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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well...I finally did it! I bought another 1990 Trooper! :mrgreen:

I had purchased a walnut brown Trooper "S" brand new in 1990. Although it had no options at all, it was an absolute blast to drive around in Colorado, and I loved the 130,000 trouble free miles I put on it. Unfortunately, my little sister totalled it in 1996...and that was that. I've wanted another damn 1st gen ever since!

I've seen a couple really choice looking units over the years, but mistakenly never bought them. Although I saw a number with high-miles, or blown motors, heavily modded or obviously beaten to death, I wanted a stock, clean truck that I could use as a daily driver if needed. When I saw the original owner, local trade in(supposedly) Trooper with 94,000 miles and a clean carfax show up at a Virginia Subaru dealer, I grabbed it! Although not walnut brown, it still has the brown interior and the 5 spd tranny and Isuzu 4 cyl that I wanted. Clean and rust free, it looked good inside and out...especially under the hood. At $3300 out the door (but no taxes), it was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but looked clean and was basically what I was looking for, just in time for the Michigan winter!

I drove it 350 miles to my buddy's house in Ohio without a problem. The engine was a bit louder than I remembered, but otherwise it just rolled down the road.

So...a couple of questions. I'm pretty mechanically inclined, and the Trooper is a pretty simple truck, but what Trooper (and age) specific maintenance would you guys suggest, other than the usual stuff which I plan on doing? I was mildly put off that there are no maintenance records, but it looks pretty clean inside and out with no obvious problems.

Here's what it's had done recently:
A) Fresh engine oil
B) New brakes and rotors
C) New clutch
D) State of Virginia Safety Inspection

Here's what I plan on doing:
1) Change all fluids - Tranny/Differentials/brake/PS/Radiator
2) New plugs/wires/cap and rotor
3) Timing belt
4) Check exhaust manifold for leaks
5) I recall that I need to check the valve clearances also. I don't know if this was done, but upper driveline is quiet.
6) I don't know if the O2 sensor has been changed, but the light is not on. I'll take a look at it and see if it's newish looking, or I might just change it anyway. I don't recall if there is only 1 O2 sensor...or more?

The rear main, valve cover and head gaskets are leaking slightly, but I'm not going to bother with those...just gonna keep an eye on the oil consumption. Engine "noise" isn't rod knock, big end bearing rumble, valve clatter...it's just kinda loud. It might be a leaking exhaust manifold...but might not. Some sound matting under the floor will likely do the trick if there's no mechanical fault.

I did notice that the left rear door catches on the bottom of the door frame when it closes. By the mark, it looks like it's been doing it a while. The hinges don't seem to be bent, and there's no apparent evidence of an accident. The gaps are pretty good around the vehicle in general, but there is more clearance on one side of the door than the other. at the top, so clearly the alignment is off. Odd that the paint on the hinges is not cracked from being bent....and the paint on the truck looks to be original (no repaint).

What else should I be looking at? I don't plan on doing any crazy 4 x 4'ing, etc. I'm basically going to be driving it around during the winter, maybe towing a small trailer occasionally.

Thoughts?!? :D
 

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Congrats. It sounds like you found a nice ride.

I would leave the o2 sensor alone if it isnt throwing codes. I would definiteky change the timing belt, esoecially if you dont know when / if it was changed last. Prolly due the water pump and tensioner while i was in there... Fluids in the tranny, tcase, diffs should at least be checked. Most important to me wpuld be watching the temp and oil pressure like a hawk. Over heating is pretty rough on the heads and headgaskets.

Post a pic when you get a chance.

Random typos courtesy of my ipad keyboard.
 

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Congrats on the 90! I had a 88 in the grey and my buddies had a maroon 86 and a white/gold 89, future in laws had a nice bronze 1st gen as well so being around them so much I just loved the 1st gens and pretty much looked for one like you did..and yes there's A LOT of beaters out there..I think you did ok for low mileage you have....
Sounds like you pretty much know what to jump on...its a nice feeling driving the old kenmore on wheels isn't it! Like having your faithful ol dog back..lol...
Good luck and post pics!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the good words! I definitely will change the timing belt as soon as possible (as well as water pump/tensioner and seals)! That's the one thing that has me a bit concerned, as the dealer called the folks who traded it in, and they confirmed the timing belt had not been changed. 20 year old...Timing belt....what could go wrong?!?

