The Suzuki Quadrunner helped reinvent the ATV industry. This four-wheeler sparked a movement away from unsafe all-terrain cycles and successfully established Suzuki as an innovation leader. Since then, manufacturers worldwide have followed suit, resulting in one brilliant design after another. This trend greatly benefited consumers and influenced the archetypal structure of sport ATVs and utility vehicles.
The Suzuki Quadrunner began the industry’s shift to four-wheeled ATVs in the 1980s. Its sturdy design, electronic ignition, and all-terrain capabilities made it an enormous success in the market. It was the quintessential game-changer, with features balanced between function and sport riding.
Read on and learn more about the Suzuki Quadrunner’s specs and features, drawbacks, fixes, and answers to frequently asked questions. Furthermore, discover how this four-wheeler has influenced the entire ATV industry to become what it is today.
Revolutionizing the ATV Industry
Suzuki introduced the first four-wheeled ATV in 1983 with the Suzuki LT125D Quadrunner (also known as the Suzuki Quadrunner 125). This prototype was marketed alongside the ALT125 ATC between 1983 and 1987 and featured a well-planted four-wheel chassis, an electric start system, and reverse, which were rare luxuries in the early ’80s. Balloon tires and a thick, soft seat worked in place of a suspension. It was one of Suzuki’s milestone vehicles and the First of Four Wheels.
The manufacturer produced 20 models and six-speed classes during its five-year production run, including the Suzuki Quadrunner LT50 youth ATV and the LT300EH Quadrunner. These versions were able to drive on various surfaces, including mud, slopes, and deserts. Bigger engine models were utilized for farm work, forestry, and trail riding. High-performance and racing quads also came from this four-wheeler. In 1985, Suzuki introduced the LT250R Quadracer, a sport ATV with a longer travel suspension, a liquid-cooled two-stroke engine, and manual transmission. Honda followed similarly a year later with the legendary TRX250R Fourtrax.
In its final year of production, Suzuki announced the 1987 Suzuki Quadrunner 250 4×4 (LT-4WD), which provided consumers with terrain-conquering capability that wasn’t present in previous models. Its drive system allowed the rider to select between 2WD and 4WD modes. It featured a front differential lock that allowed the vehicle to crawl out of any situation. The QuadRunner 4WD was also designed with an engine configuration and fuel tank placement that led to comfortable, low seat height, and equipped with high and low ratios that made it great on tight trails.
Suzuki Quadrunner LT160E 4×4 Specs & Features
Here are specs and features of the Suzuki Quadrunner 160e for scale (the specs of the 1983 LT125D model are quite elusive, and this 1989 model is the closest to the first model’s proportions):
- Engine – The Quadrunner is powered by a four-stroke, air-cooled dual-valve engine with single overhead cams. It has a bore-stroke ratio of 58 mm x 60 mm. The engine’s displacement is 158-cc (the LT125 had 124-cc), and its compression ratio is 9.2:1. Fuel tank capacity, including reserve fuel, is 2.2 gallons/8.5 liters (2 gallons/7.6 liters for the LT125) and is delivered by a Mikuni carburetor. It has a Polyurethane foam air cleaner and a wet sump lubrication system.
- Drivetrain – Power comes from a five-speed semi-automatic foot-shift transmission plus a reverse gear. Shifting is handled by a wet multi-plate, automatic, centrifugal type clutch. It has an RK520SM drive chain (420 chain for the LT125).
- Ignition – The Quadrunner uses a CDI electronic ignition with a power output of 8.3 kW (11.1 hp) at 7,000 RPM. It also has a three-phase A.C. generator system. You can keep your battery in tip-top shape using a NOCO Genius G26000 Pro-Series Battery Charger and Maintainer (view on Amazon).
- Tires – The front wheels are 20×7-8 Dunlop AT221 tubeless tires, while the rear wheels with 22×10-8 Dunlop AT221 tires (22×11-8 for LT125). The vehicle’s wheelbase is 42.1 inches, and it weighs 341 lbs – this will fit perfectly at the back of your truck.
- Brakes – The LT125 used a right-hand operated front drum brake system with no rear brake. The LT160e front and rear drum brakes.
- Suspension – The 1983 model had no suspension front or rear, with all bump handling accomplished by its low-pressure tires. However, the LT160e had a front swing axle, coil spring, oil-damped independent suspension, a swing-arm, coil spring, and oil-damped rear suspension.
- Dimensions – The overall length is 63.4 inches, and the width is 38.8 inches. Its height from the ground is approximately 39.4 inches; seat height is 28.5 inches. Its wheelbase is 42.1 inches. Its ground clearance is 5.3 inches (these dimensions have <1-inch difference from the ’83 model).
- Exterior – It had a steel frame and plastic body material. It came with foot pegs, a 45-watt headlight, a 5-watt tail light, and 3.4-watt neutral and reverse indicator lights. Tons of online sellers offer Suzuki Quadrunner 160 parts (and Suzuki Quadrunner 250 parts), but the best ones can be sourced through BikeBandit.com or from Suzuki Parts House.
In this video, Harvey Spooner did some work on a 1986 Suzuki Quadrunner to see if he can get the vintage four-wheeler to run. He did not do a full rebuild on the Quadrunner but gave a brief explanation of the carburetor setup of the LT125 and how he will set the carb up with a gravity-feed gas tank. He also advised checking on the valve when replacing the carb as it may require some adjustment. The reviewer ends the video by taking the Quadrunner for a short ride.
