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Suzuki Samurai Conversion Advice

3672 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  major
Hello all,

New to the site. I read the getting started info and have spent some time reading the various posts. Before I spend too much time I just wanted to feel things out and get some feedback from the group about how feasible what I want to do is. Responding to the suggested info from the getting started post:
  • Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication: I'm mid-level. I've built some off road machines and only take my cars to the mechanic for things such as full tranny and engine rebuilds. I have a good friend who is an electical genius that I can go to for help, and another buddy who is a welder.
  • The range you are hoping to get (how many miles/charge): As much as possible, obviously, but this car is mainly an around town driver and I enjoy taking it offroad.
  • What level of performance you are hoping to get: Similar to what I have now, with a 65 hp (not even) 4 cylinder that's not asking much. Honestly, can't get much worse than what I have now.
  • How much money you are willing to put into your project, money is an issue, but I have some I can throw at it, especially if I take my time.
  • What parts you've already considered, if any. Sorta overwhelmed at this point.
So here's the scoop: I have an 87 Suzuki Samurai 4wd. My plan was to convert it to Propane, and I was going to do that fairly soon, but then I started looking at the EV idea. I found some Youtube videos of a guy that had done this with this car, but his is 2wd and it only goes about 35mph. I want to keep 4wd and be able to use it (it's in 2wd 95% of it's time but where I live in WA the 4wd does get used). I have a 5 speed manual and the curb weight of the car is about 1800lbs, and I have room to lighten it some (and plan to as needed).

Anyone who knows these cars knows that the engine bay is actually pretty generous compared to the overal sized of the car. That coupled with the room in the back, even with a rear seat, should give me a sizable storage area for batteries, especially if I build a floor storage area where the current fuel tank is.

My main questions are:

-4wd + EV even feasible?
-Off the top of your head what would you do in my situation as far as set up? I know I need to research, and I will, obviously, but some basic pointers would be swell.
-How do EV's do in the rain, mud, and water? Are the motors sealed? This is an issue for me and if these things kill these cars I won't consider moving forward.

Thanks all.

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· Registered
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If I were to use a Kostov 11 motor for this, and I wanted 100 miles range minimum, how many lead acid batteries would I need?
Hi therain,

More batteries than that vehicle could carry, IMO. If you study some in the information section of the forum, you can get some pretty good ideas of the energy requirements. Those are pretty small vehicles from what I know about them, and don't look very efficient. 100 mile range may be tough to get even with Lithium.

Also, look in the garage here and at the EValbum for other Samurai conversions. See what those guys have done and what they get for range.


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