Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HEAVY)

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Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HEAVY)

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:01 am

I finally took the Trooper on her first full length adventure, documented below.

WARNING: Lots of pictures, many poorly done!

I tried to be as prudent as possible with my picture taking (most trips i usually end up with 5 or so), but there is still a lot of gaps and most of them are just iphone quality. The trip was from October 1st-21, from Lincoln, Ne>Wyoming>Montana>Idaho>Wyoming>Colorado>Wyoming>Nebraska, covering about 3,000 miles. A few "hiccups" along the way, but so are the woes of driving almost 30 year old trucks, and the adventure doesn't start until something goes wrong! Ill get more into this later. Spent most nights in National Forests in the back of the Trooper, Ill Try and explain my system, What i liked, and what I'd change in the future. I really enjoyed camping this way, imo the perfect size "camper" for one person, especially with a few more changes and additions as I'm able!

I have a thread for the truck, but for continuity's sake,

1991 Isuzu Trooper LS 4 Door
2.8/Manual (174,000)
Kelly Edge AT lt245/75r16 on PC Gen 2 Steelies
Rancho 5000's - new before trip
Dynomat/sleeping platform
Thule Roof Rack/Box
Sportrack Swing-a-Way 4 Bike Hitch Rack

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Right before the trip, I installed the Rancho's (RockAuto) in place of some very very worn originals.
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Also replaced the driver's door hinges (junkyard) and driver's vent window rubber gasket at that time (Jerry Lemond).

Making a mess packing for the trip.

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Emergency Box with lesser used tools and spares that are hopefully unneeded.
-Ratchet Straps
-Bolt Cutters
-Radiator Hoses/tape/etc
-Thermostat
-Spare bulbs for all lights
-Old belts
-Jumper Cables
-Oil, Duct Tape, Epoxy, Rope, Fixaflat...
Would like to cut a hole in the rear floor and ad a fuel pump to the box. Anybody have any suggestions on things to add here?

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I previously had a narrower Thule cargo box mounted on the stock rack, but i have no picture. My plan was to mount a metro rack upside down next to it to have a half box/half basket, but i decided to try this using one big box after finding this one on of craigslist for $10! Its a Thule again and even had the key. I had bought the gutter mounts on Craigslist as well with too short of cross bars, and ended up splurging on new ones as no used ones became available before the trip. Ill take a picture of the contents if i think about it, but the contents are mostly permanent. Lighter Bulky camping Stuff and "emergency" use items.
-Canopy
-Folding Chairs
-Folding and Roll Up Camp Tables
-Collapsible Bike Repair Stand
-Aluminum Full Sized Floor Jack
-Peak Jump Start Box/Air Inflator
-Axe/Shovel
-Cum-A-Long/Tow Ropes
There's quite a bit of room up there still if i have a passenger or add a few more things to my car camping kit, most will go up there to keep easy access to the platform for quick camp setup. I was borrowing the canopy for this trip, and it is quite large. It was great to have, but i think i will replace it with a smaller one, or even awnings alone, and that will open up even more room.

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I built a Chuck box to go where the rear seat is, but decided it was just too heavy and bulky for me to use on my own. Also no need for it too much on this trip as most of the cooking i did was just for me and my backpacking stove or the fire was sufficient.

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I ended up getting a smaller Coleman stove and i think I will end up making a similar box to fit this one and be more manageable when camping alone, but i did set up a makeshift kitchen box in a rubbermaid for this trip. I only used the big stove a handful of times, but it was good to have when i needed. Pretty much everything I had in the homemade box fit in the rubbermaid.

-Dual burner Coleman gas stove
-MSR Backpacking stove & Fuel
-Coleman Gas
-Assorted Spices
-Rags, wet wipes, scrubbers, natural soap, washtub, etc
-Optimus Terra Weekend (used for majority of cooking)
-Retired kitchen 10" frying pan and medium sized pot
-Cutting board, kitchen knives, tablesettings for 4

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Last edited by kevins08 on Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
1989 Isuzu Trooper - 2.8l/mua5

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:45 am

Before the trip i had a leaky headlight, and ordered one off Amazon after no used ones were available in any yards or on the forum here.

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As some may notice, this is a 2nd generation headlight. It arrived the morning i was supposed to leave, and having been blowing bulbs for a week i was left no choice but to install this light very jankity via zipties. You'll see this in later pictures. Anyone have a spare for me?

