Question about 1988 Suzuki Samurai

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Lack of power and speed.

My '88 suzuki samurai starts and runs ok but is limited to about 40 mph. Seems that the engine gets to a certain rpm, (no tach, about 2500 I guess) and then has no more power and won't run the vehichle much faster. When shifting up to 5 gear, vehicle is running so slow (30 or 35 mph) that there issn't enough torque to run in 5th. I checked both ignition timing and cam timing. ok..but I cant find specs to ignition advance. Vac advance works. (about 12 deg) mechanical advance only adds anouther 15 deg at full throtle no load. What should mech advance be? Is distributor rebuildable? Parts availible or just replace distributor?

This had a carb kit put in but not very good results. are there replacement non-emission carbs around?

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  • ranchkid1977 Dec 08, 2008

    Yes sir, this is the 81 cu in carburated, 8 valve engine. The catalyst, if there was one, is long since gone.

    I have since taken the distributor apart and there are problems I can detect. Advance functions freely, although I still dont know specs nor can I find them. This carburator as I said was rebuild once but I have serious doubts. I see from the tading sites, (e-bay and such) Weber replacement 32/36 "dv" series are very popular.

    Thats probably my nest step.


  • albert felizardo
    albert felizardo May 11, 2010

    Is it the carburator type 1300cc engine?

  • Anonymous Mar 17, 2014

    Jerks or missing in first gear or slow speed . checked this by many mechanics. no one has the right solution of this . most of them says this is due to advance . But, remove the grip of advancer as well but no luck


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Do you have any other modifications such as larger tires? The 1.3L engine puts out enough HP and Torque to run the stock size tires, but if you go up to a 31" or larger you will loose the ability to use 5th gear except for downhill runs with a tailwind. The stock carb is just too restrictive and is designed for fuel economy and low emissions.
If you do have stock wheels on it then the stock carb should be able to turn them. The problem may not be in the carburator body itself though. If any of the vacuum lines, solenoids, vacuum switches or EGR on the carb are defective or not hooked up correctly the Little Hitachi carb will not function correctly.

If you don't live in a state that has CARB emission standards then you should go with an aftermarket carb and a set of headders. The Webber is a popular and very easy replacement. Opening up the exhaust to about 2" with a set of headders will allow it to breath well and still have enough back pressure to give you low end torque.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

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Hello, does this vehicle have a catalytic converter? if it does it sounds like it may be obstructed. They do deteriorate/collapse when coming the end of service life and restrict the flow giving too much back pressure, ruining performance. Try removing it I know a noisy test but it will eliminate that problem?
Hope this helps,
Paul 'W'

Posted on Dec 04, 2008

  • Paul W
    Paul W Dec 09, 2008

    Hi! Thanks for responding. Choice of Carb Excellent, surely the distributor can be serviced or upgraded? have you thought of a Accel or similar electronic ignition module? however make sure the rotor isn't severely worn i.e. excessive wobble/play side to side as this will throw the timing out by miles.

    Good Luck! looks like you've sussed this one on your own!

    Well done.

    Paul 'W'



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1987 Suzuki samurai take 30 minutes to start in the morning only the it start OK for the day seems like it not getting gas in the morning only

the G13 or G16 engine, and 1987 year was carbs, not EFI.
so if it has carb , you need to say so.

if it starts fast with test fuel (spray)
then your choke is dead.
ever adjust a choke before.

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1 Answer

On my 88 Samurai . its very slow im lucky to hit 60 mph ( down hill ) up hill i might as well push it.i removed the gas pedal bolt thats on the floor and still wont go any faster. its in correct timing,...

have you checked for timming advancement? this sounds like the advance plate in the distributor is sticking or not advancing. im not familar with your model car but if its fuel injected and the timming is not advancing because of this plate not moving you would lack horse power above a certain speed. a mass air flow meter / valve can also limit the volumetric efficiency of your engine and create a loss of power. these are a couple of things to check.

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I have a 1987 Susuki Samurai, 1.3 engine. Cold start is idles at 2000 rpm up to 2200 rpm. Is this normal? Its seems a little fast. How do you adjust the cold fast idle speed? Thanks, Randy

Yeah it sounds kinda high. There is no adj except for the idle screw on the throttle, the computer does the rest, if it has one. If not, then you can adjust it some how. If carbureted, check for 2 little screws in the front, and check the choke, If throttle body, then just the idle screw, the idle should be around 1000. Hope this helps.

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