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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey y’all! I’m looking to join you guys and grab a 1991 Trooper LS manual 2.8 v6 250k miles that a neighbor is selling for 4K. Was going to negotiate price. 91 is the last year of the first gen too right? Also I’m a beginner at wrenching, have done suspension, brakes, rotors and sway links on my past vehicles, but nothing major like transmission or engine stuff.

Some background, have an xterra that’s giving me issues and will aell, don’t have a need for a daily, just something to get me skiing and hiking/biking trails. Plus I love the trooper look, always have.

Hows the reliability? Any major issues that came with this year at all? Ask this cause everything that could go wrong, went wrong in my car.

Are parts difficult to find? Looked at rock auto and didn’t have trouble finding parts.

also I bet this a dead horse but what’s the max tire size at stock height? Have a set of 265/75/16 winter tires that I would like to use, but don’t know if they would fit the trooper.

Basically just want a car that will get me places, snow mud anything. Cheap and easy to maintain, and runs well. Don’t care about gas speed or handling. And have always wanted a manual car, only driven my uncles. Thank you all!
 

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As are most vehicles, they are quite reliable if well maintained and cared for. Personally, I would much prefer the 4ZE1 4-banger having owned both but there's certainly nothing wrong with the GM V6. No major common issues with that motor and trans setup, but being 31 years old I'm sure you will find some problems.

Most wearable parts you can find on rockauto. You can purchase many OEM parts direct from Isuzu or other suppliers. Niche parts can be harder to find but are typically cosmetic and available in junkyards or through people parting them out.

They'd fit the Trooper if you replaced the stock 15" rims with 16" rims. Might have to have a small lift on a gen 1 (yes 91 is the last year) to get them to clear. However, a lift is incredibly easy, just longer shackles and crank the torsion bars.
 

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Howdy! Post a few pics of your neighbor's Trooper and that'll help us evaluate it.

2.8 with a 5-speed is a good combination, the MUA5 is a stout trans as long as it's always been serviced with motor oil, and NOT gear oil. Gear oil is too thick and will burn out bearings and other delicate parts due to inadequate lubrication. 30W in temperate climates, 10W-30 or 5W-30 in the colder zones.

Check shifting action and gear noise in all gears when test driving. Be aware that clutch hydraulics can be an issue, typically they won't allow the clutch to fully disengage. Best indication of that is a bit of grinding gears when clutch is depressed and shifting into 1st or 2nd. Balky shifting underway can be caused by weak clutch hydraulics. Slave cyl is easily replaced and both slave and master are available at Rockauto.com for not to much $$$.

Does it have the original clutch? Lots of miles for an original, most likely it's been replaced but ask. That's not a cheap job unless you can do it yourself.

The 2.8 has areas that are prone to oil leakage, such as distributor O-ring and valve cover gaskets. More labor-intensive than $$$ to replace.

Check oil pressure on startup, a good engine will run around 50-55 psi. If it doesn't drop down much when warm, that's a sign the bearing clearances are pretty tight. If it goes below 15 hot I'd start to worry!

The V6 stock isn't a powerhouse, but it should run smoothy and pull thru the gears ok. The 2.8 isn't known to have a lot of tapping and ticking or knocking unless there are issues. Note that the temp gauge on these V6's doesn't have a lot of deflection, even when warm mine doesn't go much over 1/4 scale. Many years ago, I towed a 2000lb boat 75mph up I-5 on an 80+ degree day and it might have gone up a bit more but not much.

Check the exhaust manifolds for busted bolts. Pretty common, my 1st 2.8 had a few and it never did leak. But usually the busted bolts come right out once the manifold is removed. They are breaking from vibration rather than getting stuck in the block. GM still sells a special stud-type bolt for the manifold, there's a few of those and the rest are just regular bolts.

The stock exhaust is very restrictive, and probably by now is all rusted away. We have suggestions for replacement that will boost performance.

Check the body and frame for rust, that's the most common issue depending on where you're located. Check for frame rot. Very common to see corrosion around the back barn doors, also check the structure inside the doors.

