Re: First Sammy
Howdy Zukini! Welcome to the ORC BBS.
The only "rule" you broke is the "use the search" rule. It's not really a rule exactly, but since you're starting out it's inevitable you will ask the same series of questions that everyone else seems to.
The search function works great if you know how to use it. In the first box make sure you select the Suzuki Geo board. Then put in your search terms. For instance if you wanted to find out what people thought of the thorley header, you could put in the words 'thorley' and 'header' (Without the quotes of course)
Then the most confusing part. In the next box you have to pick "AND" instead of the default "entire phrase." This will cause the search to look for posts that contain both the words Thorley AND header. If you left it as "entire phrase" it would have to find the phrase "thorley header" to return a result. That may seem trivial, but if you are searching for a few different things at the same time it becomes very important. Make sure you have it search all the past posts, not just last week.
The great thing about searching is that you will get all the opinions expressedd on a subject instead of just the ones available from whoever happens to be around at this particular moment. Plus, a lot of the people who have been here a while have answered some of the basic questions about 500 times and won't do it anymore. The only way to get to their previous answers is to search for them.
End of 'use search' lecture.
Now, for your questions. A thorough tuneup is the first place to start with your 17mpg motor. If you're restoring then it makes sense to really go for everything on the motor, I'd say. PLugs, wires, dist cap and rotor, coil, pcv, EGR, oxygen sensor (low power and bad mileage?...bad O2 sensor defaults to full rich, I hear). Maybe a pain to get the old one out but you can get a generic replacement for under $20. Run some good fuel system cleaner through there, change the fuel filter (inside frame rail pass side near tank in back), make sure all your vac hoses are in good shape, change timing belt and set timing, adjust valves. Maybe do a compression test before you go through all that to see if it's still healthy.
But here's the real answer: drop in a 1.6 liter motor from a Tracker or Sidekick. The motors share a lot of architechture, but the 1.6 is a huge leap in power over the 1.3. A stock 1.6 will perform as well as a heavily modified 1.3 from what I've seen. You should be able to get a 1.6 by itself or in a part vehicle for what it would cost you to completely redo a 1.3 and add a header and stuff. Most of the major vendors sell a 1.6 converrsion kit with the adapter plate for the transmission and motor mount and other stuff you need. There are 16 valve and 8V versions of the 1.6 motor..the 8V swap is a little simpler but both require the use of the computer and wiring harness from the donor vehicle. The 16V better breathing at the top end but the 8V has good torque down low, like any other 8V vs. 16V setup.
I have heard as many people say the header was a waste of money as I have heard say it was wonderful. Most every one agrees that the sami benefits from moving up to a 2" exhaust from the cat back.
With the lift setup you described you can fit 31s, but I wouldn't suggest going with a 3" lift because that usually means springs. Lifted springs ride even harder than stock sami springs. You cant get 3" of lift with shackles. Everyone's suggestion about doing a basic SPOA (Spring Pad Over Axle) sounds good. It will get you at least 4" of lift and improve your ride with stock springs. Don't forget you will need steering correction and longer shocks, longer brake lines and possibly driveline spacers plus new shock mounts if you go this route. Still ends up better than spring/body lift combo if for no other reason than a better ride. You also have the options of adapting jeep cj springs to the sami and swapping sami rear springs for the fronts, or going for the longer, wider Wrangler YJ spring setup, which gives a very nice ride. Only a 2-3" of lift from either of those setups though.
You want to run 31s, which are usually 10.5 inches wide. You will need to get different wheels with less backspacing because 10.5" wide tires will catch the frame at full steering lock. If you want to stick to 30" tires you have a few advantages: you can use stock wheels and you will only need 2" of lit plus very minor body mods. Which brings me to another part of the equation: gearing
If you think your sami is gutless and slow with stock size tires, you are in for a rude suprise when you stick it on 31s. Be prepared to go about 30 mph in second gear up hills and have about 60 second 0-60 times. The bigger the tires the worse it will be.
The way to correct for this is either with ring and pinion changes in both axles or transfer case gears or both. No matter how you slice it you are going to be looking at about $400 or more.. Its not impossible to drive on large tires with a stock drivetrain, and some of it depends on where you live and how you are going to drive.
There is a larger gas tank available from Petroworks, too. Its 15 gal IIRC. Too steep for my taste though, I'd rather carry a 5 gallon gas can..plus it wouldnt fit inside my hardcore 4x4 gas tank skid plate.
Sometimes it gets good results on this board to let everyone know your budget and what you're trying to do with the vehcicle (mostly offroad, mostly highway, what kind of wheeling, etc.) we can suggest a course of action that saves you $ on useless mods and puts your $ where it makes the most sense.
Good luck and happy holidays,
88.5 Softop, Pony carb, GM Alt, GRS2, Mighty Kong, Minispool rear (soon lockright front), YJs SPUA (soon spoa), M/Ls all around, 30x9.5 MTs (soon 31x10.5 on 2" BS), Rancho 9000x shocks, (soon Power steering and 4 wheel disk brakes with spidertrax Tcase EBrake) Tracker seats, full diamondplate interior, 8K winch, TRailtough bumper, rock rails, pumpkin caps, etc etc etc
89/95 Sidetrack, bone stock