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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I now see that El CHEAPO and I are gonna be together for a long time. That being said, I realize that the engine won't last forever. While I'm not power hungry, I will admit that I'm not impressed with the 3.2 v6. The name of my truck should already indicate that a Cadillac northstar swap will NOT be happening. I'm open minded to GM engine swaps, but I don't care for the complication of Finding/installing one. I truly wish the GM 4.3 swap were possible while keeping my 4wd, but the research I've done leads ne to believe that it's just not cost effective, if at all possible.

Of course I've considered a salvage engine, but I really hate the idea of the engine lasting maybe 6 months before it dies. That would be a LOT of time, labor, and money for nothing. I wouldn't mind trying a salvage tranny, but I'd lose sleep over a salvage engine.

So here's the question: is the 3.2 worth Rebuilding?

I'm sure this subject is a common ISUZU dilemma, so I KNOW you guys will have some answers. If any of you have rebuilt one OR swapped for a GM motor, please give me your thoughts on your decision, and if you had to do it all over again, how would you do it? Thanx!
 

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the 4.3 chevy is a boat anchor. It would be very trick to see a supercharged 3.8 from a GTP swapped in tho....
 

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El Cheapo needs an engine overhaul only if its burning a bunch of oil, knocking, or just plain running like crap.

No, if you have your heart set on doing one anyway, then nothing we say can stop you. Just remember to make the oil holes larger if its one of those 98 - 200 engines with the oil issues.
 

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CREEPER said:
Well I now see that El CHEAPO and I are gonna be together for a long time. That being said, I realize that the engine won't last forever. While I'm not power hungry, I will admit that I'm not impressed with the 3.2 v6. The name of my truck should already indicate that a Cadillac northstar swap will NOT be happening. I'm open minded to GM engine swaps, but I don't care for the complication of Finding/installing one. I truly wish the GM 4.3 swap were possible while keeping my 4wd, but the research I've done leads ne to believe that it's just not cost effective, if at all possible.

Of course I've considered a salvage engine, but I really hate the idea of the engine lasting maybe 6 months before it dies. That would be a LOT of time, labor, and money for nothing. I wouldn't mind trying a salvage tranny, but I'd lose sleep over a salvage engine.

So here's the question: is the 3.2 worth Rebuilding?

I'm sure this subject is a common ISUZU dilemma, so I KNOW you guys will have some answers. If any of you have rebuilt one OR swapped for a GM motor, please give me your thoughts on your decision, and if you had to do it all over again, how would you do it? Thanx!
If money is really tight then,when the day comes,if the frame is still solid and the trans still seems good,a solid used engine from a reasonably low mileage vehicle from a wrecker might be the way to go. There is some risk involved,but if you are careful you can find a decent engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ZuminaZX said:
the 4.3 chevy is a boat anchor. It would be very trick to see a supercharged 3.8 from a GTP swapped in tho....
Boat anchor?! I've seen (per hot rod magazine) a 4.3 make 500 (count them) horsepower! The engine was carbed with a centrifugal supercharger! Now I know the 3.2 was very respectable in the power to weight ratio dept, BUT, when it comes to money invested, torque, aftermarket support, and parts availability, the 3.2 falls WAY behind!

The 3.8? I'd pick the turbo 3.8 from a GN any day over the GTP! Now THAT was a HOSS!! But the 3.8 doesn't fit the 60 bellhousing, does it? I've read that the 2.8, 3.1, 3.4 would work, along with the olds aurora and caddy northstar, but does the 3.8 as well?

As Mallen stated, when THAT day comes, I guess I should look at the overall condition of the truck, and weigh the options then.
No, I'm not dead set on getting rid of the engine, I'm just facing an inevitable reality. Whats odd is how much I really dig the little truck....but I can't stand the motor! Lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
johnnie59 said:
El Cheapo needs an engine overhaul only if its burning a bunch of oil, knocking, or just plain running like crap.

No, if you have your heart set on doing one anyway, then nothing we say can stop you. Just remember to make the oil holes larger if its one of those 98 - 200 engines with the oil issues.
No, it's not knocking or using oil yet, but with 208k miles on the clock and poor maintenance by the original owner, I'm sure it won't be long! Oh, and let me state this also: I've NEVER driven a 3.2 that was in great shape. I MAY be judging them all by mine. When I bought mine, the timing adjuster was knocking so loud that my neighbor heard me two blocks away from home! AND the motor has a slight miss. I didn't realize that I had the famous "lifter tap" too until the tensioner was fixed. I had asked in another thread if the sticking hydraulic lifter could be responsible for the miss, but no one replied. It seems like it could because the miss seems to be in time with The tapping. But anyway, maybe I wouldn't be so disgusted with the 3.2 if I knew it's true potential..
 

