randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
6/30/21 5:04 p.m.

We used to have a 1992 Jimny. We sold it because the husband wanted a truck. The husband regrets this. Because my husband gets what he wants when it comes to cars, I bought him a new Jimny. This Jimny.

We packed up the van, drove 9 hours to Baltimore, yelled at people and told them how to do their job, had a beer at Heavy Seas, then drove 10 hours back.

And the husband wanted to take the Miata! I've always had car troubles at port and since this was the first time I could bring tools with me, I came prepared. What I was not prepared for, however, is the disaster that is the Port of Baltimore. Story time. Skip to the second post if you don't want to read about how awesome Baltimore is.

The car arrived Monday. Normally it would be available for pickup immediately but mine got flagged for in inspection due to paperwork issues. I called the port twice a day trying to get a status update but the only response I got (if I got one) was, "I can tell that it has a hold but I don't know what or why." It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that I got through to someone who could give me the full status. She told me that cars are getting cleared through inspections on their third day at port so statistically mine would be cleared that day or Thursday morning, but no vehicles from my boat had been inspected yet. With a 9 hour drive ahead of me, that was all I needed to start loading the van. As we were pulling out of the garage, I got an email from this insanely helpful port worker saying that my car was the very first vehicle in line from the Hoegh Shanghai and had just cleared the inspection. Excellent! But since the husband took two full hours to get ready, we were quite behind schedule.

The plan had been to rent a campsite in Baltimore and camp in the van, but due to His Royal Highness's royal slowness, we wouldn't get into Baltimore until 90 minutes after the campgrounds close for the night. We somehow managed to book the same La Quinta that we stayed at in 2017 when we picked up the original Jimny. The drive was uneventful. Stayed at the hotel overnight. Cicadas!

Thursday morning we drove to the airport to clear the Customs paperwork. We went to the old Customs office, which is now an abandoned building. The directions to the new location on their website were completely unhelpful and conflicted with the directions from their automated phone system, but long story short you have to pay for airport parking and go to Terminal 5. We were first in line when we arrived but immediately afterward we were joined by a woman trying to clear her belongings that she had shipped from her home in Spain and a family who were unable to get a green card for their daughter because CBP had classified her as cargo instead of a human when they immigrated. The singular employee was being stereotypcal BMV employee and everyone was ready to strangle him. When I got to the window I started collating my not-collated documents, handing each one to him in turn. He watched in silence, then on the third form asked me what I wanted him to do with them. I reiterated that I was trying to clear a vehicle import and he just walked away, leaving the rest of the forms with me. 40 minutes later a different employee calls my name. I hand the rest of the papers through the slot before he can say anything else and he begins chastising me for not providing all of the paperwork upfront. But whatever, he stamps the forms and we're on our way.

The next stop is port. Well, specifically, an escort service that will let us into port. But since the airport is separated from Dundalk by a toll bridge, we ended up driving through downtown Baltimore. I pulled over to call the four escort services to get an address but two told me that they were completely booked through the end of Friday (next opening Monday), one said the TWIC escort was off that day, and the last one. Ooh boy, the last one. Some dude's personal cell phone who said he might be able to get me in at 12:30 (except that the port is closed for lunch from 11:30-1:00 and it is now 11:30) and he asks if I have a delivery order, which is now required. I said I had been provided one and was working to fill it out but I had questions. He tells me that the port does not take handwritten forms so I'd have to find someone to print it for me. I call Hoegh, who provided the blank form, and the representative had some not nice things to say about this TWIC escort and how wrong he is. So he doesn't seem to know what he's doing, but also he never called me back.

So Michael is having a panic attack in the passenger seat of the van while I am on their websites seeing if their online appointment availability matches what I was told over the phone. And for one of them, it didn't. The entire day was available. So I booked us for 1:00 (in 30 minutes) and drove the 150 feet to their address. The secretary couldn't help me with my delivery order questions, but she did tell me that she didn't have me down for an appointment that day. Color me surprised. I showed her my confirmation email and she said she'd just take me there herself. She grabbed her high visibility vest and locked the building, mumbling about how someone had WAY overbooked the escorts today. 

