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Isuzu Owners Maintenance and Repair



  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    gpm5, your first sentence made me laugh at myself. I was trying to change the engine oil. This was my first attempt to change the oil myself on any vehicle, so I really had no idea what I was looking for. People who are really into cars probably assume that anyone can get under a car and easily identify some of the "obvious" things. Well, I can't!

    Yes, I just lay down under the truck for changing engine oil or TOD fluid. It's a tight squeeze for the TOD fluid since you need to have the quart bottle of ATF (2.0 quarts TOD capacity) standing up with a hose and nozzle pumper thing (technical term) attached to it, but there's enough room. It's nice to not have to worry about the vehicle being on ramps, plus leaving it on the ground ensures the vehicle is level.

    I don't know how many drain plugs are under the truck. I'm not sure exactly where the trans drain plug is. The TOD drain plug is a couple feet from the engine oil drain plug. The TOD reservoir also has a fill plug, which is up higher (further away from the ground). I'm glad it was the TOD fluid and not the auto trans fluid that I drained by mistake-- the TOD takes only 2 quarts but the AT takes something like 9!

    I've been debating whether to replace the auto trans fluid. The problem I have is that there's such a wide disparity between Isuzu's owner's manual recommendation for what to do on severe duty schedule (replace fluid every 20k miles) vs. regular duty schedule (replacement never specified; only periodic inspection).

    One of these days I need to buy the factory shop manual from Helm. I'm working with a Chilton's Trooper manual, but it covers only through 1996 Troopers. Many of the mechanical components are the same, though.

    In the case of the oil change, I had photocopies of the relevant underbody components from someone who has the factory shop manual, and I still couldn't find the right d**m drain plug!
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    bluedevils--more dumb questions--So do you fill through the top reservoir hole? I presume you check the fluid with your finger through the top hole as well? I presume checking it doesn't cause any real loss. Is it supposed to be filled to the brim or is there air space. Thanks for the info, although I don't know if I'll change it any time soon, although I may check it.
  • Here's my take on these common rattles and noises that most of us seem to be hearing with our 2000 Troopers. You may think I am a little much when it comes to rattles and what I have done in an attempt to correct them. However, rattles make me absolutely crazy. Once I hear one, it's like I'm on a mission to get rid of it and won't rest until I do. That may be alittle much for a truck owner, since you would typically expect rattles in a truck... but that's me. Anyway, here it goes.....

    Rattle In Rear Cargo Area:
    Don't let the dealer [non-permissible content removed] you. I can almost assure you that it's not your rear windshield wiper blade hitting your rear spare tire cover at speeds of 65+Mph. I had the same problem, only my noise happened at all speeds, intermittently. It took 4 visits to the dealer to correct. After the 4th visit, I was basically nuts. I had my wife drive the truck, while I sat in the rear cargo area in an attempt to determine exactly where this friggen rattle was coming from. It turned out to be coming from the rear cargo doors. Actually the latches in the rear cargo doors. The doors were simply not aligned properly and needed to be adjusted by the dealer, which fixed the problem. In order to confirm it's the rear cargo door latches on your Trooper, try this simple test. Open your rear doors. You'll see two hinges on each door. On the hinges you'll notice a plastic pre-hinge that slides back and forth over the metal hinges. With the doors open, quickly slide the plastic hinge back and forth until it hits on either side. See if this noise is the same noise that you hear when the truck is moving. If it is, you've found your rattle. Show the dealer and tell him your doors are out of line and to fix the problem instead of trying to [non-permissible content removed] you with some wiper blade crap.

    Rattle In Dash:
    This is one hell of a annoying rattle. Sounds like a buzzing (alarm clock)sound coming from directly behind the odometer. It is definetly temperature sensitive. It only happens during cold weather 40 degrees or below. It is also more sensitive to engine RPM's then speed. If the engine is spinning at a given RMP, I hear the rattle regardless of speed. Although it is pretty constant at 60Mph. I have had it back to the dealer twice already. The first time they told me they couldn't hear the buzzing sound (despite the fact that I dropped the car off the night before so they would get a truely cold start). The 2nd time they re-insulated the rubber stripping around the entire instrumentation panel. It did not fix the problem. I am scheduled to take the truck in this coming wednesday. We'll see. My patience is wearing thin with this one. If they don't hear the buzzing sound this time, they are simply not listening for it. I may take Mike's advise and drive the car along with the technician. This way I can stick his head right up against the dash board to make sure he hears it.

