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Jason's Rodeo Rebuild **Update 6/29/08**

Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:26 am

Well, work has finally slowed down a little bit and I've gotten the last two weekends off. I've FINALLY gotten a chance to start tearing into my Rodeo....the poor girl has been sitting all alone for far too long! Anyway, things are going well, and I am still in the tear down phase of the project. I'm just happy to be back workin on her, so I had to tell someone.

Got all of the body work out of the way.

Got the rad out and all the other stuff in front of the motor.


.........and there's the valve train. Man it was a lot of work to get down there. Anyway, everything is looking great so far, and I haven't found anything major to be alarmed at. Just a lot of dirt and grime, but I suppose that is to be expected with a 100K+ truck. Next step is to try to clean out all of the lash adjusters and check everything for wear. I'll try to post up more as I go along. I can't wait to get her all clean and back together, so I can finally start thinking about doing some of the fun stuff!
Last edited by jdstuf on Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:37 am, edited 6 times in total.

Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:26 pm

Just wondering what was the issue with the truck ? It was not running at all ?

Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:45 pm

The truck was running, it was just time to do some maintenance. It has the original timing belt, tensioner, and waterpump with 116K.....so I want to replace that stuff. The valve cover gaskets were bad, and it has the infamous valve tick pretty bad. While I've got the covers off, I want to inspect the rocker/rocker shafts for excessive wear and try to clean the lash adjusters the best I can. There's also a lot of oily residue in the plenum and intake, so I need to source that problem and clean everything up.

I'd like to keep this truck for MANY more years, so I'm going to address all these things now before they come back and bite me in the rear.

Project Rodeo Rebuild **Update 2/13/08**

Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:55 am

Well, I got a bit more work done on the Rodeo this week. Thanks to Billy (racer122) for providing the tip of using the starter to bump the crank shaft pulley bolt off. After getting the crank pulley, timing belt, and cam pulley off I was finally able to start taking apart the valve train (which was the whole point of this rebuild anyway).

Here's cylinder bank #2 after I got the cam shaft off. When you're removing the cam shaft, remember that some of the valve springs are compressed, so the whole assembly will be under tension. Start by cracking all of the bolts loose, starting at either end and working towards the center. Doing it in this order will help ensure that nothing will be damaged. At this point you should be able to lift the cam straight up. If you can't break it free by hand, the front cam bearing support overhangs the head by about 3/16" of an inch. Get a brass (soft) punch and tap the underside lightly....this should pop it free.

After getting the cam out you'll have access to the rocker shaft. Now is a good time to wrap some tape around all of the lash adjusters. This will make sure that none of them pop out when you're removing the rocker shaft. Remove the 4 bolts that hold the shaft in, and it should come out pretty easily.

Make sure you get everything laid out in order the way it comes off. It's important not to mix up the rockers once it all goes back together.

So after getting this far, I was finally able to inspect the rocker shafts........and they did NOT look good. Here's what they looked like:

Cylinder bank 1.
Cylinder bank 2.

The rocker shafts should measure between .629-.630" with a wear limit of .623". I checked somewhere where there was no wear to verify this, and it came out good:

And here is what the worst spots measured out as:
Rocker shaft #1 = .612"
Rocker shaft #2 = .615"

So I think that it is safe to say where my lifter tick was coming from! Pretty much all of the rocker contact points on the shaft looked like this....so it looks like they will need replaced. I haven't had a chance to measure all of the rockers yet to see if they are worn. More on that later....

Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:54 am

looking great man i think i need to do this to mine so i can get another 100,000 out of her lol

Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:13 pm

Thanks for posting, please keep us updated :D .

Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:24 pm

Josh93Rodeo wrote:Thanks for posting, please keep us updated :D .

No prob. :D I had grand plans of getting a lot done this weekend, but it didn't exactly work out that way. I was supposed to get a bunch of parts Friday, but I wasn't home when the postman came to sign for them. :evil: Then Mr. Murphy came knocking Saturday, when the left-front caliper siezed on the wife's SUV (which sucks since this is our only running vehicle right now!).

So, I spent most of Sunday cleaning/painting/polishing & getting ready to put everything back together. I plan on getting a lot more done this week, so I will post up when I make some more progress.

Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:54 pm

cool avatar,momma would approve 8)

Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:50 am

Well, I suppose that it is time to post a long overdue update on how the Rodeo project has been coming along. Work has been a PITA lately, and I've had to travel a bit, so progress has been slow but steady.

Here's a nice picture of the completed rocker assembly and all of the shiny new parts:
Everything went together pretty smoothly. Just be sure to use some engine assembly lube on all of the contact points, and give everything else a light coat of motor oil when you put it all together. Before assembling the lash-adjusters, I submersed them in oil, depressed the check valve with a pick, and primed them. After talking the Jerry Lemond, though, I found out that this wasn't necessary. Priming the adjusters won't hurt anything, but Jerry informed me that the motor might run a little rough for a few minutes until everything finds its level. If nothing else, I would recommend cycling some oil through the adjusters just to clean them out.

After installing the new rocker assembly, I gave the valve covers a purdy new paint job:
Make sure you are EXTRA careful when it comes time to torque down the valve cover, 'cuz these suckers are very brittle. I got in a big damn hurry ended up breaking one, and felt very stupid for doing so. Just be sure that you tighten everything in 4-5 stages, and not all in one go. The rubber gasket needs to be compressed gradually and evenly, otherwise you'll just end up busting a corner off like I did.

Next came replacing those evil o-rings for the coolant pipes that run between the cylinder banks. As you can see here, they were leaking pretty good and filling up the valley of the engine block with coolant.
Image [img]
After pulling the coolant pipes off, the o-rings pretty much crumbled into pieces.

Everything is starting to come together for the top end now. Here's a few shots of everything as it was going back in.....hopefully a little bit cleaner and shinier than when it came out! I even painted the "Isuzu" black that is on top of the plenum.

So with all of the top end motor work complete, I was finally able to move onto part 2 of my project: Replace the oil pressure relief valve in the oil pump, overhaul the front suspension, linkages, & drivetrain, and finally a diff drop.

If you are going to be doing any work that requires access to the front axle, it is probably best to remove the steering links. This is pretty easy, and you can actually remove all three links together. With a pitman arm puller, separate the outer tie rode ends, pitman arm, and drag link. Once this is done, you should be able to slide the entire assembly out as one. Just be sure to invest in a decent puller. I broke two cheapie Harbor Freight pullers, and one decent Craps-man puller trying to separate my pitman arm!

Unfortunately, I have an extreme lack of pictures for the front axle removal. Probably had something to do with the fact that I was trying to wrestle it out myself and didn't feel to compelled to snap pics after that ordeal. I do have one very important thing to say though: If you have an early Rodeo such as mine, DO NOT follow the Haynes procedure for the front axle removal. The Haynes rebuild is based on a SOTF axle, and instructs you to remove the drivers side half shaft first. This is not possible on the non-SOTF trucks, because the drives side half-shaft extends the entire length of the axle tube. Instead, separate the passenger side half-shaft first from the axle housing. This will give you enough room to slide the axle housing over to drop it down. Anyway, here's a pic of everything once it came out:

That's all for now. I still have to upload a few pictures of dropping the oil pan and replacing the OPV. I also spent the better part of last night hacking and grinding away at my diff brackets, so I will be sure to post those up when I get the chance.[/img]

Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:06 am

very cool mang...i need to do the same but i don't think my poor ole 2.3 is worth saving...

keep us updated :wink:

Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:27 am

i need to do the same but i don't think my poor ole 2.3 is worth saving...

That makes me sad.

Nice work!


Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:58 pm

Thanks for the update, nice work.
I feel your pain with removing the front axle. It's not really that technical, but it takes a lot of time and is a workout (that thing is heavy).

Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:16 pm

Thanks guys. Yeah, the axle was fun by myself..but not too bad. I'm definetly not trying to put it back in alone, since all I have is one floor jack and my jack-stands are currently holding the truck up. The plan is to get it back in this weekend, so I will need to recruit a volunteer (or two). Payment for services will be in the form of food and/or booze, if any of you local guys are up for some wenching this weekend. :D

Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:21 pm

jdstuf wrote:Thanks guys. Yeah, the axle was fun by myself..but not too bad. I'm definetly not trying to put it back in alone, since all I have is one floor jack and my jack-stands are currently holding the truck up. The plan is to get it back in this weekend, so I will need to recruit a volunteer (or two). Payment for services will be in the form of food and/or booze, if any of you local guys are up for some wenching this weekend. :D
i'd be up to help but your too far...lol as long as theres beer im up for anything...lol

Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:25 pm

'92 pup wrote:
...lol as long as theres beer im up for anything...[/quote]

Yes....I have found it to be quite an amazing motivator when it comes to getting work done. Well, up to a point anyway....then it starts to have quite the opposite effect. But that's another story. :D

Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:26 pm

those valve covers look sweet. i am sooo doing that with my 96 motor swap (into a pup). anyway, you did all that work and didnt change the bypass rubber hoses in the back????or did i miss that? i know the heatercore and those hoses are a PITA to get to when everything is completely put back together. How much did ths shafts set you back and were tehy only OEM???? or aftermarket available?

Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:18 am

Thanks Ron. =) And about the bypass hose, you're right, I didn't replace it. It's a gamble and I'm hoping that it doesn't come back and bite me in the arse. I am working on a budget, which has been far exceeded at this point (oops). I know that it's probably only a $10 part.......but there have been a lot of "only a $10" parts in this project. Unfortunately I just won't be able to do everything this time around. And believe me, there is sure a lot more I would have done if I had the $$. Happy wife = happy life....ya' know what I mean?

The rocker shafts and all of the rockers are OEM, and I got them from everybody's favorite Jerry. I won't quote his price online, cuz' I don't know if he would be cool with that. But they were out of a low mileage motor and they still measured within spec. I can assure you Jerry gave me a killer price on everything. MUCH cheaper that if I would have bought it all new.

Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:30 am

oh i know about Jerry and his prices. im going south this month to buy some new parts from him for a project or two. hes a great guy, prompt with the emails and info too. i know all about the 10.00 parts too, 10 of them equals 100.00 so.....it adds up

Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:01 am

jdstuf wrote:Here's a nice picture of the completed rocker assembly and all of the shiny new parts:

After installing the new rocker assembly, I gave the valve covers a purdy new paint job:


that shiny engine is emitting gold beams...brings a tear to my eye :D awesome post, looking forward to your updates!

Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:44 am

Well, the better half is out of town, so Suzie has been getting some quality time during the past week (yes....she has a name now). The engine is finally all buttoned up, drop diff brackets made, and a lot more parts are a bit shinier. So here's what's been going on:

First, the oil pressure relief valve was replaced in the oil pump. This was one of those "only a $10 parts" that I purchased at the beginning of this project, before I realized exactly how much work went into replacing it. My reasoning for replacement was that I am trying to get the oiling system working as good as it can, and I know that Isuzu had a campaign for replacing these valves a while back. Replacing the valve was a snap....it was just getting to it that took all the work! I felt that the manuals that I have didn't really give enough detail regarding removing the oil pan, so here's the process I went through if anyone else is going to give it a try:

-remove front ARB
-separate outer tie-rode ends, pitman arm, and drag-link
-remove all three steering linkages as one assembly
-remove front axle (I'll skip over this process, as it is quite long within itself. If you want to know more just give me a shout)
-remove starter
-remove passenger side transmission bracket that bolts to the engine block
-remove flywheel inspection plate
-remove oil pan!

Not saying that this is the best or easiest method, but it's what worked for me. Also, a little tip from Jerry that helped a lot for getting all of the allen bolts that hold on the pan: make yourself a 5mm, 1/4-drive hex-socket that is ground down to about 1/4". This will help big time for getting into all of those tight spots. If you've never seen the valve before, here's a shot of the bottom of the motor. The red arrow in the first pic is pointing to the oil pipe elbow, and the valve is directly behind it:


The OPRV is just a spring and a plunger. So just pop off the cap shown here, and put in the new valve. Watch out when you remove the elbow, though. It will be full of oil, and I ended up giving myself an unexpected shower when I pulled it off (much to my wife's amusement).

Now for the fun stuff.......diff drop! Here's the stock diff brackets as they are installed on the half-shafts:


And just for kicks, here's the same half-shaft after a little elbow grease. Who would have thought that the CV were green?


Okay, now here's what the stock diff brackets looked like once they came out of the truck:


After a little bit of cleaning up, they were ready for cutting. I was going to be using a plasma cutter and MIG welder to lengthen the brackets, so the first thing that I did was to tack-weld some angle iron onto the back of the diff bracket. The idea behind this was to help minimize warpage due to heat, and to help hold everything in its native state once it came time to lengthen them.


