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The storm clouds gather on the horizon...
The bank account quakes in fear...
Project Thunderbolt has returned.

The Basics:
1989 Trooper, 5 spd, 4ze1 engine.
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I had originally started this project way back when but after I determined that the engine was developing a rod knock, I found a different Trooper to drive around. The red one worked great but it didn't have air conditioning. That was a deal breaker for my daughters so I sold the red one to finance the build up of Thunderbolt. The original story is in the threads here:
https://www.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=137907

Bad engine:
https://www.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=138495

Replacement Trooper:
https://www.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=138497

Cleaned up, fixed all the little things and then sold the red Trooper (it looked good!):
https://www.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=143599

And now back to the blue!
Currently, I am installing sound deadener throughout. I did this in the red one as well and it made a nice difference. This time I think I am doing a better job. Instead of just covering everything I could, I did a little research. The best way I got it in my head was to think of sound waves like water in a river. A long stretch of flat sheet metal is like a smooth river channel, the sound just rolls through it. The deadener is like sand bars trying to interrupt that flow. So I did the inner and outer doors, the floor, the firewall and the rear wheel wells. I would have liked to do the roof but I am terrified of taking down the headliner, especially when it is in perfect condition.
Next up is installing the new crate motor. Since it is a new motor, I went ahead and got a new water pump (Thank you Jerry!) and radiator for it. I hate when engines overheat. I also got an upgraded alternator. Should be interesting to see how that works. I am planning on adding some camping electrical gear to this rig and I heard the stock alternator is a little weak.

By the way, if you are curious as to why this spot always rusts on the first gens, here is why. Just a catch spot for crud. Since I had the fenders off to replace the door hinges (no more driver drop when opening! Hooray) I figured I would POR-15 that spot on the fenders and rockers before they rusted out.
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After that it is just the basics of new ball joints, new tires. I also am planning on putting in a new Exedy clutch whenever RockAuto gets around to sending it to me.

The debates:
1. Crate vs. rebuild-the endless debate. I had originally planned on rebuilding the motor in Thunderbolt. But after reading through several threads (especially Alan's), calling around for some machine shop pricing and being honest with myself, I decided to go for a brand new engine just for peace of mind. My number one goal is reliability. I just want to jump in and go. As anyone who has tried to source a 4ze1 crate motor, they aren't common. I found one at S&J Engines in Spokane. They had one core they rebuilt for me. Once I send my core back, they should have another in case anyone wants to go this same route. To my door it was about $2500. The fact that the engine runs smoothly in Thunderbolt now should make the swap go better since I am not repairing it as I go. According to *******, it should only take me about 30 minutes (yeah right! I wish J5 was my neighbor!)
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2. 4 cyl vs. 6 cyl- I went around and around on this one. Thanks to Dick Hess for his advice. I am part of the bigger-is-better crowd with power, but I also like a fine running 4 cyl. If I want to go fast, I can fire up the big-block in the Chevelle parked next to it (hiding under all the boxes waiting for its turn).
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3. Manual hubs vs. Auto-locking - I go back and forth on this one. I know the manual are better for long term durability, but for now I am going to leave the autos on. Most of my upcoming trips will be highway anyway. I did scrounge a set of manual Aisin's at the junkyard that I will put on someday.

4. Seats - I may do a writeup on this topic in another thread. I wander the junkyards just for fun to see what is there. Like every other 1st gen trooper owner, I want different seats. I wanted non-electric buckets with factory armrests. Not easy to find. I originally had seats from a 92 Suburban that I thought would be nice but they were too wide. I had a set of seats from a Nissan Quest but gave those to Dick for his project. Some Suzuki seats are ok. Some Kia's have armrests. The volvo seats are nice but no armrest. Lately, I think I found a winner. 2010 and up Dodge Grand Caravan front seats. I have my eye on a set at the yard. If I pick them up, I will do a writeup on them and adding the factory brackets.

