Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

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Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:39 pm

Hello PlanetIsuzoo!

My wife and I are frequent hikers and we are always looking for new spots to explore out here in beautiful Arizona. After banging around dirt roads in the Prius long enough we decided we needed a high clearance SUV to tackle the tough stuff. We considered a lot of different makes and models but ended up settling on the idea of a Trooper or Rodeo. It's hard to beat the reliability and capability for the incredibly small amount of money they cost.

We found an Blue 1993 Rodeo listed for $750 locally. Of course, we thought this suspiciously cheap but decided to take a look just in case. After seeing how clean it was and driving it I realized it would require some serious elbow grease but this was definitely an amazing deal. After some gentle persuasion, I was driving it home minus 600 bones :D . No complaints. The guy who owned it said he bought it in an auction and it clearly hadn't been washed in at least a year or more. He also didnt know anything about the maintenance besides the annoying clicking sound it emitted from the top of the motor (which was the reason for the screaming price). I suspect it is the notorious valve train noise I have read so much about recently. I ordered a jug of Mobile 1 10W30 and Royal Purple oil filter, hopefully that quiets it down some (any feedback on that issue would be appreciated!!). I'm going to change the oil after work today

Over the weekend, I did a complete detail. Which included a wash and Carnauba hand wax, vaccuum and shampooed the seats, clean and scrape off all the tint. That easily took up the weekend but it came out fantastic :laughing6: , Ill be posting pics later. Plans are to do a completed tune up and tint job over the next month or so as I can afford. I've made a list of everything I want to replace including timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, plug wires, coil packs, radiator, radiator hoses, thermostat, ac compressor (not working currently), air filter and fuel filter. Any suggestions on other wear parts I should replace will be appreciated please.

Arizona gets hot so I want to make sure she doesnt break down on us out in BFE!! Thats why I'm upgrading to a mishimoto radiator mainly, I need to run the A/C during 110 plus degree days. Should I added an additional oil cooler? I dont know how cool these trucks run and I dont want to find out the hard way. Speaking of being stranded, I realized after purchase it was 2wd, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bummer x 1000. I will be throwing a locker and manual hubs in as the very first mod after maintenance is done. She's got a slight lift and 31's at the moment so I think Ill be ok on easy trails once that locker is installed. By the way, anyone know a reputable mechanic with decent labor rates in Mesa, Az? I can install some of the easier stuff but I'll need to hire someone for the more intense jobs like the compressor and locker.

Hope to post lots of trail pics once I'm out exploring with the family. Thanks for reading my rambles. :color:
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:43 pm

Before the weekend long detail. Ill post better pics this weekend of the paint and interior with a better camera
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby itsmehb » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:26 pm

Welcome here, not a better place exists for Isuzu owners. You don't say if you have the v-6 but I'm thinking you do as you mentioned the valve tic that many have. Just turn up the radio. Works every time. If it's an auto do not overlook getting the tranny serviced. Some of the auto's do not have a dip stick, and they have to be serviced with the fluid warm and the engine running. The tranny's worst enemy would be running low on fluid, overheating and stress from towing a trailer, boat, etc. Looks like you have a good start, and really you only need the 4x4 for the harder trails. Just kidding on the valve tic, but it's really not a problem.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Georgia159.com » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:30 am

I like that color Rodeo. Wished I could find one.
I paid $580 for my daily driver Rodeo... 3 years and 110K ago!
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:07 pm

Thanks for the info itsmehb. The motor is the 3.2 V6 with a standard tranny. I also read the ticking could be a bad bearing in the AC compressor as well. I dont think it's a rod knock or piston slap but who knows, it's making good power so I'm inclined to think there isn't anything catostophic wrong with it. I must add, these motors feel awful torquey, reminds me of my old 5.0 mustang. The oil finally arrived from Amazon today so let's see it some good Mobile One will appease the Isuzu gods of the ticking. :blob2: :blob3: :evil2: :evil1: :happy10:
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:11 pm

Nope, definitely not a simple fix. Turns out it's a rod knock. Time to order a long block. I found one for 1500 with a 3 year warranty from SW Engines, anyone have luck with those guys? Anyone have a longblock in good shape they wanna sell me?
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby PA_Robert » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:59 am

Here's a copy and paste from your post:

"Speaking of being stranded, I realized after purchase it was 2wd, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bummer x 1000. I will be throwing a locker and manual hubs in as the very first mod after maintenance is done"

I am reading this wrong?

You have a 2WD and you want a 4WD?
1999 Rodeo. 2WD. Auto. 3.2. Green in color. Nice Rig.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Torquemonster » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:01 pm

PA_Robert wrote:Here's a copy and paste from your post:

"Speaking of being stranded, I realized after purchase it was 2wd, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bummer x 1000. I will be throwing a locker and manual hubs in as the very first mod after maintenance is done"

I am reading this wrong?

You have a 2WD and you want a 4WD?


Perhaps he is referring to having open diffs, being stuck and having one rear tire and one front tire spinning.

