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Hello guys this is my first post in this forum and i am looking into buying a Suzuki Samurai.

I have a few questions about The samurais since I've never owned one or ridden on one before.

I want it mostly for driving the off-road Baja roads, take it to sandy beaches and mostly traveling on dirt roads.

I want to know how reliable are the Samurais for this purpose? how good does the samurai performs on the sand? i know they are not very fast and i don't need speed i just want it to explore Baja.

Also I've been trying to find tech info about the samurai, what is the avg. MPG? and fuel tank capacity? do they have 4 drum brakes or disk and drums?

What are the common problems with samurais that i should look for when buying one?

One last thing... what is a good price to pay for a samurai? i found this one craigslist locally is this a good deal or should i wait for something cheaper?

*** SUZUKI SAMURAI -- GREAT SHAPE ****

Thanks.
 

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Wow... some of those questions would take pages to answer...
But here goes.

Sammies are as reliable as you (the owner/maintainer) make them. If you take care of them and keep them tuned up they will run forever. But they aren't big block chevies, so don't expect alot of power unless you upgrade a the motor a bit.

In the sand they can be made to do great things! They are very light, and with some wide tires and a bit of lift and a locker or two you can stay on top of the sand and make others look silly.

Depending on the age/condition of the drivetrain, and depending on how big of a tire you are running, you can get between 20 and 35 mpg. That seems like a big gap there - but remember these came from the factory with skinny 27" tires and most folks out there tend to push that up a bit. My 'little' Sammy is running 31x10.50's and I get about 28mpg.

The Samurai has a 10 gallon tank, but when you hit 'E' you still have almost 2 gallons in reserve. Here in the US you can still get a 16 gallon replacement from PetroWorks that will add to your range.

The Samurai (US model) came with discs up front and drums out back, but there are kits to upgrade the rears to discs.

Problems to look for?
-Rust at the fenders, body mounts and floor
-tired engine
-home-made suspension components (can get scarry)
-home-made steering systems (even scarrier)

The one you linked to looks decent, but I would price that one more around 2-2.5K at the most. They really haven't done much to warrant that large of a price tag (the winch looks like an ATV model - HA!)
Look at more than just one or two before you buy. And if you can find one, buy the newer 90-95 model where you will have EFI from the factory (less headaches).

Ok, anyone else want to toss in a few - my fingers are tired...
 

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glad you chose a samurai for a vehicle, mine is awesome - would be better if i had took better care of it when i was 10 or 11 but the thing is unstickable. I can go places nobody else can go with 31's and a weber high-perf. carb, and still get 20+ mpg
 

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I'm late on this subject but here is my spin.

I drive a lifted Samurai with 31" tires and lockers. I upgraded to the 1.6L 8V with a Hyundai Pony carb (tried the weber and got bad mileage). I run it everyday in the bush for my Forestry Consulting company in central British Columbia and use as a road legal quad. I get the same mileage that my mothers RAV4 gets (based on her highway mileage = my bush mileage). 75% of the days it sees mud or some other 4X4 situation. I love it. I change my fluids regularly and keep it in tune but I subscribe to the function before fashion ideology so the body needs work.

That being said they are rough riding slower small vehicles. I have 2 sons in hockey and we had to get a Calmini Safari rack to fit the 3 of us and our gear to head off to hockey. If you are in no major hurry to get anywhere and what a owner repair friendly fun rig you can't beat a Samurai.

PS: I have owned old style Broncos, full size Broncos, 3/4 tons, 1/2 tons and an FJ-40 and the sami is still the most fun and reliable!
 

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Pilsner Pig can i see a picture of your roof track. i'm considering buying one. how much do they go for?
when i look at your mileage its really high i cant even get 20. and i'm running on 33's !!
got a low speed gear and running on a toyota 3au 1.4 4v engine...dont know what my carb is. probably stock....my mileage sucks. lets say i get 7km a liter...damn mileage!!!
 

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Here are some pics I will try to get some more today.

This is a Calmini Safari rack that has tabs for 6 lights; 2 at the lower corners of windshield on either side and 4 along the top. I have it over my hardtop (I'm in Canada and it gets chilly in winter) but it is designed to fit a soft top model. I love it, lots of storage, relatively light and gives it that cool "exocage" kind of look. I got mine for about $500 canadian put check the Calmini website.
 

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cool!!!!! that looks exactly like the rack my friend has on his cruiser....i've been wanting one ever since....does it mount on the gutter or is that why it has that extension over the windshield pillars??
 

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It mounts on the top 2 door hinge bolts on either side and then it mounts on a bracket at the back.



The top piece rest on the targa portion on a soft top but mine is slightly modified and sits on the hard top. I will try to post more pics later.
 

