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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:33 am 
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Hi fella's,

I'm looking for info on doing a auto trans conversion on a Samurai, and still keeping it low.
Most have told me I need to do a SPOA for an automatic (in order for front driveshaft to clear auto trans pan), but I was informed that some here have done the auto trans and kept it low in SPUA.

Any direction or links appreciated.
Thanks
Lebowski in Canada

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:45 am 
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I run an auto, and the only lift is from a rear spring up front (about 15mm lift)
I use a front driveshaft from a 1.0l
They are solid shafts and very narrow, and clear easily.

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:48 am 
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JDK,
Thanks for the reply.
Can you tell me alittle more on your drivetrain? 1.6 or 2.0? 3sp or 4sp auto? Samurai transfer case?
Thanks!

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:04 pm 
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I've got stock rear springs up front spua, 1.6 16V with 4 speed auto and the stock 1.3 front driveshaft and it just clears the pan on the auto. My transfer case is also lifted 50mm. So the output of the 4 speed and the Sierra transfer line up almost perfectly.

As jdk said a 1.0 driveshaft would have more room than a 1.3 one.

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:47 pm 
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I have a 1.6 16v, and 4 speed auto
Engine and gearbox is lowered 15mm, transfer is raised 15mm

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:39 pm 
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Hi Lebowski, glad you found us!

There are a number of cars on here running autos at low/no lift. It is definitely possible. Yes, front driveline is tight. It's normally solved with a hybrid SJ410/SJ413 driveshaft. the SJ410 front driveshaft is solid rather and tube and very small diameter. It's also possible to hammer the pan slightly to create some extra room.


The TH-180 has a wider pan than the AW-4 and I wouldn't use a TH-180 if it was reasonably avoidable. The performance of the AW-4 auto is miles ahead of the TH-180. I've built cars running both.

Bumpstop spacing, and more rigid gearbox and engine mounts also assist. When on radical side angles, the gearbox can flop over and reduce clearance. This problem is amplified by the axle moving to the left as the gearbox moves to the right.

Check the Trolley Tug build in the Member's rides section.

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:13 am 
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Steve, thanks for pointing out on the other thread that a SPOA is not needed for the auto swap....with that comment my interest was peaked and I migrated here.

Good points you fellows are bring up;

Raising the transfer case up 50mm or so seems straightforward enough.

Using the smallest possible tube diameter driveshaft is good suggestion. I do recall seeing a few 410's here when I was a young guy, but they were rare even then...and now extinct...I don't think I'll have much luck finding one of those. However, I can get a driveshaft made up at a shop, so that is not a stumbling block. To have a point of reference, can anyone chime in on the what the outside diameter is on these?

I do like the 3sp due to simplicity of being a vacuum operated unit. That certainly is appealing for ease of swapping in. Is this case. I was not aware the pan is slightly wider than the 4sp...thanks for pointing that out.

In regards to the 4sp auto, yes I can see that being a good choice for several reasons. What are you fellows doing for the wiring for these? Are you retaining full automatic capability? There is a kit available here with simplified wiring but it makes the AW-4 semi-auto, and requires the driver to shift the gears. I'd like the factory full auto feature if possible.

Good point on rigid mounting of drivetrain to address lateral movement and clearance when side angled. I will pay attention to that.

I'll write a little more in an additional note later....must run off to work now.
Thanks again.

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:17 am 
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Its probably easier to install a 16v and auto control module than messing with a kit that doesnt quite work.
A new loom from an auto, with its ecu and auto controller isnt much from the wreckers.

Another thing to assist clearance is to install a panhard. It controls the diffs path through its range of motion, allows clearances to be tighter and really improves handling.
I run a panhard in the front of my leaf sprung sierra.
It makes it drive much better, that i will add a panhard (from a range rover) to my stock sierra too.

Ill measure up one of the 1.0l driveshafts i have later today.
Someone can maybe sell you a second hand 1.0l driveshaft and post it to you.

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:52 am 
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I do have a complete donor vehicle. I guess I can pull and transplant the harness and even dash from the 2000 Tracker 2.0 auto into the Zuk. I think someone on Zuwharrie mentioned that is how they did it so they could retain the 4sp auto shifting as is from the factory.