You refer to the ticking, when was the timing belt tensioner replaced last? If worn they make a loud ticking noise that will go away around 2500-3000 rpm. Also, the lifters can get to be as loud as a rod knock. I know, my 95 Rodeo was like that.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:00 pm

You refer to the ticking, when was the timing belt tensioner replaced last? If worn they make a loud ticking noise that will go away around 2500-3000 rpm. Also, the lifters can get to be as loud as a rod knock. I know, my 95 Rodeo was like that.[/quote]

The sound gets louder and louder as the engine revs which the Youtube video I watched indicated rod knock. I had a civic a while back that was knocking and the sound is similar. Considering we plan to use this Rig to explore Arizona, I would rather put a low mileage motor in for the peace of mind besides it having issues and 202,000 miles already. I found a local shop that is willing to install a replacement longblock for $1200 (not including motor) and also do some custom work. Between purchase, motor and install, I will still be not be in this rig very much money and it'll have a reliable low mileage motor to boot, no regrets with this purchase whatsoever.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:02 pm

PA_Robert wrote:Here's a copy and paste from your post:

"Speaking of being stranded, I realized after purchase it was 2wd, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bummer x 1000. I will be throwing a locker and manual hubs in as the very first mod after maintenance is done"

I am reading this wrong?

You have a 2WD and you want a 4WD?


No, you read that correctly. You can install a locking rear diff on a 2wd, its not as effective as 4wd with lockers but it'll get me to the places I want to go.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby PA_Robert » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:47 pm

Raphouse wrote:
PA_Robert wrote:Here's a copy and paste from your post:

"Speaking of being stranded, I realized after purchase it was 2wd, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bummer x 1000. I will be throwing a locker and manual hubs in as the very first mod after maintenance is done"

I am reading this wrong?

You have a 2WD and you want a 4WD?


No, you read that correctly. You can install a locking rear diff on a 2wd, its not as effective as 4wd with lockers but it'll get me to the places I want to go.



AHHHHHH. Thank you. I did not know this. I will have to do some reading. I have a '99 2WD Rodeo.

I'm in NW PA so snow is my issue. I have a Ford 4x4 if need be, but the 6.0 diesel is a hog on fuel and in cold weather I have to keep the block heater plugged in 24/7. I want the Rodeo to be the grocery getter and kid's activities shuttle. .
1999 Rodeo. 2WD. Auto. 3.2. Green in color. Nice Rig.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:24 pm

Glad I could help. I researched the available brands and it looks like ARB is the spendier but much more durable option. Here's a vid from there site that lets you know exactly how an air locker system works. Good luck with your project
http://store.arbusa.com/Air-Lockers-C7.aspx
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby chuffer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:09 pm

Raph, not to be Debby-downer, but let's stop, grab a beer and objectively assess things real quick here:

That truck, which I admit looks great, cost you $600.
ARB plus compressor (assuming you don't have one yet) is gonna cost you at least $1200. Install will set you back another $300-$500.
A long block is gonna cost $1500. I will assume that you are gonna do the motor swap yourself. So, labor is "free."
All the other crap that you'll to replace during the motor swap will be at least another $500 (that might sound like a lot, but the little odds and ends like bolts, fluids, gaskets, paint, cleaner, towels, etc. add up).

In the end you will spend around $3500 on a $600 truck that (be honest here) still won't be exactly what you want. All that money and it'll still be 2WD.

For $3500 you could buy one heck of a nice 4x4 Isuzu. Another option would be using that $3500 toward a wrecked Isuzu with all the donor parts for a 4x4 and motor swap...or just swap the body?

Again, not tying to be a PeePee. Simply want to give you a different perspective.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Jonesy » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:36 am

chuffer wrote:Raph, not to be Debby-downer, but let's stop, grab a beer and objectively assess things real quick here:

That truck, which I admit looks great, cost you $600.
ARB plus compressor (assuming you don't have one yet) is gonna cost you at least $1200. Install will set you back another $300-$500.
A long block is gonna cost $1500. I will assume that you are gonna do the motor swap yourself. So, labor is "free."
All the other crap that you'll to replace during the motor swap will be at least another $500 (that might sound like a lot, but the little odds and ends like bolts, fluids, gaskets, paint, cleaner, towels, etc. add up).

In the end you will spend around $3500 on a $600 truck that (be honest here) still won't be exactly what you want. All that money and it'll still be 2WD.

For $3500 you could buy one heck of a nice 4x4 Isuzu. Another option would be using that $3500 toward a wrecked Isuzu with all the donor parts for a 4x4 and motor swap...or just swap the body?

Again, not tying to be a PeePee. Simply want to give you a different perspective.


This would be my thinking as well. Sure, you'd have a good motor, but what about the rest of the components on the truck? How is the suspension? The trans isn't going to be an issue since it's the MUA5, but the rest of the truck would be a concern.

