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Discussion Starter #1
I have just purchased my first suzuki samurai. it is a 1987 samurai tin top. i was just wondering what upgrades are available. i am somewhat handy with a welder and metal work and i was wondering if anybody had any tips, or plans for building my own lift for my samurai. heres a pic-
 

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i have an 87 also and for now i started with a 2 inch shackle reverse kit from calmini with rancho shocks and that was about $400 bucks, then i did 3 inch hoops on the front for more articulation and a softer ride, now im working on 3 inch lift springs but im going to have to get the drop steering arm and extended brake lines but the shackle reverse kit is an exelent start, if ur happy with articulation and ride then u can go spoa (spring over axel) and that will give you an immediate about 4 inches of lift but you have to get the drop steering arm and brake lines for that too. i also highly recomend a 2 inch body lift, i smashed my front end in a ditch and if i had the body lift it would have never happend :( but just keep in mind that a quick lift turns into a lot with steering, brakes, shocks...it all gets expensive fast
 

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Personally I don't think the skackle reverse kit is a good idea. It causes break dive, and reduces your approach angle.

Best way to go is SPOA. I also recently bought my 91 Samurai, and I did a paint job and now I'm installing a SPOA weld-on kit from rocky road outfitters. I trust they have one of the best SPOA kits around. But don't go for the cheap type with the perches welded on the axle housing, I suggest going for the higher quality perches that weld on the OE spring perches. That way you will eliminate the stress occurring on the sort-of weak axle housing.

I'm right now working on installing the SPOA kit. Here's a picture of my Sammy before the SPOA, after I completed the paint job.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
looks great. and how much was the spoa kit that you buoght? and where could i order one? also is there maybe anything i can fabricate myself?
 

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Yes you can fabricate it, but why re-invent the wheel? A lot of designs have emerged over the years, and they have learned from various mistakes, and incorporated the fixes in the final products. It will save you a great amount of time buying ready spring perches; and you will have to buy drive shaft spacers and break line extenders any way. The weld-on perches don't add a great deal of cost to those; in fact, they're quite inexpensive.

You can find them at different places, such as low range off-road, spidertrax, or rock road outfitters. I got mine from rocky road.

A basic SPOA lift can cost very little, will contain spring perches, drive shaft extenders, and replacement break lines only, and costs pretty low. Low range offers this basic kit for only $199 and a Z-link steering bar for $95, which is a must. This will give you 5" of lift. But you can't get much articulation from that, because the stock shocks are short and stock springs are inflexible.

Or you can go for the fully fledged SPOA conversion like the one I got, which cost me about $1100. That includes shocks, springs, upper rear shock mounts, lower front and rear shock mounts, and Over the Top (OTT) (TM) stage one steering system.

To have a complete job, you (and I) should also get stage 2 OTT steering, upper front shock mounts, traction bar on the rear to eliminate axle wrap, panhard bar on the front to eliminate vibration, or even missing link shackles for ultimate articulation.


In my opinion the easiest way to get a decent and safe 4" lift is by simply replacing the springs with 2" lifting springs such as ARB's OME Dakar springs, and install 2" lifting shackles. This is very easy, but will not cost much less.
 

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In my opinion the easiest way to get a decent and safe 4" lift is by simply replacing the springs with 2" lifting springs such as ARB's OME Dakar springs, and install 2" lifting shackles. This is very easy, but will not cost much less.
I agree with many of your points, but this one just needs a little more explanation.
The springs are a good choice, as are the shackles, but that still leaves the brake lines, driveshaft length, shocks and steering to be dealt with.
With 4" of lift you can't use stock steering, the wheel won't center and you will have problems turning right (drag link won't have the reach). And going cheap with a 'Z' link steering bar will allow the additinal length but will increase bumpsteer. Go highsteer.
You will still have to get the driveshaft spacers longer shocks and brake line extensions.
Unfortunately, a 'simple' lift (if more than 2") is not really very simple (if you want to be safe).
 

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I agree with many of your points, but this one just needs a little more explanation.
The springs are a good choice, as are the shackles, but that still leaves the brake lines, driveshaft length, shocks and steering to be dealt with.
With 4" of lift you can't use stock steering, the wheel won't center and you will have problems turning right (drag link won't have the reach). And going cheap with a 'Z' link steering bar will allow the additinal length but will increase bumpsteer. Go highsteer.
You will still have to get the driveshaft spacers longer shocks and brake line extensions.
Unfortunately, a 'simple' lift (if more than 2") is not really very simple (if you want to be safe).
Hay Bill, you're the expert here. I'm only talking from theory, you're talking from practice.

I read in Rocky Road website that up to 3.5 inches (or was it 4? can't remember) of lift don't require changing anything in the steering, break lines, or drive shaft. One thing for sure, the OME springs (without the lifting shackles) definitely don't require any modifications on those parts.
 

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When sitting still (or even with light articulation) the brake lines will be fine, but with the articulation that is possible with this lift it will stress the lines to the point where they could fail. I explained the steering problems that will come up.

The springs alone should not cause much of a problem, but understand that stock shocks will limit down travel. But on the good side, the shorter shocks can save the brake lines...

