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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to wait and post a thread about my current project once it is complete, but since it is likely going to be several months until it is technically "done", I figured I would start a build thread anyhow.

Last fall, I bought this 1991 Trooper off Craigslist from a guy over in Chico, for $2,500 clear. The Trooper had just over 72,000 original grandma miles, and a spotless, 100% rust free body. It had two problems when I bought it: a dead temp gauge and an exhaust leak somewhere that you could hear when the engine was cold. It is also white, the color of my original 91 that I unfortunately rattle-canned, which in my opinion ultimately ruined the vehicle. I missed having a nice, classic, white Trooper. White is really the easiest color to maintain. It looks clean, even when dirty, and it stays cool in the summer.

Originally, I was planning to restore a V6 Trooper, frame up, but plans changed when I acquired this Trooper, and replaced my red RS with the RS Tatohead sold me for $900, which has a much, much straighter body. So the original 91 was parted out and the original RS was sold to a VXer in Salt Lake City. The blue 90 LS V6 I had for a short period of time I also sold locally to a nice couple in need of a winter vehicle.

So now I have two 4ZE1 Troopers, the new '91 and the '89 RS, After owning my first RS, I came to the conclusion that the Isuzu motor is what actually belongs under the hood of a 1st gen Trooper. As we all know, the 2.8 GM V6 is a reliable, but horribly underpowered motor. The 4 banger gets good gas mileage, makes decent enough power, and it is very easy to work on. In the end, I am happy to have two pure Isuzu 1st gens.

The plan for the '91, is to build a properly modified, well thought out, over-landing rig. I will cut no corners, spare no expense, and do this right, to the best of my abilities and knowledge. For all the years I have owned Isuzus, I have always done 90% of the work myself. I have learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes, and now I am ready for a "mature" build. I'm keeping it white, with no half-assed mods or cheaping out anywhere. And I will leave some of the heavier, more technical stuff to the experts. I will build this Trooper to be exactly what I want, so that it can do exactly what I want, and take me and my family everywhere for years to come. OK, enough blabber.

Here she is, a few days after I brought it home.
10/11/2013




























So as you can see, she's a beaut. I feel I got a tremendous deal at $2,500 for this vehicle. After changing the thermostat, I can say everything works. It is very clean, and completely devoid of any rust. The exhaust leak turned out to be a broken stud at the manifold. I thought I was going to be screwed and have to drill it out and retap the hole. But the bolt came out with just vice grips. I was shocked at how easily I was able to remove it. This is the nice thing about being hundreds of miles away from the rust zoned of the East.

Bart
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After getting the thermostat and exhaust manifold gasket replaced, it was time to really begin. As many of you know, I have been hoarding black interior parts and all sorts of other accessories, which will ultimately adorn this Trooper. She will be entirely black and white. But, the first thing I had to do is get rid of the ugly rectangular headlights and grill. In my opinion, this is almost a must for first gens. The round-eye grills look so much better. They take an otherwise boring fascia and give the Trooper a proper, old-school Japanese look.

As I said, no corners will be cut on this build. One of the things I plan to do, is eliminate as many self-tapping OEM screws as possible. I hate self-tappers. They always seem so temporary and cheap to me. The solution is Nutserts.

Here are the headlight buckets getting redone. Sandblasted:


Painted:


The little holes to be drilled out:


Nutserts installed:


Buckets installed:


Lamps installed:




Grill attached with cable ties. I find this is really the best solution for broken tabs.


Grill in place with old JDM turn signals. (please ignore the upside down one, didn't even realize it at first)


The other thing I wanted to immediately fix, were the tired hinges up front. The driver's side was especially bad, with loud popping every time the door opened. I sourced a pair of NOS hinges, that just happened to be black, but this works with my tuxedo color scheme. The best way to swap the hinges is to not remove the door. This ensures the door stays aligned properly. So you must remove the front fenders. This is also a good thing to do anyhow, so you can clean all the dirt and debris out of there. Again, doing this on a rust free Trooper was cake.

