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Isuzu Trooper



  • Guys, overloading your Trooper (or any other vehicle) is asking for problems down the road at best and maybe a white-knuckle surprise at worst. The Trooper is rated to tow 5,000 lbs with a max hitch weight of 500 lbs. That's all models (at least for model year '01 - not sure about other years, but I suspect it's been that way for awhile). Keep in mind that the 500 lbs hitch weight counts as part of the ~1,000 lbs max cargo load (varies by trim level from around 1,160 for the S to 1,010 for the LS to 895 for the Limited). Passengers/driver, fuel, and anything you throw in the back also counts as cargo. FWIW, a full tank of gas is just over 100 lbs. If you figure two people @350 lbs, gas at 100 lbs, and a hitch load of 500 lbs, you're just about maxed out.
    Sure, you can exceed it some, but you're overloading the chassis, suspension, and drive train. If you do it very often, you'll most likely have to take Isuzu up on that 10yr/120k mile warranty. A good weight distributing hitch will help some, but you still can't (or at least sholdn't) exceed the front and rear Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR) or vehicle's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Check the sticker on the driver's door pillar for the limits (the rear GAWR is 3,085 lbs, IIRC). It's also a good idea to pump the tires up to max allowable pressure if you're towing any significant weight. How good of a hitch you get depends on how deep your pockets are. A top of the line Hensley weight distributing anti-sway hitch will run you around $2,500 (but they don't have a custom fit for the Trooper ;-( The best way to select the hitch is to decide what trailer and load you'll be towing and shop for a hitch that will safely handle it. It'll pay in the long run to get the best hitch - matched to your load - you can afford. It would also be a good investment to take your rig, once loaded and hitched up, to a truck scale and pay them to check your weights (front & rear axles, trailer tongue weight, and trailer weight.
    Suspension upgrades (shocks, springs, bushings, etc.) don't increase any of the above limits - it says so on page 9-3 of my owner's manual in a bright yellow caution sidebar. At least the tires aren't a problem. The 684's on my truck say max load limit is 2,094 lbs. Now way I'll come close to putting 4,000 lbs into the truck!
    Keep in mind the Trooper wheelbase is just over 108". A rule of thumb I've seen a couple of places says the ideal is a 115" wheelbase for a 20' trailer, increasing by about 4" for each additional foot of trailer. It quickly becomes impractical, but you get the idea. That's why the anti-sway devices help out. Also, independent rear suspension is better for towing than the leaf springs on the Trooper. Leaf springs translate lateral push from the trailer into twisting of the chassis, which wants to shove the rear end (rubber where it meets the road) around laterally. A large surface area, a little wind (say from a passing semi), and a winding road can make things squirrelly. IRS doesn't do it.
    I'm no trailer towing expert. Heck, I don't even play one on TV, but I have been doing a LOT or reading the last couple weeks. I'm in the market for a travel trailer (aka camping trailer) and am doing my homework just like I did before I bought my Trooper. I like to think I made a smart purchase on the truck and I'm trying to do the same by matching a trailer to it that it can handle. I really like the Trooper and don't want to abuse it and I sure don't want to endanger myself by over-extending the truck. I've narrowed it down to a couple of ultra-light trailers that run 3,500 to 4,000 lbs with a hitch weight of 350-400 lbs (dry weights). These trailers will carry a surprising amount of cargo, too. Some of them upwards of 1,800 lbs. With proper load balancing, I can carry quite a bit of stuff in the trailer and still stay under the 500/5,000 limits.
    I guess the bottom line is that it's your truck and your life. Use them as you see fit.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    In all your research, you didn't realize that the Trooper doesn't (and hasn't since '92) had rear leaf springs? It has a rear 4-link Coil spring suspension.

    I agree, normally if you tow on a 24x7 basis you should tow about 75-80% of the max trailer weight. Had I backed the car onto my trailer the tounge weight would have been 500 or less and would have towed much better. Also I'm not so sure of the IRS being better than Leaf springs. From what I've read rear leaf springs are actually better for towing, but you seem to have done your homework.