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From what I understand Isuzu engines are machined and drilled to accept the Isuzu MUA-5 trans bolt pattern and the GM-60 degrees bolt pattern. In other words the flexibility offered is with transmissions. The 4L30-E automatic transmissions were the GM-60 degree bolt pattern and the isuzu manuals had the isuzu housing bolt pattern. This was to mass produce one single engine incorporating 2 different transmissions vs having 2 different blocks for the manual and autos.

I believe your transmission is the MUA-5(someone correct me on this) which means isuzu bolt pattern, which means you can only bolt up an isuzu engine. If you get any other engine you'd need to bring in a new transmission to the party as well.
 

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Yes, I'm sure they can be built to make a lot of power ($$$$$$$$$$$$) but in a normal state of tune they're garbage, which is why s10 owners opt to swap vortec V8s in instead of building the 4.3 up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Med!c said:
From what I understand Isuzu engines are machined and drilled to accept the Isuzu MUA-5 trans bolt pattern and the GM-60 degrees bolt pattern. In other words the flexibility offered is with transmissions. The 4L30-E automatic transmissions were the GM-60 degree bolt pattern and the isuzu manuals had the isuzu housing bolt pattern. This was to mass produce one single engine incorporating 2 different transmissions vs having 2 different blocks for the manual and autos.

I believe your transmission is the MUA-5(someone correct me on this) which means isuzu bolt pattern, which means you can only bolt up an isuzu engine. If you get any other engine you'd need to bring in a new transmission to the party as well.
Honestly, I don't know how to tell the MUA5 from the MSG! But I'm hoping for the MUA5!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ZuminaZX said:
Yes, I'm sure they can be built to make a lot of power ($$$$$$$$$$$$) but in a normal state of tune they're garbage, which is why s10 owners opt to swap vortec V8s in instead of building the 4.3 up.
The average price of a rebuilt 3.2 that I've found in about $3700..

Here's the FIRST result I found on a crate GM 4.3

http://www.crateenginedepot.com/store/4 ... 84C62.aspx

It's $1600... With the remaining $2100, I can buy a carb, performance intake, cam, headers, and more. Those performance parts will easily make 290-300 hp, and STILL make enough torque to offset the 100-150 lb difference in weight.

IF (if is a BIG word) it Could be transplanted, and I know it's not easy, it would AT LEAST put a smile on your face when you FEEL the power difference! I Would HATE to spend $3700 and NOT feel a difference!

Plus, a 4.3 would make enough torque That many of us wouldn't even have to regear our diffs to pull the larger tires! That ALONE is worth a LOT of time and money!
 

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there's no way you're going to get that kind of power out of a non-vortec head 4.3, let alone a carb motor :lol:
 

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also the 4.3 has the same bell housing bolt pattern as ANY GM V8, so you might as well go big or go home, swap in an LS1, LT1, LSX, whatever. The 4.3 v6 is literally a 5.7l V8 with two jugs lopped off. You will need some kind of forced induction to get to 300hp reliably with a 4.3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ZuminaZX said:
also the 4.3 has the same bell housing bolt pattern as ANY GM V8, so you might as well go big or go home, swap in an LS1, LT1, LSX, whatever. The 4.3 v6 is literally a 5.7l V8 with two jugs lopped off. You will need some kind of forced induction to get to 300hp reliably with a 4.3.
As I recall, they used no radical parts whatsoever to produce 500 hp from this 4.3. Oh yeah......and it's carbed.

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/engi ... index.html
 

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CREEPER said:
ZuminaZX said:
also the 4.3 has the same bell housing bolt pattern as ANY GM V8, so you might as well go big or go home, swap in an LS1, LT1, LSX, whatever. The 4.3 v6 is literally a 5.7l V8 with two jugs lopped off. You will need some kind of forced induction to get to 300hp reliably with a 4.3.
As I recall, they used no radical parts whatsoever to produce 500 hp from this 4.3. Oh yeah......and it's carbed.

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/engi ... index.html
What, did you read the article?? A blower isn't a radical part? The article also never mentions the baseline power, initial CR, etc. Any crate motor, carb 4.3 you buy will put out less than 150hp and no amount of inexpensive bolt ons will get it beyond 200hp. It's a ****ty motor for performance applications. I also sincerely doubt that blown 4.3 would last very long before kissing a valve, blowing a head gasket, or having bearing problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Also, note that the 4.3 made 301hp and 316 ft-lbs in N/A trim using stock heads!

