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Old 04-20-2015, 09:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Grand crawler/cruiser build

Well ive been on pirate for quite some time mainly buying/selling parts but figured id post my new project here. i a few of ya on here (shove it crisbee ).

anywho, about my project. originally i was out to buy a buggy but ive always had this image of building a suzuki grand vitara should i ever sell my samurai. Well i sold my samurai a few months back and it was time to choose between a buggy or this. the more and more i thought about it, the more the grand would suit my needs better.

Plan is to lock the rear, run 33s, t-case gears, possibly diff gears, cut the front fame to move the stock suspension 4" forward and 4.5" down to clear the tires, then mod the back to match. Then all the normal protection like skid plates, rocker gaurds, bumpers, ect.

So scouring craigslist for a few weeks looking for a good deal on a Grand, i came across an ad for a wrecked one for 800 bucks. drove up to payson and picked it up once i saw there was no frame damage and the guy actually had quite a few new parts for it as well. has v6, 150k, auto and everything works besides the wrecked part of the front end



then the work started

Stopped at a few junk yards in search of parts. Got a hood, pass headlight, condensor and lines, and some other little odds and ends.



the next day i ran back down to the junk yard to cut a the front core support out, pick up a radiator and fan i found out there and few more little pieces that broke from the crash on my rig.



from there, i got all the destroyed stuff removed, cut the old front clip off and got the new straight one roughed in. The front of the engine was leaking bad from the timing cover so i left the clip unwelded for the time being till i dug into the motor. it was easier to do that before i weld the clip back in lol






few days later my 4.24 tcase gears showed up


Pulled the front timing cover off to check things out and throw new guides on. Old ones showed wear but weren't bad. Put new ones on anyhow. Chain is in great shape as well as all the sprockets. Tighten up the oil pump chain as well.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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After looking at the oily greasy mess, it was clear the valve covers needed new gaskets so I pulled the intake manifold to get those off. What a pita to do.


I love my parts washer. from nasty, oil covered filth to decent looking in 20 min lol.


Water pump in and an oil pan full of water. didnt realize the block was still full of water.


And I think its time for plugs lol


New plugs in, new gaskets from the valve covers up as well as the intake manifold, new crank seal, new hoses, new fuel lines, new belts, and put her back together. Just need to change the oil.



Now back to finishing the core support. Heck of a detour I took lol

and we have a complete, straight front end again! Core support is all welded in and everything fits like it should.



No turning back now! cut the frame and moved everything forward and down


Plenty of room for 33s now
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Got motor mounts figured out and welded in. Stock rubber mounts are shot but well enough to get the bracket set. Unbolted the bottom frame brackets, flipped them, redrilled holes for the rubber mounts and put back in to set in place. Worked out well. sets down in the frame nicely to weld 90% of it to the frame.



made some gussets for the frame, welded it all in and set the motor back on the new mounts and bolted it down. then cut off the awesome fangs it had lol.







Little more done this past saturday before I headed to the drag strip for a diesel drag day
Pic of the bottom filler strap and front core support mount. I don't particularly like the way that turned out but I may build the bumper to conceal it. We will see





and where i left off yesterday

First, I tweaked fuel lines and charcoal canister line to miss the new placement of the motor mounts. Then pulled the air line for the front diff, straighten most of the bends out and re-bent the line to fit better with the frame change and compressor change (it's temporary till I pull the diff and weld the collar so the diff is always engaged and I put Sami hubs on). Once that was set, it was on to the steering. Suzuki had two universal joints about 4" apart from each other right above the steering rack and then a long shaft from the column to the top universal joint. I tried just extending the shaft from the column but the joints wouldn't line up right without binding. So then I cut the two joints apart and extended them 4 more inches and column. That worked but I would have needed a support at the top joint to hold it all under load from wobbling around. Then it dawned on me to just put the top joint at the very top of the column and run a straight shaft down to the bottom joint. Worked like a charm and no need for a second support


Next was on to the radiator mounts. Set the rad in with all the brackets, condensor, fan shroud and fan. Centered the fan in the shroud and made some top brackets and bottom brackets. Cut the old rad supports off the frame and attached them back to where the radiator resides now to support the bottom of it




Then reattached the hoses, trans lines, power steering resivoir, attached what I assume to be suzukis attempt at a ps cooler, tightend up the belts, and put the a/c lines in.

From there I decided to weld in the inner fender I left unwelded till I moved the frame for easier access. Came out better than expected.

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Old 04-20-2015, 09:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Finally I started working on brake line reconnection but the steel lines aren't long enough so it's off to Napa tomorrow to get some more line. Brakes, paint, intake, fluids, longer driveshaft and attaching body panels is all that's left for the front end

Where I ended for the night.



this all took place over the course of 2-3 weeks now. been working on it every day after work and as much on the weekend as i can. trying to get the major stuff done before the first 100* day hits.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Looks good.... extreme frame cutting ☺
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Looks good. I dig the frame chop!!
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hopefully keeping the suspension and driveline at factory height will help keep my CVs alive while on 33s. guess we shall see with my driving.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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All of these trackers except my black 4dr are frame chopped and they work great, and hold together pretty good even with front lockers.

