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well my grandma is giving me a 1987 Samurai Tin-top. I dont know anything about it besides the year and model lol. She lives in Kentucky and im in Arknsas. im 17 and this will be my first car. Im more of a sport/tuner kinda person but i think the off-road/mudding scene will be fun. I can get more info next time she calls. one thing i do know is that it hasnt been started in 2-3 years. shes getting the legal work done so it can be put in my dads name until im 18. i was wondering what to expect from a truck/car like the Sammy. Im wanting to get a small shackle lift for now, maybe some bigger tires, and a roll cage for sure (safety). i was wondering if anyone could get me links to some inexpensive upgrades and add-ons i can do. also if someone can link to me a decent but fairly cheap link to a roll cage or the dimensions so i can make one myself since im a fairly good welder. also what engine upgrades i can do later in the future when it turns into my toy. If anyone can help id greatelly appreciate it. and sorry it was a long write up.
 

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First off, If it's been siting for a while, drain ALL TH FLUIDS. Gas as well.
Do a full tune up. New fuel filter. And it may run all right.
The stock Hitachi carb hates to be left unused so it will more than likely give you problems. Swap in a Toyota Carola 1200 carb. Under $100.
If your going to do a shackle lift, don't go over 2"
Even a 2" lift is going to require new shocks, brake lines, caster wedges, ETC.
Larger tires require lower gears....
There are NO SHORT CUTS TO THIS GAME.
Lots of great advice available on all aspects of Zuke building on this site and other zuke sites.
Take advantage of them.
And don't be in a hurry. Do your research before you Change a thing.
Map out your build on paper first. Set a budget. Save your money. Buy ALL the parts required to build it correctly. Then start your build.
And most of all, have fun, be safe......
....Boxcar.....
PS: if you need detailed advice, feel free to pm me......
 

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Im going to re state what Boxcar said. With any 25 year old car, especially one that has been sitting for a few years there will be a bunch of items on the check list before modifications really become appropriate. Doing all the preventative and normal maintenance the car should have had will be a good first step. There are also a number of chronic weaknesses that samurais have that can be addressed in this process, from the old starter relay fix to distro oil leak. Although all this stuff is less exciting it will pay dividends in the end and will almost certainly need to be addressed. Once all this is done you can build the hell out of the thing with out having to deviate from your build to fix the necessary little things.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
well i found out shes gonna have it repaired and serviced to make sure its in good running condition when we go pick it up, but once i bring it home then i will work on changing to a better carb, ive also looked up some common problems and made a list of them and how to go at them wether replacing or rebuilding.
 

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Congrats on your new acquisition.

Some common places to look for aftermarket and upgrade parts are
Low Range Off Road
Trail Tough
Mikodaindustries (tons of OEM stuff)
Rocky Road

I know for many folks a SPOA (spring over axle) works well and all the goodies to do it are readily available.

What I would suggest seriously considering what you will want to do with it, what it will need to handle, how and where you will drive it, and then consider your build to suit those purposes. Common engine swaps are to a Suzuki 1.6L from a sidekick, Google is your friend :D

HAVE FUN!!

Tony
 

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Well here is my opinion. If it were my grandfathers car I would think that I would want to show it some respect and keep it as my grandfather had. Not take it out in the mud and beat the #$%^ out of it. There is a lot to be said for a nice street machine.
But hey what do I know I'm old school!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
well my grandpa had 3 of them, 2 soft top and this hardtop, he wanted to make them off road machine. 1 soft-top was a mudder, the other was a rock crawler and he wanted to make the hard top into a river buggy. thats why when my grandma offered it to me i decided id ive the off-road/trail thing a try.

also i read (from google) that there were possible v8 swaps? no way im doing those soon until i get me another car thats good on gas. but im surely thinking os putting a 1.6 into it, how much harder would it be? out of 10 id say im a 6-7 mechanically so would it be possible for me to do it myelf? also where could i buy a snorkle made for the Sammy or would it be easier/cheaper to build one myself. ive seen and heard of MANY jeeps that have one homemade and on some i cant tell the diff between professional or not. im very crafty and good with welders and tools. and again thatnks everyone for all the input, itll give me a great baseline to work off of once its in the drive way (hopefully within a month or 2)
 

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The 1.6L upgrade seems to be a popular choice, mine already came with the 1.6L 16v, adapter plates for samurai trans and motor mount are readily available and reasonably priced. Consider the wiring and ECU for the 16v, there are ppl you can send the harness to that will do the work so you get back a plug and play deal. The 8v is easier but benefits are less. If you are street driving I would suggest reading 8v vs 16v, cant recall where I saw these threads but they are out there.

I have never driven a v6 or v8 conversion Samurai but have heard the extra weight is detrimental to the overall handling and driving characteristic of the vehicle.

Are you mudding or rock crawling? How will you actually be using this truck?

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm wanting to do some mudding. I'm thinking of getting a snorkel intake to be on the safe side. But also for daily commuting between home school and work
 

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Just my opinion.
A stock Samurai is just about as far from a nice street machine as one can get.....
Modify away.......Boxcar....
 

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Last time I drove mine on the street it was a chore, but I see areas to improve. My goal is a half way comfortable daily driver without much compromise to its off road ability.

Already done since last drive:

New carpet & abs panels
work over with fatmat rattle trap, floors, inside side panels, firewall
proper quiet exhaust system w/cat & quiet magnaflow muffler
new denim bestop top
(proper) custom gauge cluster, ditching all the OEM gauges.
A decent stereo, nothing crazy, just decent enough to overcome road noise.
Addition of AC system
Proper lighting, headlights and aux lighting
New paint inside and out.
new seats.

I expect it will quiet it down and make it a nicer place to sit, it will never eat miles like the Marquis does but should make it more tolerable as a daily driver. Last time I drove it I could roll 75mph out of it with the 35" tires but the noise from the engine and road was intolerable r/t a top that wouldnt snap down and 2.25" exh with flowmaster and nothing else.

To me a trail rig is useless if I cant drive it to and from the trails, and some are quite a distance.

All that being said I will agree with Boxcar, it's a poor place to start for a street vehicle, but it can be made better. This vehicle has several things going for it. It's unique as hell, its simple as hell and capable as hell.

So yes, modify away!!
Don't forget to post some pics.
 
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