Coast to Coast in Five Days (in a Suzuki Cappuccino): Part 1
Check Engine Light
20 minutes later that dream was dashed. The check engine light came on. At this point, we weren’t sure what was wrong with the car, so we shut off the A/C and listened carefully. Everything seemed ok. We pulled over and looked under the hood and nothing was amiss. Soon enough the CEL went away. We realized it was being caused by the A/C! The compressor was on the fritz and putting too much load on the engine (we noticed the idle was terrible with the A/C, to the point the car would nearly stall when coming to a stop) and this was triggering the CEL. This put an end to our A/C experiment.
Cappuccino in the Desert
When the CEL first came on, I decided to pull off the main highway just in case the car conked out. On this particular stretch of I15, the exits were few and far between and I really did not want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken car and no shade. So I took a side road. Little did I know that this side road was leading me away from civilization and had even fewer motorists on it! I blame the heat frazzling my poor brain. After realizing the side road was going to be suicide, we snapped some pictures, turned back to I15, and decided to stick with the main road. On the way back to the highway, the CEL went off, so our worries went away.
Cappuccino with Sentra For Scale
One thing we did not account for in our planning was the tininess of the Cappuccino’s gas tank. It’s just over 6 gallons! While the Cappuccino does get around 40 MPG on the highway (we saw as high as 45 on come parts of our trip), the tiny tank means you’re only covering 200 miles or so before needing to fill up. For comparison’s sake, the VehiCross can go around 350 miles between fill-ups. In the Cappuccino this was a welcome relief so we could stretch our legs, get some water, and get some fresh air for a bit. Sentra pictured for scale.
Cappuccino Arizona Rest Stop
After spending the morning somewhat dawdling, we had to make a cannon ball run through Arizona and part of New Mexico. Really, we should have taken two days to get to Albuquerque as trying to do 800 miles in one day in the Cappuccino was a bit much. It was mentally and physically exhausting and forced us to miss out on a lot of the cool back road stuff. I was hoping to see a bit more of the Southwest, but trying to make it to the Hostel before closing time meant we had to keep moving as much as possible, which meant no time for tourism and hardly any time for photo ops.

4 comments

  1. Looks like a fun trip. I did a similar run from Denver to northern DE in my ’92 Cappuccino last year. A/C compressor may have been an overtemp safety; mine worked great up until rush hour traffic in St. Louis and an ambient temp of 105*+. We lost it for maybe 2 hours, but worked great the rest of the evening and the next day once temps got back down into the 80s-90s. Hopefully yours is a similar non-issue. Safe travels!

    If you are planning to replace the OEM wheels please let me know, I have been looking for a set.

    1. If you’re ever down in Kentucky, let me know! Always nice to meet another Capp owner. I was unaware of the overtemp function, but the A/C does have problems. I’ve tried it a few times and it isn’t blowing any cold air period. It is an old system, so I suspect all the freon has leaked out somewhere.

      As for the wheels, replacing the wheels and tires with something a bit wider is in my early plans. I want to install some performance tires and the OEM wheels are too skinny. The tires on it now are practically brand new so they’d be perfect for someone looking for an OE swap. I’ll get in touch with you about setting up a wheel trade or sale.

  2. Glad to see a cappuccino can make a trip back to KY! I just bought one in japan and I’m currently waiting for it to be shipped out to me. mine is coming to newport news virginia and I plan on driving it home from the port to ashland ky. I plan on autocrossing it at least once in lexington this year, maybe I will see you there!

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