New Samurai Owner - Help? - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
Suzuki GEO All Discussion of all things, Suzuki and GEO

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 07:15 PM
Posts: n/a
New Samurai Owner - Help?

Hi everyone,

I am a proud owner of a 88 Suzuki Samurai JX. I always wanted a Zookie since high school.

The overall condition of the Zook isn't too bad, as the previous owner had "newer" engine + "newer" transmission. I had a friend who knows more about trucks then I do look over it, but I would like some opinions of people who have Samurais.

We got the basic oil change done, air filter, and valve gasket sealed. There was some corrosion near the battery which was steel brushed off and painted with a rust neutralizer.

Here are some minor problems which I hope someone here might know the answer to.

- Oil leak. It seems like it is coming from the transmission, however the oil is dark like from the engine. I added a bottle of "No-Leak" for now and it seems to have stopped it. Any clues on what to look for?

- Transfer Case shifter doesn't move. I don't want to break it but it doesn't move at all (seem stuck). After doing a search it looks like I should investigate into a new shift plate.

- Steering makes noise at low speed. What part should I look into? The previous owner said something about the steering dampener, but would that cause groaning sounds when turning at low speed? What else should I look into?

Thanks for any help you can provide!
Sponsored Links
post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 07:34 PM
Old Hand
bradzuki's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Oak Ridge, TN
Posts: 1,074
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

Howdy & welcome to the board.

The oil leak you speak of is probably coming from the o-ring on the distributor housing. It's well known that these are the first to fail & dump tons of oil all over the place.

You're right on track with the t-case. It'a a rubber or poly "sheet" that the shifter sits on. Kinda like a bushing. You can pop the shifter out & take a screwdriver & slide the forks back into place. Put the shifter back in & it will work fine. It will get hung up again, but it's an easy fix after you do it the first time.

As far as the steering goes, I dunno. Never had a problem with the steering. maybe someone else will jump on that one.

bradzuki is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 549
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

For the steering problem, I would check your front wheel bearings. I had the same problem when going around corners, and it turned out that the front driver side wheel bearing was really loose.
4x4_Austin_Mini is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 07:43 PM
Keyboard Implanted
daxe's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: socialist lib heaven mASS
Posts: 3,460
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

Hi DueNorth,

Welcome to the BBS. nice to have ya. Let me attack your questions, thoughh I imagine you will get some better answers from more experienced and knowledgable people.

Your oil leak may actually be coming from the distributor housing, bolted to the back of the top of the engine. This is a *very* frequent place for oil leaks in the Samurai. It can get alll over the back side of the engine and all over the transmission and appear to be coming from the transmission itself. The stop leak stuff you poured in there (ususally not the best solution) may have jsut swelled up the O ring between the distributor housing and the motor enough to stop the leakage. The proper fix is to replace the O ring (a couple $) and about 10 minutes of work. Of course if the oil is actually coming from somewhere else, disregard that advice. To locate the actual origin of the leak, clean the engine and trans thoroughly, steam clean if you can, and then watch carefully to see where it comes from. Its easy for a big leak to gum up everything in sight and disguise the source.

For the non-moving transfer case lever, what you are probably talking about it getting a new "Shifter sheet". Thats a funny name for a round rubber thing that fits down in the neck of the transfer case where the shifter goes in and in which the ball of the shift lever pivots to actuate the transfer case innards. This can be replaced with a "Poly" unit that is more oil resistant and wont degrade and fall apart like the original one. Those replacements cost about 10$ at any aftermarket suzuki vendor and can be put in easily in about 10-15 minutes.

Put the Tcase in neutral, then you just need to remove the shifter boot and inner boot (theres a spring wire clamp on that one) then push down and turn on the inner metal part right around the shift lever. When this part pops up, you can pull the shifter straight up and out and you will see the rubber "sheet" (or whats left of it) right down there in the neck. Take it out and pop in the replacaement, then put everything back together in reverse order.

For the steering problem, make sure there is gear oil in your steering box, theres a little fitting on the top you can crank off carefully to peek inside. Basically you can fill it until its FULL than put the cap back on. Then you might want to spray some white lithium grease or something on the joints of the steering shaft, liek up where it exits the firewall. I had a groaner like you describe and thats what fixed it. Try to get some up into the firewall, too since there's some stuff up in there that shouldn't get dry, either.

