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BANGKOK 18 August 2019 11:48
cheeryble

Vitara 1999 can I swap manual to automatic?

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Hi

 

Suzuki Vitara 1999 1.6 litre 16 valve LWB.

 

I'm suffering from some sort of physical muscle weakness and having a lot of trouble with depressing the clutch fully on my dear Vitara which has served me well for fourteen years.

The gearbox and stick linkages are tight and noiseless, and the clutch is not old, a year or two.

Because the pedal feels so stiff to me I have asked a couple of people to try pressing the pedal.

They both seem to think the pedal's fine, whereas to me it's an uneven push down, feels very stiff, and I'm often trying to change gear when the clutch turns out to be not fully disengaged.

 

This is bad news for me as it means it's my foot strength, but i'm seeing the doc about that, don't need any diagnoses thank you and no prob with brake.

 

The wife has been suggesting to buy an automatic of some sort.

As I am very tall and have good leg and headroom in the Vitara, it occurred to me to ask if I can change out the transmission.......I believe the newer generations are mostly automatic and I wondered if they might fit.

I have heard the Japanese secondhand engines and parts are very cheap.

As the car's 18yo, although the engine runs fine and smokeless, it's done 420k km, so at the right price a full swap of engine and gearbox would give me a car to last a long time, and maybe a newer model engine might add fuel efficiency.

 

But transmission alone might be satisfactory.

 

I was going to put this on Suzuki forums and may do, but it's mostly for Americans and I thought it might be more likely there'd be knowledge about Japanese parts here on TV.

 

Any comments welcome.

 

 

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Hmmm....

 

maybe as a start I could ask if anyone's used secondhand Japanese parts and what they cost.

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The answer to your question is yes, the conversion can be done.  It a common job to do the auto-to-manual swap so doing it the other way around is not impossible either.  But there's more to it than just swapping the units over, there are other fiddly jobs like installing the new pedal box and the auto gearshift mechanism, for instance.

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On ‎3‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 12:31 AM, cheeryble said:

Hmmm....

 

maybe as a start I could ask if anyone's used secondhand Japanese parts and what they cost.

I've used many secondhand Japanese parts on projects here, as have friends of mine, there's a big market for them, prices are reasonable and most of the big suppliers will guarantee the parts. 

 

One conversion I had done was to put the H22A engine/transmission form a Honda Prelude into an Accord I had at the time.  It was a few years ago, the entire front clip including the suspension and brakes was B50,000 with a guarantee to exchange it if it wasn't up to scratch.  It was.

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Thanks JW sorry for tardy reply.

 

Been using the wife's elderly corolla while she's on a trip abroad and the Vitara in the body shop, and noted I can use the corolla clutch easily, so I'm going to have one more attempt to make sure the Vitara's clutch is pukka.

 

SO you're pretty convinced I could do a swap eh?

I'd note the newer generations of Vitara/Grand Vitara are two inches longer overall, but I guess may have the same sized engine have to look it up.

I think they may have a 2 litre engine too which may cancel out any added fuel efficiency?

The 1.6 is more than enough and I do a lot of miles so would love better efficiency.

 

There is the original idea of just changing the box to auto.......but have previously had a bit of trouble with air sensor channels for fuel injection system getting blocked causing fast idle, and was just thinking if I splashed out for engine too and a drivers seat renovation and one or two other bits there would be nothing too expensive that would be likely to go wrong.......so for a total spend of say ballpark 70kbaht I'd have a car I could run nicely for many years.

Yes it would be nice if the auto stick fitted nicely not an amateur looking mess......who knows.

 

Thanks for input......more welcome!

 

ps:If anyone can suggest an alternative car more fuel efficient but with plenty of head and legroom and some good storage space like the vitara please do.

I'd also note I have a home welded bracket which goes on the rear door mounted backdoor spare wheel been there for years the bike goes everywhere no prob. A big plus.

 

Edited by cheeryble

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check out SRD motor, I think they could handle the engine/gearbox swap you are looking to do:

 

call (or get a Thai speaker to call) 08-6074-0073

 

http://www.yellowpages.co.th/en/profile/522909982040001

 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009902989136

 

they used to have a website with pictures of all the engine swaps they had done at:

 

www.srd-motor.com

 

but it seems to be down now

 

hope that helps

 

 

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If the car was available with an automatic gearbox at the time (mated to the same engine), it can be done “relatively easy”, otherwise the shop would need to fabricate special adaptor plates and whatnot...  I still wouldn’t recommend it, even with the low labor costs in Thailand. It’s quite a big job, maybe you even need a different ECU, and an automatic transmission costs several thousand $, unless you get a used one, in which case you don’t know if you can trust it, since used parts never have a service history. For the price of all that, plus the resale value of your car, you’re better off with a used car with a service history. 

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On ‎3‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 1:17 PM, cheeryble said:

Thanks JW sorry for tardy reply.

 

Been using the wife's elderly corolla while she's on a trip abroad and the Vitara in the body shop, and noted I can use the corolla clutch easily, so I'm going to have one more attempt to make sure the Vitara's clutch is pukka.

 

SO you're pretty convinced I could do a swap eh?

I'd note the newer generations of Vitara/Grand Vitara are two inches longer overall, but I guess may have the same sized engine have to look it up.

I think they may have a 2 litre engine too which may cancel out any added fuel efficiency?

The 1.6 is more than enough and I do a lot of miles so would love better efficiency.

 

There is the original idea of just changing the box to auto.......but have previously had a bit of trouble with air sensor channels for fuel injection system getting blocked causing fast idle, and was just thinking if I splashed out for engine too and a drivers seat renovation and one or two other bits there would be nothing too expensive that would be likely to go wrong.......so for a total spend of say ballpark 70kbaht I'd have a car I could run nicely for many years.

