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Isuzu Off Roading/Trail Reports

124

Comments

  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    I actually couldn't wait for a rainy weekend down at the beach in Margate, NJ so I can test my 2000 Trooper out at the Pine Barrons (Wharton State Park in Hammonton, NJ). I finally got my wish last Saturday. Since the weather was bad, I didn't have to worry about taking my wife to beach. My brother in law and I headed to the infamous Pine Barrons, about 40 mile north of Atlantic City, to do some 4x4'ing.

    I had no idea how vast and flat the Pine Barrons are. Nothing like the mountains and trails in Potter County, Pa. Very different terrain. Soft dirt trails everywhere that branch off into many other dirt trails. Parts of the trails are deep, soft sand which was slowed my Trooper down considerably. It was my first go in the sand...I didn't even bother reducing the tire pressure. Stil I was able to push through without issue.

    We found several trails that contained ramps and pits that were very inviting. No matter what Wharton had to offer, I was able to confidently navigate over, up, down and through. It was a boat load of fun. In fact, the weather is crappy again this weekend so looks like we'll be going today as well. Can't wait.

    No damage to report other then a few brush marks on the fender flares. I am trying to convince my bother in law to follow me to the Pine Barrons with his Acrua MDX. I want the pleasure of pulling him out when he gets stuck. Ha ha..!

    Last Sunday was even more of a blast. We had a massive rain storm at the beach. Some of the main streets were covered with literally 3 feet of water. Once again, the Trooper proved un-stoppable.

    Steve
  • conman2000conman2000 Posts: 158
    Hey,
    Another Tri-Stater! A couple of us on this board are thinking about a tri-state meet very soon. We thought about a run to NJ as they just had a run a few months ago. Want to go again?

    Cheers,
    Con
    01 Trooper LS LongIsland, NY
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We definitely need to have another pine-barrens run!

    -mike
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    Hey Mike & Conman,

    I would certainly be interested in a Pine Baron's run. That would be great. We'd have a blast. I didn't know you guys had went before. We can make it like the Annual Jeep Jamborie..

    I went to the Pine Barons again yesterday. Had a blast! Found a few more neat trails. The rain storm we got hit with yesterday made it all the better. There was one obstacle I had to back away from. It looked like a nasty 25 yard long deep mud pit. It wasn't so much the mud that would have given the Trooper difficulty, but more getting out. At the end of this mud pool was a broken down tree that I doubt I would have been able to get enough traction to go over. Especially coming out of the pit. It would have been tough.

    Now, of course if I would of had another Trooper buddy with me.... I'd be telling a whole different story.!

    Anyway, keep me in the loop about when you'd be interested in having another official Trooper run in the Pine Barron's... cause I'm there.

    Steve
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    Does anyone know where John Warren may have gotten his roof luggage rack.? I think his truck looks great with it installed. http://isuzu-suvs.com/gallery/index.html (John Warren's Trooper)


    It still blows my mind that Isuzu doesn't include it as a standard option. Especially since there no way to haul long items. You can't drive with the rear doors open, you can't leave one of the doors open, you can't open the rear door windows... What are they thinking? You should have seen me last year at Christmas time when I had to tie down a 12 foot -Xmas tree to the roof cause there was no other way to haul it back to the house. I thought it was going to crash right through the moon roof.


    Of course a guy pulls up with a older Toyota 4 Runner and had the tree dude just throw it right in the back of his truck. He left the rear hatch open and drove away. Same with a guy who drove up in an Explorer. I felt like a goof.


    Steve

  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    Does anyone know where John Warren may have gotten his roof luggage rack.? I think his truck looks great with it installed. http://isuzu-suvs.com/gallery/index.html (John Warren's Trooper)


    It still blows my mind that Isuzu doesn't include it as a standard option. Especially since there no way to haul long items. You can't drive with the rear doors open, you can't leave one of the doors open, you can't open the rear door windows... What are they thinking? You should have seen me last year at Christmas time when I had to tie down a 12 foot -Xmas tree to the roof cause there was no other way to haul it back to the house. I thought it was going to crash right through the moon roof.


