XL-7 Rear diff in Kick?

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Offline JollyZuk

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XL-7 Rear diff in Kick?
« on: November 11, 2017, 10:25:07 AM »
So for starters, 1995 Sidekick JLX, 5 speed, 2" spacer lift...
I have a noise in the rear diff, and am preparing myself to replace it.  It still drives just fine, just noisy, so it isn't pressing, but I am examining my options.  The XL-7 was available with 5.12 gears, so from a gearing perspective I won't have a problem swapping an XL-7 complete rear axle in, but I am wondering about the rest of the "assembly".  I am currently running 235/75/15 tires on the Kick, but I would definitely like to get up around 31" after some additional lift.  I am not very impressed with the braking, especially in panic situations of the rig with just slightly oversized tires.  This is my daily driver so things like brake performance are definitely important.  The XL-7 had larger rear brakes, so that would be a quick and easy brake upgrade.  I would also like to swap to 16 or 17" wheels in the future.  The 15's on it now have a wicked backspacing/offset.  If I did the Hagen mod up front and then put a wider rear axle under it, I could run a less aggressive backspacing, possibly opening up the wheel options.  Also, from looking at pics online, the XL-7 diff looks to be a larger, heavier duty unit, which is always a plus.  So anyone have any experience doing a similar swap, or does anyone have an XL-7 diff/housing laying around they could take pictures/measurements of?  Thanks for the help!


Rob

Offline olija

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Re: XL-7 Rear diff in Kick?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 04:29:56 PM »
I have an XL7 and my question to you would be, are you sure you want to go that route? It will be a bit more work, but I think a Ford 9-inch would be a far superior swap for the following reasons:

1) The XL7 housing is going to be the same width as your Sidekick. The overall vehicle is the same width - I have a Sidekick bush bumper on my XL7- it's just that the framerails are farther apart on the 2nd gen Zuks. So the axle is not wider, no advantage there. A 9-inch would definitely be wider.

2) The XL7 differential and shafts are indeed larger than anything else Suzuki ever made, BUT...this is what makes them impossible to get a locking diff for! It really sucks not having any options other than to "weld'er up". Compare this to the Ford 9-inch which is arguably THE most popular builder's axle, both for drag racing and off roading. More gear ratios and lockers than you know what to do with, and there are lots of people who know them inside and out who can help you figure out what's best for your rig.

3) The XL7 pinion yoke uses a different bolt pattern than a Sidekick or Vitara. It's a 6 hole pattern, of which 3 are used. The XL7 driveshaft uses a CV joint similar to the front half-shafts at the pinion and at the steady bearing. That's right, it uses a steady bearing,therefore it's a 2-piece driveshaft, so it's not like you can just swap the driveshafts with your Sidekick. Here is a bit more info on that unique driveshaft: http://www.suzuki-forums.com/1g-2001-2006-xl-7/49901-rear-driveshaft-vibrations.html
Maybe it would be possible to fab up an adapter so you can use a regular 4-bolt driveshaft on the XL7 6-bolt flange. Or else just get the end of your driveshaft cut off and have the XL7 end welded on at a shaft shop.

4) Don't forget that the XL7 uses a 4-link with a track bar to hold the axle in position. Your Sidekick uses a 3-link, the 3rd link being a V-shape with a ball joint on the top of the diff that holds the axle side to side. So you are going to have to do some fairly significant measuring and fabrication, especially since the distance between the framerails of the 2 vehicles are different. It's not as easy as you'd first think. Not impossible, but going back to my original point- it wouldn't really be any MORE work to put in a 9-inch which would be alot better, especially if you're going off road.

5) The factory rear diff is fine if all you're planning on running is 31's. Most drivetrain issues people are having revolve around front ends, not rear ends.

6) If you want better braking on your Sidekick axle, you could always install a rear disc brake conversion. It would probably be possible on an XL7 axle as well, since it still uses the 4 bolts on the end of the axle to hold the wheel bearing and axleshaft in, but nobody makes a kit for that so you'd have to fab it yourself. The only thing with that is, most companies that sell the kits don't address the parking brake. Some people run line locks which I don't think are legal. Another method is to install a parking brake on the rear driveshaft. I think some old Sammy's ran that, and 40-series Toyota land cruisers.

If you haven't given up on the idea yet, and you do need some measurements of the diff or housing, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

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, 3" AE lift, 2" AE body lift, 5.13 diffs, 235/80R17 BFG AT KO's

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Re: XL-7 Rear diff in Kick?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2017, 05:11:42 PM »
1) The XL7 housing is going to be the same width as your Sidekick. The overall vehicle is the same width - I have a Sidekick bush bumper on my XL7- it's just that the framerails are farther apart on the 2nd gen Zuks. So the axle is not wider, no advantage there. A 9-inch would definitely be wider.

This is incorrect - whilst I do not have details on the XL-7, ALL second gen vehicles are wider than the first gens.

On a first gen the front track is 54.9 inches, and the rear is 55.1, on a second gen V6, the track is 59.1 inches - the XL-7, which is essentially a stretched second gen, will have a track close to 59 inches.

The fact that you can modify a bush far to fit is of little relevance, in between the first gens (the SE series) and the second gens (the SQ series) there is actually another generation of vehicles, the SV series - in the US only one model was offered, the SV418 or Sidekick Sport, outside of the US, Suzuki offered an SV420 (with a 2.0 litre four cylinder) and an SV620 (with a 2.0 litre V6) - one of the interesting things about the SV series is they actually used the back half of SE series sheet metal - the SE & SV series sheet metal is identical from the front doors going back - on a wider frame and used plastic cladding to cover the wheels.
'98 SQ420 Grand Vitara
'05 JB420 Grand Vitara

Offline JollyZuk

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Re: XL-7 Rear diff in Kick?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2017, 06:53:01 AM »
I understand completely what you are saying about the Ford 9.  I actually have 1 under an old F100 that I am probably going to swap out for an 8.8 or something similar if I ever finish building the truck.  It is also the narrower housing...I am just wanting to keep this as economical as possible, and 220 for gears, plus paying someone to set up the third member...that is getting to be more money than I want to spend.  I am probably going to end up cutting and repositioning the spring perches on the a 'Kick axle if I stay that route anyways, so setting up the XL7 assembly to work wouldn't be that big of an issue.  I think I would personally like to stick with drum brakes on the rear, especially when considering the parking brake situation.  I daily drive this thing so stuff like a properly functioning park brake are kind of important.  I found some comparison pictures online between the 'Kick, Vitara and XL7 axles, and something I noticed was it looks as though the XL7 axle is longer from pinion flange to axle centerline.  So the rear driveshaft may have to be shortened, and also, that might keep me from having to run a spacer if I go with more lift.  Having mounting points on the assembly also for setting up a 4 link is also something of a plus, if I decide at some point to go that route.  Options, Options!  They will be the death of me!