I've come across countless Suzuki Samurais over the years and am typically impressed with how these little buggies perform on the trail. Often even the stocker rigs seem to have enough gusto to make it through the trickier obstacles it seems, but with a factory 2.268:1 T-case Low ratio, Samurais still suffer a great deal where a lower-geared rig would not. Many manufacturers produce replacement transfer case gearsets for Samurais, but with its latest incarnation of Low-gear kits, Calmini's Ultra-Low 6.5:1 DL Rockcrawler gearset is one of the lowest available.
Manufactured in the USA from SAE 8620 alloy, the new gears in Calmini's 6.5:1 gearset are designed to exceed factory tolerances. The kit includes four completely new gears, as well as a new input shaft and counter gear shaft, counter shaft bearings, new gaskets, thrust washers, and an O-ring. In some instances it may be required to grind out a portion of the center case half for proper counter gear clearance, but otherwise installation of the Calmini 6.5:1 gear kit is no more difficult than rebuilding the transfer case. Adding to the allure, a stock Samurai with the 6.5:1 Calmini gears in place produces a whopping 88.54:1 crawl ratio, which is significantly more effective on the trail than the 30.89:1 crawl ratio offered by the stock T-case gearing. If 6.5:1 is too low for your taste, Calmini also produces Samurai gearsets in 4.16:1 and 5.14:1 ratios.
For the installation of the Calmini transfer case gears, I shot up just north of Los Angeles to JC Fab & Design in Sylmar, California. Once there, shop owner Jim Cox and installer Daniel Villegas went about removing the transfer case from the vehicle and disassembling the factory components. Jim and his crew made quick work of the installation and had the case with new gears back under the rig in a half day's time. Check out the photos for the play-by-play, and to see how easy it is to make your Sami a super-Low crawler.