going to look at an '87 sammy convertible tomorrow
Pictures look really clean, paint and interior look very good. It's a 5 spd, Comes with hard top, soft top and half top. Pretty stock except for a 3" lift with rugged shackle package (I am unclear on what this means). Guy says it fires right up, everything works, no problems. 130,000 miles but the last 25k were towed (he claims, but in the pictures you see the tow hitch up front for pulling behind a motorhome, so it sounds legit) Asking $4,000.
I'll be looking for rust up under the wheel wells, suspension front and back and for signs of oil leakage. Any other help and guidance would be appreciated. Also opinions on the price. If it's in as good shape as it sounds he may not be far off considering how difficult it is to find nice sammy's with (relatively) low miles. But it's 25 years old so 4,000 seems like the high end considering!
To be clear, when you say "rust free", you mean lacking the presence of rust?
But seriously, where ought I to look for signs of any rust, especially rust of great concern? If there is some rust but it's the easy-to-deal-with-it not-a-big-deal kind of rust it's a point to negotiate down in price for sure. if it's absolutely pristine (a 25 year old rig will probably NOT be but there's always the chance) then $4k seems reasonable. Of course all this assuming it's running strong and not leaking, yadda yadda.
My goal in owning a Samurai is to have an efficient daily driver (the E30 I drive now gets 14 to 15 MPG avg. so anything near or above 20 qualifies as efficient). I do 90% driving on streets and maybe 10% short freeway bursts. I make a few trips to the mountain or Tillamook State Forest and a few trips to the coast every year. We do a bit of camping (just my wife and I). We have a Pathfinder now and I will always own a vehicle with 4x4, but we don't really need it to be a large SUV or a truck, and I can't justify the cost of driving a big heavy rig to work just to have a 4x4. No room to have a third car so a Sammy seems to fit the bill nicely. Plus I've liked them for a long time just never thought about owning one until recently. I had been (halfway) considering the RAV4s and the CRVs but I'd much rather own an older vehicle. Then looking at Wranglers (I know, I didn't stay there long) and Broncos and K1 Blazers but the cost of gas makes those more of a recreational vehicle in my mind. I am moderately mechanically apt, have tools and space to work, and have a good friend whose a very good mechanic with a shop. I prefer to maintain good old cars as opposed to pay out the a$$ for new ones. Do I sound like a viable candidate for a Sammy? Oh, and I don't care at all about flashy cars, they just don't do anything for me.
And I am in Oregon, Beaverton/Portland. I see you are in Astoria. We LOVE Astoria! Anytime I'm anywhere near there I find an excuse to stop by Fort George for a beer.
The thing about vehicles like RAV4, CRV and even tracker/sidekicks is they are a more delicate version of an all purpose SUV. The RAV4 and CRV have underpinnings that look barely adequate for a model car powered by a weedeater engine. Need I mention the severe aesthetic handicap , at the very best they are monotonously mundane.
The Samurai has an honest manual transfer case, honest manual lock out hubs, real live axles front and rear with leaf springs and full body on frame construction that it all hangs on. No electric hubs/Tcase with weenee control arms. Sure they are lighter versions of "real truck guts" but its a lighter vehicle. It has the recipe correct and without much weight. Because of leaf springs and live axles it rides like a haywagon compared to a street geared SUV but in that 10% of offroad or camping time if things get a little rougher than expected you are well covered for it.
They are painfully simple making diagnosis and repair straight forward and cheap, aftermarket parts are plentiful and readily available for virtually any mod or repair you can think of. They are very unique and not bad looking.
When I bought mine I could have afforded a decent Jeep or Toyota but the attributes of the Samurai called out to me. Unique, Cheap, Simple, Unique and Capable. Unexpectedly capable.
I don't have a lot of miles on mine yet as I have been working on it but I think I was at about 20mpg with 35" mudders on it (16v engine).
I would say if your ok with trading off amenities and fluff for true utility and capability then you are definitely headed in the right direction.
