TRAIL TOUGH’s YJ Suspension Lift
The Ultimate YJ Kit For Your Samurai.
Editor/Photo: Eric Bewley
MEDFORD, OR. -Trail Tough products have been making great products for Suzuki vehicles for several years now and we have seen several Trail Tough equipped vehicles on the trails around the North West and have always been impressed with their performance. So when we decided to embark on a new Samurai project vehicle, the choice for suspension was clear. The Wrangler YJ spring lift has become a popular choice for Samurai enthusiasts looking for a lot of flex and a softer ride as compared to a stock sprung vehicle. Trail Tough offers the most complete and comprehensive kit available on the market today with several options to let the customer “tweak” their suspension kit into what they are looking for.
To really do this product justice, we will be documenting our thoughts and results in three articles. This article containing our initial thoughts and comments on the installed kit, another article featuring opinions from ZUKIWORLD readers who had the opportunity to test drive the Samurai, and a bolt-by-bolt installation article that will aid in the future installations of this kit.
The long and supple Wrangler YJ spring will by itself yield impressive travel numbers. Trail Tough’s kit augments the natural ability of the springs with front and rear double shackle set-ups to achieve great RTI results. With the springs unmodified, our test Samurai lifted the tire 38″ vertical with open differentials and with out the aid of heavy trail bumpers and full-size spare tire.
Of course ramp numbers really don’t mean much when it comes to real life wheeling and driving of the vehicle. Since having this kit installed, we have put several hundred miles on the test Samurai and have been very pleased with it’s behavior both on and off road. The on-road ride is quite pleasant due to the combination of Wrangler YJ springs and Doetsch Tech 8000 prerunner shocks. Gravel road wash boards and deep pot holes are sucked up and spit out with minimal jarring to the passengers.
Bump steer is completely eliminated by the use of a high steer drag link set up. Steering is very predictable although a little more sluggish than we would like to see.
Off-road is where this kit really shines. The Wrangler YJ springs and smooth valving on the Doetsch Tech shocks make trail driving a very enjoyable experience. Back roads are ate up by the test Samurai and can be driven quite aggressively due to the predictable nature of this kit. It is possible to really ‘pin it’ in the corners and let the Samurai lean, settle down, and literally scoot around the corner. At no time during our aggressive “rally type” driving sessions did the vehicle feel tippy or unsafe. To the contrary, the Samurai handled extremely well and gave us a good deal of confidence to push the vehicle even harder.
As the terrain gets tougher, the Trail Tough kit gets better. Two track and rock strewn trails are really no match for this kit. It was easy to keep the tires on the ground as we traveled some of the more aggressive trails in the area. Even with open differentials, we were able to make several obstacles that I believe would not have been possible with a stock sprung SPOA vehicle with the same sized tire.
Trail Tough states that this kit is perfect for 33 inch tall tires and we tend to agree with this caveat; There is slight tire rub against the spring at full steering lock even with the addition of a set of Trail Tough wheel spacers. This test vehicle was equipped with 33″ tall tires on 7″ wide wheels with 4″ backspacing; Trail Tough states that a 33″ tall tire on a 10″ wheel with 2 3/4″ backspacing will not rub. Additionally, the tires do get into the body some under hard compression with almost any amount of steering input. These items can easily be overlooked, and often are overlooked, as a trade off for great flex and off-road prowess of which this kit definitely has.
The Trail Tough Wrangler YJ spring conversion kit for the Samurai is a great performance package. If you are looking for a smooth ride, good on and off road manners, and the ability to fit 33 inch tall tires on your Suzuki Samurai, give Trail Tough a call. They have the kit for you. Please tune in next month when we will have guest opinions from ZUKIWORLD readers of this Trail Tough equipped Samurai and a complete and comprehensive installation guide.