She took me to the Hoegh trailer in the port to present my documents and get the keys. I handed the attendant my entire folder because I didn't know what he needed. He took the delivery order, handed back everything else, and wordlessly disappeared. When he returned, he asked me if I had been to Customs yet. The car was not marked as cleared. He had emailed them and was awaiting a response, so I went to tell the escort, who was on the phone. When she finished, she informed me that they, "charge for that email." 10 minutes later I was given the all-clear and she drove me to the Jimny. It started immediately so I didn't need any of the tools that I brought, but the clutch caught just below the floor and wouldn't fully disengage, so driving was a challenge. I affixed my license plate, took it through security leaving the port, and followed the escort's car back to the office. But when we got there, the gate to the parking lot was closed and locked and my husband was on the other side, looking rather annoyed.

Apparently the person who actually had the 1:00 appointment had shown up with an infant and, not having a babysitter handy, toldmy husband to watch this child while they were at port. And for safety reasons I guess, they locked them in the parking lot. It was all very bizarre. But I was sunburnt, approaching heat exhaustion, and frustrated at being 4 hours behind schedule for a 9 hour drive home. 

We took the cars around the corner to Fort Holabird to clean them up, check and top off fluids, and snap the opening picture. I got the clutch to at least operate, so we stopped for a celebratory beer at Heavy Seas before hitting the road. We're definitely sticking with Jacksonville for our future imports.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
6/30/21 5:32 p.m.

So anyway. The car. It came with a fiberglass cap over the front seats and this bizarre vinyl contraption to keep the interior sort of dry ish (spoiler alert: it did not). The vinyl bit went into the trash before we even left Baltimore. I figured the fiberglass top would be okay until our replacement soft top arrived, but the husband reported that it flapped in the wind and resonated on the highway, and it was so loud that it was hurting his ears. I removed it at a gas station but it was way bigger than I had expected and barely fit in the van.

The replacement top did eventually arrive so I guess I'll try to unload this top to a Samurai enthusiast. But the top was just one of a list of things to buy.

  • The front "bumper" is a non-structural style bar. I intend to import an OE bumper.
  • The rear bumper is ugly and I hate it. I have already ordered an aftermarket bumper with an integrated Class III hitch.
  • The tail lights are nearly non-functional. More on this in a bit.
  • We had the front seats replaced in Japan but the rear is disgusting and also useless. The intent is to get two piece folding seats from the hardtop JA22W if I could ever get someone to ship them for me.
  • Period Japanese radio with incompatible frequencies, no Bluetooth/aux, and a broken CD player
  • 6700 RPM at 75 mph

I picked up a Samurai rear axle that has a 3.73 ring and pinion. This will be a huge improvement over the factory 5.125 gears. Too much? Perhaps. It will drop the 75 mph revs to 4900, which is lower than the van and AZ-1 which both have the same engine. So we'll see how that goes. Other options are a JA22 transfer case for a 15% drop in RPM, a Samurai transfer case for a drop of 10%, and a Cappuccino/JA22W transmission for a 5th gear drop of 5%. Although really, if the Samurai ring and pinion is too much of a drop for this engine, I can easily remedy this by tuning the engine for more power. Which, let's be honest, I will be doing anyway. But considering people swap in JB23 transfer cases for a 37% drop in RPM, I think I'll be fine.

Long term plans. DOHC swap the F6A for a better top end and to get access to off-the-shelf upgrades for the Cappuccino and AZ-1. The AZ-1 has bolt-ons good for 130bhp, which would be a drastic improvement over the stock 64. The husband wants a hard top. We've picked it out, but that will probably be a late fall purchase. It already has adjustable off-road dampers and some kind of soft, taller coil springs. I'd like to lower it back to the factory ride height but otherwise we don't have any reason to touch the suspension. Hopefully JustJeepin is putting on some more off-roading adventures this summer because I want to see what it can do. The old one could walk all over the Jeeps when it was completely stock, and this one is a lot better. Plus it has AC!

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/30/21 5:35 p.m.

When you say, "we packed the van and... plans to sleep in the van" was that this kei van pictured? 

Did you do 10 hours of Interstate driving in the van?  They don't strike me as being geared for steady 75 mph? 

Does this me you also bought a Jimny, site unseen and on the day it was released drove it for 10 hours, also at interstate speeds? 

