'Lil Pup Gets a GRS 4:1
By Wiley Johnson

I don't want to provide all the instructions on the installation of the Calmini Rockcrawler transfer case gear set. The documentation from the manufacturer is adequate and if you are a serious Samurai owner, you also will have the Suzuki shop manual in your hands.  I want to give my impressions and provide some tips and tricks and techniques to make the install easier.  If you have slightly above average mechanical skills, you can do this kit.  This article covers the installation on my lilpup.

I decided that it would be easier to work on the lil pup if I turned it on its top, so here it is ready to take the transfer case out!

 The flange nuts are torqued to 100 ft. lbs.  I used  a screwdriver to unseat locks. Used large pipe wrench to hold flange. 1/2 inch drive 27mm socket. 18" breaker bar. Not enough. Need cheater pipe for extra torque. Used hi-lift jack handle. Still VERY tight. Probably a 2-man job.

Bearing removal of rear output shaft. Use 13 or 14mm socket to protect needle bearing.

     

Installing bearings. Use 1 or 1 1/8 socket to press on center bearing race. I had a 1 1/8 deep socket that worked well.  I did not have a plastic hammer and while I should have gotten one at my Craftsman store, I used a ball peen hammer and a block of 2x2 wood.   Besides the 27mm socket, I also bought a set of pin punches to use for removal of the roll pins in the shifter forks. I bought a set of ring pliers but ended up not using them for this install but if you need to replace all the bearings, they would be necessary. I also bought my own bearing puller but could have rented one at Auto Zone.

 Two shims. One on back end of input shaft and one on back end of output shaft. I lost the one on the input shaft and when I tried to tighten the mid-case to the back case, the gearsets bound. Make sure the shims go back where they came from and you donít lose them.

    

I discovered too late that you should somehow mark the bolts that hold the mid-case with the back case so that you know where they go. There are three different length bolts Ė 1 long, 2 short and the rest medium length. The short ones can only go in specific holes as they are closed on the bottom but some of the holes are open and allow the medium bolts. The long one goes in a hole holding the drain plug protector.

 Calmini sent petroleum based gear lube that I will use for 1000 to 1500 miles and then change to synthetic.  Make sure you have some thick lithium based grease to hold the thrust washers in place on the case halves for the countershaft.  I got it back together and torqued down. I used the pipe wrench again to hold the flanges and set the torque wrench for 100 ft. lbs. I had to put my body weight on the torque wrench to make it pop but I was able to do it without any problem. I then filled the tcase with gear lube to check for leaks.

     

New Mid Shaft Parts.

   

  New and old output gears.          New and old input gears.

Oops, leakage from the speedometer cable hole. Turned the tcase over to fix that and dumped more lubricant out the shift lever hole. Boy am I getting dense and overly excited about finishing. Topped off the lube after installation.

I replaced my bolts that hold the drive shafts to the differentials and transfercase. I got grade 8 (metric equivalent) at the local Yamaha shop since Suzuki wants about $5.25 for each bolt and nut; there are 25 of them. I bought the new ones, see picture, for 40 cents apiece.

Donít lose the shims that are in you Tcase when you take it apart. I misplaced one and it took me a week to get a replacement. Kudos to Steve at Calmini for sending me out the ones I needed.   With the right shims, the case bolted together with no problems.

     

I had to put the front case on twice because I forgot the cork gasket the first time.

Putting the case back in was no problem except I ran out of Locktite to put on the bolts to the drive shafts.

 Driving is wonderful. I have 31x10.50x 15 BFG Mud Terrains and I have had power problems because of being way undergeared. Crawling was a problem and driving at highway speeds required 4th gear. I drove to work this morning in 5th gear at 30 mph. Really nice. Low range is REALLY low. It seems like you can only stay in first gear about 3 or 4 seconds. I was able to drive around my neighborhood in 5th Low Range with no problems.  I canít wait to go climb some rocks this weekend. 

 Overall experienceÖ.Very good.  I was not as prepared as I should have been. Calmini was excellent getting the parts shipped out; Instructions were ok (get a real Suzuki shop manual); technical support was outstanding. I sent in a little more money and asked them to keep my core charge and send me a skid plate to protect my newest investment.  I did not pay enough attention to which bolts came from where. I did not keep track of the shims that came out of the case. I had to go back and buy Locktite and Lithium grease.

Wiley Johnson