1987 Suzuki Samurai JX 1.3 from North America


This car is great


So far I've had to install the transmission shifter bushing, and randomly tighten things that rattle loose and drive me nuts while I'm sitting at an idle.

General Comments:

It's slow. It doesn't bother me much, because it is perfect for zipping around the city.

Interior is a bit spartan. This also makes any kind of tinkering very simple, as spartan equals easy to work on.

You feel every nook and cranny of the road. Strong suspension components, although they don't articulate very much.

No power steering. I love that.

Amazing gas mileage for a 4x4 that you can use as a material hauler if you have to. I play in a rock band, and have a large guitar rig. It all fits no problem, blizzard or not.

Aside from long distance highway travel, this little truck does everything. Groceries, commuting, cruising, off road. And it's easy on your wallet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th March, 2011

1987 Suzuki Samurai JX Tin Top (hardtop) 1.3 from North America


Piece of crap



Carb stopped working, trans grinds, t-case stuck in N, oil leaks from everything, seats tore, engine crankshaft broke in half destroying the motor.

General Comments:

Rolling disaster.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th June, 2010

30th Aug 2010, 21:12

Six words: Bad operator and/or horrible driver.

21st Dec 2010, 08:13

I have an 87 JX and a 88 JA; both have over 250,000 miles on them.

The 87 has never gave me any problems. I just changed the starter at 247,000 miles. Never changed anything else!

Also running the original clutch to this day, no slip, no problems.

Crawls around every other 4WD made in the snow, even the big boy's diesel trucks. I laugh at them.

I bought the truck in 1987 for $2,500 cash in a Pizza Hut parking lot, and it's been the BEST car/truck I have ever owned, and I've owned them all as my father owned a garage.

I will say the O RING at the distributor leaks oil, but an aftermarket O RING can fix that.

Rust in the body... Yes, have never had to line the front end at all.

No big tires, all season radials get me anyplace I have to go, and I have a farm here.

Have drove the dog out of this little truck, and it still keeps going. The sad thing is, I have blown a head gasket between the numbers

3 & 4, but that's no biggie, and I plan on selling one of them this week for $600 cash, to fix up the other on I have here in the yard.

All and all, I'll miss the little truck that NEVER let me down... but I have another to take its place. Again, between the 2 of them, they have ran great with over $500,000 miles on them. Too bad some folks had trouble with them. I did not... But I take care of my stuff. Could be the driver and not the truck. I can't call that one. I can say this thing goes anyplace, and has cost me very little to keep, going all the way to 12-20-2010.

Good luck to you all, and keep the Zuks going. They are an ICON of 4WD trucks. Mine has been great, great, great, and never let me down, and always got me there. They do suck for interstate driving, since the speed limit here in TN is 70mph. I have a hard time keeping up at those speeds, and the wind off a semi can be tricky. but for all our country mountain roads and trails... can't beat my little Zukis.

Be safe and have fun... later Y'all...


3rd Jan 2011, 20:19

I have a 1987 JX Suzuki Samurai. It was stripped and the engine rebuilt. Starter is in, carb is in and distributor. When I try to start the engine, fire comes from the carburetor, some say it's the timing, but I followed every instruction given in setting the timing. To this day I cannot seem to get it started. Any suggestions on the steps I should take to get it up and running?

Comments would be greatly appreciated, I'm desperate.

1st Oct 2011, 12:41

Timing backfires out carb. Carb backfires out exhaust pipe. Could be you have it 180 degrees off in distributor. Make sure you have it on compression stroke.

12th Jun 2012, 19:43

You're maybe 180 degrees off. Use a timing light to check; make sure that the timing mark is in the right place.

30th Jan 2013, 06:04

This is what happens to any vehicle that has been abused.

30th Jan 2013, 22:17

Maybe so, but a vehicle that was cheaply built to begin with (like the Samurai) will deteriorate much more quickly with lack of maintenance.

Suzuki's imminent withdrawal from the North American market will only depress resale values even further.

22nd Dec 2016, 01:25

I have a 1987 Suzuki Samurai JX, and whenever I go around 35 to 40 mph, the steering wheel becomes very unstable. It feels like I can't control the car. Any tips on what to do or check?

23rd Mar 2017, 10:34

You could take the belt back off and take the first spark plug out, put a slim screwdriver on top of the piston, take a wrench, turn the crank shaft till you feel the piston top off, then it will be high sided, put the belt back on and replace the spark plug; it should fire up. You might have to tinker with the distributor to smooth out the idling.