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Old 12-23-2009, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is a decent inexpense shock for lifted Samurai?

I bought an 86 Samurai that is lifted 4" and has worn out shocks. I plan to use it off road on small mountain trails that I would consider moderate offroad use. What inexpensive shocks would you recommend?
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is it a SPOA lift? Are the shock mounts changed, or stock?
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't know what lift kit he used. (Looks like a metal block welded to the top of the axle housing with the leaf springs bolted to the block with a couple u-bolts.) Shocks and mounts all look stock. I think the guy I bought it from lifted it and used the stock shocks. It rocks easily from side to side. Driving on the highway with some wind and it started to rock and felt like it was about to fishtail.

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Old 12-23-2009, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzukiPilot View Post
I don't know what lift kit he used. (Looks like a metal block welded to the top of the axle housing with the leaf springs bolted to the block with a couple u-bolts.) Shocks and mounts all look stock. I think the guy I bought it from lifted it and used the stock shocks. It rocks easily from side to side. Driving on the highway with some wind and it started to rock and felt like it was about to fishtail.
Are the springs above the axles or below them? If they're above them, then it's a SPOA lift (Spring Perch Over Axle).
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry, I'm a total newbie to 4x4 lingo and just looked up "SPOA". My Samurai has the Rocky Road 6" SPOA lift. Springs are over the axle.

Last edited by SuzukiPilot; 12-24-2009 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 12-24-2009, 03:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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wow that's a lot of lift with not much support. You should look into getting a panhard or something to keep the axel stable under the vehicle so it doesn't start doing that harmonic vibration thing at speed. Mine used to do that, it would get started with a little wobble and then would get progressively worse and worse untill it was pitching like it was going to flip itself. The only way to get it to stop was to bring the speed down below 45mph.

A panhard bar will stabalize the axel, so will a swaybar. Some people have been able to make it stable enough just by going under there and tightening down the eyes and shackles so there isn't any play in them.

I think the 6" SPOA kit comes with extended shocks and extended uper shock towers. You can see how much travel you need in your shock by suspending the vehicle by it's frame and removing the shocks from both sides of the axel. Let one side droop as low as it will go while stuffing the other side up as high as you can into the wheelwell. The suffed side will tell you how high the bottom of the shock needs to be when fully compressed. The distance between the stuffed side and the dropped side will tell you how much travel you need in your shock. If the travel distance is longer than the distance from the high side of the axel to the upper shock mount, then you need to locat the shock mount higher so you can fit a shock with more travel to it.

A Samurai is about the lightest 4x4 truck you can buy. That's why they're so capapble offroad. For a shock, you don't need an expensive multivavled shock with a bunch of stages and large load capacity. You need the lightest duty shock you can find in the right length.
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Old 12-24-2009, 12:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Petroworks sells the soft, inexpensive Gabriels. I've got 'em (on a small lift, SPUA). Before ordering, talk to PW about the suitability of those shocks for your SPOA setup.
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Old 12-25-2009, 12:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Rocky Road also makes inexpensive and good shocks for the Samurai:
Suzuki shocks

But you have to specify whether you have front shock towers or stock upper mounts in your car.
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baratacus View Post
wow that's a lot of lift with not much support. You should look into getting a panhard or something to keep the axel stable under the vehicle so it doesn't start doing that harmonic vibration thing at speed. Mine used to do that, it would get started with a little wobble and then would get progressively worse and worse untill it was pitching like it was going to flip itself. The only way to get it to stop was to bring the speed down below 45mph.
Yikes, that is very good to know! When I bought it I drove it home about 50 miles on the highway. Going 65-70 most of the time. Didn't have any problems but steering felt a bit loose. However, a couple days ago my son took it out and he had 2 passengers with him and their camping gear. He said at one point on the highway it started to sway back and forth and felt like it was going to fishtail. Freaked him out. Sounds exactly like what you describe. I thought it was due to worn out shocks. Sounds like we need to do some work on it to make it safer!
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baratacus View Post
wow that's a lot of lift with not much support. You should look into getting a panhard or something to keep the axel stable under the vehicle so it doesn't start doing that harmonic vibration thing at speed. Mine used to do that, it would get started with a little wobble and then would get progressively worse and worse untill it was pitching like it was going to flip itself. The only way to get it to stop was to bring the speed down below 45mph.
Yikes, that is very good to know! When I bought it I drove it home about 50 miles on the highway. Going 65-70 most of the time. I didn't have any problems but steering felt a bit loose. However, a couple days ago my son took it out and he had 2 passengers with him and their camping gear. He said at one point on the highway it started to sway back and forth and felt like it was going to fishtail. Freaked him out. Thought maybe strong gusts was blowing it around. Sounds exactly like what you describe. I thought it was due to worn out shocks. Sounds like we need to do some work on it to make it safer!
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