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I am a Samurai newbie but I am considering buying one and fixing one up for fun and to have a nice little toy. Anyway, from what I have read the sammy is underpowered with it's stock 1.3l. I hear that people put in a 1.6l from a SideKick or a Geo Tracker. How much more power and top speed do you get from this swap? Is it worth it? Thanks.

Also, I am looking to buy. What years should I be looking for? Do some years have benefits over others?
 

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95 or older Sidekick/Tracker 16v is sweet, I just got mine going again. It runs well and it turns 35" tires PS and now AC. It's not a fast truck by any means but I goes down the highway fine in 5th gear (4.10 Toyota diffs and 6.4 Tcase gears). I could not imagine doing this with a 1.3.

I'm in favor of the swap, you can read tons by Google and many other zuki sites besides this one discuss it at length. You will also find sellers of the kit with a list of what you will need from a doner vehicle.

Check into the price of the kits and what they include. If you are looking to buy I have a complete spare 1.6L 16v engine and doner car wiring harness/coil/PS if needed, it just came out of the doner car about an hour ago. The ECU appears to be bad and caused running issues so that is not available. If you are not in the Midwest you might try putting out a CL list and read about the vulnerabilities of these pretty decent engines so you can make an educated purchase.
 

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A good place to start would be by deciding how you want to use the vehicle - one of your first questions was "how much more ... top speed ... - if top speed features that early on in your consideration, the Samurai is probably not the vehicle for you - those of us who own Samurais buy them for their off road capabilities (which you don't even mention), not their top speed.
 

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Ive found Usable top speed still be limited by the box and diff. Im glad it does not go any faster then it does , i`ll ride anything and have way less crap my pants moments on a powerful motorcycle then pressing the throttle on the zook.

That said i put the 1.3 head on the 1.6 block and its got more power then on road handling. Off road she is a different story. Not much keeps her through the bush ,tighter the tracks the better. Its all about control ability ,The big V8`s i go out with don`t have much at 2 ton, And they only see my tail lights if i slow down or usually stop and wait for them!
 
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