Project: Stratotrooper

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Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:23 pm

Introduction:

When I bought my Trooper six and a half years ago, I got it for the primary purpose of getting out to explore the vast backcountry of Utah. In that time I have traveled thousands of miles of dirt with it, never doubting it would get me to my destination and back. I've done some mild modifications, lift, transfer case gears, and a few other odds and ends; but other than that it is completely stock. So when I noticed an odd noise coming from the engine a bit ago I was more sad than anything. At 234,000 miles, only around 50,000 of those being mine, I was hoping that the engine would last a bit longer. But, not knowing its maintenance history before I got it, I suppose I can't be too surprised. I diagnosed the issue as a rod bearing, so not an easy fix. I was looking at the prospect of either rebuilding the motor or getting something new to replace the Trooper as my primary exploration vehicle.

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How it was when I bought it.

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First trip off-road up American Fork Canyon.

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Black Dragon Canyon, 2014


I spent some time thinking about it. The Trooper is nearly 25 years old; but it has been the perfect vehicle for me. It has plenty of power, capability, space, and comfort. And even looking down the barrel at spending around $3,000 to rebuild the motor; there isn't another vehicle out there that matches it for the cost. I'd dreamed of one day replacing the Trooper with a Mercedes Gelandewagen or a Nissan Y62 Patrol; but at this juncture they are a bit out of my price bracket. I could find an 80-series Land Cruiser for around what I'd be willing to spend, but in so many ways they're a downgrade from a Trooper. A 100-series is more in line with the Trooper, but people think they are gold.

At the end of the day, it really was a no brainer for me to dive in on rebuilding the engine. But by committing to that path, I'm also committing to having this vehicle for another five to ten years. That means it cannot be simply rebuilding the engine, this needs to be a comprehensive refresh of the vehicle. I will do this in the following phases:


Phase I: Engine Rebuild

The Isuzu 6V1D engine is a solid motor, particularly when mated to a manual transmission. Making 175hp and 188lb-ft of torque I've never felt that it was lacking. But, if I'm going to rebuild it may as well make some improvements. After reading through some very excellent posts discussing DOHC swaps and using the SOHC single chamber to gain a little bit better airflow and low end power I figured that'd be a pretty good upgrade to pursue. While reading about that setup, I also came across the idea of swapping the stock Multec-1 injectors with Multec-2 injectors from later model 3.2L and 3.5L Isuzu engines. This is supposed to increase efficiency and again, gain a little bit of power. With these small upgrades, I should be getting closer to 200hp and 200lb-ft of torque; not an insignificant increase! All the while, keeping the engine efficient and reliable.

While I have the engine out, I'll also be replacing the AC, power steering pump, alternator, clutch and all the associated wear components so that everything is as fresh and new as possible. I'm also going to be adding a secondary fuse block for all my add on accessories like the fridge and HAM.


Phase II: Exterior

What's the point of having a car drive like new if it doesn't look new? I don't have a lot of rust, but I will be eliminating what I have. With the rust gone, I think the Trooper would look excellent in Toyota Quicksand with black along the lower quarter. I also will be tinting the windows and replacing all the exterior lights with LED's.

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Toyota Quicksand paint color

For armor, I'll be building custom front and rear bumpers and modifying some Rocky-Road Outfitter rockrails I've been sitting on for years. Since I rerouted my exhaust last year, I'm also going to be building a new skidplate to protect the tranny and t-case.

I've enjoyed the Scepter can holder I built a few years ago, but I want to make some improvements to it and maybe build one that holds two cans. That way I can carry 10 gallons of extra fuel or five of fuel and five of water. I'm also toying with the idea of getting a 35 gallon Long Range Automotive fuel tank. Group buy anyone?

Finally, new badges. I figure I'll make some new slightly more modern looking "Trooper" and "Isuzu" badges. Because I have access to a vinyl cutter and why not?


