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Old 03-31-2014, 12:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First time buyer

I am currently looking for a Samurai this year. Not really in a hurry, right now im just reading up s much as I can online. I will be using this vehicle as my daily to work and once in a while driving to some dirt road up the mountain. I want to keep the 1.3L motor not really interested in doing any swap. Soft top is what I prefer and also EFI if I can fond one. From all the owner here do you guys have any lesson learn from buying your first Samurai or any tips to look for on buying one.

Hope to get some feed back from you guys.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Not sure of your location , Look for rust along the Sills . If its got the original plastic side guards on they are just rust traps. That is not too hard too fix though.

Finding a good samurai is hard , i beleave its even harder in the U.S.A.

Best thing i did was buy my daily driver with good registration , Then found a rust bucket on ebay for 500$ with no rego .Everything else i needed was their and in better condition then mine. That 500$ car has saved my ass and money many times over , and i still got lots of spares.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I live in Sunny San Diego, California. If its a true California vehicle then Im sure it will have little to no rust. I will still take your suggestion and apply it when I look for one, thank you.

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Not sure of your location , Look for rust along the Sills . If its got the original plastic side guards on they are just rust traps. That is not too hard too fix though.

Finding a good samurai is hard , i beleave its even harder in the U.S.A.

Best thing i did was buy my daily driver with good registration , Then found a rust bucket on ebay for 500$ with no rego .Everything else i needed was their and in better condition then mine. That 500$ car has saved my ass and money many times over , and i still got lots of spares.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redyourdead View Post
I am currently looking for a Samurai this year. Not really in a hurry, right now im just reading up s much as I can online. I will be using this vehicle as my daily to work and once in a while driving to some dirt road up the mountain. I want to keep the 1.3L motor not really interested in doing any swap. Soft top is what I prefer and also EFI if I can fond one. From all the owner here do you guys have any lesson learn from buying your first Samurai or any tips to look for on buying one.

Hope to get some feed back from you guys.
Hello, new Sami owner here, new forum member, my first post!
Your post caught my attention because it describes me real closely, except that after close to a year of taking my time shopping, I finally bought an '88 Samurai JX last month. I thought I'd share some of my own experience and maybe something will help you.

I was looking for a dual purpose vehicle. 1st, a daily driver for local non-freeway running around. I put in part time hours 2 miles from my house. Town is 5 miles away. 2nd use, as a flat tow "Toad" vehicle to pull behind my truck and camper set up for cross country road trips and dessert runs. I have done much the same as you, reading every thing I can on various Suzuki web sites. eBay and craigslist were my shopping sites. Strictly SoCal and Arizona, because most of the rest of the country (except maybe Utah & Nevada) will have too many vehicles with rust. I was looking for a stock, or near stock vehicle, willing to accept modifications if ones I was going to do anyways. My top end budget was $6000, but I didn't want to spend that much.

As you probably know, there's always a lot of Samurai's on craigslist in CA. But not much inventory turnover. Months go by and it's the same dozen rigs with maybe a few changes. eBay inventory moves faster. I thought I had a purchase twice. The first one was through eBay. I am sure it was a scam. Be wary of a guy out of San Diego with a heavy Eastern Euro accent. The deal seemed fair, not too good to be true. But the Euro dude insisted I put a $1000 deposit into his bank account. This, despite my offering to drive the 1 hour to San Diego to meet him at any bank of his choosing to give him full payment. I wanted to see the car. He got real angry, said I was not a man of honor, etc. it's true I won the bid, but he was trying to transact a deal outside of eBay, a rules violation. The 2nd deal was craigslist, right in my town. Nice rig, straight stock, no rust, good body, very fair price. I gave him a deposit and he took it to get it smogged. But it failed and he was not willing to get it diagnosed, so I got my deposit back.

I had called Petroworks in Fallbrook about 6 months ago to ask if they had anything for sale, or knew of anything. They didn't. I tried Petroworks again a month ago and got lucky. Dave told me about an '88 JX that his friend was about to sell. Said it was very clean, no rust, and had the OME lift, custom made bumper with winch, and 2" wheel spacers. Otherwise was stock. A week later I paid $4200 for it. Very similar rigs are going for around $6000 give or take a little.

First thing I did is take it to Petroworks. I had them set it up for flat towing, modify the door hinges so they come off, and had to switch out the non-CARB compliant CV carburetor and custom Petroworks manifold to stock parts so it would pass smog. They bought the manifold and carb back as offset to the bill, and gave me more than I expected. Gary wanted to be sure and he actually got it smogged. The bill was less than Temecula RV had quoted me for just tow bar set up alone.

Turns out my ride was bought out of Petroworks back shop yard (Gary's shop) as a non-op long sitting "beater." It had good "bones," but needed a lot of TLC $. The guy I bought it from paid $2000 for it, put about $2200 into it and sold it to me for $4200. It paid off to be patient. I knew right away when I drove it that it was the one. It was just a "tight" ride compared to all the others I'd drove. And EVERYTHING electrical works on it except the windshield washer fluid.

I would think that Gary might be willing to do the same thing again- sell one of his non-op "yard rigs" for cheap and then take payment to fix it up. Gary does not fix them up to sell them, he says there's no money in doing that. They are for spare parts. There's a lot of non-op rigs in his back yard.

