1986 Suzuki Samurai Reviews - Page 2 of 2

1986 Suzuki Samurai JX 1.3 liter 4-cylinder from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.3 liter 4-cylinder Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance0 miles

Summary:

Cheap 4x4, third only to the Jeep CJ and Toyota FJ-40

Faults:

The original engine lasted 235,000 miles until the oil pump broke. That was the only thing that went wrong, everything else was original. Since then, I have completely rebuilt the engine and replaced all of the accessories (starter, alternator, carb, etc.)

General Comments:

I can highly recommend a Samurai as your off-road toy. You CANNOT get this truck stuck! If you roll it, you can tip it back over and keep on going (this happened).

I would not recommend it as a daily driver, however, because the engine is extremely anaemic, and it is not comfortable, especially having a soft-top.

Highway use is definitely out of the question, you are lucky to pull 65 on a straight-away without wind. Passing and merging is a dangerous act and will most likely get you honked at or brighted.

However, out on the rocks, it is surpassed in capability only by the Jeep CJ/"Wrangler" and the Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser.

My dad had the Samurai before me, and it never left him stranded until the oil pump went out. It probably broke because he rarely changed the oil.

My current vehicle is a '74 Cherokee, and if that didn't suck up all my money, I would definitely be towing the Samurai wherever I went.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th December, 2002

1986 Suzuki Samurai JX 1.3L from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.3L Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired115000 miles
Most recent distance136000 miles

Summary:

More power than you'd think, but not a whole lot. Good gas mileage, great for off-road

Faults:

Replaced a starter solenoid and alternator after going though a river - not a great idea when it's up to your doors.

Didn't have 1 fender flare. Got a new one.

Pervious owner tipped it over. Some body work needed.

General Comments:

Been a damn fine little car. My 1986 Samurai - (The Dust Devil) - has 136000 miles with 50000 of them from towing. For the price and gas mileage, it's a damn fine car and I recommend it to you for four-wheeling and any off-road stuff.

Planning on putting a 3" lift on it sometime this year and a 3.5L Montero engine in the next year or so. When that's done it'll be bad ass.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2001

23rd Mar 2004, 10:19

3" lift???!!! You need at least a 6". I wouldn't want to get in an accident with it. I paid only $50 for mine. The transfer case was stuck in neutral only. Suzuki needs to keep building this thing, just put a bigger motor on it.

1986 Suzuki Samurai 1.3 4 cylinder carburated from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.3 4 cylinder carburated Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.7 / 10
Distance when acquired130000 miles
Most recent distance131000 miles
Previous carFord Bronco II

Summary:

The optimum outdoors car

Faults:

Clutch is almost dead.

Sloppy shifter.

Sloppy U-joints - understandable with what I do to it.

Bad rod knock - solved with 20w 50 racing oil.

A/C doesn't work - damn...

Blew a couple of tires so far.

I don't forsee much of a future for the current brakes.

The exhaust got ripped from underneith the car.

I don't have a top for it, and our other Samurai with a top has a bee's nest in it - hate that.

General Comments:

The Samurai wasn't really made for performance.. It was made to go where no other SUV or Multipurpose vehicle could go, and it does this well. I have a Samurai I drive at the 100 acre junk yard I work for.

My shift pin is broken, too. I don't regularly have a passenger, and this is the only time the sloppy shifter bugs me (I will hit them in the knee when shifting gears). I kinda prefer the shift being sloppy like that, I've got long legs and if the shifter was good, I would be hitting myself in the knee - this way it is kinda out of the way.

As for the enormous lack of power and unbelievably small clutch, I have read that Buick 3.8's fit nicely in these - surf the net for Samurai hop-ups. Another nice thing about these that makes me wanna get one, is the ease of modification to the car and the ease of installing a killer sound system that WILL be heard. I also like the styling of this car, it looks cool from the front and back.

But what I REALLY like about this car is the fact that I can go where no one else can go, who enters the yard.. My tracks amaze everyone. It can fit between cars where no one else's car can. It doesn't need a road. And it doesn't need all four wheels on the ground to keep moving, I know this 1st hand. Some places I go in the yard include me never having all four wheels on the ground, and it teeters all over the place on 3 wheels, but keeps moving forward. It's even kinda humorous.. It has working no e-brake, you see, so sometimes when I leave it running it will roll away on me - everyone calls it "antichrist" thinking of the movie "the gods must be crazy". One of the guys who I work with told me that he was going to use my winch and dangle the thing from a tree!

All in all, I want one of these for myself and I want to put in a Tracker engine or a Buick 3.8 or a Ford 1.9. I can't wait till I have money to throw at a project like this.. Oh I can't wait to have one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2001

1986 Suzuki Samurai SJ410 WV Estate 1.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.0 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired85000 miles
Most recent distance109000 miles

Summary:

A very poor mans Discovery, but great fun and cheaper to run

Faults:

Ive just had a recon engine fitted as it would cost too much to repair. Valve stem oil seals, piston rings and a rebore were just some of the problems that needed to be addressed. The last four months it's been running on three cylinders as oil has been wetting the plugs so bad one of them wouldn't spark at all, but it has never failed to start and always got me the 25 miles to and from work without a fuss, but it drank more oil than an army of bubbles.

Last week the alternator packed up and the clutch was replaced, With the engine, the clutch cable needs replacing as does the engine mounting rubbers and one rear bump stop. There's also a whinning from the transfer case or gear box but at this sort of mileage things will be showing their age a bit.

General Comments:

As with all Jap cars spares are a rip off, the recon engine was £520 fitted, a Ford would be £300, as with the alternator, £80 fitted as oppossed to about £40 for a recon Ford, the only good point was the clutch £76 fitted as the engine was out but the trusty old Ford would still leave you with a few bob in your sky.

But the SJ's hold their money a lot better and are reliable beyond belief even when treated like a Korean dog.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th July, 2000

1986 Suzuki Samurai 413 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1986
Engine and transmission 1.3 petrol
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10

Faults:

After 116,000 miles, the EGR valve burnt a hole in itself. Fixed better than new with a bit of epoxy.

General Comments:

If you take care of this vehicle, it will last 200,000 miles.

Its got a small engine, but a big heart.

You gotta love the feel of the road; No grand-pa's here.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd February, 1998

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 7 reviews