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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2001, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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newbie, couple ???s

Hey gang,

Im a new Samurai owner, picked up an 88 hardtop last month and am trying to strategize the best way to fix it up for my purposes.

I have a couple (possibly) stupid questions. I see people often refer to 88.5 as the year of their Samurai. Obviously there is something significant that changed in the middle of 1988, but I don't know what it is!

I'd like to see if my "88" is really an 88 or maybe an 88.5, and I'd just like to know the differences anyways, and maybe what parts would not be compatable. If I go to buy a parts vehicle, that would be good to know.

I live in the Northeast USA, so I have to deal with snow and ice. I live in a hilly area on the side of a mountain, so that makes it even more important. If I can't get up the snowy hill (they don't plow until late) then I can't get home to my kids and dogs and wife (and computer)
. I think my main goal is going to be to make the little beast unstoppable in the snow. I'd like to balance that with a little extra offroad ability if I could. I doubt I will ever do any really hardcore offroading or rockclimbing, so I don't think I need to get too extreme.

On my regular car I have a set of dedicated winter tires and they make a world of difference. I am thinking a nice set of these for the Samurai would be a good idea. For snow and ice, the narrower the better, yes? I'll likely have a different set for the summer.

A little extra clearance helps with snow, so I wonder what is trhe best and most cost effective way to get that. It seems like SPOA and S/R are a little overkill for me, since I am not planning to do any real offroading, so I was thinking of maybe one of the 3" spring lift kits. Any opinions on this?

The motor definately needs a little encouragement. The truck has 86K, so I will have to rebuild it eventually, but I'd lke to get a few more horses out of it. I understand a header and 2" exhaust is a good place to start, but I have to be careful about emissions. Massachusetts is particularly strict in that area. The induction side looks like a Weber setup is the way to go, though it looks like that is kinda dicey for emissions. Anyone have any experience with this as it relates to emissions? I had an early 90s Tracker 2wd when it was new until some dork in a cube van rear ended me and totalled the thing (motor was fine) Wish I had that now!!

I understand locking diffs are not the way to go if you plan to be in the snow a lot. Is this the case? Anyone have any good ideas about how to build up a winter-proof Samurai? I have been enjoying the posts here and look forward to any help or suggestions you can offer.

Thanks!

~daxe


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2001, 10:53 PM
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

Yes.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2001, 11:28 PM
 
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

Well Well Well, I just happen to be living in Lawrence Mass with three sammis, one that i consider mine and that is a hardtop like yours. ( The other is my girls and the third is a complete parts rig minus a shifter and a seatbelt and oh yeah an engine) I would say the first answer about the 88.5 is do you have square or round air vents? Square=88.5 round=pre88 As for tires, put a shackle lift on and go 29's for the winter, you need to do no other mods but pound down the ridges on the inside of your fender wells and trim the bumper ears on the inside. Give me a call and ill come over and help out when i can, e mail me off my profile to contact me. Lots you can do, and it just happens we ( the New england suzuki association) are getting together on the 24th of this month. So you should try to be there and meet everyone if you can, a great supportive and informational group. Plus you get to rub shoulders with God like fabricators and shop owners. I am more like God Jr. ......I get coffee and stuff........But i can fabricate with the worst of them.

Lifted springs suck for ride quality. Well short wheel base sucks for ride quality and thats that. To get more umph out of your engine we can do a compression test so you dont un neccisarily rebuild your engine. A header and a pony carb with a high flow cat should do nicely, or if you can locate a wrecked tracker or sidekick that has a 1600 engine in it for cheap that is a very nice and easy upgrade. Again call me and we can talk. My regards, Max

Just one more of the elite Samurai![img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img] External cage on a hardtop, x8ki wrn winch, M/L's,pny crb,98amp alt,32's, lckd f/r,
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2001, 11:35 PM
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

The answer is still YES!!!

