The Suzuki Grand Vitara Starts to Take Shape

As regular readers of this blog…..will no doubt know and be bored by, I purchased a 2006 Grand Vitara a couple of months back. I have not been slow in modifying it slightly, getting it ready for beach work, towing and driving country roads at night. Nothing too serious, just making it a little more useable. Every review listed the Grand Vitara well ahead of its other SUV rivals in the off-road stakes. Namely the Forester and RAV4. The Grand Vitara has a good chassis, High/ Low Range and even their own version of a diff locker. Not a true diff locker, but one that limits wheel spin when under load by distributing power to the opposing wheel. This puts it streets ahead of the Forester and RAV4.


The Achilles heal of this model is the clearance and suspension. With a move to a more road happy vehicle, Suzuki compromised on the clearance of this model. I, and others, have found the clearance off-road to be an issue. King Springs supply four uprated springs which provide 35-40 Mill of lift while using standard shocks. Perhaps just as helpful is their stiffness. I actually find it performs better on road as well, less body roll and feels more secure on the road. To say nothing of it no longer scraping the towbar on kerbs!

Recovery Gear

All snide comments can be inserted here! If you drive a Suzuki, you will need recovery gear. Some will say its to recover the ambitious driver in the Toyota, others will say so the Toyota can recover you! Either way a proper snatch point is needed. The tow recovery points on the front are only good for mild use, not the sort of pressure a snatch strap yields. I have purchased a good insert which goes into the Haymen Rheese tow point and it becomes a good recovery point at the rear. In order to get a proper one at the front, a bit of metal work would be needed. I also have a reasonable air compressor, snatch strap, shovel and cable ties.


I like spotlights, always have. But I have never had a car as good as this one before, so the cheap $50 I found in the bargain bin at K-Mart were not going to suffice. I did some research and Narva Ultima 175 seemed to be a good compromise on my budget hampered aspirations. All my car mods come out of my pocket money I save up per week. Fortunately I found these on Ebay at $80 cheaper than the cheapest price at Auto-Shops. (I paid $169 Aus) The Suzukis have a weird wiring set-up where the high beams are positively wired. This means they always have power going to them, even when they are off. This makes traditional relay set-up redundant. Fortunately after some research on ‘Auszookers‘, a fantastic Suzuki owners forum, I found a good wiring diagram. The other problem I had was that with this modern car, getting a wire through the firewall to the switch was quite difficult. I had to almost dismantle the engine bay fuse box to get to the bonnet cable grommet. Here I could poke the needed wires through.

Repco supplied a better switch than the dud rocker switch Narva supply with their lights. I also had to buy another 7 metres of wiring as the wiring that came with the spotlights was woefully inadequate. I have configured the combination spotlights with the spread beam facing the roos bouncing from the side and the pencil beam to scare off the cats in the middle of the road.


I have a number of other things I wish to do to the car, but the one I am saving up for now is a UHF 80 channel radio

16 thoughts on “The Suzuki Grand Vitara Starts to Take Shape”

  1. 40 channels not enough for you? Weren’t tempted by the LED bar lights? They look way cool.
    Snorkel and turbo coming up?

    Looking like a very capable cruiser Mark. Nice

  2. the 40 channels will soon be defunct as the feds in their wisdom are making 80 channels standard, which means that possibly 40 channels will have interference….

    turbo? the thing has more power than I need to get myself in trouble.
    snorkel? maybe….but thats a lot of money for something that I would rarely use….and would take me a loooong time to save for. (But yes, I would like one! )

  3. OK who are you& what have you done with my Mac loving, latte sipping, trendy Inglewood living friend?

  4. lol!….you can try and take the car nut out of me…but it has been there forever…
    just the car types have changed…

  5. Yeah parellel universe Mark…
    I knew you were into cars, but I can’t believe you know how to do all that stuff ?!

  6. Hey Mark.
    Encouraged by your mods, particularly the lift. Should hopefully be the proud owner of a Diesel GV later today and have sus’d out a number of different suspension options.
    Ironman have a full 45mm kit available pretty cheap but I have be told that springs & shockers/struts now sourced from China and quality questionable. Also struts require some mods to ensure brake lines don’t snag.
    Next was EFS full kit but seemed a lot of $ for 30mm of lift. Likewise ARB for just 20mm.
    Have also been quoted Kings. Seem good value for 40mm of lift. Most of the lifts of this height retain the original front struts (Apparently OEMs are better than any on aftermarket) but provide extended shocks for the rear. Have you noticed any issues with travel on the rear? Just not sure whether to go with extended rear shocks up front or suck it and see for a while. Also, did you need camber adjusters or could you get within spec on standard?
    Any advice greatly appreciated.

  7. The Diesel have a great motor, my mate has one. Just make sure you take it for a good run every now and then to clear the computer.

    I have enjoyed the Kings but must admit I am saving up for a full Dobinson Kit next. The Kings dont change the shocks and I suspect the lift is not a full 40 mill.

    Either way you really should change camber bolts. they are only about $60 and there is very little adjustment play left unless you do change them.

    I would consider saving up for the Dobinson Kit which gives a full 40 mill lift and change the shocks at the same time.

    Having said all that, if you do get the Kings it will be around $800 or less and be great value. It really needs to be done. I would also advise getting the underbody protection direct from Giz. It will save you a bucket load, and I believe they now do the special plate for the diesel model, as my friend was getting it fitted to his. Any mechanic could fit it for you, or do it yourself if you have ramps and a spanner.

  8. Many thanks Mark and I’ll check out the Dobinson kit. I agree with the bash plates. Specifically, the transfer case and rear diff look pretty vulnerable. Have googled the ‘Giz’ reference you gave but not able to find much meaningful info. Do you have any links I can find more info from on these.

  9. hi thanks for the imformation on the grand vitara i to have the 2011 model and found it to low for the bush and cant let enough air out of the tyres in soft sand ill have a look at the king springs and any other idea you got cheers ian

  10. I am looking at getting the complete suspension upgrade from Outdoors in Queensland, just the cost is hurting me at the moment….about $1500. But the King Springs have been a good compromise at only about $600

    I would seriously recommend the Giz underbody guards if going offroad. saved me when I did Jefferys track in Tassie.

  11. Hey mate, did u ever come up with a front recovery point solution for the gv? I want to put proper snatch points on there – I’m dubious about the existing front hooks. But having trouble finding any info on who/how to fit. I have a 2006 too, with the outdoor auto lift and underbody guards.

  12. never did Steve. The only real solution is to get a proper ARB bullbar. They come with good recovery points attached to the bar.

    I have a proper recovery point at the rear obviously. and you can use front standard ones, but carefully.

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