5. Other parts to install- In my hoarding, I have managed to acquire a pretty decent pile of parts. I got a G80 out of a 94 trooper that I want to swap in. I have the rare rear sway bar that needs to go back in, some good KC off-road lights, rhino-line both bumpers black, the factory brush guard needs to go back on and I want to do the heavy duty tie-rod mod. Those parts will have to wait until it is running though.

Questions:
1. This is a classic "while-you-are-in-there" situation. I was already planning on a new clutch, new radiator with new hoses, new alternator, and new water pump. Is is common to replace the AC Compressor at this junction? What else am I missing?

2. Any wisdom to share? Members have been down this road many times and this is my first Trooper engine swap. Tips, advice or things to watch out for would be greatly appreciated. My initial plan was to remove the old engine with the itec still on (using J5's tip about removing the motor mounts) and then swapping everything over to the new block before dropping back in. Any concerns about that route?

I appreciate the fun I have had on this forum. Thanks in advance to everyone who took time to read my long post!
-Curtis (Boise Trooper)
 

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Subscribed. Kind of bummed my adventure turned you off to rebuilding! Mine purrs like a kitten now. Probably would not have saved much anyway.......good looking engine.

You probably already know this but I ignored the advice of putting the new engine in with the head off. Would have been 100x easier as it is a bitch to get to those bell housing bolts right behind the head up against the firewall.

If the compressor is bad it will be a bitch to get to. I will have to sort my AC at some point and have no idea whether the compressor works or not. I actually asked around at AC shops if it could be tested while it was out but none of them said they could/ or would do it.

I wish there was a sticky on seat upgrades so PLEASE do a write up if you swap them out. I saw where one guy used Volvo seats and there a few volvos at our local pick a part. I really want to know what fits before I go drop coin on ones that don't. Yes being lazy and letting others blaze the trail Lol.

As for J5 as a neighbor that might be a double edged sword. He basically told me to eff off just trying to buy parts from him through e-mail. Seems a real peach.

Alan
 

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Hi Alan!

Oh your build didn't scare me off. I read through it several times. I have mad respect for your perseverance and I am so glad it runs great. It did make me weigh out the "time/effort/money" situation more closely. Once the price was within reason, I thought it would be faster getting t-bolt back on the road with a crate motor.

That's a shame about J5. I have never interacted. But I have watched his videos a lot on youtube. I try hard not to assume anything. Maybe he smashed a knuckle that day. As a contrast, buying parts from Jerry is a delight. He is a real great guy.

As for seats, I will keep you posted. I had originally wanted to put the Chevy suburban seats in but the cab is just too narrow. I attached some pics of other options I looked at but haven't messed with yet. Might be food for thought. You can see how the armrest was up against the pillar. Felt it was too close to the transfer case shifter as well. Now I am looking at seats with only the one armrest. Some other options that I took pics of (I try to keep the steering wheel in the picture so I can remember what they come out of!) seats while at the junkyard. Finding a set without cigarette burns or having the bolster hammered flat is a challenge. But they are out there.

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The Suzuki's had some nice seats but only the driver got an armrest. I had that in a Honda Accord and always thought it was a bit of jerk move to not give the passenger a place for their arm. The best seats are ones without armrests but then I would be going down the road of building a custom console. Maybe another time.

I will keep updating this thread as I get more stuff put back together.
 

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Man I was just wondering about you! I should be back in your area in February to March, currently locked down in England and they cancelled my already paid for tickets. Just another challenge.
I did see a writeup on someone quite some time ago that did install the Dodge van seats and worked like a charm. I had several of these vans during the kid raising years and spent many a mile in them. Never had a problem. Keep in mind that it is relatively easy to find a replacement cover for those seats, as long as it isn't broken down, it can be fixed, recovered. Usually a simple adaption is all it takes.
I agree with the new engine, while I have several I can rebuild, I think I would just have it done anymore. And have a warranty is a good thing. My V6 I rebuilt had 2500 in just parts! My SpaceCab is sitting in the Boise area waiting for my return. I ended up putting the header on it and it is running good. I plan on coming by when I get back. I like how the Car is waiting on the Trooper, not the other way around!
There is an Isuzu meet coming up in Green River Utah, instead of Moab this year. May 9 thru the 15th. I am planning of going there. Several VX's Land Cruisers, Rodeos and a Jeep or 2. It will be fun.
Good to hear from you
Dick
 

