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Zombie's Samurai

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  • Zombie's Samurai

    Guess some of you guys might like to see this thing progress.

    1988 Suzuki Samurai, Soft top
    1.3 (carbed) SOHC, rated at 63hp

    Won it for $500 from ebay, rented a trailer, borrowed a fullsize truck and fetched it back home.

    Ebay pics, and once I got it home:

    It was rolling on 3 different sized tires, none of them 'correct', and also had a bum transmission. Something internally was broken, causing it to be locked in 2 gears at the same time whenever it was not in neutral. So after a bit of online digging, I found that I could fit up to 235/75 (29in) R15 tires on a stock suspension, so I ordered up some Toyo Open Country A/T's as the truck isn't going to see that many nasty trails that it will need some meaty tires, yet. They are P ratted, weak for a truck, but for now, I don't care. They look decent enough.

    To solve the trans problem, I snagged one off ebay for $200. This got the truck at least moving under its own power:

    Now that I could drive it, I striped the pink 80's graphics.
    Last edited by ZombieSatty; 12-19-2010, 08:36 PM.
    It's not my fault, blame the radiation.

  • #2
    Re: Zombie's Samurai

    I was fortunate enough to come across a local samurai with a blown motor for super cheap. I stole a few things, like a matching set of stock wheels, un-mangled front bumper, and some interior pieces, and most importantly some OEM chrome wheel trim rings. I sold the parts truck for cash + a brand new, black soft top.

    This thing surprised the hell out of me, all I had to do was re-attach the ignition wire at the battery and it cranked fine. After a bit of persuasion with skinny peddle, it caught and fired up. I was having a hard time idling, and would run ok at higher RPM's but not great, it wouldn't really go over 30. Obviously, something was up. During its first oil change, I topped off the empty coolant overflow tank, thinking nothing of it. Once the problem arose, I again checked all fluids, and found it had burned through all the coolant in the bottle and most in radiator. After some trouble shooting I found it to be the intake manifold gasket. With a design similar to the S-cars, there is a coolant passage next to a runner, and it was leaking in there. After replacing the gasket, the thing drives well, for a samurai. Highway speeds are attainable, I can even speed a little!

    The little 1.3 leaks less oil than either of my S-cars, and doesn't seem to burn much at all. I have not had to touch any thing else under the hood besides a new throttle cable to stop it from driving at 40mph by itself. New motor mounts were installed just for fun, and I pulled out the old 'EGR'-type thing out to let the little engine breath better. The exhaust was a cobbled together combo of stock cat section, fence piping and inch round rust holes. It had to go, besides having no muffler, it sounded and looked like ass. I went the high-road and made myself a header back system using crush bent 2in piping and hangers from Autozone. I ditched the (hollow) stock cat housing and added a 26in Glasspack. It's a bit loud, but sounds funky and I like it. A spiffy chrome tip was added just for class. The exhaust did help, as I gained about a few MPG's and about 10mph top end (up to about 80-85mph now flat out, flat road, no wind)

    The truck now proved itself to be daily drivable, and I bummed around for about a year like that. Here is a pic from my first outing in 4 wheel drive:

    Yes I got it stuck, but after lots of loud peddle and some jumping on the back bumper, we got out.

    At some point I decided to try and save the hood as the paint was oxidizing really badly and I could see it begin to rust. I sanded it down and hit it with a couple coats of Rustolieum Flat Black. A few other thin/rusty spots were shot as well, just to get it through its first fall and winter in my possession.

    Last edited by ZombieSatty; 12-19-2010, 06:43 PM.
    It's not my fault, blame the radiation.


    • #3
      Re: Zombie's Samurai

      Finally the time has come to modify my little truck!

      I found a used lift kit on a local-ish Suzuki forum, and combined it with some springs from ebay. The lift is an old Rocky Road Outfitters kit. It allows the use of stock Jeep YJ springs all around. I ended up getting about 3 inches of lift in the end. The new spring configuration also pushes the front/rear axels out towards the ends of the truck by an inch and a half each end. So I got more approach/departure angle and a bit longer wheelbase out of it, a win win.

      wintry stock for reference:

      Lift progress...

      Tear down, and a bit of fresh anti-rust:

      Rear done!

      Lift finished!

      Its rolling again! Now I can get my car back in the garage. Apparently a Samurai takes up 2 spaces when you tear it apart, who knew? Anyway, everything with the lift is done, besides actually putting the nuts to hold the shocks on. I think I would like to get some shorter shocks *gasp* for the rear, I have to lean these all the way over on the aftermarket top mount. Under the bounce test, they don't dampen as much as I would like. This truck, for now, is a 90% street driven rig + junkyard/stuff hauler. With them at such an angle, they could be stiff as hell but they still only travel an inch or two with this mild suspension setup. A long shock with all that length is essentially pointless for me. I do need to do a bit of grinding on the front stock bumpstops, just so the shocks have breathing room as they move around, same with the bolts holding the shock mounts on.

