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Isuzu Owners Maintenance and Repair



  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    thanks for the info. Yes, I recall your mentioning that now on a previous post awhile back. Are those washers/gaskets available readily from let's say St Charles Isuzu do you know? Pasian, you should post that info at your site for safe keeping.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    I looked back. armtdm describes the AT fluid change for the 3.2 L engine (97 rodeo) in post #382.
  • centralcentral Posts: 51
    As it turns out I did an ATF flush last week having previously ordered the gaskets from St. Charles. The gaskets I got were copper (with no rubber insert) just like the one on the oil drain plug. Now whether that is the new style or just a mistake by St. Charles, or me for not being clear in my order, I do not know. I do know however that by the time I noticed the difference I had already pulled the plugs so something had to go back. My theory at the time was that if the copper gasket is a mistake it should work anyhow as if it is good enough for the oil plug it is good enough for the ATF drain. So far this theory is working. Whether that is due to luck or good science I do not know.

    As long as I am on St. Charles, for those that may not know, let me note that they have very good prices (e.g. Isuzu oil filters for $3.55 delivered to your door). Also, as I understand it they do not ship the items themselves. Instead they transmit the orders to either of the 2 Isuzu warehouses here in the States. The warehouses then ship the items directly to you. The advantage of this system is that if the item is in America it will be shipped to you.
  • centralcentral Posts: 51
    If you ask me the service in the reference post is not really much of a flush. It only gets out about half of the fluid. The rest of the fluid remains unflushed in the torque converter, lines and ATF cooler.


    For a routine preventative flush I would first get a plunger style fluid pump and 3 1-gallon size Dexron III ATF jugs. The quart ones will work but will take much longer and cost more.

    Round up some old buckets, jugs, cat litter pans, etc. to catch the old fluid. Plenty of paper towels for wiping up drips is also a good idea.

    Place a pan under the transmission and remove the drain plug. The other plug about 8 inches to the passenger side and slightly higher up is the fill/level check plug. You will drain about 1 gallon of ATF.

    Remove the two 12 mm bolts holding the metal plate under the oil filter (this isn't 100% necessary but well worth the extra minute to get much easier access). There are 2 lines coming off the bottom of the radiator on the passenger side. The outer one is the ATF return line. Follow this line towards the transmission about 1'. There is a connection here held in place with a squeeze type clamp. Place a catch pan under this. Remove the clamp and disconnect the line. Very little fluid will actually drip at this point.

    Add some clear tubing to the line from the radiator and run that into a clear jug in a bucket (to catch drips/overflows).

    Put your new ATF jug in a bucket to catch any pump or line drips. Put the pump in the jug and hook the tubing from the pump to the transmission return line. Pep Boys pump tubing is an exact fit (both diameter and length). Now pump new ATF until new clean fluid runs out the drain plug and into your catch pan. This will only take 2 or 3 pumps. Then replace the drain plug.

    At this point, as I have drained out about 1 gal of fluid from the system, I pump in a little over 1 gal of new ATF.

    Now I started the car in park. The car then pumps used ATF through the transmission, out of the radiator, through my tubing and into the empty clear jug. The reason for the clear jug is to see when the jug is about to overflow. As the car is pumping ATF through the cooler and into the waste jug I pump on my Pep Boys pump to add fluid back to the transmission. I found that I can pump in about 1/4 gal of new fluid while the car pumps out about 1/2 gal. Rather than run the risk of running too low in ATF I shut off the engine at about the 1/2 gallon drained mark and pump in the other 1/4 gal and just a little bit more. I then restart the engine and the drain/pump cycle.

    When the waste jug is about full shut off the engine and get a new clear catch jug. Pump in the rest of your 1 gal of new fluid and switch to new jug and add a little more. To review, at this point I have drained 1 gallon and added 1+ gal of ATF. The car has pumped out I gallon and I have added back 1+ gallon (2+ gallons total).

    Next, Start your engine and continue this pump and refill cycle until the fluid being drained looks brand new. At some point during the process I would also shift the transmission into each gear. A helper makes this process much easier.

    At about the 9qt total ATF added mark clear fluid started to come out the return line so I stopped the engine.

    Next do some careful eyeball measuring. Find out precisely how much ATF you drained and how much you added. My plan is to add slightly more ATF than I drained. Before disconnecting my fill line I add more ATF to be sure that I do. The theory being that it is easier to drain out slightly too much fluid than to add more (see below).

