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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2007, 10:54 PM
fswaney
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New Samy owner

(disclaimer: I know that I could likely find the answers to all of these questions by searching. I apologize for not doing so. Right now I am working 2 jobs (one of which is my own small business) and studying for the bar exam, and getting my new samurai together. I am asking for help from someone who maybe has a little more time than I do to spare. Thanks.)

Hi folks, though I see the activity here is slow, this site looks like a helluva resource, so I am gonna fire some info and questions.

I picked up a '90 samurai. The 1.3 was shot, and for now (do to $$$ reasons) I am just replacing with a junkyard 1.3

I am looking to do the 1.6 VW Turbo diesel swap next year.

I have some automotive know-how, but I've only ever swapped basic bolt on parts (alternators, radiators, starters, brake jobs, etc).

I got the haynes manual from the prev. owner.
Now the questions:

How much would tracking down the suzuki shop manual help?

How unstable are the Samurais, really?

Is there any way to perhaps give the thing a wider stance without putting big tires on it?

Would weighting the bottom edges somewhat help the instability issue? Suggestions?

How tough is it to install a lift kit (I know I need to go up at least 2" for the VW swap).

I plan on using this vehicle on-road about 80% of the time, but I want it to be able to so some semi-serious off-roading (which I know will require more power than the 1.3 has to offer.)

What sort of upgrades would you all recommend? (Transfer case? heavier axles?)

Basically, I'm looking for a good primer. I've poked around online and haven't been able to find a great all encompassing samurai FAQ.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by fswaney; 05-28-2007 at 11:14 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-29-2007, 07:29 AM
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Workshop manuals can be downloaded online here:

.:Suzuki Download Archive:.

The Samurai is really very stable, don't worry about it just drive it.
If you really want a wider stance then wheel spacers or offset rims will allow you to keep the narrower tyres.
Lifting is pretty simple, a spring lift just requires unbolting the old spring/cutting the rusty bolts off and bolting on new ones. You'll probably need longer shocks and maybe longer brake lines too.
SPOA needs some welding, plenty of information about on how to this.
What do you mean by semi-serious off roading? you may be surprised by how capable a stock Sammy is.

2000 Vitara 1.6, 2" lift, 3" body lift, winch, snorkel, safari rack, 33" MTs, rear discs, steel front axle, 5:83s
SJ413K Pick Up, 1.6 conversion.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-29-2007, 09:25 AM
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Hey fswaney....

Check this link out.....

Main Page - iZook

You might wanna do a search for Ack on our BB... Ack's got a dedicated web page for the FAQ's for the zuk.

L8R

billybob_CA

Last edited by billybob; 05-29-2007 at 09:26 AM. Reason: clarity
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-29-2007, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fswaney View Post
(disclaimer: I know that I could likely find the answers to all of these questions by searching. I apologize for not doing so. Right now I am working 2 jobs (one of which is my own small business) and studying for the bar exam, and getting my new samurai together. I am asking for help from someone who maybe has a little more time than I do to spare. Thanks.)

...

I got the haynes manual from the prev. owner.
Now the questions:

How much would tracking down the suzuki shop manual help?

How unstable are the Samurais, really?

Is there any way to perhaps give the thing a wider stance without putting big tires on it?

Would weighting the bottom edges somewhat help the instability issue? Suggestions?

How tough is it to install a lift kit (I know I need to go up at least 2" for the VW swap).

I plan on using this vehicle on-road about 80% of the time, but I want it to be able to so some semi-serious off-roading (which I know will require more power than the 1.3 has to offer.)

What sort of upgrades would you all recommend? (Transfer case? heavier axles?)

Basically, I'm looking for a good primer. I've poked around online and haven't been able to find a great all encompassing samurai FAQ.
1. You can download a Factory Servce manual for an '88 Samurai at Ack's FAQ. The link is in my signature. Do a search for fsm. Except for possibly the engines intake system, everything that you need to know is in the FSM. You'll find searchable links to a lot of other useful information there too! (The Haynes manual makes for great campfire kindling.)


2. Really?? Pardon my bias, but my research of the Suzuki vs Consumer's Union lawsuit (now settled out of court and difficult to track down the Discovery information -- EDIT here is a direct link to the very revealing Discovery video produced by Consumer's Union at Ack's FAQ: http://www.acksfaq.com/videos/suzuki...merreports.wmv ) indicates that the Samurai actually outperformed the other SUVs that were being tested at the same time. My personal experiences with my 4.5" SPOAed Samurais on 30" tires are very satisfactory. Naturally, any cretin can roll a truck. The Samurai is as well-mannered (if not better) as any other truck of it's type. You want to see Brown-25 in your shorts? Try stomping on the brakes of a Volkwagen bus or a Pinzgauer 710M at highway speeds...

3. You can install wheel spacers or - even better - buy wheels with a shallower backspace that will improve the stance. Do a search for backspace at Ack's FAQ for a link to an informative webpage on the subject. See #2, above.

4. No. One of the Samurai's great offroading characteristics is it's light weight. Adding weight will only hurt the truck's performance. Also, see #2, above.

