May 98

Hello Everyone :)

We just put my son's Chevy V-6 powered 86 Trooper II on the road!!! Which means the swap is about 95% finished, Hopefully no problems will crop up.

I mentioned that I'd give details if asked and some one asked so here is the SAGA.

About 6 months ago I found 2 86 Troopers at a low buck used car dealer. One had been rolled, it had a smashed left front fender, and drivers side door, cracked front window, and lots of dents, much cosmetic damage, ratty interior etc. The motor ran, but the upper radiator hose was REALLY TIGHT!!! The engine compartment was filthy, who ever had this Trooper did not take care of it at all.

It turned out the head had been cracked and repaired, and was not torqued down which caused a head gasket leak into the cooling system. Torque the head, problem solved. Now it won't run?????? Turns out that when whomever welded the cracked head, it warped the hole that the fuel pump rod goes through, so when the head is torqued down, the push rod was seized. I pulled the rod and put it in the hand drill and reduced it's diameter with a belt sander, maybe 1/16th of an inch, reinstalled and bingo a running, if not attractive Trooper :) The rest of the story on this vehicle is boring the body work was just sufficient to make it streetable and so the drivers side door would shut, and the window would operate.

The other was in better shape cosmetically, bad tires, cracked windshield, no master cylinder, and a lot of nickel and dime things wrong with it, and oh yea it did not have a motor!! So I talked my son in to buying them both. The deal was that I got the Rolled one, but that he could use the Rolled one for parts. Basically, if he needed a part I either bought him a new part, a used one, or let him take the part of my Trooper.

So we started shopping for a motor. The prices at the junkyard were pretty steep, but I knew a guy a couple of blocks over that had a Trooper, that he was putting a V6 in. So I went to see him. Turns out that He had sold the Trooper and still had the kit and the Motor :) Weeeeeee!!!

Good news we got the whole kit and the motor for $500. This is the Advance Adapters kit with The adapter plate, flywheel clutch, starter motor mounts, almost every thing to do the job!!!

Bad news, after pulling the valve cover on what appears to be a rebuilt engine, we find that what we have is a completely trashed engine that has been painted well :) $700 later, we have a completely rebuilt engine with a trashed paint job. (My son painted it aluminum colored

Before the installation begins, we have already spent what a 4banger would of cost out of the junkyard. But this will be a learning experience for my 20-year-old son.

I have a cherry picker, engine stand, torch, drill press, metal cutting band saw, vise, bench grinder, belt sander, and the appropriate handtools. Plus about 9-6 years ago I put a Toyota 2TC engine in an MG Midget.(That was a fun car :) So I planned on letting him do most of the grunt work, and I'd do the more difficult stuff.

We did not pick the engine that came with the kit, we thought that it was a 3.8-liter V6, well it is but was not the 231 cid, but the 229 cid from an 80 Chevy Malibu. I don't know any thing about the Chevy V6s, but from what the machinist said the 229 is not the worlds best engine, Oh yea, he told us that AFTER he had done the machine work. (THANKS)

After all is said and done, I would have picked the 4.3 liter (?)V6, it's just about the same physical size, and besides having more power and torque, it is supposed to be a better engine. The hassle to install it would have been the same. Back to the story

The folks at Advance said that the kit was not made for the 229, but saw no reason why it wouldn't work. The adapter plate fit the Isuzu transmission, and the Chevy engine. The rest of the parts bolted on, so away we went.

The oil pan and pick up had to be modified to clear the front differential, the specs were included in the booklet provided.

We could not get the engine in with the transmission still in the Trooper, so we had to pull the Tranny/transfer and bolt it all together then drop it in. IT DID NOT FIT. just barely, so a come-along on the end of the transmission made up the difference. Some times you have to do things that aren't pretty. The modified oil pump interfered with the differential and the top of the bell housing with the firewall but a slight tug with the come-along pulled it through. 20/20 hind sight--- only 4 nuts hold the front axle assy to the frame and loosening them would have dropped the front axle slightly and solved the problem, but hey it's my first Trooper. :)

The clearance for the starter and the front diff is kinda close, but the installation manual warned us of that.

I left the bolting up of the engine and transmission to my son. He did it when I was at work, evidently the kit motor mount holes did not lineup with the Isuzu pads, so he got the neighbor guy to come over and blow new holes with the torch. :( When I found out about that I was unhappy, but the deed was done. Had he read the installation manual, he would have noticed that the transmission should have been bolted to the rear of 2 sets of mounting holes for the Isuzu transmission. Then the motor mounts would have lined up with the pads Oh well. More on that later.

