View Full Version : Questions regarding a 1994 Trooper...
08-25-2006, 02:50 AM
I'm looking at purchasing a 1994 Trooper. It has 161,000 miles on it, but has never been offroad and has been owned by the same woman since new. It has had regular maintenance and the owner has kept all of her receipts from the beginning. It has a 3.2 and a 5-speed, with a new clutch. I noticed some dampness around the power steering pump, but she had recently replaced the hose, so it could be residue from when the hose burst. The lifters have a slight ticking, but the valves don't float under accelleration. It definitely needs some suspension work and some new tires, but other than that, I couldn't find anything wrong with it. The asking price is $3000. So, my questions are as follows:
1. Does the price seem fair? I've been scouring ebay and have seen a couple of 94s go for $2500 for the LS packages and a little less miles.
2. Does anyone have any info on the 3.2 liter engine? Are there any known issues that you are aware of?
3. How would this Trooper compare to an FJ60 or 62? Any preferences for one over the other?
Thanks for your time.
08-25-2006, 03:31 AM
First, welcome to ExPo! Jump on in the water is warm! :elkgrin:
Which is a better vehicle and better value ultimately depends on what you want to do with the truck.
Wait for the experts to chime in, but I think the Isuzu 3.2's have the same #1 cylinder oil starvation/disapearing oil problem that the 3.5's have. Make sure she checked her oil regularly. If not you may need to budget for a new engine, it may however last forever too. A remanufactured long block, either 3.2 or 3.5 is about $4,000 after the dust settles. [EDIT: That sounds really wrong, make sure the previous owner checked the engine oil regularly.]
Compared with the Toyota, hmm, good question. Well, neither of them have any power on the highway, but enough grunt for slow off road travel. The Toyota is bigger, you can decide whether that is good or bad. The Trooper should get better gas mileage, but not by tons and neither will be stellar. The Trooper has a much nicer interior than the Fj60 and perhaps a little nicer than the FJ62, but the Toyota's spartan interior is screwed together much better than the Isuzu's nicer one. The Toyota has a much larger selection of mods and goodies available (including new Chevrolet Vortex engines if you are so inclined), but if all you want are basic improvements (bumpers, suspension, lockers, axle and transer case gears) you can get what you need on the Trooper. The Trooper has ambulance style cargo doors where the Toyota is clam shell; which provides a table surface and some minimal protection from the rain, but also gives you struts that you have to replace periodically. I imagine you will be able to sell the Toyota for more than the Trooper when you are ready for a new ride. The Trooper is a more comfortable highway and mall car where the Toyota is more utilitarian truck.
For me it comes down to this. If you want a comfortable car to drive around town and take on some trips, buy the Isuzu. If you are looking for the ultimate expedition platform and have visions of modifications, or simply need more room, it is hard to beat a Land Cruiser. Please don't take this as my bashing the Trooper, I recently bought a '99. I had a tight budget and it fit my family's needs well. I have had a soft spot for the FJ62's ever since high school. My next door neighbor had one. It was bone stock and went everywhere (it was his dad's fishing mobile). Totally bullet proof and big enough to swallow tons of gear and people. They are very utilitarian and that appeals to me. The down side of them is that while there are good deals to be found, generally the ones in good shape command quite a premium. The other issue for me is size. While I long for cargo space, I am not a good enough driver to feel comfortable with a large vehicle on a tight shelf road when I have to pass someone.
If you want to discuss value, I think you can buy a better truck for less money with the Trooper, but I think you can build a better vehicle (that will be worth far more down the line) starting with the Toyota. If I spent less time on the highway and had more money to spend (and if the Trooper didn't fall in my lap) I would have bought a FJ62 and planned a rebuild.
08-25-2006, 04:37 AM
The 3.2 is very reliable, and the 5-speeds were stout.
My uncles Trooper went well over 200,000 miles without issue.
Having owned both a Trooper and an FJ60, here is my opinion, quick and dirty
1. Better road car
2. A big box with higher load line
3. Great articulation
4. Better fuel economy
1. Better long term reliability and parts availability
2. Great resale
3. Bigger rear storage area
The Trooper is actually better off-road, mostly due to the insane rear axle travel, and if equipped, great limited slip. A Trooper can also fit a 33" tire with no lift and no trimming.
