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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of this stuff might be slightly out of order. My memory is not what it used to be.


I purchased my 1988 Isuzu Trooper LS (with 89k miles on it's 2.6l 4 cylinder and 5 speed manual MUA5 gearbox) from it's second owner in the spring of 1998 for the sum of $4000. I looked at another slightly newer LS that was an auto with a V6 and power windows, but decided on mine based on price, transmission, grille guard, and the fact that it had the covers under the dash next to the radio (silly, right?).


I used (and abused) it over the course of the next 2 years until one day, it started running really poorly. Based on the advice of a family friend, I took it to a shop which diagnosed the issue as a cracked block (yikes!). They recommended replacing the whole engine, so I did (this set me back another $3000). The clutch was replaced also at this time. The shop took 3 months to complete the work (allegedly because the block could only be sourced directly from Isuzu, and it was on backorder). After getting it back I used it for another year. During this time I was in two separate accidents with it. The bumper and exhaust were primarily damaged when I was hit on the left rear side (not my fault). The second accident was a front collision (my fault) where the left front fender, grille, hood, bumper, and front valance were damaged (the grille guard was not attached at this time, or it would have been damaged too).
Crunch:


Fixed up a little:

I'm not sure what I was doing with the sawzall...


A pic when I still had my Bronco II


One day, it (again) started running very poorly (it seemed like it was running on only 3 cylinders).
I had, at that time in my life, some basic mechanical skills. I had kept up with regular maintenance items on the truck (oil, brakes, etc). I had even replaced one of the frozen calipers myself! But I was not at a place where I felt that I could successfully diagnose it's current condition (that coupled with the fact that I didn't want to put a ton more money into it). My decision was to park it, and buy something else (a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder XE).


*Edited 5/22/20 to fix photos
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
…and thus started my string of owning other vehicles. They were: 1988 Mercury Tracer (I loved this tiny little car), 1996 Nissan Pathfinder XE (I had this a long while), 1984 Ford Econoline E150 (351 Windsor V8), 1991 Audi 80 (peppy 5 cylinder car…a pain to work on), 1999 Nissan Altima GXE, 1979 Cadillac Coupe DeVille (I still have this one), 1998 Subaru Impreza L AWD (this was in my "rally car days"), 1993 2500 Suburban (4x4 and 454 V8, seating for 9), 2006 Toyota Sienna LE (still have this one, the wife has used this since the kids came along), 2008 Nissan Sentra S.

Approximately 2 years into it's "parked" period, I decided to get the Trooper running again. The issue turned out to be a bad ignition wire (a cheap fix). After I got it running it still just sat in my driveway where I would start it every couple months.

I moved to a new house a year or two after I got it running, where again it sat, getting started every few months (if I remembered). Until one day…it wouldn't start anymore. At this point in my life, I had much more experience working on cars, and more confidence that I could determine the problem. I deduced that the fuel pump was bad, and I bought a new one from AutoZone (an Airtex). I promptly put it in the back of the trooper (in it's box…unopened). It remained like that for another two years when I moved once more (to my current house), where the Trooper followed…on a tow truck. It sat like that for another 2 years.

In November of 2008, I decided that I wanted to try to simplify things. My wife was pregnant with our second child, and would soon become a full time stay at home mom (reducing our two incomes to one). We had two car payments (the aforementioned Sienna & Sentra). And two other vehicles in our driveway (the Coupe DeVille mentioned above…and the Trooper). The decision was made to turn one of our driveway ornaments into a "main vehicle". The Trooper was chosen…and thus began "Operation Daily Driver".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The first item on the agenda was the faulty fuel pump. I drained some pretty nasty (8+ year) old fuel out and dropped the tank (why oh why did I decide to start this project in November!).


I was not yet aware of the hole in the cargo floor trick.


After I got the tank dropped and the fuel pump out, I was horrified when I got a look inside.





It was around this time that I found the planet.

