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Old 12-11-2009, 02:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tracker and Samurai: is there a difference?

I am selling my '96 Volvo 850 to fund the purchase of a Suzuki Samurai, but there isn't many out there; I would like a hardtop version. A friend told me the Geo Tracker is the same car, but I don't know about that.
Is there a difference in the engine/tranny? If there isn't a difference then I'd probably consider a Tracker since I've seen a few at decent prices, even thoug I don't like the square lights (could they be changed to rounds like the Samurai?)
I am a new Suzuki fan and I lack the knowledge most of you here have.
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatoXL7 View Post
I am selling my '96 Volvo 850 to fund the purchase of a Suzuki Samurai, but there isn't many out there; I would like a hardtop version. A friend told me the Geo Tracker is the same car, but I don't know about that.
Is there a difference in the engine/tranny? If there isn't a difference then I'd probably consider a Tracker since I've seen a few at decent prices, even thoug I don't like the square lights (could they be changed to rounds like the Samurai?)
I am a new Suzuki fan and I lack the knowledge most of you here have.
The geo tracker is the same as the Suzuki Sidekick. The sidekick was the samurai's replacement in the U.S. market.

from what I remember (don't hold me to this info) The older ones had a 1.6L 8valve Single overhead cam engine that many samurai owners swap into their rig for a little more power over their old 1.3L. The sidekick then evolved into the 1.6L 16valve single overhead cam, multi point electronic fuel injection. After that the 1.8L Dual Overhead Cam and then the 2.0L 16V DOHC. At that point the sidekick became the Vitara and the Grand Vitara.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatoXL7 View Post
I am selling my '96 Volvo 850 to fund the purchase of a Suzuki Samurai, but there isn't many out there; I would like a hardtop version. A friend told me the Geo Tracker is the same car, but I don't know about that.
Is there a difference in the engine/tranny? If there isn't a difference then I'd probably consider a Tracker since I've seen a few at decent prices, even thoug I don't like the square lights (could they be changed to rounds like the Samurai?)
I am a new Suzuki fan and I lack the knowledge most of you here have.

The Suzuki Samurai is NOT the same as a Geo Tracker or Suzuki Sidekick! (*we call them TracKicks for short... ) As you might have guessed, the Geo Tracker and the Suzuki Sidekick are nearly identical except for the badging. Most units sold in North America came from the same plant (CAMI) in Canada. Early Sidekicks came from Japan. They can be identified by their VIN.

Actual 2-door hardtops (we call 'em "tintops") in either model are hard to find -few were sold in North America. Aftermarket 2-door hardtops were available and may still be available (mostly used, I would bet...)

The engines - while very similar - require a swap kit to install from a TracKick to a Samurai.

The suspension is VERY different - Independent Front Suspension (IFS) on the TracKick vs Solid Axle on the Samurai.

The transmission/transfer case is different. The T-case bolts to the transmission on a Trackick. The T- case on a Samurai is "divorced" - driven by an intermediate shaft.

Finding a 2wd Samurai is next to impossible. Not so much on the TracKick.

There was only one transmission available (manual 5-speed) on the Samurai. You could get an automatic transmission on the TracKick - 3-speed on the two door, 4-speed on the larger 4-door.

The Samurai is has a harsh ride while the TracKick has a comfortable ride.

A well-maintained TracKick can be easy on the wallet. A worn-out Samurai (most of them are), not so much in a relative fashion. They are still cheaper than a Jeep/Wrangler or CJ.

A Samurai is much easier to modify for off-roading. A TracKick is not.

People do swap tracKick engines and transmissions into Samurais, but it is not an easy plug-and-play task for an novice automotive mechanic.

I have both a Samurai and two Trackers. I recently had to use the Samurai as a daily driver. Compared to the '02 Tracker 4-door (or the '96 2-door for that matter), it was not the most pleasant cold-weather driving experience.

I hope that this helps in your choice!
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'88.5 Samurai Tintop Restoration Project - Bad CR
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Last edited by ack; 12-12-2009 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In our region the Samurai is still in production until today, with the name "Jimny". The old Samurai that you know in the US remained in production until 98, and from 95 to 98 they had coil springs in the rear and struts and coil-overs up front. I still haven't test-driven one, but I am looking forward to it. Here are some pics to quench your thirst, of one of my friends' who is still working on it.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Mmmmm,,,, Coily-SJ413....

Alternator:

Stop driving us NorthAmericanos crazy with your pictures of "Coily Tintops"! (well, maybe a few pictures are okay )

Next thing that may happen is a mass storming of the Consumer's Report corporate headquarters with torches ablaze and farm tools in hand to kill the evil monster hiding within!

Unfortunately, the above metaphor fails because the monster within REALLY IS a monster without a soul when it comes to North American Samurai lovers...

In closing, the rest of the world is, indeed, fortunate to have access to those great little feature-filled trucks. We envy you from afar.

Oops! off-topic post!
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'88.5 Samurai Tintop Restoration Project - Bad CR
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. Once I sell my volvo I will start looking at my next toy. There aren't any nice ones out there in my area, but patience will pay off.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No nice one's in LA? you gotta be kidding? Southern California is one of the best places to find a Samurai that hasn't been devoured by rust. Urban areas are the best places to find a stock samurai that hasn't been hacked up or altered by a driveway mechanic building an offroad monster. I would think L.A. would be the perfect place to find a clean little Zook to turn into play thing. I know that down here in San Diego they turn up on craigslists all the time. Average price is around 1,500-4,000 the higher priced ones have a lot of off road stuff on them, but I wouldn't buy someone elses off road rig. You don't know how hard it was wheeled, or how well they built it.

Keep an eye out, they turn up pretty frequently if there isn't something out there right now. The best rigs are the towed vehicles that people take with them behind their motorhomes for a scoot around town vehicle. (not the off road kind) they usually have high miles from towing, but next to nothing on the engine and drivetrain.
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