Now, with that all said, Who are we to tell you what to do. I spent $7k getting my SAS redone, and am now into my $750 Rodeo for a touch over $10k. If you will be happy with it, then go for it...but since you wanted a 4WD, it'd think looking a little harder for one may be the way to go.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:14 pm

chuffer wrote:Raph, not to be Debby-downer, but let's stop, grab a beer and objectively assess things real quick here:

That truck, which I admit looks great, cost you $600.
ARB plus compressor (assuming you don't have one yet) is gonna cost you at least $1200. Install will set you back another $300-$500.
A long block is gonna cost $1500. I will assume that you are gonna do the motor swap yourself. So, labor is "free."
All the other crap that you'll to replace during the motor swap will be at least another $500 (that might sound like a lot, but the little odds and ends like bolts, fluids, gaskets, paint, cleaner, towels, etc. add up).

In the end you will spend around $3500 on a $600 truck that (be honest here) still won't be exactly what you want. All that money and it'll still be 2WD.

For $3500 you could buy one heck of a nice 4x4 Isuzu. Another option would be using that $3500 toward a wrecked Isuzu with all the donor parts for a 4x4 and motor swap...or just swap the body?

Again, not tying to be a PeePee. Simply want to give you a different perspective.


I really appreciate the perspective. I shared some of these thoughts myself as I've been pricing out the build cost. I'm still tossing and turning a little bit over the lack of 4wd. Besides that, this truck is really stellar. I can tell it was really well taken care of at one point. I'm telling myself its going to go everywhere I will really want to go with just a locker but I know I'm going to want to hit a trail that I'll need 4wd at some point, possibly. It might be like being stuck in the shallow end of the pool when you were a kid. Or it wont be. I may be completely content with just going down fire roads and basic jeep trails to find campsites. I can't really say for certain at this point because this is my first attempt at creating a camping/ exploration vehicle. My previous cars have all been different sports cars with the exception of the prius we've owned for the past 7 years (why ever get rid of this thing?). I may get into this and really want to create something extremely capable but I have a feeling I am more than likely going to be content with a well setup up and running vehicle that can go almost anywhere.

Probable upgraded list:

Custom bumpers front and back w/ winch: $1500- $1800
ARB air locker: $1500
New Upholstery (Front seats, back row, door panels) $300-$500 material cost for leather and suede - my wife has done upholstery for years
Basic sound system- $500 (basic deck, 2 tweeters, 4 door speakers- I can modify the door panels to accommodate, small sub with box, dynamat)
Suspension (upgraded shocks, this includes mainly replacing bushings and upgrading things as they wear out) $1000

If you add it all up and add in more because we all know little things pop up and we all like lights and toys, I wont be more than $8-$10k deep. To have a really good running vehicle that can go just about anywhere is worth that amount. I say a comparable new 4runner or Colorado with 2wd and a locker is about $30k and will not be as capable. I know some of you (myself included) still grit your teeth at the 2wd problem. How much would a 4wd conversion run me? I figure itll be a transfer case, front axles and random bits $2k-3k? Not a big amount to spend to have a really capable and unique off roader. Then again, it may not be necessary with good tires and a nice locker with a driver that isnt out trying to impress myself much or do a whole lot besides camp in cool places with my family.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:52 pm

All that said, I just got off the phone with my wife and she wants to look for a 4x4 before we order this engine and start dumping money. I told her what you all said and she was totally in agreement. I'm not very deep in it at this point and can still make a small profit of at least break even. I'll either order the engine or have a 4x4 and post this old girl up for sale within the next week. I'm meeting this dude at 4 on Saturday. I can swap over the wheels and maybe get $800 for the current truck. Build plans would basically be the same just with 4wd.

https://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/cto/6098457592.html
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby chuffer » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:23 pm

That 1996 Rodeo looks like a great starting point. At $2000 it seems like a good deal too.

A few other quick points:

1. Smart wife.
2. It sounds like you could also make the $600 rig work, but it would require a lot more...well...work. Why not start with a better platform so you can spend your time and effort doing the fun stuff.
3. It isn't even really about the money in the end, is it? Not to say that money is no object, but I don't that it is the main concern. Enjoyment is. If I were to actually tally up how much I have sunken into my poor beater of a Trooper, it would prolly make me ill.
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Re: Raph's 93 Rodeo in Arizona

Postby Raphouse » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:02 pm

chuffer wrote:That 1996 Rodeo looks like a great starting point. At $2000 it seems like a good deal too.

A few other quick points:

1. Smart wife.
2. It sounds like you could also make the $600 rig work, but it would require a lot more...well...work. Why not start with a better platform so you can spend your time and effort doing the fun stuff.
3. It isn't even really about the money in the end, is it? Not to say that money is no object, but I don't that it is the main concern. Enjoyment is. If I were to actually tally up how much I have sunken into my poor beater of a Trooper, it would prolly make me ill.


Ill be sure to let her know. I totally agree with you. Being able to go camping next weekend is really appealing. We went up to Sedona, Az last weekend and had an absolute blast. Would have been much more fun if we could have explored some of the jeep trails up there but you know... Prius.. lol
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