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I'm wondering if anyone can help me figure out once and for all what year my Suzuki is. I'm living on a tiny island in the Caribbean, and drive a Suzuki "jeep", as they call them here. My paperwork (which someone hand wrote many years ago) says a 1997 Suzuki Samurai. It's a right hand drive, manual transmission vehicle, with a tag in the engine bay, and no VIN number that I can find. I'm fairly certain it was made in Japan as the engine tag says "SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION JAPAN", and there is some Japanese lettering on the engine tag as well.

I've had different mechanics here give me different estimates of the year built....one told me it's a 90-93 model, and another told me 97. But I'm pretty sure it's a Samurai (it says Samurai on the back), but I thought they weren't made after 1995? But maybe they were for the international market?

My problem is that I need a new starter, and I'm going to order one from the states because everything is ridiculously expensive on this tiny island. I just don't know what year/model to order...any help would be greatly appreciated!! I've attached pics of the vehicle and the engine tag.
 

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well first off does it have round vents or square vents in the dash for the heating/cooling? if round its 88.5 or older, square is newer, and if its the 1.3 liter engine the starter i believe is the same on all those engines, so just order the starter for any year pretty much
 

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the SJ80 is the jimny, or sierra. Samurai body pannels should be interchangeable with the SJ80. which is why you may have a samurai tailgate. It wasn't available in the U.S. market though. The SJ80 is a coil spring suspension and it was made from 95-98 after that the body style changed and it no longer looked like the older samurai.
 

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I can't say forsure but looking at the front turn signals and marker lights in the grill I'd say it is a '97. At least it's not like the grill in a '94.
 

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if its the 1.3 liter engine the starter i believe is the same on all those engines, so just order the starter for any year pretty much
At least four (4) different starters were used on the G13B engines - I'm not going to say that they cannot be interchanged, because I have never tried, but, the FSM for my Swift, which uses the same G13B engine documents four different starters, and I believe I have seen discussions on other fora of differences between the starters requiring grinding to interchange them, so I would proceed with caution.

A second reason to be cautious when ordering parts out of the US is that US market vehicles were built to meet US standards, vehicles in the Caribbean are frequently different and use different parts - this is more then just LHD/RHD - emission controls are different, engines are different. And if that particular vehicle was imported privately or as used JDM, you'll have an even bigger headache.

I would suggest that you start by contacting either your local dealer - or the main Caribbean distributor (Simpson Motors in Barbados) and providing them with the chassis number and asking for a quote - in my experience when Simpson quotes for a part, the quotation will include the part number, which can then be used to source the part elsewhere.
 

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the one that said 90-93 was most likely going off the samurai emblem on the tail gate. If it's a coil spring SJ80 then it has to be '95 - '98
 

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The VIN tag at the base of the windshield is a great tool, but if it is missing...:confused:

Try taking a look at the frame in front of the right front tire... Suzuki through a copy there to keep folks straight.
:lol::cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for all your help! In looking closer down into the engine bay I noticed there's a tag on the starter...I've attached a pic for anyone's viewing. It's a Mitsubishi starter, but I'm sure it's after market and they basically use whatever they can down here. But I think based on those numbers, and what you've all told me, I can figure out what to order.

I'm having my boyfriend bring the new starter down here with him when he visits in a few weeks, so I'm hoping the current one keeps behaving for now and continues to start when I have to bang to bang on it :p

Thanks again!
 

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The top number is a Suzuki part number - appears to be 31100-83031 - I looked it up and it is the starter used on quite a few of the SE series vehicles, for example a US market '89 Samurai SE413

Second thing - if banging on the starter get's it working - it suggests that the brushes are worn, if there's an auto electrician on the island, you may be able to have it serviced a lot cheaper than replacing it.
 
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