5. If you are handy with a welder (or like me, willing to learn how to weld) you can buy a complete SPOA kit for around $400-$450 and install it yourself. For a 100 or so bucks more, you can also buy a High Steer (or Over The Top) steering system that will reduce or eliminate the bump steer effect caused by the SPOA (or any other suspension lift). This is especially important if you plan to use the truck as a daily driver. Doing a suspension lift without fixing bumpsteer will make your Samurai drive as scary as Consumer's Union makes it out to be if you are not CONSTANTLY VIGILANT when driving on rough pothole-strewn roads.

6. Before you go much past bigger tires and a suspension lift, try wheeling the truck. If you are ready to spend more money, then it's time to choose between t-case gears or Ring and Pinion gears. Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages. Probably the simplest and fastest to install of the two is the t-case gears.

Try Ack's FAQ for more information on modding Samurais. It has a searchable database of over 320 links to all kinds of information about offroading a Zuk that is much harder to find simply by doing a forum search. Heck, there are even links to great stuff here at Offroad.com!

Finally, once you drive and wheel a Samurai - especially when you leave all the expensive hoity-toity offroading trucks in the dust on the trail - you'll see why Samurai owners both Love and Hate Consumer's Union.

We hate the publication for spreading lies and misinformation that killed the North American sales of one of the most widely-produced 4x4 truck of it's kind in the world. The Basic solid-axle Samurai is still in production today in updated form elsewhere.

We love the fact that our little Samurais can outperform the big guys on the trail under most conditions leaving them frustrated, embarrassed and puzzled in our dust.

Ack
Ack's FAQ
nearly 837 searchable links to Suzuki/Geo modding and maintenence info - including the Tracker FSM Project!
'88 "SJ-416 Samurai"
'11 Ford Transit Connect XLT

Last edited by ackerdackerly; 05-30-2007 at 10:41 AM.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2007, 07:59 AM
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Thanks Ack...

I hoped you were out there somewhere

billybob_CA
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2007, 11:35 PM
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Thanks so much guys.

I am glad that my post brought out so many of the good resources on this board!

When I say semi-serious off-roading, I mean that it will be used as a daily driver for the most part, but I will be doing some beach driving and some mudding with it. (I have relatives that live near a vehicle friendly beach, and I live just outside the mountains (or large hills) of Southwestern Pennsylvania. I really just want it to have enough off road capability to have a little fun, but don't plan anything more extreme at this point (though who knows, later it could end up being an off road rig if I catch the bug.) I am really just trying to find a balance between being comfortable on 3-6 hour highway drives and still have some fun with off the pavement. (I am guessing that the 1.3 won't suit my needs in either sense, which is why I am a year away from a 1.6 VW Turbo Diesel).

I really didn't personally remember the big media/lawsuit flap over the sami, but after buying one, several people have said things along the lines of "don't those flip really easily?"

I am glad to learn that they really don't. I've driven wranglers both on and off road, and a ford explorer both on and off and never really felt like either was dangerous at all, then again, I don't drive like an ass. I haven't driven my Sami, tomorrow will be its maiden voyage under my ownership. The guy changing the engine called and let me know it badly needs a tune up (Solenoid, dist. cap, rotor, plugs and wires). After I do all that tomorrow it will be mobile.

Anyway, thanks again so much guys. I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have for my planned use.
post #7 of (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 04:55 PM
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ive seen the other billy bob 's brother on this board do some amazing stuff with a bone stock zuk with a set of 27" swampers and locked both ends....with no reguard to body damage it would go pretty much anywhere...

with a set of 225 mud tires and some carefull driving you will handle most of the game land roads in PA and then some...

Im a south eastern PA boy myself...

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 09:39 PM
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freebird01, you read my mind, actually. The state game lands over here get a little hairy (Though I have a '99 pontiac grand am that i've taken some very interesting places).

The previous owner had 235s on it, and the damned things barely clear the wheel-wells. It has one busted shock, so I am probably going to upgrade all around with some heavy duty shocks.

Though finally owning my own off road capable vehicle may yet turn me into an off-roader.

My first moment of annoyance, for which I'll blame consumer's union, was that the solenoid and distributor cap were special orders at every parts store around. Advance will have em for me by Saturday morning

anyway, thanks again guys. I'll post some pics of the new toy as soon as i take 'em. The wife is pretty artistic and plans on doing a bang-up paint job, maybe WVU colors (i went to college there). I am gonna add some diamond plate panels and have to refurbish the interior. That stuff will all get done this summer, and the real off-road mods and engine swap will have to wait a year.
post #9 of (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 09:43 PM
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i was pretty partial to stripes....too bad a roll over killed my first zuk...


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post #10 of (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 10:39 PM
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Very nice indeed. The wife wants to go... plaid. I have no clue as to how she plans to do that, but I'm willing to let her try it.

It'll certainly be unique to say the least.

Edit: Just got it back. I gotta say, 235s on a stock samy make the thing feel like a death trap.

I also need to move the seat brackets and seat assembly back... may even get an aftermarket seat next payday.

I already have a name for my samy... "the money pit," starring tom hanks...

Last edited by fswaney; 06-02-2007 at 09:17 PM. Reason: additional infop
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