I do plan to run YJ springs. I have some factory YJ springs, and one set of 2 1/2" lift Old Man Emu's. I think the lifted OME will give a total of 4 1/2" lift in SPUA.....too high by your standards there? Maybe 1 1/2" of lift will be gained with the YJ factory non-lifted springs. I'm guessing the group will suggest the non-lifted springs? These are probably the better choice, especially if the transfer case is being raised.

Any pics of your SPUA panhard setup? I like that idea.

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:50 pm 
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Lebowski wrote:
I do have a complete donor vehicle. I guess I can pull and transplant the harness and even dash from the 2000 Tracker 2.0 auto into the Zuk. I think someone on Zuwharrie mentioned that is how they did it so they could retain the 4sp auto shifting as is from the factory.



So much yes to swapping the whole engine and transmission in one hit. There will be some hurdles, potentially around antitheft, but I'm pretty confident they're all resolvable. Whilst the wide gearing of the TH-180 will work acceptably with the power/torque of the J20, the three speed is really hard to gear for on road use due to the 1:1 top gear. Getting cruising revs low enough for comfort requires huge tyres and tall diff gears - not a good combination off road or for stress on the transfer case.

In comparison the AW-4 has a deeper 1st gear and a very, very tall overdrive and gearing is super easy.

As an aside, check my build thread - I have modded my shifter gates to allow 1st/reverse slams without accidentally blowing though to park, and neutral drops without needing to hit the detent button. It makes a totally stock looking shifter about the best offroad shifter possible.

I used a trail tough bush for the rear of the AW-4 and raised my transfer about 1.5" to get a flat jackshaft angle. I use a regular SJ413 front driveshaft and there is some light contact between the driveshaft and pan but I haven't had reason to be concerned about it to date. The transfer lift allows me a flat belly. I did, however, build a custom gearbox crossmember which is also my radius arm mount.

I can't vouch for YJ springs, they aren't common here, but I certainly wouldn't be aiming for 4.5" of spring lift. You'll never be able to get the car to settle onto the bumpstops, so it will never feel comfortable off camber.

Steve.

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:42 pm 
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Gwagensteve wrote:
As an aside, check my build thread - I have modded my shifter gates to allow 1st/reverse slams without accidentally blowing though to park, and neutral drops without needing to hit the detent button. It makes a totally stock looking shifter about the best offroad shifter possible.


Is that the hedgepig build?

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:41 am 
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Yes Fordem.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:07 am 
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Thanks - I'll be taking a closer look at my shifter tomorrow.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:11 pm 
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Back at a computer- Here's the mod.

Image

When the car is in D or R, the button has to go in to move it out of gear - you can't bump into neutral.
When it's in N you can bump either R or D
With the button down you can slam 1/R to rock the car in mud/sand/snow

The only quirk is to get P you have to slightly depress the detent button. It takes about 2 minutes to teach a new driver that and then it's very intuitive.

I don't have a shroud on mine with a legend, but that would be unaffected.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Gwagensteve wrote:
Back at a computer- Here's the mod.

Image

The only quirk is to get P you have to slightly depress the detent button. It takes about 2 minutes to teach a new driver that and then it's very intuitive.


Just dont try leaning through the passenger door trying to find park while the car is rolling down a hill.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:11 pm 
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Lol. Happy times.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:02 pm 
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jdk81 wrote:
Just dont try leaning through the passenger door trying to find park while the car is rolling down a hill.


Not a good idea at any time - dropping the vehicle into park with it moving can bend the park pawl - I've seen one guy end up with it jammed in the park position and unable to get it out.

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:55 am 
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It was an in joke Fordem, JDK was referring to an "incident" where my car rolled away and it wasn't all that easy to stop, as it was heading towards other cars.

But yes, you're right.

Steve.

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:23 am 
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Hi guys. I've only been able to peek in here for a few quick looks. I'll probably stop in to chat more at the end of the week. Work has been busier than usual, and probably will be like that for the next few days. In the meantime, I'll try and read up on the builds mentioned above before I ask more questions. Thanks.

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:26 am 
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Got a chance to read through Hedepig. Impressive build. Wow!

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:46 am 
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Here is a reply I got from a on of the big vendors in the states on the 3sp auto:

With old man emu front springs 2" arch and 2" extended shackles in front, then rear stock springs with 4" extension shackles the front drive shaft will be touching the 3pd fluid pan.
In other words that was the latest install For a customer that wanted a minimum lift and at 4" we were way to low. To partly answer your question for 4x4 use it has to be lifted to use an auto. Most importantly is what engine swap your doing because those also require a lift.