Hope this helps. Ask for clarification if you need any and I hope some of the real mechanical types jump in here to correct everything I probably said wrong or forgot.

daxe is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 08:33 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 2,890
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

First, welcome aboard!

The others have you well covered on all counts, But I have one more possibility on the groaning sound,

There is a steering shaft bushing at the bottom of the collum. When it gets dry it starst the shaft to
groaning just like you describe. the quick fix it to shoot it from the engine compartment with WD40 or other
spray penitrant/lubercant. If it goes away, you have found it, but your not fixed as it will return. Some
other better agent with real lubercating properties should be used. White lithiun grease in a spray form
might do it, espesially if its still wet with the WD, since it might help carry it up there, The problen of
course is mostly gravity.

this is a spot that should have had a spot im it to lube it.
outlawmws is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 08:42 PM
Posts: n/a
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

Thank you all for the quick replies. This place is great.

I am investigating into the new "shifter sheet"... but I get like there are three stuff related to it (T-case sheet, sloppy shifter fix, and transmission bushing). What exactly is the "sloppy shifter"? Is it when the shifter would move around a bit when I accelerate/decelerate? It is my first manual vehicle so I am not sure if it is how it is supposed to act.

I will look into cleaning up the underside to find out what might be leaking plus checking out the steering box. Oh what type of oil should I be putting in there?
post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 188
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

Welcome to the board.
Little late but here's my 2
Steering noise - try a little squirt of PB Blaster on the grommet in the firewall that the steering shaft rides in. Also check the gear oil level in the steering box, mine was very low. Noise has been reduced greatly in my Sammi after doing both of those things.
The Suzuki part number for the dist housing to head o-ring is 09280-56004, but I got mine from a Chevy dealer and its one of these #'s - 96067085 or 96057734 can't rember which one is for the housing and which one is for the shaft.
Surprised that no one has said this yet so here I go - if you fill out your profile you may find somebody nearby that can offer more help and advice.
Clicker is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 09:23 PM
Keyboard Implanted
daxe's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: socialist lib heaven mASS
Posts: 3,460
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

the "sloppy shifter" issue relates to a locating bolt on the shift lever which breaks down inside the transmission (not the transfer case) and causes the shift levver to be kind of loose (or sloppy). It can cause you to have to (for instance) move the lever WAY far over to the right to get 5th and reverse gears. The shift pattern is not exactly sports-car tight and small, but the lever going into each gear should be a fairly decisive movement and sensation, rather than having to kind of freely shove the lever to where you get used to finding the gear. I dunno..its hard to descibe to someone who isnt used to shifting manually [img]images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Any one of us "veteran" samurai owners could tell you in .5 seconds if you have the dreaded "sloppy shifter" but its not obvious to someone who doesnt knwo how its supposed to feel! It doesnt prevent you from shifting, either. I know when I got my Samurai it had some of the problems you are mentioning, including this one.

The sloppy shifter fix is just a special little bolt with an unthreaded portion at the end. You take off the boot for the transmmission shifter, and then the inner boot, then the little tower thing the shifter lives in, and pull the shifter out. The remainder of the broken bolt is usually still stuck in the shifter, but if not it has dropped into the trransmission and you might try to use a telescoping magnet to fish around inside the transmission and recover it before you replace the broken bolt and put it all back together.

I was pretty green mechanically (and still am) when I did that fix on my truck shortly after I got it. I managed to get it done in about 10 or 15 minutes going really slowly and carefully and it was obvious how things fit together and how they reassembled, etc.

If you attempt it, just dont tighten the bolts on the little tower down too hard..the transmission is aluminum and as metal goes its pretty soft and easy to strip out or deform.

The transmission bushing is the same as the shifter sheet, just for the transmission instead.

check out this link:

Trail Tough

on the 'transmission' page you will find the shift bolt (sloppy fix) and also the trans bushing. if you click the 'transfercase/driveshaft' link the shifter sheet fo the transfer case is at the bottom of the page.

Nearly every vendor sells the same replacement stuff (petroworks, rocky road, north coast offroad, etc) I only mention Trial Tough since i have done business with them several times and can recommend their service and products.

daxe is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 09:28 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,182
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: New Samurai Owner - Help?

Hi! There's also a steering bushing inside the column, basically in there between the turn signal stalk and ignition switch that goes dry and makes a groaning noise you can hear while doing low speed turns. Hard to get to without pulling the steering wheel and more...if that's it just learn to ignore it!
AZtoyguy !! is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome