More Aluminum Samurai Episodes

More '85 Suzuki Samurai Episodes

Xtreme 4x4 Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Centerforce
Centerforce, Custom Built Clutch Per Vehicle Specifications
Daystar Products International, Inc.
Hood Pins, Torsion Pin Style, Steel, Natural, Kit
Grease Car
1985-1994 Volkswagen Jetta 1.6/1.9L Greasecar Kit
Russell Performance
Fitting, Hose End, Full Flow, Swivel, 90 Degree, -6 AN Hose to Female -6 AN, Aluminum, Red/Blue, Each
Russell Performance
Hose, ProFlex, Braided Stainless Steel, -6 AN, 6 ft. Length, Each
U-POL
Raptor Bed Liner Kit, black

Episode Transcript

(ANNOUNCER)>> IT MAY BE 95 PERCENT AFTERMARKET, BUT OUR ALUMINUM TUB SUZUKI IS STILL A SAMURAI AT HEART. TODAY ON XTREME 4X4 IAN, CHRIS, AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF ZUKERS TAKE ON THE ZUWAHRRIE TRAIL RIDE. WE'LL FIND OUT JUST HOW TOUGH THESE LITTLE RIGS ARE.

(IAN)>> WELL TODAY IS FINALLY THE DAY. I KNOW WE'VE LOOKED FORWARD TO IT AND I'M SURE YOU GUYS HAVE TOO. THE COMPLETE REBUILD OF OUR ALUMIZUK IS FINISHED. NOW IT'S TIME FOR FINAL ASSEMBLY. NOW THIS IS NOT THE POINT WHERE YOU WANT TO DROP THE BALL. WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME PAYING ATTENTION TO A LOT OF THE DETAILS. WE'VE GOT THIS BEAUTIFULLY BLACKED OUT FIREWALL HERE THAT'S GONNA HAVE A LOT OF USED PARTS PUT ON IT. NOW'S THE TIME TO CLEAN THEM, MAKE THEM LOOK AS GOOD AS THE REST OF THE TRUCK.

(CHRIS)>> AND JUST BECAUSE PARTS LIKE OUR TRANSMISSION AND TRANSFER CASE ARE GOING UP UNDERNEATH THE TRUCK DOESN'T MEAN THEY'LL GET NEGLECTED. A LITTLE CLEANING AND A LITTLE PAINT AND WE'LL HAVE THEM LOOKING AS GOOD AS NEW.

(IAN)>> ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PARTS OF OUR ZUK WAS ALWAYS THE FACT THAT THE DIESEL ENGINE STARTED ON DIESEL AND THEN SWITCHED OVER TO WASTE VEGETABLE OIL. AND WE DID THAT WITH A GREASE CAR KIT. WE INSTALLED, HONESTLY, PRETTY QUICK. JUST GOT THE RIG RUNNING AND OUT ON THE TRAIL, AND WE ENDED UP WITH KIND OF A HODGE PODGE OF RUBBER LINE, A/N FITTINGS, JUST A BUNCH OF EXTRA STUFF. NOW WE NEED TO BREAK THIS KIT DOWN, SET IT UP SO IT HAS TO LOOK LIKE IT WAS INSTALLED ON THAT FIREWALL FROM THE FACTORY.

WE'LL MOUNT THE SOLENOIDS ON THE DRIVER'S SIDE OF THE FIREWALL, THE SAME SIDE AS THE INJECTION PUMP ON THE ENGINE.

