Suzuki Sidekick History and Cylinder Head Replacement

Categories: Cylinder Head Tips


Sidekick History

Although you may not immediately recognize the model name, the Suzuki Sidekick is an incredibly interesting and historic vehicle. The Suzuki Sidekick was first produced by Suzuki in 1988 and so far, has four generations of vehicles under its name. It is a SUV that has had many different names through its geographic markets. In Japan, it is known as the Suzuki Vitara and the Suzuki Escudo with the Sidekick name being only used in the first generation produced for North America. Suzuki and General Motors both teamed up for the North American production of the SUV. The first generation sported many different trims and levels and in 1966 even received a sport version with a 120 hp (89 kW), 1.8-litre 16-valve four-cylinder Suzuki J18 engine.

The next few generations would all see improvements with the fourth being the most advanced yet. It received the title of a subcompact crossover SUV with the engine position and layout also changed from longitudinal rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive layout to transverse front-wheel drive/all-wheel drive layout. Many fans of this generation know how sought out some of the special editions are such as the 2018 Mexico only version named “Cristal” where only 290 units were made.



Suzuki Sidekick Retail Prices

The Suzuki Sidekick and its early iterations saw an incredible amount of sales and with good reason. While you can get this SUV used for relatively cheap, it’s interesting to see what prices may have been like when it first came out to compare to SUV prices in 2021. Inflation anyone?

  • $11,449 (1994 Suzuki Sidekick JS 2DR)
  • $11,699 (1995 Suzuki Sidekick JS 2DR)
  • $14,959 (1995 Suzuki Sidekick JX 4DR 4WD)
  • $14,399 (1996 Suzuki Sidekick JS 4DR)



Sidekick Awards and Recognitions

The Suzuki Sidekick and its iterations have had lots of success especially in safety ratings. It also is seen as a great SUV for motorsport as well.

  • ANCAP Safety Rating 5 stars
  • Euro NCAP Safety Rating 5 stars
  • Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 1st and 5th place vehicle
  • Queenstown Gold Rush International Hill Climb 8 time first place winner



Suzuki Sidekick High Mileage Stories

If you take great care of your vehicles, then you may find that they will last longer and be more inclined to keep running even if the mileage gets a bit high. If you quickly replace broken parts of your Suzuki Sidekick and give it routine checkups, many have reported that it will keep you on the road for a long period of time.

There are many different stories online in the form of videos or forums where drivers share stories of their Suzuki Sidekicks and how many miles they were triumphantly able to accumulate. This forum has some users discussing their numbers and some are incredible to see such as some hitting 200,000 miles. This artistic YouTube video stars a driver with their Suzuki Sidekick with an astounding 240,000 miles.




Suzuki Sidekick Common Problems

Unfortunately, like most vehicles, there are some common problems that drivers could face when owning a Suzuki Sidekick. These problems can range from minor inconveniences to issues that could take your SUV off the road so it’s important to be aware of them so you can act fast if you notice something is off.


  1. Clutch Pedal

The 1997 Suzuki Sidekick has an issue with the clutch pedal where a broken weld on the pivot pilot assembly can cause the clutch pedal to fall to the floor. You can receive a new clutch pedal assembly to remedy the defect.

  1. Oil Leak

Owners of the 1997 Suzuki Sidekick may notice an oil leak from the front crankshaft seal. This is caused by a hardening of the rubber seal that can be easily replaced.


  1. Throttle Sensor

Many different models of the SUV have had issues with the throttle position sensor. This causes hesitation upon acceleration and should be replaced immediately.


  1. Engine Cooling

There have been many reports of the 1996 model having engine cooling issues mostly with faulty cooling fans. An engine overheating could lead to expensive repair so be sure to pay attention to your temperature gauge.


  1. Air Bags

While not as prevalent as the other common problems, there have been reports of airbags not working as intended in earlier iterations. Some drivers say the airbags have not deployed when they were supposed to.




Replacing Your Suzuki Sidekick Cylinder Head

A cylinder head is an essential part of your vehicle and if it breaks and you don’t give it the attention it needs, you may be out of an engine. The cylinder head sits on top of the cylinder block and serves as a combustion chamber for your engine. It houses the intake and exhaust valves, springs and lifters, and allows coolant to pass through to cool the engine. Clearly, the cylinder head has a lot of function so if it goes, there will be some problems.

Some telltale ways to tell if your cylinder head is broken or cracked is if you notice white smoke coming from the tailpipe, unexplained coolant loss, engine overheating, and a milky white coloration in the oil. These are signs that something is wrong and to immediately get it tended too since you and your car could be in danger if heavy use is continued.

The good news is that you can easily get your cylinder head replaced by professionals who have used or new ones for you to choose from. The steps are difficult for someone who doesn’t have vast experience with the topic, so finding someone who knows their way around a car engine is recommended.




Buy Replacement Heads @ Clearwater Cylinder Heads

Clearwater Cylinder Heads understands what goes into replacing and patching up cylinder heads and will dedicate time and care to making sure you leave confidence in their ability.

If you notice anything wrong with your cylinder head or need a replacement, Clearwater Cylinder Head is happy to help with their incredible expertise and cylinder head selection. With over 25 years of experience and a massive catalog of products, Clearwater Cylinder Heads is dedicated to providing professional support in all of your cylinder head needs. Feel free to contact Clearwater Cylinder Head Inc. toll-free at 1-800-572-1963.