To completely answer your question, from my experience the minimum lift for a 1.6 engine required to use an automatic and the automatic trans is a SPUA set up using 3" arched springs with 2" longer shackles in front and rear. Specifically the Trail-Gear spring.

So you fellows find that the 1.0 driveshaft solves this problem?

I'll limit my questions to single frames, so it will be easier to follow.

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:11 pm 
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100% the 1L front drive shaft will clear the 3spd auto pan, only just.
I know cause i ran this setup for a number of years, and my car was HARD on the bump stops, so it couldn't get any lower.

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:49 pm 
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Lebowski wrote:
Here is a reply I got from a on of the big vendors in the states on the 3sp auto:

With old man emu front springs 2" arch and 2" extended shackles in front, then rear stock springs with 4" extension shackles the front drive shaft will be touching the 3pd fluid pan.
In other words that was the latest install For a customer that wanted a minimum lift and at 4" we were way to low. To partly answer your question for 4x4 use it has to be lifted to use an auto. Most importantly is what engine swap your doing because those also require a lift.

To completely answer your question, from my experience the minimum lift for a 1.6 engine required to use an automatic and the automatic trans is a SPUA set up using 3" arched springs with 2" longer shackles in front and rear. Specifically the Trail-Gear spring.



Yes, a 1.0 litre (or custom small diameter driveshaft) will fix the problem.

This is what fascinates me about the US scene. Despite a strong and vibrant aftermarket, they still get some things just so wrong. I note there is no mention of bumpstop spacing, only "lift." With the setup mentioned, given sufficient force, there is no physical stop to prevent the driveshaft hitting the pan, so say nothing for what all that lift is doing to the ride and handling, but apparently, that's how a "big vendor" solves a front driveshaft clearance problem.

3" lift springs render the suspension non-functional in my experience.

Extended shackles used for lift erode handling and steering response. 4" over stock rear shackles? Really? The end result will be a car that's just terrible to drive. I wonder how the "big vendor" responds when the owner complains about the handling, lack of flex, or poor ride?

Yet apparently this is all preferable to running a smaller diameter driveshaft.

It's the same mentality that directs people to run toyota diffs SPOA when the stock axles with quality components and SPUA are fine to run the tyre size planned.

Im consistently disappointed with the lack of basic problem solving skills I see in many US builds. There are some completely amazing builds for sure, but so many hastily thrown together, poorly conceived cars that are very dated by local (Australian) standards.

Steve.

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:58 pm 
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Yes, I agree with you on all points. The spoa advice for going auto I was given sounded disastrous. The very few auto conversions here (that I've read about and only 3sp) are ALWAYS spoa, and that has always discouraged me from doing it. I'm so thankful you chimed in on Pirate and said spoa is not necessary!


Last edited by Lebowski on Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:35 pm 
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Id try very hard to avoid the 3 speed

The 4 speed ratios are so nice.

Theres the vacuum/mech shifted 4 speed to consider, if you dont want to make an electronic one work.
http://bbs.zuwharrie.com/content/topic,113393.0.html

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:45 pm 
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Funny, when I was a young guy everything was 3sp auto controlled by vacuum...so simple. Now, running a 3sp auto seems like archiac Ford Model A technology. :lol:

I hear you on the 4sp. This is my #1 choice. Good ratios, and OD is very desirable. I would like to retain factory controlled shifting.

What do you guys think about this....to retain factory shifting....
From the 2000 Tracker 2.0/4sp auto I propose to transfer all the instrument cluster, the steering column, and harness into the Samurai.

Does that sound like a good plan?
Any tips?

Next:
With the 2.0 engine, any known issues with front diff hitting the oilpan with low lift?
I was planning on getting the Trail Tough 2.0 motor mounts which from the description states "maintain precise original crank shaft position in order to maintain vibration free operation of the intermediate driveshaft".
Slow loading but here it is: http://www.trailtough.com/index.php?pag ... &Itemid=53
However, I will be raising the transfer case about 40mm as recommended here.

