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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-03-2001, 08:04 PM
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buying an \'88 - what should I look for?

A little background: I'm a Jeep guy OK? I have a '90 XJ (Cherokee) built up decent and it's my daily driver. My wife wants "a jeep", but she gets bored with cars after a few months, so I'll inherit it soon. After looking at Wranglers, I think I'd rather go with a Sami - cheaper upfront, tons of stuff available, fairly easy to make/buy/do suspension mods as well as body & interior work - in short, a nice, simple truck.

I've got a line on an 88 and will be going to look at it in a few days. The guy says it runs, but needs a battery. I know about all the standard stuff to look for (water in oil, clean spark plugs, straight tracking, worn shocks, etc) but WHAT ARE THE WEAK SPOTS IN 88 SAMI'S? Are certain areas prone to rust? Weak points on suspension or frame? Any "under dash" electrical problems? Vacume leaks? Carb problems? Fuel tank and or lines?

This is a great forum. I look forward to learning & sharing more with you guys when I get my zook.

TIA (and please don't flame me about the Jeep thing),

a future zooker?

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-03-2001, 09:12 PM
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Re: buying an \'88 - what should I look for?

rust is a concearn to me, check behind the fender flares, the windsheild frame, i would worry about the compression, got too many zuks with burnt valves, condition of top, shift the t/c some, they like to wear out a little dudad n hang in between gears, but easy to fix. tranny, check for whines etc. (trannys are the only weak link in MY OPINION but i have never had problems yet, just whining bearings gonna run it until it wont run anymore) cant advise about electrical problems, NEVER had any with my zuks (11 now), there is a sensor light in the dash that may blink, caused by mileage to get you back to the dealer, there is a little switch under the dash, just to the right of the steering coloumn to flip to fix it.
im sure there are other things to watch for, but i have never had problems with my zuks. anybody else got some suggestions here??????
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-03-2001, 11:54 PM
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Re: buying an \'88 - what should I look for?

Like Bill Bob said, if your in the rust belt, look for rust under the fenders, take them off or look inside the body! Peel the stock carpet away from the floorboard and look for rust! My 88.5 "rust" problems were on the fenders and the floorboard area right behind the seats, just a little problem area. If you do have some rust, just get some Por-15, I think it is the best! The Suzuki engines are very good little "die hard" engines and last a long time, if kept good. Start it up and run it around a little bit, sounds like you know what to look for. Good luck and hope to see ya in the Zuk family!

<font color=blue>Brian</font color=blue> [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif[/img] <font color=blue>THE ULTIMATE ZUK</font color=blue>
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-04-2001, 05:50 AM
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Re: buying an \'88 - what should I look for?

<font color=blue>Billy Bob and Zuke Jr. </font color=blue>are right about checking for rust. The first thing you'll notice is the difference in engine. I had a 304 in my Scrambler and went to a 1.3 liter 4 cylinder. Wow, what a shock! I do miss all that horsepower, but the agility and fun that the Zuke offers far outweighs it. Gears, locker and good rubber make it a mean machine. You'll love it!
Lots of us Zuke owners have come over from Jeeps. Don't sweat it, any ribbing is all in fun. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
Check out your engine closely, watch for oil leaks and signs of a worn out motor. If the shifter is a a bit sloppy, that's an easy fix, just a long as all the gears work. With larger tires you'll probably loose 5th gear untill you re-gear the transfer case or differential. Another thing that's different from the Jeeps is the suspension. The leaf springs are straight with no arch and made to flex both ways. Gives good articulation but can wear out faster. Check to see that they're not sagging. They can be easily replaced with stock or arched springs. Good luck!

Scott Trester
1988.5 Suzuki Samurai
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-04-2001, 04:16 PM
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Re: buying an \'88 - what should I look for?

got to agree with everyone else,I would look over windshield very good. they sometimes rust or the metal breaks on the bottom from the wiper motor. remember to lookover the glass itself its a minor thing but a windshield will cost you about a $100 deep inside the rear wheel well look for rust or road dust and dirt that may be coming in you can hardly see it and it isnt to bad to fix but is fairly common on zukes in the northeast good luck

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