Did the headlight last thing after packing, so ended up leaving quite a bit later than i had originally intended. Drove through the night though to Laramie where i set up camp in Medicine Bow Nat'l Forest in a place i have been before. Beautiful spot, woke up in the back of the truck to these views:

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You can see that wonky grill/headlight.

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You can see the aluminum box on the ground in this photo. It's some sort of old military air drop box, but i keep my dry storage foods in it. Instant rice, bread and the like. It is waterproof and has 8 latches so fairly animal proof as well. Im not really in bear country here, but when i am i dont keep it so close to the truck. Did actually rope it up for two uo the nights even, but it is quite heavy.

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These pictures show how the rear is set up when im sleeping in it. In the rear hatch area i always have a drawer platform and storage system. The platform can lay out flat for sleeping when the seat is in and folded over, or when i have the seat removed and the chuck box that i built (discussed in first post) in place of the seat. With the rubbermaid kitchen, i do have to move it to set up the platform, which was not ideal. To solve this, I am planning on building another box for my new stove or possibly raising the platform and using the new space underneath for my power invertor and a 2nd battery system.

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Twin sized air mattress, 15* down bag. Plenty warm for most nights, but did have a few where it was a little too cold. I have a fleece liner for that situation, but also a propane powered Mr. Heater for extreme nights.

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:47 am

Coleman 12v Cooler stays in the front passenger seat while sleeping and driving. I put it in the very rear on top of the platform when i had a passenger later in the trip, and again moved it to the passenger seat for sleeping. I would love to get a fridge in the future, but the cooler worked well on this trip. It was fairly cool the entire time, especially in the overnights when it wasnt getting power. I froze all meats and perishables ahead of time as well as some large containers of water, and in the first two weeks, i still had ice in the jugs without refilling. I added cold beer and cold water to the cooler often but tried to open only when needed. Overall very impressed wit the cooler based on how much more touted the fridges or even expensive Yeti type coolers often are.

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Rubbermaid Kitchen moved from the rear seat area to the drivers seat while sleeping.

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No air conditioning in this girl, but I have a pretty technical solution as you can see. All the glam sleeping gear (mattress, pump, pillow, bags, and heater) go in the cardboard box when were all packed up.

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Here you can see the swing away rack which allows access to the rear even with bikes on it. This made so many thing about this trip easier, definitely recommended if you'll be carrying bikes and needing to get into the back often...which i was, as you can see, to access my storage cubbies under the platform. I originally built it to use drawers, but they were heavy, bulky, and unnecessary. using bags works better for me on all levels, except maybe aesthetics. On the left i have my backpacking pack with all of my camping gear, and behind it a bag with warmer winter clothing. On the Right is a large duffle bag with regular clothes, riding clothes, and shoes for the trip, and behind it a basket full of spare bike parts and tools. Side cubbies have some fluids and tools for the Trooper, and some bike fenders and other parts.

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:05 am

Setup while driving solo is similar in the cabin, not Rubbermaid on the drivers seat, Cooler still on the passenger. (moves to the rear when i have a passenger, long cord)

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Rear seat area while driving, Rubbermaid Kitchen and Aluminum Dry Box where the rear seat would be. Plywood Emergency Box and First Aid kit are behind Drivers Seat. Blue Bag is "entertainment" things like cards, chess, books ,tablet, etc.

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Platform folded up, Cardboard box full of amenities. And a finger in the lens.

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:23 am

More from around the camp that morning. Medicine Bow, outside of Laramie, near Curt Gowdy. Woke up here, packed, did a quick hour of singletrack and headed into town for lunch.

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Awesome hat at the Pedal House in Laramie.

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Nothin but road, plains WY. HWY 30/487.

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:33 am

More HWY 487 coming into Casper. Really weird weather on this drive, rain to sunshine and back again throught the valleys and the hills. Really high wind, and 60mph gusts.

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:36 am

Had my first bit of roadtrip type excitement between Casper and Billings going north on I25. Was getting "low" on gas, which is anytime in bottom third on this it seems, near the Wyoming/Montana border. Tried to stop in Lodge Grass, MT as i was getting quite close to the E after Google reported it having the closest gas station. Another 3 miles to the 'gas station' which ended up being a Co-Op type shop that closed at 6 (now 7). Not knowing what was ahead, i was quite worried about making the next place without having to walk in the rain. Fortunately, the next town had plenty of gas to offer and it was just a minor scare.

However, as a roadtrip "expedition" vehicle, I think small tank is the Trooper's biggest shortcoming. On my best tanks i would get around 280 and worst can be 150 in the mountains when the truck is really working hard (and sometimes gas is scarce). I would like to change this before the next big trip, and I think I will go this route if i can find the tank.

http://4x4wire.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/808633/Re:_Want_to_add_a_second_fuel_.html

Thoughts? Anyone have any experience with this or have alternatives? I will add a few jerry cans to my current system, but thats still not the ideal solution as I would like to add range between tanks without refueling for times sake as well as having the extra emergency fuel.


I arrived in Billings, MT on the second night of my trip around 8pm.This will just be a quick stop overnight as intend to reach a buddy living in Helena the following day. Tonight it is still quite windy and raining off and on. In Billings,I got an unmemorable meal, and looked for a bar to kill some time before setting up a quick camp for the night. I heard music coming from an open door and ended up catch a great Americana Punk band, "Urban Pioneers" at the Railyard Ale House. Good People there to pair with teh music too!

Watch on youtube.com


Excluding Wal Marts and the like, the closest place to park and sleep that night was a place called Acton Rec Area 26 miles north of the bar. The map app showed the drive taking over an hour without reason, and no one in the bar had even heard of the place, let alone confirm the reason. No matter, we'll see what it about anyway. The drive there isn't taking nearly as long as advertised, but is 75% country roads. Just 3 miles from the entrance, using the provided gps route, I am stopped by a large gate declaring the road turns into a private ranch road where trespassing is not allowed! The very exact route I've been told to use. Google maps is still showing the road to lead directly to the entrance, however, it only takes a second of thought to realize this is not the area to be caught where one is told not to be, not to mention is is still raining and the roads are getting quite soggy. To reach the other entrance is a 30 minute detour, but one i decide to take. Nearly there, I enter the last stretch of access road 6 miles to the entrance, only to realize it is essentially a what is referred to as a Minimum Maintenance road where I'm from, although it was unmarked as such. Quite muddy at this point and too narrow to turn around, i had no choice but to keep it in the gas and avoid becoming stuck.

After making it the the park entrance without too much fuss, although without Isuzu 4wd it could have been quite different, only to find out that similar to my previous attempt on the east entrance, this side too was gated! Id had enough for the night though, and decided I would be sleeping in the parking lot regardless of regulations. Stupidly, I put the large aluminum dry box on the roof to avoid the muddy ground. I did a very quick set up of the platform from inside the vehicle as the wind and rain (and now partially snow) were starting to pick up. All in my pajamas, weather radio on, and propane Mr. Heater running (one of 3 nights i used it) the camper part of the Trooper was feeling quite cozy but the wind was getting more and more intense, shaking the trooper and very very loud at this point. The aluminum dry box is very heavy (about 75lb) but i cannot sleep because I'm so worried about it blowing off the roof. In hindsight, I should have gotten out of my cozy pocket and moved it, and in even further hindsight I should have just put the box in the dirt. After not sleeping in paranoia for over an hour, I was finally delivered what I feared in the form of a crash onto the hood before the box landed in the dreaded mud after all. (as discovered in the morning, the damage was only a minor dent in the cowl). Sleep almost immediately followed.

Mooore Wind. Mooore Rain. Some Snow. Is the scene I awoke too. Pictures dont do it much justice, but was quite was just a sloppy fall mess outside, especially thinking about that access road. Wish it would have been nicer and i could have explored the park a bit, but I was ready to get on the road dry and warm.

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Leaving the Park, I drove east on HWY 12 toward Helena, a stretch of road that ended up being my favorite of the whole trip. In addition to perfect scenery, the weather had cleared for the most part and most of the drive was quite sunny and warm. Especially with the addition of fall's vibrant colors, this was just absolute gorgeous drive from start to finish, and with such a diversity of landscapes. Plains into the foothills into the mountains and back down again, and with virtually no traffic. I would recommend this drive as an alternative to I90 any time its possible when traveling in Montana, or even as a destination drive if its not far out of the way.