If so, that's the real adventure here! 

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
6/30/21 5:41 p.m.

Oh, I forgot about the tail lights. I ordered OE tails with the intent to swap them into this bumper while we wait for the new bumper to be fabricated. But.

They're not remotely close to the same size. I guess I'm stuck with these dollar store aftermarket ones until ZuksOffroad sends me the new bumper. Also the previous owner cut out the tail light connector and wired these directly to the chassis harness because that's how they do things over there. So I get to fix that as well.

I don't know why the resolution is so borked but this is the ZOR bumper that we've ordered:

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/30/21 9:57 p.m.
John Welsh said:

When you say, "we packed the van and... plans to sleep in the van" was that this kei van pictured? 

Did you do 10 hours of Interstate driving in the van?  They don't strike me as being geared for steady 75 mph? 

Does this me you also bought a Jimny, site unseen and on the day it was released drove it for 10 hours, also at interstate speeds? 

If so, that's the real adventure here! 

Lol...my thoughts exactly. I only live an hour from Baltimore, but I would have showed up with my Sequoia and trailer if it was me lol. Guess I'm not much of a risk-taker when it comes to newly purchased untested cars :)

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
6/30/21 10:21 p.m.
John Welsh said:

When you say, "we packed the van and... plans to sleep in the van" was that this kei van pictured? 

Did you do 10 hours of Interstate driving in the van?  They don't strike me as being geared for steady 75 mph? 

Does this me you also bought a Jimny, site unseen and on the day it was released drove it for 10 hours, also at interstate speeds? 

If so, that's the real adventure here! 

Yup, the cargo area of the Every is the size of a three-quarters mattress, halfway between a twin and a full. Not the greatest accommodation, especially since we'd have to move all of our cargo to the front seats to sleep, but it works. The worst part of these trips is the van's suspension, though.

1200 miles in the van at 5000 RPM. Between the van and the AZ-1 I've clocked 35,000 highway miles on the Suzuki F6A across a large number of road trips so I'm not concerned about their gearing. Think of it like a motorcycle engine. The AZ-1's redline is 10,500 RPM so the highway is only halfway. The Jimny's gearing is certainly less than ideal, but the old Jimny traveled around 5000 miles on the interstate with the same gearing and 10% less power in the short time that we had it. It was not pleasant but it's not like a Honda Beat or anything.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) : The cars are delivered on an RoRo so they have to be capable of moving under their own power to get on and off of the boat. My exporter in Japan drives them from the point of purchase to the port. A pre-purchase inspection provides a pass/fail result for startup and idle and describes clutch actuation. That's all of the information that I have about the cars when I go to port to pick them up, and the only two roadworthiness problems that I've encountered across my five imported cars was the AZ-1 missing an alternator belt (different exporter, they tried to argue that it was stolen on the boat) and the van having a loud rear wheel bearing. Something something the friends that we make along the way? It's fine. I did have with me all of the tools needed to perform a 4G63 engine swap so I had that going for me, which is nice.

Pulling the differential from the Samurai axle was a lot easier than I had expected. It needs to get cleaned up but it's otherwise ready to go in the Jimny for the moment of truth. Shown here using the axle to confirm that it's an open diff and not a mini spool like I thought.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
7/2/21 10:19 a.m.

So the new rear end went in yesterday, and wow. The around town gearing is perfection. First gear is usable; I'm not constantly shifting and always in the wrong gear; I'm not in 5th by 30 mph. Highway, however, is a different story. 

This is an excerpt from a gearing comparison spreadsheet that I made six months ago when I was still figuring out what I wanted to do to the Jimny. The top row is engine RPM at 75 mph and the remaining rows are vehicle speed at a "shift RPM," in this case 4000. Other gear change options are shown, but the SJ diff is what is currently installed. And as you can see, the original 5th gear sits in between the new 3rd and new 4th, making 4th and 5th both taller than 5th was before. This also makes the Jimny gearing limited to 110 mph, assuming it has enough power to get there. Which it very does not.

So it can cruise on flat ground at highway speeds but any acceleration or hill requires a downshift. We've got 60 minutes of highway driving Sunday to put it through its paces, but the husband has already told me to get a replacement front end and make the change permanent. Is it too much? Yes. Am I going to change it back/do something else? Absolutely not!