  • drmpdrmp Posts: 187
    The rear suspension has 2 lower links, 2 upper links and a lateral link or Panhard rod. it is very similar to the Pathfinder, 4-runner, and Sequoia.
  • My 1995 Trooper-S has a single upper link from the top center of the differential housing and two lower links from the outer axle near the wheels. These three links all lead forward. The large verticle distance between these points and the way they are attached gives excelent leverage to counteract the opposite reaction of the axle to the tires pushing the road. The lower links resemble the traction bars they put on dragsters to counteract the twisting from turning the tires. The 4th link is the link from one side of the axle to the frame on the other side of the Trooper. Again the mounting angle gives this bar excellent leverage. I am impressed by how well thought out yet simple the Trooper rear suspension is. I am suprized that this has not been copied by other SUVs or trucks. There are coil springs holding it up and external to the springs the shocks are easy to change.
  • I am about to install the sway bar poly bushings. Where else on the Trooper suspension can Poly bushings be used? Has anyone installed all possible poly bushings? I imagine the road feel was excellent. Was there too much road feel, to rough a ride as a result?
    Thank You
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    4-link is correct '92->'02
    on Trooper and Vehicross.

    5-link is correct on '98->'02
    on Rodeo and Axiom

    '9x->'97 Leaf Springs
    on Rodeo

    '8x->'91 Leaf Springs
    on Trooper

  • to Paisan and everyone else for erring on the Trooper's rear suspension. I was going from what I had read in one of the RV'ing forums. Apparently the writer was talking about an older Trooper - he didn't say what year and I never thought to verify the info. Needless to say, I'm very happy to be wrong!
    I also want to apologize to anyone I offended with my earlier post. I've read it a couple of times and I'm afraid it comes off too strong. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do but was just trying to share some info I've dug up.
    We drove down to Richmond, VA yesterday and made a deal on a 24 foot Trail Harbor travel trailer. Overall length, with trailer tongue, is 25'8". Dry weight of the trailer is 4,136 lbs with a dry hitch weight of 330 lbs. It's a dual axle unit and will carry a load of up to 3,194 lbs (which would drastically overload the truck). I can safely carry 800 lbs of gear and supplies and stay under the truck's 5,000 lbs limit. It is new, but a 2000 year model, with several options, so I got a good deal on it. It's identical to the 2001 Trail Bay model 24BH. If you're curious, you can see it at Yeah, trailer base models are marketed pretty much the way automobile base models are. Oh, you want air conditioning? An awning? Leveling jacks? A stereo system? Microwave? etc., etc. They're all extra cost options. It doesn't take long for that $10,500 base price to jump by 50% or more.
    The dealer will install the hitch, anti-sway and weight distribution, plus electric brake controller (including dash control) and set up the truck/trailer for $895. It's a bit pricey, but worth it to me. The hitch guy wasn't in yesterday, so the salesman took all the info on the truck and said the hitch guy will order the correct hitch (custom). It will be either a Reese or Easy Lift. These two hitches are rated in the top 5, with the Hensley Arrow generally regarded as #1. The Pull Tite and Draw Tite round out the top 5. These are hitches that are designed to allow for hookup of anti-sway and weight distribution that is strongly recommended for towing travel trailers. I was going to go with a Hidden Hitch, but not sure there is enough of the hitch exposed to allow for it. If you don't plan to tow anything with a relatively high center of gravity and a large surface area (makes a good sail), there's no real need to go with a hitch of this type. I may be going overboard, but since the truck's wheelbase is marginal for this size trailer, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
    Also, regarding my comment on suspension upgrades: What I didn't say was that even though they don't increase the payload, I think anything that improves road handling and vehicle control is well worth it. I plan to put on poly bushings and shocks (probably rancho 9000s), and may add progressive rate springs (OME), depending on how things go. I also am going to contact my Isuzu dealer and schedule the installation of a transmission cooler.
    BTW, on the 200 mile round trip to Richmond I got 19.3 mpg. That was at speeds between 60 and 70. The Virginia State Police were out in force, as there was heavy traffic going to a NASCAR race at the Richmond International Raceway. I saw a lot of people pulled over. I guess they think they should be out on the track, too, from the way some were driving ;-) Based on what I've read, I expect the mileage to drop to the 10mpg range pulling the trailer at highway speeds. I'll let you all know how it goes.
  • cwmosercwmoser Posts: 227
    I too have been thinking of buying a travel trailer. Roughly how much do they cost? What is a reasonable size for a family of 3?