I took basically no pictures as I was so busy enjoying the view IRL. I shouldn't even post this because the quality is so poor (only one that isnt 100% blurry) and there's not much to see, but I cant emphasize enough how much i enjoyed this drive and i feel it deserves something. Seriously though, HWY 12 Montana, do it.

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Outside of a few longer more gradual ones in Wyoming, Highway 12 had the first really serious climbs of the trip and the Trooper was not a fan of them. I probably have 1000 or more extras pounds loaded for the trip, but from here until i left the mountains again, the trooper was seriously lacking in power to maintain interstate or even highway speeds in a way i never noticed back home. While when going 60+, normally well into 5th gear back on the plains, I was forced to use 4th gear almost exclusively in the mountains or i had "no power." Even if i used 4th to reach 70+ before shifting into 5th, I would be unable to maintain while climbing even what seemed to be slight inclines. a 3.4 upgrade sure would be nice here.

At some point on the scenic drive, an existing but minor exhaust leak became a large and noticeable one. Something to be dealt with soon, but not of much concern now, as I was finally reaching Helena. About year and a half ago, two weeks after getting the Trooper with this same person in fact, some other friends and myself helped our buddy Essay move to Helena to work for the Montana Conservation Corps with nothing but his bike, tent, and a B.O.B. trailer's worth of belongings. He's worked two seasons for them now and even has a real home, to which i was now arriving. A short bike ride and visit to the local brewery was a fitting reunion, before a relaxed night in readying for a drive to Missoula in the morning. He had 5 days off which we would fill with a show in Missoula, followed by camping and bike riding in the backwoods.

After an almost unbearable ride of shouting to converse over the procrastinated "exhaust leak" on the way to Missoula, i finally hopped the truck under to examine the extent of repairs it'd need.

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Well, that makes sense. Too late tonight to get a new muffler, so we find a spot we'll camp later in the nearby national forest and explore the town by bike before Devil Makes Three at the Wilma Theatre.

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Watch on youtube.com
Last edited by kevins08 on Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:08 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby paulevans76 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:49 am

Great scenery (and ingenuity)!
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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:43 pm

After the show, we returned to the spot we found earlier and set up camp for the night, Essay in his one man tent and myself still in the back of the trooper. Another neat spot with giant Ponderosas everywhere.

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After picking up camp, we set back into town once again, this time to finally tackle that loud exhaust. Not looking forward to finaggling something together with a generic muffler, imagine how pleased i was to find the Auto Zone in Missoula had the factory muffler!!Just 7 minutes and $45 later we're silently on the road!

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After fixing the muffler, we set out for Flathead Nat'l behind the Rattlesnake bicycle trail system forest to set up a more permanent camp for a few days.
We took logging roads about 30 miles up a canyon (I forget the name).

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View My Video

<embed width="440" height="420" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://v9.tinypic.com/player.swf?file=k01zf6&s=9"><br><font size="1"><a href="http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=k01zf6&s=9">Original Video</a> - More videos at <a href="http://tinypic.com">TinyPic</a></font>

Camp in one of the valleys.

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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby hessmess » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:13 pm

What happened to the rest of the story?!
86 Trooper (sold to brother) wrecked and recycled
88 Trooper (recycled)
91 Trooper, 3.1, bored .40, Cam, 4.3 TBI, roller rockers, Fiero valve covers, remote oil filter, LSD, 2.25 Cat back exhaust, BJ flip, 5 speed conversion, Round eye conversion-retired and parts donated to the new 91
91 LS Trooper, 5 speed, 3.4, bored intake, LSD, rebuilt using parts donated from the first 91
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=81567
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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby Ed Mc. » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:33 pm

hessmess wrote:What happened to the rest of the story?!


Yeah, I wanted to hear about the 2 transfer cases! :twisted:
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Yes, I am a Trooper-Holic!!!
Keep On Troopin' !
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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby kevins08 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:19 pm

Yeah, I wanted to hear about the 2 transfer cases! :twisted:[/quote]
hessmess wrote:What happened to the rest of the story?!


Just been busy, took a lot longer to post that i had anticipated! I'll have some time tonight, I'll add up some more.
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Re: Five States, Two Transfer Cases, One Trooper (Picture HE

Postby Von » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:28 pm

kevins08 wrote:I have a thread for the truck, but for continuity's sake,


Continuity... what's that?

Nice Trooper, and you've made it a nice little camping rig.
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