*Edited 5/22/20 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
To get the tank clean, I tried a trick that my dad used when he refurbished an old motorcycle gas tank about 15 years ago…a length of chain and some heavy degreaser. I used a 5 foot piece of the heaviest chain that I could find at my local True Value and some Totally Awesome degreaser. Over the course of a week I alternated between jostling the chain around with the liquid, and letting it soak. I also hand cleaned the fuel sending unit (the lines were completely blocked with the same crap that was in the tank). I was mostly successful getting the gunk out (it fell out in big chunks), but I noticed that the chain left tons of little scratches in the metal on the inside of the tank that started to rust (possibly accelerated by the cleaning solution I was using). Before I installed the newly assembled fuel pump/sending unit into the tank, I dumped some WD-40 (from a gallon can that I bought) and a clean length of chain. I re-installed the tank and attempted to start her up for the first time in years. Success!!! She's alive!!!

I went about replacing other parts that I had accumulated over the years along with other items that I knew would / should be replaced (brake pads and 4 new rotors, all 4 shocks, rear leaf spring bushings, all the rubber fuel lines, plugs, cap, rotor, wires, all the vac lines, and exhaust from the cat back [including the cat]). I also replaced the stereo (tape deck) that I had installed years before with a more modern CD player.
Rear rotors and caliper before:

...and after:

Front rotors before:

New front rotors;


I painted the new rotors before installing them.




Old shackle bushings:


Old and new:


Old shocks;


New shocks - Skyjacker Hydro 7000's (H7052 & H7055)::




Current CD player:


Exhaust:


*Edited 1/15/14 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The reverse lights had at some point also stopped working. I traced that back to faulty trailer wiring (which I removed completely, along with the hitch).
Here are the lights right after I got them working again:


When I purchased the truck, the blower fan speed switch was missing, and there was an off/hi switch mounted to the left of the steering wheel on the dash. I found a used HVAC control unit on ebay, and replaced the broken one. I had to track down where the original wiring to the blower came from and once I did, I was back in business.
The switch:

What a mess!


I also replaced the cracked and bald tires with five 265/75R16 A/T's that I got from Pepboys. I had these installed on some 16" snowflakes that I got from a Passport.
Original tires compared to the new ones:

Test fitting the snowflakes:



I stripped the snowflakes and cleaned them up a bit before getting the tires:




The new tires mounted:



I also found parts for the big brake upgrade, so I took the newly installed rotors off the front (along with everything else) and installed the "new" brakes.

And now was the real test…driving it on the road. It was now spring of 2009, I had sold my Sentra (tradein.autotrader.com) and got the Trooper road legal. On my first trip out, I found that the truck would stall when accelerating after a stop. I could restart it and drive again until the next stop. I brainstormed with some friends, and the subject of the "refurbished" gas tank kept popping up. Even though I dreaded dropping the tank, I did it again. Sure enough, the strainer was clogged and there was a lot of sediment in the bottom of the tank.


*Edited 1/15/14 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Evidently the roof of the tank was not as clean as I thought (could never really see the roof from any of the orifices). And also, the rusty scratches had gotten worse despite my attempts to remedy them (with the WD-40).

I called around to radiator shops to see if they would clean it to no avail. No one wanted to touch it. I couldn't seem to find a new (or decent used one) anywhere.

The truck sat for a few more months until Ron (lowzone) posted in the classified section a nearly new looking tank that was taken out of a 1993 Amigo. From the pictures it looked almost identical. It was worth the chance (for $40 and a 2 hour drive).
Inside the "new" tank:



(don't worry, I got the label and zip-tie out before I installed it).

After comparing them side-by-side, the biggest difference was the filler neck. The Amigo's was at a slightly different angle.


I installed the fuel pump and hoisted the tank. I was able to use the stock Trooper filler hose by finagling it to the new position. Once filled, I again took the Trooper out for a test drive. Success!!! No stalling! I immediately put the Trooper to work with a 35 mile daily commute to work and back. Things were going great!

