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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a 94 samurai a little over a week ago. drove her all the way from iowa to michigan. no big problems on the way home, just a broken speedometer cable. anyway, to the issue at hand. it seems like i have lost a lot of horsepower in the past week. at low rpms, the engine will sound like it's being bogged down until i hit about 3000, then i'll get pulled back into my seat. i don't have enough power to hold 70 mph on a flat road in 5th gear. sometimes, i can't even get moving if i'm on a hill, the engine will spit and sputter like i'm trying to take off in 3rd gear (yes, i did make sure i wasn't in 3rd). i looked around to find one with fuel injection to hopefully avoid issues like this, but it seems that didn't work. plugs are brand new bosh platinum +2s; wires, distributor cap, and coil are all brand new stock replacement. not sure about the distributor rotor. the check engine idiot light is on, but the only code it'll give me is because of the speedometer cable. I know the 1.3L isn't a huge powerhouse, but i'd like to get her to perform as a good daily driver that can handle going down the interstate without holding up traffic. what else should i be looking at to get some of the lost hp?
 

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My suggestion is to use the recommended NGK BPR5ES spark plugs as platinum plugs do not seem to work nicely with the Suzuki engines. Gap is 0.32

Replace the PCV if it doesn't look brand new as well.

You also need to get the speedometer cable replaced ASAP as it might be running too rich.
 

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rpms, the engine will sound like it's being bogged down until i hit about 3000, then i'll get pulled back into my seat. i don't have enough power to hold 70 mph on a flat road in 5th gear. sometimes, i can't even get moving if i'm on a hill, the engine will spit and sputter like i'm trying to take off in 3rd gear (yes, i did make sure i wasn't in 3rd). i looked
HI djamp,

I assume you're running on a carb? I encountered this problem very often previously. It was a problem with my carb (stock sammy carb). Had to do a manual choke to temporarily fix the problem although it would keep coming back. Eventually had the carb cleaned and the problem went away.

Hope this helps!!
 

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It is a 94 so it would have the TBI.

Due to the cold weather, it is also good to be running the 192-195 thermostat. If you coolant temp is fluctuating and going too low, then the computer could also be causing you to run rich. It did this with mine before removing the 180 degree thermostat and installing an electric fan.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
haptown, thank you for your help. whomever sold my my speedometer cable must be really close to me because the tracking info says it's already out for delivery. I'll see if a parts store near me has the recommended thermostat, plugs and pcv on my way home tonight. luckily my father-in-law has a heated shop i can do the work in.

kos, sorry but your assumption is incorrect. i traveled to iowa instead of buying locally for the key reason that this samurai has fuel injection.
 

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Good decision on getting the TBI. I looked for a year before finding one and then I was extra lucky in that the previous owner had installed a 1.6L. The bad part was that it was hard to start. The good part was once I replaced the burnt out bulb for the engine light, the computer told me what sensors were bad - O2, WTS, and ATS. Once replaced, the starting problem disappeared and has run good ever since.

Platinum plugs are bad for older vehicles since the coil/igniters are not powerful enough to deliver a hot enough spark since platinum is not as good a conductor as copper. Platinum plugs were designed for for cars to go 100k miles between tune-up, not for their electrical efficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i thought that platinum was a better conductor, but electro-chemistry was never my strong suit. i always did better at organic chem. anyway, i took a look at one of my old text books and with the info i found in there... does anyone make a plug that uses silver electrodes? if so, silver has the highest conductivity of any metal.
 

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You are looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. If there was a better spark plug for the non-modified Samurai engine, someone would have found it after 20+ years of trying and posted the results - use the oem recommended NGK.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yeah, it was just a thought. thanks for all your help. i'll see if the copper plugs, speedometer cable, and thermostat help tonight. couldn't find any parts stores in my area that stock a pcv valve for a samurai, but hopefully that won't need to be replaced.
 

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The PCV is probably not causing your surging, but a malfunctioning one will affect the way you engine runs. And you want to remove all other possibilities before checking to see whether your EGR is not working correctly.

BTW, have you checked your timing and adjusted the valves?

Troubleshooting guide for 1987 model
 

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Discussion Starter #11
no, i haven't checked the timing yet. i planned to do that while i had the hood open tonight. the link you posted is blocked from my work computer. and i don't have a working computer at home. thanks anyway.
 

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Since TBI's on Samurais are somewhat scarce, but very common on Sidekicks, I would recommend re-posting on the Sidekick branch. Kick-Fix's site is very good for solving many fuel injection/computer/ignition/driveability issues for TBI/MPFI vehicles. Issues like inadequate fuel pressure due to plugged filter, worn pump, or simply a bad ground connection for the fuel pump can cause your problem as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
well, i got to my father-in-law's shop last night. hp got ridiculously worse on the way there. there were times i didn't have enough power to use 3rd gear. I hadn't thought of this, but his shop doesn't do engine work (they specialize in snow plows). so, he didn't have a compression test kit or a timing light. i'll have to pick those up this weekend or find someone who will let me borrow theirs. I did the work I could; spark plugs, thermostat, and speedometer cable. Hopeful that nothing else was needed, I drove home (only about 6 miles). Hp was better, but not anywhere close to what it should be. I'm not going to worry about the wires since the connections on them still had a nice luster. until this weekend when i can check the compression and timing, she'll sit and wait.
 

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With the power loss getting progressively worse as the motor gets warmer, you really need to check your valve lash. Samurais have solid lifters and do need adjustment periodically. The kick-fix site has excellent instructions.

Also need to check the timing belt to make sure that it has not slipped a tooth. Checking the timing should give an indication if this has happened. When everything is set correctly the adjustment bolt for the distributor should be sitting in the middle of the slot. See the kick-fix site again for help if needed.

Catalytic convertor could be partially blocked. It the engine has been running rich or the valves not closing completely due to bad adjustment for an extended period time could cause this.

Welcome to the sickness! It is tough at the beginning when something goes wrong on a 20 year old vehicle where you don't know the history of repairs, but once you go through the common things that go bad, they are really great machines.
 

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Im wondering about my carbed Sami just got it I cant get 70 on anything less than downhill. Thought thats normal. Havent made any checks of timing or valve adjustment. I guess that would be a good idea though. I want to keep it in good shape and most of these items cost next to nothing I figured 60 horse and 4wd I mean its light but still, keeping up on the freeway aint easy is it? Dont want to go 70 but djamp1983 got me wondering if mine is sluggish
 

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firstsami - no need to hijack this thread. Start your own and title it "I am carb'd and sluggish - please help me!" or something like that.
 
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