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Isuzu Owners Maintenance and Repair



  • that the TOD and part-time systems use the same SOTF system to engage/disengage the front axle. Now when TOD is engaged, the front axle is connected to the TOD-case through the SOTF system. When TOD is disengaged, the SOTF system disengages the front axle. From when I last drove a TOD Trooper, that was my impression of it's engagement/disengagement.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    My 98 Troop has the following 3 reservoirs, each with a drain and fill plug:

    1. TOD. Takes 1.5-2 qts. Flat rectangular bottom, 19mm drain/fill bolts, no gaskets. Takes ATF II or III (stamped on the reservoir, I think). I've changed this 3 times since buying the truck. I don't remember if it's protected by a skid plate; need to check my maintenance log at home. Located somewhere between the front wheels.

    2. Transfer case. Takes 1.5-2 qts. Bigger. Silver. Funny shaped. Drain/fill bolts remove with a 3/8" (is it 1/2") drive ratchet (no socket). No gaskets. Has a big "Borg Warner" sticker on it. Takes ATF II or III (stamped on the reservoir). Protected by a large, heavy skid plate which is held on by four 14mm bolts. Sits further toward the back of vehicle than the TOD. Near the outside of vehicle on passenger side. I've drained this twice, including once last night.

    3. Auto trans. I have not yet identified where the reservoir is under the truck so I'm going on what others have said recently. Drain/fill plug are 22mm. Has gaskets; wise to buy extras when draining because they damage easily. Location: ?.

    4. I don't know squat about this hidden SOTF reservoir. Not sure on which vehicles it exists. May contain 0.13 qts, may contain more. Located around the front axle?

    sdc2 said: "A Trooper has either a standard transfer case or a TOD transfer case, never both. The TOD unit IS the transfer case, just a rather unique one."

    I will say that I used to agree with breakor and sdc2. I thought the TOD and transfer case were a single unit on the TOD Troopers. But the things people have posted here and what I've seen under the truck while working on it lead me to believe otherwise.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    There are 3 items on a TOD trooper:

    TOD-Transfer Case

    The TOD unit is under a skid plate on passenger side.
    The SOTF I am not sure of.
    AT is dead center tucked up high above the frame rails.

  • breakorbreakor Posts: 398
    I will take your word for it that I am wrong on 2 accounts you noted. First the TOD takes a 3/8" rather than a 1/2" socket fitting and the SOTF capacity is .13 qts not .5 qts. It could also be that the AT bolts are 19 not 22mm. I was going from memory as I am not presently near the vehicle or manual. I am sorry if these errors confused you or anyone else.

    To recap I do not have a 98 but on a 99 AT there is a TOD unit, an AT and a SOTF and NO ADDITIONAL transfer case. My AT drain plugs have washers that have rubber gasket inserts.
  • breakorbreakor Posts: 398
    Here is how I found my SOTF. I got out my owners manual and found a picture of it there. I then eventually found a similar looking reservoir about 6" to the inside of the inner end of the driver's side cv (no doubt Bluedevils will measure it and tell everyone how wrong I am). Again, I am just trying to quickly help people find this stuff. I am not in a position to crawl under the vehicle and get precise measurements. I am sorry if this causes more confusion than clarification.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think you helped to clarify it, at least for me. I knew there were 3 items just wasn't sure of the SOTF v. T-case.

  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I appreciated everyone's posts, and I was not trying to say anybody was wrong. I still don't feel like I know for sure what is going on.

    Perhaps when I thought I was changing the TOD (19mm bolts) and was draining 1.5-2 quarts, that is actually the auto trans.

    As for the thing whose plugs are removed with a 3/8 or 1/2" drive ratchet (no socket), that must be the TOD/transfer case unit-- whatever you want to call it.

    I am going under my truck this weekend to see what I can see!

    It seems that nobody is agreeing with my prior theory - that there are 4 drain/fill plugs-- 1 set each for SOTF (the small-capacity thing near driver's-side CV), auto trans (22mm bolt), transfer case (3/8" drive ratchet), and TOD (19mm bolt). I was probably wrong about it.

    The likely explanation is this: I thought the A/T was the TOD thing. Because of that, I thought the A/T reservoir was down there somewhere but I just hadn't seen it or changed the fluid yet. I think that was all wrong, but I still don't feel sure about anything.
  • My 99 recently hit 40 K and I decided NOT to attempt the AT fluid change myself after reading about others expensive mishaps with wrong plugs, etc. I thought I'd be smart and let the *iffy Lube guys do it for $30. Well, after I checked my manual and realized they only replaced 5 qts. and didn't replace the filter, I started to worry. Sure enough, several days later I noticed a leak on my garage floor. Yep, it was the AT fluid. I decided to stop screwing around trying to save a buck on one of the most critical aspects of my vehicle. When I got the vehicle serviced by Isuzu the other day(complete AT and filter service-$169), they told me someone damaged the 2 plugs which causded the leak. Bottom line,IMHO, AT fluid changes just aren't worth the risk of doing half a#$$ just to save some mula in the short run.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I trust myself to do safer/more careful work on my Trooper more than most shops. I may be clueless under the hood or underneath the truck. Wait, I definitely am clueless!

