Not really “on-topic”, but we’ve just bought a new toy and thought we would share it with everyone since I know a number of our friends on here have these.
After driving across Salisbury Plain army training range last weekend, and especially after seeing the guys in the old Austen Champ open-top Jeep an idea formed in Sally’s mind – “Why don’t we get a jeep – something we can play with off road.” Sally also worked out the cost of her current horse riding, which added up to quite a lot per year, and admitted she was tired of the whole horse thing.
So that evening it was on the Internet. I knew the most sensible thing to buy would be a Suzuki 4x4 of some kind, but wanted something more genuinely ‘off-road’ than either a Vitara or the newer ‘Gimny’ (don’t know what these are called in other countries). There were plenty of heavily modified ones that had clearly lived a hard life, then we found a nice ’92 model on eBay. Some last minute (well, last 20 seconds actually) cunning bidding and it was ours.
Just got back from picking it up. 6-hour round trip, but did the last half on back roads with the top down – fantastic:
The 1.3 engine has been replaced with a 1.6 engine from a Vitara and it drives very nicely with the increase in power and torque.
Someone has jacked the suspension up slightly. Just enough so it looks more purposeful and has slightly better ground clearance, but not so much as to look silly and handle badly.
There is also a small winch and decent winch bumper / bull bar – a proper one rather than the ones commonly fitted to the Suzuki just for show.
The previous owner also left some of his old socks in the back – not quite as keen on that ‘accessory’ though.
I need to look at the transmission. The gear change is really nice, but it is very noisy. May be the rear differential. Plus the speedometer stopped working half way home.
I don’t think my truck is up to towing this as a toad with the camper on, but if going to a 4x4 event we could take both vehicles in convoy, so we can camp in the truck camper, and drive the Suzuki separately.
Next sally wants a snorkel to add to it.
'07 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab diesel + '91 Shadow Cruiser - Sky Cruiser 1
'98 Jeep TJ 4.0
'15 Ford Fiesta ST
'10 Citroen DS3 1.6 turbo
Awesome! I remember when those Samurais came out in '86 or '87. I always wanted one but never did buy one. They're really great vehicles for both off roading and daily transportation. Too bad nobody makes anything like it anymore. The one you got looks really cherry. Hope you have lots of fun with it!
Have an 88 model myself. really like it and it always amazes the jeep guys that it keeps up with them and goes some places they can't! Nice engine upgrade, now for tires, lockers, transfer case gears, axle shafts.... :-)
Here in Australia, you can still buy a Suzuki Jimny, for around $19,990.
I have been thinking of buying new white Jimny as my toad.
I've just checked - they are still selling the Jimny in Britain as well. There was a time in the '90s when there were loads of Suzuki SJs and Vitaras and many other 4x4s on Britain's roads, but they were almost all bought because it was fashionable then. Interestingly you don't see many serious 4x4s over here now because the manufacturers realised that what people wanted was something that drove like a car, looked tough and had 4x4 for the 3 days a year when it snows here. So all these crossover vehicles have taken over.
Driving this it really shows that it is fundamentally a '40s design and reminds me of how older military vehicles feel to drive (old Land Rovers, my old GMC duece and a half, etc.). I drove Sally's little Fiat Panda last night - it feels like a luxury or sports car in comparison to the Suzuki in terms of ride, refinement and handling.
Those little Samurai's are great fun!!! I owned 2. One of the first ones to come out and another fuel injected one in later years. I would buy another today but sadly the are discontinued. At least in the US.
I love it, I had one for a couple of weeks as a loaner for my Daytona that was getting repaired from a crash. The one loaned to me was a 88' I believe and although it was lacking in power it more than made up for it in fun, congrats on the new toy. I am surprised that they don't have more of a cult following over here, or maybe they do and I am just not aware of it.
I've been through and checked / changed the oils today. Gearbox and transfer box oils good, but on the axles I had to use a gas blowtorch to heat the surrounding metal before the filler plugs would shift. Needless to say the oil in there was pretty nasty - not being able to shift the plugs the previous owner clearly hand't bothered changing the axle oil. So that has now been changed.
The drive / prop shafts don't seem to have the full range of grease nipples I would expect on a Land Rover for examples. I've greased those that are there, but I think there is some play and therefore wear in the UJs of the shaft that goes from the gearbox to the transfer box, and that is probably where the noise is coming from.
Also changed the engine oil - that looked just as bad and again I had to use a blowtorch to heat the sump before the plug would come out.
Took the winch apart. Freed up the clutch, but then found the motor had seized. The magnets had de-laminated from the motor housing and stuck themselves to the rotor, and one had broken. So I guess it will be new winch time. The Suzuki weighs so little and we aren't going to do extreme offroading, so I'll probably get a cheap 3000 lb winch (though from a known brand rather than an unknown Chinese brand).
Had a great drive in the country today with the top down. No-where near us where we can try it offroad, but so many of the roads around us are really narrow (like the ones you often see in my trip reports) and it was great fun zooming around them in the Suzuki. The bigger engine really makes it great to drive. I don't think I have needed to go over 3000 RPM yet. Its a bit like driving an old Willys Jeep - change up a gear and it just surges away from 1200 RPM.
Unfortunately I am away on business for the week now, so no change to play with it until next weekend. Just hope the weather holds. Just in case I have put the soft top back on (that isn't a 5 minute job is it?).