TRAIL TOUGH YJ
Readers Test Drive Our Trail Tough Equipped Samurai.
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:
||'86 Samurai Stock
2" S/R lift, 235x75x15 M/T, Napa Shocks
||Lifted CJ spring SPUA,
Scratch built shackles, spring hangers, 31" A/T
1/4" exhaust w/ header, Weber Carb
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."
video of rock crawl testing.
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:
|Overall performance at hiway
||"Very fun and stable
|Overall ride quality
||"The vehicle rode
smooth.", "It soaked up bumps, OK but still had the quick 'Rocking horse' feel
of a stock Samurai."
||"I felt a little unsure
at high speed on long sweepers - but it did surprizingly well on the slalom section."
||"I drove the slalom
section more agressively than normal (for me) and was impressed by the lack of roll",
|Overall Stability while
||"...this lift was much
|Overall ride quality
||"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."
||"Never felt tippy or out
|Flex / Twisted up situations
||"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
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