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Hey all,

Thought I'd open a thread on my "build". The past 9 months of owning this Trooper I'd been preoccupied with fixing/servicing a few things per week. Now that I have it running reliably and with few repairs left I figured I can open a thread dedicated to documenting what I've done so far and the future repairs/mods.

The Trooper

"Tippy" (you can thank Consumer Reports for that nicnkame): 1993 Trooper LS, 4x4, limited slip rear, DOHC 3.2L, automatic, 240k kilometers/150k miles on the odometer

This Trooper was owned by my parents since new. My Dad bought it because he could fit a full size sheet of plywood in the back, and "the doors sound solid when you close them" - he had also looked at monteros and 4runners. He now owns a Toyota Tundra (pic below of his tundra towing Tippy on a flatbed the day we picked it up).
My Dad sold Tippy to a family friend for $500 at a discount in 2011 and it was re-obtained by me in Summer 2019 for $0.
Born in 1997, my ride home from the hospital was in this Trooper. Many of my early childhood memories are riding in this trooper. When I first cracked open the doors of this truck after it had been sitting for 3 years, the smell actually gave me some intense nostalgia and brought me back to being a kid. Weird.

Anyway, needless to say the trooper has high sentimental value to me, and as I do have a bit of disposable income, I've since started putting some decent money into it this past half year or so. Additionally, owning this trooper has been some motivation for me to learn mechanics and how to save money working on my own vehicle.

61776960_2636431793042416_6162228001795735552_o.jpg


Done so far:

Brakes
This is why it was parked. The ABS system was wonky so I pulled the fuse.
The calipers were in bad shape - I opted for rebuilt ones all around.

Transmission maintenance
(1)Vehicle was found with smelly, partially burnt fluid. My dad towed a larger size box trailer with this quite a bit, and didn't change the ATF as much as he should have. A cooler was never installed despite this coming with a tow package. What was Isuzu thinking providing a heavy duty radiator but no trans cooler with the tow package?
(2)Initial 2-3 drain and fills with generic parts store brand Dex III. No drain plug, siphoned fluid out of the dipstick overnight a couple times before dropping the pan
(3)Filter change - was able to do this without dropping the exhaust. could not remove the pan fully but still had access to clean it out and remove the filter.
(4)Clean and inspect magnet & transmission pan - relatively little debris. quite clean, for having not been serviced in multiple decades if ever.
(5)install auxiliary cooler - Hayden 2657 run pre-radiator to limit overcooling in cold weather. It's below zero for the majority of the year here.
(6)Flushed 10 quarts of fluid through the cooler lines, replacing with generic parts store brand Dex/Merc.
(7)Trans was still surging between 2nd and 3rd gear. Planetisuzoo user Oro reccomended using Seafoam Trans Tune to clean up buildup. Within 100 miles of driving, the shift surging issue was completely gone. In my case the issues with shifting were caused by dirty fluid and varnish/gunk buildup, and luckily the transmission seems to be mechanically sound.
(8) Fluid still had an odd smell, and ~200 miles later I flushed another 10 quarts through, this time Lubegard synthetic Dexron (also a reccomendation from Oro).
(9) Replaced throttle position sensor - 1-2 hard shift greatly reduced, but still more jolty than 2-3 and 3-4

Timing belt and water pump

Took me about 9 hours total. Followed my OE workshop manual and a writeup for the SOHC. Luckily made no mistakes as I am a novice and could have screwed this up.
Replaced the water pump, tensioner(s), idlers, fan clutch, all v-belts. I didn't really enjoy doing this but getting it done is satisfying.

