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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Enemigo said:
Here is my thread with pictures where I was complaining about Moog stuff rusting on me very quickly.

https://www.planetisuzoo.com/viewtopic. ... 2&t=146069
Dang that's not good. A lot of the Moog parts I've gotten are made in Japan, not that I have any idea if those would be less prone to rusting. My tie rods were made in USA and appear uncoated, and the ball joints I got are all from Indonesia. I will report on how they do, though it's pretty dry out here anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
I just got back from a two-nighter out in Death Valley National Park. This would be maiden voyage for Trooper, and the culmination of two years of work, and probably three years since I first got the harebrained idea to buy a 4x4 and take it into Mojave desert.

Leading up to the trip, I rebuilt the front end with new ball joints, control arm bushings, steering center link, Ford F150 tie rods (see link in sig), OME shocks, and the "Big Brake" upgrade, along with SS brake lines all around from Indy4x4. On the back I put on OME shocks and OME CS028R leaf springs, as well as fresh fluid in the front and rear diffs. Getting an alignment was trickier than I had anticipated. I went to two shops that both said they could do the Trooper, only to find it's not in their system, with the '92 Trooper being the earliest model they have. Seems like most of these shops use the exact same laser alignment machine with the exact same car database. I finally found a guy that said he could do it, but he'd have to do it "manually". Great! I also hastily built a back door ladder that could hold a 5 gallon Jerry can, since I had a little bit of range anxiety and there's only two gas stations in the park.


Beginning of the drive

My girlfriend and I headed out from LA, and about 2 hours into the drive my "A/T Oil Temp" light popped on, which I had never seen before. I cut back the throttle a bit and let the revs settle below 2500rpm and the light went out. Must be all the shifting the trans was doing to maintain speed up the long climb. We tanked up in Olancha, got a couple bundles of firewood and headed East toward the park. My plan was to take the Racetrack via Hunter Mountain loop from the Guide to California Backroads, and do it backwards so we could get to the Racetrack playa sooner rather than later as the book recommends. At first, I thought this is no big deal, just pretty rough dirt roads. We aired down the tires to about 18 psi and the ride wasn't too bad at all. The book really rates this as moderate? Oh well, just one more stretch until we make it to the Racetrack. This stretch turned out to be Lippincott Mine Road, eight miles of basketball-sized rocks strewn across a narrow "road" with a sheer cliff on the right to keep you honest. A few yards up the road, I got out to lock the hubs for the first time, and my girlfriend said "We haven't been in 4 wheel drive this whole time!?" Now we were a little too preoccupied to get any good pictures, but the Trooper completely ate this road up! Climbing up this road in 4LO feels like someone is winching you up from the top, it was a real moment for me to see all this work coming to fruition. 2/3rds up the road that dreaded A/T oil temp light came on again. Turns out this light would be faithful companion on our trip. I should have just stopped until the light went out, but I was feeling a bit anxious perched on the narrow track, so I pushed on for another 10 minutes until we hit the top, where we let the Trooper cool down for bit. Reaching the top you see a very informative sign:


Good to know


The Racetrack. The boulders were a lot smaller than I was expecting



We camped that night near the Racetrack, and after that, the rest of the roads we drove on were quite tame comparatively. Once we got onto hard top and descended into the main valley the A/T oil temp light would pop on every now and then. I would pull over to let it cool down, and generally tried to drive very conservatively to minimize this. Though it seemed like it was happening more and more, usually starting after about two hours of driving. Granted, it was a bit warm (upper 80s) and the Trooper was loaded for bear, overloaded, you might say. The next night we camped at 7400' where it got below freezing, but we got a pretty little spot.



On the drive home we had to pull off the highway a few more times to let the trans fluid cool down, which concerned me because we had significantly reduced the weight in the Trooper, dumped all the water, used up the Jerry can, drained the cooler, burned the firewood. The only thing I've done to the trans is dropped the pan, replaced the filter and topped off the fluid. I'm wondering if doing a proper fluid flush will fix this issue, or if I should look into an aftermarket cooler. Also, I should recheck my timing, because I think I could hear the engine pinging at about 3500rpm, and at one point my coolant temp gauge climbed to 2/3rds while driving up a gentle grade on the freeway. I pulled over and let it cool, but other than that, the needle was pretty much dead center the whole time. Perhaps the engine running hot causes the radiator to get too warm to cool the ATF sufficiently?

