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Old 09-22-2015, 08:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1988 Suzuki Samurai Freeway Able

I bought a 1988 Suzuki Samurai and want to make it as freeway able as possible. I know samurais are inherently a non-freeway vehicle. What are things that I can do to my samurai to make it more capable. Would I need to do an engine swap? Or could I get away with either going fuel injected or a Weber Carb? What about swapping the axles? Pros and Cons of doing so? You'll have to forgive my lack of knowledge about this, that's why I'm asking people who have experience on this subject.
My samurai came with a 3" lift, I have installed a relay to the starter. Any advice helps! Parts to replace that go out anyway to parts to upgrade to make it freeway capable.
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you mean freeway like 65mph, or like MT, WY 80mph sort of thing?
Is it stock and healthy?
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Going around 65-70 mph without straining too much. I have reached 70 with a tail wind, down hill. Any wind drastically reduces that down to about 50
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Mine is pretty far from stock, I had to regear but I drove a stock one recently and the lack of torque seemed to be the bottleneck, also the gears are fairly low, I was singing 4000rpm like an angry weedeater and lil ol' ladies were passing me on the highway. IMHO a good highway cruiser has to have somewhat relaxed RPM and the ability to maintain the speed limit into a headwind.

I think the easiest way to do that would be to upgrade to a 16v 1.6L and play with tire sizes since you have a lift (and to avoid breaking open the Tcase for gearing). I cant find the link but there are a couple vendors out here that can help you get considerably more power/tq from your 1.3. It's still a pretty small engine so I'm not sure what can be done to maintain speed into a headwind or up inclines. I'm used to being in the right lane, keeping my expectations realistic has been an integral part of enjoying my Sami as much as I do.

What are your RPMs at the speed you want to maintain? Are you happy with that part of the equation?
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can run mine all day at 60MPH/3800RPM with a 4" SPOA, stock transfer, .79 fifth (88.5 on) 4.625 R&Ps 30" BFG AT/KOs, a MySide 44mm carb and a 1.6 8-valve.

Slightly larger (and lighter) tires should get 65 @ 3800. Remember, Suzuki engines - like most Japanese-designed engines - can rev high all day.

The tire-clearing SPOA requires an over-the-top steering system to fix Bumpsteer, which is pretty scary at 65 MPH...

Bottom line: Might not be worth it...

I hope that this helps!
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Is this going to be a commuter? How far are you going with it on the highway?

Just as ACK says, mine sings 4k all day long and does it just fine. Relaxed, nope, but it does the trick. The small size, lack of torque, light weight, short WB and poor noise isolation mean if I have to go more than 200mi round trip I will probably drive my LS400. I would commute in my Samurai, no problem. That 5 state road trip I just got back from though, nope.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm looking at about a 300 mile round trip once a month. The speed limit on most the way is 80 but I realize I won't be doing that. I want to know some things to do to make that trip a little more safe and my samurai a little more reliable. About how much would I be looking at to get my samurai to be able to do that? And what are some things I would want to do?
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Old 09-25-2015, 12:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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IMHO a stock Samurai could handle that well enough. If it's running well, staying cool, suspension is tight, tires good and service is current there should be no problem blazing that beast down the highway running 4000 - 4500rpm for a period of time. Running a Sami down the highway is going to be more fatiguing than a "normal" car, what with the added noise, quirky handling and lack of amenities. If your not looking to do any major mods I understand that a Weber or CV carb conversion adds a little top end and drivability. I invite those that know the Samurai better than I to step in and correct me if I'm wrong.

I carry extra oil, water, spare belt, multimeter, hose tape and a satchel of basic hand tools with me habitually so I always recommend that.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have built a couple of 1.3l with the 32/36 and the 36 outlaw webers , 272 cams, .040 high comp pistons, double y headers, then I did the 1.6l swap, I regret ever building the 1.3s. Just my 2cents
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