I purchased my 1988 Samurai (carburator) three years ago from a guy who definitely took care of it... It had 95,000 miles on it, but also had a new clutch system and several other items... Since then, I've added 50,000 miles to it and spent about $750 replacing parts as they wear out... This is dirt-cheap since it averages out to $250 per year for repairs.. (of course, I do all the work myself so this is about 1/3 of what those costs would be)..
At about 100,000 miles, certain major items will need replacement (clutch, starter, alternator, water pump, timing belt, etc..) This applies to any vehicle including the Suzuki... Oil leaks are usually minor and fairly easy to repair... Personally, I don't care for automatic transmissions (the early Samurais were all manual shift, I think...) Automatics always break down sooner than later and are expensive to repair or replace...
Try to get some indication from the current owner as to his/her maintenance of the vehicle... Some people really bash and dog them (constant running in excess of 5,000 rpm/ few and far between oil & filter changes/ etc..) Unless you can do the repairs yourself (or have reliable friends who will do them), you might want to look at later models (1990's) since these units will PROBABLY need fewer repairs (again that's if the owner has taken care of the vehicle)... If you can, find an independent mechanic to assess the vehicle ($50 to $125).
I don't want to drag this out... if you have questions, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
1988 (early) Suzuki Samurai
"Life is what you make it... make it worthwhile"