1989 Suzuki Sidekick JLX Diesel 1.9L TDI Hardtop 5-Spd 4x4

Price: US $9,500.00 Item location: Ashland, Oregon, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Suzuki
  • Model: Sidekick
  • Type: SUV
  • Trim: JLX
  • Year: 1989
  • Mileage: 47,135
  • VIN: JS4TA01C5K4110263
  • Color: Charcoal Blue
  • Engine size: 1.9L VW TDI
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Power options: Power Windows
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: 4WD
  • Interior color: Gray
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Options: Removable hardtop, 4-Wheel Drive
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1989 Suzuki Sidekick JLX

ETA: For some reason the vehicle history report added by eBay is indicating a salvage issue with the title, which is incorrect. I have a clear Oregon title for this vehicle (see the last picture).

Here's your chance to own one of the very few fully electronic TDI Sidekick conversions in existence. I completed the conversion in late 2013 and have put about 20,000 miles on it since then. This has a VW 1.9TDI (1Z) engine from a 1997 Jetta -- which was my daily driver until I decided to do the conversion. Since I had the whole donor vehicle I had everything necessary to do the conversion properly. All of the electronics, computer, sensors, wiring harness, etc. were swapped into the Sidekick. The engine had a basic rebuild (all gaskets & seals, rings, all bearings, water pump, lifters, valves, freeze plugs, glow plugs & harness, etc -- see below for full list). The cooling system was totally rebuilt from the ground-up with a new (larger) Vitara radiator, Spal slimline electric cooling fan, as well as upgraded hoses and wiring, thermal switch with custom inline hose fitting, and a fully customized radiator mount. The intercooling system was also completely rebuilt with a new/larger intercooler and piping. The exhaust was rerouted by a local shop using top-quality pipe and laser-cut brackets -- totally custom from the turbo down to the muffler, and NO cheap flex pipe! Power steering was added by retaining and relocating the original VW pump with a custom bracket, and swapping in a power gearbox from a '93 Sidekick. The engine conversion was accomplished with Acme's kit #6, which included a new modified oil pan to clear the front axle, flywheel, engine-transmission adapter plate, mounts, alternator bracket, and angled oil filter mount. The turbo was rebuilt with all new seals and bearings. Even the instrument cluster was modified to add the glow-plug light to the indicators in the cluster. The vehicle itself has a 2" lift (aluminum spring spacers, proper driveshaft spacer on the rear, and new longer shocks) and larger (235/75R15) Firestone Destination A/T tires. Since the tires are larger they'll rub on the frame when making very sharp turns -- wheel spacers would take care of this but I never have gotten around to installing them. Also includes Warn premium locking hubs. The hood was modified to clear the TDI engine with the addition of a custom fiberglass hood scoop. The whole hood was then repainted to match the stock color. The transmission was rebuilt with all new bearings. The tachometer was adapted to work properly with the TDI computer. New clutch, new steering column boots, new driver's side CV shaft, new glow plugs and harness, resealed injection pump, new Bosio (stock size) injection nozzles, radio, steering wheel, front brakes, clutch cable....on and on and on. I have many thousands of dollars invested in this conversion and a ton of time and labor (I have receipts for most of it). It is excellent in the snow and off-road and has gobs of low-end torque that the diesels are legendary for. I had one-size-larger injection nozzles in it for a while, with a sizable increase in performance. Right now it has stock nozzles to keep the mpg's up and to cut back on exhaust smoke. Keep in mind that although a lot of work has been done to this Sidekick, it IS still as 29-year-old vehicle. It has some dings and scratches, some small spots of metal and flaking paint in a few areas. The driver's door seal whistles air at higher speeds (I have installed some weatherstripping to help with this). The removable hard top is solid, but the back part of it can drip water in a rain storm. The windshield is cracked. The driver's side door handle (inside) in cracked and missing the spring, but still works. Things like the alternator, injection pump, transfer case, differentials, etc., are stock and have original miles on them. The injectors have new nozzles, but have never been pressure calibrated…which would probably improve performance. The radio’s speakers are stock and really need to be replaced with something new because you can barely hear them. In short -- the vehicle isn't like-new, but I'm confident anyone would be happy with it. I've really enjoyed having it and hope that it finds a home with someone who will be just as excited to own it. I'm selling it for a mix of reasons, mostly because I need the money but also because I've developed spinal stenosis and the hard ride can literally be a pain in my neck. We have a much softer-riding Jeep Wrangler now when we need the 4x4.

