The Hunting Rig

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    The Hunting Rig

    It all started a couple years ago, when my dad was planning a trip out west to go elk hunting. He wanted a SxS like everybody else has, but didn't want to fork out $5k+ for something... I told him he needed a suzuki samurai or tracker to make a wannabe SxS, and it would even be street legal! I think the option of a heater and radio are what really sold him though. Well, there's not much around here which isn't completely rusted out, so that idea wasn't really going so well.


    Then one day during lunch break, a coworker who's always cruising CL just randomly says, "Hey, here's a suzuki samurai for sale, you probably want one of those?" And I was like, yes, actually I do! The CL ad pictures weren't great, and you could tell it had been hacked up a bit, but the rust didn't seem too bad. Said engine ran on spray, but wouldn't stay running. For $1000 with a clean title, it didn't seem like a bad deal. Didn't think it would last too long at that price, so forwarded the info to my dad, and gave him a list of things to inspect on it, where to look for rust, etc. (he's not a mechanic) The next morning he checks it out while I'm at work, he was the first one to contact the seller, but allegedly there was much interest in it... This was at a small used car lot. So I get the phone report that this thing is really solid, hardly any rust, complete, yada yada. I tell him if it's really that rust free and solid, buy it! So here it is as bought, the seller even delivered it on a flatbed.

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    First thing to look at was the non-running issue. There was a new fuel pump installed, but it would only run if you filled the carb with gas. After looking at the fuel pump a bit closer something looked off, so removed it and found that the lifter rod was installed wrong. Put it back together correctly and it fired and was running on the nasty old gas in the tank. Had a slow leak on the return line, but she was a runner! That was when the real fun started. Let me just say, I will never trust my dad's rust judgement again...


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    #2
    hell yea. in.

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      #3
      Was the SOA done in acceptable manner? How’d they address steering?

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        #4
        Originally posted by JR4X View Post
        Was the SOA done in acceptable manner?
        Absolutely not. Need to finish compiling the pics and updating things, it's back on the road now.

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          #5
          Since it was running at that point, we decided to do nothing with it for a couple months, because procrastination always helps.

          With the hunting trip about four months out, work finally began on the old sami. I knew this thing was going to be worse than anticipated the moment I saw it in person, but the couple months it had to sit around and shed plastic trim panels kept revealing more rot. This was never going to be a show truck, so wasn't overly concerned, but it did need to at least pass inspection.

          Started tearing stuff apart to see how bad the rust was and assess the suspension and drivelines. The original plan was to keep it pretty much the way it was and replace any parts necessary for reliability. It sat a bit higher than I would have preferred, but that wasn't a big deal. It looked cool at least.

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          I started to realize the reasons these rigs are so light, the sheet metal is paper thin.

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          When the hard top came off so did most of the tub rail...

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            #6
            Had to quit prodding with the screwdriver after a while, things were getting depressing...

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            Seller was nice enough to include the sawed off cat.

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            The engine and emissions system was surprisingly unmolested for an ohio vehicle. (no inspections) Couple tweaks to the timing and the engine seemed happy enough. Threw in a new $44.99 Rural King special battery.

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            It came with with this janky "winch bumper" that had apparently been used as a tow point, because 3 out of the 4 bolts holding it had ripped through the frame. But it was better than no bumper, so it was going to stay. Came close to cutting off the winch plate though.

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              #7
              One of the biggest problems however, was the radio. It's mounting tabs were fouled and wouldn't stay in place. One of the speakers was blown too, so replaced it with a stocker from my '88 f150.


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              Went treasure hunting in the glove box,


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              Stash of random stickers.

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                #8
                I have that things twin sitting in my driveway. Needs a clutch, etc.

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                  #9
                  Forgot to finish updating this thread.

                  Some shots of the suspension, and more rust.

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                    #10
                    Started ripping everything apart to address the majority of the rust. This was never going to be a restoration, so most repairs were done just enough to make it a solid driver.

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                    Here you can see the drop steering, made from only the highest quality angle iron.

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                    Used some angle to rebuild the tub lip.

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                      #11
                      Fuel tank vent line and return line were rusted through, but didn't want to buy a new tank. Soldered things back together than hit it with a layer of JB weld for good measure. Everything either got painted or covered with grease before reassembly.

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                      Sending unit wasn't working, but after cleaning it came back to life.

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                        #12
                        While taking off the driveshafts I noticed that the pinion seal on at leas one of the axles had been leaking. Upon closer inspection, both axles had play in the pinion shafts... Wasn't planning on it, but add rebuilding the diffs to the list. Also got spartan lockers for both axles.

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                        Not sure what this poor sami went through in a previous life, but both from axle shafts have a slight twist in the splines while being in reverse. We just went with the theory that the splines are now work hardened, and therefore just fine and dandy to keep on using.

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                        Attached Files

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                          #13
                          Ended up getting a Trail Gear high steer setup.

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                          As for the suspension, thought about doing the YJ spring swap, but that was going add a bit more height than wanted. Stock springs with the SOA was a good level, and took it down a bit compared to the lift springs that were in it.

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                          Might have been some Tiger Hair involved here...

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                            #14
                            Carb needed a rebuild kit for a new accelerator pump, but was salvageable.

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                            Made some rocker panels from 1/8" bar.

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                            Really wanted to put a set of buckshot mudders on it, but ended up getting some import pro comp knockoffs for $300 off ebay with one of their sales. 30x9.50-R15

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                              #15
                              Around that point my dad had one major concern on how the build was going. He was convinced that he needed one of those fancy LED light bars, cause that's what the professionals have... Also switched to a soft top to save weight. Lots of the normal stuff also happened, all new brake and fuel lines, u joints, etc.

                              The 1.3L is no power house, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it runs. Still have the factory gearing, and with the 30" tires it can actually pull 5th gear on the highway.

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                              So the Polaris ranger wouldn't fit into the enclosed trailer behind it, but the samurai did.

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