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Thread: Samurai engine swap or build?

  1. #1
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    Samurai engine swap or build?

    I have a 94 samurai with 6.5 T-case gears and 31x12.5 SSR swampers. It has like 119k on it and is low on power, it's a sami I know they all are. My question is for a daily driver looking to gain cruising speed and power would you swap in an 8 valve 1.6 or keep the 1.3 and add some power adders? I was thinking along the lines of header, cam, maybe a rebuild with high performance parts. I am keeping the fuel injection either way and would rather not deal with the wiring issues of the 16 valve but would consider it if it is that much better.

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  3. #2
    Under Construction Stephen's Avatar
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    I just got done swapping a 1.3L EFI into my '86 tin top. Rebuilt it with .020 over high compression pistons, a torquer cam from Hawk, Doug Thorley Header and a high flow 2" exhaust. To be quite honest with you, the power gain was negligible over my old Weber carbed engine. I didn't really do it for the power, mostly for the benefits of having EFI on the trail.
    The cheapest and easiest way to go for more power is with the 1.6L swap. If you are planning on keeping the 1.3 TBI, then you should be able to swap in the 1.6 long block without having to worry about any wiring issues. You will have clearance issues with the oil pan unless you are already SOA.

  4. #3
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    Agreed. You can do quite a bit to a 1.3, and still not have the power a stock 1.6 does. I basically did to my 1.6 8valve what stephen did to his 1.3. Night and day difference between it and the 1.3 I had that had decent compression.

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    That was along my same thinking. There were some people out there that claimed better cruising power with the 1.3 but it seems like a much bigger investment. I am looking for the biggest bang for the buck and it sounds like a 1.6 with a cam and header and I should be in business. It is spoa already and has 2 inch flowmaster exhaust. I am thinking I will search for a track/kick with power steering and buy the whole thing then part it out. Anyone running sidekick power steering? Is it worth doing?

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    I'm running it on 33's and it has worked really well for me. My wife will drive the sami now. If I was on the phone, I used to have to tell them "hang on a sec while I park". Now it's one handed.
    I know that 33's is about the max to have it work decently. If ya start to go bigger than that, I'd look into the toyota stuff.

  7. #6
    Under Construction Stephen's Avatar
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    I'm running Sidekick power steering, its awesome. Course I'm only running 235/75's. Like Mope said, anything over about 33" tires and you will really strain the Sidekick setup.

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    Thanks for the info it's always nice to hear from someone who is not just trying to sell something. I am planning on staying in the 31-32" range on tires better just keep running the 31's they are pretty much new still and will probably last forever. Any good places to look for cheap trackers/sidekicks?

  9. #8
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    I picked up my complete setup (box, pump, lines) from the local cemetery in town for 30 bucks.

  10. #9
    Under Construction Stephen's Avatar
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    Any self service salvage yard usually has a few Sidekicks/Trackers. You can pick up the whole power steering setup for ~$30. If you are planning on going the 1.6 route, you won't need any special mounting hardware either. As for the engine, you can usually pick up the long block for under $200. Check out Trail Tough or Petroworks for mounting kits.

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    I am guessing a self serve salvage yard for the long blocks? or should I be looking somewhere else? I need the starter as well right? Thanks

  12. #11
    Under Construction Stephen's Avatar
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    Yeah, self service yards for everything. You can buy a complete long block from Petroworks, but it's spendy.
    Yes, grab the starter as well. Pretty much anything that is bolted to the engine you will want. Look to Hawk Suzuki Parts for your rebuild kit. Good stuff.

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    Thanks again

  14. #13
    I went the 1.6 8 valve route. I had the isky cam, doug thorley header etc. Kept my 1.3 intake etc because I wanted to not deal with the hassle to swap my propane setup.
    Buggy in regression

  15. #14
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    With my 1.6, I had to raise the power steering bracket up a bit. The trackkicks have a wider frame. With the narrower frame of the samurai, I think I raised mine about an inch or so. It was quick with a welder.

    Also, if you plan on keeping the sami tranny, I have an adapter with the special bolts that bolts the 1.6 to a sami tranny. It will be available in 4-5 weeks if your interested.

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    I was/am planning of keeping the sami trans, the gear ratio is about perfect for my current setup. Let me know on the adapter when you get ready, PM me or something. I am in no hurry. Still have to find a good motor and all, and money to do it. Did you have to change motor mounts also, for the 1.6? Thanks

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