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Thread: Towing a Suzuki Samurai

  1. #1
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    Default Towing a Suzuki Samurai

    I'm wondering about towing a Samurai behind a expo motorhome. Looking for something smaller and lighter than my CRV, as well as something that will get me farther out into the boonies (in the U.S. only).

    Is it possible to tow one with all four wheels on the ground, or best to use a tow dolly? What is the proper procedure?

    Thanks,

    Vic
    Enjoying God's Beautiful Creation

    2001 Isuzu NPR HD, 5 speed - see http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=38961
    1990 Shadow Cruiser Truck Camper - Totally rebuilt
    2008 Honda CRF-230L
    Fuji Thrill LT 2.0 full susp. mt. bike

    See some of my adventures here:
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by VicHanson View Post
    I'm wondering about towing a Samurai behind a expo motorhome. Looking for something smaller and lighter than my CRV, as well as something that will get me farther out into the boonies (in the U.S. only).

    Is it possible to tow one with all four wheels on the ground, or best to use a tow dolly? What is the proper procedure?

    Thanks,

    Vic
    One of the best possible vehicles to flat tow. Check the manual for directions, which include periodically starting the vehicle to circulate the fluids. But when towed behind my Sprinter or my ex-Grand Cherokee, you can hardly tell it's there and the gas mileage drop isn't too gruesome.

    There's a Samurai-specific tow bar available from some of the Sami-oriented vendors. It's great; very small, doesn't weigh anything, comparatively cheap.

    The only possible fly in the ointment is that the ride quality of a stock Samurai isn't award winning. The suspension is pretty much the same as a Connestoga wagon and the wheelbase is short enough to let it fall into every dip. Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it--you probably should--but just be aware of this potential drawback.
    Mike Hiscox

    2007/2012 custom Jeep Rubicon XV-JP motorhome
    2003/2014 custom Sprinter 2500 mid/tall motorhome
    2002 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4WD
    2006 Honda PS250 Big Ruckus Expedition Scooter

  3. #3

    Default Flat Towing

    If I remember correctly you have to stop and run the samurai every few hundred miles. I can't remember how long anymore but I seem to remember it not being very long at all.

    What you do is unlock the front hubs and put the Transfer-case in neutral. The front wheels turn freely but the rear wheels still turn the rear driveshaft that turns a bearing and shaft in the Transfer-case.

    That bearing is splash lubed by the other gears in the transfer-case that aren't moving because its in neutral. I think the procedure is to keep the T-case in neutral while running the engine in a certain gear for a specified amount of time. This is supposed to splash enough oil up into that bearing for the next few hundred miles.

    I always used to just remove the rear driveshaft. Its 8 Nuts/Bolts and not that hard to do. Just leave at least one bolt in finger tight so it doesn't fall on your head, don't ask how I know that it hurts a lot.

    They can be stubborn to get off sometimes. Just hit the driveshaft flanges a few times with big hammer and break er loose!

    Brian,
    (Former Samurai Owner )

    P.S. Please refer to a official Suzuki documentation for the flat towing procedure. Its been a while since I've seen it.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info, Mike and Brian. I really know nothing about them except that they are small and I assume pretty light. There are about 3 of them here in the village where I live in Peru, and it dawned on me the other day they should make a good vehicle to tow. Not too worried about the ride, much of the use will be off road so will be going slow(ish), and running into town for groceries, etc.

    I saw one in the Recycler today for $1500, it is an '88, doesn't give mileage, just says in great shape with new tires and carb. Any idea if this is a reasonable price or not? It's in L.A. so hopefully not all rusted out, but no photo either. Do either of you know the weight of one?

    Thanks, Vic
    Enjoying God's Beautiful Creation

    2001 Isuzu NPR HD, 5 speed - see http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=38961
    1990 Shadow Cruiser Truck Camper - Totally rebuilt
    2008 Honda CRF-230L
    Fuji Thrill LT 2.0 full susp. mt. bike

    See some of my adventures here:
    http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=28256

  5. #5
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    The manual says when flat towing leave the transmission in second gear and shift the transfer case to neutral. Stop every 200 miles and start the engine. Rev it for about one minute in second gear with the clutch engaged and the transfer case still in neutral.

    Curb weight is 2061 lbs. GVW is 2932 lbs. $1500 is a very good price for rust free California zook.
    Last edited by REasley; 08-30-2009 at 05:44 AM.

  6. #6
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    I installed a "Twinstick" in my "87 Samurai specifically for towing behind my motorhome. The Twinstick allow you to put the transfercase in true neutral. It also gives you 2 wd low range capability. As stated above they tow great.

  7. #7
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    Honestly if it was me I would put it on a trailer. Unlike a dolly you can easily back up, and unlike a tow bar you don't have to do any silly crap or pull over and start it.

    A trailer would also let you drag it to a shop to get repaired if something major broke and it would give you tons more storage if you welded some racks and bins to it.

  8. #8
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    I believe its Trail Tuff that makes an in cab drive shaft disconnect for Samurai towing.
    1999 Mitsubishi Montero SR
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    1998 Suzuki RMX250
    1996 Honda XR600

    Trans America Trail (TAT) survivor.

  9. #9
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    I tow my 96 Suzuki Sidekick Sport behind my motorhome. I bought it specifically to do that. It's automatic and I tow it with the transfer case in neutral and transmission in park, manual hubs disengaged. Auto hubs can be a problem if you back up as I recall. The ride is probably better than a Samurai and there are lots of them on the market. I paid $2k for mine. It needed a couple of minor items: transfer shift knob, mirror, oil sender switch and water pump. It's been a great tow vehicle. The 1.8L engine has a timing chain. The 1.6L has a timing belt. I wanted the chain.
    I have a spare set of towbar brackets for some kind of Suzuki which fit a demountable towbar (Roadmaster--does that sound right) which did not fit my Sidekick but came with the used towbar I bought. PM me if you are interested in them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jnich77 View Post
    Honestly if it was me I would put it on a trailer. Unlike a dolly you can easily back up, and unlike a tow bar you don't have to do any silly crap or pull over and start it.
    These are valid points, and maybe personal experiences with Samurais differ, but my Sami is so light and easy to move around that I think it's perfect to flat tow. Why buy and store a trailer and worry about loading and strapping down the vehicle when it works so well to flat tow? (And why worry about the security of a trailer left behind while you trail run if you don't have to?)

    The Samurai doesn't need the double-armed, fold-up bars needed for most vehicles. Just one connection to the pulling vehicle at the hitch ball. My Sami's tow bar:



    is very light and attaches with just two hitch pins and can just pivot up to a 90 degree angle when not in use (hold it with bungees). Connecting and disconnecting the truck takes maybe a minute. And you can move a Sami around on flat ground by just pushing it; don't need to start it.

    The Samurai is also the easiest vehicle to take along so that one group can ride together but then, for safety, have two vehicles when in the boonies. You could tow it with a Wrangler if you wanted.

    All said, my opinion is that the ease with which you can hook it up and flat tow it is one of the principal reasons to have a Samurai.
    Mike Hiscox

    2007/2012 custom Jeep Rubicon XV-JP motorhome
    2003/2014 custom Sprinter 2500 mid/tall motorhome
    2002 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4WD
    2006 Honda PS250 Big Ruckus Expedition Scooter

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