Phase III: Interior

All interior lights will be changed to LED. I have a BlueTooth stereo at the moment, but I'm not too happy with it; so I'm going to find a better one. I have a iPad Mini mounted up for GPS duty, but I'll be plugging that directly into the new stereo via a rear USB port and using it more like a full "infotainment" center. I never use my CB anymore, so that's going away and I'll be upgrading my 25-watt HAM with a 50-watt unit. I'll be adding another 12-volt power outlet in the lower part of the dash and a few USB ports in the center console for charging devices.

In the rear I already have two 12-volt outlets on the passenger side, one of which is a dedicated port for my fridge. I'm going to put another outlet and a couple USB ports on the driver's side.

Finally, I'm going to put sound deadening everywhere. Every piece of carpet and panel that can come up will get sound deadening underneath or behind it.


Conclusion:

What's in a name? Everyone calls their Trooper a "Super Trooper", so I couldn't do that. I got to thinking; there was the "Fortress", the "Superfortress" and finally the "Stratofortress" in Boeings line of large strategic bombers. Additionally, the B-52 Stratofortress is the longest serving aircraft in the USAF inventory, and over its long history has gone through many modifications and upgrades to keep it relevant. And now it looks like it will be serving well into the 2050's, 100 years after it first flew.

This project will take time, but I hope to have the vast majority of it completed by next fall. And once complete, much like its namesake, the refreshed Stratotrooper should serve me well for years to come.
Last edited by SRN on Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:24 pm

Phase I:

After a few days of prep work, the engine came out of the Trooper on August 27th.

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I then spent the next few days stripping it down to the long block. While that was happening, I was also in search of a set of DOHC heads. After a few failed attempts with full service yards around the country I finally accepted the old adage that if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself and headed down to a yard in Provo, UT to pull a set there. Five hours and one stripped head bolt later I had a sweet set of heads for only $100 and the engine was off to the machine shop!

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The machine shop said it would take three to four weeks, so that has given me plenty of time to do things like clean the engine compartment and parts as well as rerun some wiring. Amazing how much easier all that is without the engine in the way!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:28 pm

Phase I:

I hunted down a set of Multec-2 injectors and sent them off to Mr. Injector to be rebuilt. This is a part of the project that I'm excited about. As I mentioned before, this sounds like it is a great upgrade. To make this swap work, you really just need the injectors and a set of adapter wires. Everything else swaps right over from the old Multec-1 injectors and fits right into the fuel rail and intake manifold.

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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby nasty610 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:30 pm

At some point I need to finish the exhaust on my Trooper. Ive done everything you’re doing now but on an obd2 truck. Even had my heads and block decked to raise compression a bit more. It’s somewhere close to 11:1 now. How do you plan to tune it to make 200hp? Every now and then I glance at some stuff but haven’t really spent much time really looking.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:51 pm

nasty610 wrote:At some point I need to finish the exhaust on my Trooper. Ive done everything you’re doing now but on an obd2 truck. Even had my heads and block decked to raise compression a bit more. It’s somewhere close to 11:1 now.


I've read through quite a bit of your build, solid work. Just need to finish it up!

How do you plan to tune it to make 200hp? Every now and then I glance at some stuff but haven’t really spent much time really looking.


That's totally an internet guestimate. DOHC 3.2L's made 190hp stock, then I use the SOHC single chamber for better airflow and a bit more "power"; figure that's good for 1-2hp. Then the injector upgrade, maybe another 1hp there. I have a rerouted exhaust with a high flow cat and muffler, another maybe 2hp there. Add all the guestimate's up and you're at around 200hp! Very scientific! :D

What tuning stuff have you been reading?
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby JLEMOND » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:06 pm

