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Old 02-26-2004, 04:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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trooper buying questions

i'm going to buying a SUV 4x4 for my wife soon and the trooper has been suggested....i like the look of the troopers and they seem to have tons of interior space. this rig would be used as a DD and the occasional jont offroad ( minor/mild 4x'ing )...are these good trucks for this??? are they reliable?? what motor is the best??why?? hows the drivetrain ( strength & reliablity )???

i am considering other SUV's as well....the 2 others are the chev s-10 blazer/jimmy or the cherokee. gimmy your input on the troopers and why i should go with the isuzu.....are they frame or uni-body??? i have never really heard anything about the troopers so this is why i'm asking...

PS - looking for around the 87-91 years
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Old 02-26-2004, 04:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They have a nice'n'beefy fully boxed and braced frame (no unibody shit here!) Look for a '89 and up model for the better axles (Isuzu 12bolt rear, 10 bolt front). I think for the years listed, you are limited to the 4cyl engines. So out of the two options, the 2.6 fuel injected engine is better than the 2.3 carb....... though the 2.8 chevy engine may have been an option at that time. I'll let the Trooper experts jump in for the rest before I start making stuff up

BTW, check out www.independent4x.com to see all of the fun toys you can buy for a Trooper (or any other Zu). I have thrown a lot of cash at the owner, and his customer service is some of the best I have ever experienced. He goes by TrooperRS on this board........ and will probably be popping in to help with your questions.
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Old 02-26-2004, 06:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i like the boxy look of the 87-91 troopers.......and from what i've heard to look for the 2.6 because the obvious 2.8 GM motor is crap....but the look for 3&4 gen heads because they don't warp like the 1&2 heads.......are the 2.6's way too underpowered???
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm driving a '90 with a 2.6 and I think it's a great truck. If you don't plan to do any major modifications to the drivetrain (read: motor swap) then it is great. The motor lacks in power a little (some will complain that it is a lot, but it's only a 4 banger), but I'm running a header, K&N filter, and custom exhaust to aleviate that. When I put in a torque cam and upgraded throttle body I truly expect to see its full potential. Currently, the truck has 31" Bridgestone A/Ts, and I don't have a problem getting where I want to go (I am not hardcore). All around it is a great daily driver/excursion rig.

Major problems, as you hit on, are in the cooling system. The head, water pump, and t-stat were replaced just before I bought it, and I am now replacing the clutch fan and radiator, with a new 2 row model, for a fully refreshed cooling system.

In your area (Abbotsford) there is a guy that goes by Grampa on this board. He is a great guy who has extensive experience with his 2.6L Trooper (albeit he is now going to a 283 sbc plant). I'm sure he'll chime in, but I would suggest connecting with him so you can get some first hand (and possibly face to face) time with an experienced owner (and just all around nice guy).

I hope this helps you and am glad I can finally contribute to the knowlege base here (with the limited knowlege that I have).

Later...

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Old 02-26-2004, 08:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by canadian86
are the 2.6's way too underpowered???
Compared to what Lets put it this way, the 2.6 in my Amigo was fine with the stock 31x10.50's and stock 4.56 gears...... and was slightly better once I hopped it up a bit. Its not a HP monster by any means, but its also not dangerously underpowerd.

With that having been said........ when I am doing something on the Amigo, I drive a 302 powerd F-150. Drive that for a couple of weeks, when I start driving my Amigo again, its like WTF is wrong with this thing So its not a bad engine, but if you're used to a V8 or strong V6, it seems rather anemic.

Per cylinder head life: the earlier castings are weaker, but the numbering system is messed up. So a head that is a #1, it may actually be a #6 (1st head from that round of castings). Thats a poor and simplified example, but hopefully you get the idea. The main thing is to keep the vavles adjusted every 15k miles and change the coolant every 2 years.

If you do get a cracked head, improved aftermarket castings are available from www.aluminumheads.com I am running one of their aftermarket castings (usually refered to as an AMC head) and think its great. Never heard anything bad about the AMC heads from the people running them.
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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what year did they get good heads??? i've heard 89+ has the good heads.....what can i do to fix the coolant problem??
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yup I'll chime in here. Like I said on BC4x4, troopers are cool. As for head castings, I went with a #4 casting after my #2 pooched, and overheated it a few times when playing with different performance mods(cam timing etc) and it never skipped a beat. As for power, compare it to a 22re... the 2.6 is way more powerful than the toy and you can feel it. Most people are comfortable running 33"s and stock gearing. If you need specific info you might want to enquire on 4x4wire.com and search on the forums for what to look for, and you can also give me a call at my shop during the day. 1 800 820-7774. Its toll free in BC incl the island. The biggest thing to look for up here is rust on the frame and body panels. Its really common for the front fenders to rust, but theyre cheap through Lordco or any other parts store... just dont buy one with a rusted back door or rockers etc. One thing about troops is that most of them have never seen a dirt road nevermind 4wd so the running gear is usually in exellent shape.

You'll probably want to get an LS model as they have most if not all the options, and check the option codes under the hood and look for G80... thats the code for posi rear end. Cant remember the code for the 4:77 gears, but I'll look it up.
Give me a call and we'll talk about this more
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Old 02-26-2004, 11:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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As far as cooling, the 2-row aftermarket radiator seems to be the best upgrade. I got mine for $128 (USD) shipped to my door.
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Old 02-26-2004, 11:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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is it just that there is not enough coolant that can be held in the rad or is it poor coolant circulation????
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Old 02-27-2004, 06:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I'm not exactly sure on that, but it looks like the new radiator will aleviate both of those issues.
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by canadian86
is it just that there is not enough coolant that can be held in the rad or is it poor coolant circulation????

