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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1989 Trooper with the "soft ride suspension" option. No one seems to know what exactly that means but I will start another thread for that one.

I want to build a good ski / mountain bike rig. When I go off-road it is mild stuff, just gravel roads and such to trail heads for mountain biking. So I do not need or want to lift it. Mostly snow and ice as far as needing the 4x4. I do however want to get rid of the excessive body roll (so bad right now that it is scary). If it rides like a HD truck when I am done that is fine. Here is what I am thinking:

1- new, bigger, torsion bars
2- new front and rear sway bars
3- new shocks
4- new rear springs? air bags?
5- rear locker for extreme snow / ice

Again, I do not want lift, just ride improvement (stiff is okay) and stop the body roll. Open to suggestions... Thanks
 

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Start with all the bushings and joints that may be shot. The start the upgrades. Body Roll is best minimized with bigger roll bars. I believe you can buy them through Summit Racing
 

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You can't go wrong with new parts.

I have added a rear swaybar taken from a 1997 trooper
also I installed new bushings front and rear
And I just added H/D torsion bars from indy4x
I'm running rancho 5000 shocks up front and tokico trek master in the rear.
I have no body roll at all and an extremely straight driving bump absorbing 1st gen trooper.

I'm sure others will chime in with their upgrades as well. Between us you should be able to find and choose a setup that fits your needs. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
betterthanyou said:
Start with all the bushings and joints that may be shot. The start the upgrades. Body Roll is best minimized with bigger roll bars. I believe you can buy them through Summit Racing
By "roll bars", I assume you are referring to what I would call sway bars? With 155k, I would expect all "bushings and joints" to need replacing.

As far as incremental steps, I don't have that kind of patience. I figured one shot: take it apart, put it back together with new parts. Just want to get the right parts the first time, and not spend more than I have to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
caveman said:
You can't go wrong with new parts.

I have added a rear swaybar taken from a 1997 trooper
also I installed new bushings front and rear
And I just added H/D torsion bars from indy4x
I'm running rancho 5000 shocks up front and tokico trek master in the rear.
I have no body roll at all and an extremely straight driving bump absorbing 1st gen trooper.

I'm sure others will chime in with their upgrades as well. Between us you should be able to find and choose a setup that fits your needs. Good luck
Thanks for the input. A few questions...
did you use poly bushings?
why the 1997 sway bar, rather than one that "bolts on"?
front sway bar is stock?
why the different shocks front and rear?
did you do any spring mod to the rear?

thanks in advance
 

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I also have an 89 with the same desired ride characteristics. I wouldn't exactly call my set up stiff but I've never thought it was going to go up on two wheels in a turn either. I'm pretty happy with it in general.

Replaced all bushings (with Polyurethane when available). That includes upper and lower front control arms, torsion bar, rear leaf and shackles.
Installed 4 Rancho 5000 shocks.
Added extra leaf spring to rear suspension.
Added HD rear shackles.
Flipped upper ball joint on front end.
Torqued up the torsion bars to raise the front end to match the rear lift.
Have 31" BFG ATs

Overall, It sits about 2-2.5" taller than stock (tires and suspension). Again, I've never been concerned about the lean in turns but if I were the next step would be to add a rear torsion bar and maybe a HD front torsion bar.

Caveman - did you have to modify anything to install the 97 sway bar?

Also, I'd think a front locker would do you more good than a rear one if you were just going to do one end or the other.
 

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My first upgrade was a set of Rancho 9000 shocks (because they were adjustable) and BFG AT KO's. The 3 ply sidewalls took a lot of the body roll out and gave me good quite road performance. They are a good compromise all weather off road tire.
Next I put urethane bushings on the sway bar.
I have run HD torsion bars in the past. If you replace the leaf springs you will probably be better off changing the torsion bars also.
I just installed a new pair of Old Man EMU leaf springs and bushings in the rear, still dialing them in.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Isuzu-Trooper-O ... 3ca6e083d2

Like Geoff said all your bushing are probably totally warn out also your springs. I wouldn't bother with changing the front sway bar. If you want to road race the rear sway bar will help.
You wont need air bags it you put the OME leaf springs in.