*Edited 1/15/14 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I replaced a few more parts along the way. I replaced the crappy (wiggly) aftermarket side mirrors with that of some Pickup mirrors off of Ebay.
Old mirrors:

New mirrors:


I changed the auto hubs to Aisins (or attempted to). The autos had worn the ends of the splines down on the driver's side. I could still see where the snap ring should go, but there was not enough meat left to hold them. I took a Dremel with a small wheel and deepened the groove. I bought some smaller snap rings and was able to get the hubs on with a smaller ring.



I also found some nice leather seats from a 1999 Volvo S80 on Craigslist. I installed them with some 1" square tubing to the stock sliding frame rails.



I changed the timing belt, tensioner, water pump, and accessory belts:
Old pump out:

New stuff installed;


I got some roof rack crossbars for a song:


Fabricated a lightbar and installed some Hella 500's. The lightbar I made out of some scrap aluminum (an old running board).
Here is where I got the running board from:

And after I took them off:

These are the "risers" for the sides:



This is the cross piece:


Here it is on a dry fit. You can see the relief cut in the center:

Here it is all done:

Here you can see the way it mounts a little better:


Found a front TJM bumper on Craigslist:



Test fitting some lights:

This is the plan for the how they will be mounted:


Here is the bumper painted, and some Hella's mounted:



*Edited 1/15/14 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Installed a Pacesetter header:
Old manifold out:


Can you see where there might have been a leak?

I wonder why that was…


I had to cut the EGR pipe to get it out:



I got a new EGR pipe from Jerry.

Painted with VHT header paint:


I replaced the exhaust studs with these:



Debadged it:



LED dome lights:

Old:

New:


Head gasket replacement:
Gasket set from ebay:

Gasket failure:

Head and intake off:

#1 casting:

Homemade thread chaser:

Headless bay:

.50 over;


Removed smog pump:


I used modified oil drain plugs for the holes in the head:



Installed backup camera:



Removed the chrome cladding:


Installed cone filter:



Removed cone filter. Installed factory box after painting the hardware (I was too afraid of water to keep it):



Installed flippy cup holders on front doors and console:



Found some fender flares and had them shipped from the UK. Test fitting:




Found some Clear tail lights (these will end up being installed with some chrome tail lights):



I had to make new gaskets out of rubber because the old ones were so bad off:

This is what I made them out of:


Found a NEW Dakar badge:


Picked up some NOS side cladding:




*Edited 1/16/14 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had been using it every day until I failed emissions testing, even though I believe my timing was all correct, the plugs, wires, rotor, cap, & O2 sensor were brand new, and the catalytic converter had been recently replaced. I even had dumped a bottle of Heet in the tank before the inspection.
I thought perhaps that the injectors needed to be serviced (as they were the original, almost 25 year old, injectors), so instead of sending mine out to be serviced, I bought a set that had been serviced that I found on ebay.
New vs. old:


I installed those and replaced the throttle body gasket (because the old one cracked when I took the TB off to get to the fuel rail). I also replaced the fuel filter at the same time. When attempting to start it up, it runs rough for about a second, then just dies.

I had a 1990 Toyota 4runner that I purchased when I did my head gasket (that had since had to have an engine overhaul {something that I had done at my local vo-tech for very cheap}). I decided to switch insurance over to the 4runner until I could get back to the Trooper. Within a week, the radiator fan (on the 4runner0 had exploded (damaging the power steering lines, airbox, radiator, and cutting me in the neck & chest {I was peering into the engine bay at the time of the explosion}).

Fed up with working on vehicles, but still needing one, I bought a 2004 Nissan Xterra. The Xterra was ok, but also gave me constant trouble. I traded the Xterra for a 2004 Ford F150 XLT. It has the 5.4l V8, an extended cab, and an 8' box. I like it alot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My list of outstanding projects include:

Swapping over to a carb. I already have the intake, carb, and dizzy. Still need a fuel pump (was thinking of getting this one: http://www.pepboys.com/product/details/9664401/0262 ). With lots of people having really good luck with the swap (and with me currently having a fuel delivery problem), I figured I'd make the plunge.

