Valhalla Samurai

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Well-known member
Mar 20, 2012
North side of Deer Mountain
Because it's a Samurai with an old Volvo engine in it. We've had it for about 15 years. For about 4 of the last 5 1/2 years it was the dingy we tow on our camping and overland adventures. When we got it, the only upgrades done were an SPOA conversion and 31" tires....and the Volvo engine, a Weber carbureted 1.8L 4 banger that had been punched to a 2.0L. I’d cleaned up a bunch of small stuff, added better seats and a better cooling system. I also put 6.5:1 crawl gears in the xfer case and a lunchbox locker in the rear. Then 2 summers ago there was a catastrophic oil pump failure that lead to a seized engine. So since I'd been hoarding parts for several years for a giant build I wanted to do, I decide to pull the trigger. At this point I’m getting closer to being finished but wanted to post a build thread after the fact. The build is as follows: A YJ Jeep leaf spring conversion using 1985 Toyota mini truck axles with 33” tires on steel 17” Trail Blazer wheels and a Sidekick power steering conversion along with a high steer set up.. Under the hood will be a freshly rebuilt B20E out of a 72 Volvo. It’s been bored and decked to about 9.6:1 with a skinny head gasket. The crank was also turned .010” / .010” or in this case, .025mm / .025mm. This was a Bosch “D Jet” fuel injected engine. Although antiquated by today’s standards, D Jet was a decent system in its day, but now days parts are nearly impossible to find and many components are really expensive, even used. So I’ll be attempting to install the DIY fuel injection system called MegaSquirt. I think for this build this will be the best part! By this I mean so much of our hobby is cut this, drill, mill, turn and weld………whatever. Although it’s all really fun, I haven’t done anything new in years and even though in my former life as a mechanic I’d diagnosed and repaired plenty of fuel injection issues, I’ve never converted a car that was carbureted to fuel injection top to bottom.


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I have owned a few different samurais, in a very wide ranges of variations. Very cool little off-road rigs. Very capable I'll be following along
I have owned a few different samurais, in a very wide ranges of variations. Very cool little off-road rigs. Very capable I'll be following along

For years I was a hardcore Landcruiser guy (still have a couple) but always noticed Samurais on the trail. One time in Moab I saw 2 old guys in a bone stock Sammy Tin Top go up Potato Salad hill like it was a Subaru Outback in a grocery store parking lot. Granted, they took an easy line but just the same, it was cool the way they just motored up that thing. Ever since that day I wanted one. Then about 15 years ago I saw this one for sale at Ike's, a junkyard up in Craig. I stopped to look at it and it had a Volvo engine in it. Needless to say, the rest is history because of my love of all things strange....
I had a GEO Tracker for a little while, really liked that little thing. I think it was Suzuki powered? Can’t remember now. When it was running, you couldn’t beat it. It had a bad habit of not starting though. It might sit two weeks before it would start. I mean, it wouldn’t even hit on starting fluid with a blue spark on the plugs. Never figured it out, so somebody that wanted it more than I did got a deal on it....
neat stuff! especially the volvo engine!

a guy I worked with had a samurai on what had to be 37s and he had a video of him crossing a river, floating! always liked these little things after that.
Power steering

I finished up the power steering yesterday. The used parts list for the power steering conversion are a pump and reservoir from a mid-eighties Toyota Mini Truck, steering gear from an early nineties Suzuki Sidekick / or Geo Tracker and a trans. cooler from a 1997 F350. The new parts are a couple of conversion kits, one to mount the steering gear,one to eliminate the rag joint and one to plumb everything together. The plumbing kit was a must have. It came with adapters for both the pump and the gear adapting them from whatever they were to 6-an. It also came with about 3 feet of bullet proof hose. I had to fabricate a bracket to mount the pump to the Volvo engine as well as spacers and such to come up with a double pulley system.


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Today I ran over to the parts house after failing at the hardware store in my hunt for a copper washer. Festus said sure we got a whole box of them and headed for the back room. Waiting for him to return to the counter, I pulled 3 bucks out of my pocket. When he returned we found the washer that worked the best on the fitting I brought along. He rung it up and said man they’re proud of that one, 6.39…………………I couldn’t do it. I replied to Festus, sorry man, I gotta draw the line somewhere. He agreed, I thanked him for his time and went back to work. Then I a found a drop of brass in Dales toolbox.


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Nice job on the washer but I'm sure you only worked for $3.15 per hour. :D

LOL, that crossed my mind more than once, while I was sticking it to the man……….
For the return line from the heater core, Volvo used a tin water pipe with an o-ring on the end that is inserted into the water pump and secured by one of the water pump bolts. Then it turns the corner and runs along the side of the block under the exhaust manifold towards the firewall. I wanted to eliminate this pipe so I can just run a hose over the top of the engine from the hot water valve back to the water pump. Below is the nipple I made to do this, starting with a picture of the pipe it’ll replace.


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I wish I did too. I keep looking but nothing in my price range ever pops up. Great work. Jim

Nice job. You must be a machinist at heart[S I've had times I really wished I had a lath:cool:

At heart is right! The real machinist, Dale, has only been coming in a couple days a week for a few hours so, I've been having to do more lathe stuff on my own. Good thing I was paying attention the past 20 years as his apprentice. Usually I just hand him a print and the part magically appears. The possibilities are endless with a lathe.

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