I am ok with moving the front axle slightly forward, and relocating the steering box....or even converting to an ps FJ60 box I have.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:24 am 
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A small bumpstop spacer should be all that's required. I'm running a Vitara sump on my 1.6

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:41 am 
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You can also cut and mod the sump if you want a bit more space too.

Swapping the column and whole cluster may be a little overboard, way over complicating it.

You can probably graft whats needed into the samurai cluster (if you can't mod it).
The auto has its own vss, and you just need to add a vss on the back of the speedo for the ecu.
Add the check engine light, and mod the cluster for an o/d off light.
j20 will probably need mods to get the tacho to work.

It's easy to maintain factory shifting when installing efi, there isnt much more you're adding to be honest.
I kept the power button, but I wouldn't bother with it next time.

I personally haven't done a j20 into a sierra.
However, word on the web is that you don't have the room to run the mechanical fan, which is a huge cost imo.

The g16b and auto isn't lacking power when geared correctly for the tyres.
They drive on road very nicely, are capable of maintaining road speeds.
The vitara/tracker/sidekick efi is the easiest to to install.
The baleno/escudo needs a bit of work on cooling system, and tacho mods.

j20 is a 30% increase in power and torque over the g16b.
As much as I would love a j20, or even a j18 in my daily sierra I cant justify it.
I'm not sure how the rest of the driveline will handle the j20 and your chosen tyre size.
You may need to step up to hilux diffs, which has consequences for the direction of your build.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:50 am 
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Ok, will have a better look on what to transfer over. Basic electrical I'm good at. I haven't tackled an electrical swap like this before though.

Good points on the g16, and that was my initial intention. However, as I was looking for a g16 auto, I got a very good deal on a low km, but rusty j20 unit, as a donor. It's was so good I ended up using it as a daily driver for 3yrs! Now it is too rusted to be roadworthy, but engine and AW4 run perfect. Only 120km on it. I think axles should be ok if I stay with a 31" tire for now. Also, another good deal came up shortly after the first one, and I got a 5sp j20 with only 100km for a song too. Runs excellent also. So sadly, it looks like I'm commited to the j20.....so sad, eh?. :wink:

I think I will install the engine with the above motor mounts, then decide to mod the oil pan, or move the axle. I'll make sure to take pics.

I do have a set of Hilux diffs for future use if necessary. If anything over 31" tire I think I will definitely need these.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:53 am 
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No, you definitely DON'T need hilux axles with over a 31" tyre. This is more US nonsense propagated by cheapskates, bad drivers or guys who only ever drive rock. Hilux axles add another level of compromise to the car. Sure, you gain axle strength. You also gain heaps of weight, gain width (not always a positive), loose ground clearance, still need to spend on lockers, mess with gearing, try and resolve a rear driveshaft that doesn't vibrate, and deal with major clearance issues with the front pumpkin to chassis and sump unless you spring over and end up with the same wobbly mess everyone thinks is cool.

I've been running a Samurai/Sierra front axle for something like 6 years with 5.12 ratio, solid pinion spacer, ARB, and Trail Tough Double tough axles. I've broken 2 sets of hub bolts in 6 years. I run 35" Krawlers beadlocked I'm also coiled and have 100" wheelbase. My car is HEAVY and generates lots of traction by suzuki standards. I don't see any reason or advantage in Hilux axles for my application. I have broken a rear axle and twisted another (300m) but my car is a fat pig and I was running it super heavy (too much recovery gear) when I broke.

An exxagerated example of the problem is epitomised by a car in my club.

It's running 60 series land cruiser axles and 37" Maxxis Creepy Crawlers. It also runs 15X10" beadlocked rims. It's very stable and is very strong, but it's also very heavy and has quite limited found clearance. I'm on 2" shorter tyres and I have 2" more under the pumpkin. The weight is a downside everywhere and the loss of ground clearance is a hassle in the deeply eroded tracks that are common where I live. the weight and strength of those axles means more load into the transfer case, which means upgraded mounts, when results in transfer damage if the car gets bound up and cant go anywhere. It's a viscous cycle of upgrade, add weight, loose power to weight, upgrade again.

Don't get me wrong, it's a cool car, but it can be hard to see the advantage of the heavy axles.

The biggest problem I see with the J20 is the inability to run the factory engine driven fan. The J20 is LONG and space gets very tight around the front of the motor. Otherwise it's all good.

Steve

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