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Discussion Starter #1
I am currently looking for a Samurai this year. Not really in a hurry, right now im just reading up s much as I can online. I will be using this vehicle as my daily to work and once in a while driving to some dirt road up the mountain. I want to keep the 1.3L motor not really interested in doing any swap. Soft top is what I prefer and also EFI if I can fond one. From all the owner here do you guys have any lesson learn from buying your first Samurai or any tips to look for on buying one.

Hope to get some feed back from you guys.
 

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Not sure of your location , Look for rust along the Sills . If its got the original plastic side guards on they are just rust traps. That is not too hard too fix though.

Finding a good samurai is hard , i beleave its even harder in the U.S.A.

Best thing i did was buy my daily driver with good registration , Then found a rust bucket on ebay for 500$ with no rego .Everything else i needed was their and in better condition then mine. That 500$ car has saved my ass and money many times over , and i still got lots of spares.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I live in Sunny San Diego, California. If its a true California vehicle then Im sure it will have little to no rust. I will still take your suggestion and apply it when I look for one, thank you.

Not sure of your location , Look for rust along the Sills . If its got the original plastic side guards on they are just rust traps. That is not too hard too fix though.

Finding a good samurai is hard , i beleave its even harder in the U.S.A.

Best thing i did was buy my daily driver with good registration , Then found a rust bucket on ebay for 500$ with no rego .Everything else i needed was their and in better condition then mine. That 500$ car has saved my ass and money many times over , and i still got lots of spares.
 

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I am currently looking for a Samurai this year. Not really in a hurry, right now im just reading up s much as I can online. I will be using this vehicle as my daily to work and once in a while driving to some dirt road up the mountain. I want to keep the 1.3L motor not really interested in doing any swap. Soft top is what I prefer and also EFI if I can fond one. From all the owner here do you guys have any lesson learn from buying your first Samurai or any tips to look for on buying one.

Hope to get some feed back from you guys.
Hello, new Sami owner here, new forum member, my first post! :D
Your post caught my attention because it describes me real closely, except that after close to a year of taking my time shopping, I finally bought an '88 Samurai JX last month. I thought I'd share some of my own experience and maybe something will help you.

I was looking for a dual purpose vehicle. 1st, a daily driver for local non-freeway running around. I put in part time hours 2 miles from my house. Town is 5 miles away. 2nd use, as a flat tow "Toad" vehicle to pull behind my truck and camper set up for cross country road trips and dessert runs. I have done much the same as you, reading every thing I can on various Suzuki web sites. eBay and craigslist were my shopping sites. Strictly SoCal and Arizona, because most of the rest of the country (except maybe Utah & Nevada) will have too many vehicles with rust. I was looking for a stock, or near stock vehicle, willing to accept modifications if ones I was going to do anyways. My top end budget was $6000, but I didn't want to spend that much.

As you probably know, there's always a lot of Samurai's on craigslist in CA. But not much inventory turnover. Months go by and it's the same dozen rigs with maybe a few changes. eBay inventory moves faster. I thought I had a purchase twice. The first one was through eBay. I am sure it was a scam. Be wary of a guy out of San Diego with a heavy Eastern Euro accent. The deal seemed fair, not too good to be true. But the Euro dude insisted I put a $1000 deposit into his bank account. This, despite my offering to drive the 1 hour to San Diego to meet him at any bank of his choosing to give him full payment. I wanted to see the car. He got real angry, said I was not a man of honor, etc. it's true I won the bid, but he was trying to transact a deal outside of eBay, a rules violation. The 2nd deal was craigslist, right in my town. Nice rig, straight stock, no rust, good body, very fair price. I gave him a deposit and he took it to get it smogged. But it failed and he was not willing to get it diagnosed, so I got my deposit back.

I had called Petroworks in Fallbrook about 6 months ago to ask if they had anything for sale, or knew of anything. They didn't. I tried Petroworks again a month ago and got lucky. Dave told me about an '88 JX that his friend was about to sell. Said it was very clean, no rust, and had the OME lift, custom made bumper with winch, and 2" wheel spacers. Otherwise was stock. A week later I paid $4200 for it. Very similar rigs are going for around $6000 give or take a little.

First thing I did is take it to Petroworks. I had them set it up for flat towing, modify the door hinges so they come off, and had to switch out the non-CARB compliant CV carburetor and custom Petroworks manifold to stock parts so it would pass smog. They bought the manifold and carb back as offset to the bill, and gave me more than I expected. Gary wanted to be sure and he actually got it smogged. The bill was less than Temecula RV had quoted me for just tow bar set up alone.

