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Purchasing my first isuzu

1242 Views 35 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mudoilngears
Hello people! I am about to buy my first isuzu (also my first car). It is a 1995 Rodeo S, with the 5mt and 4wd + rangebox. To my knowledge it is equipped with the 6vD1 motor. At around 150k miles, what should I be looking out for mechanically wise? The car was last serviced in 2020 and has been driven less than 2k miles since then. Also, what are common spots for hidden rust I should look for when I inspect it this weekend? (in the listing the car appears rust free but being a 27 year old north-eastern car i'm sure thats not the case)
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Rust will be common in the rockers and on the frame, especially around the rear wheels. Ask the owner how much oil it is burning. The 4wd manual is quite the rarity now and that transmission will last until the day you die.
from the underside pictures, it appears to be rust free. However, there is not even rust around the exhaust flanges, and even the muffler is still shiny. this leads me to believe that the exhaust was replaced, which leads me to think the owner either means the owner did a full rust removal or just pained over the surface rust in the frame rails. When I go inspect it i'm going to look closer. Also, how long can I expect this engine to last?
The 3.2L and 3.5L Isuzu engines are notorious for burning oil. It's not uncommon to have to add oil every time you add gas. There is no easy fix for the problem (requires removing and modifying the pistons). But the engines will still run great and go well beyond 200k miles as long as you keep the oil topped up.

Common rust spots are wheel wells, rocker panels, lower doors. Make sure you check the frame and insure there have not been any shoddy rust repairs done on it.
Like 8th_note said, the motor will last an easy 300,000+ miles if you just check and top off the oil every time you fill up with gas. It's only an issue if you don't take care of it-- just takes a tad more effort than most cars
alrighty, I'll keep that in mind. thanks for the help :)

this is the frame of the car btw. Does this look like it is pained over surface rust or the original from the factory?
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All good info. Will just add, there have been frame failures on some that have spent there years in the rust belt. My recommendation would be lay on your back under the rear and check the frame where the shocks etc. attach. Some rust will probably be there. What you don't want is frame rot, and that's where you could push a screwdriver through, and if that were the case, I'd pass. A manual is the most desirable rodeo as the auto can be a problem child. So your getting a good one.
Yeah I think I found a real gem, which is why I won’t post the listing lol. I’m far to paranoid someone’s gonna pull this out of my fingers. In the description the dealer mentioned the rear frame may need some repair, but they didn’t specify how bad or what kind. thats Why I‘m concerned about it

this is the frame of the car btw. Does this look like it is pained over surface rust or the original from the factory?
Looks very much like paint sprayed over rust.
Oh well at least it will prevent further rust for a while if it’s an encapsulator. I don’t need this car for a long time, I‘ll prolly sell it once I graduate anyway, so i’ll milk it for what it’s worth in the short time I have it.
Thank you all for the help, I really appreciate it
I agree, frame has been painted over rust to cover it up. I would still buy it, but I would point this out to the seller and try to bring them down on their price.
Yes, I am going to make this my main negotiation point. Speaking of, are there any tips I should know before buying this? its from a reputable used dealership that is willing to negotiate
Check cv boots, ball joints, and tie rod ends for tears. Vacuum line ends for cracks. None of this is hard to replace, but it does kind of give you an idea on how it's been maintained since you can't hide old rubber. Tires too, check the DOT code on the sidewall for the year they were made. 10+ years old and they'll need replacement. Remember that anything you find wrong is a negotiating point, so be thorough.

Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive tire Bicycle tire

Here's an example. "18" being the last two numbers means its a 2018 tire.
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Good to know. I would hope if there were worn rubber bits they would have been replaced in the recent service, but then again I have no idea what kind of job they did
Tire Wheel Car Automotive tire Motor vehicle

the tires look alright wear wise, but they could dry rotted, especially given the obscene amount of tire shine they applied. If anyone has some sort of photo enhancement tool that could let me read the DOT numbers that would be great as well
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Check for valve cover oil leak onto the exhaust manifold as well.
Biggie is looking for RUST THROUGH areas around rear spring mounts and shock mounts. Check around all body mount areas. The 1995 was NOT a big oil burning year.
Things to check (good possibility it has had PROPER maintenance): correct transmission fluid (motor oil NOT gear lube), consider changing / flushing brake and clutch fluid (have it done, or check for advice / instruction here first). Coolant flush / replace and premixed or mix with distilled water only (NOT tap water). Timing belt.
Note that there was a change mid 1995. Earlier had speedo etc in a pod above the dash, later speedo was down in dash and may have air bags.
That could be undercoating on the frame - I didn't look all that closely at the pics (yet) Dennis
speedometer is inside the dash. according to the dealer and to the paperwork the car does have airbags
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