Author/Photos: Jeff Simons Editor: E. Bewley

Sioux City, IA – I must confess, I’m a Suzuki nut and have been driving Suzuki vehicles for nearly 15 years. When I find one for sale, it’s tough for me to pass on it; especially if it’s affordable. The following story is an example of this scenario. One day I came across another one of those interesting bargains that was too good to pass up. So, I jumped on this ’99 Chevrolet Tracker for parts as it was a light rollover. Still 100% drive-able, just wrecked and crushed in some areas. You know, your regular and run of the mill good deal!



Well, that wasn’t exactly the case. I took it out to start driving it un-repaired and as a wreck and immediately made the decision to make it decent enough to drive. We jacked the Targa bar back into place with a floor jack and some wood. We hammered the rough stuff so panels fit and operate and I just drove it like that for awhile. I didn’t care as it was cheap and enjoyable. Not before too long it became my daily driver as I began to fall in love with it. With anything you love you want to make it better, right? So, I lifted the Tracker with coil spacers about six months later. I ran 31’s on OEM steel wheels with very little trimming which worked really well as a daily driver for me as I wasn’t looking for a trail monster!

Another year later and I’ve decided it has been too good of a vehicle, so I chose to fix it. I located a used tub down south and took a road trip to go get it.

The salvage yard would not sell the tub complete due to VIN technicalities. So a cut at the A pillar and floor got me everything I needed anyway. Skip ahead and in summary it was a reasonable task and all went together better than I expected. Of course new fenders and hood are on to the repair list too. For some reason, the doors and tailgate were still in great shape even after the roll over. They were reused.

The interior, rocker panels, and door jambs were sprayed with Raptor Liner which went on great and worked well. Prep, mixing, coverage were exactly as I hoped, after watching videos about it online.

Of course with new body panels, new paint, and making things fresh, I put 5.12’s in the diffs and new wheels and tires to finish the look. All of the soft top plastic trim had been replaced, along with a new tinted top. I figured I’d tint the door windows too, since I’m cleaning things up and to give it that sinister good look we all know a Tracker can have.

A few more maintenance items and a couple extra goodies finished the build with perfect timing as I had a Summer Vacation road trip planned. So with the vehicle done and the road trip planned ahead of me, I thought what better vehicle than my “New” Tracker!  Stay tuned for the road trip on Route 66 with my fresh Tracker…




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  1. I’m curious where you got the 5.12s? I recently got a 01 tracker 4×4 for $1700, and some 32×11.5/15 BFG ATs for only $50. I think my four door auto has 4.88s. I am looking into making the gears near stock rpms/ mph, but see only rare 1989 carbureted 5.625 gears that are supposedly rare and unobtainable, or 5.37 gears in 1991 four doors. I heard Richmond gears (or Calmini) made 5.83’s. I have also wondered if samurai gears would fit in a SOTF offset front diff.
    I have a 2″ body lift, and 2″ coil spacer lift waiting at home, but am struggling with going to lower gears and where to get them. I think the 99 came with 5.12/ 5.13s. Do you know of a website like Yukon or Richmond, or even jegs that has the different ring and pinions?

  2. Love the zuk! I have a 02 zr2 2door I drive daily, absolutely love it. Even though I’m a jeep guy I have a soft spot in my heart for these trackers!

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