THE FILTER, WE'LL PUT IT ON THE PASSENGER'S SIDE. THAT'S THE SIDE OF THE FRAME THAT THE FUEL LINE WILL BE COMING UP FROM THE TANK. OUR GREASE CAR KIT CAME TO US WITH THESE SMALL BRASS FITTINGS AND A BUNCH OF QUARTER INCH FUEL HOSE. NOW IF YOU GUYS REMEMBER HOW THIS SYSTEM WORKS, IT'S ACTUALLY PRETTY SIMPLE. THE TWO SOLENOIDS ON THE FIREWALL CONTROL BOTH THE FEED AND THE RETURN LINE COMING FROM THE ENGINE. THEY'LL JUST SWITCH BACK AND FORTH AND FEED OUR ENGINE EITHER DIESEL FUEL OR WASTE VEGETABLE OIL. I PULLED ALL THE FITTINGS OUT OF THE SOLENOIDS AND REPLACED THEM WITH THESE RUSSELL FULL FLOW A/N ADAPTERS. THAT MEANS WE CAN RUN SOME A/N FUEL LINE. WE'RE GONNA RUN DASH SIX CLOTH BRAIDED LINE AND STAINLESS STEEL FULL FLOW HOSE ENDS. NOW BY RUNNING THE DASH SIX LINE WE'VE ACTUALLY INCREASED THE SIZE OF THE FUEL LINE COMING TO THE ENGINE. EACH DASH IN THESE LINES REPRESENTS A SIXTEENTH OF AN INCH. SO THIS LINE IS SIXSIXTEENTHS BIG, OR THREEEIGHTHS OF AN INCH. THAT WILL HELP US BUILD A LITTLE BIT MORE POWER. THE CLOTH BRAIDED HOSE IS EASILY CUT USING A CUT OFF WHEEL. AND AFTER IT'S CLEAN, THE NEW FITTINGS SIMPLY THREAD IN.

BEFORE WE DROP THIS ENGINE BACK INTO THE CHASSIS, WE NEED TO CHANGE TWO THINGS. THE FIRST HAS TO DO WITH THE CLUTCH. NOW THE KIT THAT WE'VE GOT TO ADAPT THIS DIESEL ENGINE TO OUR STOCK SUZUKI TRANSMISSION USES A FACTORY SAMURAI CLUTCH. NOW THAT WAS FIND THE FIRST COUPLE OF TIMES WE TOOK THE RIG OUT, BUT THEN WHEN WE PUT THIS NEW INJECTION PUMP ON HERE AND HAD A LOT MORE POWER WE HAD A PROBLEM. WE TRIED A COUPLE OF STEEP HILL CLIMBS WITH THE RIG AND WE ACTUALLY FOUND THAT NO MATTER WHAT GEAR WE CHOSE, WE JUST ENDED UP DRIVING THROUGH THE CLUTCH, IT STARTED TO SLIP. THAT WAS BECAUSE OF THE EXTRA POWER UNDERNEATH THE HOOD. SO WE CALLED THE GUYS AT CENTERFORCE AND EXPLAINED TO THEM OUR PROBLEM, AND THE PUT TOGETHER A CUSTOM CLUTCH PACKAGE JUST FOR OUR RIG. IT STARTED WITH ONE OF THEIR HEAVY DUTY SAMURAI PRESSURE PLATES. THEN ADDED SOME EXTRA WEIGHTS ONTO THE PRESSURE PLATE. THESE WILL COME INTO PLAY WHEN YOU REV THE ENGINE UP. THE WEIGHTS WERE MOVED OUT ON THE PRESSURE PLATE BECAUSE OF CENTRIFUGAL FORCE AND GIVE US EVEN MORE CLAMP POWER ON OUR CLUTCH DISCS. NOW THAT CLUTCH DISC IS ONE OF THEIR SPECIAL DUAL FRICTION DISCS. IT'S DESIGNED TO HOLD A LOT HARDER. AND BECAUSE OF THE GAPS IN THE FRICTION DISC WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT SLIDING ON THE PRESSURE PLATE OR THE FLYWHEEL. AT THE SAME TIME THEY ADDED THESE HEAVY DUTY TORSION SPRINGS BECAUSE A DIESEL ENGINE TENDS TO HAVE MORE RAPID IDLE, AND AS YOU REV IT UP THE TORSION SPRINGS WILL JUST HELP ELIMINATE THAT AND REMOVE ANY CLUTCH CHATTER. ONCE WE HAVE THIS INSTALLED IN OUR ENGINE WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DRIVING THROUGH THIS ANYTIME ON THE TRAIL.

