Questions or comments?Write to us at 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legally Lifting SamuraisQ: I own an '88 Suzuki Samurai that I'm trying to build into a decent woods runner, but I'm not having much luck finding any articles on buildups that don't involve rock climbing. What I'm looking for are tech articles on lifting my Samurai to be functional yet street-legal. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy seeing all the radical rigs made for extreme terrain such as rockcrawling because they are very capable and very inventive, but that kind of tech doesn't help me with my buildup. Most of my driving/off-roading is going to be mud/sand/hard-packed woods roads. Legally, in the state of New Jersey, I can't do a spring-over-axle conversion or a shackle flip because it would be changing the suspension configuration from the factory, so I'm confused and don't know what my options are (if any) as to what I can and can't do to lift my Samurai (other than body lifts) to be able to fit 32- or 33-inch tires underneath. I respect the opinions of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazine because this is the only magazine that deals with compact SUVs and their performance. Would it be possible to see some articles on Samurai mud-runners and Samurai tech articles for the non-rockcrawler scene? Thanks for your time and consideration and for putting out a world-class magazine.Greg Emickvia e-mail
A: Greg, we're with you on simply wanting a capable, woods-ready vehicle. As rockcrawling becomes more and more extreme, so do the vehicles and the associated modifications. Luckily, it's pretty easy and not too terribly expensive to outfit a semi-stock vehicle such as your Samurai with the components needed to conquer the terrain you desire. You mentioned wanting to fit 32- to 33-inch tires, which, by the way, are pretty tall for the Sami. Most kits available from the aftermarket indicate this as the appropriate size for the lifts offered, with a few calling for 33s. Calmini Manufacturing, (800) 345-3305, www.puresuzuki.com, Trail Tough (877) SUZUKIS (789-8547), www.trailtough.com, and Petroworks, (800) 952-8915, www.petroworks.com, all offer mild to extreme suspension kits and can provide more detailed advice regarding lift options. You are right that most kits offered involve either shackle reversals or spring-over-axle conversions. Check with the United Four Wheel Drive Association at www.ufwda.org for information about lift laws in your region.
More AdventuresQ: Thank you! At last, an article applicable to stock sport utility vehicles. I loved the "Exploring Dark Canyon" article in your April '02 issue. Articles like this are the reason I have been a long time subscriber, but I had not seen one in much too long. Because of the lack of articles like this, I had decided to let my subscription lapse when it next comes due. More articles like this will change my mind and keep me sending money to you. The reason I drive a 4x4 (stock Nissan Xterra) is to carry me and my camping gear into places like the ones described in this article. May I suggest you publish things like this at least every other month? Once again, this article makes me say, please sir, may I have more?Ray EubanksSan Diego
A: Ray, we try our best to create the most balanced magazine possible. However, some issues do end up more tech or non-adventure heavy. This is usually a result of how much time we have to get out to events and trails. Don't get us wrong, we love attending and covering events of all types. It's just that we also need to produce articles that will be interesting to our readers who enjoy the technical end of things. As it is, we try to offer at least one adventure or scenic trail story per issue. We're pleased that you've decided to stick out another year and to continue sending us money (checks payable to Christian Lee are appreciated). Hopefully we'll provide all that you're looking for in a 4x4 magazine.