Cooling system
As mentioned above, replaced water pump.
Replaced rad hoses and lines to the oil cooler - original rubber
Replaced fan clutch
Replaced the radiator - out with the original Tokyo Radiator, in with the shiny new Spectra Premium

Rear Suspension
New coils - the old ones were really fatigued from lots of hours towing. Replaced with Moog cc784, pigtail ends cut off, provides 1.5-2" lift
New shocks - KYB gas-a-just
Fresh LSD gear oil
New poly rear sway bar bushings from Siberian Bushing

Front end
The previous owner, a family friend, had the wheel come off on the highway and I discovered the ball joint castle nut had been completely ground off down to the knuckle and basically welded in place - see pic below. Had to get a junkyard knuckle/hub/bearing assembly
sketchy.jpg

81886121_3071402462878678_3586427047985020928_o.jpg

New front u-joints
Torsion bar crank to match the rear lift
New shocks - KYB gas-a-just
Auto hubs BS - the snap ring was popped out when I got it and this has happened to me on the trail since then
Ball joints on passenger side
Front wheel bearing preload adjust and alignment

Exhaust repairs
Leaking flex pipe replaced
Restricted catalytic converter replaced with a resonator
EGR passage in throttle body was clogged with carbon deposits

New Tires
Decided to stick with stock size. Kumho Road ventures - all season, all terrain, winter rated. I've had them for 4 months, so far they're great.

miscellaneous
All 3 igntion coils were split wide open at the bottom - new ones have fixed my misfire at idle
New spark plugs
New PVC valve
Fuel filter
Front diff and tcase fluid
All new vacuum lines
Throttle body clean
Fuel injector cleaner and seafoam
...and many other things that I'm forgetting about!

STILL LEFT TO DO
recent multi-item service performed! Tippy is running better than she has in a long time (06/11/2020)
-remove freeze plug under the DOHC plaque, allowing access to clean out the EGR port fully
-Valve cover gaskets & the "while you're in there" items:
  • spark plug tube seals[/*]
  • inspect wear on cam chain tensioners[/*]
  • replace heater hoses and coolant bypass hoses [/*]
  • clean + strip and paint the heavily oxidized upper intake[/*]
  • replace coolant crossover pipe o-rings[/*]
  • replace coolant temp sensors[/*]
  • replace fuel pressure regulator[/*]
  • fuel injector o-rings[/*]
  • test and or clean fuel injectors[/*]
-Replace bump stops
-Repack wheel bearing
s
-Cv boots, just starting to crack. I think these are the originals
-Bushings: Sway bars
Cosmetics: Quarter panel wheelwell rust repair & replace missing fog light. Paint skid plates.

I'll leave you with a photo of Tippy stuck on the trail because the snap rings in my auto hubs came out:
82261477_3108063752545882_2819796765996220416_o.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Today I noticed a "clunk" when I let off the gas in 1st and a more subtle clunk when I give it gas. I am going to check u-joints and trans mounts. I also lost a bump stop!
 

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nice, a'93 ls like mine, at the same price-$0...BUT alot of time and money to get it to where it is. my trooper '' brenda'' has 430,000 km on it. had 375,000 when i got it .
my other '93 ( deloris) ls almost identical to brenda- same color, same rust, a few more options....$500, not runnning ( failed water pump) 275,000 km

it is more of a challenge, owning one up here in canada, where these isuzus arent as common...

:x auto lock hubs :x
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
93trooperpooper said:
nice, a'93 ls like mine, at the same price-$0...BUT alot of time and money to get it to where it is. my trooper '' brenda'' has 430,000 km on it. had 375,000 when i got it .
my other '93 ( deloris) ls almost identical to brenda- same color, same rust, a few more options....$500, not runnning ( failed water pump) 275,000 km

it is more of a challenge, owning one up here in canada, where these isuzus arent as common...

:x auto lock hubs :x
Seems like quite a coincidence to find a local with a near identical trooper on here! Please to meet you 93trooperpooper. That's amazing your trooper is still going at such high mileage, I love the early 3.2 DOHC, would rebuild it before I swapped it with something else but from the sounds of it I might not need to ever rebuild it!

Was your transmission ever rebuilt at any point? A 4l30e hitting 430,000km is actually more impressive than the engine doing that. But maybe I'm giving this drivetrain too little credit...
How's the frame and underbody rust on yours? Mine is remarkably clean, better than our 2005 4runner, despite having been on Calgary area salted winter roads every winter. I now keep everything down there soaked in fluid film.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Installed new poly rear sway bar bushings yesterday from Siberian Bushing. My annoying squeak is gone, and the rear end feels more solid around turns - the old bushings were heavily worn, cracking, and probably without grease for years.