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I have kept my samurai stock and only done a basic freshening up on it. it preforms very reliably on light offroad trails and sand washes. the short wheel base make it a little rought riding and the stock engine set up is under powered. there is not enough room for camping gear and ice chests so the roof rack is a good up grade.
Squid
 

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oh....so it kinda acts like a roll cage of sorts....do they have one that mounts on the gutter?
Rollcage? It won't give any protection at all if you turn it over...

It was designed for the soft top with the knowledge that an owner may install a fold-down windshield kit (and expect to use it) and it will still allow the soft top to be removed without removing the rack.
 

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Man oh Man... if I had the money, I would soooo buy a Samurai today! I've already found one that I'd love to have :) I will have one ... one day (I hope)...

So instead of starting a 'newbie question' thread, thought I'd highjack this one... a couple questions about these vehicles:
  • Was the only option manual transmission? Besides the advantage of having more control over power (with manual)... isn't it easier when off road to use an automatic? Advantages/Disadvantages?
  • I'm not a 4x4 expert, but would love a little 'jeep' like this to go off road and exploring. I am taking heed to the list of things to look out for (earlier in this thread)... if someone has added home made steering and/or suspension components.. how would I know this? I'm not a mechanic... just a handy person who can tinker... I'm guessing the answer to this is: ask a friend who knows and/or mechanic
  • I'm not intersested in a luxurious on road experience and know that can't be achieved... I want to take it off road/exploring (no rock climbing)... so I'd like to know which model would be best for me? I really like the look of the earliest model so am hoping I can find one with new seats for better comfort and some upgrades... Thoughts?
  • Lastly, I don't really care about alot of HP... of course... a little more would be OK. If I find one with a 1.3L and weber carb... how much horse would this give me than stock?
Thanks in advance!
 

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  • Was the only option manual transmission? Besides the advantage of having more control over power (with manual)... isn't it easier when off road to use an automatic? Advantages/Disadvantages?

Officially, All US Samurais had manual transmissions. You can find auto's, but it's not easy. They were on the other side of the world. An auto is easier to wheel, but I feel I have more control with a stick. You can also push-start a stick if you need to.

  • I'm not a 4x4 expert, but would love a little 'jeep' like this to go off road and exploring. I am taking heed to the list of things to look out for (earlier in this thread)... if someone has added home made steering and/or suspension components.. how would I know this? I'm not a mechanic... just a handy person who can tinker... I'm guessing the answer to this is: ask a friend who knows and/or mechanic
Or you can take decent pix and post them here. I have installed many of the steering solutions out on the market, and I am betting there are others here that can recognize them also.

  • I'm not intersested in a luxurious on road experience and know that can't be achieved... I want to take it off road/exploring (no rock climbing)... so I'd like to know which model would be best for me? I really like the look of the earliest model so am hoping I can find one with new seats for better comfort and some upgrades... Thoughts?
Seats are an easy upgrade, so don't worry about that. The most sought after models are the long wheelbase 410's and Samurais. The tin tops are next, and then the convertables. The trim levels are not important any more, as most of the parts are interchangeable. If you find a 90+ SWB model you get an EFI motor (which is nice).

  • Lastly, I don't really care about alot of HP... of course... a little more would be OK. If I find one with a 1.3L and weber carb... how much horse would this give me than stock?
You will get a little more than stock, but then you also end up with fuel starvation on steep inclines or decents depending on which direction it was installed. If you want more horsepower/better fuel economy go with a Harley conversion and you will be happier...
 

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I all.. I'm back... now I think I'm a little more serious about buying a Sammy... I've found a few around and am really interested in a tin top. I've found a 1984 SJ 410 under 100k miles for $2250. Original interior, no rust... so what kind of engine came in this one?
 

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Thanks for the info...wow... it's too bad they were such gutless wonders :) ... anything to watch out for when I look at the engine (besides obvious oil leaks, etc)... I mean.. any known issues?
 

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choose a Sami

Having owned and operated 3 LJ80s and 1 410 and 3 Sami Style Suzukis here is my 'take' on them.
The Ljs were mostly fun...lower gears everywhere but parts only available in western Canada. Seriously under powered for any and all on pavement travel. We talking 45 mph downhill with a tailwind. No storage room...with 2 passengers the cargo rate was 600 #s...so where do I put my beverage of choice... PEPSI ?
By far and away the 91, now trail running is the best. It has mild body lift to fit 32" tires. Gears in the TC and lockrite in the rear. With the ECU controlled little 1.3 it gets me everywhere it gets aimed. Usually running with FJ40, Chevy S10, Sidekick, Toy 4 runner and Bronco. Haven't pushed a rope yet.
Last Sami had SPOA, T/C gears, Lockrites in both ends, K&N, Extractor, No cat or muffler, straight thru 2" with 32" BFG M Ts. Ran good until one hole failed. My running partners then were Jeeps and Landrovers. 6000# Warn kept me moving.
Would like to run mine on Propane...for injected versatility.
Gets good mileage and keeps up with the group.
arlo
 
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