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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Howdy yall!

I want to share with you what I've done to my Zukis over the years. The fab work has been done by both my father and I, since the hobby is more of a father and son project.

I started it all when I got a SJ410, I was 5 or 6 at the time. Been wheeling that puppy since I was 7.
The 410 is a low budget build and majority of the parts used are scavenged from junk yards etc.
The major modifications are:
-Power steering from Opel Omega
-5000lb winch and a lightweight tube front bumper
-DIS ignition designed by my father
-Transfer case gear reduction 4.19
-Peugeot 405 seats
-Cheap fender flares from lawn liner
-rust work and fender well hacking to make room for over sized 31"

The SJ413 purchase was kind of an accident while I was sourcing a new engine to replace the 410 1liter powerhouse but since the soft top models are quite rare in Finland, I decided to start working on the SJ413 instead of taking it apart for parts.
The major modifications are:
-Overhauled axles and ARB in the rear
-T-case armor and reduction gearing 4.9
-Coil on plug ignition designed by my father (very high tech)
-Bushwhacker flares and enlarged fender wells to make room for 31"
-My own CAD design front bumper made from 3mm high strength steel (Ruukki Optim 650)
-Suzuki Swift cylinder head and EFI parts (SJ 413 EFI.mp4 - YouTube)
-Calmini header and 2" exhaust
-Mazda 323 seats
-Iron Man 2" suspension kit
-Rear bumper
-Rear lighting
-ARB to front
-Rear disc brake conversion
-Rock rails
-Power steering from Opel Omega

On the works:

As for the Sammy, It's my mothers, who bought it out of a whim inspired by my Suzuki building
The fab work on this one is mostly done by my brother and father and I took more of a helping role.
The major modifications are:
-Calmini 3" suspension lift
-Thorley header and 2" exhaust
-Plenty of rust work
-8000lb winch and my own CAD design bumper
-SJ410 front clip
-Enlarged fender wells for 31" and bushwhacker flares

On the works:
-T-case reduction and armor
-EFI gear from a Swift
-Coil On Plug ignition
-Other stuff I can't remember of

The build projects are showcased on a separate web site, since I find it easier to update them rather that 10 different forums on the web.
If you're interested about my build projects, please visit my website: Suzuki page
I ask for your patience since the pages are hosted on a Finnish server, you might experience some slow loading time due to the distance.

Also you can find more pictures from my Finnish Off Road forum build thread. The text is all in Finnish but pictures tell more that a thousand words.
PS. if you try to google translate the text, it probably won't be any more understandable than it is for you in Finnish :D

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree that the Sammy looks the best. There's just something about the SJ410 front grill that makes it look way more badass. Originally I intended to put hte 410 grille on my SJ413 but before I had a chance to say anything, my brother and father had already installed it on the sammy ;D

Today the SJ410 actually looks like this:

Since everyone loves some wheeling pics, I have some of them too:

SJ 413 wheeling at Kulmakorpi Off Road park (Located in Espoo Finland)

SJ410 wheeling during winter time at family estate

Finnish Suzuki meet late spring of 2010

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Some upgrades and modifications since last update are:
-Fuel tank skid plate
-Rear bumper
-Relocation of rear lights

-Quick release doors
-New windshield and -frame

Last weekend I went wheeling at Kulmakorpi Off Road Park and teamed up with a bit more exotic Samurai.
Suzuki Samurai & SJ413 Off Roading @ Kulmakorpi Off Road Park 25.5.2013 - YouTube

Some specs of the Sammy:
-yearmodel 98
-came out from factory with coil suspension
-Axles wider that leafed sammy
-Axle interiors weaker, same strenght as SJ410
-Facelift exterior and interior

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Calmini systen is actually quite smooth on road. At least it's helluva lot better than the Iron man system which makes you feel like driving a postal carriage wagon from the 1800s:flipoff2:

No actual wheeling experience On Calmini sys yet, so no pics, but on June 8, we are going to Virolahti to an one day safari event, so I'll try to take some flexy pics then. It'll be grand, because in my opinion Virolahti has one of the best wheeling grounds in Finland. The local club has about 400 hectares or just under 1000 acres of area with varying terrain, featuring mud, rocks, sand... Also we are going to drive those puppies there, that is 200km or 124 miles to you.