    Tapping Sound (Hood Guard):
    This is another one that has me nuts and stumped. I noticed it after the Isuzu hood guard was installed. It sounds like a tapping crackly sound at 60Mph+. I hear it more during warmer weather then colder weather, I think. I spent 3 nights last week trying to identify where exactly the noice is coming from, to no avale. I can tell you where it's not coming from. It's not coming from the hood guard. I've placed foam rubber spacers in every possible area between the gaurd and hood where there could even possibly be the chance of the plastic gaurd tapping against the hood. Tapping still there. I then went to the bumper, tightened it up, installed foam rubber in any and every possible area that made a sound. Tapping still there. I installed foam rubber underneath both of those cheesy wheel well platic shields on the under side of each wheel well. Tapping still there. Duct taped any wires hanging down underneath the engine and inside the engine. Tapping still there. Tightened up the hood guides under the front and rear of the hood. Tapping still there.
    I plan on explaining this to the dealer when I take the truck in this Wednesday but there are 2 things I am going to try before Wednesday. 1- check the gas lines that run across the firewall. I had the second recall done but it's still worth a look. 2- check the weather stripping around the front windsheild. I noticed (on both of the bottom corners of the weather stripping) that if you slightly push down on the bottom corner of the outside, front windsheild weather stripping, it makes this crackling/tapping sound. My thought is that the hood gaurd causes air to push and pull against this part of the stripping, causing it to make that annoying sound. I will duct tape them down and hit the highway at 70+MPh to do a test. If I still hear it after this I am at witts end.

    I'll keep you all posted. And please let me know if there's something I've missed.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181

         I'm going to write up that rear door rattle fix and put it on my faq page on Once you hammer out the others keep us posted so we can post up those fixes as well. You also might try a different dealer.


  • Good idea posting that on the FAQ's. (rear door rattle) It was a tough one to find and can save some owners a lot of aggravation

    I'll keep you posted on the rest of the issues.

    As far as the dealer goes, Davis Isuzu in Richboro PA, is pretty good as far as dealerships go. Don't forget, this is the dealer that repainted the fender flares on my 2000 Limited after the paint literally peeled off from an off roading trip I went on during the PA hunting season this past fall. I was climbing rock covered slopes with the Trooper like I was on dry pavement. The rocks were kicking up big time and just removed the some of the paint from the fender flares. It was definetly my fault, but the dealer re pained the flares anyway. They also touched up any other nicks they found. I really can't complain about Davis.

    I dig what you've done to your web site. It looks great..!

    Talk with you soon Mike.

  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    The "fill" plug is the one further from the ground-- "top reservoir plug" as you called it. It's used for adding fluid and for checking the current level. As long as the TOD system isn't way overfilled, there should be very little fluid that comes out of the fill plug when you remove it to check the fluid level. I don't know the physics of why the fluid doesn't spill out of the fill plug, but it doesn't. You may get a few drops to come out but that should be about it. All I remember is that you should be able to feel the fluid in the fill hole with your finger. I think most of the fluid is lower in the TOD pan than the fill hole, so maybe that's why it doesn't drain out of the fill hole.

    I do know that the last time I changed the TOD fluid it had been in there about 30,000 miles. It was definitely not as fresh-looking and cherry red as when it was originally added. This doesn't necessarily mean the fluid was unable to do its job, though. My Trooper has TOD engaged for only about 10% of the miles it's driven-- on rainy days and snowy days only; otherwise I leave it off for fuel economy reasons.
  • Spirolli,