I was also concerned about a warped head / blown top end, as I've seen and read quite a bit about this problem with these engines. I didn't see any evidence of a warped head, and the motor started right up and ran well. I'm not gonna be driving through death valley, nor rock climbing during the summer in Moab...but I'll definitely keep on top of the cooling system, as well as the gauges!

It IS a nice feeling having 'er back. I was having random flashes of Deja Vu during the drive back, for sure! I would flash glances at the dashboard, and remember things. Other times I'd glace over at the gauges...and it felt totally familiar - like it'd not been 15 years since I sat in one...like I never left! :wink:

It was a great truck, and remains so. Less refined than the new stuff, obviously, but I could care less. The thing has massive carrying capacity, tows well, has a huge windshield (no chips...FOR NOW! Hahaha) and is a blast to drive in deep snow! Gonna be a great work truck / winter vehicle.

The truck is still at my buddy's house in Ohio, so I only have the one pic of me sitting behind the wheel, grinning like an idiot - I'll post it shortly.

Also....I thought the truck in the pictures was black. Then when I first saw it, I thought it was dark midnight blue. However, I think it's actually deep, dark GREEN! Anyone remember that color?
 

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There is only 1 02 sensor. Just replace it, its right in the open. If you want that light gone, there is a switch on the back of the speedometer. Just flip it. It goes off based on mileage (every 90,000 or so)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dryvr12 said:
There is only 1 02 sensor. Just replace it, its right in the open. If you want that light gone, there is a switch on the back of the speedometer. Just flip it. It goes off based on mileage (every 90,000 or so)
I know the O2 light automatically comes on at 90K. The light is not on, so I'm assuming the sensor has been changed, however...you make a good point about the switch behind the speedo...it might just have been switched off. Do I need to do any sort of ECU reset when I change the o2 sensor? I'll do a search and see but am just wondering.
 

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Nope. Ive done it a few times. You just unscrew the speedometer, unhook the speedo cable, a few wires, flip the switch, install, and you done! Also check the instrument cluster in the middle. On mine they took the bulb out.
 

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Look at the exhaust system. I would bet its been upgraded or it's on its way out. If you need to change it out, go with the 2.25 upgrade. I did a cat back on my Pup with the 2.6 engine and it really made a difference. Better low end power and smoother running. If the valves are quiet I would leave them alone. But for sure do the timing belt and water pump and the tensioner first. If the head gasket is bad the engine will loose power and start missing. So I think it is good. Just do the basic stuff first.
 

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I'd also probably get a new radiator if it hasn't been replaced to avoid any overheating problems in the future. Also, be sure to check out all the suspension bushings (leaf springs & control arms), ball joints, CV boots and shocks.

Leland
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hessmess said:
Look at the exhaust system. I would bet its been upgraded or it's on its way out. If you need to change it out, go with the 2.25 upgrade. I did a cat back on my Pup with the 2.6 engine and it really made a difference. Better low end power and smoother running. If the valves are quiet I would leave them alone. But for sure do the timing belt and water pump and the tensioner first. If the head gasket is bad the engine will loose power and start missing. So I think it is good. Just do the basic stuff first.
Good advice all of you guys-keep it coming! A couple of notes on your comments:

1) When I looked underneath the chassis, I was delighted to find that it was nearly rust free...what I'd expect to find from a VA truck. However, I didn't expect to find the original muffler intact. It's possible it's been replaced with another original muffler, but I definitely recall the OEM unit - and that's it! I'll take a closer lok to make sure it's not blown out on the inside, but the noise seems to be coming more from the engine compartment, rather than cat back / muffler. A look at the exhaust manifold should do the trick.

That being said...what's the 2.25 upgrade? Is that a brand, or specification? Who makes it and where do I get it?

2) You've got me thinking about the head gasket...I'll take another look and see if it leaking around the back. I was told it was leaking when I bought it, but didn't spot any leaks around the front and sides. That's relatively easy to fix...epspecially when doing the timing belt / water pump and the dreaded tensioner!

3) Pretty funny comments about the O2 light....someone took the bulb out? Ha ha nice. Seems easier just to screw in a new $17 O2 sensor and be done. I didn't know it was behind the speedo..now I do - thanks!

4) The coolant was clean and not brand new (which is good), however a drain of the radiator is in order, and a good look inside. I understand that the real problem with these vehicles is in overheating (and blown head, etc.), so that might be some cheap insurance.

