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maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/30/24 1:44 p.m.

After wrecking my ND Miata, I decided to take a break from track stuff and try something completely different: off-roading. Some friends are doing a Gambler 500 later this spring, and I took this as an opportunity to try a new type of build.

1996 Suzuki X-90 1.6L 5-speed 4wd. These are unbelievably body-on-frame, have a true hi/lo range transfer case, with the auto freewheeling front hubs, solid rear axl, and independent front struts. It's the same chassis as the Sidekick and Geo Tracker, so the aftermarket is huge.

My plans are lift, tires, build a bumper or two, maybe some sliders, and take it where no Miata-shaped car should ever go. This one needs some maintenance work first, but not too much with only 125k miles. Bought from the family of the original owner. Already has new struts and shocks, some tune-up parts, and A/C blows cold.

DarkMonohue GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/30/24 2:23 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

It's the same chassis as the Sidekick and Geo Tracker...

Well, file that under 'TIL'. It makes sense, but I never put two and two together.

This promises to be fun.

nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/30/24 2:44 p.m.

I'm here for this

gumby GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/30/24 2:58 p.m.

I'd love to have myself an x-90. So quirky, and T-tops!!

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/31/24 3:10 p.m.

More photos. This thing is hilarious and I love it. Check out that factory interior fabric pattern! I think it will clean up pretty nice, it's just really dirty. I also have the bumper for it.

It's a true southern car, bought and owned in Tennessee it's whole life. I bought it from the first cousin of the original owner. 

Even has the original leather storage bags for the T-tops! I bet these are hard to find!

G16 engine is tired and a little smokey, but runs well. Might need a new PCV since it appears to be pushing oil out of the dipstick and maybe a few other places. Also idles a little high and revs hang a bit, so the IAC might need a good cleaning too. 

wawazat SuperDork
3/31/24 3:58 p.m.

That design is a bit, uh, interesting isn't it?   Rear wings went on everything back then didn't they.  

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/31/24 4:44 p.m.

That thing is awesome!

Sonic UberDork
3/31/24 9:55 p.m.

It's like a Del Sol in a funhouse mirror

barefootcyborg5000 UltimaDork
3/31/24 11:29 p.m.

Those seats and door cards are choice. What a rad little rig. 

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/1/24 11:15 a.m.

Excellent. These are not fast, and people judge them by their looks, but they're really capable little rigs.

bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/1/24 12:55 p.m.

I always thought those things were cool. Leave the bumper off and add more Bull Bar!


bobzilla MegaDork
4/1/24 12:58 p.m.

Love me some small 'Zuk's. X90's are cool as hell. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/1/24 1:16 p.m.

If you don't want to break things, off-roading may not be for you :)

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/1/24 1:21 p.m.

I figured if I'm going to drive my Miata off track and into obstacles, I might as well lean into that lifestyle.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/1/24 1:23 p.m.

Sorry to hear about the wreck, glad you're OK. 

I'm looking forward to this one for sure. 

Recon1342 SuperDork
4/1/24 1:28 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

It looks like it's the Radwood version of the Samurai...

These little critters can scramble into some pretty unbelievable places.


dculberson MegaDork
4/1/24 1:34 p.m.

A friend of mine had a purple one in the 90s that he called "the purple pimple."

staffma New Reader
4/1/24 1:36 p.m.

Nice, we have had a few X-90s at my local Gambler ( G500 NY)  and they are always a crowd favorite.  I've seen stock ones at the event running around with some hit or miss reliability, some heroic trail/ woods repairs. One guy brought a TDI swapped X-90 in the fall of 22 event and had a blast. 

NY Gambler 500 Vs. Diesel Suzuki X90 (youtube.com)

RandolphCarter Reader
4/2/24 10:54 a.m.
barefootcyborg5000 said:

Those seats and door cards are choice. What a rad little rig. 

All that's missing is a pair of JNCO jorts and a 1 liter Surge soda.

rustomatic HalfDork
4/2/24 11:30 a.m.

This thing is kind of similar, and it's kinda cool, because JDM mastermind:



QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/2/24 5:10 p.m.

The DOHC 2.0 Tracker is an established swap, I just watched a Donut Media video of one getting swapped in with a pre modified harness. 

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/3/24 9:45 a.m.

Got the tag this morning and drove in to work from there, so it's officially my daily now! I messed around over the weekend, washed, cleaned it, installed the front bumper, and think I fixed the high idle issue. The throttle cable was routed the wrong way and causing it to strain. The IAC could probably still use a cleaning, but it's functioning for warmup and A/C idle-up. PCV valve crumbled in my hands, so I scabbed in a temporary one from my 2JZ until the real parts arrive. At the end of Friday's road trip, it was really hard to go into gear, so I think the clutch cable was stretching, expanding from the engine heat, or sticking. I adjusted it tighter and it shifts fine now, and probably helped by the lower idle. Today threw a P0400 for EGR flow, so that circuit probably needs a cleaning. But it runs great and doesn't need to pass emissions here anyway. 

Parts on order include: PCV, timing belt kit, water pump, clutch cable, accessory belts, oils, and filters. Based on the condition of the accessory belts, I'm going to assume the timing belt is original at 125k miles. Once I catch up on maintenance, I'll reward myself with fun stuff like tires and lift. 

bobzilla MegaDork
4/3/24 10:01 a.m.
RandolphCarter said:
barefootcyborg5000 said:

Those seats and door cards are choice. What a rad little rig. 

All that's missing is a pair of JNCO jorts and a 1 liter Surge soda.

You mispelled JOLT cola. 

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
4/3/24 10:09 a.m.

I miss jnco and jolt 

Recon1342 SuperDork
4/3/24 3:32 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Me too...

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