All told, I'm chalking this trip as a success. Hopefully the transmission survived OK, and I can flush it and take it on more adventures. Thanks to the Planet for all the great help!

 

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Overall that was a successful trip! Can't remember if you did anything with the radiator, could be slightly plugged. Temp shouldn't go over half mark. I would definitely look into the aftermarket transmission cooler, where you will run in the hotter temps. If the timing is off that would make it run a bit hotter too.
 

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I'll second the recommendation for an aftermarket trans cooler. It might also be a good idea post-flush to refill with synthetic transmission fluid. The 4-cyl Aisan auto trans is a lot more durable than the lousy 4L30E behind the V6 models. So hopefully it ain't hurt. How's the transmission fluid look now? If it smells burnt, definitely gotta get it flushed and do some upgrades.

On the engine cooling issue, partially-plugged radiator is a possibility. It might work ok on the "flats" but up in the hot hills it's not gonna cut it. A good radiator shop could recore it for you, maybe even add a 3rd core for better cooling. If you could find a high-capacity aluminum radiator, that might even be better for heat transfer.

Check your fan clutch to make sure the fan is blowing hard when the engine is hot. That could cause overheating trouble as well.

And make sure you have a 180F thermostat, it's a bit on the low side but that's what the factory put in there.

BTW you may benefit from one of the "watter wetter" products that reduce surface tension in the coolant, for better heat transfer. IDK which one is better but these guys claim to (or it might just be a pitch for Redline products):

https://romanceuniversity.org/water-wet ... -additive/

I just checked at Rockauto and they have the Liland Global 1130AA all-aluminum radiator back in stock:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.ph ... 40&jsn=404

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/isu ... iator,2172

Very reasonably-priced at $135.79. They've been out-of-stock forever, good to see an alternative available.

Nice trip, though, the Trooper took to those trails with aplomb!

Cheers..........ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
hessmess said:
Overall that was a successful trip! Can't remember if you did anything with the radiator, could be slightly plugged. Temp shouldn't go over half mark. I would definitely look into the aftermarket transmission cooler, where you will run in the hotter temps. If the timing is off that would make it run a bit hotter too.
I had the radiator flushed and tested at a radiator shop, and I've been running premixed Zerex Asian vehicle coolant ever since, though certainly doesn't rule out a clog, especially with that weird temp rise that only happened one time. We pulled into a motel parking lot in Stovepipe Springs, and one of the employees came up to chat about the Trooper. He said he had been a certified Saab tech, and looked at my radiator and called it "dinky". Dinky! The nerve of that guy! :D

Ed Mc. said:
I'll second the recommendation for an aftermarket trans cooler. It might also be a good idea post-flush to refill with synthetic transmission fluid. The 4-cyl Aisan auto trans is a lot more durable than the lousy 4L30E behind the V6 models. So hopefully it ain't hurt. How's the transmission fluid look now? If it smells burnt, definitely gotta get it flushed and do some upgrades.

On the engine cooling issue, partially-plugged radiator is a possibility. It might work ok on the "flats" but up in the hot hills it's not gonna cut it. A good radiator shop could recore it for you, maybe even add a 3rd core for better cooling. If you could find a high-capacity aluminum radiator, that might even be better for heat transfer.

Check your fan clutch to make sure the fan is blowing hard when the engine is hot. That could cause overheating trouble as well.

And make sure you have a 180F thermostat, it's a bit on the low side but that's what the factory put in there.

BTW you may benefit from one of the "watter wetter" products that reduce surface tension in the coolant, for better heat transfer. IDK which one is better but these guys claim to (or it might just be a pitch for Redline products):

https://romanceuniversity.org/water-wet ... -additive/

I just checked at Rockauto and they have the Liland Global 1130AA all-aluminum radiator back in stock:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.ph ... 40&jsn=404

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/isu ... iator,2172

Very reasonably-priced at $135.79. They've been out-of-stock forever, good to see an alternative available.

Nice trip, though, the Trooper took to those trails with aplomb!

