1992 Suzuki Sidekick - Initial review

Well my friend finally got tired of watching us play in the dirt and decided to get himself an offroad toy. In this case, it is a 1992 Suzuki Sidekick Limited with X92k miles on the clock. (We’re assuming 192k). I went over to his grandfather’s shop to check it out and here are my initial impressions.

First off: it is way bigger than the name and reputation would suggest. Inside especially I was shocked by the amount of headroom in the thing. Tons. Honestly this thing could probably fit 4 adults and a fair chunk of luggage without much fuss. It isn’t huge by any means, but just a lot larger than I was expecting.


The engine is a cute little 1.6L lump that was allegedly rebuilt an unspecified number of miles ago. Overall it seems like it is in good shape, but is clearly leaking coolant (probably from the water pump) and oil (probably from the PCV, valve cover, and maybe more).

Access to parts seems just good enough to make you think you could do X without removing Y, but I bet you can’t. Hoses looked like they were in good condition, but the belts look a little tired. We couldn’t get a good look at the timing belt but I strongly recommended he change it when he does the water pump.


On the road it is a hell of a thing. The brakes are like pressing on a damp sponge, the clutch is super soft and then hard as a rock, and the gear shift is as sloppy as a teenager after too many wine coolers. Which is to say very. Also the passenger side CV is doing the click of death on full lock. That said, the engine seemed eager enough, at least at low revs, all the gears work, and there is no whine from any of the drive-train components. The AC, sadly, “just needs charged”.

While poking around I thought I found something truly impressive: What appeared to be a rear diff lock. Or... at least there was a button marked “D-LOCK” just above the power window buttons, and wires going to the diff lock. I just about shit myself. Upon further review, however, it appears to actually be the button for the power door locks, which are inop. Knew that was too good to be true...


Additionally, when we went to jack up the rear tires to check bearings and such, we discovered this little thing has a shocking amount of articulation. Which is to say we were unable to get the tire off the ground before it started stressing the brake lines. (Extended brake lines are on this parts list.)

It is pretty clear this little junker is going to be great off-road.

Stay tuned.

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