    Next, I remake all my ATF connections. Surprisingly I lose very little ATF doing this.

    Next comes the part that will leave you wishing you had a trans dipstick. In order to check the level you have to crawl back under the vehicle and remove that other downfacing plug (the one 8 inches to the passenger side and slightly higher). The level is correct if fluid just seeps out of that plug hole. The trick is that this is only true once the transmission has warmed up (the car also has to be on a level surface) and the car is running. So, I warm up the car by driving it around a couple of minutes and putting it through all the gears. I then crawl under with my catch pan in place and pull the plug with the car running. The last time I did this about 1/2 pint came out and I reinstalled the plug. Presumably if nothing came out I would have pumped more fluid in through this hole. I am not sure if leaving in that extra 1/2 pint would have caused any long term problems

    Don't forget to reinstall the metal plate, wipe up any drips and closely check for leaks the next few days.

    Again, use at your own discretion, your mileage may vary.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Can you e-mail me I want to snag your writeup to post on in the How-to section. Thanks.


  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    Great post central. Thanks for the info.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    I did the drain and fill using synthetic fluid. By doing it more often I feel you get the same results (with only half the fluid being drained at a time and synthetic ) with a change every 20,000-30,000 miles and it is not such a large process. The filler plug is a bear and I had to mold a piece of plastic tubing to get it to stay in the filler hole while I pumped, hole on mine is straight up not on the side. True diluted fluid your method is better but much more complicated and definitely takes two people.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    When I was washing my trooper I noticed the front bumper seems a little loose at the bottom edges at the wrap around part on both sides. I did not recall this before the winter. Not sure if there are screws that have worked themselves out slightly. Anyone deal with this recently?
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    There are 4 bolts that hold the front bumper in place. They attach directly to the frame.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I don't know what your insurance costs are, but the 2 Troopers I've owned (96 "S" and 98 "S" with Performance Package) have been MUCH less expensive to insure than other SUVs I considered. The 98 Trooper is even less than our 98 Mitsu Galant sedan was, and it's about the same as our 95 Ford Contour SE sedan. The Trooper is rated much better than average in most insurance cost ratings (this info can be fairly tough to find, but I think CarPoint has some data in this area).
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I don't see how I could have been changing the AT fluid. I was able to drain only about 2 quarts of fluid, which is in line with the stated TOD fluid capacity. The AT fluid capacity is around 9 quarts and even though a typical drain won't get much more than half that, that would still be way more than 2 quarts.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    maybe the '98 is somehow different in terms of the plugs or ??
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Yes, I guess that's possible. I need to take a look underneath my Trooper soon to remind myself what things looks like.
  • emiuraemiura Posts: 59
    Just completed 30K maintenance on my '99 Perf. Pkg Trooper. Only problem that the technician found was leak from transmission drain plug. According to him, this is a design problem with the washer, and he has seen this with other Troopers. He had put a Honda washer for a fix and recommended me to take it to Isuzu dealer for powertrain warranty repair. Isuzu would proabably put the original washer (poor design, according to him), but complaint/repair would be on the record if something major would happen to the powertrain later on. He works on Isuzu corporate team car, and he is very knowledgeable about Isuzu SUV's, especially performance mods.

    Asked about Axiom vs. Trooper engine. He said besides the software, intake and exhaust area were modifed (increased?) to boost HP, but Isuzu is not disclosing details. I'm not very much into technical stuff, so that's all I understood.

    If anyone is interested in his shop located in Fountain Valley, CA, his site address is:

  • beer47beer47 Posts: 185
    Insurance for the trooper is reasonable considering it does really poor in the 5 mph crash tests. Our 4 crash total (front, back, corner, etc.) was over 11k in repairs. Each crash produced approx. $2800 in body damage. These trucks run great, last a long time, and are fun to drive; but God help us should we get tapped by almost anything. I hope none of us has to find out any time soon. Cheers.
  • emiuraemiura Posts: 59
    Vehicles have numbers assigned (called "symbols")for insurance premium rating. In addition to this number, "sports" or "high performance" rating may be added. This rating is model specific, i.e. LX can be more expensive than DX, 4WD is more than 2WD, 6 cylinder is more than 4 cylinder, etc. I'm guessing that Trooper's favorable insurance premium is due to the fact that Trooper was rated as one model for a while. (Even with Perf or LUX package, there was no class distinction so they were rated the same as base model.) But this means that this is all going to change! Another reason maybe is these vehicle rating agencies do not update the "symbol" unless there is a major model change. Trooper had not had one for a long time, therefore, it may have dragged old favorable "symbol" for a long time. If you are car shopping, I would suggest to call your agent for a quote if you are debating which vehicle to buy and it is down to insurance premium issues. Hope this helps.
  • serranoserrano Posts: 107
    I know that others on this forum have commented on the so-called "stainless steel exhaust" on the '99 Troopers that is not very stainless at all. I have such a system. Have others on this board had any luck in having the system replaced with a truly stainless system? Or am I wasting my breath in complaining to the dealer?

