Isuzu SUV Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! I just picked up a '97 Rodeo a few days ago, and I'm loving it! 72k miles, only $4200 before ttt. I've never had an old enough car to warrant working on it, but I figured at 21 years old, now is as good a time as any to get started with my dream of fixing up cars.

This car is a fixer-upper, as there are a few minor problems with it, and I expect more to arise, considering this will be a daily driver. I do, however, hope to get it in perfect condition, eventually, to the point where I don't have to constantly be worried about something going wrong. For now, I'm babying it and very nervous.

I got it from a used car dealership who didn't know much about it, and it didn't come with any papers whatsoever, so I really have no idea what model it is, or even if it's 4-wheel drive, but I figure if it's not I'll just convert it once I have the money. All I was really looking for was a body with low mileage.

The truck is in good working order, but there are some things wrong that I would like to get fixed:

-After sitting for about half a day, the next start-up is a bit sketchy, but it has yet to need more than one key-turn.
-The first couple shifts are very lurchy, until the car gets warmed up. I've been in an older Isuzu before with this same problem, and am wondering if it is a common thing, a big deal, etc. ?? What's up with this?
-The only interior lights that work (including dash) are the lights on the doors that come on when the doors are open, and the rear dome light. Unfortunately, these door lights are the only ones I want not to work!
-The driver's door window control panel only controls the driver's window. All the other windows work from their respective controls, but this board only controls the one window.
-The power mirrors don't work, but they are locked into a good place for me.
-The rear windshield wiper does not work.

All in all, not too bad for a 15 year old car, and I consider it a steal given the fact that I got it at a dealership, and with such low mileage.

Some of these things I would like to do myself, like the electrical problems. I'm pretty sure they are just missing fuses in the fuse box, but I haven't received the service manual that I ordered yet, so I'm not sure. Not too big of a deal. I'm hooking up a little lamp in the dash area so I can read my gauges at night, for now. The bigger issues, I'm going to get looked at by my mechanic. Eventually, I would like to be doing all the work on my car, but seeing as I am an absolute noob, and simply an enthusiast, that is unrealistic right now if I want the car on the road.

Cosmetics... good to go! The exterior, interior, and engine bay are all immaculate. Here are some pictures:







 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts
Looks clean
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,475 Posts
Welcome and congrats on an awesome find!

To answer one of your questions, that's a 4x2 or 2wd rodeo. It is not a 4x4, least according to the pictures you've posted.

The model is considered base model or the *S* model with preferred package which included power windows, door locks, a/c, power mirrors

came stock with 16x6 steel wheels, and P225/75 R16 tires (though some came with 225/75 R15's)

The automatic transmission on the 97 model year in particular, likes to be allowed to warm up for a few minutes on the first cold start of the day, if not, you will get the lurching during the first few shifts. I advise to start your truck, let it idle 3-5 min before putting it in gear....just the nature of the way the computer is set up....you can't change it.

New spark plugs, new fuel filter, air filter might help with the restarting of the truck in the later part of your day; as can checking the voltage system - make sure all your grounds are good.

I always very highly recommend for one who has purchased an automatic that they get the fluid/filter changed in the transmission, just incase the previous owner neglected the fluid. This is VERY critical for longterm health of this transmission design, and keep it changed/fresh every 15k miles it will last a long time.

Overall, your truck is in superb condition, someone really took care of it...looks awesome...and simple, what I"m saying is that's exactly what my truck looked like before installing bigger wheels, tires, fender/wheel well flares, brushguard and a 2" lift kit.

Mine came from the factory with your same identical wheels and simplicity...but I needed a different look.

I currently have 204k miles on my 97, runs like it's brand-new, take care of yours and it'll treat you very well. I'm very partial to the 97 model year, they're very stout and reliable.

Here's a current pic of mine





Here's a couple from a time when it was closer to stock set-up



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
nasolovesyou said:
-The first couple shifts are very lurchy, until the car gets warmed up. I've been in an older Isuzu before with this same problem, and am wondering if it is a common thing, a big deal, etc. ?? What's up with this?
I'd check the ATF fluid level ... pronto.

