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Old 07-02-2015, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1988 Samurai

Hello everyone! I am a teen, no experience in repairing cars/working with them either. Being 17, getting a car is just 1 year away, and i thought of buying a 1988 Suzuki Samurai in relatively worn condition (weird for 88000km) and doing some touch ups and mods to bring it back in good working order. The car is priced at 1400 (euros), i went to check it out and having limited experience in inspecting a car it seemed more or less alright but with quite a bit of work to be desired. Should i go for it and have a Suzuki Repair Manual handy with certain essential tools (do not plan on any serious work alone, nothing that requires engine removal) to get into the off road scene/car scene?
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Old 07-02-2015, 01:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The biggest problem with the Samurai's is rust, if it's not got much then I would think that's an ideal first 4x4. I would expect it's using a carb which makes things simpler. The general mechanics are as simple/basic as you can get. They can't be all bad as I've had my SJ413 as my daily drive for 16 years !!
As with any used vehicle it may have problems but rust is normally what kills them off in the UK, but I'd like to think the better weather makes them last longer over there. Other than that, check for leaks and make sure everything works. If it has faults list them on here and we can advise how easy (or not) they are to fix.
Welcome to the forum. If you buy it, post up some pics
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I believe that if u can buy 2 samari > one as a driver, and one for parts then u go for it .. The parts in my opinion are very pricey and are getting hard 2 find .. a parts vehicle is almost essential . I would keep in mind that u might want 2 price out a side kick or tracker for 1.6 up grade motor and a parts vehicle . if u are going 2 go 2 lift kit and tires and such u will need more power .. .. Other wise a ton of tonka toy fun .
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think i will just go for it, i plan to do work on the car anyhow (header+exhaust system, rust treatment and coating, changing all sorts of filters and pumps, radiator and possibly the carb too).
Pics of the underside (the important part for me), the engine looks fine for a car thats almost 30 years old . Some work as mentioned above and mods and all will be well (in my eyes).
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Old 07-04-2015, 04:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It looks OK from what I can see, you should lift the carpets and check the footwells and around the rear arches, If you have plastic trims over the sills then check carefully around those as well.

This is great:


I don't know what my chickens would make of it
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I checked under the carpets (back and front) and the front seemed to be in good condition for the price. I plan to start modifying it right away but nothing like a serious rock crawler or anything, something that doesnt look too hard core but a car that is reliable under the body and the hood. Any suggestions for a carburetor for some power increase (and header+exhaust system for same purpose)?
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A Weber conversion gives a good power increase but can be troublesome on steep inclines.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinoman View Post
A Weber conversion gives a good power increase but can be troublesome on steep inclines.

What is considered as steep? I read about this but have a hard time guesstimating how steep is steep.
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Old 07-06-2015, 04:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aey6Y1PvB58
If you skip to about 7:40 the guys starts talking about his Samurai, he seems to be running a Weber according to him and prior to that they climbed a pretty steep hill (in my opinion) and it seemed pretty fine.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't know about anything Samurai specific, but there are a few things you can check on all cars when buying a used car.

- large chunks of paint missing or discolored on the hood can indicate engine overheating

- Corroded battery terminals/connectors (white flakey stuff)

- Check all rubber (bushings in the shackles and spring mounts, tires, engine mounts, trans mount, etc.) for large cracks. Chances are all will have a little cracking on such an old vehicle.

- Make sure they tie rod ends still have some grease in there and don't have too much play and movement. Also, I am pretty sure the Samurai's have a rag joint, That would be good to look at and see if it is all cracked.

- Check all hoses for cracks or bulges

- check all fluids, for level and color

- make sure everything electric works by turning it on

- grab the top of each wheel and shake forward and back pretty hard to check wheel bearings. If you feel like there is something loose, it will probably need to be rebuilt.

- windshield wiper blades. Make sure they have rubber before turning them on.

- check for fluid leaks around oil pans and differentials.

when buying a car, don't be afraid to check everything out. Test things out. If something moves, move it, if it opens, open it, if it turns on, turn it on. Just my .02 anyways
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