(ANNOUNCER)>> WHEN ARIEL DONAS INVITED A SAMURAI FAN FROM NEW JERSEY, TO GO WHEELING WITH HIM IN COSTA RICA, HE NEVER FIGURED THEY'D END UP IN NORTH CAROLINA, STICK AROUND!

(IAN)>> WE'RE BACK ON XTREME AND IN THE FINAL ASSEMBLY STAGES OF OUR ALUMIZUK PROJECT, A VEHICLE THAT WE HAVE REBUILT A NUMBER OF TIMES. BUT THIS TIME WE'RE TAKING IT OVER THE TOP.

(CHRIS)>> NOW IT'S OFFICIALLY STILL A SAMURAI.

(IAN)>> OUR AUTOMETER GAUGES FIT PERFECTLY WHERE THE HEATING VENTS WERE ON OUR DASH. IN PLACE OF THE STOCK GAUGE CLUSTER WE'LL PUT A CUSTOM PLATE AND OUR THREE STAR CONTROL PACK. THE SUSPENSION SEATS ARE MOUNTED DIRECTLY TO OUR ROLL CAGE FOR SAFETY. WE'LL INSTALL THEM INTO THE CAGE BEFORE PUTTING IT INTO THE TUB BECAUSE IT'S A LOT EASIER.

OH, HOLD ON, MY FOOT IS TRAPPED UNDERNEATH, THERE WE GO!

WE SLID THE CHASSIS UNDERNEATH THE BODY BEFORE DOING ANY FINISH WELDING OR EVEN PAINTING IT BECAUSE WE STILL NEED TO DEAL WITH A COUPLE OF THINGS. WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO LATCH THE HOOD CLOSED WHEN WE'RE OUT ON THE TRAIL. THE EASIEST WAY TO DO THAT IS TO INSTALL A SET OF HOOD PINS LIKE THESE FROM DAYSTAR. NOW THESE WORK VERY SIMILAR TO ALMOST ALL THE HOOD PINS OUT THERE BUT INSTEAD OF USING A LARGE STAINLESS STEEL WASHER, THE GROMMET IS ACTUALLY MADE OF POLYURETHANE. IT MEANS IT'S GOT A LITTLE BIT OF GIVE TO IT. NOW THAT MEANS WHEN WE INSTALL THE PIN WE CAN ACTUALLY INSTALL IT UNDERNEATH A LITTLE BIT OF TENSION. THAT'LL KEEP THE HOOD FROM RATTLING WHEN WE'RE OUT ON THE TRAIL. THAT WAS HONESTLY ONE OF MY PET PEEVES ABOUT THIS TRUCK FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. NOW THE SECOND HAS TO DO WITH THE HYDRAULIC STEERING. NOW THAT THE BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER IS IN PLACE, WE CAN INSTALL THE STEERING COLUMN AND FIND A PLACE TO MOUNT THE ORBITAL VALVE HERE ON THE FRAME.

AFTER TACKING THE ORBITAL VALVE PLATE ONTO THE CHASSIS, WE'LL CHECK TO MAKE SURE THAT THE STEERING UJOINTS AREN'T BINDING. THEN WE FINISH WELD THE ENTIRE PACKAGE.

CLEAN IT UP, AND AFTER A QUICK COATING ON THE FRAME WE'LL GO AHEAD AND BOLT THIS RIG BACK TOGETHER.

YEAH, OH YEAH, LET'S GO FOUR WHEELING!

(ANNOUNCER)>> THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS TO DO AT UWHARRIE NATIONAL PARK, HORSE BACK RIDING, WELD LIFE WATCHING, PANNING FOR GOLD, EVEN SEARCHING FOR SASQUATCH. I THINK WE'LL STICK TO ROCK CRAWLING.

