Project Samurai, Part 6: Exhaust, Driveshafts and Lighting

Sep. 11, 2012 By By Rick Sieman, Fabrication by Wes Holmes

After all the work on Project Samurai up to this point, the focus shifted to the exhaust and driveshafts. Drivelines were installed from Reel Drivelines (Pomona, CA.).  These guys are highly known and respected in the off-road and rock-crawling industry. Their drivelines are pushing more rock racers around than any other company out there. They are extremely heavy duty.

The driveshaft we are installing on the vehicle has a heavy wall tube 2-1/8 x .180. An original stock Toyota shaft is 2.56 x .067. The u-joints are 1350 and have a cap size of 1.188 versus a Toyota that has a cap of 1.143. Our driveshaft also has a heavier long-travel spline. The Toyota spline is 1.310. Our shaft is 1-1/2 times stronger than the Toyota.

The suspension has been cycled so many times we are seeing it in our sleep, and yet, we get to do it again and again. With the drivelines installed, it can now be figured out where the exhaust must be routed. As with everything on this build, this a tight fit. This little motor will demand a 3-inch exhaust. This is where we wished we would have gotten a Trail Gear left-hand drop t-case. But that's hindsight. We did get their dual t-case shifters, which allows us to go into hi range, low range, 2WD or 4WD. It's a really sweet setup. Ours is a right-hand drop transfer case, leaving us no room for the exhaust. With the front passenger axle articulated to full bump, we found enough clearance to run the exhaust through the cage and on the outside of the frame.

Previous Project Samurai Stories:
Part 5: Instruments and Hoses

Part 4: Engine and Fabrication Work

Part 3: Cage and Suspension Work

Part 2: Fabrication Work Begins

Part 1: Project Samurai is Born

Now that we know where it's going to go, it's time to get it built. So we went to Team Allied Exhaust for all of our parts. They had everything from 3-inch donuts, U-bends to hangers and clamps; you name it. Actually, it was quite easy to do. By purchasing just a few items such as a straight pipe, a U-bend and a donut, this will allow you to do pretty much whatever you want. The best tip I can give on making tight bends is to make even pie cuts. By twisting these pie cuts, you can manipulate your exhaust to any different angle and radius. To keep this job easy, be sure to just tack everything in place first before you do any final welding.

Now it was time to start stringing wire throughout the whole car. Tail lights, brake lights, headlights, horns and blinkers, all the things it takes to make a vehicle street and trail worthy need to be wired.  Wired Rite has a relay box that's waterproof as well as being super easy to hook up. This relay box comes with relays and circuit breakers. Anyone who has ever wired a relay knows there are four to five wires to every relay. Now add a relay for your horn, headlights, coolant fans, etc., and it is all quickly turning things into a pile of spaghetti. By using Wired Rite's relay box, there now are only two wires to deal with: one from the switch to the relay box and one from the relay box to your load (cooling fan, lights, etc.), making it so easy that any novice could do this.

We've talked about the importance of technical support throughout this whole build. Roger is the tech guy at Wired Rite, and he is highly knowledgeable and very personable. I have been using these relay boxes for over eight years. They put up with extreme weather, rain and silt and I've never had a failure. They are the only way to go. Whether you are building a trophy truck, radical rock crawler, or a mild trail rig like ours, you need to go to their website and check out the whole product line. 

If you've been following this build from the beginning, you probably noticed that Rigid Lights have been mounted for some time. We were so excited when we got them, we had to put them on right away they are that cool. We installed their rock lights, headlights, dome lights, and upper rack lights. I could spend 20 minutes telling you why these are the very best lights on the market, but check out this link and watch their demonstration video for yourself. It's absolutely incredible. 

Offering a warranty on something so durable is almost a joke. However, they do have a lifetime warranty everything they sell, making Rigid the best in our opinion. 

Rigid Industries does not carry taillights or blinkers, however, so we had to find another source for this. For these, we went to the Light House. They carry that odd-ball trailer light, boat light or bulb that you just can't find anywhere else. 

To power all of these accessories, we went with a Lithionics battery. Because of the way these batteries work, it's perfect for the off-roader. With a typical lead battery under a heavy load, the voltage continues to drop and the amperage continues to rise. As the amperage rises, so does the heat. For example, when using your winch to pull your vehicle up over a boulder or through Mother Nature's nastiest, while winching the voltage continues to drop and the amperage continues to rise overheating your winch and all connections. All of these things add resistance and raises the amperage and burns things up. If you've been around off-road at all and you've seen a winch that's been used, you'll notice the lugs where the cables connect are burnt and rusty. This is due to excessive heat causing resistance, high amperage draw and low voltage.

Most vehicles use two batteries. Although this does help keep the voltage up and the amperage down, when you are working that winch hard, it's still not enough to keep it from overheating. The Lithionic battery maintains a steady voltage regardless of load, keeping your load circuit cooler, giving you a harder pull for a longer period of time. 