Next came the plasma cutter....one of my all-time favorite toys. I made a cutting guide to make sure that I got nice, straight cuts. No need to free hand since I don't have a backup set of bracket. As you can see, the guide also has some washers welded to the bottom of it. This spaces the cutting tip off of the material just the right amount, to ensure that I will get a nice, clean cut.


Here's the left side bracket after it was cut:


And the right side too:


After lots of searching and reading up on diff drops on this forum, I went for the recommended 1.25" drop. Working on a flat table, I slid the center section up and welded it into place. The gap left on the bottom was then filled with some scrap 3/16" steel.


Here's both brackets after they were all welded up, and after many hours of grinding everything smooth. My $15 Harbor Freight 4-1/2" angle grinder is my new best friend:


And finally, after the Krylon Touch:


Now poor ol' Suzie is just begging for her axle back:


The plan is to get the axle back in tomorrow....so hopefully from there it will be smooth sailing! I'll let you know how it goes.....

Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:28 am

jdstuf wrote:And finally, after the Krylon Touch:


Very nice work. There's nothing I like better than seeing someone take the time to clean things up and give them a fresh coat of paint. I can't wait to see that next update. ;)

Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:40 pm

Well guys, not much of an update here.....but I did get my axle in yesterday. So, I thought that I would throw up a few pictures of the dropped diff installed. Also, I ended up replacing all of my ball joints, and flipped the UBJ in the process.

Flipped UBJ's:

Right diff bracket:

Left diff bracket:

Front axle shot:

Anyway, I'm heading back east to visit some family for the next few days, but when I return it should only be 2-3 days until she's running again (finally)! Once she's rolling again, here's what I have planned for the near future:

-fab some longer shackles
-add a leaf
-fab a tube brushbar/pushbar
-modify the Smittybuilt step bars for more ground clearance. OR just make some tubular rockrails.
-clean up and install the Yakima rack and gear basket that came with the truck
-Rhino-line everything below the trim line (from bumpers down)
-Clarion headunit and aftermarket speakers (from wife's old car)
-Build a box for two 8" subs and 225 watt amp
-plus more as I think of it......

Happy trails....

Thu May 08, 2008 12:06 am

Great news! The Rodeo has been back on the road for the last 2 weeks, which really makes me happy since I was getting a little tired of taking the bus. :D Here's a little rundown of some of the things that I accomplished since the last post:

First, I guess I have to rant a bit about using big-brand autoparts store stuff. I know that countless guys on here have stories about getting burned by using non-OEM parts, so I guess I will add one more. One of the things that I had replaced during the top-end rebuild was the orings for the two coolant pipes. Figuring orings were not a major item, I chose to pick them up at my local parts store. So, I got the motor all buttoned up, got it up to operating temperature and ran it for around 30 mins. Around this time, I noticed a big ol' puddle of coolant collecting under the motor. After a bit of swearing and removing the intake again, I found that BOTH orings had failed. Learning my lesson, I got a hold of Jerry who sent me the OEM orings....and they are working just fine!

Another thing to mention, is that even after replacing all of the rocker assembly, I still had a noticable tick. It was not the constant clatter that I had before, though. This time, it sounded as if it were only one HLA that was stuck in thk #1 cynlinder bank. After about 150-200 miles though, the Rotella must have done its job and cleaned it out. The old 3.2 purrs like a kitten now, which makes me very happy. :D

The only other major work I have done as of late, has been modifying the front cross member to acommodate the diff drop. Here's a pic of the cutting that I had to do. I had to cut a straight section from the top half of the member, so that it would clear the diff housing. Then I cut a semicircle along the top to clear the front driveshaft:


Then I boxed in the sections that I cut, to rejoin the top and bottom halfs of the member:


Then I slapped a 3/8" steel plate to the backside for some reinforcement:


And here's some shot of the final product, after paint:



Thu May 08, 2008 12:45 am

Thats sweet! 8)

How heavy is that axle lol! Ill be doing the same thing this weekend but none of it is going back in. :wink:

Great fab work on the brackets and crossmeber!Image

Thu May 08, 2008 5:40 am

Man youve been busy. Looks really good. I think your truck is gona live a nice long life :D
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