Before that we still need to install the transfer case gear reduction and pop in a winch and install one of my fuel tank skid plates and other small stuff:rolleyes:

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
While wheeling at Kulmakorpi, my winch started to act strange and sounded like somebody was trying to skin a cat alive:shaking: On Tuesday I cracked open the motor and wasn't prepared to se destruction to this extent.:mad:

Apparently moisture + time isn't a good thing in a permanent magnet motor :eek: The magnets HAD been glued at some point of the lifetime of the winch, but apparently good old iron oxide proved to be more potent :(

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Transmission crossmember mending

At some point the transmission crossmember took some heavy damage while wheeling at Kulmakorpi. In this picture I have almost straightened the bent part, but it lookes quite freaky in the beginning

Crossmember cleaned and ready for reinforcement. The transfer case was soaked in oil WTF :confused: Apparently the bolts joining the two tc halves had loosened a bit since the worst of the bolts had to be turned almost one full rotation before tightening. I guess the aluminum tc mounts combined with the shitty balanced Rocky Road rear drive shaft isn't a good combination when concidering the vibrations:rolleyes:

Some hardened shelf plate as reinforcement material:D

Just to be safe, I welded a square bar inside the crossmember for that extra strength. I figured that the next time the transmission crossmember needs mending, I will have to replace the whole thing:p

Painted and ready for new challenges

Today I also pretty much emptied my bank account on some new parts. I ordered a Rock 8000 winch, some new Trailmaster +50mm front leaves, a big ass compressor with 160L/min output and 8bar max pressure, a new HD steering stabilizer :smokin: Also Lowrange Off Road emailed me today that my order for transmission bearing kit and a double V-pulley is sent, so I'll be waiting for them also in a few weeks...

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
New Winch

Before the Virolahti trip, I installed my new Rock RP8000 winch.
Based on previous experience on Chinese manufactured winches, I descided to open the winch and change the factory grease to something better and I installed air inlets to the winch motor, so it moisture can be aired out. My plan is to use a pressure regulator and have a constant breeze of air flowing through the motor whenever I'm winching or submerging the winch into water.

While disassembling the winch, the quality of the parts struck me positively. The people at Rock Machinery seems to be doing their best to give best bag for your buck. (The winch cost me 330€ instead of some riddiculous 1300€ for a Warn, Come Up etc...)

Firstly the rods connecting the notor and gearbox were solid aluminum, instead of chrome plated steel or whatnot.

Also another positive aspect is that the winch line is attached to the drum with a solid holder instead of the basic screw and cable shoe type attachment.

The drum bearing seems also metal and not plastic. It also has some sort of a low froction coating, a big + here

The gearbox internals also look decent at glance. They have even used a MoS based grease.

Although when compared with Shell Retinax EP2, it looks like...

The internals layed out, the last stage of the planetary reduction has actually a cast housing! This is a first I've seen one in a cheap wich.

I had to rotate the drum freeing lever a bit since the winch mounts directly onto the face of my bumper and nit on a separate mounting plate.

The motor coil seems to be good quality also. The blue stuff on the top is a mystery. Could it be for rotor balancing?

Air inlets, Initial setup vill be just free breather tubes drawing air fron the inside of the cabin.

Winch mounted, you can see how the drun freeing lever is in a user friendly position instead of being somewhere near the hot radiator.

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
New Winch Continued

Breather lines clear the bumper nicely from the inside

Clearance between the frame crossmember more than enough:D

Electrical connectors getting full:flipoff2:

We were supposed to have a barbecue with my friends after the winch was installed, so I used them as an added weight when reeling the Dyneema line in:p

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Virolahti Safari event

The weather was awesome, not a single cloud in the sky, temperature around +25 and 30C and a nice light breeze of wind every now and then.

There were around fifteen or so vehicles and we were divided into two groups: the "wrecker crew" and "sunday cruisers" we opted the light and relaxing oprion since my brother does not have much experience off roading and I'm not a big fan of sinking my gear waist deep into mud:shaking:

Our "queue", or what would you call it, consisted of our local guide on a BJ40 with +38" Irocs, followed bu a bone stock Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD with quadradrive, Overland package and GY Wrangler SUV tires.
After that was my self and my friend as Co pilot and my brother and father in the golden brown Sammy followed by an older Wrangler, a short Mitsubishi Pajero (Montero for Americas) with Mitsubishi V6 and 33" Buckshots (mudterrain). Also atleast it is extremely rare to see in Finland, but we had a Hummer H2 join our ventures :eek: This one had some serious mods in it and not least the massive chrome bling ongloss black:shaking:
Lastly we had a local club member as tailman with his newer Jeep wrangler (although it was his daughter who drove pretty much the whole day and he enjoyed the weather with some cold beer from the co pilot seat :laughing:)