So, if you want a competent trail rig and DD for cheap, get the Trooper. For something with some funk factor and endless service life, get the FJ60/62
08-25-2006, 04:39 AM
I purchased my 96 with less miles (129k) for $4000. That was a STEAL! At least for me. :)
I totally dig the Trooper, it does our family quite well up on the Sierras and will be hitting more trails soon too. I too considered a FJ60/FJ62 but the cost of ownership got me bummed. I wasn't looking forward to paying for 11-13mpg. The Trooper is a bit better in this aspect, it's been netting me 16-18mpg.
I also like the compactness of the Trooper vs. the Land Cruiser, but I'm like BigGreen, I have a soft spot for a FJ60/62. If I wasn't so concerned with gas mileage and age, I would have purchased a prime 1988 Land Cruiser with 120k miles on it.
My preference? I would own both! Both are equally capable trucks off the beaten path, and both will (when properly maintained) get you home.
Be sure to watch for Trooper LS, most of these came with the G80 (limited slip diff) option. So those are worth checking out.
Oh, if you plan on swapping engines in the Trooper, it's far easier than you think...check out this link.
08-25-2006, 05:13 AM
Not that I would, but that is really cool.
looper, the one edit that I would add to my post is that I agonized over all the various options and many different price levels, and for my needs and wants, ultimately the Trooper rose to the top as being in the top three pretty much regardless of price and when value was considered it was a clear winner.
One thing I would caution you about is try to drive a couple as they don't seem to be created equally. The first one I drove was a 2000 with 30,000 mi. and it looked like it just rolled off the show room floor. However, it rattled like an old trash can from seemingly everywhere at once. My '99 has more than 100k on the clock and has a couple rattles only and I know the past owner wheeled it hard and often.
Is the Trooper an acceptable off road vehicle? This guy (http://www.4x4now.com/pp1197.htm) seem to think so.
08-25-2006, 05:46 AM
Trooper with a Northstar V8? That sounds like a killer combination to me :smiley_drive:
08-25-2006, 08:40 PM
I have a 98 with the 3.5 and almost 120K. Best car I have ever owned. I do go through a bit of oil, but as long as you are aware of it, and check your oild at every fill up, you will have no problems. The older 3.2's do have the oil consumption issue, but not as bad as the later 3.2's and 3.5's. The valve tick is common on these engines and is really nothing to worry about. Take it for a drive (a long one if you can) and get a feel for the truck. I am sure it will not dissapoint. With the mileage on my truck I only get a rattle from the 2/3 door when I do not clean the dust out of the latch and hinges, and I rarely clean the dust out, so that shuld tell you that the rattle is not very bad. I use my Trooper as my DD and comfort is very nice, and capability off road surprised me the first time I really pushed it (last years rally) and it still amazes the neigh-sayers when they see it in action. Now, the FJ 60/62 are nice, and I hope to own one one of these days, I will not put the Trooper out to pasture, or get rid of it until it literally can not go anymore.
08-25-2006, 09:49 PM
I definitely leaning towards a Trooper. Whatever I get will definitely be used; hunting, fishing, hauling the nephews and dogs, weeklong excursions, etc. I guess my main concern is reliability.
I drove the 94 and it definitely needs some suspension work. It seemed quite "loose". The steering was also a bit sloppy. I went back today and noticed that one of the lower links had a slight bend in it.
I think I may be able to find an LS with the same or lower miles for around the same price. I've been noticing a ton of them on the road around here, mostly driven by women.
Thanks again for all of the replies. I'll be sure to keep you updated on my purchase.
08-25-2006, 11:07 PM
Yeah, the Trooper is definitely a soccer mom car. Not sure why, probably marketing, and I will include the soft springs shipped on US models under marketing.
One big difference between the Trooper and Toyota is the shape of the cargo area. By comparison the Trooper's cargo area is very short, but tall and wide (more square) where the Toyota is more rectangular. If you plan on carrying long cargo this might be a big strike against the Isuzu. I really dislike it, but it is a compromise I was willing to make to keep a compact size. By comparison, the Trooper is several inches shorter than my Pathfinder, but has a lot more interior space for both people and gear. My wife's Subaru puts them both to shame for hauling anything long; like a bike or skis. I can easily toss a bike in the Pathfinder with out removing the wheels, but not on the Trooper.
