Please help! I have a stock Suzuki Samurai, and I want to make it the ultimate rockcrawling rig but still have it perform reasonably well on the highway. I want to mount 30-inch BFG Mud-Terrains on it. What's the best way to fit these tires? Should I use a suspension lift, a body lift, or cutout fenders with stock springs? I'm not sure I want to hack the body, so if the cutout fenders would be best, what's the second best option?
Have you heard of Calmini Products (Dept. 4WOR, 6600-B McDivitt Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93313, 800/345-3305)? The staff eats, sleeps, and breathes Suzuki stuff. Owner Steve Kramer said that a 3-inch suspension lift will mount 30s nicely. He suggested heavy-duty shackles for rockcrawling, 'cause your stock ones will eventually get mangled.
You said that you want "the ultimate" rockcrawler. The term "ultimate" is pretty subjective. Ultimate for an easy bolt-on buildup of a Samurai might mean a step up to 31- or 32-inch tires using 3 inches or more of suspension lift, plus a 2-inch body lift.
Even with 30s, you may want lower gears in the axles; Calmini recommends 4.56s with the 30s or 5.43s with the 32s. Also consider Calmini's low gearset for the T-case. It reduces the low range from 2.27:1 to 4.16:1, and high range is also a bit lower for on-road power.
Ihave a '71 Jeep CJ-5 with a Buick 225ci V-6 engine. Unfortunately, it doesn't run very well. I was wondering what I can do to improve the ignition system. Does anyone fiddle with these old beasts, or should I change from the points-type distributor to an electronic one? Also, how difficult is it to convert the front Dana 27 axle to the later Dana 30, and is that a good idea?
The Buick mill used in the CJ-5s has an odd-fire design, so named because of the uneven firing order of the cylinders. Even when it is running properly, the engine sorta sounds like a V-8 trying to make up its mind about which cylinders to fire. The uneven design was a result of taking a 300ci Buick V-8 and essentially lopping off the rear two cylinders and rearranging the backside. If you look inside the distributor, you'll see that the rotor tip has a tail on it because even though the contacts on the cap are evenly spaced, the firing pulses need to occur at uneven intervals. You'll also notice on the distributor that the lobes the point block rubs against are a combination of short peaks and long lobes, also needed for the engine to fire properly. This is important because every drop-in electronic ignition we've ever seen has evenly spaced lobes for picking up the firing impulses. As a result, the engine will run poorly and won't rev worth a darn. But there is one worthwhile modification for your engine, which is installing an HEI factory electronic-ignition distributor from a '75-'76 Buick odd-fire 231ci V-6. This distributor interchanges with your standard unit and greatly increases the spark energy and reliability of the ignition system. The larger diameters of the base and cap require grinding down the intake manifold where the right front intake bolt is, and a special button-head bolt from the 231ci engine needs to be used for clearance.
As far as the axle swap, a Dana 30 from a CJ will fit on your rig just fine because the leaf spring spacing is the same as on the Dana 27. You'll need to use larger U-bolts and spring plates since the tube diameter is larger, and the shock mounts will need to be reworked because they will be in the way if you use a disc-brake Dana 30. The driveshaft U-joints are also different, so this would be the time to upgrade to the larger Dana 30 joints to strengthen the driveshaft. Don't forget to match the ratio of the rear axle, which should be either 4.88 or 3.73 for your model year. The brake hoses might also need to be modified.