A mixed crew for certain but we had tons of fun and most importantly NO VEHICULAR DAMAGE of any sorts :)

For the hasty ones, here is the link to my photos from the day

And here is the Youtube playlist 01 Ravijoki 8.6.2013 Suzuki SJ413 laskeutuu mäkeä (incar) - YouTube (About one hour of clips)
Video titles are in Finnish, but they provide little to none information anyway...

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
New HD steering stabilizer

I didn't have time to install my new Rough Country HD steering stabilizer before Virolahti, so I used my day off installing that.

I decided to fabricate a new mount to the other end, since the mount that came with the stabilizer was not useful for me.

6mm thick and the bend was made with ghettorigging a square bar onto a hydraulic press and slowly adding pressure. :laughing:

Mount welded solid, I'm not a professional welder, but I'd say that that is quite neat...

Stabilizer mounted, next a short test lap to check that everything clears


The mount actually does not touch the drag link although it looks like that

No touching here either

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh yeah, Dukevondank was interested in how the Calmini 3" system works.

It's brilliant! The Sammy has no diff locks and it could navigate pretty much trouble free thanks to the good articulation. Of course at several occasions some momentum was needed instead of nice and slow crawling.

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Today I picked my new Trailmaster +40mm front springs from 4x4Parts. The IronMan front springs had turned out to be a odd pair and the Zuki was tilted to right front side. Hopefully this set will mend the funny stance :)

This picture shows clearly, how the IronMans are different height. :-(

The Trailmasters impress me with their quality. The most eycatching details are the 2nd leaf wrapped around the primary leaf and the nylon/ptfe friction pads at the ends of the added leaves :)

Bushings out from the new and in to the new. I used Retinax as lube:flipoff2:

No pics from the actual installation process bu just to be sure, I used copper paste on the bolts and the steel inserts inside the bushings and Retinax everywhere else. Stance fixed

Small flexing test. The passenger side has an extrusion because of the battery and prevents the wheel from turning freely, maybe I chouls do a little shaving here? The drivers side does not have this problem...

It's wild, how much of a difference a set of springs can make! These are much more flexible than the previous ones...

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Rear disc brakes!

This was a project that had been passively going since 2008 when I bought the disc brake conversion kit and Vitara calipers from a local Suzuki enthusiast. Process gradually advanced though. 2009 I got new rotors, seals, brakepads etc. Also bought the slider pins and pistons. I sandblasted and painted the calipers during my conscription service and the mounts got powdercoated in 2012. Finally last week I got it all together:flipoff2:

I started by replacing wheel bearings on a set of spare shafts I had received as a freebie some time ago. Noticeably the bearings were gone, but the real attention catcher was the installation of the bearings:eek:
Suzuki SJ413 rear wheel bearing - YouTube
Yeah, the bearings were bad when I took the axle shafts out...

Got the old stuff off in small bits:)

Apparently the previous mechanic had removed the retainer with quite generous manoveurs :O

After cleaning out the surfaces, the new bearing and retainer slipped in with ease.

Installing wheel studs

Clearly my Suzuki had decided that drum brakes are no longer a viable method for stopping and had leaked diff oil through the seal into the drum...
At least I found out why the car was pulling to the right when breaking:shaking:

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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·

The axle came out with ease with a sliding hammer.

So did the axle seal, after I had tried how a huge screw driver fits the corner of my eye :O

The only use for a 32mm socet has proven to be installing seals...

"New axles" and mounts mounted and time to close the "shop" for the day.

Pretty much the only thing in the morning was to attach the hoses and lines and thats it.

I came to the conclusion that there really is no need for plumbing because the original brake lines were in such good condition. A small bend to the end and the brake hoses were mounted.

Just bleed the brakes and ready to go!

Once I got home, a final check that nothing leaks and everything is secured.
(Still need to make a bracket for the connection between the brakeline and hose.)

The Vitara calipers seems to have a smaller diameter than the SJ413 calipers, so for starters I did not use a proportioning valve at all. The feeling after the first few hundred km is that a prop valve is not needed and the braking balance is maintained. At least the rear brakes don't lock up before front, so thats positive =)
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