I am waiting to hear from Jerry to see if he has new sway bar brackets/clamps available. Mine are pretty corroded and don't fit the new bushings very well. Also getting new bump stops from Jerry!
 

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good to hear its running decent.
both my troopers are very rusty. to the point that i will not save them, but drive them until they are a former shell of themselves. the bodywork doesnt make it drive or run any better.
i think i need injector work on brenda. bad stumble on cold start, clears up- but i dont feel like taking the intakes all apart AGAIN . rear diff has a terrible howl- had it all apart, gears are good, but bearings and races are scored. guess what? no bearings on this continent- and jerry is looking overseas, with little to no luck. ugh.
i have bought parts from jerry before. good guy.
the sway bar bushings i put on mine were either moog, or energy suspension. they were a direct fit with new brackets as well.
i bought a pair of energy susp universal fit polyurethane bumpstops for the rear. havent installed them yet.
my bumpstops are rotted / smashed off on the rear. most likely due to the horrid abuse i put it thru, before fixing it up as a daily driver.
i figured that it was a tough enough vehicle to repair- after all, it survived many a jump at my place off the top of one of my hills. that was fun. :lol: it didnt break, so i fixed it up a bit.
the front end is worn out (steering) AGAIN but all i bought were cheap ebay parts- really cheap- and two years later the front end is just as bad, if not worse- i have all replacement moog parts on hand, but the alignment shop i use is closed until ? with this covid. plus not working right now, so its not really a priority. steering box is worn out as well.

as far as i can tell, this trans has never been out, 427,xxx km. when i had the trans pan off, it had a non-oem filter in it, but no marks on the bell-housing bolts have been noticed.
 

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Any updates on your machine? There's just something magical about fixing up the car you were brought home in, man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
aidan7777 said:
Any updates on your machine? There's just something magical about fixing up the car you were brought home in, man.
Thanks for checking in! Tippy is getting a well deserved break over the warmer months aside from hauling a few things here and there. I've gotten her to a reliable state and there's been no issues for months (fingers crossed).. I'm buying much less parts now, which feels strange after making near constant rockauto orders for a while there.

The DOHC is still ticking away nicely as usual and the trans is acting normal which is great. The driveline clunk I was talking about earlier doesn't seem to be happening anymore, so it's probably fine. The barbed end of the PCV valve grommet fell into the valve cover, I was concerned at first but there is a baffle there to prevent oil spashup into the PCV and that will hopefully keep it out of the cams.. otherwise, Jerry says that it's not a concern and not worth taking the valve cover off to remove, and that they had a few pcv valve grommets drop into valve covers at the shops he worked at with nothing bad ever happening, so I'll chance it

I've found that the oil leaks get at least twice as bad on synthetic oil... the left camshaft seal, valve cover gaskets, oil pan, and rear main all have slow leaks that are much more evident on synthetic oil. I still only use half a quart per 10,000 km or less.
Also, I'm probably going to get a rear window regulator off my parts trooper to fix the broken one on Tippy. The new rear sway bar bushings I put in do not fit the brackets very well as they've expanded from corrosion. So I'm just waiting on new sway bar mount brackets as well as bump stops from JLEMOND.

I agree with you, it's great to now own this truck, one that I have a lot of early memories in... I was fascinated with the dash buttons and dials as a kid and looking at them again is a very familiar sight. If I hadn't taken Tippy it would have been auctioned in the farm sale and whoever bought it would have probably ran the trans into the ground on that old nasty ATF...
But she is in good hands and in all honesty I think the biggest issue right now is the rust.. but the frame rust is remarkably minimal (going off a 2005 4runner driven in the same conditions) and now stays soaked with fluid film! The quarter panels at the lower wheelwell lip, despite being soaked in fluid film, are slowly rotting away. I think they need to be fully ground down to metal and filled in with wire mesh + bondo. May be a few years until I attemp that, though.
 

