Title: Slightly Damaged Suzuki Samurai

Date Occurred: Jan. 27, 1993

Date Written: Jan. 27, 1993

Date Edited for my Web Site: Feb. 17, 2019

Written by: Joel T. Kant

Copyright (c) 2019


I went out this evening after all courses were over to use my car, a four-wheel-drive Suzuki Samurai built in 1986. The canvas back was unzipped and hanging loose. Looking inside, I saw somebody had smashed open the glovebox with a hammer, leaving the lid open and broke. The crook made a mess of it. He also scratched the window, probably while pounding on the glovebox.

At least he didn't slash the cloth top to get in. The back was simply hanging unzipped. He had clearly gotten in that way and climbed to the front. In case anybody doesn't know, my Suzuki looks like a small jeep with a cloth top.

I had a spare cloth top with a slash in it from the previous owner where the slash might be fixable. The previous owner had left a leather jacket in the vehicle. A thief had slashed the cloth top and taken the coat, not even just unzipping the back to do the crime.

I had taken the radio out the day I had bought the truck. It sat on a shelf in my closet. I also have only enough tools in the truck to change a flat tire since this is a high-crime area at my apartment parking lot since only three or four blocks from the O.S.U. campus, and the cloth top cannot be completely secured. It is only snaps and the back has a long zipper. I have the Club, as seen on TV, on the steering wheel--which people keep telling me will do no good since a steering wheel can be cut through in 15-to-20 seconds. I use it anyway.

I never thought about the glovebox. All it contains is a tiny manual that came with the truck, a sales slip, various forms from Ziebart, and a flashlight. I should not have locked the glovebox, but I never even thought about it. The crooks did not steal my tiny manual and sales slips. Even the flashlight was still there.

I can't even report it to the police until tomorrow. I didn't discover it until almost seven pm. As I explained to Raj, another O.S.U. student, "I called the police. Since the damage was under $1500, I was told I could only call in the information between..."

"...nine in the morning and three thirty pm," interrupted and finished Raj.

He knew this from personal experience because the same thing had happened when he called the police when his car had been robbed last year. The radio had been stolen with much damage to the dashboard from Raj's car.

The general reaction of college students around here that I talked to is that car break-ins like this happen around the O.S.U. campus all the time, and there is little that can be done about it.


Title: Broken Suzuki Samurai with Almost a Need for a Long Tow

Date Occurred: Jan. 30, 1993

Date Written: Jan. 31, 1993


I got in a bit of a hassle late last night. Early in the morning, I drove to Cleveland which is about a two and a half-hour drive. It was not a pleasure trip; I had to take some images on the fluorescence microscope.

As I worked, I kept ending up with more and more to do. I finally left about nine thirty pm.

About half an hour south of Cleveland, my lights on my Suzuki Samurai started dimming. I guessed the cause was a loose belt since I could sometimes hear a sequel from the engine compartment.

I did not immediately pull over and tighten the belt though. You know why not? Because I had taken my tools out of the truck so they wouldn't be stolen. I had a screwdriver, a lug wrench, a tire gauge, an emergency fan belt, and a jack. Don't ask why I had an emergency fan belt without any tools to put it on other than the screwdriver, because the only answer is sheer stupidity.

As I drove, the dash lights suddenly brightened as the slipping belt caught hold. It was obvious that I had been running on the battery and that the battery had gotten weak.

I hoped that the belt would not start slipping again. Thirty seconds later, the dash lights dimmed again. I could even tell that the external lights had dimmed. I wanted to make it to an exit ramp with a gas station.

A horror story came to mind. Friends I had known at University of Wisconsin-Platteville of Scott and Lona Billie once had a similar problem to mine while in Scott's El Camino pickup truck. In that case, as the battery got weaker and weaker, the engine started missing. As the engine missed, unexploded gas-air mixture entered the exhaust system. Suddenly, it ignited and blew the whole exhaust system off!

Thinking these gloomy thoughts, I kept driving and the dash lights got dimmer. But wait! Ahead, an exit ramp. Better yet, there was a sign that indicated several gas stations!

By the time I pulled into the gas station, I could hardly see my dash lights.

When I parked, I shut off the car and tried to restart it. Click, click. I wasn't surprised. I popped the hood. Under the light of the flashlight, the belt looked okay. I touched the alternator. I almost burned my hand. I figured the loose belt had been slipping across the pulley of the alternator, making friction and heat.

The gas station was one with food inside. I went in, and there was a cop in there. I told the cop that I might have to get towed if I couldn't get my truck fixed. The cop was at a loss as to where I could get a truck fixed at ten pm on a Saturday night.

I said that I wanted to see if I could fix it first, but I needed a pliers, crescent wrench, or socket set to move the alternator. Just something, anything to loosen and adjust a bolt! The lady behind the cash register had a crescent wrench. It was the only tool she had.

The cop and I went out to my truck. The alternator had cooled down enough that I could touch it. Using my lug wrench for changing a flat tire as a lever, I tightened the belt by pushing out the alternator. The cop and I then push started the truck. This proved very easy since the truck is so light. The truck started!

The dash lights came on strongly. The headlights were bright. I shut the lights back off and let the truck sit and run for fifteen minutes. After this, I pulled to the top of a slight hill, in case this next step didn't work. I shut off the engine. I turned the key. The engine cranked strongly and started.

The rest of my trip back to Columbus was uneventful.

By the way, I did remember to return the crescent wrench to the gas station attendant. I put my own crescent wrench under the seat today.

In bright daylight, I noticed that I had been lucky getting away with what I had done the previous night. The fan belt had many small cracks in it that had led to it stretching out. Tightening the alternator had worked well enough to get me the rest of the way from Cleveland to Columbus, but this belt had very little life left. It perhaps would have been better to use my emergency belt replacement, but under the flashlight the previous night, I had not seen the many fine cracks.

Fortunately, I went to a nearby automobile parts store, and for a few dollars got the correct sized new belt rather than needing the emergency belt. The proper new belt is now in. My Suzuki Samurai is running fine once more. Even with the theft risk of the tools, I think I will at least keep a crescent wrench in the truck from now on.


Back to Joel Kant Home Page: Joel Kant Home Page.