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Making good progress and moving closer to removing the old motor. I decided to color-code the lines before disassembly. I raided my daughter's art supplies. I think it will help putting everything back together.
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I finished the sound deadener/proofing job. That turned into a project-creep situation. I figured I would do it once and do it right for my rig. Foil butyl rubber deadener to kill resonance, followed by heat/cold insulation foam (I taped all the seams for good measure), followed by the factory mat. If you do this project, you WILL get sick of cutting and trimming but like I said, it is a one-time job. Tip: Keep a bucket handy for all the little trimmings. They will get in your boot soles, your dog paws, all your tools, etc.
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Speaking of dogs, my pup is growing fast. Since my rig has been named Thunderbolt, the name Trooper was just too good of a fit. Maybe ol Troop Doggy-Dogg here will be an unofficial 'zoo mascot.
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I picked up a new seat at the pull-a-part. 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan. I will try to fit it soon.
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That's all the updates for now. Hope everyone is doing ok so far in this new year.
 

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I am liking the progress! Can't wait to see it in person. Have you considered putting in the access for the fuel pump while things are stripped down? It is a wonderful thing to have when needed.
 

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Very nice stuff you're doing here! It'll be interesting to see how the process of installing a brand new engine goes!

I plan on installing some extra sound deadener/insulation in my trooper at one point, Since i have the headliner out, i figure might as well give it some better insulation. thing was a rolling sauna when it was on the road, heat radiating into the cabin from the engine bay, heat from the sun beaming off the roof skin, that combined with the large windows made summers especially annoying.
Other than the fact that the cutoffs stick to everything, you got any other caveats for installing this stuff? be nice to know what i'll be getting into.

Troopers *DO* rust there. Found that out the hard way.
My bodywork teachers say workshop manuals used to tell you to pressure wash behind there every year. Not a bad thing to do, only take a couple minutes to blast away all that rubbish.

Here's hoping your project goes good, man! Seems like you've got your hands full right now.
 
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Kept on truckin while watching the Super Bowl. Got the block out as well. Not too bad, but I am shocked at the 1/4 inch of grease and dirt in the bellhousing. This will be a job for a putty knife, not a hose. Then it is on to moving the itec from the old head to the new crate motor and installing the new clutch.

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aidan7777 said:
Very nice stuff you're doing here! It'll be interesting to see how the process of installing a brand new engine goes!

I plan on installing some extra sound deadener/insulation in my trooper at one point, Since i have the headliner out, i figure might as well give it some better insulation. thing was a rolling sauna when it was on the road, heat radiating into the cabin from the engine bay, heat from the sun beaming off the roof skin, that combined with the large windows made summers especially annoying.

I hear ya. They can definitely feel like a greenhouse. I have heard that window tinting is money well spent. I plan on doing that when closer to completion.

Other than the fact that the cutoffs stick to everything, you got any other caveats for installing this stuff? be nice to know what i'll be getting into.

Sure. This is just from my research and experience. Your mileage may vary. I used to think that every surface had to be covered with the foil dynamat like stuff like we see in the magazines. But the physics suggest that is overkill and wasting money. The foil stuff is for dampening not deadening. It is just to help reduce the vibration and resonance of sound waves going across sheet metal. The fenders will ring much louder than a corrugated bed will because the sound has to work harder through the stiffer metal of the corrugations. The layer on top of that is a thinner closed cell foam that insulates heat/cold and provides another detachment layer for the sound to travel through. It has to work harder through the close cell foam. The instructions recommend avoiding gaps in the foam layer since it lets the heat through. Then I just used the factory mat since it was dense and already was form fitting. I haven't been able to test it much other than knocking around but it sounds much much less "tinny." I did the firewall, trans tunnel, floor, inside the door, on the outside of the doors under the moisture barrier, the rear wheel wells, inside the rear inner fender areas and some large pieces in the cargo area for good measure. I used up any remaining large scraps on the inside of the front fenders. I figured, "why not?"

