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Isuzu Trooper

Is it true that Isuzu Troopers are known for needing cylinder heads and head gaskets replaced frequently?

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2015-07-17 17:36:46
2015-07-17 17:36:46

Regarding oil consumption, synthetic oil is far superior for lubrication than petroleum based oil BUT it has a smaller molecule, one reason why it is superior, and is therefore more easily consumed by the engine.

These Isuzu engines consume more oil because of their PCV system. Misted oil from the crankcase is routed back into the intake and is burned by the engine. If you install an oil trap or "oil catch" to condense the oil so it doesn't pass as a mist into the intake you can put the condensed oil back into your engine instead of losing it. Ebay sells them for 15-30 dollars. They also have an indicator on them to show how much they have collected.

Yes - I own a 2000 Isuzu Trooper and from my own experience I know that the head gaskets are faulty. It was covered under my warranty 10year/120,000 miles (I am currently at 110,000 miles). Symptoms were a check engine light with rough idle.

^His/Her opinion. My answer is NO. The 3.5L Trooper engines require closer monitoring of engine oil levels than do the previous 3.2L engine. I'd switch to synthetic oil, and make certain the engine doesn't run low of oil. The 3.5L doesn't take kindly to low oil levels. And just because that guy up above had a head gasket problem doesn't mean it's the norm, or that they're faulty. It's not a common occurrence. Toyota had many of the same issues as this 3.5L Isuzu engine, in the sense that some of their engines don't take kindly to low oil levels either. Just don't let the 3.5L Trooper run low on oil, and you shouldn't be surprised to run up 250,000 miles or more.

For those who have had problems with intake manifold gaskets, just replace the gaskets and move on. The engine is going to run erratically as long as intake vacuum is leaking. The gaskets should run about $30-$50 bucks, and takes about 2 hours to replace. The car should run perfectly after that. If not, the gaskets were installed incorrectly. Be wary of paper gaskets... reliable ones should be thick and rubber. A good tip in checking for intake leaks is to leave the car at idle, and spray a little throttle body cleaner around the head of the engine. Any engine idle surges are caused by the intake leaks sucking in the tb cleaner, indicating intake gasket leaks.

I'm not sure if the all Toopers are known for needing cylinder head gaskets replaced often, but my 1998 3.5L Trooper engine had the intake manifold gaskets replaced twice under warrenty and a third time on 12/04/2003 (46349 MI)at a cost of $298.37 for parts and labor (parts were $59.50).

The parts required were QTY 2 of 8-97237-538-0. The same gasket was replaced again at 48639 MI on 4/7/2004 with the notation 'FOUND CRACK IN INTAKE MANIFOLD GASKETS 01A401 2.0 TC35 P.W. 156685, 46349 MI 12-04-03. Since the defect occurred within one year, there was no cost for that repair.

Athough I was told each time that the gaskets were now being made out of 'more pliable materials', the part number was still the same QTY 2 8-97237-538-0.

The check engine light is on again, but the symptoms aren't nearly as bad yet. Before (in the winter) when the gasket cracked (usually when the weather changed quickly (in Dec/03, the weather went from 50 degrees above to 20 below on the day the gasket went out). I'm assuming that it will not be covered under any type of lemon law since the Trooper now has 55000 miles on it.

I love the Trooper, but they probably should have designed better gaskets for the 3.5L engine.

Fred Schwartz St. Paul, MN

I bought my 1998 Acura SLX 3.5L 4x4 (the Trooper in a fancy disguise!) in 2002 with 46,400 miles on it. It was in really good shape, had my regular mechanic check it out & he said "Buy it!" It's been great, but have reservations on overall performance. It's not that this truck DOESN'T perform well. It does, but like one poster noted in this forum, it doesn't like running low on oil. BUT...it does run low quite often, and I noticed fairly early on that the tailpipe had black soot accumulating on it. Took it to the dealer where I purchased it and asked them to check it out. They replaced some gasket, can't remember exactly what it was now. With the exception of one dealer oil change, Jiffy Lube is where I normally go & I've switched to the synthetic blend for SUVs with more than 75000 miles on the engine (I'm at 78000 now). My brother-in-law has advised against using Pennzoil, said he's researched it & found it to be terrible on engines overall (I believe Jiffy has switched me to Quaker State, but don't quote me yet). If I have any complaints about this vehicle, it's the oil consumption in between oil changes (at least one quart every 1000 miles) and soot is still accumulating on the tailpipe. I've done well with repairs, nothing major, just niceties to give the vehicle longevity, brakes. Buyers beware: this engine eats oil and gas, very poor performance on both those counts, otherwise it's a very reliable vehicle.

I have rebuilt several of these Isuzu Trooper 3.5L engines (6) that have failed from engine oil loss. All seem to show the same problem when dismantled. I agree with everything that is said above. But, let me elaborate from personnal experience that few others have to share with everyone! Yes, it is very true that the Isuzu Trooper 3.5L engine (1998-2002) is sensitive to low oil level in the crank case! However, the root cause that underlies oil consumption on these engines are two-fold in conditions. One, is the use of "mineral based oil" (that is regular automotive oil) instead of the much better synthetic type of engine oils. The other reason is not paying attention to oil change intervals and oil levels on the dipstick. Back to the first reason. As I said, "mineral base oil" is much more a problem than synthetic oil. Why? Mineral base oil oxidizes much more rapidly than synthetic oil in an engine, and when it does it makes something called oxidation products, more commonly known as oil sludge or oil "gums". If synthetic oil is used there is much less tendency to form these products! So, what does the sludge/gum do? The sludge/gum formation causes the oil rings to stick in the oil ring grooves. This is definitely not a normal and wanted condition! The oil rings need to be able to move freely in and out of the groove. Synthetic oil should be used in the Trooper 3.5L, it is a much better oil because it does not form sludge/gums in the oil ring area, hence the oil rings will continue to work as they should "oiling" the cylinder walls much better than if mineral oil is used. On a side note here, Isuzu should have specified to use synthetic oil in these 3.5L engines from the very day the newly manufactured Trooper was first filled with engine oil. That way oil rings would last much, much longer without gumming/sticking. But why do the piston oil rings gum up when other auto engines don't seem to have this problem? The reason is in the construction of the oil rings and the grooves they ride in. The oil ring groove on each piston has too few "holes" (there are only 4 per piston) to permit sufficient oil drainage from the oil ring area. Not only are there too few holes, but the holes are too small (being 1 mm in diameter). Having too few and too small drainage holes causes oil to linger in the oil ring groove area. Hence, the engine oil heats up from lack of oil flow and forms those all so deposits of oxidation, aka GUM on the rings. The rings, once coated with gum formation can then no longer expand to scrape oil from the piston walls as they should; instead they stay in the collapsed position and engine oil is pumped by them up into the piston combustion chamber. The more gum formation in the piston oil ring area the greater the amount of oil consumed. In fact, the gum build up and oil consumption can happen so fast that the oil level drops between oil changes to some dangerously low level. Once, the dangerous oil level has gone unnoticed the oil pump can no longer suck up oil from the crank case and it then fails to deliver oil to the engine. End of story, the engine is destroyed. The second reason I speak of is neglect to change oil at regular intervals as specified by Isuzu. This action is like throwing fuel on a fire. It enhances gum formation because the additives that prevent gum formation (yes, there are some additives in good oil that do this) are consumed at about 3,000 miles! Take if from me, use sythetic oil, check your oil at each gas tank fillup, change your oil faithfully at manufacturer's specified interval, and you can easily drive an Isuzu Trooper 3.5L well beyond 200,000 miles. It' true. I've done it.

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