(IAN)>> BACK IN 2000 A BUNCH SUZUKI OWNERS LIKE, JAY HAMVAS, DREAMT UP AN EVENT THAT WOULD GATHER THEM TOGETHER FOR A WEEKEND OF WHEELING, CAMPING, AND FUN.

(JAY)>> I HAD AN IDEA TO GET A BUNCH OF SAMURAI OWNERS TOGETHER AND IT KINDA BLEW UP INTO SOMETHING REALLY BIG.

(IAN)>> THE ORIGINS OF THE ZUWHARRIE RIDE WERE MODEST TO SAY THE LEAST.

(JAY)>> I THINK WE HAD THREE SAMURAIS THE FIRST TIME, A COUPLE OF JEEPS MIXED IN. FROM THERE IT JUST KINDA GREW.

(IAN)>> WITHIN A FEW YEARS THAT NUMBER MULTIPLIED FROM THREE INTO 130. OF COURSE THERE ARE ALWAYS NAYSAYERS.

(JAY)>> WHEN I FIRST GOT INTO SAMURAIS, WE WERE SO LOOKED DOWN UPON. OH, YOU'RE DRIVING A SAMURAI, AND THEY JUST DIDN'T THINK IT WAS A CAPABLE RIG. SO YES, THERE WAS A SMALL KNIT GROUP, THERE WASN'T A LOT OF PEOPLE INVOLVED IN IT. WE WERE THE UNDERDOG, SO WE IMMEDIATELY BONDED TOGETHER.

(IAN)>> JAY CREDITS THE SUCCESS OF ZUWHARRIE TO THAT SENSE OF CAMARADERIE AND THE DESIGN OF THE SUZUKI ITSELF.

(JAY)>> THE BEAUTY OF THE SAMURAI, OF COURSE, IS THE SOLID FRONT AXLE. IT GIVES YOU A LOT OF VERSATILITY IN LIFTING IT ECONOMICALLY WITHOUT HAVING TO PUT A FULL INDEPENDENT SUSPENSION TYPE LIFT THAT YOU SEE NOWADAYS ON ALL THE NEWER CARS COMING OUT.

(RAWLINGS)>> IT'S A DIFFERENT DRIVING STYLE WITH A SHORTER WHEEL BASE, BUT THE GOOD PART ABOUT IT IS THEY CAN GO A LOT MORE PLACES THAN A LONG WHEEL BASE VEHICLE.

(JAY)>> HAVING A SOLID FRONT AXLE, DECENT GAS MILEAGE, IT FIT THE BILL PERFECT FOR WHAT I NEEDED.

(IAN)>> BUT DESPITE ITS VERSATILITY AND FUEL SIPPING NATURE, IS THE SAMURAI STILL THE UNDERDOG?

(RAWLINGS)>> VERY MUCH SO, WE GET MADE FUN OF QUITE OFTEN BECAUSE WE DON'T DRIVE JEEPS, BUT IT'S INTERESTING. THE LAUGHING STOPS WHEN WE GET TO THE TOP OF THE HILL.

(IAN)>> BUT THE SUZUKI SECT AREN'T SNOBS. YOU'LL SEE PLENTY OF JEEPS AND TOYOTAS SHARING THE TRAILS WITH THEM. IN FACT, THE ZUWHARRIE TRAIL RIDE WAS ORIGINALLY OPEN TO ALL MAKES OF SUVS.

(JAY)>> I DON'T CARE IF YOU DROVE A JEEP, A FORD, KIA, IT DIDN'T MATTER, COME HAVE FUN WITH US.

(IAN)>> AS THE EVENT GREW, THE RIDE BECAME LIMITED TO JUST SUZUKIS, BUT OWNERS CAN STILL BRING ALONG A FRIEND DRIVING ANY TYPE OF TRUCK. AFTER ALL, ZUWHARRIE HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT MORE THAN JUST WHEELING.

