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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-10-2012 11:03 AM
Spookyzook Excellent! A guy would be a fool not to replace all the U-joints at that price.

Question: Are all the U-joints the same size? (I assume so)

And: Is the T-case drain and fill plug wrench size both 3/8?
05-10-2012 08:52 AM
Originally Posted by Spookyzook View Post
Azelgin, is it common to find a problem with just one gear(this case 2nd) and not with the others?
I wouldn't say it's common, but it does happen. For instance, NV5600 tranmissions are notorious for 6th gear failures, while the rest of the gears hardly ever have problems. I had a Mitsubishi GT3000 VR4 Getrag 5spd (rebuild at $3600 in 2000) that had a pit in the reverse idler gear, that made it sound like someone had dropped a bag of marbles in it. Chased my tail for a week trying to figure it out. Finally had to pull it out and take it all apart again.
If, you do have a problem with 2nd gear, I'd look for a used transmission, instead of buying a replacement gear. It will be cheaper than buying a new gear from the dealer. I paid $90 for a used Sammi transmission and $35 for a transfer case.
The guy I bought the trans and transfer from did custom Sammi work. He said he would rather rebuild transmissions, than transfer cases, because they were easier.

Here is a source for U-joints:
05-10-2012 08:06 AM
Axle and driveline RMP is in direct proportion to road speed. I still believe your vibration is tranmission related. If, your vibration is in only 2nd gear, it's most likley a tranmission problem, with 2nd gear.
Azelgin, is it common to find a problem with just one gear(this case 2nd) and not with the others?

arlo, thanks for the instructions on shifting with a screwdriver. That may come in handy!

Those Suzuki OEM links are great. If it is indeed U-joint related, I will use original parts. I don't want to have to do it again too soon.

I did finish putting in the "sloppy shifter" bushing and the T-case shifter sheet late last night, but did not have time to try it out.(2130 and had to be up at 0500!) I'll give it a whirl this evening when I get home.

Heck, even if I have to rebuild the T-case, I will. This little Sami is in too good of shape (cosmeticall) to let go. I can follow the 100+ pics and instructions on rebuiding the T-case.(invaluable info!)

If it's the tranny, well I don't know. May have to buy the parts and get a friend to help. Would a person ever remove and fix just 2nd gear? Seems like if you have the tranny out, just completely rebuild it........

BTW, What size is the T-case drain and filler plug? Just quickly looking at it from underneath, it looks like a square female plug?

Thanks, you guys are great. This place is a gold mine for me!
05-09-2012 12:53 PM
VaderSS In my case, the 2nd gear vibration you mention above was related to a worn u-joint. The U-joint was not that lose, but after replacing them, it went away, for a while. When it came back, it was once more due to a worn u-joint. I had used AC Delco u-joints, and they wore quickly.

I went back with Suzuki joints...

I too have had great luck with Suzuki Parts | OEM Suzuki Parts | Genuine Suzuki Parts
05-09-2012 11:30 AM
Originally Posted by Spookyzook View Post
2nd gear on these Samurais' is when the axels spin the fastest, that an imbalance (U-joint, or missing bolt) can cause a vibration.
I'm not sure what these guys were smoking when they gave you this information.

Axle and driveline RMP is in direct proportion to road speed. I still believe your vibration is tranmission related. If, your vibration is in only 2nd gear, it's most likley a tranmission problem, with 2nd gear.

On your tranmission, the input shaft gear turns the countershaft. The gear reductions are achieved by the shift forks sliding and engaging the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th gears to the to the mainshaft, which are turned by the corresponding gears on the countershaft. The powered mainshaft then sends power to the transfer case.

Fourth gear is direct drive and is achieved by the locking of the input shaft to the mainshaft. Radial load on the input shaft and countershaft bearings are far less while in fourth, so, transmissions that seem significantly quieter in fourth, are usually suffering from worn bearings on the input shaft and/or countershaft.
(The above is a simplification of how your tranmission works. If you really want to get confused, you should get involved with some of the tranmissions in heavy equipment, with counter rotating countershafts for foward and reverse operation without gear clash.)

You can go ahead and put new bolts and u-joints in, they should be there anyway, but, don't be too dissapointed if your 2nd gear vibration is still there.

I've had good luck finding OEM parts that are not show on diagrams, or parts lists, through these guys:

Suzuki Parts | OEM Suzuki Parts | Genuine Suzuki Parts
Drop them an email, or call and they'll get back to you.

Here is a link to a Suzuki transmission service manual:

The transfer case download is there, too:


Good luck to you.
05-09-2012 08:13 AM
Spookyzook Thank you arlo and Azelgin!

I wonder if replacing the output seal, replacing the missing bolts and nuts and then trying it would be a good place to start?
The guys at Lowrangeoffroad told me that it could possibly be a bad U-joint, and since 2nd gear on these Samurais' is when the axels spin the fastest, that an imbalance (U-joint, or missing bolt) can cause a vibration.

