Japanese SUV goodness: 2001 Isuzu Trooper


Expedition Leader
Here goes:

Cabernet/silver 2001 Isuzu Trooper (known as "Cabbie" around here) with a 3.5L Non-interference motor
Auto tranny
Limited slip 12 bolt rear (G80 code)
Limited trim level with power everything (and everything still works)
164,000 miles when purchased.

Work done to date:

-Timing belt
-Timing belt tensioner
-Timing belt pulley bearings
-Water pump
-Serpentine belt
-ARB bull Bar
-General Grabber AT/2 tires
-Transmission service (6/2015 -clean bill of health)
- OME2929 spring install with front torsion bar crank - 6/2015

Thats about it so far, not including a ton of everyday miles that have shown me this is a solid rig.

And yes, it does use some oil. About a quart every 1400 miles or so.

I'm getting around 16-18mpgs (at least before the bull bar.)
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Expedition Leader
ARB bull bar install: part 1

I try to make it a point to get my girls involved in the mechanical aspects of our house, our cars, and any projects I feel like they can handle. They definitely always get equal parts of tea parties and wrench parties. (If I can help it). :)

This time around they did a tonne to help me with this install, from taking off hardware, removing the stock bumper, to installing the new frame horns/ARB fit kit.

This is a great kit with a FEW surprises/challenges, but it's fairly straightforward. With 5 mounting bolts on each frame horn as opposed to (2) on the stock setup, it's a big improvement in strength.


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Expedition Leader
ARB install: Part 2

The bumper takes a bit of prep to get it ready to install. This is best done on the shop/garage floor. The list of to-do's are as follows

-Turn signal indicator assembly/install
-Winch install
-License plate install
-Bumper "snubber" install


-Aux light install
-Winch control box install

I installed my aux lights afterwards, and haven't installed the control box for my Warn M8000 yet. Both could be done with the bumper off the vehicle, IMO.

As always, it always helps to have a willing shop assistant. :)

Please ignore our messy garage. :D



Expedition Leader
ARB Install, Part 3

Ok, so at this point, you have both your frame horns installed, you've kicked your plastic bumper to the side, and your newly unwrapped and assembled bumper is waiting patiently.

At this point, a floor jack GREATLY helps with install, by placing the bumper on top of it, close to the front of the vehicle, and then jacking it up into place. The bumper slid pretty effortlessly onto the frame horns, once in place, and bolting it with 6 bolts again, was easy as pie.



Expedition Leader
Well, we took "Cabby" on her first extended trip. Pretty mellow, actually. Just a stay-cation weekend that had us on dirt roads, highways and surface streets fully loaded for the weekend.

Some observations:

-rear limited slip is very effective. Never felt the need to be in 4hi on the easy, yet rutted tracks we explored.
-Great to see how we all fit passenger wise
-first trip with the bull bar and winch fitted. Truck seems to handle the weight up front without flinching.
-need a rear seat 12v outlet for kid stuff
-rear suspension upgrade is manditory. We were not heavily loaded in the cargo area and once again the truck was hitting the bumpstops going over roadway joints and if i hit swales too quickly. WAY undersprung.
-overall ride was very comfy, though.
-rear drawers/organization a priority
-need to finish rear table. Love this mod. We actually used it for an impromptu lunch on saturday.


Expedition Leader
Rear table pics, version 1.0.

Definitely not quite complete. Going to pull the entire assembly off the door and coat it in a bedliner type of material. Also have to have to figure out a support system. Cables/chains/gas struts, etc.

I'm also thinking of using the slots in the aluminum to create a table extension that swings out and doubles the overall length of the table.

Cool thing is that it uses factory holes and can go back to stock 100% at this point.


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Expedition Leader
The fronts on all Zu's are way under sprung as well. If you upgrade the rear springs go for the front HD torsion bars as well. It'll feel like a different truck.

Of course that the danger of this road. One upgrade leads to another. Next is the HD shocks. And last time I looked the Calmini HD sway bars for this truck were still available. Huge difference in the curves. They are only a little bigger but they are solid stock where the factory bars are hollow. Can ypu say; "Lean where do you go?)
I was considering the OME rear stock/spring kit. Not aware of what they do for front lift? Maybe just a torsion bar crank?

At that point, it probably makes sense to install some HD bars, like you suggest.


Expedition Leader
Looking great Brian!
Thanks, Ryan! I'm trying to save up and do the "buy once, cry once" approach with this truck. To that end, I'm planning on adding few more things like rock rails, a Safari snorkel and a frontrunner Slimline II rack, but have to do that in stages, fo sho.
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Expedition Leader
Super nice Fall weather outside, while I accomplished a few things yesterday.

1. Pulled off EGR valve for cleaning, in hopes of making Engine code (soft code that comes and goes) go away for a while.

2. spliced original, stock trooper fog light harness into Hella 500's harness so that bumper lights are controlled from dedicated, lit factory dash switch.

Toolbox, tasty drink, and authentic mexican lime/chile chips - I'm all set.


Next on my list

1. Finding a factory map light toggle/switch for the drivers side for the overhead console. The passenger side is there and works great, but the drivers side is curiously missing.

2. Engine Diagnostic dash port cover. Again curiously missing.

3. Source used factory thule or yakima (I have both sets of bars) towers for 2nd gen troopers. It'll be a while till I can afford a Front Runner rack (probably next spring) but I find myself needing the rooftop storage that my Thule box and crossbars afford on a regular basis.

4. With such a tall truck - accessing the rack will necessitate something to stand on, and I plan on adding rock sliders with grip to double as protection AND a step.