Installing Calmini shackles that I have (and cranking the t-bars):


Swapping the manual locks and windows for a set of power stuff that I got from Johnny:

Installing some new side mirrors that I picked up. I never really liked how far back the stock mirrors sat. I was thinking of mounting them somewhere around here:


Replace leaky clutch master cylinder:


Install my new custom hood scoop. Here it is just laying on my hood (thanks Ramzoom!):


Change to an electric fan

I also picked up a 90 Trooper that I will end up taking a few parts from, and then parting it out.

Towing it home:


*Edited 1/16/14 to fix photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
nfpgasmask said:
Good story! Keep it going!

Bart
I've had a few moments over the years where I just wanted to be done with it.

Most of the time I like working on it, though it is hard when your main mode of transportation needs something like a clutch slave cylinder replaced, and it's dark out, and you need to leave for work at 6am. Not having a garage is a bummer.

With weather being a littler cooler now, I hope to get some work done on it.
 

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electricpuppyboy said:
I've had a few moments over the years where I just wanted to be done with it.
You are not alone, Zubrutha! You have no idea how much I think about buying a new 4Runner or Land Rover and selling off my Zus just so I don't have to wrench any more...but then I realize that Isuzus are far cooler and have far more character when they are running and you are enjoying them. And I have no car payment, except for maintenance costs, which are not on a set schedule, so its all good.

But sometimes, it seems like one thing after another with old vehicles.

Bart
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
leftarmtan said:
Great read! Love the light bar made from a running board.
Thanks!

I kept watching Craigslist hoping to see a light bar pop-up for cheap, but that never happened.

I was inspired to make my own by Van_Homan who made his own mounts for a Surco rack. I drew it up on some paper, and just used what I had laying around.
 

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Posting so I am notified of future posts!

:D :D :D

If you have more description and/or pics of the way you re-did the groove on the axle for the c-clip. it would be good to include those.

You inspired me to do the same, and it worked for me as well.
 

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I want to see some nice full rig photos of the stance with the lift shackles, the torsion bars cranked, and the 26575R16 tires. This is the exact setup I am probably going with so I am curious as to how it looks.

And what are your plans for paint? You have a multiple color scheme going on right now so I assume you have something else in mind.

Bart
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Selahdoor said:
Posting so I am notified of future posts!

:D :D :D

If you have more description and/or pics of the way you re-did the groove on the axle for the c-clip. it would be good to include those.

You inspired me to do the same, and it worked for me as well.
Jeff,

I do not have any pics from when I actually did it, but I just snapped one today to post.



It's been on with no problem for about 12k miles.

nfpgasmask said:
I want to see some nice full rig photos of the stance with the lift shackles, the torsion bars cranked, and the 26575R16 tires. This is the exact setup I am probably going with so I am curious as to how it looks.
I'll definitely snap and post some pics when I get it done.

nfpgasmask said:
And what are your plans for paint? You have a multiple color scheme going on right now so I assume you have something else in mind.

Bart
Good question. I will probably paint it myself greasemonkey style.

I was thinking for the longest time that I was gonna do Rustoleum Regal Red.



Then I thought I'd do something like the Pursuit cars:




Thinking that I didn't want to stick out (more than I already do), I decided against the Pursuit design.

Then I thought about doing XO Rust Machinery Grey:


...but that would look too much like primer I think.

So I've not really settled on a paint scheme yet. What I am fairly sure of is:
-I will probably do the roof white.
-I will do the B/C/D pillars in black.

*Edited 1/16/14 to fix photos
 

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electricpuppyboy said:
So I've not really settled on a paint scheme yet. What I am fairly sure of is:
-I will probably do the roof white.
-I will do the B/C/D pillars in black.
Naw, that would look cheesy.

Wait....

whiteall.JPG
 

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