Tuffy Security Products - Samurai Center Console

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF

tuffycons02.jpg (26770 bytes)Tuffy has built their solid reputation on serious theft protection for 4x4s, but until now we Suzuki owners could only wish for what the owners of Jeeps, Chevys, Toyotas and other vehicles have been enjoying for years. Tuffy recently released their first product for a Suzuki--the Samurai Center Console--and Off-Road.com had the first opportunity to test it.

tuffycons04.jpg (18128 bytes)Early in 2000, Tuffy gave us word that they would be releasing a new Samurai Console for the annual ASA Zukfari, held during Easter week in Moab, Utah. We were understandably excited because we were already well aware of Tuffy?s quality products. We received an early production unit and were immediately pleased with the quality of the construction and materials used in the console. However, we quickly found out what many others were soon to see at Moab.

tuffycons05.jpg (16870 bytes)The Suzuki Esteem seats in Project Buster are as narrow as the stock seats, but it was clear that the console did not fit properly. Although it could be crammed between the front seats, its excessive width (6.5 inches) rendered the seatbelt buckles inaccessible and intruded on driver and passenger hip room. We tried it in three other Samurais with stock seats and found the same problem. After speaking with Jeff Fox of Tuffy Products to alert them to what we found, we suggested a redesign in which the construction and overall design would be kept identical, but the box would be narrowed an inch and a half. Jeff told us to hang tight until after Moab, where they would have the opportunity to check with other Suzuki owners and confirm the problem.

tuffycons03.jpg (22308 bytes)After Zukfari, Tuffy assured us that they would be redesigning the console and they followed through. The new version of the console is identical to the old one except in width (now 5.125 inches) and that means that every one of its top-notch features has been retained.

tuffycons07.jpg (23931 bytes)Tuffy Security Products are exactly that: tough security products. The Samurai Console is constructed from 16-gauge steel. Its reinforced lid features a full-width hinge and Tuffy?s exclusive Pry-Guard locking system. The entire console is given a nicely textured powder coat finish inside and out and a marine vinyl cushion on the lid. Then the whole console gets bolted through the floor of the truck using supplied Grade-8 hardware. Also included are a small storage tray, a dual cup holder, neoprene seals, two keys, a good set of instructions and a warrantee card.


tuffycons08.jpg (20095 bytes)Installation is very straightforward. The first step is to test-fit the console to make sure it fits properly and to decide which of the two mounting locations you will prefer the cup holder to be located; We preferred mounting the cup holder to the back of the console. When test-fitting the console, we noticed that the bristles that cover the parking brake slot came loose. On the original wider console there was room for the bristle plates to be firmly screwed to the console, but the narrower design necessitated gluing the bristles to the console. Tuffy is looking into a stronger adhesive to remedy this minor glitch. We reattached the bristles on our test unit with some general-purpose epoxy. Also important in the test-fitting is to check for proper adjustment of the parking brake. If it is set too loose, the console will prevent it from being pulled beyond 45 degrees.

tuffycons09.jpg (17836 bytes)The second step is to drill the mounting holes through the floor, starting with a 1/8" pilot hole for each of the four 3/8" mounting holes. Tuffy suggests cutting the bolt holes through the carpet separately when drilling the holes in the floor because the drill bit can snag and unravel the carpet. We went ahead and did it the quick and easy way, having no problem with the drill unraveling the carpet.

The final step is applying the self-adhesive neoprene seals to the inside of the lid. Cut the seals to the proper length and make sure they are correctly positioned the first time; the strong adhesive makes removing and repositioning them extremely difficult.


tuffycons11.jpg (25031 bytes)With the first iteration of the console, we were dismayed that such a well-built product couldn?t be used. When Tuffy redesigned it to fit, we were elated. This console will look great in any Samurai and will last as long as the vehicle. Best of all, it is an extremely useful product.

tuffycons12.jpg (33710 bytes)Build quality is top-notch. The console is very strong, fits well, looks great, makes no vibration noises and works well as a comfortable armrest. Unlocking the lid reveals sufficient storage space for a camera, a portable cassette or CD player, some tapes or CDs, or any other small, valuable items. The removable storage tray, which hangs near the top of the console at the back, is a perfect place to keep loose change, a wallet and a wristwatch easily accessible. Storing your valuables in the Tuffy not only keeps them safe from thieves, but also keeps them safe from loosely bouncing around on the floor or seat of your Samurai.

tuffycons14.jpg (70251 bytes)The dual cup holder is a very welcome addition to Project Buster, proving to be deep enough to secure anything from a coffee mug to a one liter soda bottle on even the worst of trails. In its front-mounted position, however, it interferes with not only the passenger seat, but also with access to the parking brake. In its rear position, a blind reach behind the console to grab a drink is easy to do by feel while driving, but it?s still not as convenient as we?d like. It also interferes with folding up the rear seat and securing it to the floor, which may not be an issue for many drivers.

tuffycons15.jpg (26096 bytes)The best feature of the console is appreciated by anybody who leaves his or her Samurai unattended. Soft top Samurais are notorious for being broken into, but even Hardtop owners like myself love the console for when the doors are left at home. The poor design and flimsy plastic of the stock glove box provides no real security even with its lock.

tuffycons16.jpg (24591 bytes)The pry-proof lid, quality cylindrical lock and 16-gauge steel make breaking into the Tuffy console a major undertaking. Now we can go to the beach and leave the doors at home, feeling confident that when we return, our valuables will still be safely locked inside the console.


tuffycons18.jpg (26825 bytes)As if the quality of the Tuffy console doesn?t speak for itself, the company backs it up by a lifetime warrantee. This is a product that most Samurai owners can definitely use. It is definitely a permanent installation in Project Buster! For $135 from Rocky Road Outfitters or straight from Tuffy, it pays for itself the first time a thief takes a look inside your Samurai and gives up without even trying.

It is our hope that Tuffy will also release some of their other products--such as rear storage boxes and overhead consoles?for the Samurai as well.

--Geoff Beasley

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