      I also broke out the razor blade and went to town on the windshield seal, managed to get it out in one piece. Didn't even cut myself! Looks like my stupidity for cracking the windshield was a blessing in disguise, I doubt this frame would have lasted through next winter, well not and be salvageable at least.

      Next thing on the list, a Plexiglas windshield, and a bit of the rust will be properly addressed.

      Somewhere around this time I wanted to add a little more attitude to go with my lift. I pulled some hood louvers out of a '90's Chevy Lumina Z34. They are cast steel, and there are even little plastic grates with rain catchers that mount underneath. Once I decided on location/orientation of the louvers holes were cut in the hood. After a bit more grinding the hood for clearance, the louvers fit just fine. This isn't a show truck, it gets driven and beaten, they are not perfect, but I would say 90%.

      As you can see, the louvers were originally dark purple. That just would not do. So I had them powder coated flat black to match the hood. They came out extremely nice! Unfortunately, I guess I haven't take a decent picture of them.
      Last edited by ZombieSatty; 12-19-2010, 07:56 PM.
      It's not my fault, blame the radiation.


      • #4
        Re: Zombie's Samurai

        Looks like a very nice truck to play around with.


        • #5
          Re: Zombie's Samurai

          I wanted one of those for so long


          • #6
            Re: Zombie's Samurai

            I hope you painted that front bumper while you had it off!

            For a piece of shit, you definitely put some nice work into it. Keep it up.
            -2002 Saturn SC2 - Clean, slow, low daily
            -2008 Saab 9-7x Aero
            -1996 Suzuki Bandit 750 swapped
            -1998 VW Golf GTI VR6 Mid Engine LeMons car
            -1986 RX7 - 275whp @ 10psi


            • #7
              Re: Zombie's Samurai

              i have always loved these little trucks.
              Why did you sink Atlantis, why!? innocent people!..
              Oderus of gwar:
              Because I needed to usher in the era of the RAILLLROADDDDD


              • #8
                Re: Zombie's Samurai

                Thanks guys.

                Na, I am not going to paint the bumper, its just the sheet metal (read, thinner than the body panels) stocker that I will make some brackets to bolt it on so it pleases the law. I will be getting a nice beefy off-roady one made out of .25in+ steel with tow points and maybe even a winch at some point. Same with the rear, I want to be able to push stuff around and not worry about it. I only have 60 horses, but they can move allot in 4lo.

                Truck is kinda stationary for the moment, waiting on my plexiglass windshield, a carb venturi tube thing, and the dragon to be past. I got the new subaru master cylinder bolted in and was about to begin to blead the brakes, but one turn of a wrench later and the bleeder snapped off in a rear drum. OH well, guess its time for rear disc conversion...I'm thinking I may make some Scar rear discs work, so I don't have to mess with a driveline-mounted Ebrake like most of the aftermarket conversion kits do.
                It's not my fault, blame the radiation.


                • #9
                  Re: Zombie's Samurai

                  small updates:

                  Plexiglas windshield installed, along with major rust patched/painted on the windshield frame.

                  Really freaking clear! I only scratched it twice putting it in, but they are nearly hidden by the seal/gasket thing.

                  Will be ordering brake kit this winter is coming fast. I hope I can get it done in time to at least drive it with the top down and not freeze.
                  Last edited by ZombieSatty; 12-19-2010, 07:10 PM.
                  It's not my fault, blame the radiation.


                  • #10
                    Re: Zombie's Samurai

                    Looking good. Now go SOA with some 33s.


                    • #11
                      Re: Zombie's Samurai

                      Ha, um no, thanks though.
                      It's not my fault, blame the radiation.


                      • #12
                        Re: Zombie's Samurai

                        Yeah that things pretty cool. I'd rock it.

                        Nice work!
                        - Nate

                        2001 SL2m - Just about everything BUT the boost. High comp./N20 motor on the way.
                        2000 SW2a - Newest member to the fold. .04 factory overbore.
                        1998 Chevrolet 1500 Heavy 1/2 Ton. - Overweight, underpowered, bored .04


                        • #13
                          Re: Zombie's Samurai

                          Looks good man. I had two 87s over the years. I had to sell my second one in 2001 when I relocated to Oregon. It had 35k miles and I sold it for $6000 I believe they were 8k new lol . The only spot that had rust was behind the badges that are behind the door. If you pushed on them you heard crunch. The engines are so easy to work on remove rebuild. My first one is still around town with a rotary in it.


                          • #14
                            Re: Zombie's Samurai

                            so i have seen a few guys around here flip the axle to the bottom side of the springs for a cheap lift. anything wrong with that?
                            Bunch of stuff done to all my cars.


                            • #15
                              Re: Zombie's Samurai

                              I saw a guy do a 4G63 Swap into one of those. Lil Bastard would run over or through anything and with the short wheel base it was hard to get it stuck. I never saw him get it stuck.
                              2006 Evolution 9 GSR - Misc boltons - Electric Blue - SSL
                              1991 Miata MX-5 - Misx boltons - AutoX/Week warrior car
                              2001 SC1a - Silver - Sunroof - Daily.


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