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Old 04-01-2012, 10:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Really want this Samurai! Need some advice. Please

Hi this is my first ever post on this forum!

The past week i looked at a 88 samurai, Fairly stock, just a lift, and a weber carb. It is my dream car! Always wanted one. The dilemma that i am facing now is whether i am going to end up blowing a bunch of $$$ on labor and upkeep of the sami. I know there is some unreliability that comes with carbed engines, but i am willing to tough it out and be patient on cold days, etc. But besides that, what problems may i face? I have barely any mechanical experience, my idea is that i am gonna learn off of this samurai since its engine seems sooo simple. If i do buy it, i want to start on the interior and work my way out to the body which is in decent shape. Obviously first i want to make sure everything is running smoothly and the engine fluids are all cleaned up. What are some key mods that you have done to your sami that keep it running in good shape? What do they cost?


I'm Just looking for any advice, Am i making the right decision?
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you financially able to own a 30 year old rig???
Are you tooled up???
You are going to need to be both.
While it is less expensive to build and maintain a Zuke than say a Jeep yj, or cj, it is by no means an inexpensive habit.
I have invested around $6000 and Manny hours of labor into mine, and I own a shop.
If you want an off road rig that you can drive on road then by all means buy it.
if the opposite is true. And you are just in love with the looks and idea of owning a Zuke, and don't intend to use it for what it was designed for...Then no don't buy it....
A Samurai has a lot of draw backs when it comes to being a daily driver.
...Boxcar...
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks boxcar for that advice, very helpful.

My question is now, what things have you done to your samurai to ensure that its more reliable, eg. Starts every time. Im debating whether or not to buy a new carb to replace the stock one. Other than the carb, what other things should be done as a "tune up" per say.


Looking forward to hearing any advice.

Thanks so much
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Jees, where to start????
Mine is running a Toyota progressive two barrel from a 1978 Corolla 1200.
New $95. HUGE IMPROVEMENT....Runs well all angles.
Stock manifold with some porting) 2" exhaust to a flow master, then out the rear(full length).
Just installed a new (built in my shop) 1300, stock boar, 30/30 cam, flat top pistons, New rockers, crank, rods, valves, heavy valve springs, 3 angle grind,MSD ignition, etc. Runs great.
The Zuke is SPOA'd, long shock, locked, geared, high steered, exo'd, and lit.
And that's the long story short...

...Boxcar....
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As far as a tune up goes. use all top shelf parts.If you buy the cheapest parts you can lay your hands on , your performance will suffer. Oil changes every 5000 miles ( I run Castrol GTX) just me....
9 mil plug wires....
The little motor can use all the help it can get.
Hope this helps....Boxcar....
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
Are you financially able to own a 30 year old rig???
Are you tooled up???
You are going to need to be both.
While it is less expensive to build and maintain a Zuke than say a Jeep yj, or cj, it is by no means an inexpensive habit.
I have invested around $6000 and Manny hours of labor into mine, and I own a shop.
If you want an off road rig that you can drive on road then by all means buy it.
if the opposite is true. And you are just in love with the looks and idea of owning a Zuke, and don't intend to use it for what it was designed for...Then no don't buy it....
A Samurai has a lot of draw backs when it comes to being a daily driver.
...Boxcar...
I second that. I have spent way more than anticipated on my Samurai.

But it is a great car on which to start learning mechanics, if you plan on getting your hands dirty. It is where I learned more than half what I know.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you can get a mechanic you trust...would lend money to...get him to tell you what is good about the rig and also what will need to be repaired or replaced.
Even a little rust in the body will cost if it is in the wrong place.
Do drive it on some gravel. Put it in 4x4 and listen for the transfer case and other drivetrain components to tell you if they will need attention today or later. This may cost some refreshment for a buddy and /or some cash and liquid refreshment for a mechanic.
If you can find an offroad (4x4) club near you, go to a meeting and discuss with any other Sami guys what you plan to do with your rig.
They are fun and easy to work with. (the rigs and the guys)
If yours is 88.5 it will likely have and ECU...warning !!!!
If it is 88 with round holes in the dash ( not square ) then it may not have ECU.
With the Weber you only need the ECU for some simple electronics that can be taught to ignore it. It may have already have been by-passed...if done properly it will be a point in your favour.
If it has not been punished offroad it will likely be a good place to start.
The good news is that there are lotsa aftermarket goodies available.
The bad news is ^^ it is 30 years old and it will come with all the problems of a 30 year old rig, even if it has been upgraded.
Fun and easy to work on. Simple...don't be too quick to opinions.
With a few tools and a good manual...Haynes is ok but you get what you pay for. There are places in this forum that will show you how to download the factory factoids you might need...but do not attempt tear downs in the engine/tranny/T/C/pumpkins if you do not know what they do.
If your rig has been maintained well (oils/tune-ups) then that is a bonus.
Like BC ^^says you can spends lotsa money on a Sami...plan well ahead so that you spend your cash only once on each up-grade.
We all know fellas have spent money over and over again for the same component because they changed their minds after they had it installed.
My advice : Drive it alot before you make any changes. Take it where you will spend most of your time with buddies from a club to teach you (yeah...teach) what the rig can do without changes then make informed decisions about what to change up to.
Never go offroad alone, take a buddy with a rig similar to yours with you every time.
Go prepared and don't be 'rah rahed' into something you are not absolutely sure of. (goes for mechanicals and offroad experiences)
Have fun.
Like ^^ said...you can find a hole in the 4x4 and pour lotsa cash into it.
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I say if its your dream and you've always wanted one buy it..I always wanted one and when i got mine i spent close to 15k on it..its very reliable and they are very easy to work on, very simple and parts are pretty cheap..Yes on cold days it takes a minute to get fired up but other than that its great. Yes the samurai is way under powered but hey..it was made 25 plus years ago and it was designed as a compact efficient vehicle not an american muscle machine.good luck
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