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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello fellow Planet Isuzoo-ians!

You may or may not have seen my post on New Member Introductions. Nevertheless, here is a dedicated thread about restoring a first gen trooper.

I bought this one through an estate sale company. It had one previous owner; seemingly used as the family soccer shuttle. The car had several stickers from various local Southern California universities. Mainly SDSU. It has 126K on the clock, and I bought it non-op for $2500. Now I know some will balk at that figure, expensive for a Trooper, but I can assure you this was the best specimen to show up Craigslist after about two months of searching. There were a few cheaper options in a 500 mile radius, but none of them had a body this straight or interior this clean, and the tow would have brought the cost to be about the same. Here she is getting dropped off at my house:









More to come...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
First step was to start with the fuel tank and work my way forward. The tank was... well, in need of some help:



Two times I ordered a brand new tank from the few OEM Isuzu suppliers. Both times I was emailed to inform me that it would take 6-8 weeks and was asked if I would like to proceed with the order. Both times I cancelled, because $750+ for a fuel tank was just too hard to swallow. So instead, I tried every home remedy to clean up the tank on my own. Vinegar. Rust remover. Shaking the tank with nuts and bolts to remove all the gunk and rust. What I was left with was an uncomfortable amount of dirty run-off water that I captured in 5 gal. buckets, and a tank looking like this:



Not bad, not great either.

I tried applying Red Kote to this, and in the process, destroyed the little rubber flap that sits in the center bowl of the fuel tank. I figured this to be not ideal and decided to test my luck at the local pick-a-part. Now, most yards in my area punch a hole in the gas tank making them all unusable. Somehow I found the one yard that doesn't do that, and there was a trooper there that must have just had its fuel system overhauled. Here's what the tank looked like using my snake camera/endoscope (saves a lot of time at the junkyard):



So, yeah, struck gold.

Fifty bucks later I was taking this puppy home, and getting it ready for installation. I ordered new rollover valve grommets from JLEMOND.

New Bosch fuel pump from eBay (EDIT: turns out this was the wrong pump. It was for a V6 and not usable on the 4ZE1. See Page 3 for an update)


After cleaning and sanding


Fresh coat of paint, new fuel pump, grommets, and fuel level sender installed


I installed the tank with all new fuel lines, and a new fuel filter. Finally I could see if the engine would maybe turn over.

No dice. Compression was just two low on two of the cylinders, which I was told about at the time of sale, but I was hoping against hope there might be just enough to get a brief idle.

More to come...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A couple months after rebuilding the fuel delivery system, I finally had time to dig into the engine and look into the compression issues I was having.

Memory serves that the figures were as such:

Cyl 1 : 0 psi
Cyl 2: 0 psi
Cyl 3: 180 psi
Cyl 4: 160 psi

After pulling the head, cylinders 1 and 2 were readily explained:


I wiped off Cyl 1, and you can clearly see the gasket blowout between 1 & 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the encouragement everyone! I've had a few weekends now to dedicate to working on the Trooper.

Ed Mc. asked about the casting number of the head and it is a "2" and it looks like it maybe has a crack right along the casting line. The valves and valve guides looked rusty on cylinder 3 where there was a visible calcium build up:

Cast number "2'


Calcium build-up and rust in exhaust port of Cyl. 3:


My dad was in town who's rebuilt a few engines in his time, and we checked out the con-rod and crankshaft bearings. We thought they looked pretty good:


Going back to Cyl 3, the walls of cylinder had some light pitting that I could feel with my fingernail, and some obvious rust coloration. It was hard to capture it with a picture:


For comparison, here's Cyl 4, which had perfect compression:


So, the current plan is to get the engine dipped, and cylinders honed. I also discovered that where the head gasket blew out between Cyl 1 & 2, there was maybe a .001-.002" gouge on the top surface between the two cylinders, so I'll probably have to have the engine block resurfaced as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I decided to clean up Cylinder 3 a bit before I take it to the machinist just to see what would happen, and it looks like a simple honing isn't going to cut it.

About halfway down was some major pitting.



I was reading DSUZU's space cab thread, and it seems like the thing to do is to get the cylinders bored +.020", and then get newer style oversized pistons. Sound about right? Would those newer style pistons pair better with a specific style of cylinder head? DSUZU had some heart shaped combustion chambers on his.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK... So I got the .020" oversized pistons from Jerry, took my block to the machinist, and after all that there's still a small band of pitting that wasn't able to be removed with the .020" overbore.



The band sits just above the piston at bottom dead center:



I gotta say after all that I'm a little disheartened and am seeking advice on where to go next.

From what I was able to google, people say that if you have pitting in your cylinder, this is the best place to have it, at the bottom of the stroke. It really is pretty minor, though I can definitely feel it with my finger. I'm a little ticked off because the machinist I took it to said the piston doesn't touch that part of the cylinder when it obviously does. I guess he just eyeballed it. :cyclopsani:

My inclination is to run it as is, as I think in the grand scheme of things it probably won't make that big of a difference, but on the other hand, I've done all this work already. "Do it right, do it once" kind of thing.

