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Old August 12th, 2013, 08:45 PM   #1
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Default Project BS3.5 - Another Budget Samurai

Like an infectious disease that keeps coming back I don't seem to have the ability to keep a Suzuki Samurai out of my life.

To start off with, here is a bit of my history with the boxy little buggies.

BS1 - My first Samurai was an early 1988 model (there were several design changes in 88) bought for $200 in stock form with an extremely rusty body and an interior full of spiders, mold, and porno mags. It ran great, but was stuck in 3rd gear. I feathered the clutch and drove it 15 miles home where a quick fiddling with the shifter got it back working. I gutted the interior and drove it as a daily driver for the summer, including one trip to Mio where a full throttle run up Bull Gap resulted in two loose fender flares and a pin hole leak in the oil pan. On that trip lgottler also ran over a deer and whipped it into the air where it nearly went through my windshield. Alas we skinned, cooked, and ate the deer for breakfast at our campground, much to the terror of the family in the quarter million dollar motor home in the next site over.

A few months later my little brother borrowed the Samurai while I was out of town, and ignoring my "put four quarts of oil in it before you start it" warning, he promptly seized the engine so violently while driving it that it ripped both motor mounts clear off the frame and layed the engine over several degrees.

A few weeks later a Corona fueled night in the barn started a quick and dirty build. Using mainly cast off parts, it recieved a vortec 4.3 with an Astrovan four barrel intake, a T5 transmission, a spring over swap with a set of 3 inch lift springs, and a set of dry rotted 35 inch mud terrains.

Way tall, and squirrly on the street, it would do a wheely in first gear, a wicked burnout in second, and only by feathering the clutch in 3rd could it be launched in a reasonable manner.

Upon the birth of my son I sold the Samurai without ever wheeling it, to a lady out west who used it for Mud racing. She kept in touch till a few years ago, and her own adventures including blowing up the 4.3 on nitrous, and swapping in a 383 stroker along with a rear mounted radiator.

Somewhere I may have pics of that one and will post them if I find them.

BS2 and 3 were bought at the same time. Both were bone stock, and BS2 was a super clean 1986 with a slight rod knock, and BS3 was a 1990 "parts truck" that had been rolled, and the previous owner was decapitated in the accident. The highly supersticious seller refused to admit he was selling me the death rig, so he made me sign a document that I was buying the 86 for $900 and the 90 was a free gift.

I drove the 86 in stock form for about six months with lucasoil in it until it finally gave up. I don't quite remember how it happened, but someone offered me crazy money for it, so it went away. Now just
the 90 sat in my backyard.

A discussion with some friends turned into a bet of sorts, whether I could build a Samurai for decent trail use for under $1,000. So the build began, and was documented in a two part writeup in The Boondocker put out by Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association.

The build was a success, which included a spring over lift, a used 6,000 lb winch, some heavily cupped 33's, a welded rear, 5.12 tracker front gears in both differentials and not much more.

Here she was:

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It saw action in Michigan, Canada, and Kentucky, and was flopped about a half a dozen times. This was the Samurai that taught me most about these little rigs, and I fine tuned my driving skills with it as well.

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That Samurai was wheeled hard and put away wet. When I took a Sabbatical from the offroad world it was used as a farm truck until the winch broke and the transfer case was blown. After sitting neglected for awhile it was sold during some hard times.

BS 3.5

Since BS2 was never "built" or wheeled, it doesn't realy recieve full rating, so the third one was really more like 2.5

I've told myself for the last few years if another 1990-1995 model (the fuel injected/big driveshaft flange years) came my way I'd snag it, and a few months ago this little 1990 popped up here.

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It has an O.K. body, some rust issues and whatnot. It also is stock with exception to an SJ410 windshield fold down kit and some two inch lift shackles. The engine runs but has a hole in the side of the block where a rod came through, and the underside has a liberal coating of oil. However the price was right and it came with an Optima battery and an older carburated engine with supposedly only 40k on it. So let the build begin!
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Old August 12th, 2013, 08:56 PM   #2
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So I am going to use what I learned in the past with these rigs, from my sucesses and mistakes, and hope to build another budget rig. The plans are to not go extremely wild with it, as it is going to also hopefully be something for my kids, my girlfriend, and her kids to learn about wheeling in.

The plans:

1. Swap in good engine

2. Put 5.12 tracker gears in differentials

3. Add a winch and a CB

4. Larger tires, although I want to keep it as low as possible, hopefully keeping most of the tires on the dirt most of the time.

5. Soften the suspension somehow, my last build rode like a brick and had the RTI scores of a dumptruck.

6. Add a cage and a top

7. Take to Gitchee Gumee!
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Old August 13th, 2013, 10:18 AM   #3
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Sounds like a good standard Sami. Put a spool in the back and grab a Mercedes steering arm for high steer(assuming you are doing a SPOA) its done. What motor are you going with 1.3 or 1.6?
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Old August 13th, 2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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quote- Take to Gitchee Gumee!

you have approx. 40 days,

hope to meet you, when you get up north here, end of Sept.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 02:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayBmeyer View Post
Sounds like a good standard Sami. Put a spool in the back and grab a Mercedes steering arm for high steer(assuming you are doing a SPOA) its done. What motor are you going with 1.3 or 1.6?
I plan to weld the rear, and probably the front as well.

