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Old February 24th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Tracker or Sportage?

I am considering the early 4-door, 4x4 body style Sportage (MY?-> 2003) and newer body style Tracker (2001 ->MY?). Which of these vehicles is a better base to build a moderate use 4x4 with? I would be replacing the complete drive train (a small diesel engine, 231/242 transfer case and axles) with D30/D35 axles from a Cj/Yj/Tj/Xj (I know nothing regarding either of these small 4x4's suspension systems to know which Jeep vehicle would readily integrate into these respective vehicles.).

In general, I have not heard good things regarding either of these vehicles from mechanics I have trusted for decades so I am concerned. I have no desire to make a bad choice. The used Sportage is far less costly, but this is an apple/orange comparison as I dislike the early Tracker body and like the early Sportage body. Will I be "on my own" with every adaptation I consider for either of these small 4x4's? I have to believe someone has prepared solid examples of either of these vehicles. I just need to determine who these people are.

Maybe fabricating a 4-door Tj is a better way to go? Others have done it, so can I! I do not want the full leaf spring system of the Cj.


Last edited by RAVC1; February 24th, 2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Added important info!
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Old February 24th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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I would find new mechanics if they say trackers are not durable.The 2.0 motors iirc,do have a problem bending valves if you dont replace the timing belt when you are suposed to,like all interference motors.I have beat the snot out of trackers and they do not break.
The few kias I have worked on have been a worn out pos,so no love for the kia,from me.
I have no experience with sportages,except putting power moon roofs in brand new ones.

None of this matters if you are replacing the drivetrain.I would build the jeep,just because I prefer to suport american companies,when I have a viable option.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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I dont know much about kias do they have a full frame? the tracker does
I dont really like the 2.0 tracker engine either but if they are well maintained they do the trick. I drove my 99 tracker for more than a year after replacing a couple bent valves & a timing chain before modifying it .
So anyway I have a 99 tracker that Ive put a 4.3 chevy v-6 700r4 trans samuai transfer case & a samurai ft axle I used leaf springs for simplicity in the front susp. the99+ tracker has rack & pinion steering so you have to add a steering box and that requires modifying the frame to clear & hold a steering box the engine & trans swap was fairly simple until I got to small details like a speedometer the original was electronic drive (no cable) so I got a spedo from a older car & removed the factory cluster then I didnt have a fuel guage and you cant get one that operates on the same ohm scale as the stock fuel guage .
Im sure there are lots of other issues with both rigs and a desiel swap but thats part of the fun of building

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Old February 26th, 2012, 12:23 PM   #4
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What are you using this for. Lighter is always better with those 1/4 ton axles.
You can easily find a v6/I6 gas engine that puts out torque numbers over 200 lbs under 2000 rpm while weighing 300+ pounds less. Just mate the engine to a transmission that will give you the torque you want.
The bodies on both of these are a joke. The kia is made a lot cheaper and the tracker has a lot more support behind it. Your cutting out of the lines here though either one you choose is going to end up with a totally non stock drive train with a shell of the original vehicle. All comes down to what you are using it for. If this is a light weight weekend warrior/dd and you like the kia lines go with that. If this is going to be a trail rig go with the tracker.
That's just my opinion it is your rig. Read up more into there is a lot of discussion about it. You may drop the idea of using jeep axles all together. For the most part stock cj axles are junk(until 1980 or so). YJ axles are lot better the the cj ones. In your case TJ axles would be very easy to find/use while not being expensive. They are reliable as long as you did not put to much torque into them or tires over 33".
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