To answer your question about tires, your 265's are 31.6" in diameter. Later ZuZu's were available with 16" rims, so if you need those with a 6"x5.5" lug pattern, they're available. I have factory "Snowflake" alloy 15x7 wheels on my '90 LS, these fit 31's at the stock height. Your tires would only sit 1/4" taller in the wheelwell, so I wouldn't expect an issue.
If the Trooper came with P235/75R15 tires stock, your speedo will be slow. There are sites where you can calculate the difference in mph reading, or just use mileage markers on the hiway to clock it.

At 250K the front suspension is likely to have a lot of worn parts, so pay heed to how it steers. If it's pulling badly either way while braking, or drifting all over the road, the ball joints are probably shot. Ball joints can be replaced at home with the proper tools. It's also a great time for a brake upgrade (aka "Big Brake Mod") but we'll get into that later! Slack in the steering box can be adjusted out. Idler arm and cross-link are typical wear items. Nothing out of the ordinary for a hi-miles vehicle.

Nice thing is, if you have the mechanical ability, there's nothing mysterious about a Gen I Trooper. Just something else to wrench on!

I've had a Gen I Trooper since around 1997 and they're great rigs. Especially with more power! Every road leading from my house goes up steep hills, and the rig has never failed to get me out and about.

The GM 2.8 V6 lends itself to Old-School hot rod techniques, up to and including engine swaps. How does a Camaro 3.4 with over 180 hp sound? A lot better than the 125hp stock engine, I'll tell ya that!!!

Your criteria "...get me places, snow mud anything. Cheap and easy to maintain, and runs well" is an apt description of a Gen I Trooper!

Post those pics and let us know how the inspection/test drive goes.

Welcome to the Planet!...........ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As are most vehicles, they are quite reliable if well maintained and cared for. Personally, I would much prefer the 4ZE1 4-banger having owned both but there's certainly nothing wrong with the GM V6. No major common issues with that motor and trans setup, but being 31 years old I'm sure you will find some problems.

Most wearable parts you can find on rockauto. You can purchase many OEM parts direct from Isuzu or other suppliers. Niche parts can be harder to find but are typically cosmetic and available in junkyards or through people parting them out.

They'd fit the Trooper if you replaced the stock 15" rims with 16" rims. Might have to have a small lift on a gen 1 (yes 91 is the last year) to get them to clear. However, a lift is incredibly easy, just longer shackles and crank the torsion bars.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Howdy! Post a few pics of your neighbor's Trooper and that'll help us evaluate it.

2.8 with a 5-speed is a good combination, the MUA5 is a stout trans as long as it's always been serviced with motor oil, and NOT gear oil. Gear oil is too thick and will burn out bearings and other delicate parts due to inadequate lubrication. 30W in temperate climates, 10W-30 or 5W-30 in the colder zones.

Check shifting action and gear noise in all gears when test driving. Be aware that clutch hydraulics can be an issue, typically they won't allow the clutch to fully disengage. Best indication of that is a bit of grinding gears when clutch is depressed and shifting into 1st or 2nd. Balky shifting underway can be caused by weak clutch hydraulics. Slave cyl is easily replaced and both slave and master are available at Rockauto.com for not to much $$$.

Does it have the original clutch? Lots of miles for an original, most likely it's been replaced but ask. That's not a cheap job unless you can do it yourself.

The 2.8 has areas that are prone to oil leakage, such as distributor O-ring and valve cover gaskets. More labor-intensive than $$$ to replace.

Check oil pressure on startup, a good engine will run around 50-55 psi. If it doesn't drop down much when warm, that's a sign the bearing clearances are pretty tight. If it goes below 15 hot I'd start to worry!

The V6 stock isn't a powerhouse, but it should run smoothy and pull thru the gears ok. The 2.8 isn't known to have a lot of tapping and ticking or knocking unless there are issues. Note that the temp gauge on these V6's doesn't have a lot of deflection, even when warm mine doesn't go much over 1/4 scale. Many years ago, I towed a 2000lb boat 75mph up I-5 on an 80+ degree day and it might have gone up a bit more but not much.

Check the exhaust manifolds for busted bolts. Pretty common, my 1st 2.8 had a few and it never did leak. But usually the busted bolts come right out once the manifold is removed. They are breaking from vibration rather than getting stuck in the block. GM still sells a special stud-type bolt for the manifold, there's a few of those and the rest are just regular bolts.