08-26-2006, 02:17 AM
My Trooper has been the best value in a vehicle that I have ever had. I could buy two troopers for the same price as a 60. Don't get me wrong I love the cruisers, I have owned a 40 and a 25 ( should never have sold it.)
I strongly recomend finding one with a limited slip. It greatly increases off road capability.
I do not know about long term reliability as my Trooper has very low miles. but total repairs to date are around 25 dollars.
I have been very pleased with the Trooper off road. All they really need is a minor suspension upgrade, and tires, and they are ready for some serious trails.
08-26-2006, 02:30 AM
It is strange how some SUV's become Soccer mom cars - There are a TON of Soccer moms driving Land Rover Discoveries around these parts - it makes no sense to me. The Discovery is overbuilt for mall duty - it is noisy, heavy and combersome compared to, say - a Highlander or Pilot...but for some reason the Mall moms love them - go figure.
I went from a Freelander to the Trooper - so, for me, I felt like I was gaining a ton of room - we refer to the cargo area with the seats folded up as the "Dog's Condo" because there is so much more room than the Freelander had - so for me the Freelander felt big, and the Cruiser is like a warehouse...
I looked at a Land Cruiser before I bought the Trooper - but it was a newer one, I think it was a 2000. I really liked it - huge, comfy, and very capable...but it was more than I wanted to pay, even with 88k on it.
I got so much more for my money, that it really made the Trooper worth it, I think. I spent less, and found one with 35k miles on it. Roomy, comfy, capable, and it will only cost me a few bucks to fix the weak-in-the-knees suspension.
09-06-2006, 09:21 PM
Looper, any updates? :box:
09-14-2006, 12:20 AM
Scott, the FJ60/62 can fit 33x10.5's with the stock suspension (provided it hasn't completely sagged).
09-14-2006, 12:23 AM
They can flex too. :ylsmoke:
I've had my 62 for 16 years now and it has been as reliable as people claim. Taken me to every trail and brought me home as well. This doesn't mean there are trade-offs. Gas mileage sucks, I am happy to see 10-12. They don't ride very nice, and even though mine is SOA, I still long for something a little more cush on the highway. No power whatsoever, although it tractors along the trail like a champ (gotta love the low end torque of the 3fe inline six). I will never get rid of this truck, but I would love to add a Trooper to the stable. It would be built for less extreme trails, and more for camping and light expedition use. I have to admit that I am new at the whole "expedition" thing, but I am quickly becoming addicted. I think the Trooper would be a better option if you put a lot of miles on the pavement (as a daily driver or on the highway in between trails on a cross country expedition).
09-14-2006, 03:09 AM
Looper, any updates? :box:
Yes, I just bought the 94 Trooper. I was looking around for the last couple of weeks and couldn't find anything close to the value/performance. I ended up getting it for $2750. Now, I need to get some new tires for it.
09-14-2006, 03:53 AM
WOW DBS311, your 62 is incredible. What a classy machine.
My 60 fit 31x10.5's with no issue and did well on the trail. I was just always paranoid about bashing the rear end, being such a clean truck. The Cruisers will always be cool and have great style.
09-14-2006, 04:30 AM
Thanks Scott. Just to clarify, my 62 is the red one. The white one belongs to a guy on ih8mud (Gary C.).
That is another drawback with the 60/62, the long hind quarters loves to smack terra firma. Then again, throw on a steel bumper and no more worries.
I gotta admit, my interest with Troopers all started from bumping into your website and checking out all the pics/vids/build up of yours. I never noticed them before and now I just have to get one! I am torn between the late model Trooper and the '05+ Tacoma. Recommendations for light duty expedition travel??? I am thinking about possible cross country trips hitting trails along the way......possibly up to Alaska or across Canada. The only thing that worries me about the Trooper is aftermarket support. Are there really no options for throwing in different gears? Can an ARB be put in the rear?? Thanks for answering my noob questions.
