November 2015 Rig Of The Month – 1988 Suzuki Samurai

Owner: Kent Wilson of Jackson, Tennessee, USA

November 2015 Rig Of The Month – 1988 Suzuki Samurai
November 6, 2015 Coleman Mcvea

We bought this 1988 Suzuki Samurai last October from a guy I knew in Slayden Mississippi.  It was  “Total Camo”, wheels and all; and it was “bone stock” except for the long homemade shackles.  As I was trailering it home, my wife said to me, “you think you can fix this thing? . . .    LOL!”
It had a 5 speed standard transmission.  So I told the wife, “You are going to have to learn to drive a 5 speed” and she said, “ain’t happening!”  So I “googled” putting an automatic transmission in a Samurai and found some help from Lightning Conversions.   I bought a GM 700R4 transmission from a salvage yard and connected it up to a 4.3L Vortec V6 engine.  You can never have too much power right?  I then connected the transmission to a RF1A Toyota Transfer Case using an Atlas Adapter and sent the power to the axles using CV Drive Shafts, front and rear.    For the rear axle assembly I went with a Ford 9” posi-trac with 3:70 gears, complete with Wilwood disc brakes bought form Moser Engineering.  The front axle was left pretty much stock but I did do a Complete Knuckle Rebuild with parts form Low Range Off-Road and added a Lock Right Locker and RCV axles also from LROR.
We are very pleased with the way it turned out.  I have a vehicle that turns heads, gets thumbs up and often people will say, “how much? I’ll write you a check on the spot!!!”  Many thanks to Low Range Off-Road for their advice, parts and ideas.

1988 Samurai When Complete

1988 Samurai When Complete

Kent Wilson's 1988 Samurai pulling a BIG boat

Kent Wilson’s 1988 Samurai pulling a BIG boat

Kent Wilson's 1988 Samurai Pulling Bass Boat

Kent Wilson’s 1988 Samurai Pulling Bass Boat

4.3L Vortec Engine in the 1988 Samurai

4.3L Vortec Engine in the 1988 Samurai

GM 4.3L Vortec V6 Engine ready to be installed in 88 Samurai

GM 4.3L Vortec V6 Engine ready to be installed in 88 Samurai

Kent Wilson's 1988 Samurai Before Improvements

Kent Wilson’s 1988 Samurai Before Improvements

1988 Samurai When Complete

1988 Samurai When Complete

Nov 2015 Rig of the Month 4.3L Vortec Engine in a 1988 Samurai

Nov 2015 Rig of the Month 4.3L Vortec Engine in a 1988 Samurai

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