During the spring of '03 I took my '02 Sukuki XL-7 in for warranty work. The transfer case had begun to leak oil. I had also been hearing the timing chain rattle during a 'cold start'. I had been reading on a discussion board that there was a problem with a tensioner, and it was prone to fail. So I requested that they take a look (or listen) at the tensioner. When I called to check on the vehicle they informed me that the gasket was leaking on the timing chain cover, along with the oil filter, and needed to be replaced, all of which would be covered by the 3/36000 warranty. So I told them to go ahead and do the job, but if they were to replace the oil they were to use Mobil 1 synthetic oil ONLY, since it was all I had been running in my vehicle since it had 9K miles on it. When I picked my XL-7 up I was told that there wasn't anything wrong with my timing chain tensioner. By the way, I find it hard to believe that my "oil filter was leaking", since I've replaced hundreds of oil filters in my life and have never had one leak a DROP! But if they wanted to replace it under warranty....so be it. When I looked at the receipt I noticed that they had replaced the oil with regular Valvoline. I asked the service manager if that were correct and he said "yes". So I requested to see the work order and there it was "Use Mobil 1 5W-30 only". All he could say was "We're sorry". So I drove straight to Oreilly and spent my own money on an oil change that shouldn't have been needed. The very next morning when we started the vehicle (cold) I could faintly hear the tapping of the timing chain. I called the dealer to tell him that I still heard it and he told me that it was probably due to the switch to Valvoline from Mobil 1. I'm not stupid, but I thought I'd give it a little time anyway. For the next couple of months the noise would come and go. When the vehicle had 33K miles on it we left on a trip across the Southwest. We drove the vehicle 3400 miles through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. During the trip the chain started to get louder and louder. When we returned home contacted the service dept. again, and was told to bring it in for them to check it out. This time they agreed that there was a problem with the tensioner. Only it was going to cost me approx. $1500 to fix it since the vehilce had barely gone over 36K miles. I presented the manager with the work orders that showed my concern about this problem. Then I refreshed his memory about our phone conversations. I also told him that we had just returned from a very long road trip and hadn't had an opportunity to bring it in for service. None of this seemed to matter. He directed my complaint to the district manager (I don't recall his name) who wasn't very sympathetic at all. He said that they would pay for the parts, but I would still have to pay nearly $1000 for the labor. This man was very rude and unproffesional. I then contacted the Suzuki dealership in Waco, which is actually a few miles closer to my home, to see if they could help me out. After explaining the situation to the service manager he agreed that they should pay to replace the tensioner. So he said that I should contact HIS district manager with my problem. As is so happens, IT WAS THE SAME GUY!!!!
This all happened more than 2 years ago. Yet it still burns me up to think about it. I decided to drive the piece of junk (Actually it's a great vehicle, it just makes me think about the service dept.) until it fell apart. Well, we've got 85K miles on it now and the timing chain has just recently begun to get louder.
There are so many reasons why Suzuki should stand behind their product in this instance. But what can you do? Sometimes a few idiots can ruin the product with their actions.
Blooming Grove, TX.