    Of course a guy pulls up with a older Toyota 4 Runner and had the tree dude just throw it right in the back of his truck. He left the rear hatch open and drove away. Same with a guy who drove up in an Explorer. I felt like a goof.


    Steve

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It's std equipment outside the US. I'm actually working on importing the rack from Australia. I've left one of the rear doors open while driving, not too bad, but not a good solution either.

    -mike
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    I used my utility trailer to haul a 9.5 ft christmas tree. Also works for mulch, topsoil, a new dryer, wood, paving stones, and bikes.
  • conman2000conman2000 Posts: 158
    I think he got his from a aftermarket company. They drill the rack onto the roof. I am not sure of his model but most say you can't have the factory moonroof as the drilling would cause problems for the moonroof. What I have been hearing is that many Isuzu Dealers have aftermarket ones they install(hey they want extra $$ too) so try a couple around you first. If not, Surco makes baskets that use the factory(overseas)holes under the "raingutters" covers on top of the Trooper. Overlander.com sells them.


    Here is a picture of it:

    image


    Cheers,

    Con

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Looks like it'll be $200+shipping for the Factory Isuzu roof racks as seen on www.holden.com.au just working out details on it now.

    -mike
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I used my tow strap briefly, not really enough to warrant replacing it, but that raises the question? When should you replace your tow strap? After one serious snatch recovery? Use it over and over again until it frays? It doesn't seem important until you need it, and if it fails, well you are SOL.
  • duktrooperduktrooper Posts: 78
    see my post #473 on aftermarket accessories for all the info on my roof rack. I paid $189, plus $50 for install. Good luck.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I know you can offroad in the pine barrens, but are there any NJ seashore locations? I would love to go check out the fishing this time of year and get some offroading in at the same time.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    Nantucket was $80 for national seashore and $20 for regular sand permits. The ferry is $320 round trip and a roughtly 6 month reservation required.

    I am in for a another pine barrens adventure.
  • radman6radman6 Posts: 81
    sbcooke, most off roaders use their tow straps many times. Replace it when it's frayed or has big cuts / tears in it. Keep it away from sharp stuff and it should last a long time

    If you do break one and you're still stuck, you can tie the ends together and try again.

    Make sure you dry out your tow strap at the end of your trip. Rinse any sand or mud off of it and hang it up to dry. I put mine away wet one time and it mildewed badly.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    Good info on the tow strap. I thought the same.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I took my truck to the pine barrens today for some light off-roading. Since it still has under 1000 miles on the engine, I thought a short road trip would be in order. Not too much of any one type of driving, and I got to run through a few sand pits.

    I was trying out TOD vs 4 Low in Sand. Both were great. The sand in the pits was deep but not really soft. I stayed clear of any water :-).

    re: Tow Straps:
    Thanks. I think I will wash and hang-up my strap to dry. This will also give me an opportunity to inspect it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sean,
    Good to see you back on the horse! Are you gonna make Uwharrie?

    -mike
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I am not going to be able to make any trips until later this summer. Lots of weddings, trips and travel. I might be able to make a Saturday or Sunday here and there, but cannot be away for long enough to do a whole weekend.

    And yes, it is good. The truck runs great and I am looking forward to adding shocks and lights in the next week or so. I was expecting delivery today.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I am going to vegas for a weekend, I am a little gambled out. I was thinking about renting a trooper and doing some wheeling. Anyone know a rental company who might carry troopers and where to go?
  • Most Avis rental places have Troopers!
  • Give them a try too.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I ran my truck down a rutted gravel road along train tracks last night. The OME shocks were great, the wheels stayed glued to the ground and I didn't get the feeling like the back end was going to pull out. This escapade was fun, more from the adrenaline rush from not getting busted. I sure would like to hear about NC though...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    NC totally rocked. The weather was perfect for camping. It rained the day before we got there which kept the dust down the first day. No big mud-holes like we had in the Pine Barrens. Great scenery. 1/2 the fun was the trip down. 3 of us caravanned down and back. I should have a page of links to pics from the weekend. The Planet Isuzoo guys are cool. Met people that we've been chatting with on IDS for about a year now, which was really cool. I was in one guy's truck and we almost rolled it, pretty scary. Another guy skidded down one trail and took out a 7" tree with his arb bumper.