Tips:
1. A heat gun is your best friend. It makes everything more pliable and also adhere better. I used a cheap one from Harbor Freight and it did the job just fine.
2. You must wear gloves. I used a pair of leather wells lamont style ones. The edges of the foil can get sharp in the right circumstances. Also, your fingertips are going to hate you by the end of the job and the gloves will have the sheen of the tin man in Wizard of Oz.
3. Use a sharp scissors and keep the razor knife sharp. The foil dulls the razor knife quickly, so keep snapping off for a fresh edge, but the knife does the best job. The foam cuts easily with the scissors.
4. I ended up using two boxes of 36 sq ft of the Noico mat and one box of 36 sq. ft of the Noico Red foam insulation layer in total.
5. Use a good roller. The ones they suggest on amazon with the ribs on a metal roller suck. They tear the foil and make a mess. The wooden ones are better, but look for one that has a rounded tapered rolling edge. Makes it much easier to get in the small areas.
6. Use good knee pads so you don't have to quit from sore knees when making good progress.
7. When you lay out the foil butyl pieces work from the middles out. Especially around curves and in troughs. Try to avoid bubbles. If you do get bubbles, pop it with the knife, push out the bubble and cover it with the foil hvac tape. If you go with the Noico red, it is pretty forgiving to pull back off when fresh for repositioning, but after left overnight, the adhesive sets up and the foam tears instead. Be aware that trying to change Noico red pieces after they have set up will be challenging.

I think the biggest bang for the buck in spots to treat are rear wheel wells followed by floor and tranny tunnel in the cab. Then the doors and headliner (which I will tackle another time). Then under the hood if desired. When I finished with the insulation layer, I taped the gaps with gorilla tape just to finish it up and hold everything in place. My last idea is to use the wrecked rear cargo carpet as a base layer and then glue a thick rubber mat on top of it. Should work a treat for dealing with wet dog paws.

If you have any questions, please ask. I will be glad to help.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
More update pics and progress.

The rear cargo carpet was ruined. It looks like paint leaked and dried on it. No way to save it so I glued the pile side of the carpet to a large rubber mat I had laying around. Now I have a custom padded rubber cargo mat.
 

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Interesting discovery tonight. And not the kind you like to see.

Pulled the oil pan off and laying in the bottom were what (I think? Maybe?) are thrust washers. Piston rings? Whatever they are, I don't think they were designed to live in the bottom of the oil pan.

Will the treasures keep coming? What other surprises does this thing have in store?

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I think thrust washers, may of been the reason for the knock we heard. Didn't know that was even possible! Myself I have never been in the bottom end of the 4 cylinder. Interesting.
 

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Ouch, looks like you made the right call on buying that new engine. How many miles has it got on it?
 

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Loosing the Thrust washers is usually the death of a 2.6 (or 2.3). It kills the crank and the block when the crank rides up against the block web and main cap. This is why I recommend folks to check crank end play before buying or when considering major engine work. Dennis
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
DSUZU said:
Loosing the Thrust washers is usually the death of a 2.6 (or 2.3). It kills the crank and the block when the crank rides up against the block web and main cap. This is why I recommend folks to check crank end play before buying or when considering major engine work. Dennis
It was actually some of your posts and advice that made look hard at this motor before going the crate motor route. The knock "sounded" like a rod knock but not as loud and not as consistent. Maybe it was the crank at specific rpms.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge Dennis. Hope your new year is treating you well.
 
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