    Still, I am more careful and although I have made mistakes (see posts about 'ATF in rear differential' fiasco a few months back), I still feel better working on my vehicle than taking it somewhere who a) knows nothing about such an uncommon vehicle, probably because b) they have never worked on a similar vehicle; and c) they don't give 2 sh*&s about my truck.

    Reasons why I work on my own vehicle:
    1) I am interested in learning more about it, to increase my knowledge and decrease my chance of being ripped off when it needs work I can't/won't do myself.
    2) I trust myself to do a better job than most shops.
    3) It saves money vs. paying someone else to do it.

    $169 for a full transmission service is just ridiculous, IMHO. Many shops will do the flush with a fancy exchange machine for $50-70. I am in the market for A/T service, but I would never pay $169. duktrooper, what did they do - the fancy-machine fluid exchange thing? Change the filter (is it just a screen that doesn't need replacement?)? "Drop the pan?" (I don't even know what this means, or why it's done). What else?

    I'd like to think the dealer knows more about the vehicle than the average independent shop, but my confidence in dealer service is still fairly low.
  • breakorbreakor Posts: 398
    FWIW this makes it sound like getting to the filters can be a real pain, at least on the older Troopers -

    Granted $169 sounds high. However, if you can avoid the hassle noted in the link, and potential pan gasket leaks, this may be a real bargain.

    In any event, different strokes for different folks and "Sometimes a man just has to know his own capabilites".

    Happy trooping to all.

  • Bluedevils...I've had 3 isuzu's all serviced by same dealer for over 8 yrs. Service/responsiveness from my dealer has always been excellent. Filter was replaced as was all the fluid. $169 may be somewhat high, but I KNOW it was done right. Gimme a break.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    duktrooper, I'm not sure what you mean by "gimme a break."

    I do not have a good relationship, or much of a relationship at all, with my dealer. Nor do I get the impression that they are particularly knowledgeable. Here in SE Michigan, there are few Isuzus, so the dealers just don't get that much experience with them. If I did think they were knowledgeable, I would be more willing to have the dealer do certain service work even
    though their prices are higher.

    I've been there about 5 times total in the 4 years we've owned Troopers (1 year on the '96 that was totaled and 2.5+ years on the current '98 that replaced it). Each time it was typically for a warranty item, and I tried to have 1 or 2 routine maintenance items (chassis lube, tire rotation, cooling system service, oil change, etc.) done at the same time. I gave them this business 1) simply to be nice and let them make a few bucks off me; 2) because I'm generally more comfortable with a dealer than a shop because they are more likely to know the vehicle and hopefully to do the work better/right. Unfortunately, they did nothing to impress me. E.g. rotated tires front to back. Yes, they rotated 'em. How do I know? Because when I checked tire pressure the next day, the fronts had 35 psi and the rears had 30, just the opposite of what Isuzu recommends. In other words, they didn't reset the tire pressure and they sent me on my way with what I consider to be a potentially hazardous handling situation.

    I'm glad you have an excellent dealer. If I did, I still don't think I would spend $169 for tranny service, but I understand your reasons for doing so. I think along the same lines, but I guess I'm not willing to pay up for quality work quite as much as you are.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Since the pan needs to be dropped to get the screen filter out and most of the fluid with it, $169 isn't that bad if they include the fluid and new gasket etc.

  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    duktrooper, the tranny filter is something that is replaced on your '99 Troop? In other words, it's not a permanent screen that never needs replacement?
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Perhaps an independent shop would charge closer to $169 than I thought.

    You are ALWAYS on these discussion boards! What else do you do?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    All day today :)

    Actually bought an electric impact wrench @ Sears :) Good fun :)

    Had to prep my subaru for auto-x tomorrow :)

    Also went to see the last night of lights @ WTC.