(JAY)>> THE CAMARADERIE JUST KINDA HAPPENED ON ITS OWN, BUT AS TIME WENT ON WE REALIZED THAT WAS WHAT WAS SO FUN. IT WASN'T JUST THE FOUR WHEELING, IT WAS THE ACTUAL FACT THAT WE GOT AROUND AND TALKED AND GOT UP WITH FRIENDS WE ONLY SEE ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR. AND THAT WAS AS IMPORTANT AS THE FOUR WHEELING WAS.

(IAN)>> THAT SPIRIT SPILLED OVER INTO THE ZUWHARRIE WEB FORUM WHEN A SAMURAI FAN FROM COSTA RICA MADE AN OPEN INVITATION TO THE GANG.

(ARIEL)>> MOST OF THE RIDES THAT I DO DOWN IN COSTA RICA, I POST THEM UP, I POST THE PICTURES AND THE VIDEOS, AND PEOPLE ALWAYS COMMENT. AND WELL IN ONE OF THOSE SOMEONE SAID, I WOULD LOVE TO GO THERE. AND SO I SAID, WELL, IF ANYBODY COMES DOWN, CALL ME UP, I'M THERE FOR YOU. AND LOW AND BEHOLD ABOUT A MONTH AND A HALF LATER GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER.

(IAN)>> ARIEL TREATED JOHN AND HIS WIFE TO AN UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY THROUGH THE THICK MUD OF THE COSTA RICAN JUNGLE. WHEN HE RETURNED BACK TO THE STATES, JOHN AND HIS FELLOW ZUKERS RAISE MONEY TO BUY ARIEL A FLIGHT TO ZUWHARRIE. ONE LOOK AT THE SMILE ON HIS FACE TELLS YOU THAT HE'S HAVING THE TIME OF HIS LIFE. COMPARED TO HIS HOMELAND, ARIEL SAYS THE ROCKY TERRAIN OF NORTH CAROLINA CALLS FOR A DISTINCTLY TECHNICAL DRIVING STYLE.

(ARIEL)>> THE KIND OF TECHNICAL SKILLS YOU NEED TO GET UP THAT STUFF IS GREAT. AND I MEAN THE WAY THE RIGS ARE BUILT, IT'S JUST COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO WHAT YOU HAVE DOWN THERE. SO IT'S VERY INTERESTING TO SEE THE SAME MAKE AND MODEL BUT FIXED IN COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAYS TO DO WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO.

(IAN)>> TO BORROW AN OLD, FAMILIAR PHRASE, THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP.

(JOHN)>> THERE WERE SO KIND TO US AND HAD A GREAT DAY, DAY AND A HALF SPENDING TIME GETTING TO BE FRIENDLY WITH EACH OTHER. NOW IT'S TWO TRIPS, I'VE BEEN THERE, HE'S BEEN HERE, AND I THINK IT'S JUST THE BEGINNING. YOU KNOW, IT'S OPEN DOOR FOREVER. HE COMES TO MY HOME, THAT WOULD BE FINE, I'D LIKE THAT. THAT'D BE GREAT, AND I'M SURE I CAN GO BACK AT ANY POINT AND MAKE ANOTHER VISIT.

(ARIEL)>> SURE, WE'LL BE READY.

(JOHN)>> REDNECK YANKEE IN COSTA RICA.

(ANNOUNCER)>> WHEN YOU'RE HAVING THIS MUCH FUN ON THE TRAIL YOU DON'T WANT TO STOP, AND WITH THE RIGHT LIGHTS YOU DON'T HAVE TO.

(IAN)>> AFTER HEARING ABOUT HOW MUCH FUN THE ZUWHARRIE TRAIL RIDE WAS, WE KNEW WE HAD TO BRING OUT SAMMY ALONG. ANYTIME A NEW RIG SHOWS UP, EVERYONE WANTS TO CHECK IT OUT AND OURS WAS NO EXCEPTION.

