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Trail Tough’s new Trail Savage Gear Set

COTTAGE GROVE, MN – We’re extremely excited to tell you about Trail Tough’s new offering for Suzuki Sidekick, Geo Trackers, and Grand Vitara. What is exciting is not only that Brent and his fine crew in Medford have bridged the gap between the stock gear set and the 4.24:1 low gear set that may be too low for many applications. They have solved one of the fundamental issues that has plagued Suzuki enthusiasts since we started wheeling the Grand Vitara and Xl-7 or at least, began transplanting those engines and transmissions into Samurai and Sidekicks.

   PHOTO: M. Hagen
   STORY/EDITOR: M. Hagen, E. Bewley

Tansfer case gears, do you need them? This is a personal question to be answer either by experience or by asking your trusted wheeling buddies for advice. We do know though that, Trail Tough just made this a more difficult question to answer by offering an even more interesting additional option. Now the question isn’t do you want to have a lower low range it is, How low do you want to go?

For years t-case gear options have been 1.8 to 1 (stock) or 4.23 to 1.  But with Trail Tough’s new offering, the Trail Savage, 3 to 1 transfer case gear set we have a third ‘Goldilocks‘ option. We have always felt that 4.23 gears were too low, even in the first gen Sidekick/Tracker 1.6 5 speed days.  With our options being smoke the clutch, or put 4.23 gears in, we chose the latter and If we spent 100% of the time in a boulder field there was much happiness.

However, we spend 80% of our wheeling time in the Midwest in loose dirt hill climbs, mud, logs, rocks and snow. Once a year we travel out to Moab and wheel the slick rock. My current rig is a second gen Vitara that I have a 2.7 auto swapped into and to let you in on a little secret, I am not a fan of the 4.23 gear set in this application. It’s just unnecessarily too low.

The 4.23 gears coupled with an automatic transmission overpowers the brakes and pushes you down the hill. It also shifts though the gears too violently during hard acceleration and is hard on parts. The Trail Savage is the perfect, most natural feeling, gear set for all around trail riding. It is better than I expected; better than we expected.

We feel like we have not given up anything in the slow technical spots but gain so much more in the mud, snow, and hills. You also have more wheel speed in reverse than the 4.24:1 gear set a benefit you will be happy to have when you try to back out of that mud hole that was deeper than you thought. This is also a very quiet gear set. This may be because the small gear runs below the oil level. That fact also may be why the transfer cases seem to not run as hot as a 4.24:1 gear set in a similar situation and this may lead to them lasting longer. But only time will tell on that.

Installations easier! There’s only 2 gears so it’s also easier to install, as you don’t have to remove the input gear from the front of the case. Since the front input gear does not get replaced, this also means that it works in V6 5 speed applications as well. The Trail Savage 3 to 1 gear set, is the answer to the problem, many didn’t know needed answering. It’s low enough to crawl, yet fast enough that you don’t have to keep going back to high range to go anywhere. We couldn’t be happier with it and we’re looking forward to how much more enjoyable my future 4×4 travels will be without all the high and low shifting between obstacles. 


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  1. Looks great 👍
    Are there any instructions posted anywhere?

    • An installation instruction hasn’t been published yet. It is more simple vs. Other gear installs. Contact Trail Tough for more info. They most likely have an instruction set completed by now.

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