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Old 07-08-2010, 12:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I picked up my Samurai on May 30th 2010. My main reason for buying it was so that I could explore the off-highway trails surrounding the San Francisco Bay area. I honestly expected it to be little more than a toy, something that was pulled out for exploring those trails.

For the past year and a half, since I moved to Northern California from Texas, my primary transportation has been a Honda Goldwing 1800 motorcycle. For hauling cargo and/or passengers, I utilized a 1996 Impala SS. For road trips in a car, we most often used my girlfriend's 2006 Miata. I had no intention of changing that.

That was before I actually owned a Samurai. Since May 30th, I have driven the Samurai almost 4,000 miles. Over the July 4th weekend, we took it just over 1,000 miles. It has become our road-trip vehicle, even when off-road is not in the plan.

We have taken it on 3 off-highway trails that a carefully driven passenger car would have found impassable. About 150 miles so for, and that has been a hoot, but we have found that we love the Samurai in all conditions. We have found that it is perfectly fine for a 12 hour drive. I have purchased a bikini top, a Windjammer, and a mesh safari top, to compliment the full top, and with those tops, it is good in all conditions.

You do have to be willing to take it slow, but that is not a problem for us.

My biggest suprise has been the comfort on long trips, and the joy my girlfriend feels when riding in it. I have also been suprised at how well it handles twisty roads. Of course, it is no Miata or Impala, but it has a good handling balance and is fun to push through the curves while not worrying at all about speeding tickets.

It has not been problem free, but that just makes me appreciate it all the more when everything is going right, and it has never threatened to end a trip, just made the trip a bit more trouble, mainly due to loss of idle.

I've only ridden the motorcycle once since getting the Samurai, when the starter went out in the Samurai. I've only once wished that I had the motorcycle during a road trip, but that was on a trip that included the most challenging off-roading to date, so the bike was not feasable.

I'm looking forward to many more (s)miles with my Samurai!
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I too got my first Sammy about the same time as you. I bought it to use more as a 4-wheeler, to explore, scout, and to get me around in the country I bow hunt in. I had plans of larger tires, lift kit, lower Xfer case gears and winch. After I got it I found out I have daughter getting married, so I need to save my frogskins. I have been running around in it with the top off in the sandy river bottom and have about decided I really don't need to do anything right now except the winch and bumper. This thing gets around better that I ever imagined. My wife even enjoys the rides and my dog thinks he owns it. I live in the high plains so we don't have the hills and mud that many on here operate on and there is not much to high center on. I was looking at the polaris side by sides but I am so glad I got the 86 Samurai plus I have heat in the winter and can go anywhere I want to-legally. I plan to drop all the oils in everything this weekend so I have some sort of starting point.
I love it. It's the best deal out there for the money in my opinion.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention that when I bought this one I caught a flight into Jackson Hole WY and drove it about 800 miles home the next day, a lot of it on interstate. I did learn a few things.
1. With the 1.3 you need to be patient.
2. When driving in high altitudes, you have time to sight see and learn to just enjoy the ride.
3. You have a better understanding of the term "drafting" when you watch NASCAR.
4. Going thru security at the airport on a one way ticket with a bag of carry-on tools gets real interesting.
5. 10 gallon fuel capacity really lets you stretch your legs whether you want to or not.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sammy's off-road capability has suprised me almost as much as everything else. Mine is bone-stock except for a header and 2" exhaust. I even have stock size Geolandar A/T-S tires. I do have a come-a-long and a 20' strap, just in case... Might get a winch at some point.

At this point, I'd like a set of OME springs, shocks and steering damper, and that's it for suspension, mainly to get a better ride than anything else.

Other modifications I have planned are to add Cibie H4 E-Code headlights and Cibie Oscar Plus driving lights, with relay harnesses for the headlights and driving lights.

Next thing on my list is to pull the rear seat and put some locking storage back there.

Nothing else planned for now.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comanche79p View Post
I forgot to mention that when I bought this one I caught a flight into Jackson Hole WY and drove it about 800 miles home the next day, a lot of it on interstate. I did learn a few things.
1. With the 1.3 you need to be patient.

5. 10 gallon fuel capacity really lets you stretch your legs whether you want to or not.
# 1. is solved with a 1.6 16v engine. this is the engine that should have came in the Samurai.

# 5. is solved with the Petroworks 15 gal tank.

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