  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    I've learned a lot by reading the above posts - the most important is to leave all drive train service to my dealer (good reputation for service) or to my local mechanic that has lots of experience with 4x4s and Isuzus. No way I would tackle that job without knowing how many fluid changes are required or where the reservoirs/plugs are for sure. I like my vehicle too much.
  • carrierecarriere Posts: 18
    According to your description and from what I have gathered from reading everyone else's post, you changed the transfer case/TOD system oil. Of course I have a '99 auto so I can not say for sure on your '98. On mine the drain/fill plugs where you use a ratchet minus the socket is indeed the transfer case. The shop manual does not spell these things out too well. Sure the manual specifically tells you how to take everything apart, but it does a very poor job of explaining the proper way to handle minor maintenance tasks (or maybe it does and I just can't find where). I shelled out the $150 specifically so I could perform all of the minor maintenance myself, without having to worry about the Isuzu service department charging me out the wazoo. Fortunately we have this forum where those knowledgeable can pick up where the shop manual may have left off. Having said that I want to thank ARMTDM, BREAKOR, and BEER47 for their suggestions on changing the A/T fluid, particularly the part of changing the rubber gasket....the shop manual makes no mention of a the A/T drain/fill plug gasket. Oh and from post 1589 I'm a he.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    It's very disappointing to hear that the shop manual does not seem to explain how to do minor maintenance stuff. That's the main reason I've been planning to buy one.
  • sdc2sdc2 Posts: 780
    Here is a simple way to tell the TOD unit from the AT. The TOD transfer case is roughly in the middle of the vehicle, but IS OFFSET FROM THE CENTER LINE toward the passenger side. It is protected by a rock shield that sticks down a little. The transmission is of course directly in line with the engine on the centerline. The TOD transfer case is offset to feed power to the front driveshaft.
  • viktoria_rviktoria_r Posts: 103
    Thanks for replies to everyone. it's a shame that my Trooper is acting up this way. I think next time something happens I will take it up with Isuzu of America (they call me after every visit to the dealer to ask how was my experience LOL). I understand that it will not fall under lemon law, but when I bought it it only had 8.9K miles on it and I always performed all recomended service/maintenance. Too bad I do not feel that we can rely on it anymore, otherwise the vehicle fit our needs just fine...
  • coop18coop18 Posts: 4
    I recently had the rear diff. oil replaced in my 00' troop by a local shop. I gather that few troops come through the shop - since they had to look up the VIN and confirm whether troops have a LSD (Im mechanically challanged - but as I understand it, LSD's require special additives/lubrication). They also lifted the rear wheels and did the "spin test" to check for an LSD - but it didnt respond like one would expect (Rotate one wheel and the other should rotate CCW if LSD?? - I always get this mixed up). I realize the "spin" is a subjective test - but just wondering if others have tried this - how do you know if its functioning 'normally'.

  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    There is a plate inside the engine compartment on the firewall. I believe it has a "G80" if your vehicle has a LSD. If not, then it has something else. Paisan, can probably correct my guess on the number, but that is the quickest and fastest way to determine whether you have an LSD or not.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    But if you have an '00 Trooper it has an LSD in it. I believe all Troopers starting in 99 or 98 have rear LSDs.

  • breakorbreakor Posts: 398
    No doubt a tag or VIN code is the best indication.

    The shop test for the presence of a LSD is to jack up the rear with the tranny in neutral. If you manually spin one wheel and the other wheel spins in the opposite direction you have an open diff. If the other wheel spins the same direction you have a LSD.

    I don't know how to really check for the proper operation in use. Some people have forgot to add the limited slip additive when doing a gear oil change. They reported odd noises from the diff.

    Click and Clack on this site( proposed the following - Put the truck in your garage and put it in two-wheel-drive. Then pour a quart of Felipo Berrio Extra Virgin Olive Oil (make sure it's Extra Virgin) under the right rear wheel.

    Ray: Next, have your boyfriend step on the gas. If the wheel just spins, you don't have locking differential. If, on the other hand, the truck shoots forward into the bicycles, the storm windows, and the old tires, then you do have locking differential. Congratulations
  • cknottcknott Posts: 61
    Please look at the VIN identification plate located on the front side of the fire-wall. If you open the engine hood, look straight back, and you should see a small plate stamped on to the body (firewall) directly behind and next to the engine. If you see the three digit code, G80, then you have a limited slip differential. If you do not see the code, G80, then you have an open differential.

    Beginning in MY2000, the limited slip differential was not standard on all Troopers. It was optional on 2wd's and some 4wd's.

    The "lift the wheels, check for rotation method" will not work for this type of differential. It is designed just like an open differential, but with clutches between the differential side gears and the case. Even so, both differentials (open and limited slip) should rotate in the same manner. For example, if the transmission is in park, and the right wheel is rotated in a forward direction, the left wheel will rotate in the opposite direction.

    If you have a limited slip differential, you will need the additive, if you do not have the limited slip differential, you do not need the additive.

    I will not go into testing the limited slip differential at this time.

    I hope this helps.

  • cknottcknott Posts: 61

    The shop test method you descibed to test the LSD in our Troopers may not work.

    That method will work for locking differentials. Locking differentials are designed and function in a dramatically different way compared to limited slip diffentials.

    I do not believe the frictional characteristics of the limited slip will trump the frictional characteristics of the driveshaft without any preload on the side gears, but I could be wrong.

    I have noticed that our Troopers have a very low preload on the clutches. This may fool the mechanic into thinking that the differential is an open differential.

    It is recommended to verify the VIN plate on the firewall first.

  • breakorbreakor Posts: 398
    Like you noted you could be wrong. I think you are, then again you are doing your test with the car in park which seems odd to me. Try the last paragraph of the following which supports my test -

    In any event we both agree that the manufacturer's label is the real test.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I thought in 2000 they started putting in LSD across the board. Maybe I'm on crack.

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