Do you guys think replacing the seal and replacing the bolts first is a good idea? I could always pull the T-case if need be, but I may not have to.

Is this too much wishful thinking, or could this possibly be a solution?

BTW, where can I find the correct replacement bolts and nuts for the flanges? I know there are different grades available and I want to use the specific ones.

Once again, thank you guys for taking time with my questions. I consider your input very valuable!

05-08-2012 11:58 PM
arlo The rear seals being gone or just bad would allow the oil to escape.
That would cause many issues.
Replace the seals and look at the gear faces for excess wear.
Like ^^ says with so many bolts missing, points to T/C being out at sometime.

To shift T/C with a screw driver:
Remove the rubber grommet on tunnel.
Remove the rubber grommet from the shift lever, save the spring around the lever.
Press down on the facia around the lever and twist 1/4 turn or so, spring loaded so it will jump up on your fingers.
Carefully lift the shift lever out (don't let any grit or gravel drop into the case)
As you look into the case you will see the shift rods with a matching notch in each side to move them back and forth. They should be matching (opposite each other)
Put a long screw driver into the notch and move one of the rods back and forth.
You are shifting into 4Lo with passenger side rod moved forward.
If the rods don't slide easily, do not force them.
Take the T/C out of the vehicle and change the seals and check for wear, at the same time you will likely find the shift problem.

No machinery likes to go thirsty of oil, or run on dirty or foamy oil.
05-08-2012 10:01 PM
Azelgin I think the fact that some of your flange bolts are missing, and others are loose, means that the previous owner was having issues with the T.C. and might have screwed it up trying to fix it. I just finished rebuilding a transfer case for a spare and when they are properly shimmed, with new bearings, there is ZERO laterial movement in the output flanges. I would guess you've got a bad bearing, which in turn has allowed the output shaft to destroy the oil seal.
As for your vibration in only 2nd gear: its got to be tranmission related. If, it were the T.C., or driveline, it would get worse as speed increased. I don't think a Suzuki turns the drivetrain fast enough for your missing bolt to cause a balance problem. The imbalance would be pretty much restrained by the flange being in such close proximity to the trancfer case bearings. a bit different than having a driveline out of balance, where the shaft has a chance to start vibrating in mid span.

By the way, there is a way to shift the T.C. with a screwdriver, in emergencies. You might do a search for the instructions on here. It would be a way of determining if your problem is shifter related, or, some internal problem with the forks, shafts and detents.
05-08-2012 09:39 PM
Spookyzook Can anybody offer some insight?
05-08-2012 07:13 AM
Vibration in 88 Samurai?

My Samurai has a vibration when running through 2nd gear only.
This is pasted from another thread:

Does it have locking front hubs ? Does it have adequate oil ?
Try putting everything in neutral. Hubs unlocked or if fulltime, be sure there is no pressure to roll back or forward. Leave the brakes off (both 4 wheel and E)
If it has not been in 4Lo or any 4 configuration for a period of time, so that the whole shift device is dry of oil it may be just binding until the lubrication gets up into everything around the shifting mechanism.
Once saw one that had sat outside for more than 10 years, had the same problem you describe. New shift sheet and reassembled with copious gear oil, shifted as expected after a few go rounds, in, out, in ,out.
Do this with all 4 wheels on gravel or sand. NOT on pavement or concrete. There must be allowance for slippage or all of it will bunch up and bind to the point where damage could occur. (but you knew that already)
Thanks arlo! I tried that and I still could not get into 4-LO. I can get 4-HI but thats it. I have a complete kit coming from lowrange off road. Even ordered a new bushing for the tranny shifter. It is supposed to take up some of the slack.(make the pattern tighter) I will post how the kit works out when it arrives.

I was sort of headed toward driveline vibration... did you check all the U joints and trans/xfer case mounts?

I know how much fun it is to roll around on the ground after working a few 12 hour shifts in healthcare. I feel your pain!!

Well guys, I think I'm starting to get a clue. Finally got time to get underneath of the Sami and inspect. What I did see is: (1) the front input flange on the T-case from the tranny had one loose flange bolt, (a quarter inch backed off the threads!) The other 3 were tight. (2) The output to the front axel had one flage bolt missing! The other three were tight and (3) The T-case rear output seal must be shot. I knew it was leaking a bit, but did not know how much.

All U-joints appear to be tight.

Question: I was able to move the output flange on the T-case to the rear end up and down about 2-3 mm (maybe) Is this common with a worn out rear T-case seal?

Also, would the loose and missing bolts cause a vibration even if the other three were tight? The vibration seems to happen only when running through 2nd gear.

Should I use any special replacement bolt and nuts for the flanges? Stainless? Original OEM(hope not), or what?

I realize that my questions may seem elementary to most of you, but I truly appreciate your wisdom and experience.

This is a GREAT forum!

Many thanks,


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