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Suzuki Jimny 2007 Mk3 1.3-litre Petrol JLX 4X4

Suzuki Jimny 2007

The year 2020 saw the Suzuki Jimny celebrating its 50th anniversary.
It is now in its fourth generation.
The third generation model, of which mine is an example, was launched in 1998.
That design remained fundamentally unchanged until 2018.

Suzuki Jimny 2007 Mk3 1.3-litre Petrol JLX 4X4

This is my car.
You may be unimpressed and think it a box on wheels, but I believe its chunkiness adds to its quirky charm.
Well, many modern cars do look identical, don't they?
I recall that as a boy and probably up to the late 1970s I could identify just about any model on the road.
Is it because in those days designs were more distinctive and style was not necessarily constrained by price?

Returning to the Jimny.
It isn’t economical and the road handling is dismal, in fact bordering on life-threatening if you don't learn to accept and deal with its idiosyncrasies.
Drivers must be wary of poor grip and a disturbing body roll on bends. The ladder frame chassis and the short wheelbase generate unwelcome pitching on bumpy roads.
On the plus side it is highly manoeuvrable at low speeds and a breeze to park.

Suzuki Jimny rear view

The Jimny is wearisome over long journeys but sprightly around town and its off-road capabilities are legendary.
The elevated driving position and large windows ensure tremendous all-round visibility.
Suzuki Jimnys are sturdy and reliable. They require little maintenance unless of course you're an ardent off-roader and insist upon pushing your vehicle to its very limits, and perhaps beyond.

The interior is hardly plush and the unsophisticated dashboard is hard plastic, but neatly laid out.
I am impressed that the flick of a switch shifts from 2WD to 4WD. That's possible (we are told) when travelling at speeds of up to 60 mph.
I've never had the inclination to do so at such tremendous speed.
Wow, there's even air conditioning and in-car entertainment consisting of both a CD player and radio.

Suzuki Jimny dashboard

My Jimny has a lifetime mileage of less than 63K (as of December 2020) which isn't bad at all for a vehicle of its years.
What's more important of course is that it's rust free and the engine still purrs like a kitten!

Suzuki Jimny engine compartment

The boot space is minuscule, but much improved by removing the rear bench seat.
I suspect that many owners will think of their Jimny as a two-seater.
As you'll see in the photo I've fitted a rigid rear liner and you'll probably agree it looks rather neat.

Suzuki Jimny rigid rear liner

A substantial steel roof platform adds more carrying capacity.
I've bolted it directly onto the rails in such a way as to limit the overall increase in height to a minimum.
It's probable that the Jimny has a higher centre of gravity than the average family car although it seems to have gained an unjustified notoriety in some quarters as having a tendency to roll over.
Even so I do confess to erring on the side of caution when loading the roof.

Suzuki Jimny roof rack platform

One of the few problems I've experienced was an oil leak where the prop shaft joins the gearbox.
Initially I'd assumed it to be a dodgy oil seal.
Research revealed there was a fault in a proportion of the prop shafts manufactured from 2007 to 2010.

Suzuki Jimny prop shaft leakage

This next image demonstrates the passage of the oil, which under pressure passes through the shaft and exits at the universal joint.
Cleaning off the oil before taking the car for a spin will verify that the leakage comes from the shaft itself and not the seal.
I was able to source a shaft online (from an earlier model) and that resolved the leakage.
Worth considering if you've replaced an oil seal to no effect.

Suzuki Jimny faulty prop shaft oil leak

I have encountered the so-called 'Death Wobble'.
It's an unwelcome characteristic of jeeps with rigid front axles.
With my car the vibration occurred when travelling at speeds between 40 and 45 mph.
It was possible to accelerate and drive through it.
The phenomenon is attributable to faults with the suspension or steering mechanism. For example damaged or worn parts such as bearings and bushes.

Suzuki Jimny jeep death wobble

In trying to identify the cause of the problem it makes sense to first check out basics such as wheel balance, alignment and tyre pressure.
Luckily I discovered quite quickly that the front wheels of my Jimny were badly balanced.
Fixing that eradicated the shaking.

I purchased my Jimny second hand in 2013.
There was no rust on the bodywork and little to speak of underneath.
That was good news for in Scotland the liberal use of salt on the roads is a major cause of metal corrosion on vehicles.

I spent a couple of weeks thoroughly cleaning and removing any signs of surface rust from beneath the car. Elbow grease, wire brushes and emery paper accomplished that.
A variety of paints and underseals were applied.
Some rust inhibitors were used here and there, although in my experience applying an undercoat of zinc primer to bare clean metal offers excellent long term protection from rust.
No doubt readers will be able to suggest superior, modern-day alternatives.

WD40 Under Car Protection

I apply WD40 to locks, hinges, joints, electrical connections and hard to access spots.
In fact I regularly spray cans of the substance liberally beneath the car and over the engine compartment.
It literally oozes with the stuff.
I do believe it provides a good barrier between vulnerable surfaces and moisture, which is of course a major contributor to rust.
WD does after all stand for Water Displacement!
There are those who will throw up their hands in horror and say it is ineffective, outdated or does more harm than good.
I'm satisfied with its effectiveness.

You may be unconvinced but it says a lot about this tiny SUV that it commands such an enthusiastic and loyal following.
It is said that if you don't look back at your car after parking then you own the wrong car.
I invariably glance back at my Jimny with satisfaction.

Since writing this article I've posted how a smart charger rejuvenated my battery and listed a few of the batteries which are recommended for a 2007 Jimny.
In addition I've replaced my Jimny's spark plugs and summarised the fitting process.

Are you a Jimny owner?
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Liam Alexander said…
Brilliant !
I was able to get a used propshaft on eBay and that fixed the leak on my 2008 Jimny.
Bill Hunter said…
That's good to hear.
I didn't check the precise source of the leak initially and ended up with the unnecessary replacement of the oil seal.