TRAIL TOUGH YJ SUSPENSION KIT
ZUKIWORLD Readers Test Drive Our Trail Tough Equipped Samurai.
Editor/Story: Eric Bewley Photo: Sara Bewley
ALSEA, OR -Adding the Trail Tough YJ Suspension kit to our project Samurai gave us an unique opportunity to involve our ZUKIWORLD forum readers. The kitted Samurai, having been put through it’s paces the previous month, was ready to go. All we needed was a few volunteers, which was easy to find once the word was put out on the forum. Out of the many that replied, only three could make time on the day selected.
The preface for this day was first and foremost to have fun, secondly to experience the Trail Tough equipped Samurai, and finally to give some feedback via a quick written quesionaire on their experience. We were lucky to have a group of Samurai owners that had each of their vechicles in different states of modification from bone stock to a SPUA CJ sprung Samurai on 31 inch tires.
Here’s a little about our test drivers vehicles:
“Agent S.” “Captain J.” “D Man” ’86 Samurai ’86 Samurai Stock ’87 Samurai Calmini 2″ S/R lift, 235x75x15 M/T, Napa Shocks Lifted CJ spring SPUA, Scratch built shackles, spring hangers, 31″ A/T 2 1/4″ exhaust w/ header, Weber Carb Engine Stock
First we loaded up and headed to a play area that was about 20 miles out of town, each person took turns driving on the paved road racking up 5-9 miles a piece. The paved section was a good mix of town driving, two lane hi-way, and paved twisties. The kind of twisties that is scene in the movies and when driven agresively scares most if not all passengers.
Once we arrived at the staging area, it was out with the notebooks and pencils. A initial walk around was in order. All commented on the exceptional build quality and design scoring it a 4.3 out of 5. [1 to 5 scale being used, 5 being the best 1 being the worst, average of the test drivers responses represented] One test driver commented “This kit looks to be a well built system, there is nothing I can see that I’d change in the design.”
The first thing we tackled was a rock crawl area, nothing like breaking in the vehicle and the test drivers right off the bat. All of the drivers navigated through a similar course climbing over many steep and loose boulders and crossing over several cravasses. All of the drivers scored the overall Stability while wheeling a 4.3 with comments like, “It never tippy or out of control” and “I felt very confident and comfortable driving it.”
The rest of the day had each test driver putting the Trail Tough equipped Samurai through it’s paces. Gravel roads, two track trails, steep inclines and declines, and of course many off camber sections were traversed as the drivers carefully evaluated each action of the vehicle and their reaction to the performance of the Samurai.
By The Numbers:
On-Road Performance Score Comments: Overall performance at hiway speed. 3.5 “Very fun and stable feeling”, Overall ride quality 3.9 “The vehicle rode smooth.”, “It soaked up bumps, OK but still had the quick ‘Rocking horse’ feel of a stock Samurai.” Braking 3.6 Cornering 4.6 “I felt a little unsure at high speed on long sweepers – but it did surprizingly well on the slalom section.” Avoidance maneuver 4.0 Slalom 4.3 “I drove the slalom section more agressively than normal (for me) and was impressed by the lack of roll”,
Overall Stability while wheeling. 4.3 “…this lift was much smoother.” Overall ride quality 3.9 “Dirt road whoop-dees were not good – extremely bumpy and stiff feeling.” and “you can still feel every rock you roll over but it’s waaaay better than stock.” Off-camber 4.0 “Never felt tippy or out of control.” Climbing 4.2 Descending 3.9 Flex / Twisted up situations 4.2 “The suspension stays in contact with the ground no matter what.”
After every driver got their fill of driving the Samurai, we headed back to town for some lunch and a group discussion about the experience. All noted that they thought the Trail Tough equipped Samurai performed extremely well. A couple commented that they were a little concerned at the 33 inch tall tires on such a small vehicle but were quickly amazed at how well the Samurai worked with those tires. The only common concern amongst the test drivers was the steering on the hi-way. One made the comment, “The steering was a little heavy and somewhat vague… but not bad considering the size of the tire on it.” another noted, “While the gravel roads were surprizingly stable, on the hi-way it took constant input while driving.”
Even with this negative, all test drivers felt that this kit was a great buy and a real performer. One driver noted, “…if I wanted to start ‘upping’ my wheeling, getting more intense – I would definitely get this kit to get me going” and another stated “This system would be good for most of the stuff you could throw at it.” Indeed, the Trail Tough YJ Suspension kit impressed all this day and definitely can make a Samurai into a 33″ tall tired monster!