    Thanks for your post on the rattles. The hood protector wrap around wings on my 2000 S were tapping on the fenders at 60+ mph. Mine wasn't hard to trouble-shoot. I could actually see it tapping while I was driving by leaning to the left and looking from the extreme left side of the windshield. It was also leaving a small transfer on one fender.
    The acid test to is just to take the hood protector off and see if the tapping stops. Is it too late to return your hood protector and use the money to buy a better designed aftermarket model?
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    This weekend while driving with my wife on a bumpy country road I heard a tapping sound coming from the front of the car. Since we don't have a hood protector I was a little concerned. It turned out to be the passenger side sun visor was down and hitting against the windshield. Once she repositioned it, it quit tapping. FYI
  • any suggestion or tricks that anyone can share in terms of removing the hard sparewheel cover. I unhooked the clips on the bottom but still have a hard time removing it. I was afraid to break the darn thing if I pulled too hard.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Undo the clips and spread the bottom pieces out, this should let you lift and pull backward.

  • Hi. I recently had to replace a spark plug because oil had fouled it. I was told that this could be a major problem. This is a '92 Trooper with 125K miles, and I'd like to hang on to it, but if it's going to be a major cost to repair, maybe I'll rethink that. Any comments or suggestions? Thanks!
  • sdc2sdc2 Posts: 780
    Bluedevils - I wasn't trying to discourage you from changing your TOD fluid, it's just that I had pored over the maintenance schedule very carefully at 15K to make sure I was getting everything, and I noticed that TOD and AT fluid were NEVER scheduled for a change. I was just wondering if you knew something I didn't...

    That said, I plan to take the Troop to Jiffy Lube or similar to get a total AT fluid swap, but probably not till 50K or so. I will also change the TOD fluid and spark plugs around 50K. I know the plug change interval is 100K on my 99, but I have heard that a plug can be very hard to remove after sitting in there for 100K. Spark plugs are cheap, until you break one off trying to remove it!

    Other than that, I plan to follow the normal maintenance schedule for most of the fluids.
  • Hello everyone,

    My hood protector tapped at road speed also. The problem was easy to remedy. Just take a little self sticky felt pad ,easily purchased at Home Depot or the like, cut it into 4 pieces and apply to the rubber pieces on the deflector. It takes about 15 seconds and I have never heard another sound from the guard.

    Hope it works for you,
  • bsmart1bsmart1 Posts: 377
    OK, here's a new one for you. Where the beck did they put the dip stick for checking the automatic transmission fluid on the 3.2L engines. I've got a 97' Trooper and I've read the owners manual front to back. They show you everything under the hood (supposedly) but I've found nothing referring to the automatic transmission dip stick. They show a lot about the manual transmission but not the auto. I've raised the hood and looked everywhere, in all the nooks and cranny but haven't found it. Any ideas??
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I'm pretty sure there is no dipstick. To check the fluid level, you need to remove the fill/check plug underneath the truck.
  • bsmart1bsmart1 Posts: 377
    Old Trooper's still at the shop, and they're still trying to find out where the leak is. Every effort is being made to avoid taking the engine apart. My bet is they end up replacing a head gasket to fix it. I'll keep you posted.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    on the 3.2 and 3.5l engines there is no dipstick. There is an AT idiot light. I never touched the one on my '97 rodeo for 120K miles I had it.

  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    In the past week or so, I've been reading several hundred old posts on the synthetic oil and engine oil topics in the Maintenance area of Town Hall.

    It appears that the amount of synthetic oil in the "synthetic blend" oils (Castrol Syntec Blend, Valvoline Durablend, etc.) is frequently as low as 10%. It's definitely not a 50/50 synthetic/dino oil blend. If you do the math, it's easy to see that synthetic blend oil is a ripoff at $2-2.50/quart. You could mix your own 50/50 blend, which most of the folks on those forums seem to think is perfectly safe, for about $2.50 quart ($4/qt for synth and $1/qt for dino) and have a much higher synthetic percentage.