The stock exhaust is very restrictive, and probably by now is all rusted away. We have suggestions for replacement that will boost performance.

Check the body and frame for rust, that's the most common issue depending on where you're located. Check for frame rot. Very common to see corrosion around the back barn doors, also check the structure inside the doors.

To answer your question about tires, your 265's are 31.6" in diameter. Later ZuZu's were available with 16" rims, so if you need those with a 6"x5.5" lug pattern, they're available. I have factory "Snowflake" alloy 15x7 wheels on my '90 LS, these fit 31's at the stock height. Your tires would only sit 1/4" taller in the wheelwell, so I wouldn't expect an issue.
If the Trooper came with P235/75R15 tires stock, your speedo will be slow. There are sites where you can calculate the difference in mph reading, or just use mileage markers on the hiway to clock it.

At 250K the front suspension is likely to have a lot of worn parts, so pay heed to how it steers. If it's pulling badly either way while braking, or drifting all over the road, the ball joints are probably shot. Ball joints can be replaced at home with the proper tools. It's also a great time for a brake upgrade (aka "Big Brake Mod") but we'll get into that later! Slack in the steering box can be adjusted out. Idler arm and cross-link are typical wear items. Nothing out of the ordinary for a hi-miles vehicle.

Nice thing is, if you have the mechanical ability, there's nothing mysterious about a Gen I Trooper. Just something else to wrench on!

I've had a Gen I Trooper since around 1997 and they're great rigs. Especially with more power! Every road leading from my house goes up steep hills, and the rig has never failed to get me out and about.

The GM 2.8 V6 lends itself to Old-School hot rod techniques, up to and including engine swaps. How does a Camaro 3.4 with over 180 hp sound? A lot better than the 125hp stock engine, I'll tell ya that!!!

Your criteria "...get me places, snow mud anything. Cheap and easy to maintain, and runs well" is an apt description of a Gen I Trooper!

Post those pics and let us know how the inspection/test drive goes.

Welcome to the Planet!...........ed
Man this is a ton of info, thanks for responding and answering the questions. I’ll get some pics soon!
 

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Man this is a ton of info, thanks for responding and answering the questions. I’ll get some pics soon!
Hey, that's what we're here for! The Best Isuzu forum on the Web Tubes! :LOL:
 

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Hey y’all! I’m looking to join you guys and grab a 1991 Trooper LS manual 2.8 v6 250k miles that a neighbor is selling for 4K. Was going to negotiate price. 91 is the last year of the first gen too right? Also I’m a beginner at wrenching, have done suspension, brakes, rotors and sway links on my past vehicles, but nothing major like transmission or engine stuff.

Some background, have an xterra that’s giving me issues and will aell, don’t have a need for a daily, just something to get me skiing and hiking/biking trails. Plus I love the trooper look, always have.

Hows the reliability? Any major issues that came with this year at all? Ask this cause everything that could go wrong, went wrong in my car.

Are parts difficult to find? Looked at rock auto and didn’t have trouble finding parts.

also I bet this a dead horse but what’s the max tire size at stock height? Have a set of 265/75/16 winter tires that I would like to use, but don’t know if they would fit the trooper.

Basically just want a car that will get me places, snow mud anything. Cheap and easy to maintain, and runs well. Don’t care about gas speed or handling. And have always wanted a manual car, only driven my uncles. Thank you all!
I was considering selling my occasional driver 1991 Trooper LS V6 150k-ish. So I’m curious as to how much the other guy is selling his for? Thanks.
 

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Have a good look all around the roof edges and around the rack mounts. Rust bubbling in these areas is a deal killer. if there's any bubbling around the roof or windshield, I'd drop that price at LEAST 1,000.00. My personal opinion is that looks more like a 2500 - 3,000 piece anyway (but I'm cheap). Reality, if you want any kind of "looks", getting that one there will be around 3K in body work and even cheap paint. Dennis
 

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I agree, if the body was straight the price would be more in line. The leak on the diff could be the pinion seal, you'd have to get a look at the driveshaft yoke to confirm. Already has nice alloys, are those 16"?

Same color as my LS but the clearcoat is worse. Drive it if you want to see how it goes, but IMHO I'd keep looking. They are getting scarcer, but there are still other Gen I fish in the sea!
 
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