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Samurai pros and cons

JeepOnDecision

TJ Enthusiast
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Nov 5, 2019
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429
Location
Erie, PA
My son is looking at a Sammy.
Anything I should know to guide him one way or another?
Thanks.

 
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AMS417

"The Ayatollah of rock and rolla"
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Apr 13, 2020
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Springfield MO

freedom_in_4low

Sacred Order of the Coil Spring
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Sep 26, 2019
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Edmond, OK
They're narrow enough that normal sized bucket seats from an American vehicle will actually touch in the middle.

Seems like it would be fun to wheel but miserable if you have to drive highway to get there. I think there are a few relatively easy engine swaps options.
 

InOmaha

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Sep 26, 2019
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Omaha
I had a Weber 32/36 on my Mazda B2000 (2.0 L) about the same HP and a 5 spd. It got around okay. 20 mpg city or highway, which was odd.

I think it might have a little too much lift to ride comfortably. It looks top heavy with that narrow body. But thats easy enough to fix.
 

InOmaha

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Sep 26, 2019
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Omaha
If it's stable, keep it as is. But it would be easy to change the height if it's not.

I had a Suzuki Grand Vitara the kids drove to high school. The biggest problem you may have is Suzuki stopped selling cars in the US. So parts may get more rare over time.

It does say the odometer rolled over, so I'm assuming it has 187,000 on it.
 

Wildman

Over Analyzer Extraordinaire...............
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I had one that was pretty built. It had a spring over & Sidekick diffs with 5.13 gear and and Rock Lobster t-case. The engine had 10:1 pistons and Doug Thorley header & Weber carb. And LocRite lockers in both axles.

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As already noted they are a narrow track rig and you can't drive them like a sports car. There is a lot of support still out there for them.
 

Peppergat

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Jul 24, 2022
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68
Location
Northeast Texas
I’ve had a few of them including a tin top over the years. I did total one in an accident that I was lucky to have not been more seriously injured in. Driver seat pulled out of the mount , it was wild. I always liked them and , they are easy to work on and modify to your liking. 12 years ago they sure were a lot cheaper then they are now.
I saw once where someone posted that driving a samurai was like riding a donkey , it’s really fun till some sees you. Lol
 
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NskLJ

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Oct 19, 2021
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721
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Long Beach
I had one they are small inside, great little off-road vehicle. It would go anywhere! I had spring over lift on 31’s (largest tire feasible on stock axles) .The transfer case is unique it the you can change a gear to change the final drive ratio, cheaper than two ring and pinion swaps. I added much needed sidekick power steering, easy junkyard parts and building brackets.The downside in comifornia the smog started to be an issue. I changed the cat and had to rebuild the carb (total pia) and got it to squeak by. I started Looking at doing a motor swap from the sidekick but at the time a doner sidekick was around $2500 that and the kit for the swap would of put me at $3500. I sold and picked up the LJ. Parts are available for mods, but emission parts could be troublesome.
 

Wildman

Over Analyzer Extraordinaire...............
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In the hills of WA
I had the Samurai's little brother when I was stationed in Germany, the SJ410 which only has a 860cc engine and use to joke with buddies that you could get bigger engines on a motorcycle.

You aren't gunna win any races but I always had a blast driving mine.
And yes as has been pointed out it's close to the original Jeep which is why it works so good. I had to rebuild the engine in mine and was able to pull it by hand and then set it back in.
 
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TJ Jim

TJ Enthusiast
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Feb 12, 2021
Messages
718
Location
Tennessee
I drove mine from Norfolk Virginia to Alameda California and back to middle Tennessee. Would only go about 65mph downhill and uphill about fifty. Might be good to slow a young person down. It was a blast off-road!
 

Gilaguy23

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Messages
387
Location
A'holeville
Great little rigs, easy to work on and mod. Be aware of soft trans gears which take out he bearings eventually. The rebuild kit I used on mine came with sealed bearings which I thought was screwy being their bathed in oil. Regear the T case for slower than walking speed crawling and a small lift and your good to go. They dont have much power so if you live in a windy place and he plans on doing highway speeds the headwind will get ya. Check out Petro works for sammy goodies.