Suzuki Jimny gets some TLC

Blue Print's technical expert Charles Figgins replaces wheel bearing on a Jimny

Published:  16 June, 2014

The Suzuki Jimny has been in production since 1998 and has been a big hit around the world with motorists and competition off-roaders alike. As an off-roader, the Jimny is renowned for its lightness and tight turning circle, often outperforming its more powerful competition. The Jimny has worn Chevrolet and Mazda badges, has been fitted with petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions and even has a two-wheel drive variant for different markets around the world.

This particular Jimny was booked into a workshop for a routine check, which uncovered that the right-hand front wheel bearing was showing some excess play - the technician recommended that it should be changed. For many of you, carrying out a wheel bearing replacement is a piece of cake but you could come unstuck when you get to removing the hub nut. Blue Print has a specialist tool for this so there's no need to chisel the old one out. It is also important to note that this nut must be replaced so remember to check this when ordering a replacement wheel bearing kit. Blue Print's wheel bearing kit ADK88223C comes with the nut included.

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Once the old wheel bearing has been removed, clean all the surfaces inside the hub and smear with grease - this will make it easier to press the new bearing in. Press in the bearing using a suitable adaptor, making sure only to press on the outer part of the bearing and not the inner race as this can cause damage. The Blue Print wheel bearing kit has removable taper roll type bearings that can be packed with grease, unlike the bearing which has been removed from this vehicle.

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Problems to look out for

The front axle has freewheeling air locking hubs that are controlled by the selection of four-wheel drive; the system consists of a 4WD switch on the transfer box, a vacuum switch, vacuum tank and two vacuum switching valves for the air locking hubs.

The vacuum generated in the intake manifold (petrol variants) or by the vacuum pump (diesel variants) goes through a one-way valve and is stored in the vacuum tank. When the 4WD is engaged or disengaged, this activates the switching valves for locking or unlocking to apply vacuum from the vacuum tank, so that the front axle and the wheel hubs are engaged or disengaged.

A common problem when the vehicle is being driven over rough terrain is that the pipes might get caught up, which then disengages drive to the front axle. Therefore, make sure you check if any rubber joints in the system are disconnected or are perishing, see Figure 10. A vacuum test can be carried out using a hand-operated vacuum pump.

The lower arm bushes are prone to wear and tear, causing steering vibration and brake judder, so it's worth checking them to see if they need to be replaced.

With the Suzuki Jimny given the all clear, it's back off-road for some fun!

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