More power is not needed around town, but it would definitely make highways better. The lack of overrun fuel cut has convinced me to go full standalone on this thing, so whenever Kei Sport USA gets their PnP Megasquirt into production I'll be getting one of those. This is now the same engine that's in the 1995+ Alto Works i.e. so I can glean from them what the factory bottom end is capable of. I have no plans to purchase new hardware for this engine prior to a DOHC swap so I'll probably end up blowing the factory turbo in short order, but I may be able to make a slightly better turbo from my old AZ-1 parts. I've seen those dyno at 75whp on the stock turbo.

I don't really have much planned for aero improvements because, while there are certainly plenty of improvements to be had, I'm not one to change the aesthetics of cars. An OE bumper may in theory help aero at the front and a drop back to the factory ride height or slightly lower could possibly help as well, but that will probably be it. Unless someone has suggestions?

As one might expect, the speedo is now WAY off. I haven't done any research into replacement speedo gears yet beyond knowing that there are some available. Are there any Samurai enthusiasts around here that could offer input? EDIT: The factory gauge can be calibrated manually but I don't know its range of adjustment. Since the pickup is the transfer case output shaft and I'm using Samurai rings and pinions, a factory Samurai driven gear should get me to where I need to be if there isn't enough adjustment in the gauge to fix it with the stock JA11/JA12/JA22 gear.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
7/12/21 12:15 p.m.

So a couple of things to report:

  • At the farthest extent of the speedo's adjustment the gauge read 65 km/h while the car's GPS speed was 75 km/h. But even if I could adjust it enough, the odometer would be as off as before, and the odometer is really the part that I care about.
  • The Jimny (and every) SOHC F6A ECU connectors are shared with the AZ-1 and Cappuccino DOHC ones, so the Kei Sport MSPnP will fit the Jimny. I just need to figure out which pins I need to relocate, since Suzuki used a different pinout for each application. A chart exists that shows all applications but I haven't seen it in years.
  • Garrett released the Club Line turbo series on Tuesday. The flanges for the smallest, the GBC14-200, are the same flanges used on the original RHB31s that Suzuki paired with all of the F6As. The problem is that there were flange variations across applications and it's not immediately clear which one the GBC14 uses. The turbine inlet flange is shared with DOHC applications. AZ-1, Cappuccino, Alto Works RS/x, and all K6A turbo applications as well. The outlet flange is not identifiable visually, though, because the differences are very small between the variants. But what I have learned is this: The SOHC Alto Works i.e. uses a certain flange that I have been referring to as the SOHC flange. All DOHC applications use a slight variant that I have been referring to as the DOHC flange. However, I have found today that the Jimny and Dx51V Every use the "DOHC" flange despite being SOHC. So either the new Garrett turbo will be a bolt on for DOHC F6As like AZ-1 and Cappo or it will only fit inlet or outlet but not both in all Suzuki applications. It's also oil cooled. But Garrett provides measurements for the flange on their website and I have a spare K6A turbine outlet so I can compare it to the "DOHC" flange once I get some time. It definitely won't be bolt-on for the Jimny but hopefully I can learn some stuff that will benefit others. The larger three turbos in the new line use standard T25 flanges, which makes them more appealing for my AZ-1 build.

We drove the Jimny ~145 miles last weekend. 5th gear was okay, but I suspect that I was at or near peak boost the whole way there on the interstate. I need to get a boost gauge in this thing. On the way back we took a State Route 40 and the Jimny actually felt pretty composed in 5th at 70 mph through the gentle hills. We haven't filled up the tank since that drive so I don't have fuel economy figures to report, but I'm curious what that will reveal.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
12/13/21 11:50 a.m.

DO. NOT. DO. THIS. If you're down with a RWD-only Jimny, I guess knock yourself out but on the JA12 chassis the whole front end is different and while the swap CAN be done, it is way more than just replacing the third member like it is at the back. 