(RAWLINGS)>> THIS BUILD IS REAL LOW, VERY CAPABLE. I LOVE THE ALUMINUM TUB, I LOVE THE K/C LIGHTS, IT'S REALLY A COOL VEHICLE.

(IAN)>> WE JOINED TOGETHER WITH A GROUP AND TOOK OFF INTO A TRAIL CALLED THE WOLF DEN. A FIERCE SOUNDING NAME BUT IT'S ACTUALLY JUST A MILD WARM UP FOR THE DAY AHEAD. HECK, IT EVEN INCLUDES A RATHER UNCOMMON SAFETY FEATURE. YOU'VE GOT TO LOVE A PARK THAT HAS A GUARD RAIL. IS THAT AWESOME OR WHAT?

(CHRIS)>> YEAH, LOOK OUT!

(IAN)>> NOW OUR ZUK HAS WHEELED AT UWHARRIE BEFORE, BUT THAT WAS BACK WHEN IT HAD 35 INCH TALL TIRES AND WAS RUNNING ON ALL JUNKYARD PARTS. BUT NOW THANKS TO OUR LOW SLUNG STANCE, 40 INCH TALL TIRES, AND OUR HIGH CLEARANCE AXLE ASSEMBLIES, THIS RIG CAN CONQUER ANYTHING WE POINTED IT AT. THE BADEN LEG TRAIL SYSTEM CONTAINS OVER 30 DIFFERENT TRAILS FROM EASY TO EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. PART OF THE NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM, THE LAND IS SHARED BY ALL KINDS OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLES, ATV'S, SUV'S, MOTORCYCLES, AND EVEN HORSES. THIS DIVERSITY OFFERS THE PERFECT BACK DROP FOR A FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENT.

(JAY)>> UWHARRIE HAS A LITTLE BIT FOR EVERYBODY, BUT IT'S PROBABLY GEARED MORE TO INTERMEDIATE BEGINNER, BUT THEN THERE'S TWO OR THREE AREAS WHERE EVEN THE SEASONED PRO'S GONNA HAVE SOME FUN.

(IAN)>> AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR. KODAK ROCK GOT ITS NAME BACK WHEN PEOPLE STILL TOOK PICTURES ON FILM. THAT MAY HAVE CHANGED, BUT BIG ROCKS AND STEEP HILLS, WELL THEY NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE. AFTER WATCHING A COUPLE OF RIGS CONQUER THE ROCK, WE GAVE IT A SHOT.

(CHRIS)>> WOULD IT BE TOO MUCH TO PUT YOUR PASSENGER SIDE TIRE ON THAT ROCK?

(IAN)>> CLIMB THE WHOLE WAY LIKE THAT?

(CHRIS)>> YEAH, JUST RIDE THAT ROCK RIGHT THERE. THEN YOU'LL BE ACROSS AND IT MIGHT ACTUALLY KEEP IT STABLE.

(IAN)>> LET'S TRY IT.

NOPE!

(CHRIS)>> OKAY, THAT DIDN'T WORK.

(IAN)>> I THINK WE GOT UP TOO HIGH!

( )>> PUT IT IN NEUTRAL.

(CHRIS)>> MAYBE THE FRONT TIRE ON THAT ROCK BUT THIS BACK TIRE OFF THE ROCK.

(IAN)>> LETS TRY THAT ONE!

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER IT'S DAYLIGHT, TWILIGHT, OR MOON LIGHT, THE BADEN LEG TRAILS ARE OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY, AND OUR K/C LIGHTS WERE UP TO THE TASK. PULLING ALMOST ZERO AMPS THANKS TO THEIR LED CONSTRUCTION, WE DIDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DRAINING OUR BATTERY WHILE WE WERE CRAWLING THROUGH THE WOODS.
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