This Samurai was orphaned at about age 10 when it's owners went thru a messy divorce. One got the title the other the vehicle. It ended up as a beater hunt club truck for about 3 or 4 years. Windshield was busted, pass side wiper hub was busted out. The tires were supporting the body full time. The gas tank was full of rust and water, the Samurai was being run from a 5 gallon gas can in back, but the carb was so full of trash that it still would hardly run. There was also a piece of Chain link fence wraped up tight around the front drive shaft. No top, no lights, Bad carb, bent springs, The truck was used alot to push over trees. The front end was beat all to pieces and the tail gate was bent in at a 45 deg. angle. They were running 31" tires on the stock suspension. The key holder had fallen on hard times and felt like this poor child need a new home. A deal was struck and it was kindly droped of in my hands as an abandoned (basket case) parts vehicle. I beagan with installing a new windshield frame, front clip (with lights and grill), New used tail gate and rear bumper (with lights), New used seats, and a new used carburator, and a new used gas tank. From here I removed the axles and prepared it for a Spring Over Axle 4.5"lift.
This was my 6th Spring Over Lift install. Over the years I have learned a few things, 1. Gusset the axle perches. Weld plates from between the old lower perches and the new upper perches. This helps to maintain the integreity of the thin fragile axle housing.
2. Use longer brake lines. These are easily attainble items from an array of Geo passenger car models. I use Geo metro fronts on the front and either Metro or Storm rears on the rear. The storm ones are extra long, and because they are Geo they match all of the factory clips and holders.
3. Purchase a Steering correction. I would suggest a Z-LINK Steering Correction Systems From Aftermarket industries $100 + core Or a Knuckle Over High steering conversion kit. This kit eleminates bump steer and gives you near factory performance steering angles and feel. But at minium use a Z-Link or Dropped pitman arm. I had Big plans whenI did this SPOA so at this time I also removed the one right bumper mount (left one was not there upon delivery), and relocated the Front axle an inch forward.
This turned out nice and left me with a reasonable trail capable ZOok.
But I was after a little more. I really wanted a ride that would run 35's on the road street legal. It was around this time that a friend and fellow Suzuki Nut was looking to trade me a set of very used 35x16-15 Boggers for a set of almost used up 33x14.50-15 Mickey Thompsons. I quickly put into action a plan as to how I would go about running 35's on the road at legal height and with good highway manners. Once this was accomplished I would then modify the vehicle for off road. I decicded on using a Cal Mini Shackle Reversal Kit (wich also provides a 2" lift). I installed the kit in the drive way at night with basic hand tools in the dark in an hour and a half. I have heard many things about thsi kit, and for a short time had even doubted the marits of Shackle reversal myself. But the EASE of INSTALLATION on road RIDE and steering FEEL and feedback QUALITY have convinced me that this is a VERY worth while investment. I can now let go of the steering wheel while traveling down the hwy at 65mph with 35" boggers and have no fear of the quirky Samurai steeering jerk / auto lane change. I just can't say enough about the improved steering. The only thing I could compare it to would be like adding a track bar, but for about the same price I get a 2" lift and a smoother ride. I did have to go back and purchase a drive shaft slip yoke extension. Again I paid a vist to Sean over at
From Here I had 6.5 inches of lift, which is low compared to other trucks, but this gave me just enough room to clear the 35" Boggers. It's a tight fit and they rub alot, But I am planning on switchingto a 33" tire or doing some sheet metal modification to make them fit.
Next was to cut bind and install a front bumper that will give my Zook a legal height of 28". This New Bumper has my height sitting around 23" But with the bumper being of a custom design they ar erequired to measure from the frame which is now at 26". The rear bumper is factory but it also sits at 26".
Next I did about 5 days of body work before sending it to Macco for a face lift to go along with it's Tuff New look. The Zook returned much nicer than I expected it to. It was so nice in fact that I had to take it over to a friends and show it off, Some how i was convinced to take my newly painted (24 hr old) ride down the local trails thru some nasty sink holes. The only stipulations I made before the run were that my friend provide a Conv Tp Bow since mine was still yet to be reinstalled adn theat he take pictures of it SO I could show my wife what the new paint looked like, as she still had not yet even seen it. Other than excessive tire rub My Zook handled these trails with ease. Next mod was a full front cage. Once you get your little Samurai up this High it's nice to have that little extra security that comes along with a nice ROLL CAGE. I was somewhere in the middle of this cage install that my Zook got called to duty. I had the whole interior out while I was cutting and tacking roll bar tubes into place. I had organized a trail ride, Fully expecting to just Swap the Boggers over to my other Zook.
This Zook known as Has a 1.6 8 valve Geo Tracker Motor with 5.13:1 gear front and rear. With 12" of lift. It's big and it's powerfull but the Steering is funky, (Add-a-leafs & Shackles) and The 3" body lift make it Tippy and also make the T-case shifter more fenicky. I have cut the floor and the shift leaver and now have a reasonable compromise. This Zook has been having Alternator troubles, So I pulled the Alternator and had it professionally rebuilt. This cost me about $65 and took about 3hrs. I got it back looking like new. I quickly installed it and checked everything over, The alternator checked out fine. Later that evening I went out and started up my black Zook only to find my Newly rebuilt Alternator squeeling like a stuck pig and smoking the drive belt in protest. SO It was at this point that I had to Designate the beater as my Next day trail machine. I knew there would be lots of water and mud. I also knew that my unpainted cage would rust to pieces. But time was out so i ran it as is.