First of all, the differentials themselves are different at both the front and rear. The third member/carrier is still compatible with the JA12 axles but internally nothing is compatible between Samurai and Jimny. For example, the Samurai locates the pinion at the bottom of the differential whereas the Jimny places them at the top. At the rear this isn't a problem unless you're lifted and that extra 2" of drop will cause problems with the driveshaft, but at the front that is significant because the Jimny runs a drag link behind the front axle under the differential carrier. The Samurai third member interferes with the drag link, requiring either a lot of custom fabrication and loss of easy toe adjustment, some custom extended tie rod ends and loss of some ground clearance, or swapping the whole steering setup to the Samurai setup. So I have installed Samurai knuckles and bought the weird two-piece Samurai steering rod setup, but the latter is not a direct swap because the Samurai track is 2" wider than the Jimny. So I had the steering rods shortened to fit but now I have discovered that the opening in the face of the knuckle for the spindle is 10mm smaller diameter on the Samurai parts so I'd either have to convert to the Samurai spindles and hubs as well or have the Samurai knuckles machined out to fit the larger Jimny spindles. I chosoe the latter because I thought it might be faster but it doesn't look like it will make a difference. Knuckles are in Cincinnati being machined now, and I still have to take the hub/spindle assembly apart to swap over the dust shields and add the caliper bracket mounts. The hope is that I can start reassembling again next week.

It's also worth noting that this will oonly work on my Jimny because it has a mild lift. The steering drag link was moved behind the axle originally because the coil spring setup required adding a track bar which occupies the spot previously used for the steering arms. The lift that my Jimny has (and subsequent lowering of the bump stops) means that the steering hardware just clears the track bar mount at full compression. We'll see what it looks like under dynamic load but I may have to lower the driver side bump stop just a little more.

I think the brakes are compatible with both knuckles but I picked up a set of Samurai calipers and brackets anyway because the bleed valve would no longer be at the highest point if I installed the old ones in their new position. Also I think this swap will work as originally intended on JA11 Jimnys but I no longer have one around to check out myself. This seems to be a three years only JAx2 problem before the JA23 came out.

And I still need to drop the transfer case and fix the speedo drive and driven gears.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
12/13/21 12:48 p.m.

I thought you had a typo.   
 

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
12/14/21 5:01 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

American cars are not my thing, but my grandpa loved his Jimmy. When it ran.

I don't know how I missed mentioning that the Jimny has officially earned the badge of competent tow rig! 

I got the new bumper installed, got the largest drop hitch I could find, and added a four pin trailer connector before setting off for Cincinnati to pick up some furniture and appliances. I didn't attempt to take an interstate for obvious reasons, but I didn't have any problems maintaining fast speeds and even passing people on two lane country roads on the way back. The new gearing was not a detriment at all, and I feel validated in my decision to sell the truck and replace it with a trailer for the Jimny. Brakes are shockingly competent with the added weight as well!

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/26/22 9:54 a.m.

More reasons to not do this final drive swap. The Jimny and Samurai front hub and spindle depth is different (hub is 5mm deeper, spindle is 10mm longer to accommodate the 5mm caliper bracket), so using the Jimny hub and spindle on the Samurai knuckle moves the caliper outboard by ~5mm, meaning that the rotor interferes with the caliper bracket. Solutions are custom caliper bracket, hub spacer and longer lugs, or use Samurai hub and spindle. Or run without front brakes. I chose the Samurai parts.

Samurai on left. Jimny on right.

This now bolts together and all that, but if you're paying more attention than I was during this you may have already spotted the problem. The extra ~1" of length on the spindle is not replicated on the axle that rides inside it. Because it is now too short, there is no way to clip the axle into the spindle, meaning that the front axle is just floating inside the axle housing unsecured. The Jimny could finally come down off of jack stands and vacate the valuable real estate in my garage, but it shouldn't be driven and we REALLY can't use 4WD yet. I've been contacting people about acquiring the Samurai axle shafts but I have yet to have any person come through, which is beyond frustrating. I've been calling and messaging people since February at this point.

IF I can get the axle shafts and IF I can make them work, I'll put up a list of what on my front end is Jimny, what is Samurai, and what is custom. The results will surprise you! No they won't....

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/26/22 9:57 a.m.

Bonus post! Here's me testing out the "no front brakes" option. The dust shield doesn't fit, but I guess if you don't have front brakes then you don't need a shield up there either!

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