Our goal was to keep the amperage down, and subsequently the winch and especially all of the connections will run much cooler. The size of this little power pack will blow your mind. Very lightweight, this battery will outlast and outwork any four lead batteries you compare it to.  Also available is a dual battery setup that uses the same amount of space as a regular battery. These batteries are also equipped with a "never die" function. That simply means that the battery will drain down to a certain point and shut off, leaving enough power to still start the vehicle. 

One button on the top of the battery allows you to shut the battery on or off. This button can also be wired into your dash for an anti-theft device, or in case of a rollover you are able to shut your battery off with the push of a button. This is also available on a remote key fob. This feature comes in very handy. Factory vehicles allow you space for only one battery.  This dual-post battery is actually two batteries in one. Lithionics can give you two batteries in that same tight space. You can run your race vehicle on normal 12V and your MSD ignition and winches on 16V. Remember, the higher the volts and the less the amps the cooler your winch will operate. Check it out at:

It was decided to use a King winch after extensive research. We found the best bang for the buck was King One.  Their winches drew less amperage per pounds pulled than other top of the line winches. They also upgraded their lock on the disengagement freewheeling spool. The free spool mechanism on competitive winches operates off of a cam and break quite frequently. We got ours from Jason at Chanda  Precision Motorworks out of Canada.

Here are some of the specs on this incredible winch:  The automatic positive load external brake is perfect for synthetic rope, as it reduces drum heat over winch models using an internal drum brake.  The planetary gear set makes free spooling a breeze and prevents gear intermeshing and jamming like the sliding-clutch type winches do. 

The locking pin is an 18mm spring-loaded drop pin. It has multiple locking positions on the free spool mechanism and the planetary gears are made from alloy steel and pressed into housing for maximum strength and durability. The spool drum is fully supported by roller bearings for optimal performance. This winch does not heat up because our winch draws low amperage at maximum load, keeping the winch cooler. The hotter it gets the more resistance it has which draws more amperage. This is achieved by having four massive brushes in the motor.

Previous Project Samurai Stories:
Part 5: Instruments and Hoses

Part 4: Engine and Fabrication Work

Part 3: Cage and Suspension Work

Part 2: Fabrication Work Begins

Part 1: Project Samurai is Born


Randy's Ring and Pinion

10411 Airport Road
Everett, Wa.98204
Neal Hollingsworth ext. 5587
Kevin ext 5581
[email protected]

Trail Tough Products
1031 Narregan St.
Medford, Or. 97501
supplier Brent Bradshaw
[email protected]

Ron Davis Radiators
7334 N 108th Ave.
Glendale, Az. 85307
[email protected]

King Shocks
12842 Joy St.
Garden Grove, Ca. 92840
Mike or Brett
[email protected]
[email protected]

Currie Enterprises
1480 N Tustin Ave.
Anaheim, Ca. 92807
[email protected]

RCV Performance
611 Beacon St
Loves Park, Il. 61111
765-362-1909 765-307-7441
Owners Craig and John 815-877-7473
[email protected]

Rally Tops
Los Angeles, Ca
Jerry Mancini - [email protected]

Howe Performance
12476 Julian Ave
Lakeside, Ca.92046

Shake and Shoot Bedliner
Dominion Sure Seal
6175 Danville Road
Mmississauga, Ontario,
Canada  L5T2H7

Acme Adapters
P O Box 2258
Clackamas, Or. 97015
Jeff Kerr
[email protected]

King One Winch
18424 Mount Langley St
Fountain Valley, Ca. 92708

Rocky Road Outfitters
1920 WendellLane
Heber, Utah 84032
[email protected]

Lithionics Battery
2449 McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, Fla. 33759
Steve Tartaglia
[email protected]

Kerma TDI
3000 Eaglebend Dr
Box 2142
Avon, Co.  81620
[email protected]

Rigid Industries
4641 E Ivy St
Mesa, Az. 85205
Paul and Damon

Advance Adapter
4320 Aerotech Center Way
Paso Robles, Ca.  93446

Reid Racing
1917 Oak Park Blvd
Pleasant Hill, Ca. 94523

7510 Hygiene road
Longmont, co. 80503

FK Rod Ends
865 W Queen St.
Southington, Ct. 06489
[email protected]

Yukon Gear and Axle
10411 Airport Road
Everett, Wa.98204

1845 Grand Ave
Phoenix, Az. 85007
Tawn Berman

Mittler Bros. Machine and Tool
10 Cooperative Way
Wright City, Missouri 63390
Mike or Pam

FASS Fuel Systems
Vyne Powdercoating
2452 W Birchwood Ave Mesa AZ, 85202 
Purosil Silicone Hoses
Purchased through Parker Hoses   
Jamar Performance
5500 E. La Palma Ave. Anaheim, CA  92807.                         

Team Allied Exhausts
Systems 710 W. Broadway Suite 506. Mesa, AZ 85210 

Light House 
1502 N 29 Ave., Phoenix, AZ                             
Reel Driveline 
448 South Reservoir, Pomona, CA 91766
Chanda Precision Motorworks/King One Winches 
#101 519 34 Ave SE
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