After the guy at the Radiator shop quoted us a price of $300 for a custom radiator, we went to a junkyard and found a 3 core cross flow out of a Chevy Nova for $40. Luckily it Just barely fit in the Isuzu opening.(some minor sheet metal modifications required, some small pressed bumps have to be flattened, the body hammer and dolly worked great) Making the brackets to hold the radiator took at least 16 hours, but it's a fairly clean install. The radiator is held with the stock rubber pieces. The air conditioning condenser coil had to be moved forward in order to install 2 electric fans between the radiator and the condenser and the brace that runs from the hood latch to the bottom of the grill had to be "thinned" to accomplish that.

OOPS, all of the maneuvering of the condenser coil caused the aluminum inlet line to fail. Darn. BYE BYE FREON :( After that removal of the condenser eased the fan installation. Reinstall and look for a new line, any suggestions ?

Corrugated Radiator hose completed the radiator installation.

The air conditioner compressor was located low along the passenger side, the fuel pump was removed to facilitate the compressor. An electric fuel pump was installed. The power steering pump is located above that driven by the same belt as the compressor. Since the Freon leak we have not tested whether or not that was a good Idea. It might be too much of load for one V-belt. He may have to buy them in bulk and replace them often. As a result of the location of the power steering pump, an exterior contact idler pulley was used to route the drive belt so that it would not rub on the water pump pulley. Using this type of Idler pulley is not considered a good idea for use on V-belts. The slot in the stock power steering mount was used to adjust tension.

The alternator is installed on the driver's side. an inside contact idler pulley is used to adjust tension on the alternator belt. That same belt drives the water pump. It took more than 40 hours to locate, fit and fabric the mounts and brackets.

Remember the engine mount part, well here is some of the rest. There is only about 1/2 - 5/8 in clearance between the front of the water pump and the Radiator.


So we tow the Trooper to a local muffler specialist. He quotes us a price that is expensive, but necessary. When we go to pick up the Trooper we find that the "Specialist" has decided that the vacuum heat riser will not fit, so he knocks off the vacuum motor and tack welds the butterfly open. Also he has removed the starter in order to install the exhaust flange. but then cannot reinstall it. $350 later, and 3 hours of work to undo what the muffler guy has screwed up and we have a complete exhaust system. Don't get me wrong, I am not just a bad customer, but the guy had a telephone, he could have at least called me before he made irreversible changes.

Live and learn.

Back to the motor mounts, after the exhaust is installed, and we get the Trooper back to the house, I go to look up something in the installation booklet and come across the part about the 2 sets of transmission holes. Ask son, he says HuH? He didn't see that part. :)

Oh well, except for the radiator, and starter to Diff clearance it should go okay, if clearance turns out to be a problem, we can always go back and move every thing back. the exhaust should have enough play in it not to be a factor.

The stock Chevy air cleaner inlet horn was removed and reinstalled facing the stock Isuzu cool air inlet and the Isuzu tube connected them.

A thermostatic switch was installed in the water jacket of the intake manifold to control the relays that control the fan.

A relay was installed to prevent the fuel pump from running without oil pressure, and a momentary contact primer switch installed to bypass that prevent.

A throttle cable from an early 80s Buick connected the throttle to the foot pedal, I exchanged the plastic end with the one off the Isuzu cable, and bent the upper part of the linkage in the cab to take up the freeplay. It seems to work fine.

We go to start the engine and it won't start. Distributor was installed 180 degrees out.

Okay, WOW it starts and runs!!! What's this a KNOCK DDDDDDDDDDarn!!!

Shut it down and drop the pan. Well no actually it takes a lot of work to drop the pan. lower front axle and lift the motor, and remove the oil pump by feel. Then remove the pan. Check all the bearings and notice that when the pan is installed, it just barely touches the oil dipstick tube deflecting it just enough to be struck by one of the counter weights. :) Rotate the tube slightly and problem solved.

While we have the front axle dropped we install about 1/2 in worth of large washers to lower the front axle and improve starter clearance. That works, but now the steering arm hits the axle :( Reduce the washers to3/8ths and when everything is torqued up the clearances are fine :)

The engine runs with no leaks drips or strange noises.

As I am writing this, my son is off driving it around town for the evening. Sure hope I don't get a call this evening. :)

May 2000

That was 2 years ago. About 2 days after we completed the swap, my son took off on a trip from central Arizona to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada then direct to Tyler Texas for his summer job. Against my advice of course. :) Oh yea, he drove the fresh engine at 75-85 the whole trip, with only one speeding ticket. I don't think that he will ever go back to Canada. :)

When he got back he installed a 100 amp alternator, some huge chrome monster that he got cheap from one of his stereo install buddies. Installing the single wire alternator was not much of a problem, more brackets. He then took it to a local automotive electrical shop for the wiring connect. Where the guy connected it seems bizzare, but it works great.