Unfortunately, when we start to upgrade our zooks, we continue to find more things that can use upgrading.
 

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Unfortunately, when we start to upgrade our zooks, we continue to find more things that can use upgrading.

LOL you're absolutely right :)

You do that, then you realize that you need to do this as well to fully benefit. Then that then this, and the list goes on.

When I first bought the Zuk, I was thinking of a moderate lift using OME and lifting shackles, then I thought of just getting a basic SPOA. Then decided to add to it the springs. Then decided to change the shocks as well. Then decided to go for the OTT steering instead of the Z-link. And in the end I ended up with a long list of new parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
well i pick my samurai up tomorrow. and come monday i'm gonna take it in to be pre saftied. if i can get it on the road i prolly wont lift it, and if i do it wont be much over 2". and if i cant get it on the road i will want to lift it atleast 5". so is there any lifts out there that will lift my samurai 2"? and for driving it on the road is it safe to lift it? i've herd that samurais in the first place aren't the best for staying on all four tires. so is a lift a bad idea if i'm puting it on the road?
 

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...and for driving it on the road is it safe to lift it? i've herd that samurais in the first place aren't the best for staying on all four tires. so is a lift a bad idea if i'm puting it on the road?
A Samurai (SJ/LJ) is a sport/utility vehicle, and if you drive it like one you won't have a problem. If you try to drive it like a porsche, it will get real ugly real fast.

Suzuki proved to many of us that the bad name that the Consumers Union gave them back in the late 80's was bogus. Unfortunately, most people remember the media hype and not the facts. Most folks don't even realize that Suzuki proved that the Consumer Reports article was done with an agenda in mind.
Even Suzuki is amazed at what we (the Suzuki offroad community) have done with their little utility vehicles.

Build it, drive it and have fun with it. And if you feel you are having too much fun, put a cage in it... yeah, you can get those too. ;)
 

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well i pick my samurai up tomorrow. and come monday i'm gonna take it in to be pre saftied. if i can get it on the road i prolly wont lift it, and if i do it wont be much over 2". and if i cant get it on the road i will want to lift it atleast 5". so is there any lifts out there that will lift my samurai 2"? and for driving it on the road is it safe to lift it? i've herd that samurais in the first place aren't the best for staying on all four tires. so is a lift a bad idea if i'm puting it on the road?
If you want just 2" of lift, get ARB Old Man Emu (OME) springs and shocks; they are the perfect lift for comfort and don't require any changes. They will give better comfort than the stock springs and shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So i think i will be going with the SPOA lift from Low range offroad. the basic kit that contains spring perches, drive shaft extenders, and replacement break lines for $199 and i will also buy the Z-link steering bar for $95, Is this a good buy? or is there something better for around the same price. Also is there maybe somewhere in canada i can order something like this?
 

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That lift is not bad for the price. Just a word of caution. The 'Z' link will allow you to bolt everything together and the steering will not rub. But when you hit a bump with the passenger front tire you will have to watch out that you don't catch your thumb in the steering wheel when it spins out of your grip...
The 'Z' link makes the lift work until you can go to a high steer solution, but it will produce horrible 'bump-steer'.

There used to be a company out of Canada that produced all the lift parts you need, but I can't remember the name. The parts were easy to remember because they were all finished using a bright orange paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
is there any way to stop the bump steer if i go to the Z-link? like maybe i can fabricate something or do something to stop it?
 

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Bill may correct me if I'm wrong, but to fix it you need to go for the OTT (Over the Top) steering. Also called OTS (Over the Spring). This will be perfect for your steering with SPOA, and does not add much to the cost of the SPOA.
 

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is there any way to stop the bump steer if i go to the Z-link? like maybe i can fabricate something or do something to stop it?
Unfortunately it is all in the geometry. The Z-link sidesteps the springs, so you don't have a rubbing problem, and it lengthens the link so you still have full turning radius. But the point where a bump puts pressure (pushes) the link is still located on a different plane (below) from the pitman arm. If you only lift the vehicle 2", you can make that up by using a dropped pitman arm. Then the drag link stays level. Or if you go with a high steer (OTT/OTS) solution then the point of pressure (pushing knuckle) is moved above the spring and the drag link stays level that way.

Bill may correct me if I'm wrong, but to fix it you need to go for the OTT (Over the Top) steering. Also called OTS (Over the Spring). This will be perfect for your steering with SPOA, and does not add much to the cost of the SPOA.
The bigger lifts need a high steer solution. I use a solution that moves only the drag link connection to a location above the springs. I also use a 2" dropped pitman arm to make the angle almost non-existant - it looks almost flat!
When the tire hits a bump, the knuckle goes up but because there is no angle to the drag link it never really pushes to the side.

Pardon the ASCII art...

0(--------0 with no angle, the knuckle (left side) moves up and down with no real side to side movement.

o__---*** with angle, when it pushes up it will also push right = bump steer
 

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I know a photo helps better...


Here is a pic with a z-link style drag link. Sorry for the size of the pic, but I don't know where my larger pic is.


You can see that the installation looks good, and there is no way it will rub. But the left and right ends of the z-link are still in the same offset position that a stock drag link would be.
 
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