Reviving a Derelict Suzuki Samurai

    Sami, You’re Gonna Wreck the Car!

    Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

    Ah yes, the infamous Suzuki Samurai. I’ve wanted one since before I could drive, yet the stars hadn’t aligned to make it happen until recently. I took trade on a well-worn and partially complete 1987 Samurai with lots of good bits and pieces. It currently stands tall, but the plan is to build it into one light, low, and nimble trail rig. Something perfect to be driven to just about any local road or trail.

    The Samurai came with a Sky’s Offroad Design Jeep YJ leaf spring conversion that rests on Toyota axles. The Toyota axles are a common upgrade that we can work with, although in a perfect world the Suzuki would have stock(ish) suspension and axles. The front springs are 2 1/2-inch BDS YJ springs, while the rear seem to be Crown reproduction front YJ springs. The plan right now is to swap the flatter springs up front and do a spring-under conversion with some YJ lift springs in the rear.

    As for the axles, they are both geared at 4.88:1. The front has a Lock-Right and the rear is welded, but nestled in the back of the tub was a milk crate with a Toyota E-locker. Yummy!

    Also in the rig was a full new exhaust system from Trail Tough with MagnaFlow mufflers and a Doug Thorley header, and a rebuilt T-case with TrailGear 6.5:1 low range gears. Also in the deal were some parts to convert the manual steering to power, some fancy tie rods and drag links, brake lines (and a rear disc conversion for the narrowed IFS Toyota 8-inch axle), TJ flares, super-cool 35x10.50/15 take-off BFG race tires, and more.

    The good news is it runs. I need to build a cage, add seats of some sorts, and do a bunch of assembly. The plan is to try to channel a little Tim Hardy, a little Randy Ellis, and more. The first step is to clear a spot in the shop and get to work. Oh, and if you don’t understand this story’s title, google it and watch the video.

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