Cost of a Suzuki Quadrunner
Auction listings give a price range between $300 and a little over $3,000. However, it would depend on the year, condition, speed class, and whether the quad has been kept stock or modded. A 1983 Suzuki Quadrunner LT125 would cost anywhere from $465 to $2,575. Given that it was the first of its kind, it now sells at twice its original MSRP of $1,188. Another example would be a Suzuki Quadrunner 500 priced at $3,000 – complete with winch, hauling racks, and aftermarket wheels and tires.
1983-1987 Suzuki Quadrunner (LT125) models are very hard to come by, even in online auctions. Most of what previous owners are reselling is Suzuki 250 ATVs, which come from the Midwest and mid-Atlantic U.S. regions. Most of these are in good working condition and with front and rear racks – with the cheaper options priced at $300-$500 due to the stock plastic getting brittle or the quad needing a cosmetic makeover. The Suzuki 250 quad price ranges from $300 to $1,950, while Suzuki Ozark Quadrunner 250s in good working condition would typically be models produced from 2002 to 2006 and would cost around $1,675 tops.
Drawbacks and Fixes
While the Suzuki Quadrunner was a mighty trendsetter in the ’80s, this four-wheeler is not problem-free. Here are some known issues that owners experience with the quad and steps on how to fix them:
- 15-Minute Hitch. A chief complaint from Quadrunner owners is that the quad starts up great with lots of power, but after running at operating temperature, it starts to lose power and dies before the 15-minute mark. When this happens, check if your air filter needs replacing or if you need to clean the carb with seafoam. Then try to rule out the cause of the problem. Run the vehicle until it dies, then remove the wire from the plug in the engine. Connect it to a working spark plug and ground it to the head. If it sparks, this will indicate that you may have a fuel, valve, or compression problem. If the engine dies out after it’s warmed up and would not restart until completely cooled off, your problem may be due to overheating and could result from the valves needing adjustment. Likewise, it is confirmed by a constant clicking or tapping sound (apart from the usual engine noise that you hear). To avoid, have your valve lash inspected. Check your service manual for recommended intervals.
- Flooding Problems. Both the 250-cc and 300-cc engine displacements of the Suzuki Quadrunner are famous for flooding problems. The usual cause is leaking inside the carburetor. The other possibility is leaking in the fuel pump diaphragm. You would know that this is the case if the vacuum hose from the carb to the fuel pump is wet inside.
- Loose Chain. Inevitably, the drive chain stretches and causes the quad to lose power over time. When this happens, follow these simple steps. First, park your quad on level ground and allow the drive chain to cool completely. Then use a chain link tool to remove the chain link from your drive chain. Turn the handle on the tool counterclockwise. Force the pin on both sides of the chain-link out of the hole until removed. Once you have trimmed the chain to the right length, use the chain-link tool to secure the chain’s ends together.
- Brittle Plastic. Like any other vintage 4×4, the Suzuki Quadrunner’s plastic body is bound to deteriorate. You can fix this by buying aftermarket or OEM plastics that would fit your Quarunner, getting a little creative with your quad with stickers and decals, or cleaning up your vehicle’s look with some spray paint. Online retailers and parts dealers offer great deals for these options.
Where Is the VIN on a Suzuki Quadrunner?
The VIN location on a Suzuki ATV varies by year and model. It is usually on the rear frame or rear vertical bars next to the taillight. If you still cannot find the VIN, it may be due to these reasons:
- It has worn out or been painted over.
- The VIN was on a metal plate, which has fallen off due to corrosion.
- It was on a portion of the ATV’s frame that has been removed or replaced.
- The VIN is behind an attachment, like an ATV winch.
If you do not encounter any of these problems and were able to locate the VIN, make sure to check it using a free ATV VIN check tool like this one. Visit your nearest authorized Suzuki ATV dealer if the VIN tool you are using does not provide the information you need.
How Can I Tell What Year My Suzuki Quadrunner Is?
Additionally, the 10th character of your VIN represents the production year of your Suzuki Quadrunner. As the VIN is alphanumeric, this 10th character could either be a number or letter. You will need a VIN year chart to determine the corresponding manufacture year of your ATV. Note the letters I, O, Q, U, Z, and the number zero are never used on a VIN to avoid confusion with other digits. Also, the 10th digit of the VIN is recycled every 30 years.
Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese corporation based in Hamamatsu and is the maker of the Suzuki Quadrunner. What started as a weaving loom business in 1909 has since ventured into the automotive industry. Today, the company is among the most successful automakers by production worldwide and has over 133 distributors in 192 countries. Aside from producing ATVs, Suzuki is also a well-known manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles, 4WD vehicles, outboard marine engines, wheelchairs, and internal combustion engines.
Conclusion – Suzuki Quadrunner 4×4 ATV
With selectable high and low range, front lock differentials, and 2WD and 4WD options, we can understand what made the Suzuki Quad a trendsetter. It sported features that were unheard of in other all-terrain vehicles and prototyped the design for high-performance four-wheelers. The Suzuki Quadrunner provided a safer, more stable ride, and a few add-ons and rail guards made it multifunctional. It will fall short if compared to today’s off-roading standards, but without it, we will not get to enjoy the powerful behemoths riding the trails today. All in all, the Suzuki Quadrunner was and continues to be a great quad.