with Wayne Flower
The Road to Moab 2002
In 2001 I enjoyed my first Easter Jeep Safari even though I was not in my own vehicle. Instead I joined some good friends and had a great time. While I had been to Moab several times before, this was the first Easter week experience. Wow!
So I have been slowly rebuilding my Samurai after blowing up the VW engine I installed in it. The project makes steady but slow progress. When I realized I wasn't going to be done in time for Moab, I started making plans on taking my Geo Tracker. Not a happy realization, but better then nothing. Then I had a thought.. these usually get me in trouble.
My buddy recently bought another Samurai that he wanted to build up, and he was going to use many of my old parts. My thought was to do him a favor and install all the stuff and test it out for a week or so... I placed the phone call, and I got a quick OK on the plan. Hmm... Now I have the weekend before Moab to build this thing up! Oh and iZook wants you to write it up. Yikes!
Here is what I started out with. A beautiful (very low mileage) late model Samurai complete with metal flares and fuel injection. I'm told this Samurai has maybe 15,000 original miles on it. It was pulled around behind a motor home. One of the best stock samples I have had the honor of driving.
Here are some of the goodies Aaron, the owner, threw in from his garage. Lets see, we have a snow toy, Trail Tough's new t-case mount, a Silver Bullet t-case mount, lots of drive shafts, some tools, etc. Not sure how to use the snow toy, but I pushed ahead.
So what is the plan? Well I have a set of axles set up for Spring Over (SPOA) with lockers front and rear, some steering and the rest of the suspension stuff to throw on the rig, including rear springs for the front. I also have a nice bumper to throw on the front once we cut the mounts for the stock bumper. Did I mention the cup holder? Between the 2 of us, we have enough drive shafts and spacers to build a couple of Zuks.
The problems expected are that this is a late model large flange Samurai without cross over brakes. The donor axles are 86 with small flanges and cross over brakes. The t-case is also a small flange unit. There are a couple of ways to attack this.
1) Change the flanges to large units or
2) just use some small flange drive shafts.
Since all our spare parts and spacers are small flange, this is the approach we will use. As for the brakes, we hope to swap the parts from the stock axle and mount them onto the locked axle while keeping our fingers crossed as we are not sure this will work.
Since I only have about 2 days to throw this thing together, I of course spend half the day cruising around town picking up the vehicle, hitting the local Harbor Freight for some cheap tools, and the local auto parts store to check out tires and get a cup holder. 🙂 (Did I mention I will be driving this thing all the way out to Moab some 725 miles?)
Here Aaron demonstrates our method of removing the brake drum from the axle. After removing the 4 bolts that hold the drum on, we reinstall the tire and put 2 or 3 lug nuts back on, but loose. We then pound the tire against the loose lugs until the drum pops free. Works every time. (One of these days I might make up the correct tool to connect my slide hammer to the lugs.. Yeah right!) We removed the drum to gain access to the brake parts we need to swipe.
Here we see Aaron working on a rear spring bolt, then we realized we don't even need to mess with this thing! Good thing too, because it is rusted solid. (The car used to be an Idaho car, so has some light rust on the underside.) Off to a good start.
With everything disconnected from the axle, we simply drop the rear springs at the shackle, and pull the axle out. Then it is time to reverse the pins on the springs. Here we used a pair of vice grips to keep the spring pack aligned, and then another pair of vise grips on the round head of the pin. Then just hit it with the impact wrench. On cars with light rust, this usually works great. Back east, I understand the pins usually need to be replaced as they are destroyed in the process of removing them, so you might want to have some spares for this before you start. I have always been able to recycle mine.
While Aaron was pulling the pins, I pulled out my old axles and cleaned them up and gave the rear axle a fresh coat of paint. Sure looks nice! I feel the need to plug a new degreaser I recently found, Natures Orange. I have nothing to do with this company, it's just a product I like, and it does a great job without hurting aluminum. I use this stuff on everything now, from heavy degreasing to washing the soft tops.
Here is a shot of the pin now reversed for the Spring Over Axle set up.
Bolting in an old pair of Rancho 9000s onto my old Petroworks upper shock mount. We had a little problem on the drivers side, the stock exhaust went right where the shock needed to go. Since neither of us had ever had stock exhaust on a Zuk, this was a bit of a surprise. So out came the Sawzall, and we cut the old rusty stock exhaust right after the muffler. Now the exhaust blows directly onto the shock. I ended up fabbing up a little metal diverter then pointed the exhaust out towards the wheel, not ideal, but it will do the trick.
Here is the brake line we harvested from the stock axle. The newer axle housing uses bolts for the brake line, and my axle housing uses clips but otherwise the fit was great. To do this mod you need the 2 rigid brake lines, and the slave cylinder from the passenger side (U.S.).
I don't know if other people have a hippo on their work bench, but he helps me out with all kinds of stuff. Here he is keeping an eye out as I bend the old u-bolts a bit to make them easier to reinstall.
I can tell by the hippo's smile that all is good on the bending step. Ready for a little paint. (I only used the stock u-bolt plate as a guide, I used my old Petroworks plates for the installation onto the vehicle. The Petroworks version has a nice Rancho bump stop that should keep the tires from eating those fancy metal flares, or allowing the tires to rise up so much that they make heavy contact with the body and end up busting the driveline.
Here is a closer shot of that single brake line conversion needed for this older axle on a newer vehicle.