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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 09:03 AM
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Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

Ok, I am new to the 4x4 scene.

I am looking at either a Samurai or a Ford Ranger/BroncoII.

Now one thing that I am not sure about, is I see Samurai's beeing used probbably 95% of the time, compared to the Sidekick or the Tracker. Why is that?

I also see that people are taking the engine, seats, gears and such from the tracker and putting it into the Samurai.

So why not use the Tracker to begin with?

I assume it's suspension related, is the Tracker IFS? If so, could we not change that to solid axle, seems people are switching over to Solid Axle fairly easily.

What about Tranny's, if I am doing about 60% road driving, and 40% off road in trails and mud and such, should I stick with the 5 spd, at least I could get out a little more power this way too.

I want something that I can put 33" tires on and still drive it on the street while taking it to the bush on the weekends.

What do you guys suggest?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 09:52 AM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

33's is probably easier to get to on a Sami than a tracker at this point. This will probably change soon enough as
vendors get with the program and we run out of sami's.

Yes the tracker is IFS.

The engine swaps are to get added HP, but the tracker tranny is not generally used.

The sami is lighter and narrower than the Sami. to it's advantage.

There are more gear options at this point for the Sami.

Do some more reading and try to formulate YOUR requirements, then choose your solution. Without having
a clear understanding of what you want specifically in a 4X4, a specific recomendation would be
confusing at best.

Welcome aboard, and please, fill in more of your Bio stuff, We treat this as a community, and that helps
us get to know you.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 10:06 AM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

Pretty much I just want something I can go have fun with in the bush, through trails, sand pits, general off roading type stuff for now.

I will be buying the vehicle within 2 weeks, and have the winter if needed to fix it up and play with it in the garage. [img]images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

So at this point, if I can find a Samurai in good shape at a decent price that would be the best option.

Since it's lighter, better suspension and gearing options.

And then I can just get a junk yard 1.6L motor to swap in with some mods.

how does that sound?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 11:04 AM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

I have owned a Bronco II and I currently own a Samurai. I was considering the Bronco II again because I really enjoyed the one I had but I chose to buy a Samurai because:

1. I have property and the Samurai doubles as an ATV. I take off the doors and fold the windshield down and I can haul tools and weed sprayers etc... It is much more functional than the Bronco II.

2. Parts are cheaper and easier for the Samurai.

3. I have an Excursion to haul my family around.

If I only had the one rig for a daily driver, I would probably have gone with the Bronco II because it is quieter and more comfortable in the winter but it takes a lot more time and money to make them as capable off road.

I originally sold the Bronco II because I wanted more clearance but nobody sold decent lift kits for them due to the liability. The Bronco II is truly the SUV with the highest stock risk of rollover (a lot of heavy glass, up high) so even though the Ranger lift kits would work on the Bronco II, nobody marketed them for the Bronco II. If I had lifted it then, my wife would have never ridden in it. There is a lot more history with them now and if you drive it like it's a 4x4, not a sports car, it shouldn't matter.

In summary, I find the Samurai to be more useful and more capable off-road and the Bronco II to have more creature comforts and a nicer on-road ride. Either will need a significant lift and steering correction to clear 33s. The Bronco II is more likely to need fender trimming as well. Both will need to be re-geared to properly run 33s. The Samurai has more options (t-case and/or differentials) and is less expensive if you can't do it yourself. The Bronco II has more capacity for passengers and cargo.

I hope I have answered some of your questions.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 12:13 PM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

Wow, that really helps.

I think what I am looking for then is more of the BroncoII,this will be my primary vehicle, I will be driving it everyday to work so it would be more suitable for this, and I can also set it up for off roading.

Maybe I can then buy a Samurai after and set it up for Off roading only! [img]images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 12:48 PM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

I have a Vitara(Tracker) I prefer the Vit as its a much better vehicle if you have to put in a few miles to get to where the off-roading is. I run 33x9.5 BFG MTs, I have a 2" suspension lift and a 3" bodylift, I had to do a little trimming and fold back the corners of the footwells but its not too difficult a job. Its a lot less work than fitting 33s onto an SJ, on my 410 I had to move the front axle forwards, relocate the top shock mounts and extend the prop.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 01:08 PM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

That's good to hear. That's the other thing, if I want to stay in the smaller form like the Samurai I can go with a Tracker, it will give me the better HWY driving and I can still go off roading.

Too many damn options! [img]images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]
post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 01:23 PM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

I just sold my Bronco II and bought a Tracker. The main reason was gas milage. The BII with 30x9.50 MT's on it and a roof rack was pushing 17mpg, not bad but the Tracker gets 24mpg. I put over 400 miles a week on it so this was an issue. I had to put a 2" body lift on the BII to clear 30's and trim the front fenders. It had more cargo area, more power, and was a good all around vehicle. I loved it in the winter, I live in Northern Lower Michigan so we get lots of snow, just pull the lever and I'm doing 60mph straight as an arrow never know the roads are slippery.I never had problems with it off-road other than some front axle shaft problems. I swapped the 3.45's to 3.73's and it made a huge differance in performance. If you are looking for mod/swaps etc. try In the short time I've had the Tracker I like alot of things about it, but so far in the couple off road excursions I've had it on, the BII out performed it. I'm not writing it off or saying it's a bad vehicle, they are just different and it's something I will have to get use to. I don't have any experiance with Sami's although I've seen some that weren't heavily modified do real well off road. In the end you have to decide what you want it for and how much modification you want to do and how much support you have for that, then go from there. Around here there are tons of Ranger/BII's in the boneyard, but I have yet to come across a Tracker. James Duff makes some lift kits for the Ranger/BII's also.
Hope this helps
post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 02:14 PM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick

Looking at Calmini's site, I see a 3" suspension lift for 900$ and a 3" body lift for 150$, also suspension damper for 100$.

This is a very good price for a complete suspension kit.

I'm used to paying 1200$ for coil overs, then spending hundreds...I mean hundreds more for replacement control arms, sway bars, blah blah blah.

This looks like a VERY nice and complete kit.
post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:05 PM
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Re: Samurai vs. Tracker/Sidekick


Like some other people on this board, maybe I can offer some advice from my experience. I own a '96 Tracker with 235s and a five speed. I also have a low-mileage Samurai. The Samurai is the third one I've owned. My first two were daily drivers when I was younger. Now that I'm older (30 this month !!) I like the comfort of the Tracker and enjoy the folding soft-top for nice days. It's used almost exclusively on the street and has been off road only a few times -- but it did great. It routinely gets 24-28 mpg depending how many stops I make. I drove it about 600 miles one day -- it wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was nice having four wheel drive for the suprise storm on the way home.

The Samurai -- an almost rust-free example in excellent condition which 215 BFGs lives in the garage except on weekends or when I go four wheeling. It's slow, noisy and much smaller inside than the Tracker. It also has 30 fewer horsepower. Because I'm taller, I can't see out the windshield unless I scoot down in the seat or crane my neck to see over the top of the frame.

In my experience, a stock Samurai with decent tires will go almost anyplace. Parts are plentiful and they are very rugged -- far more so in my opinion than the Tracker. There's certainly more clearance -- as this is the definite limiting factor on the Trackers.

My ultimate vehicle if I built it from scratch would probably be a hardtop white Samurai with the 16V Tracker motor (or the 2.0L motor), 31" tires and an automatic. But here in Western PA, there aren't too many clean Samurais left.

Just my $.02, but I don't think you can go wrong with a Tracker -- cheap, plentiful, sturdy, parts are easily found and they are well supported by the aftermarket.

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