  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    Your wasting your breadth. There are multiple grades of stainless steel. Most of them show some rust after awhile. Good stainless steel has no magnetic properties.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I complained, to no avail. I believe the muffler itself is true stainless, but the tailpipe is not. Mine has slight rust on the tailpipe, but nothing damaging. I'm planning on hitting the tailpipe with black stove-grade (heat resistant) spray paint so that the rust doesn't show up.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    A big factor in insurance at least for the fire-theft portion is the # of stolen vehicles, and the market for used parts. Since they only sell 10-15K units of the Trooper a year, there are very few of these trucks on the road, and therefore are not a big target for spare parts like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camary, and a few years back the Oldsmobile Cutals supreme, Monte Carlo, and Buick Regal/Grand National. I'm sure the AWD and 4 wheel anti-lock + 4wheel disc brakes also help for collision. My insurance actually went down from my '97 Rodeo to my '00 Trooper.

  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    emiura, you're right that Trooper's one-model availability helped to keep the insurance premiums lower than they should have been. For at least a couple years, all Troopers were "S" models. The Performance Package and Luxury Package didn't have their own model or trim level designation according to Isuzu, and the insurance companies weren't smart enough to realize this. I got quotes from my agent on S models and also on the newer (2000 etc.) LS and Limited models, and there was a difference in the insurance premiums between these models. However, all 1998 Troopers were considered "S" models, so a stripped-down Trooper cost the same to insure as one with the Luxury Package.
  • bsmart1bsmart1 Posts: 377
    I just made a couple hundred mile trip this weekend in my 97' Trooper and checked my mileage. Its the first long trip since getting my 50/50 dino and synthetic oil mix installed. The weather was excellent, dry about 65 degrees, no wet spots on the pavement. I drove about 68-70 mph for the most part. Just a couple stops along the way and very little in town traffic. The RPM meter showed about 2800-2900 most of the time. The mileage came out at 20.013 mpg. I was impressed!

    I also recently tried my varied "grade" of fuel test. A tank of 91 octane to compare to the usual 87 octane I use. There was no improvement in mileage during this tank of fuel. Supports what you read about pouring money down the tank on higher octane fuel, unless of course, you're getting "pinging" with the lower octane.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    You guys that change your own oil, do you also grease joints or take it to service for that?
  • centralcentral Posts: 51
    On my 1999 Trooper I could only find 3 existing fitting locations, all on the driveshafts (I forget now whether it is 2 on the front and 1 on the rear shaft or the other way around). I also couldn't find any sites that had plugs awaiting the installation of zerks. When I first got the vehicle I posted on the ITOG and outdoorwire sites and got feedback that 3 fittings is the total to ever be greased.

    Therefore to finally answer your question, I do also grease these fittings every 3rd oil change.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    central, thanks for the info.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I don't do this myself yet, but probably need to start doing it. I've told the dealer to do it once or twice. Who knows whether they actually did...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sean, "Cooked" his engine when we were 4x4ing in the Pine barrens (see pics on

    Isuzu Japan it is rumored that they will be converting all thier plants in japan over to med duty and bus assembly. The 2003 Trooper *may* and I stress *may* be produced in IN where they make the rodeo and Axiom now.


  • emiuraemiura Posts: 59
    There is a webpage with pictures of grease point locations. I don't do it myself, so I haven't confirmed it, so please use it as reference:

    Translation for each pic:

    1. On universal joint between rear differential and drive shaft.

    2. Between rear shaft and transfer.

    3. On universal joint between transfer and front shaft.

    4. Between front shaft and differential.


  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    emiura, good info on the grease points. thanks.
  • hutch66hutch66 Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 1998 isuzu trooper, and all of a sudden I seem to be having trouble starting the engine. the problem usually happens after I've been driving for awhile. when I go back to start the engine it will just turn over for a few seconds before it fires up. is this a common problem. if anyone can help please post some suggestions.
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