Turns out my ride was bought out of Petroworks back shop yard (Gary's shop) as a non-op long sitting "beater." It had good "bones," but needed a lot of TLC $. The guy I bought it from paid $2000 for it, put about $2200 into it and sold it to me for $4200. It paid off to be patient. I knew right away when I drove it that it was the one. It was just a "tight" ride compared to all the others I'd drove. And EVERYTHING electrical works on it except the windshield washer fluid.

I would think that Gary might be willing to do the same thing again- sell one of his non-op "yard rigs" for cheap and then take payment to fix it up. Gary does not fix them up to sell them, he says there's no money in doing that. They are for spare parts. There's a lot of non-op rigs in his back yard.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for info. Im still waiting patiently and doing a lot of reading.

Hello, new Sami owner here, new forum member, my first post! :D
Your post caught my attention because it describes me real closely, except that after close to a year of taking my time shopping, I finally bought an '88 Samurai JX last month. I thought I'd share some of my own experience and maybe something will help you.

I was looking for a dual purpose vehicle. 1st, a daily driver for local non-freeway running around. I put in part time hours 2 miles from my house. Town is 5 miles away. 2nd use, as a flat tow "Toad" vehicle to pull behind my truck and camper set up for cross country road trips and dessert runs. I have done much the same as you, reading every thing I can on various Suzuki web sites. eBay and craigslist were my shopping sites. Strictly SoCal and Arizona, because most of the rest of the country (except maybe Utah & Nevada) will have too many vehicles with rust. I was looking for a stock, or near stock vehicle, willing to accept modifications if ones I was going to do anyways. My top end budget was $6000, but I didn't want to spend that much.

As you probably know, there's always a lot of Samurai's on craigslist in CA. But not much inventory turnover. Months go by and it's the same dozen rigs with maybe a few changes. eBay inventory moves faster. I thought I had a purchase twice. The first one was through eBay. I am sure it was a scam. Be wary of a guy out of San Diego with a heavy Eastern Euro accent. The deal seemed fair, not too good to be true. But the Euro dude insisted I put a $1000 deposit into his bank account. This, despite my offering to drive the 1 hour to San Diego to meet him at any bank of his choosing to give him full payment. I wanted to see the car. He got real angry, said I was not a man of honor, etc. it's true I won the bid, but he was trying to transact a deal outside of eBay, a rules violation. The 2nd deal was craigslist, right in my town. Nice rig, straight stock, no rust, good body, very fair price. I gave him a deposit and he took it to get it smogged. But it failed and he was not willing to get it diagnosed, so I got my deposit back.

I had called Petroworks in Fallbrook about 6 months ago to ask if they had anything for sale, or knew of anything. They didn't. I tried Petroworks again a month ago and got lucky. Dave told me about an '88 JX that his friend was about to sell. Said it was very clean, no rust, and had the OME lift, custom made bumper with winch, and 2" wheel spacers. Otherwise was stock. A week later I paid $4200 for it. Very similar rigs are going for around $6000 give or take a little.

First thing I did is take it to Petroworks. I had them set it up for flat towing, modify the door hinges so they come off, and had to switch out the non-CARB compliant CV carburetor and custom Petroworks manifold to stock parts so it would pass smog. They bought the manifold and carb back as offset to the bill, and gave me more than I expected. Gary wanted to be sure and he actually got it smogged. The bill was less than Temecula RV had quoted me for just tow bar set up alone.

Turns out my ride was bought out of Petroworks back shop yard (Gary's shop) as a non-op long sitting "beater." It had good "bones," but needed a lot of TLC $. The guy I bought it from paid $2000 for it, put about $2200 into it and sold it to me for $4200. It paid off to be patient. I knew right away when I drove it that it was the one. It was just a "tight" ride compared to all the others I'd drove. And EVERYTHING electrical works on it except the windshield washer fluid.

I would think that Gary might be willing to do the same thing again- sell one of his non-op "yard rigs" for cheap and then take payment to fix it up. Gary does not fix them up to sell them, he says there's no money in doing that. They are for spare parts. There's a lot of non-op rigs in his back yard.

Good luck.
 

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While on pavement, if you lock the hubs, put it in 4WD HI, and turn the wheels sharply over, and ease into the clutch gently, the vehicle should not roll much. Don't try to make it roll if it doesn't want to. If it easily moves forward, something is wrong somewhere. Try again in 4WD LO.

With the steering wheel straight ahead, you can drive forward and backward, but don't turn the steering wheel or it will bind up the driveline. Make sure you stop when going from 4WD HI to LO and back.

If you then put it in 2WD with the hubs still locked, you can drive normally and it should not make much more noise or vibration than with the hubs unlocked.