    This makes me feel a little stupid, because I've been running synthetic blend in my Trooper for the past 30,000 miles. I'm planning either to switch to full synthetic or switch to a homemade 50/50 blend of dino/synthetic.
  • when cold I hear a whiling/swishing noise coming from engine on drivers side, which gets slightly louder with more speed. after warm-up noise disappears. after 5 miles riding, when I come to a stop the idle oscillates bet. 200 and 800rpm for a moment, then stabilizes. on rare occasions at a stop with clutch in, there is an idle surge to 1500rpm. is this leaking intake manifold gasket? (6 cyl. 3.2, 5 sad. 4wd) please advise.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    Well, that certainly makes me wonder about the blends as well, since 10% is not likely to be of much use. I'm not sure about going with pure synthetic at the valvoline shop (I think thats $40) but it may be worth it if the trooper can go 5000 or so miles on it plus I get a top off at 3000, if needed. I don't mind changing oil myself (especially since crawling under the trooper is easy) except for the clean-up. I hate dealing with the used oil, putting it into a jug, and lugging it away etc.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Yea, my son just got a 97 Rodeo 3.2L so I picked up a Haynes manula and decided to change the tranny fluid. No dipstick, first auto tranny I have ever seen without a dipstick. WOW. I saw the fill plug and it is not on the side of the pan but straight up. Although I have a fluid pump I was not sure I could get the tube into the fill hole. So, I gave it to my local mechanic to do. He called and said, no way, I don't think I can get the fluid in either. So, I took some plastic tubing. molded a hook (like a fish hook) out of it over the stove and decided to try it. OH, "Do not remove the fill plug when the engine is NOT running" to check the oil via the fill plug the engine MUST BE RUNNING. Yes, running. Otherwise fluid will drain out through the fill plug. That is in the Haynes manual and confirmed by the dealer. So, I drained the fluid and pumped in new synthetic fluid until it came out of the fill plug, started the engine and then pumped more in until it again seeped out. At that point you put the plug back in and drive off. One major suggestion, get new plug gaskets, 14mm. After I did mine both plug gaskets leaked so I wound up doing it twice.

    Second time took me 15 min once I knew what I was doing. The fluid pump and hose made a huge difference.
  • cconnorcconnor Posts: 2
    My '98 Rodeo is about ready for its 30,000 mile maintenance and I was just wondering what anyone out there might be able to tell me regarding their experiences at the dealer for this maintenance. I guess I'm just trying to find out if I really need to take it to the dealer for this service. If so, what really needs to be done (I know what the service manual says). Also, does anyone have any estimates as to what I should expect to pay?? Thanks in advance.
  • bsmart1bsmart1 Posts: 377
    Thanks for the info on the automatic transmission fluid change. I think I'll take it down to the transmission shop and have it done. Hopefully they'll not refuse to do it. By the way, I've been looking for a Haynes maunal for this 97' Trooper and not found one yet. Where did you get yours and what is the books # ??
  • bsmart1bsmart1 Posts: 377
    Thanks for the info on the automatic transmission fluid change. I think I'll take it down to the transmission shop and have it done. Hopefully they'll not refuse to do it. By the way, I've been looking for a Haynes maunal for this 97' Trooper and not found one yet. Where did you get yours and what is the books # ??
    Another question for anyone who knows. Are there multiple stock sizes of tires supplied on Troopers? I'm looking for a spare tire cover to fit P245 60/R16's. Anyone know what part # is needed for the right cover for this? I've been given several #'s as what is supposed to fit, but I'm not sure which is the correct one or one's.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    For the troopers. I too have been looking for manuals for the 97-01 Troopers.

  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Found my Haynes manual at a Trak Auto, also seen them at Advanced Auto and they also have a web site. I am not sure they have one for the Trooper though.
    Phone # is 805 498-6703
    The book # for the 97 Rodeo is 47017
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I don't know about Haynes, but Chilton does not have a manual for 97 or newer Troopers. Their Trooper manual covers through 1996.

    If you're really serious about maintaining your own Trooper, order the factory workshop manual from Helm Publications at
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Paisan, a small correction: stock tire size is 245/70/16, not 245/60/16.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Blue, you are correct, I don't know why I keep thinking 60, maybe cause I've had subarus on the brain and my XT6 takes 205-60-14s

  • sdc2sdc2 Posts: 780
    Last time I checked (about 8 mos. ago) there were no manuals available for late model Troopers, other than the shop manual from Helm. You can order from Helm online.
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