Cheers..........ed
Thanks Ed. The ATF looks good on the dipstick, but I'll drain a little bit out this weekend to get a better look. I never smelled burning fluid during the trip, just occasional whiffs of ATF smell.

Do you think that aluminum radiator would be better over getting a 3rd core added on the old one? (I imagine it's cheaper to buy that rad.) I know I have a 180 t-stat because that's what helped me finally pass smog. I'm going to look into transmission coolers, maybe even an auxiliary electric fan. I want this thing to be solid in the desert!
 

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Hard to day without comprehensive radiator testing. And yeah, I'd expect a custom 3-core radiator would be more than the alum one at Rockauto. At least if an aluminum radiator cracks, you can get it welded!

All these rads nowadays with plastic tanks, once they leak at the Tank-to-Core O-ring, it's all over. Or splitting a tank, even worse.

If you still have a good local radiator shop, it might not be a bad idea to stop in and talk to them. No doubt they'd have good input on the merits of brass vs aluminum rads, number of cores, etc.

Getting hard to find a radiator shop anymore, all of the good ones around my area closed down years ago. To much of an environmental hazard, I reckon. Plus all the $$$ associated with dealing with that.
 

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I like that aluminum radiator, I believe they dissipate heat faster but I have never needed one myself. I have a 3.4 V6 standard trans and it has a two core and works great. I traveled thru Wyoming last year at 75 MPH and 95 degrees and never had an issue. But that auto trans will create more heat anyway. I think I would go with an auxiliary trans cooler first and see how that does, certainly won't hurt. I did that on an old F150 I had years ago, what a difference.
 

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hessmess said:
I like that aluminum radiator, I believe they dissipate heat faster but I have never needed one myself. I have a 3.4 V6 standard trans and it has a two core and works great. I traveled thru Wyoming last year at 75 MPH and 95 degrees and never had an issue. But that auto trans will create more heat anyway. I think I would go with an auxiliary trans cooler first and see how that does, certainly won't hurt. I did that on an old F150 I had years ago, what a difference.
Yeah, that's an angle I didn't think about, the fact that you're removing a lot of heat from the existing radiator, if the auto trans cooling is handled separately. That could make all the difference in the world, and maybe not require another radiator, since now it'll be completely dedicated to cooling the engine.

I can relate with the 3.4, I have an aftermarket brass 2-core, and years ago I towed a ski boat (around 2,000 lb towing weight) out of Oregon and up I-5 North across the Columbia River, toward Seattle area. It was well over 80 deg and was towing in 5th at 70+ and she didn't miss a beat. I only had to downshift on a couple of the really long, steeper grades. And that's with the stock exhaust, not the performance 2-1/2" that's on there now.

The temp gauge was rock solid. Could have easily done over 80 but that's pretty sketchy towing a boat, and not good for your driving record (or pocketbook) if nailed by the WSP!

Since it sounds like the cooling on the 4-cyl rig is "on the ragged edge" only in hot, extreme conditions, the aftermarket cooler should take quite a bit of heat load off the rad, and the extra cooling now available from the rad, for the engine, should do the trick I bet.
 

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Wow sweet trip. This is exactly what I'd like to do with mine.......................but I am on the east side of the country.
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
I went ahead and ordered the aluminum radiator. It seems that aluminum is nearly twice as thermally conductive as brass, and it's strength allows for large passages with a thinner tube wall than brass, further increasing it's ability to shed heat. I know how my temp gauge acts pretty well, so I will report back after I install and try it out.

I pulled a sample of ATF today and the results were "Not great, Bob!"

Though I can't say with certainty I know what burnt ATF smells like, I believe I could discern some roasty notes.


Sample from trans


Brand spanking new ATF, for reference

Further worrying is I could see flecks of metal in the fluid. I wish I took more note of the old fluid when I changed the filter a year or so back. Hopefully this is not a death knell and the transmission and I can get through this together. The Trooper will be grounded until I perform a full fluid flush. Does anyone bother with running a fluid flush product first, or just go straight in with the new fluid?

I saw a thread on the Planet about adding aftermarket trans oil coolers, and one point brought up is that the radiator is actually heating up the ATF from cold, and that it is just important the ATF not be too cold as it is too hot. Then comes the question, install the cooler in series before or after the radiator? I'm leaning toward before, since that will dump any heat produce by the transmission, and with the new aluminum radiator and some Water Wetter, the radiator should be running cooler anyways.

giusedtobe said:
Wow sweet trip. This is exactly what I'd like to do with mine.......................but I am on the east side of the country.
Thanks! Sounds like road trip time!
 