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm looking to setup a pine barrens trail ride with the subaru guys again for sept 15 or 16. Sean, you interested in doing some pre-running of the trails with me at some point? I want to go down and map out the trails on the GPS so that we will know what to expect with a group.

    -mike
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I think so. I am booked the weekend of the 8th, but that next weekend should be good. Let's pencil it in.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    10pm tonight Chat! Come tell us about your trucks, or if you are a potential owner, we'll be chatting up our trucks. I'll give an overview of Uwharrie!

    http://www.edmunds.com/chat/isuzuchat.html


    -mike

  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    http://www.4x4now.com/4wht.htm


    This is a nice site for those who haven't seen it yet.

  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I did a lot of sand driving over the last few weeks. I did some comparison between TOD and 4 lo. I found 4 lo to be the best in the deep/soft sand, and whenever travelling into uncharted areas, I always went in 4 lo. During my testing I noticed that the TOD system was constantly engaging and disengaging, I wondered about the electromagnetic clutch? Could this burn out? How much abuse would it take to burn it out? In 4 lo I experienced some whine from the gearbox, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was able to tackle any sand trail or no trail with the tires at 15 PSI easily. I had the opportunity to pass a RX300 trying to make it up a steep sand slope as he was backing down it. I stopped 1/2 way up took a look, saw he wasn't stuck and went around. The beach sand is a lot different than the Pine Barrens, where regular tire pressure is fine.

    I would like to see 4 HI in the trooper however. I think there should be 4 drive settings. 2WD High, TOD, 4WD High and Lo. TOD is great AWD, but in situations where you need all 4 wheels all of the time, you are left with 4 lo. It is sort of overkill.

    Overall, with the right technique, the Trooper could easily go anywhere and handle all conditions of off-roading oversand.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I was browsing the new Isuzu site and saw (as I have before) that the Trooper can handle a 45 degree angle off-roading. I have had it maybe at about 30 degrees and it doesn't feel too stable. It is good to know you can "go farther", if you need to.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    It looks like two Holden Jackaroos came in 1st and 2nd in that offroad race that finished just the other day.


    http://www.australiansafari.com.au/default.htm

  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    http://www.australiansafari.com.au/img/day6/mediares/Safari-31.jpg


    except something tells me he didn't hydro-lock his engine!

  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    It looks like those have flared fenders at the wheel wheels on the front, without the molding.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    I'm wondering what the effect of hard offroading over big rocks is on the trooper. I was away the other week and went up a very rocky and steep mountain (part of the trail was a stream bed) in a chevy pickup 4x4. The person I was with was a little worried about the effects of this rocky trail on the frame of his truck. He used the term, twisting the frame, up such a trail. Since I will be back there with my trooper, I'm wondering, what type of effect can these trails have on the truck? Obviously, parts of the suspension could break, but is this frame twisting thing a possibility?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It is possible if you go barreling through boulders at 30mph. Every time I've off-roaded with experienced off-roaders, we did like 5mph or crawl speed in any situations where the frame could come in contact with rocks and such. I rode over probably 50 boulders down in Uwharrie in July where I scraped the frame/skid-plates, etc against rocks and other items, no damage done to them or the car. I wouldn't worry unless you go speeding over them.

