Stephen's 1986 Suzuki Samurai

Stephen

Who Dares Wins
Supporting Member
Trip Leader
Location
East of Eden
Stephen Nielson, Cottonwood Heights, Utah

1986 Suzuki Samurai JX Hardtop

Engine: G13BA SOHC TBI 1.3L bored .020 over with high compression pistons, Hawk Torquer Cam, Doug Thorley header and Trail Tough high flow 2" exhaust. Trail Tough 'Unbreakable' motor mounts

Transmission: Stock 5-Speed Manual, Trail Tough 'Unbreakable' rear mount

Transfer Case: 4.16:1 GRSI, Trail Tough Mighty Kong mount/skidplate

Front Axle: Stock

Rear Axle: Stock gears, LockRight locker, Trail Tough disc break swap using 1982 Subaru front calipers and Samurai rotors

Suspension: Old Man Emu Dakar 2" lift springs, Petroworks Heavy Duty 3/4" lift shackles

Steering: Sidekick Power Steering

Wheels and Tires: 235/75 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R's on 15" American Racing black steel wheels

Bumpers: Custom (read: cheap) front and rear with LED tail lights

Fuel Tank: Petroworks 15 Gallon with zinc plated skidplate

Interior: 50% of 50/50 split rear seat from a 1991 Samurai SE

Navigation: iPhone 5 w/MotionX-GPS

Communication: Cobra 75 WX ST

Stereo: Broken!

Favorite Trails: Golden Spike, wherever else I get a chance to go!


When my Dad came home with a 1987 Samurai Hardtop way back in 1990 I knew that I wanted one of my own when I came of age. So in 1999 I bought this one and it's been with me ever since. Over the past 10 years it has been through many different suspension setups and engine mods, but about a year ago everything started to just fall apart. I was faced with the decision of either getting rid of it and buying something different or rebuilding it.

Being a person who gets emotionally attached to vehicles I had a really hard time with the thought of getting rid of the Samurai. With the encouragement of my wife, whom I met in large part because of the Samurai, it was decided to embark upon a complete overhaul.

The purpose of the rebuild was to set the Samurai up for my current 4-Wheeling habits, which have changed a lot over the past decade. Before all I really wanted was something that could tackle Moab. I succeeded in that and slowly Moab has lost the allure that it once held. Now I'm more interested in expedition style travel, so that is what I have attempted to build the Samurai for.

What you see here is 85% complete. The entire drivetrain has been rebuilt or upgraded. The only things remaining are completing some body work to repair the rusted out rear inner fenders, DuraBak the rear quarters to match the front, repaint the rest of the vehicle and build integrated steel rocker panels. Beyond that, I would love to get a roof rack and snorkel.

IMG_3320.jpg


IMG_3321.jpg

Rear Disks

IMG_3323.jpg

Suspension

IMG_3322.jpg

Tank and Skidplate

IMG_3326.jpg

Rear Seat. Nice bit of extra space.
 
Last edited:

Mope

Registered User
Location
Pocatello, ID
Good looking zuk.
I wish I had the space, there is a red tintop in the junkyard here that I wouldn't mind fixing up, and building very similair to yours.
 

Stephen

Who Dares Wins
Supporting Member
Trip Leader
Location
East of Eden
and you live in a good area too :D
Only the cool kids live in this area!:cool:

Good looking zuk.
I wish I had the space, there is a red tintop in the junkyard here that I wouldn't mind fixing up, and building very similair to yours.

It has been fun to actually get it done. I've been dreaming of 'finishing' my Samurai for a decade. Of course we all know that it's never 'finished', but I'm much closer to what I want than I ever have been before. I haven't had much of a chance to test it out on long trips yet, just a few over nighters. I really want to see how well I can fit a weeks worth of gear into it and how it handles a couple hundred miles on the dirt. I have confidence, those OME springs are like butter compared to stock. Big thanks to Kurt and Cruiser Outfitters for the hookup on those! In addition Kurt found all the parts that I needed to rebuild my axles, quality Japanese parts too.
 
Last edited:

Stephen

Who Dares Wins
Supporting Member
Trip Leader
Location
East of Eden
i love tintops good lookin sami!

Thanks!

Yeah, I like how solid it looks. Most samis look like they are about to just start coming apart.

I've really striven to build it as solid as possible. My project objective was, "To rebuild and modify with the highest quality parts for the longest durability."
I think that I've succeded with that so far. Once I get those rear quarters patched I'll feel even better about it not looking like it will fall apart! :)
 

Stephen

Who Dares Wins
Supporting Member
Trip Leader
Location
East of Eden
Update

So after nearly two years of this languishing with a gremlin in the EFI system, I finally got it running last night! What it turned out to be was so simple and so stupid that I'm kicking myself. On the top of the valve cover there is what appears to be a vent. Turns out it actually creates some vacuum needed for the ISC. Nothing about it in any manual, AllData, forums. Turns out, it was clogged. After going through all the basics, cleaning all the plugs, checking compression, draining the fuel and filling it with new fuel, ect. for the upteenth time, my Audi Master Tech friend (and Skyline High auto shop teacher) Chris finally wondered what that vent "did". Managed to get it unplugged and voila! Started right up, idled like a champ, and drove without issue!

After basically sitting for two years, it needs some additional tuning and adjustment to run like a top again, but I cannot put into words how exciting this is for me! I've owned this vehicle for nearly 15 years, and it's like having an old friend show back up, buy me a beer and want to catch up on old times. :D

Retro Ramble here we come!
 
Top