  • CW;

      If you only need room for three people, you have a wide range of options. The 24' we are getting sleeps 4 adults and 2 children. If you're planning on towing it with a Trooper, I wouldn't go over 24' or 25', and pay close attention to the weights. Everything counts. Water, LP gas, options, truck's fuel, passengers, baggage, and so on. At least in this region (Mid-Atlantic), the dealers I visited (3) don't stock much in smaller trailers (18'-22'). I did see a 21' Palomino, but it weighs more than the 24' I settled on. I started with a search on "travel trailers" but that was too broad. I then did one on "ultra lite travel trailers" and that narrowed it down. Once I saw one I liked, I went to and was able to price it out, options included. They have a worksheet you can fill out for a quote. The price only jumped about $500 from 21' to 24', so once you get into a trailer, size doesn't make too big a difference on price. I'd say if you expect to pay $14,000 to $16,000 then you won't get sticker shock - and you'll have a very nice trailer that will serve you for several years. A popular small trailer that has a good reputation is the Casita. Trail-Lite (they make the Trail Harbor I'm getting) also has a good reputation and they offer smaller trailers. It appears that the campers factory outlet site will take your order and then have it built for you, so you could get (theoretically) any trailer you want, just the way you want it. You also can get a lot of good info (at least I did) by joining the forum at If you register, you can post questions. As I said before, I found a 2000 model but it was still 'new' so I got a really good buy on it. List was ~$16,500 (I think just about all dealers will dicker same as a car dealer) and I got it for $12,600. I'm getting kinda far off topic for a Trooper discussion group, so if you have any other questions, just ping me at <>.


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    No problem, you had some good info. I agree, that if you are gonna be towing a big high trailer, a weight distributing hitch is the way to go, and get the best equipment possible with pro-install. I generally only tow my 17' 3000lb boat, so it doesn't even aproach the limits of the Trooper. If you get the tranny cooler installed, be sure to drop me an e-mail with price/part #s and I'll put it in the FAQ on


  • A friend of mine recently had a transmission cooler installed on his Honda Rodeo. It was a bright aluminum color - almost white - and it is directly behind the grill. The rest of the stuff behind the grill is black. So there is a great view white on black of a transmission cooler when you see the front of his Honda. You can see him coming a half mile away. His A/C has suffered a little from the transmission cooler getting first dibs on the cool air.
    I think it is worth asking for a black transmission cooler or getting it mounted somewhere out of site. By the way, Isuzu says the Trooper will tow all 5000 lbs. without any additional cooler. My buddy has a 3.2L in his Honda Rodeo and the automatic transmission, he says that it is a far better tow vehicle than the Jeep Grand Cherokee it replaced. Never overheats.
    I have a 1995 Trooper-S and pulling my 26 foot 4000 lb. boat is not problem, but I have a manual transmission so I can use any gear that does not lug the 3.2L SOHC 175hp engine.
    Please post on how well your Trooper tows that trailer.
  • I have not got them yet but I think the OME rear coil springs would be a help. My Trooper rear end droops an inch or two with the trailer on it.
  • Well, I just spoke with the Isuzu Service Manager at Brown's Buick-Isuzu in Fairfax, VA and he recommends NOT installing an auxillary transmission cooler as long as I stay within the towing limits of the vehicle. He said that they can put it on for me, but that the internal (to the radiator) transmission cooler is designed to handle towed loads up to the 5,000 limit. He said there are some things that can be done to increase that 5,000 limit but since I don't plan to exceed it, I didn't ask him what they would be. He said that I should have the auto trans serviced more frequently than the "normal usage" 30,000 mile interval - as often as 15,000 depending on how many towing miles I rack up. I don't expect to do more than a couple thousand miles a year, so I'll shoot for the service every 20,000 miles.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah never heard of an external tranny cooler put on a trooper either.