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Old 04-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good to hear cause I'm seriously concidering welding the spiders on the front diff when I pull it.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Got the brake lines extended, changed oil, topped off ps fluid, filled radiator, put new battery in, put the 31s on and the rest of the body panels. Started it up and made sure she was good. No codes and warms right up where it needs to. Valve train isn't exactly quiet though.

All that's left is to bleed the brakes and extend the front drive shaft, then the front is DONE

Definitly needs some 33s on it



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Old 04-21-2015, 07:10 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I would recommend using a steel fromt diff/housing out of a v6 grand vitara 5spd before grenadine the aluminum one.
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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yup, already on the list. main thing is to get the lift done, t-case gears in and locker in so i can drive it around and see what other gremlins lurk. then those will be coming. im also going to be building an UCA like calimini offers for the older trackicks. that way i can ditch the struts.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The calmini strut eliminater works awesome! The yellow tracker has it. I will have one on my 4dr sooner then later I hope.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:28 AM   #14 (permalink)
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and on the note about the steel housing and diff, found one for a damn good price out of a 2001 xl7. its on its way to me comes with the long axle shaft so i can make the little end to use two driverside CVs

Last edited by chevy1925; 04-21-2015 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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That's the same setup I have. Super quick shaft changes! Just a heads up though you will have to rework the diff bracket on the passenger side (only on new body) to be able to fit the 3tab flange inner shaft on for passenger bolt on shaft mod.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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That's the same setup I have. Super quick shaft changes! Just a heads up though you will have to rework the diff bracket on the passenger side (only on new body) to be able to fit the 3tab flange inner shaft on for passenger bolt on shaft mod.
thanks for the heads up fox, ill see what i can do there.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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There's nothing for me to buy from this project when it gets parted out!
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
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There's nothing for me to buy from this project when it gets parted out!
nope! your on your own sucker! shoulda sold me your buggy instead. probably would have sold it right back for a lesser amount
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:36 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Extended the front drive shaft. sure makes it easy when the tubing is .120 wall 1.5" tube. Haha.... Shaft



Then filled in the missing resonator some retard mistook as the cat. Actually has a decent note through the stock muffler. the valve train clatter has also gone.... strange....

Then dismanteled the rear end to get it going. Only lifting it 3-3.5" so the thing sits level. Hate the stink bug look they have stock. Upon pondering what I wanted to do, I don't want to hack and lower the spring bucket. I'd much rather put a longer spring in instead. Will look nicer and give more travel. Nice part is the spring ID is the same as springs you find on 2.5" coilovers so I have a call in to my buddy to see if he has a used set laying around thats in the realm of the spring rate I need. Everything else has been massaged to allow for the extra lift so all I'll need to do is extend the arms and trim the bumper.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The smell of gay-o wafts heavy in this thread.

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Old 04-22-2015, 10:48 PM   #21 (permalink)
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This is cool. I want to build one of these now
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:10 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The smell of gay-o wafts heavy in this thread.

go back to feeling up your new 35s

Rear end is about done. Spacers are in, loosened all the control arms, set it to the new ride height, and re-tighten. Keep me from tearing up bushings. Adjusted brake line a bit, slacked up the breather and pulled the right side axle out to replace an axle seal that was leaking. Also adjusted the brakes on that side.

Surprisingly the 31s fit well in the fender well but need a bit of bumper trimming. I won't mess with extending the links till I get the 33s.

The list has become quite short now... locker install tonight, bleed brakes, fill up t-case, check everything front to back and hopefully clean the interior.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:06 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Sweet Tracker.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:12 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Seems someone thought just piling on rtv around the edges of the third would stop it from leaking lol. Got the third out and locker installed. locker wont stay in this third long. just for a few weeks till i swap in 5.13 gears and put the steel front housing/diff in the front.



Really surprised for the mileage how great everything looked inside. I'm wondering if it was replaced at some point based on the poor rtv sealing job, the new looking carrier bearings, semi tight driveshaft bolts, and decent looking fluid that came out. Put it all back together. Filled with fluid. Then filled the tcase with what fluid I had left. Need some more tomorrow to top it off. Fixed a few things I missed in the motor area (coolant clamp and power steering drain clamp). Went to bleed the brakes annnnd the extensions I made leak.... The flare job I did on the hard lines wasnt done well enough and dumb ass me just cranked the nuts tighter to get the leak to stop. That in turn fucked up the inverted flare on the soft lines and now won't seal with the hard lines done right... So I need one soft line and one hard line to hopefully fix it. Wound up just ordering two new soft lines and grabbing some new hard line to ditch some soft line extentions i made. it was done really cheese dick like and i just dont like it.

Last edited by chevy1925; 04-24-2015 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:53 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Why bother putting it together with the locker in the wrong gears for two weeks? Cant you just wait for the 5.13's? I wouldn't want to waste the time or the gear oil.
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