Fender removed:


Debris that came out:


Old popping hinge:


New hinge:


This is all I have for now. More soon.

Bart
 

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Wow, what a great looking Trooper. I've been looking for a while now, and haven't been able to find one that clean. I'll be following your posts. Totally agree with you on the grill.
 

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Well you know I love a white Trooper!...lol

What an honest clean Trooper..at $2500 you did very... very well in my opinion...

Very happy for you!

We all know it will turn out awesome... :D

Edit** It already is awesome actually..lol
 

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Very nice looking Trooper! Looking forward to the progress. Please tell me you will be keeping the white walls! :wink:
 

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Awesome looking find dude. I couldn't agree more on the 2.6 izuzu engine being the perfect fit. Now I know what my JDM corners will look like one day LOL. Thanks for the tip on the door hinge replacement, I hadn't thought of it and I need to do some of mine.
 

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Man Bart, That thing is sweet. The only problem I have with a white first gen Trooper is that they always looked to me like they should have a red cross on the side and a red light on top :D . In sharing your pictures, you pretty much set the bar for pricing a "clean" first gen Trooper. From now on when someone wants to know what a Trooper is worth... compare it to Bart's.
Also, thanks for sharing the wire tie idea for mounting first gen grilles. Never thought about that. So much for "collecting" the chintzy clips every time I hit the boneyards. Dennis
 

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Yea, after struggling for what seemed like an hour on replacing door hinges, if there is a next time, the fender is coming off. Didn't notice the white walls the first look. Was to busy admiring all else, but I'll have to say, I can't remember ever seeing another Trooper with whitewalls.
 

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Bart, you have an exceptional find with this white one. :albino:

With the shape it is in, it will be soooo much easier to do any kind of work on it. Yes, I am quite jealous of your new ride.

Put a turbo in it. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone, for the comments.

itsmehb said:
Wow, what a great looking Trooper. I've been looking for a while now, and haven't been able to find one that clean. I'll be following your posts. Totally agree with you on the grill.
They are tough to find in this kind of shape, with miles this low. That's why I jumped on it!

Cronk said:
Very nice looking Trooper! Looking forward to the progress. Please tell me you will be keeping the white walls! :wink:
LOL, the wheels and tires are already gone. More on that later.

DSUZU said:
Man Bart, That thing is sweet. The only problem I have with a white first gen Trooper is that they always looked to me like they should have a red cross on the side and a red light on top :D . In sharing your pictures, you pretty much set the bar for pricing a "clean" first gen Trooper. From now on when someone wants to know what a Trooper is worth... compare it to Bart's.
Also, thanks for sharing the wire tie idea for mounting first gen grilles. Never thought about that. So much for "collecting" the chintzy clips every time I hit the boneyards. Dennis
Yeah, I think $2,500 was very fair, if not cheap, for ANY vehicle in this condition, with miles this low. The cherry on top is just that it happened to be a 1st gen Trooper. I like the ambulance idea. :lol: I am thinking I will replace my scorpion on the side, but I will do it with decals this time, if I do it at all. And yeah, zip-ties are the best way to affix the old grills when the tabs are broken. Its easy, and you can still get the grill on nice and tight.

itsmehb said:
Yea, after struggling for what seemed like an hour on replacing door hinges, if there is a next time, the fender is coming off.
Yeah, I've tried it in the past by taking the door completely off. This makes for a misaligned door, and it just a lot harder to do. You gotta use a jack or have a helper on hand to hold up the door...it sucks. Just take the fender off. The worst part of taking the fender off is that one screw on the front. Those are stupid tight for some reason. I use a bit on my impact and lean into it with all my weight. Or you can just cut it off and put a bolt there.

95BadBoy said:
With the shape it is in, it will be soooo much easier to do any kind of work on it.
So far, everything has come apart with ease. I still can't believe the broken exhaust stud came out with no struggle at all.