AS LONG AS YOUR TRUCK IS AN 95 OR OLDER , ONE MORE EASY UP GRADE FOR A BIT MORE POWER , WHILE YOU HAVE THE EXHAUST OFF , TAKE A LOOK AT THE HEAD PIPES /YPIPE WHERE THEY BOLT UP AND YOU WILL FIND A RESTRICTOR WELDED IN THERE BY THE FACTORY TO MAKE THE ENG HEAT UP FASTER , IT NECK'S THE MAIN PIPES DOWN FROM SMALL OUTLETS TO REDICULOUS SMALL ONES TAKE GOOD SHARP HOLE SAW THAT WILL JUST BARELY GO DOWN INSIDE THE PIPE S AND CUT THAT RESTRICTOR OUT , IT MAKES A NOTICE ABLE DIFF IN THE RUNNING OF THE TRUCK, AND DEFINITELY HELPS THE GAS MILEAGE AT CRUISE , AN D IT GIVES THE ENG A TOTALEY DIFF EXHAUST NOTE , IF IT HASENT ALL READY BEEN MODIFIED , YOU WILL LIKE IT

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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:46 pm

JLEMOND wrote:AS LONG AS YOUR TRUCK IS AN 95 OR OLDER , ONE MORE EASY UP GRADE FOR A BIT MORE POWER , WHILE YOU HAVE THE EXHAUST OFF , TAKE A LOOK AT THE HEAD PIPES /YPIPE WHERE THEY BOLT UP AND YOU WILL FIND A RESTRICTOR WELDED IN THERE BY THE FACTORY TO MAKE THE ENG HEAT UP FASTER , IT NECK'S THE MAIN PIPES DOWN FROM SMALL OUTLETS TO REDICULOUS SMALL ONES TAKE GOOD SHARP HOLE SAW THAT WILL JUST BARELY GO DOWN INSIDE THE PIPE S AND CUT THAT RESTRICTOR OUT , IT MAKES A NOTICE ABLE DIFF IN THE RUNNING OF THE TRUCK, AND DEFINITELY HELPS THE GAS MILEAGE AT CRUISE , AN D IT GIVES THE ENG A TOTALEY DIFF EXHAUST NOTE , IF IT HASENT ALL READY BEEN MODIFIED , YOU WILL LIKE IT


Thanks Jerry, I'd read that. I was planning on picking up a 1 5/8" hole saw tonight to do that!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby nasty610 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:12 am

I’ve checked into most of the piggyback stuff. Great if all you need to do is add some fuel but they don’t give you timing control. The ones that do all timing control are designed to pull timing for boost and nitrous. I thought MSD might have something but when I checked their site everything says timing adjustable for boost or nitrous.

Another option is running a full standalone but that’s a lot of money even if you run a Megasquirt. Even running a Megasquirt in parralle with the OE computer is expensive since you have to pay someone to tune it. Honestly wished I done some more research before I started my project. With money I have wrapped up in it now I could have swapped in a v8.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:33 am

nasty610 wrote:I’ve checked into most of the piggyback stuff. Great if all you need to do is add some fuel but they don’t give you timing control. The ones that do all timing control are designed to pull timing for boost and nitrous. I thought MSD might have something but when I checked their site everything says timing adjustable for boost or nitrous.

Another option is running a full standalone but that’s a lot of money even if you run a Megasquirt. Even running a Megasquirt in parralle with the OE computer is expensive since you have to pay someone to tune it. Honestly wished I done some more research before I started my project. With money I have wrapped up in it now I could have swapped in a v8.


Ah, yeah; that's all a bit out of scope of what I'm trying to accomplish. Figure I'll keep mine as close to stock or using stock components as possible both for ease and reliability.