    -mike
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    Jakemm made a point in the rodeo section that his rodeo hits the spare and gas tank in deep sand. I've been in moderate sand a couple times in my trooper. Airing down is one thing of course but keeping your speed up, so you don't grind in and sink is another. With the rodeo 4Hi is probably best. With the trooper, TOD vs 4Lo is sometimes a toss-up since you can't always keep speeds much over 30 in 4Lo. Sbcooke also has had alot of exprience in sand.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hmm i can usually do about 40-50 in 4-lo in my trooper. Why the feeling that 30mph is the limit?

    -mike
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    In deep sand the trooper doesn't drag, but does touch the sand every so often, especially the gas tank. The first generation explorers are like a whirling dirvesh, dragging along the beach. The troopers just clear the sand(while driving). While parked it looks like there is a lot more clearance. I am thinking about adding OME springs, for load carrying and ride purposes, but that will also lift the body up an inch or so higher.

    With a solid axle, only bigger tires will lift the differential higher from the ground, but body lift could/would help. 4-lo has a lot of gear resistance (i.e. come off the gas and you slow down) over 25-30, I think that is why people (including me) feel more comfortable at that speed.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Tires will lift the body as well as the differential. Tires are the universal lift. But you sacrafice handling and Center of Gravity with them.

    -mike
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    In the Rodeo forum, mention was made to adding suspension lift. Springs/body lift will not increase minimum ground clearance, just the height of the body. Taller tires will add increased height to everything.

    Over sand, I have found that the differential isn't as much of a problem hitting sand as the gas tank. Going over the undulating surface of the beach, the gas tank often "kisses" the sand; pounding across rough rough terrain at 5 MPH, you see imprints of the tank and center skid plate in the sand. Body lift would improve the overall performance on the beach. Wider and taller tires would obviously help do the same.
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    Yeah, your reved pretty high at speeds above 30 mph, but you can go faster. It seems that I recall the manual saying something about keeping the speed low.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think at 50ish I'm at like 4500-5500rpms, can't remember now though.

    -mike
  • The good news is the deep sand at Hatteras will swallow up most any vehicle. There are sections of the beach that are, simply put, treacherous.

    I previously had a Jeep Cherokee which was a little less prone to getting high centered on the center mound of the tracks at the beach.

    Based on your inputs I'll take a slightly different tack with the Rodeo. Upsize the tires (30x9.50), pull the spare and put in the back, and never let the RPMs drop below 3 grand in 2nd gear in 4W low.

    Another interesting thought appears to be to relocate the gas tank to where the 15" spare lives. Anyone seen a kit for doing this?? The gas tank location on the '99 Rodeo appears to be a major hindrance for any sort of serious off-roading. Any one considered / relocated their fuel tank to pick up ground clearance? Basically the Rodeo has great clearance except for the gas tank and spare(15"). One of these is easily fixed, the other one???

    Jake
  • gpm5gpm5 Posts: 785
    The Montero, I believe, is now unibody construction. Not great for hard offroad work--definitely not for rocky terrain. I believe the X-terra is full frame truck. Has anyone seen that offroad likes its been advertised?
  • Paisan do we have to preregister for the Paragon trip or do we just show up?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Good question Troopin. Check out the paragon page and see if there is a pre-reg thing or just show up. I'll add you to the list on my page in case someone from the VX board decides to make reservations.

    -mike
  • mkayemkaye Posts: 184
    Since this section of the forum was used, so I thought I'd toss in some web sites for off-road trails, for anyone in the southwest part of the US.

    Great Western Trail, Arizona section:

    http://www.gwt.org/gwt/azgwt.html


    Arizona Off-Road:

    http://www.az-offroad.com/


    Off-Road article:

    http://www.findarticles.com/cf_offrd/m1185/n9_v29/17097283/p1/article.jhtml


    El Camino Del Diablo:

    http://www.bushducks.com/tripreps/camino.htm


    Various Trails:

    http://www.4x44u.com/pub/k2/am4x44u/trails/locations/trailr2.htm

    http://www.4x4now.com/

This discussion has been closed.