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Old 04-03-2003, 12:03 PM   #1
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Unhappy My Suzuki Samurai dropped into gear while being towed

Hi people!

Been a long time since I have had quality time to post here. Been selling my company...and trying to get a life outside of working!

Anyway, has anyone had this happen to them?

I was towing my 88 Suzuki Samurai at about 50mph on a busy freeway and the whole coach started juddering and being pulled, sort of slowed down. My first thought was a flat tire on the Suzuki. I stopped as soon as I could which was about 2 miles away and found out that the 4-wheel drive gear shift had somehow dropped into 4-wheel low from the neutral position.

The main gear shift was in 2nd (as recommended by Suzuki) and the front wheels were in freewheel. So what had happened I guess is that the engine suddenly got revved to 7000rpm by the back wheels.

So I pushed the 4 wheel drive shift back into neutral and got off the freeway as soon as I could. The Suzuki wouldn't start at first but after a few turnovers it coughed into life. Now there was a clanking sound as soon as it ran - sounded like a bend rod or similar. After 30 secs the clanking sound stopped and it turned over normally. Now when I revved it a little the engine sounds "knocky" a bit like a diesel. I carefully kept the revs down and tried shifting into gear. All worked fine, the transmission seems ok. But when it is revved a little the clanking sound is there. Also now I get blue smoke out of the exhaust and white smoke (steam?) as well.

So I need to figure out what might be.

I wonder if I have a blown head gasket and a pusher rod or two bent? I am surprised the transmission seems ok (hard to really tell as I can't drive it properly) but it is a robust little car with an off road beefed up gearbox.

Any thoughts on my next step gratefully received!

The Suzuki has only driven 35,000 miles under its own steam and is such a reliable little thing I am loath to junk it.

How much will a rebuilt engine cost? I wonder...

Best to all

Will Henshall
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Old 04-03-2003, 01:33 PM   #2
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2nd gear in low.......Uhhh time for a motor. off the top of my head.

2nd gear low Ring and pinion.
2.75 x 3 x 4.10 = 33.825 on the gears. (i'm guessing at the ratio of 2nd and low on the case.

Use that as the gear ratio Here and since we figured the total gear ratio just plug that into rear end gear ratio estimated tire hight of 27 inches if it's stock. Since we know 3rd gear would be 1:1.




Have a seat........ If the tires were not dragging it would be turning roughly 21,594

Just a weeeeeeeeeeebit past redline.
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Old 04-03-2003, 05:32 PM   #3
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Ouch!

Hi Will,

I would not waste much time with this engine. Pull off the head and take look at the upper cylinder walls and the valves - you can then also see if it has bent valves etc. You will have to do this first to see if anything is salvageable.
If it's a push rod engine, then you can check the pushrods by rolling them on a glass surface and watching for out of round signs.
If it is a overhead cam engine, then perhaps the timing belt took damage and slipped the cam out of time - which might explain a knocking noise that's gotten better over a short time ( valves bent out of the way by the moving piston)
The Samurai fortunately has a strong following in off road circles because of it's small size and great capability. It should be easy to find a replacement engine for it, rebuilt, new, or used. I vote for replacement, because once an engine has taken trauma like yours, there's no telling what will break next.
Best wishes!
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:18 AM   #4
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There are a few companies who import used engines from Japan. They toss thier cars a lot earlier over there so lower milage engines are more plentiful. I bought a used motor for my Toyota pickup from one of these people when I was in college and it was cheap..... long time ago though- I cant remember where, but there are places online:
http://www.cjee.com/suzuki.htm
has a samuri motor for your year for $895
as does
http://www.importengines.com/
and
http://www.nippon-motors.com/suzuki.htm
lists one at $650

That last one is in California , so they would prolly be more informed about smog issues.

I just did a google search for
"suzuki used japanese engines "
It may be better to buy a rebuilt, but you can probaly save some money this way

-Andrew
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:11 PM   #5
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Poor little Suzuki. I wonder how long it tried to keep up with your mh. Reminds me of yet another one of the National Lampoon Chevy Chase vacation movies when they left their dog tied to the rear of their station wagon.

