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Old 07-21-2016, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Is it possible to make the Samurai highway safe?

Hi there, new user here.

I love the Suzuki Samurai and really want to get one, but I'm concerned about the rumors of it being easily rolled because of the lightness and dimensions of the vehicle. I live in a desert and want a capable off-road vehicle that can be used as a daily driver as well.

- Assuming that these rumors are true, is it possible to modify the vehicle in such a way that it will be safer on a highway, i.e. less likely to roll?
- Is it possible to make it heavier?
- Would adding something like a roll cage to it make it wider on the sides and create a more stable center of gravity?

I planned on putting a better engine in it, so as far as not being able to get to highway speeds, that isn't my concern.

- If none of these things are possible and it can't be made any safer, is it possible to take the Suzuki Samurai's headlights and put them on a Suzuki Sidekick instead? I just love the Sami's front end way more than the Sidekick's.

Thank you.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello.

I believe upgrading the suspension on a Samurai and not lifting it too much would make it a safe vehicle on the highway. Maybe wider wheels to make it more stable. and of course upgrading the engine will help alot.

Just get a samurai and enjoy them
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the reply!

As far as stability goes, I would like to somehow widen the axel. Is that possible? I saw something about wheel spacers on the internet, but I'm ignorant to the whole process. Are wheel spacers the only thing you can do to widen an axel?
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes you can use wheel spacers but some people say that they wear out your wheel bearings and put more stress on your suspension.you also have to make sure its torque to specs and recheck after 100 miles. Oh on a side note if you do go with wheel spacers just know that some shops might deny doing any kind of brake job services because a lot of shops do not want to mess with wheel spacers. I work at a Toyota dealership and when we get Tacoma with wheel spacers we do not service the brakes.

You can also get wider wheels for your samurai but its really expensive.

You can also do a Toyota axle swap on your samurai. They are wider and a lot stronger than the stock Samurai axle. With a Toyota axle you can also go with really big tires if you wanted.

If you decide to go with wheel spacers I recommend good quality spacers. No cheap stuff because you do not want your wheel coming off your Samurai on the freeway haha
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antoneeyuh View Post
I'm concerned about the rumors of it being easily rolled because of the lightness and dimensions of the vehicle. I live in a desert and want a capable off-road vehicle that can be used as a daily driver as well.
Thank you.
The rumours aren't true, the Samurai is actually very stable for a 4x4, if you want to learn more about that then view the videos on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l83UoSMzeA4.

If you want a more capable road vehicle then a 1.6 16V from a Track/Kick and some better seats are a big improvement.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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lx_roa any recommendation on what kind of Toyota axle?

Rhinoman, thank you for the videos!
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would recommend that you drive one and then decide whether you want to modify it or not. Its a lot of work to fit Toyota axles, you will need to do some fabrication, the are usually used on highly modified Zuks and you may have problems getting the right gearing for stock wheels, generally the more you modify a vehicle the less reliable it will become . I've run billet spacers in the past, they work well but aren't much cheaper than offset rims.
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with Rhinoman. Just drive it how it is and go from there.
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Old 08-02-2016, 06:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The safety of the Samurai depend on the driver and how the driver controls or fails to control the vehicle.
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I suggest you also take a good look at the Sidekicks, Trackers and Vitaras. Honestly, in stock form, you're not really giving up anything in the offroad ability department, and gaining an awful lot in the pavement ability department, plus nifty things like heaters that work well, and air conditioning

I have both an '87 Samurai and '02 4 door Vitara....night and day difference between the two on the freeway, despite my Vitara having the anemic 2.0L 4 cylinder motor (not that it's a bad motor, I just feel that it's underpowered given the weight of the Vitara on US freeways). I've done only two major modifications to it - replaced the wheels with Tracker 15" alloy wheels, and fitted 215/75/15 BFG AT tires, along with fitting a Chinese 10K winch on the front. Zero suspension mods have been done, and I've been astounded at the places I can get that thing into, and more importantly, OUT of here in the Phoenix, Arizona desert areas...and this coming from a guy that normally runs high horsepower V8 rigs on 37"+ tires out in the desert. Assuming you're not looking to do major rock crawling type stuff, a Sidekick/Tracker/Vitara can be made plenty capable for an awful lot of offroad situations with a mild 2" lift, and a decent set of tires, and still be able to run the freeway at 70mph without issue.

I've often considered yanking the 2.0L out of the Vitara to put in the Samurai, to get the "best of both worlds" so to speak, but the reality is that regardless of the power of the motor, the Sammy will never be as comfortable on the street as the Vitara will be, thus I've been looking for a 2 door soft top model 2nd gen Tracker/Vitara to replace my 4 door for mild offroad/pavement duties, and the Sammy will continue to be the harder offroad vehicle.
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