Some extra notes….since it’s been sitting idle this past winter, and because I’ve been using it as my daily driver for the past week and a half to check it out. The battery was dead so I’ve replaced it and it’s now brand new. The engine started right away. It will need new tires and an alignment soon (one of the tires is out of round and you can feel it at higher speeds, and they are all getting fairly low on tread). I just did an oil change and put a new air filter in it (and yes, the oil is black again already…that’s a VW diesel for you. Even my 2012 Golf “eco diesel” has black oil the day after an oil change). I also noticed that one of the boots on the passenger's side CV shaft has a tear in it. The shaft is still fine, but the boot will need a repair or the shaft will need replacing. There is also a slight oil leak where the crankcase breather tube meets the block. I replaced it with a brand new OEM VW tube a couple of years ago but due to the required flex on the tube it must not fully seal (it’s just a plastic tube and o-ring). Not a significant leak by any means but something to be aware of. Also some oil seepage from some of the rubber intercooler pipes. I’ve also noticed an occasional shudder or stumble on hard acceleration (has happened twice in the past week of driving). I suspect it’s probably the EGR valve, which is notorious for causing issues on this generation of TDI. There are fixes and workarounds online on the VW & TDI forums. Lastly, the passenger widow now appears stuck in the rolled-up position. It was working fine last year when it was being used on a regular basis but is frozen now. It will probably take some lubrication to get it working again.

It is still titled as a gasoline vehicle and will probably not pass a smog check if you’re subject to that where you live. Since the license tabs expired in April, it is currently licensed with a trip permit, which expires on June 20th.Also note that the odometer reads only to a max of 99999, and it reads 47135 right now, so I assume it has 147135 or 247135 on it. Also, remember that the redline of the TDI engine is much lower than that of the Sidekick engine (the Sidekick tach shows a 6500 redline; I think the TDI is 4500).

The vehicle is being sold as-is with no warranties, so please ask questions and/or consider a visit to inspect before you commit to a bid or purchase. I don’t want anyone to be dissatisfied. Local pickup is encouraged and preferred, but I will drive it to a terminal near me if the buyer arranges the shipping. An immediate PayPal deposit of $200 is required within 24 hours of sale, with the balance to be paid in cash upon pickup within two weeks of auction close. The deposit is non-refundable, so if for some reason you decide not to follow through with the sale you will forfeit the $200. Clear title will be provided to the buyer upon full payment.

List of work done:

* TDI conversion with Acme kit, including oil pan, engine mounts and brackets, adapter plate, flywheel, alternator bracket, angled oil filter adapter

* Power steering added by relocating VW pump on custom bracket and using gearbox from later Sidekick

* All electronic conversion with computer, sensors, wiring harness, etc. swapped over

* Custom cooling system with new Vitara radiator, Spal electronic fan, new hoses and wiring, new fabricated radiator mount

* Custom intercooler and piping

* Rebuilt engine, including new: rings, gaskets, seals, bolts, bearings, water pump, valves, turbo intake pipe, lifters, dipstick funnel, freeze plugs, glow plugs & wiring harness. Also replaced old damper pulley with new & improved OEM version. New timing belt and tensioner.

* Custom aluminized steel exhaust downpipe from turbo to muffler

* Resealed injection pump and new Bosio stock-sized injector nozzles

* New fuel gauge sender (in-tank)

* New front wheel hubs/bearings and seals

* New starter and battery

* Warn premium locking hubs

* New N18 and N75 solenoid valves (EGR and turbo wastegate)

* 2" lift with proper driveshaft spacer and longer shocks

* Turbo rebuilt with new bearing and seals

* Custom fiberglass hood scoop and paint

* Glow plug indicator light added to instrument cluster and tachometer adapted to TDI computer

* Transmission rebuilt with new bearings

* OBDII port for use with VCDS (I have the OBDII to serial cable and will include it)

* New pedal pads

* New clutch and clutch cable

* New transmission mounts

* New driver's side CV shaft

* New front brakes

* Air filter replaced and regular oil changes performed

* New steering column boots

* Steering wheel from '93 Sidekick

* New radio

* Probably some other stuff that I don’t remember!