I have looked at Megasquirt stuff for my Samurai when I was toying with a TBI upgrade on it. Those are pretty neat.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:07 am

Totally an aesthetic idea, should I paint the valve covers? If so, what was the factory Isuzu "engine color"? Like Ford was blue, Chevy orange, ect. Or should I just polish up the aluminium?
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby JLEMOND » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:44 pm

ALL ISUZU V6 ENG,S WERE PLAIN UNPAINTED ALUMINUM , 2.6 ALL BLACK EXCEPT THE HEAD AND VLV CVR, LOT,S OF THE 98 AND LATER RODEOS, THAT CAME WITH THE PLASTIC VLV CVR,S CAME PAINTED WITH A SATIN SILVER BUT ALL TROOPERS CAM WITH BARE ALUMINUM , THEY DO LOOK GOOD BUFFED PLAIN AND WITH THE RAISED RIBS PAINTED WHATEVER COLOR, AND SOME OF THE V/X VEH CAME WITH RED PAINTED VLV CVR,S

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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:54 am

Quick update, got a call from the machine shop yesterday and the engine will be ready the end of next week. Everything I can clean and do with the engine out is pretty well done, so that's when the real fun begins!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SupATro.0pA » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:46 pm

Let us know how the injectors go.

You and I are basically running down the same route right now. DOHC swap. Manual. I'm aiming for the injectors upgrade soon. My local muffler guy mentioned custom y pipe, which would eliminate the restrictor all together.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:03 am

Phase I:

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Got the engine back this evening. Plan is to get everything back on it and bolted back into the Trooper by Sunday. If all goes well it will be up and running by the middle of the week.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:00 pm

​​​​Phase I:

Bit of an update, due to work, weather, travel, and other commitments; building the engine back up has been fairly slow going. That hasn't been a bad thing. Its allowed me to take some extra time, double check everything. All told its been a pretty enjoyable project. But, its finally all back together and ready to go in the vehicle again! Plan is Friday evening the engine goes back in, and hopefully firing it up come Sunday!

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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:45 pm

Phase I:

Today a big milestone what hit, finally got the engine back into the vehicle! With a little help from my dad and a friend it went right in. Worst part about the whole process is that the engine mount bolts are in the worst location. No easy way to get to them. But with a little contorting, a universal joint on the ratchet, and two sets of hands it all went together in about an hour.

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Tomorrow I'll be starting early to get the transmission back in and everything else connected. Don't want to rush it, but it'd be sweet if I could fire it up tomorrow evening. Fingers crossed!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby Richey » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:51 am

Looking great man! Glad to see you're buttoning it up while we still have semi-decent weather. Looking forward to seeing it in action.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:29 pm

Richey wrote:Looking great man! Glad to see you're buttoning it up while we still have semi-decent weather. Looking forward to seeing it in action.


That's the hope. Racing the weather now!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:42 pm

Phase I:

Well, plans being what they are, nothing worked out the way it was supposed to yesterday. First, the spindle wouldn't fit into the new pilot bearing that came with the kit (probably should have checked that before installing it). So I had to get another pilot bearing; which fit, but very tightly. So the second go around with putting the tranny up went better, but it was arduous as we wiggled and pulled to get it to go in.

We were slowly going around tightening up all the bolts on the transmission when I observed, "Oh, hey! That lower dust cover need to go in." Well… that dust cover appears to have to be installed between the flywheel and the engine. There is no way to do it otherwise! Not sure how I forgot that after disassembling everything, but here we are. So I pulled the tranny again and will have another go at it today.

All was not failure though. One of my biggest gripes about pulling the transmission on a Trooper is that all the sensors use bullet connectors, which invariably pull off the wire every time you try to separate them.

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So when I dove into this project I vowed to replace all those with weather pack connectors, and I did!

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Find victories where you can!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:17 pm

Phase I:

Here is the offending dust plate properly installed:

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Once that was in place, it was just a matter of getting the tranny back to where it had been 24 hours before. So again, with a lot of pushing, pulling, and wiggling it went in!

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And I was done for the weekend at that point! Getting the transmission installed was way more frustrating than I wanted it to be, and when you're frustrated two things happen a) you make mistakes, b) you're not having fun. I didn't want to make any mistakes and the whole point of this project was for it to be enjoyable. I didn't need the car on the road to get to work on Monday morning so better to take a step back, relax, and come back at it fresh.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:05 pm

Phase I:

Yesterday evening I got to the point of turning the key, and I just heard the starter spinning; which was annoying. Got a new starter this morning, threw it in and…

Watch on youtube.com


Its ALIVE!!! Just need to get all the ancillary stuff bolted back up (exhaust, drivelines, ect.) and it'll be on the road!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:24 pm

Phase I:

The issue with the clutch pedal having no pressure was resolved by using a pressure bleeder. Once that was hooked up, pedal popped right up and held no problem. Reinforcing the idea that sometimes you just need the right tool for the job!