I've got the exact same symptoms on my 94 Rodeo. Does it also take 10 seconds or so from a cold start before you can actually move? If the input shaft seal is worn, the torque converter can drain overnight and it gets "snatchy" as it fills up. After that, it behaves normally till the next draindown.

Same can happen for seals and valves in the tranny. If there's any drainback, it takes a little while for the ATF to fill up all the spaces it's supposed to fill.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Dude! We call my Rodeo the Brodeo too!

Cool lookin Rodeo man. Welcome to the Zoo!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Looks great! Ditto on all the advice. Sounds like you're willing to get your hands dirty and have some fun doing it-good for you. Treat it well and it'll last a long time. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,284 Posts
Good advice.

To add to it... When you have the fluid and filter changed, do NOT allow them to do a "Flush".

Just a simple fluid and filter change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
397 Posts
Did you run a carfax on the truck? It looks like it was re-painted. If it was wrecked that might explain the strange electrical issues. You have to be very careful when working with dealers; there's a bunch of shady ones out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
littlegray said:
Did you run a carfax on the truck? It looks like it was re-painted. If it was wrecked that might explain the strange electrical issues. You have to be very careful when working with dealers; there's a bunch of shady ones out there.
I agree it does look repainted, Isuzu never painted the bumpers body color. Honda had them painted for their Passport's, but Isuzu stuck with chrome or black. The valance was either painted as part of the 2 tone paint package or was left the plain plastic color.

I would look into it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,475 Posts
That was the first thing I noticed too; Isuzu didn't paint the side mirrors, bumpers, door handles, and pillars on the back the same color as the truck. They used pure black on the S/base models and silver on the LS models.

Look at my truck as an example, everything's black except the body
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the advice guys!

Ramblin Fever- Nice truck! I realized looking through the boards that its an S, after learning that the LS came with a tint, and after checking for driveshafts to the front wheels. As far as the transmission lurching, is there anything that can be done to fix the problem? I understand letting any car warm up is good practice, but sometimes that just can't be done, unfortunately. If I'm reading correctly, it was this way from factory? Regardless, if there is a fix, I could use it. If not, I could stand to let the car warm up a bit more when possible.

Thank you for the advice for starting up more cleanly. I guess I should probably replace those things anyways haha and the transmission filter/fluid change, I will take to heart as well. Thanks again!

rodeomonkey- I haven't noticed the 10-second problem you're referring to, because I've always let the truck sit for a bit after start-up, but I'll test that tomorrow and let you know.

94rodayo4x4- Thank you and that's awesome! My friend dubbed it that a couple days ago and I kicked myself for not thinking of it sooner ;) I've been reading through your thread (not quite done reading) and I've learned a lot. I wish I knew how to do as much on cars as you haha very jealous. You're a lucky man and should thank whoever taught you to work on cars. It's a skill that I wish I had.

Selador- Why no flush?

littlegray- I think it is repainted. I haven't run a carfax yet, but I am now. I should have done this sooner but didn't even think of it. My mom says I can get a free one through triple-A, so I'm doing this as soon as I'm done with this post. Could the electrical issues be from towing? Like from attaching the electricals from a trailer? I just checked the fuse box and it's missing quite a few. I already ordered a service manual, so I'll know in a few days, but if anyone has any extra time I would love to know what these do asap and maybe get them sooner. The missing fuses are: Eb32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 28, 3, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18