5) Suspension components seemed ok, as she rode well, handled well and was quiet over bumps. Surprisingly, shocks seemed to be original. I recognized them as OEM, and assuming they weren't replaced at the dealer with OEM units, I'd say they're original too! That being said, after 20 years and 94,000 miles - worth a look at the entire front end for sure! I'll throw it on my buddy's lift and see....and will let ya know!
 

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reran said:
I'd also probably get a new radiator if it hasn't been replaced to avoid any overheating problems in the future. Also, be sure to check out all the suspension bushings (leaf springs & control arms), ball joints, CV boots and shocks.

Leland
What he said!

Do a compression check and write down your numbers when you tune it up. You won't likeky see external evidence of a head gasket leak. When the valve cover is off to replace the timing belt adjust valves. I sugest putting a torque wrench on the head bolts. Don't back them off just make sure the wrench clicks at specified torque. If and when the head/gasket goes don't seat it. Just replace it and do it right and forget about it for another 100k miles. Check all the vacuum hoses for leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
squatch said:
reran said:
I'd also probably get a new radiator if it hasn't been replaced to avoid any overheating problems in the future. Also, be sure to check out all the suspension bushings (leaf springs & control arms), ball joints, CV boots and shocks.

Leland
What he said!

Do a compression check and write down your numbers when you tune it up. You won't likeky see external evidence of a head gasket leak. When the valve cover is off to replace the timing belt adjust valves. I sugest putting a torque wrench on the head bolts. Don't back them off just make sure the wrench clicks at specified torque. If and when the head/gasket goes don't seat it. Just replace it and do it right and forget about it for another 100k miles. Check all the vacuum hoses for leaks.
Hey Squatch...Will Do! Great idea to do a compression check (shoulda thought about that myself) and also to put a torque wrench on the head bolts to make sure everything's right and tight. I am kinda thinking I might just replace the head gasket right now while I do the timing belt and valves.

I imagine a search will find me the correct torque values for the head? Also...I seem to recall that someone on the board actually has a .pdf manual for this truck...if not,any idea where I can get a download? Thanks! :D
 

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The 2.25 upgrade is just upsizing the exhaust to 2.25" diameter.
 

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On the exhaust upgrade, I just took it to a local muffler shop and they made it up there. I had a turbo muffler put on. I already had a newer cat on it from the PO. If yours is original I would replace it for the newer type, they flow better and don't affect the performance like the old ones. Mine cost $160 cash out the door. (no cat replacement)
 

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Or you can do it yourself, and save the cat. Those old cats are worth ALOT of $. Like atleast $100. Just look what there goin for on ebay. And the exhaust does lead to a more peppy ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
hessmess said:
On the exhaust upgrade, I just took it to a local muffler shop and they made it up there. I had a turbo muffler put on. I already had a newer cat on it from the PO. If yours is original I would replace it for the newer type, they flow better and don't affect the performance like the old ones. Mine cost $160 cash out the door. (no cat replacement)
Ahhhhh....of course. That's another good idea I need to thing about. The old tubing is pretty narrow. New muffler and 2.25 tubing sounds like a good deal. I've got a friend with a tubing bending machine, but of course he just deployed overseas - so that's that. Might be able to talk another buddy into helping me out with it. I like the idea of doing it myself, as I plan to do the timing belt, etc myself.

Looks like I've got a little list of things to do on The Mighty Trooper! :D
 

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You will find that as items fall off the list more things are added. It has become an addiction, but thats a good thing! There are things I can do and things I can't. I have tools for some items and some I don't want. Exhaust was one of those things I leave to someone else. I am totally self taught so sometimes I do it several times. I plan on learning some body repair next year! Good luck with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah no ****e....nothing's even fallen off the list, yet things still keep on being added! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Finally bringing the Mighty Troopah back from my friend's house in Ohio this weekend! Already started talking to another buddy who's gonna help me do the various things I need to do to get it 100% up to spec.

I've got a list going, and together with some of the board's good advice, I think this is my next daily driver!

I'll keep you guys updated on my progress :)
 

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On the loud engine, you might check the air injection tubes on the head. My 86 started getting a loud exhaust leak type noise, and it drove me nuts checking all the exhaust piping, until I pulled the airbreather tube (mine is carbed) and ran it without the breather and heard he nise coming from the air tubes. I just had to re-thread and tighten 3 of the tubes and it was quiet again.
 
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