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Old 04-28-2010, 12:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Ranger Owner - Samurai Inbound! My Story (Now w/ Pics)

Hello!

I have read many pages of this forum before my Samurai is in my possession to get a grasp of things.

About me:
I am 27, a 2D artist for a living, and I do iPhone games/apps on the side. I have an 08 2.3l Ford Ranger 2WD with a 5" lift and 32" tires that gets 23-28 mpg, never any less (I am quite proud of that :P). I absolutely love lifted 4banger trucks for some reason, so you can understand my lust for a Samurai. I am not very mechanically inclined (damn artist fartist brain). Most I ever do is work on my ATVs (oil change, spark plug, minor carb cleaning, etc very basic stuff). In a way, I want a Samurai to learn, but I am also a bit scared of the whole thing due to my lack of knowledge. I tinker with things, but mostly electronics rather than mechanical stuff.

I already recognize some of you members as the Samurai gurus around here and I hope your expertise and knowledge is something I get the honor of experiencing when my questions start rolling in.

The Samurai I am getting:
1988 4x4 1.3
Titled but not street legal
SPOA lift (~5") w/ stock size tires
Drop Pitman Arm Mod
Weber Carb (maybe*)
Dual Friction Clutch

Why I want it:
I don't know tons about it yet, I am getting it from a family friend for pretty cheap (at least seems cheap). My goal is a daily driver, first and foremost. However, with my 2wd Ranger, there have been a many times I wanted 4x4. One of the reasons is that the boat ramps in central Texas are extremely steep and when I take my small Yamaha VXR jetski out, my Ranger likes to spin out sometimes which can get a tad scary on those ramps. I have heard that the Samurai would do great in this situation, but be dog slow on the highway (fine with me).

I also want it because as a very visual guy, I think the Samurai is about the coolest looking little jeep/truck I have ever seen!

To be street legal, I know it needs:
bumpers
blinkers
speedometer fixed
seat belts
Registration/Inspection (obviously)

Before I get it, the Weber carb is supposed to be installed and catalytic converter put on the exhaust, thanks to the friend. I am supposed to get it mid-May, so my post may be a bit premature, but I couldn't wait any longer to be part of the community.

Last edited by Chibi_Chaingun; 05-01-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm a 2d/3d artist and it doesn't stop me from getting black grime embeded in my knuckles and under my fingernails. Samurai is about as simple a vehicle as you can get (aside from the vacuum hose nightmare on the carburettor) since you are getting a weber it simplifies it even further. Make sure that if you plan on towing a bombadier, it would be good to have a trailer with brakes. The thing with a trailer is pretty close to the limit of the unbraked towing capacity of the samurai. Also you'll want a real tow bumper on it and probably a winch instead of the little metal hangar that it has for towing.

Oh and welcome to the addiction~!
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey Baratacus! Thank you for the welcome! I have read many of your posts on here already on other threads! You seem very knowledgeable.

Very cool you are an artist as well, makes it feel a bit less alienating.

Yikes, I didn't think I'd need a trailer with brakes for such a small ski! I guess the trailer is a bit heavy though... (Magnum single ski trailer).
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome to the club ... I've been in it for just a notch over a year. Car is sniffing in my pocket for mods, but I sure am enjoying it. I learned so much from my Samurai, and still learning. Guys in here have helped me so much, especially Baratacus and Billjohn. I've done some nice mods, and there's still more to come.

One thing I regretted is reducing my gearing so much ... I really can't go fast now, with 121:1 overall crawl ratio, and the first gear is way too short even on high range. Thinking of putting back a stock transfer case to reduce the reduction a bit. Although it is a lot of fun off-road, it is not much so on the black stuff.

Last edited by alternator; 05-02-2010 at 08:22 AM. Reason: Missed an 's' in sniffing
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks! I have seen some posts (and video) of yours, alternator. Well I think it was your video. I love to hear about people's experiences, and that gearing bit is very informative.

Last edited by Chibi_Chaingun; 04-28-2010 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You can tow it without a brake on the trailer, but it's going to be hard to stop. The bombadier and trailer aren't light weight at all. You could also upgrade the rear brakes to disk brakes and you will bump up the un-braked towing capacity a couple hundred lbs.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Now it's been quite some time, but I used to tow a 14' fiberglass closed bow Crestliner w/50HP merc. It wasn't bad stopping but lets face it, we aren't talking turbo diesel...
This was back with stock rubber. With larger rubber I could see how it increase the pucker factor. And yea, the stock hitch 'bar' is the weak link. I actually bent mine out getting pulled out from getting stuck.
Trailer brakes are a good idea but IMHO isn't a real big deal. Yea, it's not the same as not pulling a trailer but it's to be expected. That is why you have to increase your comfort space around you... don't ride on people's bumper, start slowing down sooner, don't pull out unless you have plenty of time to get up to speed... common things with any trailer & tow rig.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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well first off welcome, and ive towed a 91 vw jetta on a car dolly with my sammie that has 7 inches of all suspension lift and 33s, it was a little hard on the brakes but as long as you give yourself plenty of room and downshift as well as braking you should be fine, now one problem you could run into is on a hot summer day pulling a seadoo up a hill your engine is more than likely going to get warm, solution is just a bigger alluminum radiator and watch your guages, if it does start getting warm pull over and let it cool off, but they are great vehicles and will do anything you expect them to and some,
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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its the occasion when you CAN'T give yourself a lot of room to stop that you need a braked trailer. Sure you can pull more than the rated load if you allow lots of braking room, and don't drive down long grades. Compromising your vehicles safety and hoping you don't have to make an abrupt stop is not something you should do if you can avoid it. Some kid on a bike pulls out in front of you and you can't stop in time because your trailer is too heavy, that's an excuse I'd be able to sleep with at night.

Example, I don't need a full roll cage, I can just avoid situations that would tip my vehicle. Sometimes events happen that are out of your control. If I ever do roll it making an unexpected emergency manuever and my kids are in the back, it's worth it to me to have spent the extra money on the full roll cage.

electric trailer brakes are between 100 and 150 dollars for basic drum brakes.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I for one didn't say I overloaded it... I don't remember what the total weight was but I'm sure it wasn't over the sammy rating. (at least thats my story and I'm sticking to it.)
Then again I do overload it every winter. I add between 500 to 700 lbs of sand/salt/stone in the back. This is for ballast for the plow in the front. I can't remember what the plow, sub frame, frame extension, bumper, wench and all weight is... then we all have the extra weight of the larger wheels and rubber that is unsprung, roll cages, rear bumpers and jerry cans, and lets not forget how much all the weight of a spray in liner in the cab. I've always read unsprung weight (wheels/tires) is worse for stopping than on the body/frame.
Lets face it, most people on a list like this don't follow rules and modify their vehicles to fit what they want/need.
However, the kid who did pull out in front of you... aren't they called accidents?
It's not like your trailering rating goes up with brakes... If your trailer weights 1000lbs and you add brakes to it, you can still only tow 1000lbs.
Have you pulled a heavy empty trailer? Pull it fully loaded, then pull it empty and tell me what happens to the brakes. How safe is it when the trailer brakes lock up? Electric or hydro, they aren't perfect. They don't replace a good driver. They help a good driver.

How did we (I) get so OT???
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