09-14-2006, 05:03 AM
You can re-gear a late model Trooper, but the options are limited. If you can find them, some late 1st generation Troopers came with 4.77 gears that can be swapped in, which will help you out a little, but not too much (I think stock is 4.60). For really big tires, even the 4.77's would probably be too high.
You can get Terra Low transfer case gears for 4-wheel low - those have great reviews, although there is a lot of labor involved to install them. Terra Low used to make diff gears for Troopers, but I think they stopped.
You can do ARB's front and rear, but in a Trooper with a rear Limited slip, you'd have to swap out the diff for an open one (ARB designed the locker for the open diff). There was supposed to be a Lockright diff being made for the rear, but I am not sure if that ever came about or not. You can always weld the rear end, too - but from what I have read and been told, a front ARB with the factory LSD in the read is pretty effective for most situations.
There are not lots of the fancy aftermarket stuff for Troopers, but most of the basic stuff is available - lift, lockers, HD suspension components. Scott can chime in with a lot more info, but you can check out www.independent4x.com to see some of the stuff available.
Oops - sorry to sound like an Isuzu commercial - I think Toyota's are great, too!
09-14-2006, 06:59 AM
looper, hurray for the '94 Trooper:luxhello: . 1992-1994 are my favorite Troopers :wings:
I've been in love with my 1993 Trooper for almost 5 years now:sunflower
I recently bought a '95 Toyota LC but I do not have the heart to get rid of my zu-zu.
Too many good times together:truck: :smiley_drive: :1888fbbd: :friday:
As long as you're not in a hurry go get anywhere, it will serve you well.
Don't forget to visit the forums at www.planetisuzoo.com
09-22-2006, 04:49 PM
Bootzilla, thanks for the info. It sounds like all the necessary components for an expedition rig are available, so that is good news. If I got a Trooper, a mild lift, lockers, and some body protection are all I would need since they are already built so well from the factory.
Another question...........I was reading another thread about somebody breaking CV's on his Trooper and there was debate on whether or not it is something that can be changed out rather easily. Does the diff in fact have to be dropped down/out to pull the CV's, or is it relatively straight forward? Thanks for the help!
09-22-2006, 06:37 PM
Karson, that was me that broke my CV on my Trooper, and yes, the diff does have to be dropped to remove the CV's. Not an easy field repair. What I did learn though, is that if the inner joint is fine, then you can actually rebuild the inner joint with a new axle relatively easily. But, if you only lift it mildly, put manual hubs on it, and keep an eye on you boots you should not have a problem with the CV's. My failure was due to my lack of preventive maintenance. The outer boots were torn, and I knew it, but I did not replace them. Then, through water crossings, dusty roads, and a little mud thrown in for fun the DS outer CV finally gave out. But this was after a year of neglecting the boot issue and lots of off road travel.
As far as lockers, if you get one with the G-80 LSD you really do not need a locker in the rear. This is a great set up and will serve your needs well. ARB does make lockers for the front diff though if you want to go that route. I say get the Trooper. Mine has never let me down, and I have over 120K on the odo. And, I am still running the OEM brakes from the factory. Very solid truck, and very capable. I am running the original suspension, and a few weeks ago at Gunsight a couple of the guys behind me commented on the articulation of the rear suspension. They could not believe it was stock, and with 120K on it. And, Scott can confirm this. Though, the new Taco's are pretty sweet as well.
09-22-2006, 07:17 PM
Taco smucko. :D
09-27-2006, 04:48 PM
Thanks for the info Aaron. It does make more sense that they failed from lack of maintenance. After lurking on various Isuzu forums I have never read or seen many threads on broken CV's. As I research more, I find myself leaning towards the Trooper. If I finally pull the plug and buy one, it won't be too long before I have my own build-up thread here.
09-27-2006, 05:03 PM
They are indeed a great bargain. For the money, you get great value, great performance, usability, reliability, and ruggedness.
Can't beat that for the price you pay! Sadly the only thing missing from these great trucks is the aftermarket segment. Oh well. Nothing a MIG and some friends can't do. :D
09-27-2006, 05:14 PM
It does pay to know an excellent fabricator!
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