I have never run a locker in the ice and snow. With an ARB you have a choice of off or on. I have heard that a locker can be scary in slippery conditions..

Good Luck
 

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"soft ride suspension" first appeared in a '78 LUV- instead of a 5-leaf rear spring pack like the '77 it had a 4-leaf spring pack. I was never able to determine if there was also any change in the t-bar rate but I doubt it. My '87 Trooper also had "soft ride" and a 4-leaf spring pack. It also had serious body sway: replaced all shocks, ball joints, front sway bar bushings and end links and rear spring shackle bushings- everything I did helped. I installed a rear helper spring between the overload and next leaf- lifted as well as stiffened- cranking the t-bars to near level also stiffened. A huge help was wider rims, mine came with 6", I replaced them with 8" with the same backspace, which automatically moved the outside edge of the tires out 2" each side. It now rides lots stiffer with a lot less body roll- and has more ground clearance. I would try something similar with your mods before the expense of new t-bars and springs.
To me a locker is a plus whatever the terrain. Your best option would probably be a good tight LSD 3rd swapped in, I hear the production run of Aussie's is sold out and ARB's are just too expensive.
 

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syngen smythe said:
I do however want to get rid of the excessive body roll (so bad right now that it is scary).
My 88 was the same way.

I have a sway bar from a 93 trooper, to put on the back, but haven't done that, yet.

What has been done though... Bradzuzu put rancho 5000 shocks on the front, and put my helper springs on the back. Both were used, not new.

But it made a huge difference.

To get to his shop, I had to cross a really long bridge. Very high winds there.

On the way there I was white-knuckled, trying to keep the troop in my own lane.

On the way back, I was already almost completely across the bridge before I realized that the high winds were still there, but I had just driven through them with only one hand on the wheel.

Just the better shocks, (even used, they were better.), and the helper springs, (Which are only half a spring, actually.), made that much difference.

She still leans in corners a bit more than I would like, so eventually I'll get that sway bar in there. The problem with the swaybar is that there are no mounting points for it, on my rig. I'll probably just have to drill all the way through the frame and through-bolt it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Selador said:
My 88 was the same way.
Just the better shocks, (even used, they were better.), and the helper springs, (Which are only half a spring, actually.), made that much difference.
I have not seen these 'helper springs' mentioned before. Anyone know where to get them?

Thanks for all the help guys. I am still listening for a while....
 

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syngen smythe said:
Selador said:
My 88 was the same way.
Just the better shocks, (even used, they were better.), and the helper springs, (Which are only half a spring, actually.), made that much difference.
I have not seen these 'helper springs' mentioned before. Anyone know where to get them?

Thanks for all the help guys. I am still listening for a while....
This is like what is on mine.
http://www.amazon.com/Superior-11-1020- ... 320&sr=8-2
 

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Sorry I haven't been able to reply sooner.

I used a 1997 sway bar specifically but basically it just off a second gen, and yes I did have to do some metal work to get it on. You can click on my cardomain link in my signature to read the whole write up on it. I didn't go with the bolt on because its a universal. the second gen sway bar was sport tuned for the troopers and it only cost $9 at pullapart (grinning).

I initially bought 4 rancho 5000's but got tired of spilling my coffee all over my lap. I swapped just the front shocks first with some old gas-matics and didn't notice much difference with the amount of coffee in my lap, so I took a tip from some motorcycle friends whom told me about how tokico makes all the racing motorcycle parts. So I saw a set of tokico trek masters on autoparts wharehouse and gave them a try. I liked the way the front rancho's kept the trooper from flying up in the air over bridge crossings so I put them back on. Its a wonderfull setup the way I have it now, I wouldn't change a thing. Its a firm ride but smooth and absorbant.

