Fresh into 2019 and having had Tugboat back from the garage (with a healthy bill to go with it) for only a day, my latest toy arrived in the mail. Jimny; meet steering damper.
While the Jimny is undoubtedly a solid, fun, capable little machine, it also can’t be denied that they have their problems. People often complain about the inferior quality of steel Suzuki uses and the resulting body problems they suffer from, and there are places in the Jimny were materials or features were skrimped on to save money during production. Most don’t really matter in a stripped down, simple 4X4 like the Jimny but it does miss something a lot more serious off-road vehicles have- steering dampers. These reduce shake, wobble and jerkiness on the road (which the Jimny is notorious for) as well as making the steering feel a bit more smooth and robust. They’re also pretty essential if you ever lift your Jimny for better off-roading, but I really fancied one just to see if it helped cut out a bit of the ‘road shake’ I’d feel in the steering. There’s loads of different grades and sizes and plenty that I’m sure are designed to be fitted to make the underside just look cooler, but it is essentially a piston arm that is attached to the rigid chassis of the truck- from there, it extends and connects to the steering arm, inhibiting shocks and shake without (hopefully) inhibiting the steering- the damper is weak enough to pull out fully by hand, so it isn’t much to the power steering.
So I ordered mine, an Armstrong damper, from Jimnybits, which is full of all the parts and accessories you’d need for working on these things. With the kit and a few tools, it’s a pretty simple job- the Jimny doesn’t have holes in which it can be bolted but the kit comes with a couple of clamps for securing the damper to the chassis and steering arm. I’ve seen some people weld them on, but that seemed a bit overkill for what I was doing.
It all fitted together very easily, aside from the slight hiccup in which we attached the damper to the steering arm without extending it half way (thus allowing travel in both directions, duh!) and I do admit, I kind of wish I did buy a big yellow one because it does look pretty cool on the car.
So, job done! Next on the list was the long headache of tow bars- I had bought a tow bar to fit days after I bought her, but the exhaust box hangs just a bit too low at the back. I had thought it was worn, loose rubbers hangers, but after spending almost a tenner(!) on new ones, we swapped them out only to hear the distinctive rattle of metal on metal. The new hangers not only pulled the midsection of the exhaust too high, but it still wasn’t high enough for the tow bar. Back to square one. It looks like we may have to try and remove this aftermarket exhaust and adjust it slightly to make room. Ah well.
More pressing matters arose this evening, however, in that I pressed on a rust patch with a screwdriver and it went right through the bodywork! Looks like tomorrow is going to be a ‘removing the interior seats, belts & trim’ sort of day. Now, where did I leave those speakers for the rear seats? seems like a good opportunity…