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Hi Guys:

Last week, after several months of searching (and checking out too many rusted trucks in poor shape) I took delivery of a 1990 Trooper (S, 4ZE1, auto) in Pewter Metallic from a seller in Texas (I'm in Sacramento, CA). The truck is in really great shape (zero rust, straight body, clean and intact interior), with only 124K miles and it cleaned up really well.

I bought the truck from the daughter of the owner who hadn't used it for the last five years for medical reasons. It had been sitting in a shop (thankfully out of the sun) and it looks like it hasn't moved. The owner's daughter had some work done to it last year in anticipation of a sale (empty and clean gas tank, new fuel pump, new fan clutch, new spark plugs, oil change, brakes, et al.

That said, it's not ready to be anybody's idea of a daily. Tires and suspension (at least shocks) need replacing. But more concerning is the cooling situation. I've only run the truck for a little while at a time (in my driveway), and though the engine bay sounds good, I'm afraid there are some coolant issues that'll need to be addressed (I'll make a separate forum post for the community to chime in). The coolant reservoir was empty (except for a 1/4 inch or so of rusty muck) and the oil dipstick showed what looked like coolant in the oil. So, yeah... I'm spending my free time researching if I have everything I need (tool wise) for a head gasket job (if that is in fact what's needed -- I realize that's just one diagnosis).

My last "fun/project" vehicle was an XJ Cherokee and the great thing about working on an XJ is that they made about a billion of them and there is a load of DIY videos and other resources to diagnose and fix most problems. I'm going to really have to depend on the much-smaller (but arguably more committed) Isuzu community (especially 1st gen Trooper-owners) to get this awesomely-cool 4X4 in shape and maintained.
 

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Heck yea an AW30-80LE Trooper! (I have one too and they are reasonably uncommon so that's why I'm excited lol). Anyways, head gaskets are a quite common issue on the 4ZE1 when people don't take proper care of the cooling system. Your best bet is probably buying a new head from clearwater as they are prone to warping or even cracking when overheated-- note that it does not come with air injection ports from the smog pump, so only go this route if you don't have to clear an emissions inspection. That is what I did on my '88 after it blew its second head gasket and now I couldn't be happier.
 

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Heck yea an AW30-80LE Trooper! (I have one too and they are reasonably uncommon so that's why I'm excited lol). Anyways, head gaskets are a quite common issue on the 4ZE1 when people don't take proper care of the cooling system. Your best bet is probably buying a new head from clearwater as they are prone to warping or even cracking when overheated-- note that it does not come with air injection ports from the smog pump, so only go this route if you don't have to clear an emissions inspection. That is what I did on my '88 after it blew its second head gasket and now I couldn't be happier.
Thanks Turnerd. I'm in California so I will have to get this to pass a smog check in order to register it. Since the truck came from Texas it's already had its emissions disabled. I'm hoping this doesn't create a long set of hassles for me. If I do buy a new head I'll have to keep the emissions requirements in mind.
 

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Thanks Turnerd. I'm in California so I will have to get this to pass a smog check in order to register it. Since the truck came from Texas it's already had its emissions disabled. I'm hoping this doesn't create a long set of hassles for me. If I do buy a new head I'll have to keep the emissions requirements in mind.
Yikes... I sure hope you have all the emissions equipment because it's hard to find some of that stuff. You can always try to reuse the old head-- just have it checked and potentially resurfaced by a machine shop.
 
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