I'm going with the 1.3 that came with the package providing it is good. Fingers crossed! It had a hard spot when rolling over, I'm assuming just rust in a cylinder.

What model Mercedes arm works?
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Old August 13th, 2013, 05:15 PM   #6
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I'm pretty sure it's the early 80's models. Click image for larger version

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ID:	109370 should look like this. Get both sides if you can. But I think it's the left side you need. Then you just have to drill out the middle hole( I think it was 9/16) and get bigger bolts. Pretty cheap but effective way to do a high steer. I think there is a lot more info on Pirate about it.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 05:18 PM   #7
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^^ That's pretty cool! Thanks for sharing, I'll be checking that out for sure. I'm debating between doing another spring over, or just doing the virtual lift (cutting fenders higher)
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Old August 13th, 2013, 05:40 PM   #8
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What size tire are you thinking?
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Old August 13th, 2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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Just don't do the shackle reversal! It Sucks! I'm getting rid if that BS on mine. I'm going with the one link setup. Machine shop friend says it won't be a problem to make.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #10
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What size tire are you thinking?
Not quite sure yet. I'm thinking I'll let the body decide. I'm going to start cutting into it soon and go from there. I have a like new set of 31's in my shop right now, but would really like a 33-35.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 08:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Just don't do the shackle reversal! It Sucks! I'm getting rid if that BS on mine. I'm going with the one link setup. Machine shop friend says it won't be a problem to make.
You mean "the fangs" :D

I've seen those setups before, don't worry, I'm not a fan, they hang way too low. I am debating whether or not to do a YJ leaf conversion.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 10:32 PM   #12
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A couple of days ago I pulled the old engine out. It was a greasy mess!

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And one motor mount and the trans mount were torn clean through, so I had to order them up.

Since the used engine came as a block and head only, I had to strip everything from the old engine. When pulling the trans and clutch I found an extremely hot spotted flywheel, It was $79 to machine it, or $69 for a brand new one, so no brainer there.

This morning I headed to the car wash to give the transmission a bath.


I think most of the grease ended up on me.

Also, the exhaust manifold was severely heat cracked, so I ordered up a stainless steel tri-y header.

Wrenching all day today, I actually took a bunch of pics with my regular camera, but I can't find the download cord, ugg.

However, by 8 PM, the new motor was dropped in, hooked up, and with only a few rotations, it fired right up! I temporarily hooked up just the exhaust manifold while I wait for the header, roughly timed it, and took it for a cruise around town and over to my girlfriend's house where she called it "cute"

And here it is running!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater
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Old August 14th, 2013, 10:13 AM   #13
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This morning I've been contemplating trail repairs on axleshafts. On my old 90 I broke a few shafts. Now I have a full set of spares, but don't really want to haul around the rears with the backing plates attached (because they are trapped by the bearings) so I'm thinking about a rear disc conversion. The spidertrax kit seems like a good idea but I've also seen some writeups using stock front stuff, which I have. Thoughts?
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Old August 14th, 2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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I have not done rear disc myself but I would use the front equipment if all possible. I'm pretty sure Lowrange or another zuki store has a bracket to use the front caliper and a adapter plate to use the front rotor. I would think it would be much easier to find spare parts in a pinch compared to custom or Subaru parts. That's just one fellow zuki mans opinion.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 12:00 PM   #15
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I think this might be the way to go.

http://bc4x4.com/tech/2000/zukdiscs/zukdiscs.cfm

I have a spare set of axles I aquired from mudbillyredneck so I have all the parts I'd need except for the sidekick studs.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 12:04 PM   #16
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Only had a few hours this morning, so this is what I got done, rear is totally dismantled.

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Old August 15th, 2013, 01:59 PM   #17
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I have a few tricks up my sleeve I want to try, but needed some better tools. So this morning I went and picked up a new Hypertherm 45 plasma cutter.

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Old August 15th, 2013, 06:11 PM   #18
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Found a nice Cobra 25 at a pawn shop with antenna for $40



And I just got a delivery from Rod's Samurai Salvage. A new Besttop and a set of retaining strips/bows. The girlfriend will be happy now I can maybe guarantee her she might stay dry :p

Pulled apart the rear carrier and started installing the Miller Locker.

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Old August 15th, 2013, 06:21 PM   #19
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Rear spiders welded
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Old August 15th, 2013, 07:47 PM   #20
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I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but this is what I came up with. Pre-1990 Samurais use a small flange at all the shaft ends that has a smaller bolt pattern. 1990-95 uses a larger bolt pattern. The inner lip is the same however, so I've decided to drill the smaller bolt pattern into all my flanges as well. This way I can use any generation driveshaft for quick and easy replacement on the trail.

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