Yes it would be nice if the auto stick fitted nicely not an amateur looking mess......who knows.

 

Thanks for input......more welcome!

 

ps:If anyone can suggest an alternative car more fuel efficient but with plenty of head and legroom and some good storage space like the vitara please do.

I'd also note I have a home welded bracket which goes on the rear door mounted backdoor spare wheel been there for years the bike goes everywhere no prob. A big plus.

 

"SO you're pretty convinced I could do a swap eh?"

Not at all, I didn't say that!   I said it was possible but it is not as straightforward as may be thought.   I don't know anything about your mechanical ability but, with respect, the fact that you had to ask the question suggests that you may not be  transplant expert!  Good luck.

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21 hours ago, Just Weird said:

"SO you're pretty convinced I could do a swap eh?"

Not at all, I didn't say that!   I said it was possible but it is not as straightforward as may be thought.   I don't know anything about your mechanical ability but, with respect, the fact that you had to ask the question suggests that you may not be  transplant expert!  Good luck.

 

Haha believe me I wouldn't think of doing my self haha

 

A couple of friends agreed the clutch became stiffer half way down then even worse and one of them took me down the road to his favourite mechanic (and this guy knows cars, has built many himself.)

I drove there.

I think he adjusted the cable which was good by me as a starter as I had to push to the limit for disengagement..

When I cam to drive off the clutch would not even begin to disengage.

It's in the shop right now!

As the cable has been previously adjusted at least a couple of times I suspect it or part of the mechanism is US.

If I can get this fixed it may still be a fairly stiff clutch but should be perfectly usable.

 

Edited by cheeryble

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1 hour ago, cheeryble said:

 

Haha believe me I wouldn't think of doing my self haha

 

A couple of friends agreed the clutch became stiffer half way down then even worse and one of them took me down the road to his favourite mechanic (and this guy knows cars, has built many himself.)

I drove there.

I think he adjusted the cable which was good by me as a starter as I had to push to the limit for disengagement..

When I cam to drive off the clutch would not even begin to disengage.

It's in the shop right now!

As the cable has been previously adjusted at least a couple of times I suspect it or part of the mechanism is US.

If I can get this fixed it may still be a fairly stiff clutch but should be perfectly usable.

 

If it really is a cable operated clutch, maybe you just need a new cable, that should be quite cheap and quick to install. If it's a hydraulically operated clutch, you might be in for a  bigger bill....

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24 minutes ago, Sapporillo said:

If it really is a cable operated clutch, maybe you just need a new cable, that should be quite cheap and quick to install. If it's a hydraulically operated clutch, you might be in for a  bigger bill....

OP mentioned a clutch cable so must be cable operated, but even if it a hydraulic clutch the cost to repair it is not scary.

 

I had the hydraulic clutch master cylinder rebuilt on my manual Lancer once and got change out of 1000 baht for the job

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25 minutes ago, jay1980 said:

OP mentioned a clutch cable so must be cable operated, but even if it a hydraulic clutch the cost to repair it is not scary.

 

I had the hydraulic clutch master cylinder rebuilt on my manual Lancer once and got change out of 1000 baht for the job

Wow, that’s really cheap. I just remembered something: i had a Hyundai with a similar problem (pedal had to be pressed hard to the floor to disengage the clutch), and it turned out that this was the symptom of a worn clutch. It started slipping soon after and needed replacement. Very counterintuitive, I know, but the mechanic could explain it (but unfortunately I mostly forgot, I think there is a mechanism inside the clutch which compensates for the wear, and it can have that effect).

Since the OPs car has a lot of miles, I’d ask the shop the check the clutch (or do it yourself if you know how). 

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Cycled to the shop this afternoon to check what was happening.

They were most of the way through installing a new clutch (and i hope, cable) and it would be ready by evening (Wednesday).

 

So I'll pick up tomorrow and we'll see.

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Seems like it will be irrelevant to this thread now, but a few things to think about for anyone else who thinks about converting a manual car to automatic.

 

If the engine (motor) is also changed for one from a different manufacturer and an auto box mated to the replacement engine is used, new engine and gearbox mountings will need to be fabricated. All the electrical connections will be different and in different places on the new engine meaning the wiring loom has to be adapted to suit. As Just Weird mentioned the pedal box (the bracket that holds the pedals in place on the bulkhead/firewall) has to be changed.

In some car bodies the shape of the aperture where the gear shift is mounted is different between manual and auto, so a  change over can end up looking like a bodged up mess. 

Then there's electrics to think about, more connections are needed for an auto that probably aren't there in a manual wiring loom. Such as TCM (transmission control module), kick down switch, inhibitor switch (stops the engine from being accidentally started in gear) and gear selector illumination. It's a big job, not worth it in my opinion. Better off to sell and buy a used vehicle with the desired transmission type.

 

There is an easy way to check if a clutch is worn, but a bit difficult to describe in print. Often the biting point will have become close to the top of the pedal travel. (though in this instance it sounds like it may have been a release bearing issue or failed pressure plate rather than a worn drive plate).

With the engine at operating temperature and the car parked on level ground, apply the handbrake hard-on as if parking on a steep hill. Engage top gear, give it some revs as if doing a hill start.  Let the clutch pedal up slowly. If the engine stalls the clutch is ok.

However if the pedal comes almost to the top before the engine stalls, or all the way up and the clutch slips without stalling the engine, then it is worn. (very worn if the latter)

Some cable operated clutches have manual adjusters and sometimes the height of the biting point can be adjusted.

 

 

Edited by Lancashirelad
typos
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