I have used the Japanese engine sources before and would definitely look into getting one but am not sure about the emission issues in Ca. You may have to pull most of that off of your old engine and also be sure that it will bolt on to the Japanese version, they are sometimes a bit different. I think I would rather have both the tranny and transfer case in neutral but maybe the tranny needs to be in gear for proper lubrication.

(Note to self: Suzuki Samurais not suitable for use as an engine brake)

Chas
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by amfab
There are a few companies who import used engines from Japan. They toss thier cars a lot earlier over there so lower milage engines are more plentiful. I bought a used motor for my Toyota pickup from one of these people when I was in college and it was cheap..... long time ago though- I cant remember where, but there are places online:
http://www.cjee.com/suzuki.htm
has a samuri motor for your year for $895
as does
http://www.importengines.com/
and
http://www.nippon-motors.com/suzuki.htm
lists one at $650

That last one is in California , so they would prolly be more informed about smog issues.

I just did a google search for
"suzuki used japanese engines "
It may be better to buy a rebuilt, but you can probaly save some money this way

-Andrew
I have also gone this route on a engine for My Supra. On the toyota engines It's not a big deal and it's just a matter of swapping the intake over to get the US emmisions to work. Japan does not require a EGR is the big thing. On the Toyota the head was the same and it just had a block off plate on the Japan motor. Just had to bolt on the Exhaust routing plate from the old motor and the intake and it works fine.


William:

Since you live in the Republik of Kalifornia I would double check with the smog nazi's. I know thats the strictest palce on the face of the earth. It's possible that they will run the SN# off the block and even if it passes the sniffer they might make you jump through hoops to get it past if that motor comes up as not a US motor.
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:55 PM   #7
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The Smog Check system in California does not cross check engine numbers, thank God. They do check for presence and function of all applicable systems, though. The cut off is 30years or older, I believe. So it's usually just a matter of swapping all the smog stuff over to the new engine, and makig sure all the vacuum lines are connected the right way. This is where digital cameras come in handy........
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Old 04-04-2003, 01:49 PM   #8
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Will

Bummer on the riceburner. If the amount of white smoke indicates a definite headgasket problem -- or worse (just a few miles of driving while carefully watching the radiator water level will confirm this) it might be worth your while to do a pressure check on the cylinders to determine which cylinder is giving you problems prior to pulling the head for further assessment.

Given the minimum number of miles you drive it (good for you), the unknowns of a "used" engine, and the high labor cost involved in changing an engine out, you may well be better off repairing any damage to the existing engine -- you may get many years of toad service out of it for not much more than the cost of a head job.

Just an option.
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Old 04-04-2003, 03:25 PM   #9
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Cool Thanks for all replies...

Well I had a look at the engine and then had a 2nd opinion from a local trusted engine shop...

It's oficially toasted. And the tranny looks shot too.

I got quoted 1600 for a replacement fitted Japanese sourced engine and 300 to rebuild the tranny.

As the vehicle is only worth around 1500...

Looks like I might be getting a scooter

Again many thanks for all replies. Much appreciated!

WIll
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Old 04-04-2003, 04:25 PM   #10
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Re: Thanks for all replies...

Quote:
Originally posted by williamhenshall
Well I had a look at the engine and then had a 2nd opinion from a local trusted engine shop...

It's oficially toasted. And the tranny looks shot too.

I got quoted 1600 for a replacement fitted Japanese sourced engine and 300 to rebuild the tranny.

As the vehicle is only worth around 1500...

Looks like I might be getting a scooter

Again many thanks for all replies. Much appreciated!

WIll
Scooter would be cool!
I have a 1957 Sears Allstate (Vespa with sears badge) that I need to get a magneto for. Trying to figure out how I can bring it along with a burb pulling a trailer.

BTW..Thanks for posting all the floor pictures. I'm about to do the same and it was very helpfull to see what I was in for.
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Old 04-05-2003, 01:56 PM   #11
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Rebuilding your floor...

>>BTW..Thanks for posting all the floor pictures. I'm about to do the same and it was very helpfull to see what I was in for.

Man you gotta think carefully about doing this!

