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I recently got an 88 samurai for my first vehicle. Is there any advice you have for a newbie? Any warnings, ideas for mods? I changed the oil, spark plugs, wires, cap, and rotor. I want to take it on some trails and it'll be mainly back and forth from school and work. Gets about 20mpg is that normal? Hasn't been ran for a while will it improve as I run it a little more? Also what should I carry with me in it? Anything would be great!
 

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Greetings and welcome!
Congratulations on your Samurai ownership. I don't think you'll find a vehicle more "mechanic friendly" than these little guys. Very simple layout and easy to work on. Not like so many new cars that are built in "layers", that need to be removed, to get to the part you want to fix. The replacement parts are really quite cheap, compared to a lot of other 4 x 4s. I look at my Sammy's as being like a big quad that's street legal, with a heater and A/C.
20mpg isn't that great. It all depends on what carb you have, tire size, modifications, etc. I get 20 with my 87, with a Weber, header and 2" exhaust. The motor is tired, with 100k miles on it. We drive it hard.
My 86 gets 23. Same setup as my 87, but the motor is new, with higher compression, bigger valves and different camshaft. I run stock gearing and 215/75/15 tires on both. Both have the later model transmissions, with a the reduced ratio 5th gear.
You'll find most Samurai come with "standard" issues. They are getting close to thirty years old and have been driven hard. I think the transfer case shifter bushing is the #1 problem thing you'll come across, followed by transmission shifter bushing/bolt, gas gauge sending unit, motor mounts, u-joints, leaky distributor seal, carb problems and electrical ground issues. The stock Hitachi carb is great, when it works. It gives good fuel ecomomy, good off road performance, easy starting and warm up, etc.. When it doesn't work, its a real pain in the butt and the internal electrical parts are expensive to replace. The water choke wears out, too. You'll find owners wire the choke open, to get around dealing with it.
The only spare parts I carry, are a tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Greetings and welcome!
Congratulations on your Samurai ownership. I don't think you'll find a vehicle more "mechanic friendly" than these little guys. Very simple layout and easy to work on. Not like so many new cars that are built in "layers", that need to be removed, to get to the part you want to fix. The replacement parts are really quite cheap, compared to a lot of other 4 x 4s. I look at my Sammy's as being like a big quad that's street legal, with a heater and A/C.
20mpg isn't that great. It all depends on what carb you have, tire size, modifications, etc. I get 20 with my 87, with a Weber, header and 2" exhaust. The motor is tired, with 100k miles on it. We drive it hard.
My 86 gets 23. Same setup as my 87, but the motor is new, with higher compression, bigger valves and different camshaft. I run stock gearing and 215/75/15 tires on both. Both have the later model transmissions, with a the reduced ratio 5th gear.
You'll find most Samurai come with "standard" issues. They are getting close to thirty years old and have been driven hard. I think the transfer case shifter bushing is the #1 problem thing you'll come across, followed by transmission shifter bushing/bolt, gas gauge sending unit, motor mounts, u-joints, leaky distributor seal, carb problems and electrical ground issues. The stock Hitachi carb is great, when it works. It gives good fuel ecomomy, good off road performance, easy starting and warm up, etc.. When it doesn't work, its a real pain in the butt and the internal electrical parts are expensive to replace. The water choke wears out, too. You'll find owners wire the choke open, to get around dealing with it.
The only spare parts I carry, are a tire.
I have replaced the the transfer case shifter bushing and I have the bushing for the 4 wheel drive I went to replace it took off the boot for it but then wasn't sure what to do next. But my 4wheel drive works okay now even without replacing it. I'm not sure if my carb is the stock carb or not, I think it is would it say the brand on it by chance? Also not sure my gear ratio but I believe its stock too. Like I said I'm a new car owner so I don't know a lot about these but I want to and am willing to learn all I can
 

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I have replaced the the transfer case shifter bushing and I have the bushing for the 4 wheel drive I went to replace it took off the boot for it but then wasn't sure what to do next. But my 4wheel drive works okay now even without replacing it. I'm not sure if my carb is the stock carb or not, I think it is would it say the brand on it by chance? Also not sure my gear ratio but I believe its stock too. Like I said I'm a new car owner so I don't know a lot about these but I want to and am willing to learn all I can
Most likely, you replaced the transmission shifter sheet. The transfer case shifter sheet is under the rubber boot and shield you couldn't remove.
The TC lever retainer can be removed (usually) with a couple of long screwdrivers: Press down on both sides of the retainer with the screw drivers and turn counter clockwise. The retainer will pop up and you can pull out the shifter.
If, your carb has a bunch of wires, switches, vacuum relays, etc. attached to it, its most likely the stock Hitachi (in the USA). Otherwise, its something else.
If you haven't already done so, download the Factory Service Manual (FSM). Even if you don't plan on working on your own car, it'll keep you from getting ripped of by a mechanic, that doesn't think you know what's going on.
There are several places to find the manual. Sorry, I don't have the link handy for you.
 

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Here is the link for manual and some excellent reading besides, I had it bookmarked. Enjoy!
Ack's FAQ Site Map
 
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