The hubs should not be hard to lock and unlock.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info. I will perform that process during my search for a samurai.

While on pavement, if you lock the hubs, put it in 4WD HI, and turn the wheels sharply over, and ease into the clutch gently, the vehicle should not roll much. Don't try to make it roll if it doesn't want to. If it easily moves forward, something is wrong somewhere. Try again in 4WD LO.

With the steering wheel straight ahead, you can drive forward and backward, but don't turn the steering wheel or it will bind up the driveline. Make sure you stop when going from 4WD HI to LO and back.

If you then put it in 2WD with the hubs still locked, you can drive normally and it should not make much more noise or vibration than with the hubs unlocked.

The hubs should not be hard to lock and unlock.
 

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I can push my stock enjoy to 65 but it's pushing it pretty hard. 70... maybe on a downhill... truck feels like a death machine at that speed. I have stock engine with 125K miles on it... stock leafs, OME shocks... not lifted. BFG AT.
 

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I can push my stock enjoy to 65 but it's pushing it pretty hard. 70... maybe on a downhill... truck feels like a death machine at that speed. I have stock engine with 125K miles on it... stock leafs, OME shocks... not lifted. BFG AT.
Haha Sounds fun. Thanks for the info. I really cant wait to get my Samurai. How do you like OME shocks?
 

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Mine will do 70 all day long. I have no trouble keeping up with San Diego traffic. I've had it up to 80 a few times while passing traffic. I did have to downshift once while climbing a steep grade but kept my speed up with no problem.
Stock mechanics from bumper to bumper.
 

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Can anyone tell me if a stock samurai can do 65 or 70mph continuously.
On level ground, a stock Sami with stock sized tires, in good tune with a good engine, good steering and suspension, will do 65 all day with no issue. 70 starts to feel like you are pushing it. Mine is in very good shape, almost like new, and it feels solid and stable at 100 MPH. Of course, it takes a steep downhill grade to hit 100...

Top speed is extremely variable depending on wind and grade. I can maintain 55 MPH up any freeway grade, but some of those grades require 3rd gear and high RPMs. Some mountain grades can put me in 2nd gear and an 18% grade puts me in 1st.

The thing to keep in mind is that, brand new, it only has 60-66 HP and has the aerodynamics of a brick. The only time it feels like it has plenty of power is going down a steep grade. Otherwise, it feels pretty gutless, but that is part of the fun.

Since the newest Samurai you can find is going to be almost 20 years old, and may have been towed behind a motor home and in very good shape, or thrashed off-road and worn out, your mileage(and MPH) may vary...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So what kind of MPG are you guys getting? I know that I would be putting most of my money on making sure that the motor and brake is in top running condition but eventually im going to lift it and install bigger tires. Would like to know if the MPG goes down dramatically when lifted and bigger tires?
 

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So what kind of MPG are you guys getting? I know that I would be putting most of my money on making sure that the motor and brake is in top running condition but eventually im going to lift it and install bigger tires. Would like to know if the MPG goes down dramatically when lifted and bigger tires?
No idea on MPG.But good mileage if you don`t go over 80/90kph , Depends on how you drive it i suppose .
Mine goes way faster then i care to drive it ,1.6L vitara motor in it , Ive topped 110kph in it up hill, but that`s when the aerodynamics of a brick come into play ,More fuel , The diff and gearbox seem to be getting toward their limits as well.

Cheaper for me too drive the old girl sensibly, Then take the BMW out on the back roads and give it a bit of a thrashing. The boxer just loves fuel but jeebus its quick
 

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I run 20-25 MPG, depending on how hard I push it. I hit 23 MPG more often than not. I'm running a header and 2" exhaust with high-flow cat. I think that tends to knock fuel economy down as the Sami engine likes a bit more back-pressure. I'm planning to put a 1.75" tail-pipe in one of these days.

EPA rates it at 24/26

If that seems low, just compare it to a Jeep. 16/19 for the 4cyl and 14/15 for the 6 of the same era.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
23mpg is way better than my 14mpg 2008 Crewmax tundra 4x4 5.7L and thats driving it conservatively. :( I really cant wait to get a samurai!


I run 20-25 MPG, depending on how hard I push it. I hit 23 MPG more often than not. I'm running a header and 2" exhaust with high-flow cat. I think that tends to knock fuel economy down as the Sami engine likes a bit more back-pressure. I'm planning to put a 1.75" tail-pipe in one of these days.

EPA rates it at 24/26

If that seems low, just compare it to a Jeep. 16/19 for the 4cyl and 14/15 for the 6 of the same era.
 
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