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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just got a rough Samurai from a buddy and it has some... quirks... that I wanted to see if anyone could give me some pointers on.

First - It has no front shocks installed. I have them and the shock mounts that were CUT OFF (!). I plan to weld the mounts back on and re-install the shocks unless there is an easer suggestion.

Second - It has a SPOA lift, but doesn't have the drop pitman arm. Instead, a steering rod looks to have just been bent up to the pitman arm. Do I need the drop pitman and a new steering rod?

Is it safe to say these two issues would be causing a violent wobble when driving? It doesn't seem to always happen, but when it starts, I have to stop the vehicle to get it to stop. Then I can go again and usually will be fine, unless it starts bouncing again. It just seems like the front end just gets unstable and wobbles/bounces and the steering wheel shakes along with it. (Epic bump steer?) It seems extremely dangerous/unsafe.

Any help is greatly appreciated as this is my first vehicle project and is already seeming a bit daunting to me. :(

Thanks!

Pic of the steering:

 

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I just got a rough Samurai from a buddy and it has some... quirks... that I wanted to see if anyone could give me some pointers on.

First - It has no front shocks installed. I have them and the shock mounts that were CUT OFF (!). I plan to weld the mounts back on and re-install the shocks unless there is an easer suggestion.

Second - It has a SPOA lift, but doesn't have the drop pitman arm. Instead, a steering rod looks to have just been bent up to the pitman arm. Do I need the drop pitman and a new steering rod?

Is it safe to say these two issues would be causing a violent wobble when driving? It doesn't seem to always happen, but when it starts, I have to stop the vehicle to get it to stop. Then I can go again and usually will be fine, unless it starts bouncing again. It just seems like the front end just gets unstable and wobbles/bounces and the steering wheel shakes along with it. (Epic bump steer?) It seems extremely dangerous/unsafe.

Any help is greatly appreciated as this is my first vehicle project and is already seeming a bit daunting to me. :(

Thanks!

Pic of the steering:






Your SPOA is close to what I did to mine. You can get the drop pitman if you want but a Z-link style steering arm gives ample clearace to prevent bump steer. I have yet to build my Z-link and only have minimal issues with just stock steering but my lift is not quite as high as yours. As for the shocks, they need to be put back on and I bet your wobbles will go away a bunch! You do not have a steering stablizer. This will make a difference too. Also the bushings in your entire front end including spring eyes and steering components could contribute to your wobbles. As I take another look at your pic I see a bent tie rod and is your axle straight? Perhaps this Zuki is of the rare flying breed and has taken one or two hard landings! Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the respons nmluckduck!

When you say I have no steering stabilizer, you mean I am missing one? (newb, I am.) Any links, pics, etc greatly appreciated! :D Where to buy even...

It's possible the picture is misleading making the axle not look straight because of that bent steering arm. I'll get another pic soon of that.

Gah, I hope I'm not in over my head.

Is this basically what I need to replace? http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1988-Suzuki-Samurai-Steering-Link-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem2ea7291114QQitemZ200372982036QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories#ht_500wt_956

This Sammi isn't going to be seeing much off-road. I'm trying to make it street legal, first and foremost. :)
 

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x2 on everything luckyduck said. The axel may not be bent, but he's suggesting checking it to be sure since your rod is bent. The steering stabbilizer is a shock that mounts horizontally to your steering so bumps don't jar and jerk the linkage and pull the wheel out of your hands.

My shocks are shot and I removed them to put replacements on. But I still am deciding which shock to go with. I needed to drive my rig a few miles so I went without my front shocks. I have really stiff 5" lift springs and my suspension is spring UNDER axel with shackle reverse. I didn't notice a HUGE difference in shock absorption, but it did loosen the sideways movement of the axle and it definitely amplified any bumpsteer that I may have had before. (didn't notice it before, but it probably was much more subtle with the shocks on)

I also noticed You're springs are super flat. They look like they may even be bent inverted arch. Might be a good time to do a RUF or YJ spring swap. At the very least, put some newer stock springs on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Awesome, thanks guys. Damn this site is helpful!

How might one check to see if the axle is straight?

I am planning on getting new leafs down the road once I know I can get this thing to a certain level (street legal). They buddy I got it from said the guy _he_ got it from purposely bent the steering rod to make it work with the lift. At this point, should I just go ahead and order new/used STRAIGHT steering rods (like the ebay link in my previous post?)

Thanks so much. :D
 

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Your springs do look a bit saggy but that is quite normal for stock springs, I would put new springs lower on the priority list if I where you. The only way I know to check your axle is to go to an alignment shop. Maybe someone else on the forum can help you more there. As for the Ebay link you posted, the tie rod is definately what you need but I would look at Rocky Road Outfitters for a new Z-Link steering rod.(the one that goes up to the pitman arm) If you intend to mostly drive on the street The soft stock springs should be adaquate and I would definately not do anything radical like shackle reverse or wrangler conversions. A lot of time and money put into off road mods that do nothing for street ride or fuel mileage. The longer springs of the wrangler give more flex for off road. they do soften ride a bit on the road but only if you get soft springs and you already have those. Anyway, just a few thoughts, my humble opinion.
 

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You just want to make sure there is some arch in them so that you have some up travel on your suspension. You don't need a huge amount, but even 2 or 3 inches is better than zero. If the guy bent the tie-rod on purpose you should ask why. I can see why the steering link is bent (home brew z-link), but I can't see a reason for bending the tie-rod. Make sure to get some answers before you buy anything. He may have done some custom stuff to it that we can't see in the pictures and you may need to do something else for the tierod.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You just want to make sure there is some arch in them so that you have some up travel on your suspension. You don't need a huge amount, but even 2 or 3 inches is better than zero. If the guy bent the tie-rod on purpose you should ask why. I can see why the steering link is bent (home brew z-link), but I can't see a reason for bending the tie-rod. Make sure to get some answers before you buy anything. He may have done some custom stuff to it that we can't see in the pictures and you may need to do something else for the tierod.
I can't get in contact with the original owner (only the family friend I bought from and he doesn't have the answers). Are there any other pics I could provide to see if he did something custom?

Is the Z-Bar Eliminator kit the cheapest out there? ($289). I came across this thanks to a suggestion on one of my other threads: Sky OTS Cross Over / Histeer Kit - Steering - 86-95 Samurai - Suzuki but the whole kit is $359!
 

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You should fit some shocks, fit the steering sabiliser and check the front steering geometry, if the angle of the axle is wrong then you will get steering problems. Also check for play in the wheel bearings and kingpins.
 

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I don't know of any inexpensive high steer solutions. The Zbar is the cheapest way to go, and if you don't have a whole lot of travel then you won't have sever bump steer with it. Some shocks will also lessen any bump steer. A steering stabalizer will lessen the jerking of the wheel when you do hit bumps so it's easier to hold it steady.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cool thanks! I still have yet to put the front shocks on (and the mounts), so I will do that first and see how it goes. Appreciate all the info Baratacus and Rhinoman! :D
 

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If you can fab then the Mercedes steering arm is the cheapest hi-steer conversion. You should be able to find some information if you Google for it.
 

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You have no sway bar either... I had horrible wobble... redid my shocks when i just a shackle lift on it and replaced all the bushings to include my sway bar. didn't touch the stearing damperer yet... but the wobble is gone now... try new shocks and or atleast bushings and sway bar...
 
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