The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby Brakelate » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:48 pm

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It has been Three long months since we sank the Samurai in the icy snow covered stream. Just in time for Spring Break, I dusted the Ol Gal off and finally dismounted the Super Swamper TSL Bias Ply tires that kept giving me problems. Sadly the tires had to go. After 10+ years on the Samurai, the sidewall cracks were getting too bad. The tread was near new tread depth as they had only logged about 750 actual miles in that time, but had suffered too many gouges, scratches and lateral impacts causing sand and other garbage to be stuffed in between the bead and sealing lip of the rims, they would not hold air down at the low psi ranges that I run.

Knowing I would never wear out a set of tires in terms of tread use, I turned to Craigslist to find some replacements. I will put the old tires on there as well shortly to recover the cost of replacing the old ones. They will work fine on a larger street vehicle, as at normal pressures, they hold fine. They would be perfect for a old desert Ranch truck or similar full size vehicle.

I found a set of Super Swamper Thornbird's that I jumped on. They had not been rotated religiously, so two were worn to the wear bars, and two more were at about 25% tread depth. What really turned me on, was that they were not that old, so they did not have a single weather crack on them, and being worn out from city driving, they were not all chewed up or rashed. The odd thing, was that the previous tires were 31x11.50-15, while these are 31x12.50x15. So, what was another inch of width?
The previous set were perfect all the way around, in terms of height, width, etc. When I went to pick them up, they looked awful large. When I had them mounted, they barely fit on the 8" wide steel wheels, and I knew it would be close. After my son popped the wheels on the Sami, it was clear. Despite only being 1" wider in as marked on the sidewall, in reality, they must be closer to 2.5" wider and almost a full inch taller than the old set! On top of that, the "Thornbird" model is extremely knobby and gnarly looking, with large stepped lugs that extend half way down the sidewalls.

I almost did not even mount them, but figured I might as well give it a shot, as it was a real pain to go and find this brand of tire, used, in a useable size. Let alone, get a good set that had not been abused, or dry rotted out. I already had everything mounted up, so why not try it? Come to find out, they do rub at full lock and barely clear the leaf pack on the inside rear. BUT, they do work. If I use care and deliberately do not max out my turning radius, I could get them to work. And they look nasty! Almost cartoon-ish like something you would see on a Flinstone's car. But, knowing the brand, these things would never get punctured and the added width does prevent contact with the wheel or the tire coming off the bead when side hilling or scraping against obstacles that stick out. The only other thing, is that when aired down (8 psi seems to work best) they float almost too well. It is a handful steering the thing, as it wanders all over the place and bounces like a rubber ball going down the trail. But, when it came to climbing sandy hills, they never sunk in, and still hooked up good on the slick rock surfaces, with just enough wheel spin to clean them off and get down to fresh rubber. They almost WANT to sink in a few inches, where the sidewall lugs come into play, working almost like a "paddle", pulling you along.

Oh, and when I finally got around to checking the differentials for water contamination, from the submerging they took Three months ago, my worst fears were realized.
When the drain plug was pulled from the front diff, a foamy, thick Chocolate Shake oozed out. Same with the rear. Apparently my vent hoses are only good to about 3' of standing water, not the full 4' + submersion in a quick flowing stream bath I gave them. More shocking is that no damage was apparently done. I filled the diffs with used motor oil I had waiting to go to the recycling tank, and ordered up some new outer knuckle felt seals to prevent more contamination the next time I get in water up over the pumpkins.

Seeing as how the Six Year old motor oil still looks as good as the day it was poured in the motor, and how badly my body hurts from crawling around trying to do simple maintenance tasks, I decided to leave it in there. For at least a little while longer. :whistle:

So, with both Pumkins full of 7500 mile used Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil :shifty: I took her out to play. We spent an afternoon splashing in the lake, duning around on the sand hills and attacking the vertical wall climbs at the nearby slick rock ledges.

I don't know what it takes to kill a poor Suzuki Samurai, but so far, stock axles and all, with the rear sporting a "Lincoln Locker" (Welded up Spider gear = home made locker) and the most ridiculous looking set of tires ever seen on a Samurai, it just keeps on tackling anything put in front of it. So far, so good. Maybe in another Three months I will do an oil change on the motor, swap in some actual 90wt Gear Lube in the Diffs, and find out why it randomly continues to over heat every now and again.
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby Brakelate » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:51 pm

The Pup couldn't handle all the excitement of the full vertical climbs, so she had to get out and catch her breath. :lol:
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby Brakelate » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:55 pm

All that tire, and it still wants to get up on Three Wheels!
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby jhwalker » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:32 am

:lol: Good stuff. Those things are popular down here, but none are as cool as yours.
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby xbacksideslider » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:10 pm

Whatdaya need such huge tires for, I used to get around that kind of terrain in my Fiat 124 Sport Coupe?
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby SVTRonDogg » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:35 pm

Looks like a good time :dance:
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby jhwalker » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:37 am

Where is Brakelate? I keep feeling like he is lurking. :whistle:
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby Brakelate » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:38 am

Lurking... always lurking. 8-)
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Re: The Samurai Lives! And, gets a pair of "new" shoes

Postby jhwalker » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:22 pm

Brakelate wrote:Lurking... always lurking. 8-)


:twisted:
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