Thanks everyone for the compliments :) And I'm pretty sure you're all right about it being re-painted. It only makes sense if all that stuff did not come body color, and I noticed some paint bubbles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
397 Posts
It might be worth trying to return it to the dealer. Dealers are required to disclose certain items about vehicles (like if it was wrecked). That seems like a steep price for a strip down Rodeo that's 2WD with electrical issues and repainted. You can buy nice 4WD Rodeos around here for well under $4k most are under $3k.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I asked the dealer before I signed the papers if there was any return policy, and he said that there was none. All sales are final. It's okay though, I figure the motor is in such great shape and has such low mileage, and there's a lot I can do to the car, so there's a lot for me to learn. I'm not too concerned about it. I had a ton of money from insurance, so a few hundred dollars isn't such a big deal. I don't exactly need 4-wheel drive, just thought it would be cool to have, but it gives me a goal to shoot for as far as my mechanic skills. Once I can do it myself, I'll do the conversion :D I kind of needed it right away, being out of work without a car, and I ended up at that dealership for another car, and ran across the Rodeo and fell in love with the idea of a truck. I do need a tow vehicle and this is perfect even without 4-wheel drive :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
U.S. dollars... God I feel like an idiot. Read the last two posts... I'm just understanding what I already kind of knew but was blocking out: buying from a dealership is a rip-off! At least now I've done it on my own, and can understand it better. As in... I'm staying positive about what I can't undo, but I will never buy from a dealership again except for buying new. Damn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,796 Posts
Please tell me that the salesman at least bought you dinner before he screwed you, its a nice truck but you paid way too much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I wish!

Some more problems I've noticed since the first post:

The right blinker dash indicator doesn't work
The gas cover doesn't latch shut
The rear seat doesn't latch into place

Luckily I still haven't run into anything serious (knock on wood).

The start-ups are, however, getting progressively worse. I'm taking it in for my mechanic to have a look at it tomorrow, give it the 75,000 mile service, a full inspection, and replace the spark plugs, oil filter, air filter, all worn seals... the works, so hopefully this fixes the problem. Besides electrical, I hope to have everything fixed up. The electrical work that isn't as important imo, I'm going to do myself. I'm also going to try to fix the gas cover and rear seat latches. A good start, I believe, for a noob :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,475 Posts
nasolovesyou said:
U.S. dollars... God I feel like an idiot. Read the last two posts... I'm just understanding what I already kind of knew but was blocking out: buying from a dealership is a rip-off! At least now I've done it on my own, and can understand it better. As in... I'm staying positive about what I can't undo, but I will never buy from a dealership again except for buying new. Damn.
Hey....don't feel too bad. I've heard of others paying in the $4k range for 4x4's with twice the mileage. Around here, in Colorado, you're not going to find an Isuzu in superb condition with 150k miles or less for under $3,500....so stop kicking yourself.

At least you were a smart younger person and bought used rather then new.

Paying around $3,500 or so would've been more feasible for a 4x2 with super low mileage, which yours is.....but it is what it is.

My main concern with yours is why the need for a repaint job? If...in fact it was repainted, it's very possible too, that the original owner just wanted everything else painted to match the truck, that's possible too.

Our 1st rodeo, a 91 was repainted at a private shop 2wks after I bought the truck brand-new; the service rep and myself found the original paint was already cracking from a defect. The 2nd paint job looked nothing like the rodeo's coming from the lot brand-new.

Fuses are simple enough to come by and easy enough to replace, as long as there isn't a hidden reason for the lack of fuses.

The reason we say NOT to flush this transmission is because flushes in general are bad on transmissions, and can usually result in failure on an older truck.

I have a LOT more advise to give you, stay posted, I'll return later today or tomorrow regarding importance of the cooling system in that truck and even though you only have 70k miles or so, there are still things that need replaced from age alone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Selahdoor

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,475 Posts
Ok...figured it out.... throw the entire idea of the repaint job out the window.

If you look through the forums, there have been various posters with the 1st gen rodeo's base models, who's bumpers, door handles, etc are painted the exact same color as the body of the truck. I've seen 2 of them tonight alone; one was a member who just posted pics of his green rodeo in the AZ desert wheeling.

No way have all of these trucks been repainted, yet look like original paint jobs.

Personally....I would no longer fret over that idea.

Take a look at the pics in this thread, this guys truck is all green, just as yours is all blue

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=57989
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top