1986 Suzuki Samurai JLX 1.3 from North America


The best, least expensive to repair, funnest vehicle I have ever owned


Driver's side window regulator had to be replaced.

Currently the rear wheel bearings, one of them, is going, so will be replacing both.

Fuel pump gave up.

General Comments:

For years I have talked about getting a Samurai, as they looked like they would be fun. Put it off over and over. We ended up adopting our grand kids, so the dirt bike went away and I got a quad. Was fine at first, then the kids all wanted to go. Now is the time to get that Samurai.

I got mine from a father/son team who started to work on this one, but a screaming deal on a Dodge diesel came along, so they sold this to me for $2500. In the back were 4 large boxes with brand new rims. It has the 6.1-1 transfer case, aluminum radiator, secondary electric fan, 3 inch suspension, and 2 inches of body lift (can drop in a fuel injected motor that way).

Since I got it, I put on new 30x10.50-15 tires, and a roof rack as there is obviously not enough room inside for an ice chest and 3 kids. I have also put on a 2 inch Magnaflow exhaust. It has the stock motor, stock carb, and does fantastic. Lots of times I don't even need to kick in the 4 wheel drive, as it does not have enough power to spin the tires, so it just continues to climb. When I do put it in 4 wheel drive, it goes wherever I have pointed it.

I know that 56 mph on the speedometer is actually 65 according to my wife's Yaris. No I have not taken the speedometer apart yet to adjust the accuracy of the speed. A great feature of the Samurai. Being off, I still record 23-27 MPG depending on the time of the year. Methanol in the gas kills my mileage. It is faster than a 67 VW bus, slower than everything else, but I always get there, just not in a hurry. It's small, but huge on the fun.

Mine is the tin top, but the next one will be the convertible. My 5 year old daughter says it is hers when she finally gets to drive, so I guess I am keeping this one for a while.

I have passed 3 smog tests with no problem, kept the stock carb. It rides like it has a 3/4 ton suspension. It shifts nice and smooth, and is one of, no it is, the funnest vehicle I have ever had. If you get a chance to own one, do so, you won't be disappointed.

I did not know that mine had split tip spark plugs. The fuel pump gave out. Dragged it home, fuel lines were empty. New fuel pump, new fuel filter, $53 dollars later and it was pushing fuel but not starting. Ran the plugs dry and they burnt. I now know why they don't make them any more. A complete tune-up was in order, why not. Runs like a top again.

Now I have one of the rear wheel bearings going out, so will replace both of them. Found an easy way to get the axles out without pulling the tires off. Cut the bearings off, press in the new bearings and spacer, and she will be good to go.

With gas prices dropping it will cost me around $21 to fill from a quarter tank. Much better than my full size diesel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 31st October, 2014

1986 Suzuki Samurai JX 1.3L gas engine from North America




Speedometer cable went out at 131,040 miles.

Clutch cable went out at 131,050 miles.

Transmission shifter bolt and bushing went out at roughly 131,050.

Right rear wheel bearing is on its way out.

Replaced the soft top with a new one.

Cracked windshield.

Body rust.

General Comments:

I would have to say this is one of the best vehicles I have owned, although it is not the most comfortable ride in the world. I don't really drive it in town that much, so for me it's not an issue. It has never failed me (other than running out of gas once). I will admit these vehicles are a bit bouncy on dirt roads, but nothing really bad.

I bought my Samurai on the 4th of July 2009 for the sum of $450, needing some work, but it ran and drove well. To be honest, it still is a work in progress, but still fires right up with a couple of pumps of the throttle and a turn of the key.

This car will always have a home with me, and will never be sold off. Probably not the best vehicle for daily driving on the interstate, but could be used for such use if you wanted. At any rate, I would definitely suggest a Samurai to anyone wanting something cheaper than a Jeep, or if just want something different than the normal Jeep's, Toyota's etc...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2012