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If it's not a ton of metal, I'd imagine it's wear product. A normal occurrence.

I was looking at various aftermarket coolers, and Mishimoto was a favorite at Amazon. They do make quality products.

Here's a heavy-duty fan-cooled unit at a fairly reasonable price:

https://www.amazon.com/Mishimoto-MMOC-F ... ve&sr=1-43

You could combine this with a Derale temperature control valve, and also a Derale thermostatic switch.

The temp control valve always lets 10% go thru the cooler, to prevent air locks and other flow issues. It bypasses the other 90% of flow away from the cooler, until temp is above 180, after that all flow is routed thru the cooler. Thus solving any cold-running transmission issues.

Here's the thermostatic control switch, which turns the fan on at 180F and off at 165F.

https://www.amazon.com/Derale-15721-8AN ... B000A8MWL2

Here's a whole bunch of Derale stuff, they offer the fluid control valves in a number of configurations:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=derale+fluid ... e-asc-rank

On the transmission, there are various schools of thought; one that says it may be dangerous to the trans's health to change all fluids at once. You can do it gradually by sucking 2-3 quarts out of the dipstick tube with a small transfer pump, then adding the same amount of new fluid.

This will mix over time, and the cleaning action of the new oil will be more gradual. It takes more fluid this way, because you end up pulling some of the new oil out every time you do the drain/refill cycle. But you're reducing the risk you may have when giving the trans a complete shot of new fluid, which would have its way with all the old deposits in the transmission.

Or, you can just flush the heck out of it. I've never heard of an Aisin Warner having huge problems, like the V6 4L30E does.

A cool trick is to disconnect both transmission cooler lines from the radiator; then figure out which is the supply side and which is the return. It'd be obvious very fast if you were to start the engine and observe fluid out of one or the other line!

Attach longer, temporary hoses to the lines, and you can route the discharge to a suitable container; then fill another container with clean ATF and let the transmission return line suck the new fluid back in.

The advantage of this type of flushing is that you're gonna renew the fluid in the torque converter, as well. IDK if the torque converter on these has a drain plug, otherwise the only way to get new oil thru the converter is to use the system to flush the new through.

Maybe Buster will weigh in, he has Light Years more experience with automatics than I have! :mrgreen:

HTH............ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
Alright, I'm going whole hog and just ordered 4 gallons of Redline D4 full synthetic ATF and will do a complete flush.

I'm still deciding on the cooler, thinking of one like this: I went ahead and ordered this:
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/bmm-70268

It's only 1" thick so that gives me options as far as putting it in front or behind of the radiator or a/c condenser. I'm thinking about adding an electric fan to help this and the condenser, possibly even replace the main fan with an electric.

I also checked my timing and found that when I put the clamp on the #1 plug wire, I get an uneven strobe and the timing mark only shows up on maybe half of the strobes. When I clamp to wire #4 the strobe is even and I see the timing mark every strobe. Engine sounds good and seems normal though. :dontknow:
 

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Awesome! How did the suspension feel since it was all brand new?
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
Enemigo said:
Awesome! How did the suspension feel since it was all brand new?
Quite stiff at first on the washboard roads. I sure felt every bump until I aired down. Feels much better in the turns. The boat-about-to-tip feeling is gone.

The steering surprisingly feels a little sloppier, or at least I'm noticing it more now. It could just be in my head because the alignment guy said "your steering is really sloppy!" Well I got a steering box rebuild kit that will hopefully help that.
 

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takemehome4LOroads said:
Enemigo said:
Awesome! How did the suspension feel since it was all brand new?
Quite stiff at first on the washboard roads. I sure felt every bump until I aired down. Feels much better in the turns. The boat-about-to-tip feeling is gone.

The steering surprisingly feels a little sloppier, or at least I'm noticing it more now. It could just be in my head because the alignment guy said "your steering is really sloppy!" Well I got a steering box rebuild kit that will hopefully help that.
What all did you do to your suspension? Just getting started on my 88's suspension.
 
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