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Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:57 pm

Hi all,

I just moved to Phoenix and acquired this Rodeo. I'm sure you'll see me around asking naive and foolish questions as I slowly fix it up. Thanks in advance for your sage advice!

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:08 pm

I forgot to mention that it's a 3.2 v6. 265000 miles. It runs great, but here's a list of immediate-term repairs I have planned for it:
  1. Replace shocks
  2. The back seat backrest doesn't latch up. Figure out why & fix it.
  3. Find the source of the slow oil leak and fix that.
  4. Replace the passenger-side rearview mirror which was epoxied back on at some point.

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:12 am

Super clean! Rust free?

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:02 am

Pretty much. There's some rust, of course. But it seems to be just surface-level. Time will tell. I'll be cleaning it up inside and out over the next few months.

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:35 am

You made the right choice in buying a rig with manual transmission, the automatics in these are very troublesome.

IIRC you have a MUA5 transmission or one of its variants; that and the transfer case take motor oil. So be careful if you have the oil changed by one of the "quick-ee-lube" places, it's a common thing for them to want to use gear oil, which will damage the bearings and other important bits in the tranny.

Here's a good reference for vehicle fluids, at the Amsoil site:

https://www.amsoil.com/lookup/auto-and- ... -code-v-v/

Rockauto.com is a good place to look for replacement parts:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/isu ... v6,1176960

http://www.car-part.com is a good online wrecking yard database, you can search for used parts locally, or all over the country and beyond.

I've used this site a number of times in the past and they usually have decent deals on mirrors and many other items:


eBay Motors can be an excellent resource for new and used parts. Look up part numbers elsewhere then do a search, many times I've found better deals.

How's the engine sounding, any irritating ticking? These do have a tendency for valvetrain click. If yours is quiet, it's a good one!

Use a good grade of synthetic oil and it'll help keep the engine clean and reduce the chance of having any valvetrain issues. Don't use oil with higher-than-recommended viscosity, a lower-viscosity oil (as per the recommended temperature range) will flow better on cold starts and keep the rocker arm lash adjusters happy.

Use a quality oil filter; Wix, Napa Gold, Mobil 1 are all good choices. Even the Fram higher-grade filter does a decent job. Stay away from the bargain basement filters, they're doing your engine no favors.

The 3.2 is a non-interference engine, so if the timing belt breaks the engine will just stop, but no damage will occur. Hydraulic belt tensioner(s) can be a source of noise. If your rig has a lot of miles and you have no documentation of a belt renewal, it's probably something to add to your list. There are comprehensive How-To threads here, just use the search engine to find relevant info. Plan on changing the water pump and tensioner(s) at the same time, it's a lot of labor to break into the timing cover area, and you don't want to do it again because of pump or tensioner failure.

That's just a few things, I'm sure others will chime in with more tips.

Congrats on your purchase and Welcome to the Planet!.......ed

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:37 am

BTW if you find any Honda Passports at the Pick-n-Pull, etc, they're an excellent source of parts for your rig, as they are just a re-badged Rodeo.

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:06 pm

Thank you for your very detailed and helpful welcome, ed! I'm learning a lot searching the forums and wrenching on my Rodeo already.

Ed Mc. wrote:How's the engine sounding, any irritating ticking? These do have a tendency for valvetrain click. If yours is quiet, it's a good one!

In regards to this.. I do hear some intermittent ticking/clicking sounds from the engine - cold and hot, no difference. Is this indicative of a worrisome condition? Or merely an annoyance?

I think I read something somewhere about mitigating it with good oil, and maybe a different weight oil even. I also have a relatively minor oil leak I need to get to, and I'm a little concerned that switching to really high quality motor oil will worsen the leak.

If you can point me to any threads or have any advice on that front, I'd be appreciative. Thanks, again!

Re: Proud new owner of a 1996 Rodeo 4WD Manual

Sun Jan 24, 2021 6:40 am

I would switch to a hi-miles synthetic oil. BTW Costco has a killer deal on synth oil right now if you happen to have a membership. 12 qt for around $22. Hi-miles oils have additives that can soften rubber seals and some gaskets, to help them seal better. You never know, it might even stop your leak!

You can use a thinner oil to help flush out the small oil passages in the hydraulic valve lash adjusters (HLA's). They tend to varnish-up over time and this will cause some ticking. But you're in Phoenix so Zero weight would be OK with a cold engine, but if you were to use, say, 0W-20 the oil has an max temperature range of 59 Deg F. You could safely use 0W-30 in Phoenix up to 86 deg F.

You can also add some Seafoam carbon-cleaning additive to the oil, 1 oz. per quart of oil. It's good stuff and won't hurt your engine.

https://seafoamworks.com/knowledge-base ... am-in-oil/

Available at Walmart, NAPA, most other auto parts stores.

Isuzu actually put out a TSB about lifter noise, and their initial step was to refill with Mobil 1 0W-30 and run the engine at 2500 rpm for 30 minutes to help clean the lifters and purge air out of them. The TSB had additional steps all the way up to replacing the HLA's if the flush/purge wasn't successful.

What I'd do is run the engine with 0W-30 and Seafoam for at least 500 miles. Not gonna hurt it. I stumbled across an old post where they were using 0W-30 Castrol Syntex in their 3.2 all the time and it was very happy with it. Keep an eye on your oil pressure and as long as it's no alarmingly low, you're ok.

Anyway, if the oil/Seafoam is gonna work, you should know within 500-1000 miles. Then I'd change it out regardless, including new filter.

Far as oil leaks go, you can get some of the fluorescent dye that can be added to the oil. An inexpensive UV light reveals the offending leaky area.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/1-OZ-UV-DYE- ... S/47907691

BTW a slight ticking from the fuel injectors wouldn't be unusual.

Noises that come-and-go are usually something engine-oil-related, though.

One other area for some nasty noises on these engines is the hydraulic belt tensioner. When they go bad, they can slap around, metal-on-metal, and it can sound just like a rod knock. And it does sound really nasty, not just a "tick". So maybe not what yours is doing at this time.

I have a copy of the ZuZu TSB if you'd like it; just drop me a P.M. with your email address and I can sent it to you; the site doesn't allow posting of .pdf files.

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