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Anyone here ever had a Sammie?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 mtsmiths

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:22 PM

In preperation for retirement in Hawaii, I'll want a jeep-like vehicle that gets the best possible gas mileage. I really won't ever need 4WD on Oahu (there's no place to wheel, unless you know someone anyhow). Where our house is is well out of Honolulu, and almost all our driving will be around the local area, to the beach ands the GA aristrip, shopping in the neighborhood, etcetera. Even if we go tooling around Oahu, the traffic and parking make a Samuri a good car for the island. Even the freeway speedlimit is 55mph (not that anyone obeys THAT!).

Unfortunately Subaru just refuses to make a 'Jeep'. I've got 'Barbie' the Tracker-Sidekick in Montana, and like it as a runabout, but don't want to ship it to Hawaii.

It strikes me that Sammies are small displacement, light-weight, and could be lightened even more, including deleting the front drive (if possible). They're pretty polular in Hawaii, but therefore expensive over there. They also rust out quickly if not really, really prepped right and cared for.

Any thoughts?

#2 MorganM

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 08:10 PM

From what you describe I'd only choose a Samurai if you wanted that open cab Jeep feeling but don't want to buy a Jeep. Would not buy it for milage or dependability. They are getting so old that you will have a zipper on it and be constantly maintaining it and they aren't exactly the pinacle of milage.

What about something like a 2000 Chevy Tracker 2door? Much newer, I bet it's better MPG, still a sporty look, and more room to boot. You've driven a Sami right? They are VERY tiny inside.

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Maybe something else like the Suzuki x90 ? Love them or hate them; I think they are a fun little vehicle. Again much newer, better MPG, still fun and sporty.

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I love my Samurai but not for it's MPG or dependability. For all practical purposes it's a 4wd, gutless, matchbox, with lackluster MPG for it's size. I over look all of that because I love the bodystyle, solid axles, solid frame, OK low range for a stock vehicle, and 31" MTs fit with out a lift :)

#3 mtsmiths

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 10:20 AM

MorganM, I have a '95 Tracker/Sidekick, so I'm well familiar with the underpowered ALtoid box syndrome. I can find a 2WD version of the later models pretty easily in Hawaii.

I thought that maybe the earlier Samuri might get better mileage since they're somewhat lighter and smaller engine.

I get 26-27 mpg in 2WD (not good enough), 22-23 in 4WD (which I won't need on Oahu).

#4 Rooinater

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:34 PM

i like my samurai, but it is old enough that it requires a lot of little maintaince. wheel bearings, ujoints, timing belts...... but other than that, i get anwhere between 23-28 mpg, depending on speed limits, how hard i get into the throttle and overall wind conditions... not to mention the disty going bad... but at about 200k miles a lot of this is to be expected. it wanders in the steering a little, but a lot of that has to due with the shackles being up front and 20 year old rubber bushings being worn out. definately better than a jeeps 15mpg...

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#5 mtsmiths

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 07:11 PM

i like my samurai, but it is old enough that it requires a lot of little maintaince. wheel bearings, ujoints, timing belts...... but other than that, i get anwhere between 23-28 mpg, depending on speed limits, how hard i get into the throttle and overall wind conditions... not to mention the disty going bad... but at about 200k miles a lot of this is to be expected. it wanders in the steering a little, but a lot of that has to due with the shackles being up front and 20 year old rubber bushings being worn out. definately better than a jeeps 15mpg...

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Well, that's about what I get in local driving in my Trackick, and it's an auto. I may as well just get a mid 90's 2WD auto tracker in Hawaii and gut it to make it go on a diet ... and be more 'beach friendly'.

Strip the doors, cut them down like an old Jeep and weld em in place, Rip out the entire interior drill large holes in the floor and bedliner the whole interior. Strip out the seats and make up light frames with ventilated webs (a la lawn chair ... we'll never be in it more the 1/2 hour at a time). Rip out the dash and 'climate control system, and just reinstall the instrument cluster. Leave the 'rollover bar' and cut out the connectors to the windshield.

Prolly dump 3-4 hundred lbs overall.

#6 Rooinater

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:22 AM

Well, that's about what I get in local driving in my Trackick, and it's an auto. I may as well just get a mid 90's 2WD auto tracker in Hawaii and gut it to make it go on a diet ... and be more 'beach friendly'.

Strip the doors, cut them down like an old Jeep and weld em in place, Rip out the entire interior drill large holes in the floor and bedliner the whole interior. Strip out the seats and make up light frames with ventilated webs (a la lawn chair ... we'll never be in it more the 1/2 hour at a time). Rip out the dash and 'climate control system, and just reinstall the instrument cluster. Leave the 'rollover bar' and cut out the connectors to the windshield.

Prolly dump 3-4 hundred lbs overall.


as for cutting holes into it... make sure you paint it... things rust out real well in hawaii.

#7 mtsmiths

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 09:31 AM

as for cutting holes into it... make sure you paint it... things rust out real well in hawaii.


Oh well I know, over the years I had two Mazda pickups dissolve under me.

The entire interior will be bedlinered after stripping out. I don't know yet what steel structure there is under the dash, but I hope to remove EVERYTHING aft of the windshield except the steering wheel and a pod for the primary instrument cluster. In the end I want a vehicle that is a new version of the WWII Jeep, but 2WD.

#8 zukiru

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 11:57 PM

man I love the X90

the only reason I don't have one yet is all the 4wds are auto.... blah...

(still may get a rwd one one day)

#9 Slacker

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 02:46 PM

Might be worth checking the local auto classifieds over there. If Sammies are anything like the 80's Toyota 4x4's they want WAAAAAAY too much for them.
Talking 500% over Bluebook expensive. Be cheaper to crate a rust free one over.
And yes they rust like mad over there. I've spent most of my time on Kaui and the big island but the few solid axle Yodas I saw for sale were 5 grand stock, 6 to 8K lifted and locked.

They have some wierd attraction to super wide small mud terrains too,18" wide 28"tall type stuff. I didn't really get it. No sand to drive on and the trails are ATV narrow so wide tires wouldn't help. Here's one from the Hilo side.
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