyer's Guide as fitting a Rocklobster to a Push Button Transfer Box car is a bit harder than fitting it to a stick shift transfer box car. It is not insurmountable but if you know you will be going down the Rocklobster route with massive modifications at some point, you might just want to make your life easier by buying a stick transfer box car in the first place!

Having said all of this, my personal pick of the bunch from across the years of UK Jimny models is the 2000 model hard top up to the end of February 2011.

My reasons for this are that it has the twin cam engine (no cambelt to change or head gasket issues) in the lower tax bracket and the reliable gearbox with stick shift transfer box. You just have to look out for the rust! After this it is a pre 2005 twin cam, just suffering the little extra tax.

I would personally buy a 2005 on VVT but would change the gearbox oil nearly as often as the Engine Oil - it's not hard! The younger it is the less rust it will have. There are many VVT engine cars that have never had gearbox troubles. So don't think because we are aware of it on a forum that it is a massive issue. Forums are magnets for the problems but don't publicise the hundreds of thousands of cars that never had the issue!

There are other things that go wrong like on any car - blocked and worn out cats, cam and crank sensors. cooling system faults. Nothing more than other cars though.

One last thing to mention is that if you are buying to create an off road monster with massive tyres, the shafts and CV's are not as strong as on the SJ413 or Samurai. They are more akin to the SJ410 in dimensions and strength, yet have more power and torque than any of them before it. You will therefore need to budget for HD front shafts and CV's from one of the several manufacturers selling them now. They are not cheap! This is no different than for Land Rover owners who spend fortunes with Ashcroft Transmissions!

I hope this helps.

Kirktnut

The underdog often starts the fight, and occasionally the upper dog deserves to win - Edgar Watson Howe.

My Jimny Thread Here: www.bigjimny.com/index.php/forum?view=to...tid=8&id=14127#14127
The following user(s) said Thank You: ZookFastback, Halford, Tadpole, minibbb, grumyoldjoe, Busta, gusthegorilla, jim, OllieNZ, philpridd and 6 other people also said thanks.

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18 Jul 2015 15:48 #147944 by Busta
Busta replied the topic: Buying Guide
Excellent write-up Kirkynut!

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19 Jul 2015 09:23 #147976 by Tadpole
Tadpole replied the topic: Buying Guide
Thanks for taking the time to pull this together Kirky, the rust problems you list the floor pan my I also suggest a mention to the 'tool/jack' well .. ;)

I've just found what I was looking for, it was where I left it ...

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19 Jul 2015 21:36 #148025 by kirkynut
kirkynut replied the topic: Buying Guide

Tadpole wrote: Thanks for taking the time to pull this together Kirky, the rust problems you list the floor pan my I also suggest a mention to the 'tool/jack' well .. ;)


That's the boot floor dear Sir!

Kirkynut

The underdog often starts the fight, and occasionally the upper dog deserves to win - Edgar Watson Howe.

My Jimny Thread Here: www.bigjimny.com/index.php/forum?view=to...tid=8&id=14127#14127

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13 Oct 2015 11:26 #153547 by Buckley
Buckley replied the topic: Buying Guide
Hey guys if I were to replace the clutch on my Jimny would I need to replace anything with it?

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13 Oct 2015 19:01 #153572 by zukiara
zukiara replied the topic: Buying Guide
Yes I would change the release bearing, so if you can get a clutch kit which should have the bearing within it.
Have fun changing it out.

Gone and done it again - something totally dangerous and stupid

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13 Oct 2015 20:10 - 13 Oct 2015 20:11 #153581 by Buckley
Buckley replied the topic: Buying Guide
Thanks man, Any recommended website I could get one of them from please?
Last Edit: 13 Oct 2015 20:11 by Buckley. Reason: Missed out a few words

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14 Oct 2015 22:23 #153676 by zukiara
zukiara replied the topic: Buying Guide
Mm any motor factors, don't get a recon kit, not worth it, also try

www.japanese4x4spares.co.uk/

www.demon-tweeks.co.uk

Russ at www.jimnybits.co.uk/shop/jimny/cat_1.html

www.luk.co.uk/content.luk.co.uk/en/index.jsp and find a dealer near you, Ive usually fitted Luk to my own vehicles and never had an issue but its a personal thing, and each to there own.

Hope this helps

Gone and done it again - something totally dangerous and stupid

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15 Oct 2015 16:56 #153722 by Buckley
Buckley replied the topic: Buying Guide
Thanks buddy that is a lot of help!!

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15 Nov 2015 10:38 #156294 by Jaylighty
Jaylighty replied the topic: Buying Guide
Hi , I'm new ere and just thinking of buying my first Jiimny . This is a great post to learn and read .
The Jiimny I'm looking at is a 54 plate in silver with 61000 , just had new tyres and clutch and it's a mechanic friend of mine who only wants 2g for it so looking round it seems a really good buy com pairing it to prices on eBay etc .
I've never had one before and it seems quite responsive but very grunty and a bit bouncy but I presume the bouncy ride is normal , we currently have a small Citroen so it's a totally different ride . I've got to decide this week whether to have it and also convince the misses as she will be using it during the week . It does look in great condition and also has the half leather trim so an added bonus .
Just wondering if this is a good price and would appreciate any guidance .
Thanks - newby Lighty

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15 Nov 2015 12:24 #156304 by minibbb
minibbb replied the topic: Re:Buying Guide

Jaylighty wrote: Hi , I'm new ere and just thinking of buying my first Jiimny . This is a great post to learn and read .
The Jiimny I'm looking at is a 54 plate in silver with 61000 , just had new tyres and clutch and it's a mechanic friend of mine who only wants 2g for it so looking round it seems a really good buy com pairing it to prices on eBay etc .
I've never had one before and it seems quite responsive but very grunty and a bit bouncy but I presume the bouncy ride is normal , we currently have a small Citroen so it's a totally different ride . I've got to decide this week whether to have it and also convince the misses as she will be using it during the week . It does look in great condition and also has the half leather trim so an added bonus .
Just wondering if this is a good price and would appreciate any guidance .
Thanks - newby Lighty



Hi Lighty

The Jimny you've seen sounds great- price sounds good Imo too. Is it a VVT model? Could be either on that plate.

The ride/drive is very different to a normal car but you'll soon get used to it and love it!

Any pics of the car you've seen?

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15 Nov 2015 19:47 #156339 by Jaylighty
Jaylighty replied the topic: Re:Buying Guide
Hi , thanks for the response , I'm unsure if it's the vvt model - engine number is M13A-1333033 and it's the JLX MODE MT registered 14/10/2004 , only had 2 previous owners also with nothing done to it -totally standard .
I presume it's not the VVT if 2004 but not sure at all . Any help /info would be much appreciated .
I will get some pics done of it tomorrow .
Thanks again
Lighty

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