For the pistons and all the machining, I'm about $450 in. So I see my options as being:
  • run it as is [/*]
  • Get the block rebored to .040 over and order set of .040 pistons [/*]
  • Get a block from the local pick-a-part and just start over[/*]

Thoughts anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mudoilngears said:
You could run it that way, and probably not notice any difference. However you should never buy pistons nor bearings, before the machining is done. The machinist should have told you that when you took him the block.
Unfortunately this was an expensive lesson for me to learn. I was a little confused on when he said he needed the piston before he could do the boring, I thought he could just measure it and know it was at the right diameter. I don't think he measured it at all, he just bored it until the piston fit in there, and when there was still pitting he passed it off as "the piston doesn't go down that far anyway."

On the bright side, I snagged a gas tank from a 82 short bed PUP yesterday to do an auxiliary gas tank mod. There's something to be happy about.

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ed Mc. said:
If you go with the newer-style pistons, it'd probably be better to also go with the newer-style head with smaller combustion chamber. I'm wondering, though, if a mix of old-style flat-top pistons and the smaller combustion chamber might give a beneficial boost in compression ratio.

Maybe Jerry Lemond can chime in on recommendations for a mix-n-match...........ed

p.s. I reached into my archives and found a blurb from Jerry saying that the small-chamber head on an older 2.6 was a "very worthwhile upgrade".

His son's 2.6 automatic Trooper has the cyl head upgrade, and he found it ran well with timing set at 6 degrees BTDC. Depending on the particular quality of regular gas used, on occasion it might ping a bit, but a tank of mid-grade settled it right down.

IMHO the deep-dished pistons are gonna reduce compression ratio over flat-tops. From what I understand, the real reason for this change was emissions. So it would seem there's no clearance issues when putting the small-chamber head on a flat-top-piston lower. Coupled with a "Jerry Cam" and freer-flowing exhaust, it should give a significant boost in performance.
Thanks for the idea Ed. I've read many of your helpful replies on other threads and I shudder to remind you I live in CaLiFoRNia. Do you think that combo of early pistons+late head+Jerry cam would cause issues for the Smog test? I wonder if anyone else in CA is running that config.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
DSUZU said:
On your cylinder pitting. If it is below the lowest RING TRAVEL, you shouldn't have a problem. The piston will obviously "touch", but the rings are what you need to be concerned about.
Here's what you do: Measure from the top of the piston to the bottom of the lowest ring. Now measure down from the head surface of the block 3.7", and add the measurement from the piston measurement. If it clears the pitting, you have no problem at all. If it is in the space for the lowest (oil control) ring, you might still be okay. The second ring, the "scraper" is what you need to be most concerned about.
You can probably put it together and be okay. A few years back, I did some work on an engine for my kid brother (the machine destroyer). This was a horizontally opposed Kohler industrial engine, it had been sitting, and was locked up. On removing the heads, both cylinders were pretty rusty. At least one had scales on the cylinder walls.
I told him it would probably need bored and new pistons and a replacement engine might be cheaper. He asked me to try it. I ran a hone through it with the pistons still in it and at bottom of the stroke. I put the heads back on (with the old gaskets), changed the oil, and it fired up. It ran without smoking. I ran it for a half hour and still no smoking. To the best of my knowledge, he is still using that engine (it's on a small stump grinder). GHope some of this info is helpful to you. Dennis
BTW, increased compression ratio will probably not affect emissions output.
The pitting is above the cylinder at bottom dead center, I think I measured it around 3.65".

I went to the pick-a-part this weekend and pulled a block that had 162k on the odometer. It still has the crosshatch pattern in the cylinders.





All the cylinders had the same dark coloration in this spot to the right:



Not sure what those dark spots could mean, but I plan on taking the block to a well reviewed machine shop and having it hot tanked and checked out.
 

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You ever get so close to finishing something and then hit a snag? Well I'm finally moving past the snag.

I just got my second block back from the machinist. Looks like he did a great job. Hot tank, rebore, deck, magnaflux test, and polished the crank. It took them just over two weeks, but they are a busy shop, which I think is a good sign.

IMG-1824.JPG


IMG-1825.JPG


One thing he said was that the replacement galley plug they had on hand (I think it's 18mm) wouldn't give them as strong a press fit as they would hope, based on their measurements. So he suggested I try to find a replacement, which I will inquire about with Jerry.

IMG-1823.JPG


Finally ready to make the big order with JLEMOND, and start the rebuilding process. If any body in Southern California is interested in my old block, let me know, otherwise it's going to the metal scrap guy.
 

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Ok, finally made that big order with Jerry, as well as Clearwater cylinder heads.