That all sounds about right. I've never driven one before so all I've been reading about how underpowered and rough riding they are has me curious! And agreed on all points about the RAV4s and CRVs. What kind of mileage do folks usually see out of the stock engine? is 200,000 a reasonable expectation from a maintained Sammy?
Underpowered, absolutely, mine has the 1.6L 16v and its STILL underpowered a little. I have never driven one with stock wheels/gearing/engine.
They ride rough, I got the YJ leaf spring conversion which smoothed it out considerably and not to hard to install. They are said to be quite flexy off road adding to its capability, I will soon see!
I view these vehicles like air cooled VWs, you either love them or hate them, no in between haha.
Definitely drive one around a bit before you decide for sure. Hopefully the prospective seller will allow it. When I drove mine home I found so many things that needed to be fixed but I fell in love with it anyway.
Just talked to the owner. He's had it a week. His grandpa bought it in 2002 with about 105,000 miles on it. Towed it behind his RV for most of its use since then. I guess grandpa is old and not traveling now or something because it's been parked in his garage for the last 2 years. Grandpa gave it to the current owner, who is "selling off all his shit trying to get together a down payment for a house".
He says there's one small dent in front bumper, some throwout bearing noise and the gas is old. Still fires right up. Was some belt noise but it's disappeared. He doesn't know if there's rust as he hasn't been under it.
Im going to look at it now. My thoughts are: It's sat awhile, might be a bad thing. I'm always weary when someone has only owned a car they're selling for a week, even if it sounds legit. And $4,000 is sounding a bit high suddenly.
Search Ebay and CL and see what sort of Samurai you can get for that kind of money, or a little more or less. I even searched Autotrader and many local comparables. 105k is below average for this year but above average for this particular model.
I think for 4k it better :
have little or no rust,
pretty straight body/intact decent interior
be complete/everything works,
run and drive very well,
have low mileage.
OOOR have buttloads of modifications that you were going to do anyway, thus saving you that money.
While shopping I set my cap at 5k and found that I could get some very clean, intact, and often tastefully modified vehicles that needed nothing.
I also found sellers asking that much for vehicles that were better off as parts rigs.
If you seriously have 4k to spend I would shop around a bit and see what others have to offer, local and otherwise. Maybe if you could post some body/underood/interior/underside pics of this vehicle folks could give much better guidance on value and what it may be worth.
Awesome, Tony! Thank you for all your help here, I really appreciate it.
Went and drove it, and... I guess I love Samurais What a fun little rig! Took it through some unpaved half block roads and I could just feel it begging me to pound the ground harder. And on the road: Slow and underpowered yes, but it pulls nicely for sure. The only issue I have is that I'm 6'3", and if my legs were any longer I might not fit. But as it is, it's snug but quite comfortable.
It wasn't quite as clean and straight as it looked in the photos, but still pretty nice. Since I'm not in a hurry, (though eager for sure) I think I'll look at a few more and see what's out there. If this fella still hasn't sold his at that point I may have a mechanic near him take a once over and then make him an offer. If I do, are there any recommendations on who to bring it to for a "pre-purchase" inspection? I'm thinking a long-in-business independent import auto mechanic. Again, any input here would be awesome.
Thanks again, I really can't say it enough. It's above and beyond when a total stranger takes the time to give guidance. And I'm counting this as credit to the community of Sammy lovers. I love when folks are passionate about something and are willing to share it
Definately get someone who knows these 4x4s to take a look at it.
It is 25 years old and so won't be expected to be show room quality.
If it has been towed for long distances, good to have a tranny/T/C guy look at it. Someone from a 4x4 club or better a Sami offroader.
If it runs good on old gas and doesn't leave a huge oil smear under where it was parked in the garage, that is a bonus.
Some might say it is at the top of what should be asked for it. ^^ said it best for that $$ it should have NO issues.
But in my part of the world there would be a line up for a fully stock Samurai at that price...especially one with NO rust.
Parts are readily available and after market up grades are reasonable and plentiful, so if you like the colour ... go for it.
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