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Old 01-20-2011, 09:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default advise for common upgrades

hello Bill
here it comes, I have a few questions for you for coming up improvements I want to do to my Samurai:
- I was wondering what power steering set up you use for the Samurai. there is somone which wants to sell a tracker 8V set up for $250 which seams on the high side?
- what engine upgrade would you recomand? the 1600 16V or a bigger Suzuki 4 Cyl or even the tracker 2.5 V6?
- also would like to get the 4 or 5 speed Tracker/Vitara automatic, does either one hook up to the Samurai transfer case? or are they to long?
- last im interested in the Toyota truck axle upgrade for more sturdiness and wider track. Which year and model trucks will work? do I have to change the rear offset for the differentilal or does it work the way it is?
thanks again for your time and advise
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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- I was wondering what power steering set up you use for the Samurai. there is somone which wants to sell a tracker 8V set up for $250 which seams on the high side?

$250 is a great price if it is a complete kit. Some folks have come out and said they can build it cheaper, but when it comes down to it, the cost is worth it when considering the engineering, prototypes and testing that goes into it. Not to mention all the donor parts that have to be gathered. Better to get a proven part (kit) in a week then reinvent the wheel and maybe get it right in a month or two.

- what engine upgrade would you recomand? the 1600 16V or a bigger Suzuki 4 Cyl or even the tracker 2.5 V6?

It depends what you want to to do with the vehicle and how much work you are willing to put into it. You can get great kits out there but they get more pricey depending how far you want to go. The motors you mention are great for street or highway driving, but don't have the low end grunt that the 1.3 or 1.6 8v has. And they are a much easier install. The smaller engine also keeps the weight down and that is one of the benefits of driving a sammy on the trails.

- also would like to get the 4 or 5 speed Tracker/Vitara automatic, does either one hook up to the Samurai transfer case? or are they to long?

Both will work behind a 1.6ltr. Either will work if you have the harness and wiring to install them. There will be fabrication involved, but it is worth it if you put the time and elbow grease into it. Talk to Brent at Trail Tough. He used to run them on his first comp rigs but kept blowing through them. I haven't heard his opinions on them since then - it's been a long time.

- last im interested in the Toyota truck axle upgrade for more sturdiness and wider track. Which year and model trucks will work? do I have to change the rear offset for the differentilal or does it work the way it is?

I have never installed toys, so I would be doing research just like you. But last I heard, Sky Manufacturing made custom toys for the sammy chassis. I would go with something that is proven and lined up exactly. Driveline angles can get ugly if you 'try to make something fit'.

Hope that helps a little.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thanks again Bill.
I want to use the Suki for offroading but also for wheeling there and back. so nothing super extreme. So i think the torque is more important then the HP numbers. I sure want to keep it light, thats what I like about the Samurais. So that also means that the bigger 4 cyl are much heavier?
do i need some special brackets to install the power steering box to my frame and where would I get it?
i will talk to Brent at Trail Tough about the automatic trans.
Toyota axles: since you never did it, does that implies that we do not really need it and that you are using just the original Samurai axle on your rig? did you do any upgrade to it? I can use the spidertrax spacer to get a little more articulation room, so can they take that extra load?
what tire size for offroading do you recomand? and would you do also a moderate bodylift (1" or so) to get more room for up travel?
also you ecomended trail tough as the better built kit, I can of had though the impression that the brackets from rocky road look sturdier, have you had a look at them?
thanks Kurt

Last edited by kulu; 01-21-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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- So that also means that the bigger 4 cyl are much heavier?

They are all heavier than the 1.3ltr. The bigger they are, the heavier they are. The 1.6 16v is the largest I have put in and I don't think a light weight Sammy needs any more hp than that.

- Do i need some special brackets to install the power steering box to my frame and where would I get it?

A good kit will have all the brackets included. It will also be easy to install without any additional fabrication or scrounging. That's what makes it a good kit.

- Toyota axles: since you never did it, does that implies that we do not really need it and that you are using just the original Samurai axle on your rig?

Toy axles can make a zook bulletproof, but so could a set of Dana44's... Unless you are looking to spin some 35's - 37's I don't think they are warranted. I run a stock front axle housing with additional gussetting to keep it straight. I also stuffed it with Spidertrax 26 spline RCV Perfomance Axle shafts. That is MY bulletproof.



My rear axle is a Spidertrax unit that runs a Track/Kick rear diff with chromoly shafts set up as a full floater and running disc brakes. If you can only upgrade one axle, the rear is the one to protect.



- did you do any upgrade to it?

See above.

- I can use the spidertrax spacer to get a little more articulation room, so can they take that extra load?

A wider track can be a real benefit when going off-camber. I have been using them since they came out and I have never had a problem.


- what tire size for offroading do you recomand?

I had a friend that swore he could do any trail using 31's... He proved he could 'walk the talk' as he conquered every 5+ trail in the Las Cruces Chili Canyons... Tire size is up to you and your wallet. Pick a tire you want to build for and go from there. I prefer 33's myself.


- and would you do also a moderate bodylift (1" or so) to get more room for up travel?

I don't run a body lift (because I have no legit reason to run one) and take a look how high I can stuff a 33" swamper... I think it would exceed your needs for the non-extreme stuff. (old pic)



- also you ecomended trail tough as the better built kit, I can of had though the impression that the brackets from rocky road look sturdier, have you had a look at them?

The quality award goes to Trail Tough... sorry, but RRO has never come up to that level.

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Last edited by Billjohn; 01-21-2011 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thanks again for all the detailed answer it helps a lot have a great weekend
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