Good luck.

Last edited by Ruck; 04-03-2014 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for info. Im still waiting patiently and doing a lot of reading.

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Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
Hello, new Sami owner here, new forum member, my first post!
Your post caught my attention because it describes me real closely, except that after close to a year of taking my time shopping, I finally bought an '88 Samurai JX last month. I thought I'd share some of my own experience and maybe something will help you.

I was looking for a dual purpose vehicle. 1st, a daily driver for local non-freeway running around. I put in part time hours 2 miles from my house. Town is 5 miles away. 2nd use, as a flat tow "Toad" vehicle to pull behind my truck and camper set up for cross country road trips and dessert runs. I have done much the same as you, reading every thing I can on various Suzuki web sites. eBay and craigslist were my shopping sites. Strictly SoCal and Arizona, because most of the rest of the country (except maybe Utah & Nevada) will have too many vehicles with rust. I was looking for a stock, or near stock vehicle, willing to accept modifications if ones I was going to do anyways. My top end budget was $6000, but I didn't want to spend that much.

As you probably know, there's always a lot of Samurai's on craigslist in CA. But not much inventory turnover. Months go by and it's the same dozen rigs with maybe a few changes. eBay inventory moves faster. I thought I had a purchase twice. The first one was through eBay. I am sure it was a scam. Be wary of a guy out of San Diego with a heavy Eastern Euro accent. The deal seemed fair, not too good to be true. But the Euro dude insisted I put a $1000 deposit into his bank account. This, despite my offering to drive the 1 hour to San Diego to meet him at any bank of his choosing to give him full payment. I wanted to see the car. He got real angry, said I was not a man of honor, etc. it's true I won the bid, but he was trying to transact a deal outside of eBay, a rules violation. The 2nd deal was craigslist, right in my town. Nice rig, straight stock, no rust, good body, very fair price. I gave him a deposit and he took it to get it smogged. But it failed and he was not willing to get it diagnosed, so I got my deposit back.

I had called Petroworks in Fallbrook about 6 months ago to ask if they had anything for sale, or knew of anything. They didn't. I tried Petroworks again a month ago and got lucky. Dave told me about an '88 JX that his friend was about to sell. Said it was very clean, no rust, and had the OME lift, custom made bumper with winch, and 2" wheel spacers. Otherwise was stock. A week later I paid $4200 for it. Very similar rigs are going for around $6000 give or take a little.

First thing I did is take it to Petroworks. I had them set it up for flat towing, modify the door hinges so they come off, and had to switch out the non-CARB compliant CV carburetor and custom Petroworks manifold to stock parts so it would pass smog. They bought the manifold and carb back as offset to the bill, and gave me more than I expected. Gary wanted to be sure and he actually got it smogged. The bill was less than Temecula RV had quoted me for just tow bar set up alone.

Turns out my ride was bought out of Petroworks back shop yard (Gary's shop) as a non-op long sitting "beater." It had good "bones," but needed a lot of TLC $. The guy I bought it from paid $2000 for it, put about $2200 into it and sold it to me for $4200. It paid off to be patient. I knew right away when I drove it that it was the one. It was just a "tight" ride compared to all the others I'd drove. And EVERYTHING electrical works on it except the windshield washer fluid.

I would think that Gary might be willing to do the same thing again- sell one of his non-op "yard rigs" for cheap and then take payment to fix it up. Gary does not fix them up to sell them, he says there's no money in doing that. They are for spare parts. There's a lot of non-op rigs in his back yard.

Good luck.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Any tips on how to check if the 4x4 system is in good condition?
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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While on pavement, if you lock the hubs, put it in 4WD HI, and turn the wheels sharply over, and ease into the clutch gently, the vehicle should not roll much. Don't try to make it roll if it doesn't want to. If it easily moves forward, something is wrong somewhere. Try again in 4WD LO.

With the steering wheel straight ahead, you can drive forward and backward, but don't turn the steering wheel or it will bind up the driveline. Make sure you stop when going from 4WD HI to LO and back.

If you then put it in 2WD with the hubs still locked, you can drive normally and it should not make much more noise or vibration than with the hubs unlocked.

The hubs should not be hard to lock and unlock.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I will perform that process during my search for a samurai.

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Originally Posted by VaderSS View Post
While on pavement, if you lock the hubs, put it in 4WD HI, and turn the wheels sharply over, and ease into the clutch gently, the vehicle should not roll much. Don't try to make it roll if it doesn't want to. If it easily moves forward, something is wrong somewhere. Try again in 4WD LO.

With the steering wheel straight ahead, you can drive forward and backward, but don't turn the steering wheel or it will bind up the driveline. Make sure you stop when going from 4WD HI to LO and back.

If you then put it in 2WD with the hubs still locked, you can drive normally and it should not make much more noise or vibration than with the hubs unlocked.

The hubs should not be hard to lock and unlock.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Can anyone tell me if a stock samurai can do 65 or 70mph continuously.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I can push my stock enjoy to 65 but it's pushing it pretty hard. 70... maybe on a downhill... truck feels like a death machine at that speed. I have stock engine with 125K miles on it... stock leafs, OME shocks... not lifted. BFG AT.
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