Will try to get some pictures of my 1998 Trooper on the computer with the new camera. In the meantime I hope to pick up a few bits of information along the way about this vehicle that is relatively new to me. I made the purchase in April 06 after putting a ton of uneventful miles on a 1993 Trooper. After it hit 160k I was certain major problems would be on the way and made sale, but not before I purchased my current Trooper with just over 90k on the odometer.
Being 8 years old, it needed new shocks so Old Man Emu shocks and springs went in along with a few cranks on the torsion bars to level things out.
The engine required work when I made the purchase so two brand new heads and all cooling compents from the radiator to the thermostat were replaced if needed. The drivetrain looked good so all fluids were changed and fittings regreased.
Not wanting to deal with additional front end wear and tear, I put stock sized Michelin LTX M+S tires 245-70-16 tires all around.
Now the engine is quiet after the heads were installed, the ride is smooth with the suspension upgrade and new tires but the best part has got to be the off road capability of this rig.
I have driven it into Canada and bush Alaska under a variety of mud and rough trail conditions comparing it to the other vehicles I have used in the past (Dodge, Ford, Chevy, Mazda, Toyota).
Traction wise, it is among the best I have ever driven and this is without lockers or the factory LSD in the rear. And I would add right now that unless you are an expert in field repairs (involving millions of hungry mosquitos and gnats to keep you company) with extremely limited rescources due to the distance from parts and garages, then sticking with vehicles that have heavy duty factory drivetrain components would be a good idea.
A broken axle, and I have seen many over the course of my 42 years, generally ends the day and often ruins the entire trip so I stick with overbuilt driveline components like the ones I see on the stock Troopers. Everything from the transfer case to the rim feels solid, even under heavy loads. The OME suspension and tires stay on the ground getting the most traction available out of the open differential systems. In fact, the only add-on I make when going off road would be the aggressive four wheel chains commonly used in Alaska to maintain grip when tread patterns tend to fill with tundra mud.
Honestly, as a daily driver that can mix it up in mud, or rocks or broken trail it has been outstanding. In fact, we travesed to the top of Grey Mountain outside Whitehorse Canada (recommend this anyone who wants an excellent day trip) and I left the system in 2 wheel drive just to see when I would lose traction going up the steep switchback grades. Fact was, we reached the top before I had to engage the front end. In a word I was amazed, as was my father who has 50 years worth of Alaskan off-road experience under his belt. In fact, he is looking for a 1999 Trooper to purchase himself.
This all may sound like sales pitch but it's not, if the 1998 Trooper was junk I would say so, and move on to something else. For the 10k I have invested, I don't know of anything that beats it unless money is no option and when those vehicles such as Lexus, Mercedes, Land Rovers, New LandCruisers ect.....show up at he trail head, the first serious obstacle encountered is often the last before heading back. If had 50K tied up in my SUV, I would as well because sometimes there is no gentle way to get through the deep stuff and I learned quickly that this rig, at least in 1998 was well built.
I will close for now and try to get those pics on the site but other than sitting a little high over the tires, this Trooper looks very common but it's a bit more than that when things get rough.