Decided to line up all my children for picture day one last time before the build begins.

0FB1273E-4950-4E44-A7C2-E6EE022BB98B.jpeg


Everything except the head, starter and alternator were ordered from Jerry, including his famous Jerry cam. And I made sure to ask for every rubber hose that was available.

I found re-maned Bosch starter And alternator units on Amazon of all places. There's something so satisfying in getting parts for this car that come in old cardboard boxes that have been on the shelf for years.

Cylinder head is new, not a re-man. And with a 10% off promo and free shipping, I thought I got it for a steal at $333. Looks to be in good shape. I've seen them recommended a lot on the Planet, but Jerry cautioned me to make sure to buy New because he's had issues with some re-maned units from them.

Now on to checking ring end gaps and plenty of plastigauging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I somehow scored my crankshaft. A speck of dirt must've gotten in there despite that I thought I was being very careful. I can just barely feel the score with my fingernail. I'm going to take it back to the machine shop for their opinion, possible repolish or turning. Also a couple of bearings have what look like a small spec of dirt or something embedded. As clean as I'm trying to work, I've got to try even harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
OK folks. It's been a while since I posted. Mostly I've been dealing with my own screw-ups, and a small group of consummate professionals have been rescuing me at every turn.

I got my crankshaft repolished very nicely by my local machine shop. If you're in the Los Angeles area, I can't recommend Martin Davidsons' machine shop enough.

Putting my engine back together, I managed to knock a piston off my work table, Mr. Magoo style, breaking the skirt and nearly broke down in tears. Jerry Lemond, who is a god among men, sent me a replacement piston, which the above-mentioned machine shop installed for me.

Now, the main point of this post. I found on Craigslist what was described as an "Aussie Bull Bar". When I clicked the link, my heart skipped a beat. It looked like an original ARB Bull Bar. But on closer inspection, it is slightly different. No amount of googling has uncovered anything about the Aussie company, but this is indeed an original period accessory, made in Australia, and imported probably in the early 90s. I'm wondering if anyone here is familiar with this specific build. At $300 it was a no brainer to pick up. It even came with all the original installation hardware and literature. It is 100% aluminum. I'm unsure if the ARB models are steel or AL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
paulevans76 said:
Awesome find! Might be a TJM - they did a lot of aluminum bull bar type stuff, similar to ARB. [edit: looks like we know it's an "aussie" - likely a competitor of ARB and TJM back in the day. Neato!]
I never anticipated getting a bull bar because I liked the ARB one so much and know they are impossible to find, and if you find any new build they are $1k+. This one is so similar, and I'm very happy to have a nice accent on my Trooper. Can't wait to also install a winch I'll probably never use!

hessmess said:
That is incredible! The Roos in LA don't stand a chance!
Lol! More like coyotes. Hopefully no mountain lions! They do occasionally get hit out here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Here's a few more angles. I don't have those cutouts on the front left and right, which I'm guessing are for lights.

Also the wrap around pieces are seperate and need to be bolted on.
 

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I haven't been able to update recently due to my BMW E30 taking up a lot of my time. I finally got tired of the constant ATF leaks, so I had it on jacks in the garage where I replaced a missing breather tube on the back of the transmission. Without it there it was spraying ATF all over the underside of my car, and at high revs, I was able to make a James Bond-esque smoke screen when the fluid would hit the red hot exhaust pipe right under the trans. Also, new steering rack, driveshaft, trans mounts. Just a bunch of stuff.

Back to the Trooper, I had some time to start cleaning out the engine bay. One of the first things I did when I got the Trooper was clean up the rust on the battery tray and spray paint it with some generic white automotive spray paint. I found this time that battery acid damage was more extensive then I first noticed. The worst part was right under the tray, which I didn't get a picture of.

IMG_2143.jpeg


IMG_2145.jpg


I found you could order a 12oz can of factory coded paint & clear coat for $40 through Walmart.com, which I did, and it was delivered within a week.

I suck at painting. I just don't have the patience for it. Most of the work is prepping the surface, and the actual painting is like 5% of the total job. Knowing this all going to be covered with the battery and the wiper fluid reservoir and other stuff, I wasn't too worried about it being perfect. Mainly I just wanted to protect against rust, and make the battery tray blend in a little better than with the generic white I used before. I cleaned up the rust areas to bare metal, and then hit it with some primer, I ended up spraying pretty much the whole left side of the compartment.

IMG_2173.jpeg


IMG_2176.jpeg


IMG_2177.jpeg


Overall, it turned out pretty good. There are a bunch of runs here and there, and that one spot where I though I could clean up a run with a towel (you can't, fyi).

In the future, I would do more light coats, as opposed to two medium-heavy coats I did, but again, I lack patience. I still need to paint that black crossmember by the radiator, then I'll be ready to put the wiring harness and everything else back in place.
 

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