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Now that I had a functional clutch, it was time to get the Trooper on the road again for the first time since August! I needed to get 30 minutes of varied RPM's in with it full of the break in oil, so I pulled it out for some loops around the neighborhood. I didn't romp on it, but it ran great. Good power from low to medium RPM's and it felt butter smooth.

About 15 minutes into the run, I started to hear chattering. I got it back to the house, popped the hood, and yup! Bad valve train chattering on the driver side bank. I figured that this was debris from the rebuild caught in an oil channel. So I drained the break in oil, which was dirty and filled it up with some full synthetic. Started it back up… no change. Still chattering like crazy. I let it run for a bit, hoping that it'd clear up, but it didn't.

I stepped back for a bit (mainly because, ya know, I didn't want to nuke the car from space quite yet). After about an hour I pulled out the old mechanics stethoscope to try and get a better idea of what the noise was and where it was coming from. When I fired up the car; no chattering. Gone. I let it run for about half an hour and it was smooth. So, oil must have done what oil is supposed to do; get into everything. The lifters must have gotten properly lubricated and the debris has cycled out. I've run it about an hour now and the chatter has not returned. I'll run it about 100 miles, then change the oil again. But thus far I'm cautiously optimistic that everything is functioning normally!
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:59 pm

Phase I:

Continuing the theme of "nothing goes quite as planned", I was driving it around this afternoon and started to hear an odd rotational noise. Not from the engine; but more like a driveshaft maybe. Pulled it back into the driveway, crawled underneath to take a look and what do I see? Leaking coolant. So while I was concerned about the rotational noise, suddenly that became a priority. Looks like its leaking from one of the hoses on the back of the engine. Of course. So I'll have to take the plenum off to get to it and check the connections, but I'm willing to bet money it's the one hose I chose to use the original clamp rather than replacing it. Annoying and time consuming, but not the end of the world.

I went back to check on the rotational noise, and it's weird. The output shaft from the back of the T-Case (which is part of the transmission) has a fair amount of play in it; but not so much that I'd generally be concerned. Also, I didn't do anything with the transmission and I've never noticed an issue before. I put it up on jack stands and had my dad run it through the gears. No noticeable noise in 1st, some in second, and progressively more the higher the gears. Almost a grinding noise, but not quite. Now, I did pressure wash the transmission while I had it out, so some water could have gotten in. I was already planning on replacing the oil, just hadn't gotten to it yet. So I'll do that first, but I just can't see how the slight amount of water that could have gotten in would cause this? I was pretty careful when I washed it to avoid the areas where the breathers and the shifters went in, but I guess some likely still got in. Anyone have any other thoughts? Again, no issues before I pulled the engine at the end of August, nothing changed between then and now. Just odd.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby hessmess » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:22 pm

I would take a look at the u-joints and the carrier bearing first. I had a noise like that on my Spacecab and I pulled the boot on the shifter to get a better way to hear it. I did have a bad u-joint, but ended up swapping out the trans as it was making noise too. That solved my problem. That said I have a completely different drive train than you also.
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Re: Project: Stratotrooper

Postby SRN » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:37 pm

hessmess wrote:I would take a look at the u-joints and the carrier bearing first. I had a noise like that on my Spacecab and I pulled the boot on the shifter to get a better way to hear it. I did have a bad u-joint, but ended up swapping out the trans as it was making noise too. That solved my problem. That said I have a completely different drive train than you also.


U-Joints are solid. I'll check out the carrier bearing if the oil change makes no difference thought. Thanks.
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