Project Zuk 3.0 (rows of seats) - 2003 XL7

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Online olija

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Project Zuk 3.0 (rows of seats) - 2003 XL7
« on: February 15, 2017, 08:35:10 PM »
Hey all. I picked up this 03 XL7 5-speed as a cheap replacement to my 1989 Land Cruiser for our next family 4x4. Knowing it had big shoes to fill, I did alot of my research beforehand and investigated build options. I previously owned a 97 Sidekick 4door and a 2001 Vitara 2.0L 4door, so I've been elbows deep into Suzuki tech before and it didn't take long to refresh my memory. The main reasons I chose the XL7 over something else was buy-in price, cost of modifications and maintenance, ease of modifications and maintenance, and I wanted a manual transmission, 7 passenger vehicle our family could grow into.

The plan is to add enough lift to run a 235/80/17 tire, aka a 32x9.50 pizza cutter, tall and skinny. My philosophy is that a light vehicle like this doesn't need anything wider, and narrower tires rub less. I plan to regear to 5.13's in the diffs to compensate for the tires. Since this is a standard it came with 4.30's so I can just use diffs from an auto. Then I will build my own skid plates, rock sliders, and possibly bumpers. At some point I plan to add a 3rd row of seating and roof basket but that is not an immediate concern at the moment.


First job, remove and clean the EGR valve. Was throwing a P0051 code.

Fast forward to just before Christmas, I ordered my lift and tore the front end down:

Stock spring on right, Ford Aerostar spring on left, gives 3" lift:

Front diffs. On the left is the 4.30:1 air-actuated shift on the fly factory unit from the XL7. On the right is the 5.13:1 actuator-free unit from a 1997 Sidekick. The goal: swap the guts from the Sidekick aluminum member to the steel XL7 member, to gain lower gearing and eliminate the failure-prone actuator system and keep it all encased in the stronger steel pieces.

Picked this up used for a good price, figured it won't hurt...2" Altered Ego body lift, and the little pieces in the bag are the RRO steering extension I paid $40 USD for. What a joke, it's probably about $5 in parts and labor.

My Altered Ego 3" deluxe lift arrived about 6 weeks after ordering. Looks good...

Modified the passenger CV cup so it runs the longer Sidekick splines. Had to do this because the XL cup is larger in diameter, therefore not interchangeable with Sidekick CV parts.

Pics will be uploaded as things progress...stay tuned!
97 Sidekick 4door 5 speed, 1.5 spacer lift, 2" body lift, CJ rims, locked rear, 31's, 4:1 low <SOLD>
01 Vitara 2.0L 5 speed, 2.5" Calmini lift, 2" body lift, Sidekick rims, locked rear, 31's, 4:1 low, 5.13 diffs <SOLD>
03 XL7 2.7 5 speed, stock with 17" low-pro's for now

Online ebewley

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Re: Project Zuk 3.0 (rows of seats) - 2003 XL7
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 06:16:58 AM »
Looking good! Xl7 is definitely the family man's Suzuki.

Anxious to see more.

Eric L. Bewley                               
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Online Drone637

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Re: Project Zuk 3.0 (rows of seats) - 2003 XL7
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 11:16:36 AM »
I like the welds on that CV conversion. 
x-SJ-410, 96 Geo Tracker, White Rabbit, Project Trouble

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Re: Project Zuk 3.0 (rows of seats) - 2003 XL7
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 05:42:46 PM »
looks good glad you got it figured out
new rig aka "the mule" 2002 tracker
V6 swap auto  ,2 dr ,2" BL,2" jeffs kit 512 gears warn hubs and 30/9.5/15 BFG AT