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yup, make great friends with rock auto, and JERRY LEMOND .

i tried synthetic oil in my tooper - it smoked more, and leaked more... it took at least 3 oil changes ( back to conventional engine oil ) to stop those leaks. now i just use 10/30 , or 15/ 40 oil, and change every 5k. use about a liter between oil changes.
thats with almost 430,000 km on it.

my other trooper, half the km on it, uses more oil, like almost 2 liters between oil changes, maybe more....

i pick up pennzoil, 5 liters for $18, and $2~3 for the filter...i get wholesale prices on the oil filters ( wix )

-check the gas, fill the oil -
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I'm sure you all knew this was coming eventually...

There's some new problems with Tippy and it looks like I've got my work cut out for me!

For a while I have been getting excess gasoline entering the crankcase, to the point where the level on the dipstick goes up steadily. Oil analysis from blackstone shows the only contaminant is gasoline.
I have pretty much narrowed down the issue to being one or more injector leaking and bleeding off the residual rail pressure when the vehicle is shut down. In order to diagnose this, I changed the oil and drove it for a week and would pull the fuel pump fuse each time before shutting the vehicle down, allowing it to stall out on its residual fuel pressure. When doing this, the oil does not take on a gasoline smell and the level on the dipstick slowly goes down as it should. However, when shutting the vehicle off normally without relieving the pressure in the fuel line, the level on the dipstick will go up a little bit each time the vehicle is shutdown, with the oil taking on a more strong gasoline smell each time.

Sooo... After a couple months of not having to order any parts for Tippy, I just received my biggest rockauto order yet...Two new ACDelco fuel injectors at $130 CAD each, bypass and heater hoses, mahle valve cover gaskets, intake manifold and plenum gaskets, fuel pressure regulator, throttle body gasket, water inlet and outlet gaskets, EGR gaskets, coolant temp sensors, etc. I also received new coolant crossover pipe o-rings from oemacuraparts.com
Additionally, I seem to be having starter trouble! So far it's only happened a couple times, but when I go to turn the key there will just be a single "click", and the pitch of the beeper will go down, voltmeter goes way down, and it wont crank. I am able to get a remanufactured starter from NAPA for $250 which seems to be the best option around here since they provide a lifetime warranty. I am going to wait and see if the problem occurs again before diagnosing it further.
Edit: It was the battery


93trooperpooper said:
yup, make great friends with rock auto, and JERRY LEMOND .

i tried synthetic oil in my tooper - it smoked more, and leaked more... it took at least 3 oil changes ( back to conventional engine oil ) to stop those leaks. now i just use 10/30 , or 15/ 40 oil, and change every 5k. use about a liter between oil changes.
thats with almost 430,000 km on it.

my other trooper, half the km on it, uses more oil, like almost 2 liters between oil changes, maybe more....

i pick up pennzoil, 5 liters for $18, and $2~3 for the filter...i get wholesale prices on the oil filters ( wix )

-check the gas, fill the oil -
Agreed, Jerry is basically the Isuzu Guru and I'm really glad he's available to answer questions. He was the one who first suggested my gasoline in the crankcase issue was being caused by injectors bleeding down after shutoff, and it looks like he was right!

That's interesting your oil leak took a while to slow down after switching back to conventional. Last week I switched to a synthetic blend this time, and the leaks are immediately waaaay better. I was having some issues last winter with cold starts on conventional (oil was taking too long to reach the top end and causing rattling lifter/cam noise), so I think I will stick to this 5w30 synthetic-blend oil from Auto Value from now on

Have a good summer!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
She's alive!!!! (Fuel injector service/ replaced fuel pressure regulator/ replaced fuel hoses / replaced coolant pipe o-rings/ new valve cover gaskets / intake manifold gaskets/ coolant temp sensors / replaced all coolant hoses / cleaned all intake components and valve covers / removed upper plenum freeze plug and cleaned EGR passage) successfully completed!

