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Samurai Vehicle Specifications

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Samurai -1986 to 1995 sold in 2-door soft and hardtop models. Available in JX, JL, and JA trim packages. Equipped with a 1.3 8-valve I-4 engine.  

[samurai photo]


The Samurai was the first Suzuki truck official sold in the United States through proper dealer channels. It’s design was very much a carry over from the 1985 SJ410. So much so, that the 1986 Samurai’s and 1984-95 SJ410’s look exactly the same, except for body tags. In Canada it was introduced in the 1985 1/2 model year, in the US in 1986.

Depending on where it was sold in the world, the vehicle goes by three different names: Samurai (North and South America), Sierra (Europe, Australia and New Zealand), and Jimny (Asia).

In North America the Samurai was never totally re-modeled, but various changes have happened over the years. A long wheel base version, a SJ410 carry over never released in the US, was discontinued in other countries in 1987. JA and JX models were offered from 1986-90, JL and 2WD models were offered from 1990-94. The 1994 US models did not have back seats due to new safety regulations.

In July 1988, Consumer Reports ran an article headlined “The Suzuki rolls over too easily.” Suzuki stopped selling the Samurai in the North America in 1994 after a sharp drop in sales in that the company blames on CU’s test result. However, the Sierra and Jimny continue to be sold in Europe, Australia and Asia.

In 1996, Suzuki gave the Sierra and Jimny a face lift which renewed buyer interest. Many other compentents were upgrade and fine tuned, but the most popular Suzuki 4×4 ever still retained its
narrow track and boxy look. The 1999 model year will bring a whole new look for the Samurai/Sierra.Jimny.

Notes on the different production years:




– engine: carburated 1324cc, 4 cylinder, 4-stroke, 64HP, 100Nm Torque.  
– transmission: 5-speed  
– roof: hardtop, softop convertable, removable hardtop  
– seats: 4 1988 1/2 – redesigned dash (square look)  
– weatherstrip on the top bow  
– softened the suspension  
– slightly redesigned grille  
– lowered fifth gear  
– different shifter knob  
– bigger radiator 1990 – removed two of four spider gears from front differential  
– wheelbase increased an inch or two (inorder to improve the ride)  
– added FI (fuel injection) to 1.3L engine, increased horsepower to 66  
– tranny and tranfer case bearings changed to the sealed design 1993 – changed the grill design slightly 1994 – removed back seats, due to new safty regulations


– Samurai model discontinued in US and Canada 1996 Engine & Transmission  
– exhaust muffler capacity increased to improve gas flow and reduce noise  
– 5th gear ratio decreased (0.975 to 0.864)  
– higher diff ratio (3.727 to 3.909)  
– transfer gear ratio changed (High: 1.409 to 1.320; Low: 2.268 to 2.123)  
– rubber mounted revised clutch cable eliminates vibration  
– new transmission “Mass Damper” to reduce vibrations  
– new viscous coupling engine fan reduces noise  
– new high voltage transistor coil  
– new larger capacity radiator  
– larger 42 litre capacity fuel tank (from 40L)  
– power steering added  

Suspension & Brakes  
– front and rear leaf springs replaced by an “Isolated Trailing Link and Coil Spring” design, providing the most remarkable improvement in ride and handling  
– the brake booster diameter has been increased by 25mm (1 inch) to 200mm (8 inches), improving the stopping power dramatically  
– coil springs with twin control arms for each axle  

– new hood, front fenders, windscreen panel, grill and indicator/parking lamps  
– under hood insulation  
– front and rear bumpers have been slightly restyled and are now polypropylene  
– the traditional side stripe has been discontinued  
– high level brake light is standard on the hard top and also on the soft top via a special mounting on the spare wheel bracket  
– halogen head lights replace the old sealed beams  
– revised vinyl material on the Soft Top hood.  
– improved door seals.  

– chassis strength increased through two side-frames and five cross-members   
– rubber mountings between body and chassis to absorb road vibration and reduce cabin noise  
– side-protection beams  

– totally revised dashboard with silver reflective gauges, including tachometer  
– new wide, three spoke, urethane soft-grip steering wheel with collapsible steering column  
– new front bucket seats with more lateral support and new upholstery (vinyl trim in S/Top, cloth trim in H/Top)  
– comprehensive sound deadening material between the dashboard and firewall   
– the front seatbelt buckle position has been relocated to the side of the seat rather than floor mounted  
– new moulded door trims  
– new improved brake and clutch pedal layout  
– new plush cut pile carpet on hard top models  
– console box between the front seats  
– rear split folding bench  
– tinted glass on rear side and back windows   

Superior White, Antares Red, Reddish Blue (Metallic), Aqua Green (Metallic)

1999 – specs not yet known  
– rumour says: 1.3L replaced with 1.6L    Notes: Jimny later sold as “The Panoramic Roof Wagon” (a.k.a. High Roof) which was basically a H/T with a slightly higher roof, and small rectangular windows along the roof.


Notes on the two available engines: Samurai Engine Data (Canada, US)    Model Years Engines Litres/CIS HP MPG 1986-89 OHC I-4 2bbl. 1.3L/79 64 24-29 1990-95 OHC I-4 FI. 1.3L/79 66 24-30


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One comment

  1. How do I know if I have a JA or JX. Mine is a 1988 2 door Samurai Tin Top with 1.3 engine, 4×4.

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