I replaced the rear shackles with calmini h/d and used urethane there. The upper control arms I used the stock bushings because they are pressed fit unlike the aftermarket which just push in there by hand not really being supportive. The lower control arm bushings are stock OEM as well and were a real pain to get out but were worth it. I can tell a huge difference when I hit bumps. I used urethane on the front sway bar but OEM rubber on the rear bar.

The front torsion bars were one of the best upgrades because it gave my trooper back its youthfull ability to absorb bumps while also eliminating sway. they also made the truck feel flat on the road like a newer SUV. I guess it was the final link in the suspension puzzle that isuzu thru at the first gen troopers, because lord knows in stock form they make you worry about tipping in the curves!

I've done nothing to the rear springs as of yet besides the shackles and shackle bushings, but I'm not feeling the need to change them out after the torsion bars were replaced, I really like it just the way it is.
 

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caveman said:
Sorry I haven't been able to reply sooner.

I used a 1997 sway bar specifically but basically it just off a second gen, and yes I did have to do some metal work to get it on. You can click on my cardomain link in my signature to read the whole write up on it. I didn't go with the bolt on because its a universal. the second gen sway bar was sport tuned for the troopers and it only cost $9 at pullapart (grinning).
I can't see how you mounted that to the frame. Did you just weld it ?
 

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Yes, I wanted to bolt it but the isuzu frame is doubled up right there and was breaking my taps. I ran a weld around the inside of the bolt hole and around the outer rim of the bracket. I'm not worried about the bushings needing to be replaced because they hardly wear in the first place. Its usually the two links ends that wear out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
caveman said:
I used a 1997 sway bar specifically but basically it just off a second gen, and yes I did have to do some metal work to get it on. You can click on my cardomain link in my signature to read the whole write up on it. I didn't go with the bolt on because its a universal. the second gen sway bar was sport tuned for the troopers and it only cost $9 at pullapart (grinning).
That installation looks nice; all this information is a great help before I start. So the brackets were unbolted from the '97 frame, and then welded onto your rig's frame because of the frame construction. And on the axle you had to make custom brackets; sounds like if i get something like this http://www.andysautosport.com/isuzu/1987_1991_trooper/suspension/sway_bars/addco/addc00097020.html that I may be doing some welding to make it work.

Has anyone done a 'bolt on' rear sway bar- that bolted on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I ended up going with the addco rear sway bar, the 'helper' springs, and 4 rancho 5000s. HUGE difference. not real sure what the helper springs are doing; there is no height difference, but the feel and roll (lack of body roll) are night and day to what it was.

when i can afford it, i will go with the HD torsion bars. $350 is a bit too steep for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
ajm291 said:
You should check the spline count on your torsion bars. You may not need the more expensive bars after all. If your bars are the same as mine, you can get them from swayaway for $120:

I believe it's item #1566

http://www.swayaway.net/joomla/index.ph ... &Itemid=42
thanks for the tip- but won't work. i do not know why, but my production date of march 89 means that the torsion bars are more expensive. I have searched for hours and cannot find them for under $350. whenever it says 89-up, it seems to refer to some change that is after june 89 production. I do not know what the change was, desirable or not.
 

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syngen smythe said:
i do not know why, but my production date of march 89 means that the torsion bars are more expensive.
I just told you why. The spline count on the Tbars are different between troopers. You should verify how many splines are on your Tbars just in case. If you are correct about needing the more expensive bars, you could also replace a few parts on your trooper with parts from a later 89-91 model to allow the use of the cheaper bars. You need the socket and adjusting key parts from the rear and the socket and spline bolt from the front for the conversion. The possibility is there for you to be able to use the $120 bars, but requires a little more work during the install. Your call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
ajm291 said:
syngen smythe said:
i do not know why, but my production date of march 89 means that the torsion bars are more expensive.
I just told you why. The spline count on the Tbars are different between troopers.
oh, oops. now i get it. i will look into it. is there any other difference besides just these parts? while i am in replacing parts, are the newer ones better or just different? any reason to pull other parts if i find a donor that is the later model?
 
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