95BadBoy said:
Put a turbo in it. :thumbup:
Yeah, I want to. I might just go the Impulse turbo route, even though the power gains will only be minimal, this would be REALLY easy for me since I know exactly where everything would need to go. Just need to source a few Impulse parts and install it. I can keep my emissions crap this way too, and it should still pass smog.

First though, I need to mention, this Trooper is as bone simple as they came. Everything is manual, and there is no cruise control and no A/C. I plan to add both of these components to this Trooper. I think cruise control should be fairly easy to accomplish. I will just take the parts from a donor Trooper at Pick & Pull and it should be pretty straightforward. I have a cruise control stick for the steering neck already, so I think I just need the under the hood parts. A/C will be another challenge all together.

More pics soon. Thanks.

Bart
 

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When you do the A/C I would find the biggest condenser you can get. The stock one sucks for me here in the North West. With Navada heat you will need all you can get. Also the blower fan will need some help to get that cold air moving. The first gen HVAC system was marginal at best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
geoffinbc said:
When you do the A/C I would find the biggest condenser you can get. The stock one sucks for me here in the North West. With Navada heat you will need all you can get. Also the blower fan will need some help to get that cold air moving. The first gen HVAC system was marginal at best.
Yeah, I am thinking of finding the best AC shop in California, and bringing it to them and having them install it. I bet there is a good place in LA if I look hard enough.

Bart
 

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How about the roof painted into an american flag blended into a japaneese flag. A japan quality vehicle brought back to life by American hands!!....well if you had another one just like it, so one could be completley original, it would be a great idea!
 

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IsuzuGeek said:
I think cruise control should be fairly easy to accomplish. I will just take the parts from a donor Trooper at Pick & Pull and it should be pretty straightforward. I have a cruise control stick for the steering neck already, so I think I just need the under the hood parts.
You should also plan on picking up the shift tower (and shift lever as well, I believe) for the transmission -- there is a neutral safety switch for the cruise control incorporated into the tower and actuated by a bump at the base of the shift lever.

When I did my diesel conversion, I had to swap towers and shift levers (evidently the diesel did not have cruise, but my Trooper was factory equipped). The tower is easy to remove, just 4 bolts or so, but you'll probably need to knock it loose with a mallet. I made a new gasket out of gasket paper rather than buy one.
 

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Looking forward to seeing the progress. Yeah lessons learned the first time round.... If it where easy everyone would do it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
shackleford said:
Looking forward to seeing the progress. Yeah lessons learned the first time round.... If it where easy everyone would do it. :D
Yeah, lessons learned. I am still learning too. Right now I am doing the carpet, door panels and the rest of the black interior swap. The door panels are a straight bitch to get installed the way I want them installed and the black interior swap is not as easy as it sounds. Retrofitting a bunch of RS (SWB) parts into a long wheel base is not as easy as you would think. Some things are just a little but different.

Bart
 

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Nice rig Bart! I have to disagree on the lights. I prefer the square eyes on a square truck. The isuzu self tappers are so superior to the sheet metal screws that domestics use. I've never had issues with them. But nothing wrong with nutserts. As far as the spare no expense I don't think that for your region you need a lot of "build". Mild lift and some 31x10.50s or 32's. LSD rear and manual hubs. Big front brakes. Good to go.

I actually took the aftermarket cruise out of Red Beans. I like cruise but too much traffic here in the east to go more than a couple of miles without having to shut it down. With low powered vehicles like a 1st gen Trooper the hills and shifting make it kinda useless. Now my 2000 5spd would climb any mountain on the interstate in WV in 5th gear at 70+ with the cruise on running 32" tires.

Obviously for your mature build I offer my threads as an example. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Check this out. I agree 100% with this philosophy. For those that don't know this is the guy that IS Expo Portal and Overland Journal. For many years he used a 98' Trooper as his ride.
http://www.expeditionportal.com/resourc ... hicle.html

And if you really want to go crazy.
http://www.turbogemini.com/Gemini%20300 ... %20Kit.htm

Did I mention I know where there is a clean black 4x4 2.6 Spacecab for sale. Not mine but belongs to a member here! :twisted: :twisted: :mrgreen:
 
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