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Old 03-08-2015, 08:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Any Samurai hardtop owners in Hawaii?

Just picked up a 1988 Samurai hardtop, with the intention of working on it over the next 18 months or so, as a college graduation present to my youngest daughter, who's transferring to UHM (University of Hawaii at Manoa) in the fall. I'm kicking around some ideas for the interior, and instead of replacing the 4 interior panels with stock panels, black ABS, or diamond plate, I got to thinking.

I did a search on "wood shift knobs", and came across a site called "Maui Hands", that had a couple of styles of universal fit Koa wood shift knobs:

Woodwork - Maui Hands Art Gallery - Local Hawaiian Artists - Maui Artists - Lahaina - Ka'anapali - Paia - Makawao

So based on that discovery, I was thinking of how cool it would be to get the interior panels made out of Koa wood as well, kinda like paneling, since they're only 1/8" thick. We've visited the islands numerous times, and even got some tattoos from 808 Tattoo by Kaneohe. My youngest daughter has a jellyfish on her wrist, and a honu (sea turtle) on her inside calf. She's often mistaken for a local, so she should fit right in at UHM. Getting the shift knobs and interior panels made from Koa wood should definitely give her a long-lasting memory of her time at UHM.

Are there any Samurai hardtop owners there on the islands who could help me out with this? I sent an email to that Maui Hands website earlier today, and asked if they could make the interior panels out of Koa wood, if I sent them templates. Hopefully they'll send me a reply soon. But in the meantime, I figured it couldn't hurt to cast the net for any hardtop owners there for help. In addition to the interior panels, some help with replacement knobs from Koa wood would be great as well, with the correct 12x1.25 threaded inserts.

Thanks, and mahalo!
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice Samurai, Reminds me of mine. I hope you get the sammi how you want it to be. As for me I feel that the panels will run to much $ and I would pass. I had to replace mine but opted to buy them from ebay and I kept the rear original panels. I also notice some people replace the back door panel with a different one. I also kept the rear one stock but If you do get it done in wood...Please Please post pictures.
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, in between the time I originally posted this thread and now, I've come to the conclusion that getting five pieces of Koa wood big enough to replace the interior panels, and the large one on the rear door, is not feasible. Some other options are to get a roll of Koa wood veneer, and put that over some panels. I've never worked with veneer, so I'm not sure if I want to go that route, especially since a roll of Koa veneer isn't cheap either.

I went to a local Home Depot and bought a sheet of paneling, just to see if I could replace the interior panels with wood. I found a source for Koa wood shift knobs, and have some on order. Found another source on eBay for the M12-1.25 threaded inserts I'll need to make the knobs work, so waiting to hear back from that seller. Once I get the Koa wood shift knobs, I'll probably go back to Home Depot and see if there's a wood stain that matches them (golden pecan?), and do the wood interior panels I cut already. A can of stain, brushes, and some clear coat is a LOT cheaper than any of the real Koa wood options. And since I already have the wood panels cut, it should only take a few hours to do the staining and clearcoating.

On another note, I tinkered with the Weber carb, and the PO had that thing set up ALL wrong! I changed the plugs, and they were extremely fouled, black as coal, so it was running very rich. I had this same carb on an '89 Montero I used to have, so I found the base settings and went from there. Turned the fuel/air screw all the way down, backed it out two full turns, set the idle screw to just barely contacting the post, and adjusted it from there. Only took a turn or two out to set the fuel/air, then adjusted the idle to around 1100 rpms.

Curiousity got the better of me, so I went to a local Auto Zone and bought an inductive timing light, to check what the timing was set at. It was also WAY off. Chilton's says it's supposed to be around 10 degrees BTDC, and it was past 20! So I adjusted the timing back down, rechecked the fuel/air and idle settings, and she runs a LOT better now. They had to special order some MSD 8.5mm spark plug wires for me, because when I changed the plugs, one of the boot ends got pulled out of the cable, but I was able to get it seated back in. Going to replace the cables anyway, just to eliminate those as a source of poor running. Putting on a new set of cables should only make it run better, and that'll be something I can cross off my "to do" list.

Replaced the stock cat and muffler with a universal cat and Thrush welded chambered muffler, in 2.25" diameter. The muffler shop I used kept the stock down pipe for about a foot, then put on some 2.25" pipe from there all the way to the back. The stock cat was in bad shape, with the outer shells completely pulled away from the cat body, so it was making this awful rattling sound underneath. Also, the truck was belching blue smoke badly. Once the new cat and muffler were on, no more rattling or blue smoke.

Ordered a set of KYB gas shocks, new prothane bushings for the springs and front sway bar, replacement steering dampner, and inserts for white face gauges. Removed the gauge cluster cover (4 bolts) and clear cover (2 screws), pulled the housing off, and repainted the needles with some orange nail polish (color called "Big Daddy" from the local Rite Aid, lol!), which actually looks much better than white. So depending on how difficult it will be to install the white face gauge templates, I may just leave it as is.

It amazes me how easy this thing is to work on. In addition to everything I mentioned above, I've also had to replace the throttle cable ($20) and alternator belt ($5), easy peasy! This Samurai is a LOT easier and cheaper to work on than a 1999 Land Rover Discovery I sold a few weeks ago!
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Old 03-15-2015, 03:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal1200r View Post
Chilton's says it's supposed to be around 10 degrees BTDC, and it was past 20!
Did you disable the vacuum advance when you checked the timing?
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinoman View Post
Did you disable the vacuum advance when you checked the timing?
No...didn't know I was supposed to do that...uh oh...is that the hose that goes from the carb to the distributor?
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I went and rechecked the timing, this time with disconnecting the hose that goes from the carb to the distributor. The idle dropped noticeably, and when I put the timing light on the mark, it was close to zero. So with the hose off at the distributor, I adjusted the timing back to 8 degrees BTDC. I reconnected the hose and checked the timing, and it only moved a degree or two higher, so it's good to go now. And the truck runs noticeably better, so I think I've got it sorted out to the best of my abilities.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I love the simplicity of my Sammie too...
And i get mad when I am told trade up...
Anyway as for the Weber Carb, assuming it is 32/36 dgav or other member if that family...try this jetting as a base...
Pr.
Idle:55
Main: 130
Air: 160
Sec.
Idle:45
Main: 135
Air 170
This the Base setting the Sarge (when he was still around :S ) would give for all 1.3 Sammies. In the Weber world he was considered a God...and then he retired at some point, even his site is gone

It worked good for me when i was running a 32/36. Note Webers need a real low fuel pressure so use the stock mechanical if you still have it. There is also a fiber isolating plate you should have installed to reduce heat transfer ti the carb to prevent hot idle fuel issues.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Sammie, hope you have as much fun with yours as I still have with mine.
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Seats

Part of my restoration plan is to change the seats. I know this will be a little involved, because any other kind of seats most likely will require some level of fabrication in order to get them on the stock seat sliders. So I've been going thru Craig's List, and bought a pair of seats that I'm going to try and make work.

I know it's a little cramped in there, so the seats can't be much wider than stock. Also, with the gray dash, light wood panels on the doors and back sides, and with the floor eventually being bedliner-coated in black, I was looking for something other than gray seats. There was a guy selling a set of VW Mk I seats in tan cloth, looked practically brand new. I went to look at them, and ended up buying them for $50.

I think I'll remove the stock passenger seat, and see what it'll take to adapt these VW seats to fit the stock sliders. Hopefully it won't be too complicated, and I'll soon have a nice set of tan cloth seats to add more feng shui to the interior, lol! I'll post pics if and when it gets done.
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