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2001, 05:07 AM
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

Welcome daxe. I use my Zuke as a daily driver and and have a SR and 235 MT's and think its a pretty good setup. I also don't do any hardcore 4-wheeling and our Zuke was bought in '87 so my Wife, a visiting nurse at that time, could get in and out of peoples driveways in Northern Fairfield County CT in the snow. I was also going to go with the shackle lift but was a little worried about the handling and shims and all and was then offered the SR from a friend so I bought that instead. Much better ride. You have come to the right place with your questions though. These guys are great. And Danny the answer is? Jim

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2001, 06:12 AM
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

Well don't put lockers in unless you are a hardcore 4x4 er.. they suck on the road in icy conditions.
once it gets to be more than 4" of snow they help. Go with a studded snow tire all the way around.
that will handle most of your needs. (Including some Ice) A 215x75-15 would do well. Shackle reverse
is nice fo a basic lift, But unless you want to run it off-road I wouldn't, Unless you need that Bad boy
look of bigger tires. But then you screw your gearing up, and if you live in the hills thats bad.
(I live in western Mass BTW) I had great luck with the directional Goodyear snowies untill I modified
myself out of them. (Now on 31's going to 33's) The thing you should realize is hanging around here
is bad for making want to do more mods........ Good luck and welcome!

Glenn Loud
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Locked both ends, 8klb winch, Snorkel -Wildweasel2
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2001, 06:41 AM
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

Welcome Daxe, Nice looking hard top you have there. The differences between the early 88 and the 88.5 are mostly cosmetic. It looks to me like you have an 88.5. Another simple way to tell the difference is if the radio is hanging below the dash in a box (88) or in the dash (88.5). You said "the most cost effective way" to get the extra clearance. That would be a body lift. Very inexpensive and takes an hour to put on. A 2" body lift and larger dedicated snow tires would go along way toward making it "unstoppable in the snow" and you would incur no further headaches. If MA does no open the hood during inspection a weber can pass. You will regret not holding on to the wrecked tracker. It would have been a nice simple engine conversion for you. A limited-slip in the rear is kind of pricey but a lot easier on a street only zuk. Best of luck to you with your new purchase.

Scott Whitmore
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2001, 06:57 AM
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

If I'm not mistaken didn't the 88.5 have a different 5th gear. I know it had softer springs. Jim

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2001, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

>>I just happen to be living in Lawrence Mass

I'm over at the other end of the people's republic of Mass. Huntington, to be exact.

> Square=88.5 round=pre88

They're square. I guess I get the 88.5 designation, then.

>>As for tires, put a shackle lift on and go 29's for the winter

I'm collecting votes. One vote for the shackle lift. Doesn't Mass have a 2" maximum for shackle lifts?

>you need to do no other mods but pound down the ridges on the inside of your fender wells and trim the bumper ears on the inside.

That's the kind of mods I can do. Pounding on things until they bend and chopping stuff off. Cool.

>>it just happens we ( the New england suzuki association) are getting together on the 24th of this month.

I didn't even know there was such a thing. Is there a website for this bunch? I will definitely try to make the 24th meeting. Sounds like fun.

>>Lifted springs suck for ride quality. Well short wheel base sucks for ride quality and thats that.

Yeah, I wasn't thinking I was going to end up with a pillow-soft ride. My daily driver is a Dodge Neon ACR with Konis cranked all the way up, so I know the drill.

>> To get more umph out of your engine we can do a compression test so you dont un neccisarily rebuild your engine.

It runs nice and doesn't burn oil or anything, but starts to run into a wall at around 50-55 mph in 5th gear. I doubt it needs a rebuild real soon, but it definitely needs more oomph.

>> A header and a pony carb with a high flow cat should do nicely, or if you can locate a wrecked tracker or sidekick that has a 1600 engine in it for cheap that is a very nice and easy upgrade.

That was what I was thinking. Before I go pouring 1000$ into mods for the 1.3 I might as well try and find a usable 1.6. Dang..if I only still had that Tracker...(7-8 years ago)

Thanks, Max!

~daxe

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2001, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: newbie, couple ???s

>>>Welcome daxe.

Thanks! nice bunch of folks in here.

>> I use my Zuke as a daily driver and and have a SR and 235 MT's and think its a pretty good setup.

Sounds nice. Effective and conservative at the same time.

>> I was also going to go with the shackle lift but was a little worried about the handling and shims and all

I have to get over the notion that he thing is going to fall over every time I turn the steering wheel. Its not because of the media saying they were tippy or anything, I am just coming out of a very low automobile with 0% body lean and going into a tall little truck. I need to ride with someone who can drive one of these and see what it does WITHOUT falling over. Of course When I hear shackle lift, I think "more rickety and top heavy". I remember what putting extended shackles on did to my 68 Dart Convertible (in 1978) -- turned the back end into a wallowing monster.

~daxe

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