    2002 trooper announced. No major changes, just some minor ones:

    1) S model gets privacy glass, inglass antenna, and arm rests
    2) S model loses auto-climate control
    3) Limited gets side tubes
    4) LS gets moonroof and outside temp/trip built into clock
    5) rear cargo accessory outlet and additional in-dash acc. outlet added.
    6) cup holders built into center arm rest in rear seat

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hey all, NJ Pine Barrens pics are up from the Pre-run. Check out for the 15th info and pics.


  • i wanna get into a trooper 2000 or 2001. i have never bought a used but gotta start playing it smart.

    i know i want a 4wd with leather interior with the wood look dash and with the big sunroof. what can i steal this at? is it just the limited that would carry all these options? or can the S make this happen?

    thanks matt

    am totally leaning towards the 2001. whats the cheapest 2001 new out the door with these options?
    if its just a matter of another 1500k of lost equity i would be willing to do that. i live in san diego if that makes a difference. are the dealers here ready to give the 2001 ones away?

    thankis in advance
  • so msrp is over 35k at edmunds and carsdirect for 2001 limited 4x4.

    but looks like loaded u can do one for under 29k with gold package. so its like 31500 out the door with everything?

    i couldn't find a used limited on bunch of 2001 s with cloth for less than 20k. then there are some 2000 ls(my guess is the l stands for limited here) for up to $25900. big jump going from 2000 used $24900 and 2001 $19995.

    am i to stay away from these rentals? i always beat my rentals up. usually on business with free gas(comany pay) and free wear and tear on someone else's vehicle.

    love the trooper look and need to get in new or used bottom at the bottom.

    thanks matt
  • looks like a few got a limited loaded for under 29k. mabe with some hot incentives i can get the 2000k cash back or some crazy 0.0% financing.

    i will look this week at the dealer. anyone know what the current new suv deals are.

  • To budddddylee - From your requirements you need to buy the Limited. I know the dealer here has two or three he will sell at a big discount. Based on the price I paid for a 2001 LS last month (no trade) - with leather - I would guess he would part with one for $26,500. If interested let me know and I will point you in the right direction. They have a lot of troopers on the lot - and now is the time to buy. Good Luck.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181

    S: No moonroof available, no factory leather, no power folding mirrors, no privacy glass (except rentals), no in glass antenna (except rentals), no arm rests (except rentals), downgraded seats, no stock 6-disk in-dash changer (optional) 2-tone paint.

    LS: Best bargain IMHO, adds power retracting mirros, heated, upgraded power seats, optional Moonroof, no leather, Privacy glass, in-glass antenna, different rims, 6-disc in dash, monotone paint

    Limited: Adds leather, std. moonroof, and overhead multimeter (temp, altitude, barometer, compass)

    I believe that the Limiteds go for around $29K after you take the $4-$6K rebate, LS for around $26-$27K, S for around $22-$24K These are rough #s, but very ball-park conservative. You won't likely find an LS or Limited 2K car around, possibly an S. 2001, you should be able to get any of the 3. They did announce the 2002s on, no major changes, except in 2002, the S gets privacy glass, in-glass antenna, arm rests, LS gets moonroof std, outside temp and trip built into the clock, and all get rear acc. outlets.

    I find the LS to be the best deal around. You can always have your dealer add aftermarket leather for around $1200 which is a lot cheaper than the Limited package. Also the prices I quoted above on the LS are with moonroof (no point to buy a Trooper w/o the moonroof)

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