There is a noticeable difference in power with the refurbished injectors, the old ones were leaking intermittently and failing to atomize the fuel. I am also getting much better gas mileage and no more long cranks when hot. I've driven about 500 miles since finishing the repair and despite a slightly loose alternator belt, everything is running and sounding great!

In a few days I will know for sure whether or not this fixed the raw fuel entering the crankcase issue, which is the reason why I started this job in the first place.
 

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great job! now i am curious about mine- it runs really rough on first start up, stinks of raw gas, very sooty tailpipe,and long cranks when hot- but the oil doesnt creep up- it goes out the tailpipe. now less oil use that i switched to 20w50.
 

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93trooperpooper said:
great job! now i am curious about mine- it runs really rough on first start up, stinks of raw gas, very sooty tailpipe,and long cranks when hot- but the oil doesnt creep up- it goes out the tailpipe. now less oil use that i switched to 20w50.
With nearly twice the mileage of my injectors, I'd expect yours would not be in great shape. I would definitely reccomend Performance Fuel Injection out of High River who did a great job testing and refurbishing my injectors for around the cost of a single new one from GM.
Here is a video of my injectors spraying on the test bench. As you can see half of them were in very poor condition. Apparently all 6 were doing this intermittently, and after a thorough ultrasonic cleaning and backflush they are performing as they should.
ezgif-1-d542806edfe0.gif
 

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I've decided to do a more proper writeup for my most recent work on Tippy and share some photos

Before disassembly: Lots of crusty oxidized dirty aluminum
20200616_193319.jpg


Common chamber duct removed
20200616_215344.jpg


Common chamber removed
20200616_224223.jpg


Intake manifold removed, and only one of the intake ports did not look to have been getting washed down with excess fuel
20200617_142406.jpg


upper intake components buffed and coated with a high temp wax
20200617_213603.jpg
 

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Enamel coated the coolant crossover pipe before replacint the o-rings, because why the hell not ( also replaced the o-ring on the smaller crossover pipe underneath this one). Knock sensor electrical connector must be disconnected to get the small pipe out
20200620_211343.jpg



This is the only way to properly clean out the EGR port on the early 3.2 DOHC. Underneath the "DOHC 24 VALVE V6" plaque located directly on top of the early DOHC engine's common chamber intake is a small freeze plug, which when removed gives access to clean the EGR port. It takes a 90 degree bend and loves to accumulate carbon buildup in the hardest spot to clean, causing a persistent and annoying Code 32 CEL. The freeze plug is a standard 14mm size plug, which if not being bought in bulk can be most easily purchased from a volkswagen dealership, catalogued as VW Part # N01190710

20200621_215133.jpg


The cause of the EGR clog!
20200621_215621.jpg


I did not have the correct tools to remove these engine brackets from the exhaust manifold, and instead leveraged and wedged them out of the way just enough to get the valve covers removed. A tapered plastic scraper, tapped in gradually with a mallet worked nicely to pry this bracket away from the cylinder head. On the passenger side bracket, I used a ratchet strap attached to a slot in the wheel to pull it out of the way a bit.
20200623_153555.jpg


Here are the valve covers in the process of being cleaned. The grease on these was thick
20200623_165036.jpg
 

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Under the valve covers. Cam lobes look good, dad always ran mobil1 synthetic from day 1 so it's relatively clean under there
20200623_165925.jpg


timing chain tensioners gave me a bit of a scare as one had lost tension however it had been sitting over a week and upon a quick manual crank of the engine it immediately regained tension and held that for over 3 days, so I did not replace the tensioner(s)
20200624_145455.jpg


New intake manifold gaskets going in, with the new VCG's and spark plug tube seals well seated and torqued down. I purchased a nice electronic torque wrench just for this job, as I needed to be able to accurately torque well under 20 foot pounds, the lower limit of my previous torque wrench.
20200629_210103.jpg