Edit: I Know the motor was supercharged. My point was that the GM 4.3 is a VERY capable motor. That 501hp was at 12 psi. Even they said it wouldn't last with that much boost. The 301hp/316ft lbs was made with only 9.1:1 compression and the most radical thing done was the porting of the heads. I would probably NOT port the heads and settle with "only" about 260hp/280ft-lbs. I'm sure the extra 75hp/105 ft-lbs would more than overcome the weight.

Before we get our panties in a wad, let's remember why I started the thread in the first place. It was NOT to discuss the 4.3. It was to discuss the 3.2, it's Replacement candidates, and merits of rebuilding/replacing the 3.2.
 

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Sounds like yours wasn't maintained very well by the previous owner.

I have 200k on my 3.2L, even mated to the automatic and 32" tires; I have NO complaints with this engine....it's very stout, extremely reliable, and has standard power for the weight of the truck.

Mind you though, mine doesn't tick, doesn't use a drop of oil, and I've never had it overheat.

I did have to replace my timing belt package and have done it twice, once cause the waterpump failed, and once just cause I thought it needed it, and I replaced the radiator due to age.....other then that, just typical maintenance.

You're right, there is no aftermarket supply for this engine; but I'm not into that anyways, so it never bothered me. I've had 2 of these rodeo's and I bought them knowing they had small or standard size V6 engines; though I do wish the 91 3.1L gm rodeo had a lot more power then it does....living at 9,000ft sometimes it can be winded.

When I lived at sea-level though, both of these trucks had PLENTY of power; taking the 91 3.1L 140hp rodeo to the level of 11,000ft elevation however is unnerving.

We don't drive it in the mountains anymore though; the 97 3.2L with 190hp still does very well crossing the divide, I don't tow with it anymore though....least not the boat.

I've seen and heard of owners totally swapping out both the engine and transmission to GM models, so it can be done, it's just a matter if the frame holds or not.

Just keep in mind though, even if your engine does tick, this engine will keep on ticking a LONG time as long as you keep the cooling system in tip top shape.... if it overheats, that's what'll kill it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ramblin Fever, Thats good info! Yeah, the poor truck was used as a deer lease truck for six years before I bought it, and HE was the original owner. He bought it in El Paso Tx while he was stationed at Fort Bliss. It just goes to show that "one owner" means nothing if that one owner didn't take care of it. BUT, I will say that the truck has spent it's entire life south of I-20 between el paso and Ms, so I don't have the frame rust as bad as some guys do.

Mine came with the smaller tires, and according to the owners manual, that meant it came with 4:10 gears and not 4:30s. My buckshots are closer to 32" than the 31" they are advertised as, so those two facts MAY contribute to the truck feeling more underpowered than I expected. I'm not as hung upon power as I may have lead you guys to believe. My thinking was that IF I need to replace the motor, and assuming costs will still be an issue, I'd rather find something cheaper than $3700! And from what I've read, SOME candidates for replacement also have the POTENTIAL to make more power AND be cheaper.
As far as the ticking, I can definitely live with it. I'm gonna change the oil every 500 miles and experiment with different oils and filters to gradually clean up the motor. And thank GOD that I do NOT have any cooing issues yet. It stays cool as a cucumber.
For engine swaps, I'd never go any larger than a 4.3 anyway. I just wonder if anyone ever tried to transplant a GM engine, GM trans, and GM TCase into a rodeo all at once!
 

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CREEPER said:
Also, note that the 4.3 made 301hp and 316 ft-lbs in N/A trim using stock heads!

Edit: I Know the motor was supercharged. My point was that the GM 4.3 is a VERY capable motor. That 501hp was at 12 psi. Even they said it wouldn't last with that much boost. The 301hp/316ft lbs was made with only 9.1:1 compression and the most radical thing done was the porting of the heads. I would probably NOT port the heads and settle with "only" about 260hp/280ft-lbs. I'm sure the extra 75hp/105 ft-lbs would more than overcome the weight.
301hp on an engine dyno withouth accessories, with straight pipes, who knows what for fuel, and unknown correction factors :roll: :roll:
You will produce more power a lot more reliably and considerably cheaper by skipping the 4.3 and going with a V8. The 4.3 is only a few inches shorter and even gets almost the same mileage. There's a reason why anyone looking to extract more power from an S10 (which has a smaller engine bay than most zus) switches to a V8 instead of building their stock 4.3.
 
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