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Old 01-03-2019, 09:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Road Trip Samurai Build

Howdy Ya'll.

I'm about to buy a Samurai which I've been craving for a while... but I need advice about what direction to go to get the most out of it.

Unlike most sane people, I am buying it for mainly a daily driver / long distance road trip car. I do want to take it out on trails or up to the ski resort but the off roading I will be doing is light at best.

I have read that the Samurais with 1.3l engines top out at around 65-70 mph on the highway and I'd like to maybe increase that amount to a nice 80 mph (who doesn't want to get to their location faster? ).

Would the 1.6 8v or 16v engines take care of my worries? I've also looked into the 1.6td diesels but those look to run around 1k more monies.


All info appreciated.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just my opinion, but, if any sort of long distance highway usage is contemplated, forget about diesel conversions.

Suzuki engines are designed to produce their power at relatively high rpms, diesels because of their long stroke produce their power at lower rpms, and you will find it almost impossible to get the drive-line geared correctly.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordem View Post
Just my opinion, but, if any sort of long distance highway usage is contemplated, forget about diesel conversions.

Suzuki engines are designed to produce their power at relatively high rpms, diesels because of their long stroke produce their power at lower rpms, and you will find it almost impossible to get the drive-line geared correctly.
Thanks for the advice.

I'll steer away from diesel. Now should I go for the 8v 1.6 or the 16v?
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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16v engines have more power (I think its 96hp versus 80) - BUT - they are multi-port EFI, which makes the swap a bit more challenging - you can run the 8v with the stock TBI or you can run them carbed, which I don't believe is an option with the 16v.

Engine swaps are becoming a matter of how good you are with the electronics, and what the emission requirements are in your neck of the woods, which are two things that I have no knowledge of.

Quite frankly, a Samurai is a poor choice for any sort of long distance high speed usage, and it's likely to be quite a handful at 80mph - the very thought of it scares me - I know you prefixed this with the words "unlike most sane people" - a Sidekick would be a better choice for what the usage you've described, and even that scares me - my daily drive is a Grand Vitara (a second gen 98) and I would not want anything smaller or with less power on a highway.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with Fordem concerning a Samurai at 80. Scares me just thinking about it.
Maybe a 1st or 2nd Gen Vitara/Geo. They were both designed to overcome some of the problems of using the Samurai on US highways (speed). Sami's were really designed for 3rd world countries with dirt ruts and trails. A nice 2nd gen will really do nice on long trips, where the Sami at best will beat you up. They also came with Power steering, brakes, windows and A/C options.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Alternate viewpoint about Samurai's at 80: I do that regularly in one of mine and doesn't worry me a bit. But then, it's all stock suspension/tire sized. I can agree that lifted Sams would be scary at that speed.

As for how to get there - 16v 1.6l is the ticket.

Now for the bad news: you'll make exactly ONE long road trip in it before swearing that you'll NEVER do that again. That same stock suspension that makes it stable at 80 will jar your bones all the way to your teeth. Start modifying to improve the ride, and you'll start agreeing with those who are scared shitless to do 80 in a Sam. So it's a catch-22.

Daily driver? No worries. Short 20-30 minute drives are tolerable. But 800 mile road trips? No thank you, please.

EDIT: you don't need the 1.6l to do 80mph in a stock Sam. Mine has a modified 1.3l and this is no problem (on level terrain) However, I do a lot of down shifting on hills that you wouldn't have to do with a 1.6l. For daily driver like me, who cares. But for road trips, all that shifting would get really old really quick.

Last edited by Figmo; 01-03-2019 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've driven mine (88 1/2 stock original with less than 50K miles on it with 235/75R15 BFG tires) over 130 miles in one day just a few days ago and it isn't a pleasant experience. About half of that 60 miles of it was on the dirt roads of the Apache Trail from Apache Junction up to Roosevelt Lake. Then it was all highway after that. I had to run it wide open rowing through the gears most of the way, and a lot of it was downhill. Your ears will be ringing and your butt will be sore after a hundred miles. If you are planning on driving it in the mountains to ski areas its going to be a long wide open run up the hills in 3rd and 4th gear. It rarely pulls 5th gear except downhill or on flat ground. You need to drive it just once that far to see it isn't feasible unless you are a masochist. My Samurai spends most of its miles behind my motorhome with short in town drives or some off-roading side trips. The best place for a Sammy is on a tow bar or a trailer for long trips. That way you'll enjoy it when you get to where you are going and you can let the Sammy do what it does best, which is to take you to places that its made to go. I love the little bugger but I don't want to beat myself or my Sammy into the ground for something it wasn't designed for.

Here we are last week in northern Arizona at the Tonto Natural Bridge


And at the Lost Dutchman State Park where the Apache Trail starts.....


On the Apache Trail.....


Sky Island outside of Tucson, Arizona


Here's one from Pismo Beach, California last year......
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