No, the stock cooling system is adequate when properly maintained. The problems start to happen when people never flush it and put in new coolant. This should be done every 2 years. The problems also happen when people never adjust the valves. The longer they go unadjusted, the tighter they get and you start having excessive heat build up. Iron block + aluminum head + too much heat = fawked head
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Old 02-27-2004, 10:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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No, the stock cooling system is adequate when properly maintained. The problems start to happen when people never flush it and put in new coolant. This should be done every 2 years. The problems also happen when people never adjust the valves. The longer they go unadjusted, the tighter they get and you start having excessive heat build up. Iron block + aluminum head + too much heat = fawked head
This may be true as this is the way Isuzu designed it. However, I have read a lot that people are changing over to the 2-row radiator. The head on mine had already popped once, was still running warm when I got it, and the radiator started pissing when it was cold during a 1000 mile trip. This led to the need of a replacement, so I will start fresh with a system flush and 2-row radiator. Again, all of the other components have already been changed, and peace of mind is a wonderful thing. I can't speak for prior owner maintenance on my vehicle, but I can say that the proper upkeep that you speak of is happening now.
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Old 02-27-2004, 10:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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As far as power goes. I think its more than adiquate. The trooper isnt realy a heavy truck, but Isuzus are built vary well. I came from driving around a 1.8L Isuzu truck and when i got my 2.6L Trooper the power felt about the same. Good but not earth shattering by any means. But that was whith 150K on the clock and a dead cylinder. The motor is now just waiting on one part for final assembly. Troopers are great trucks and i vary much look forward to driving mine
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Old 02-27-2004, 01:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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how do you adjust the valves???i'm a weekend DIY'er, could i do it?? or do you have to take it to a shop??? how much??
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Old 02-27-2004, 05:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I would not overlook the GM2.8 if its available in the years/cost you are looking for. It is a very simple and reliable engine. parts are extrememly cheap and very available since it is a very popular engine.
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Old 02-27-2004, 05:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I haven't done the ones on this truck yet, but on my last truck all that you needed to do was remove the valve cover, loosen up the rocker arm keeper nuts, use a flat head screw driver on the adjustment post with a feeler gauge of the right thickness to set it, and tighten the nut back down. The last truck had the Isuzu 1.8 so I would assume the procedure to be pretty close to the same. It shouldn't need to be taken to the shop for this. A manual with the right gap info should be all you need.
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Old 02-27-2004, 06:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Its a rocker over cam style so you adjust do it how Kuranosuke says. Hr tops for your 1st time doing it.
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Old 02-27-2004, 07:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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yes the valves are perty easy to adjust. Im perty shure all the valves are simmilar in working in all of Isuzus early engines. Just get a shop manual and some flat feeler gages and your good to go
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Old 02-27-2004, 10:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I would not overlook the GM2.8 if its available in the years/cost you are looking for. It is a very simple and reliable engine. parts are extrememly cheap and very available since it is a very popular engine.
So what do you all say about the 2.8?? i heard that the 2.6 is the only wat to go.......i haven't seen too many GM 2.8's that last too long
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Old 02-27-2004, 10:39 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I vote 2.6
2.8 main bearings grenade all the time and you'll have a hard a time finding a good used 2.8 block up here and theyre just as expensive to rebuild as a 2.6... The only problem I've ever seen with the 2.6 is cooling related, and the bottom end is beefy and IMO almost impossible to destroy. Trust me I've tried

One nice thing about the 2.8 is that when it goes, you can swap in a whole bunch of different motors... pretty much any 60 deg. GM block, like the 3.4.

I'll be at the shop all day sat. swapping my axles so if you want to call and pick my brain go ahead.
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:58 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Regarding the 2.8 - be aware that the early 2.8 that was in 80's camaros and pre-87 cherokees is NOT the same 90+ 2.8 that's in troopers.

It's the same block family, true enough, but it's got a simple/reliable TBI setup rather than the crap carb the cherokees got, and the crank and mains are significantly beefier.

I won't say it's the world's greatest engine, but nearly all of the time when someone is questioning the reliability of a 2.8 they're talking about the early ones, not the later ones.

that said, mine's got 150k and no problems. The engine starts, runs and drives like a new one and I don't lose oil between changes.

I'm not trying to sway you to the 2.8, you can get whatever engine you please - just stating that if I were to buy another trooper right now, i'd put more consideration into the overall condition of the vehicle and I wouldn't much care which mill's under the hood. (strictly speaking 2.6 vs 2.8)
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:27 PM   #22 (permalink)
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i dont know, i would still go for the 2.6L. Its not too many fewer cubs and the performance is roughly the same. The benifit of the 2.6L is multi port injection so it will get better millage and more mains to cylinder count. Just get a new aftermarket head for the 2.6L and your good to go.
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:31 AM   #23 (permalink)
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what are the HP & ft/tq #'s for the 2.6??
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:54 AM   #24 (permalink)
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with the 2.8 you have more swap options for when you realize that neither engine is sufficient

the troopers usually weigh around 4500 lbs and the stock engines probably are putting 80-90 hp to the ground. the 2.6 can be tweaked for higher rpm hp, but not much more torque than stock. the 2.8 you can squeeze more than the 2.6, but not a shitload more. get a trooper with a blown 2.8. swap in a 3.4, bolt on some goodies, stick a low-mid range cam in it, and light up the rear tires at will

my 2 pennies

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Old 02-29-2004, 01:50 PM   #25 (permalink)
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the 2.6L makes 125hp @ 4500rpm and 150 lb-ft @ 3600rpm.
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