I would *never* take a new floor on again. There are still enough trailers out there that have solid floors and can be rebuilt from a good basic structure to not have to do this.

It took me 6 months of all my spare time (I am reasonably good with my hands, not professional but can figure out most stuff) and cost me about 4 grand over all without including my time.

There are several serious gotcha's such as getting the wobbly 400lb skin to fit on the new floor and finding out that the trailers need to have a certain amount of flexibility on the floor platform overall - it took us about 4 weeks to get the skin back on even when the new floor was done...I used the wrong thickness skin for the new belly pan (bad advice from someone in a well known trailer supplies store - he doesn't work there anymore) so the overall circumference of the floor edge had increased about an inch and like a new pair of pants it just wouldn't go on.

I also overpaid for the trailer in the first place as I thought that as it had a virtually perfect outer skin it would be worth doing.

Now when I look at the trailer it really looks amazing, so I did get a result, but at what cost!

This year for my Burning Man art event my buddy and I will be making the trailer remotely drivable with an electric front wheel and a radio remote control, so we can drive it around the Black Rock desert on its own without a tow vehicle. I will do a series of pictures of how it goes!

Best

Will
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Old 04-05-2003, 02:06 PM   #12
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William you are scaring me.....

see my question:
http://www.airforums.com/forum...&threadid=4144
-Andrew
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Old 04-05-2003, 02:39 PM   #13
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Scary stuff...

Heh, I stand by what I wrote!

There is HUGE difference once you take the shell off, all of a sudden just like you can't be a "little bit pregnant", you are committed.

The floor hold the entire structural integrity of the trailer together. As soon as the shell is off you have this incredibly delicate super wobbly 400lb very valuable shell to not damage.

If I did mine again I would simply reinforce the floor that was there. I would use wooden boat repair techniques such as a combination of epoxy and additional strengthening under neath the bad sections.

Boat hulls have WAY more need for solid and leakproof strength than trailers do, and they are repaired like this all the time.

Using the epoxy is not pleasant - you need to handle it properly and then make sure the trailer can be aired out for what may be a couple of months before thefumes go away....

But it will still be 1/10th of the work of replacing the floor in my view.

Good luck with it!

Will
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Old 04-05-2003, 03:23 PM   #14
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William:

Thanks for the warning. I know I'm in for a lot of work. There is sentimental value with this particular camper so I'm commited to making it viable. It was my wife's Fathers since 1980.

I have a couple day's off next week and plan to pull the interrior out where I know I have a floor problem that replacement is the only way to fix it. It's completely rotten under the bath area. I'll also be pulling up the carpet as well and pulling out the goucho. Then I can make a finnal assesment if I need to pull the body. I know my Father-in-law has done some floor repair in the past. It seems like there may be a 3/8's layer of ply over the original floor. The question is if there is some hidden damage under that.

I have a few things going for me that will be a big help. The biggest being a friend with one of the best set up shops you have ever seen. It puts a lot of auto repair places to shame. He has not one but two post car lifts. One is outside and he has already said I could tie it up for a short while and use it to lift the body. Two healthy Mig welders there as well if I find any problems with the frame that needs to be addressed. I plan to take at least a week off that will be nothing but work on the camper time and I also have plenty of good friends that I can get to help. I'll have the interrior stripped well before that week so I will only be addressing just the floor at that point if I find that is what I have to do to make the camper right for the next 40+ years.

I read about some of the issues others had with the belly pan. I think it was Phil/Sue who measured the thickness and said it was .028 that was the correct thickenss. Thanks for the heads up on that and the amount of problems you had with the wrong thickenss.

Sorry for the loss of the sami. Neat little trucks.

Maybe one day I'll get adventerious and head out to Burning Man. After see a few of your pictures I did go to a few sites including www.burningman.com Looks like a bunch of fun. I dig the art cars! those are great! The dragon was awsome as was the shark cars.

As for your motorized hitch. I have seen a advertisement for something thats on the market that might be the ticket. It's not remote control but might be a good start as it's already geared for the job. Has a handle on it so you would be able to walk with it in tow. You have to control the direction. It would sort of be a power pallet jack. Just don't know how it would work with the sand.
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