Every single rubber hose was replaced, using new hose clamps (preference for EFI hose clamps, and band-clamps with loctite were used for the the larger diameter hoses between the heads at the back. The only hoses that were in poor condition were the odd little coolant crossover hoses at the front of the heads, that have a metal fitting between them, buried underneath the cooled water intake flange. I couldn't find a hose clamp small enough for the tiny coolant hose that goes from the metal fitting to the bottom of the hot coolant return pipe so I secured it in place with gasket sealant and silicone, leaving them ample time to cure
Both coolant temp sensors were replaced (Switch = Delphi, Sender = Standard Motor Products). I intend to never touch this area for a long time so hope these sensors will last as long as the OEM ones which were still working fine when replaced. The new sender seems slightly more sensitive and accurate in its readings.




I didn't really document the reassembly, but everything went smoothly. Here she is all put back together.



I got back from a 600 kilometer road trip earlier today, with not a single problem, drop of coolant, or rise in the oil level whatsoever. Safe to say the job was a success, and numerous issues, mainly caused by the clogged and dirty, leaking fuel injectors, have been remedied!

Bonus pic: New bump stops from JLEMOND, a bit more effective than what I was running previously I think!
20200704_230601.jpg
 

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i took the engine lifting eye brackets off, and left them off...just in case i need to pull the covers again....nice pics....now you are really tempting me on getting my injectors cleaned....
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well it's looking like Tippy will be getting a lot more mileage this summer than I originally had planned!
Every summer I do a road trip out to Vancouver Island, and usually take a long, winding route back home through northern British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains, camping and hiking in some remote areas along the way. I was going to take my Honda Accord 6/6 on that trip as I did the last two summers, however a couple friends of mine requested they come along! So in order to ensure we'll have room for 4 people, 1 dog, and all our gear we will be taking the Trooper with a rooftop carrier. Definitely glad I got that work done when I did, because I would not want to drive Tippy another 3000+ kilometers with that amount of fuel washing down the cylinders

In hindsight, very glad I had been putting Amsoil Upper Cylinder Lubricant in every tank since I noticed the fuel dilution issue, I'm sure that helped to reduce damage at least a little bit
 

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Nice and detailed write up. Post pictures of the summer adventures with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I decided to improve my air intake situation somewhat.

When I got the trooper the intake tubing was ripped and there was a nasty mouse nest full of piss and crap inside the air box. I emptied it, put it away last summer, and still don't want to touch it

Last year I had a huge Amsoil dry media intake meant for a turbo diesel attached to some PVC piping. I was able to get it barely used from a friend



However since my oil analysis had showed that the silica levels of the oil were right at the upper-normal limit, I knew something was not quite right. It also turned out I did not have the filter attached in a way that was making a perfect seal with the PVC pipe. That's now been fixed with the new Honda cone filter.

As you may be aware there is a lot of debate on whether or not K and N filters and other oiled-medium filters are safe to run long term, as they have been shown to let in excessive amounts of microscopic silica dust particles. This is not the case with OEM, lower-flowing paper filters such as our regular Isuzu panel filter which is a near perfect balance between flow and filtration.

Luckily as I found out today we DO have an option for a Japanese OEM quality, paper media, high filtering, medium-high flowing cone air filter! It's the filter for a 2000 Honda S2000, and I got this one new for $20 CAD from my local Honda dealer.. It was surprisingly cheap and happens to come in my favourite color, bright lime green
(The Amsoil EaAU air filters are also paper medium and supposedly filter quite well, they have many K&N replicas available, one of which I use on my Honda Accord)




It even has built-in velocity stacks to improve the intake noise! I will be running these both my vehicles from now on. A 3" flexible plumbing connector will clamp down perfectly onto the S2000 filter

The 6VD1-W is a fantastic sounding engine imo, especially with an opened up intake






Obviously not reccomended for driving through any significant water. But with the hood up it can be repositioned into a very sketchy snorkel! This is my winter driver mainly so I'm not too concerned about intake air temps but may still build an airbox around it to encourage it to take in cooler wheelwell air.
 
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