There were some heating problems, but changing the way the electric fans were mounted solved these. Previously we had mounted them between the A/C condenser, and the radiator, with the fans attached to the condenser. We reversed the fans, and mounted them between the condenser and the radiator against the radiator, and that seems to have cured the over heating.

He has gotten pretty frisky with it out on the trails, and the engine has not contacted the radiator, so although the clearance is close, it's good enough.

When you drive it you can tell that there is a larger engine up front because it handles a little sluggish compared to the stock Trooper. But there is no lack of power. Other than that He says that it the most reliable vehicle that he has ever had.

The Muffler Shop went out of business. Not my fault.

The Trooper is still his daily driver. He has had to replace the electric fuel pump a couple of times, until he found a brand that would hold up.

June 2001

My son joined the Army to fly helicopters, so he sold this Trooper to his sister. I was given the job of preparing it for her. She lives in Mississippi, so air conditioning was essential. It took no time to repair the AC system, then off to the AC repair for and evacuate and recharge. The AC guy said I was VERY LUCKY, since after an evacuate and recharge, it worked fine!!

Good news!! BAD NEWS!! Now when running the AC, the engine would get VERY WARM!! Too warm!! So, I then began a long series modifications in an attempt to get the engine to run cool. That included rebuilding the Nova radiator, installing a lower temp thermal switch for the fans, returning to a stock Isuzu Radiator, a Two Core Isuzu Radiator, various combinations of electric fans, installing an engine driven fan, moving the engine and transmission back 2", returning them to the original location, and more

Finally what worked was trimming away about 2" of body work where the front radiator mounted, and making new mounts for the Nova radiator that placed it forward and about 1 " higher than before. Installing an engine driven flex fan, and trimming about " from the trailing edge of the fan so it would clear the power steering pump. Cool, now it runs about mid gauge, Cool enough.

During a quick trip to Albuquerque to test the vehicles reliability and I find two problems. IT GETS WARM AGAIN!! And it spits belts!!! Grim

At speed 65+ the engine gets warm, but that goes contrary to intuition, higher speeds should blow more air through the radiator and keep it cool. No dice. Turns out the belt that drives the water pump/alternator is slipping on the water pump. Driving the flex fan at higher engine rpm causes the belt to slip, which eats belts and doesn't spin the water pump and fan fast enough to keep the engine cool. So driving 55 mph I make it home with out engine damage.

Also the increased load of the AC on the AC/Power Steering belt is too much for the belt. That and reversing the V-belt around the idler pulley has reduced the life span of the belt to about 2 hours at freeway speeds. Not Good!!!!

Off to the junkyard to find a larger diameter water pump pulley, and bingo find one. The bonus is that it has a single grove, which means that I can do away with the idler pulley on the AC/Power steering belt that pushes against the back of that belt so it can clear the dual grooved water pump pulley. Sure enough once the single groove pulley is on there is a straight shot to the crankshaft pulley from the Power steering pulley. After finding a new belt to fit, that should fix the belt problems from those pulleys.

But it still gets warm at highway speeds. Another trip to the junkyard finds a single groove pulley with a diameter that is larger than the 2 groove but smaller than the single groove. Now it seems to work fine at all but HIGH engine rpm where the belt slips again upon rapid increases of rpm. Looks like the best compromise.

That was the most difficult part of the prep, the rest just consisted of replacing wear items, belts hoses, brake parts, shocks, heater core, etc. I also rebuilt rewired the connections from the GM alternator to the Isuzu wiring harness. Now the Idiot lights work.

Then it's off to Mississippi with it. Just out side of El Paso Texas it spits the Water Pump/Alternator belt. No problem, I just put on a spare and drove 55 to Ft. Stockton. The next morning I went to NAPA of Ft. Stockton to get new belts. Thanks to the folks there, who let me try about a dozen belts, I found a heavy-duty belt for the Water pump/Alternator, and away I went. Now at 75mph I have no belt slip. It works great!!

I broke a Clutch cable in front of my father's house, in Austin Tx. the next day. That was easier to replace than find on a weekend. The rest of the trip to MS was uneventful!!

The Trooper has about 30,000 miles on the swap now and except for what you have read about it has been bullet proof. In fact the reason I had to replace the parts that I did was that the Trooper ran so well that my son sort of neglected it. He just changed oil, lubed it and added gas!!

Here are Photos of the Trooper after it was delivered to Mississippi

The adapter plate can barely be seen between the engine and the transmisson

Fan to radiator clearance

Not much clearance between the distributer and the firewall

AC and Power Steering. Notice how the belt just clears the water pump pulley.

Custom Made Oil Pan

Starter to engine mount clearance

The oil filter is just above the clutch cable. There is plenty of room to remove and install through the wheelwell.

Upper radiator bracket.

That's All, If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Have Fun

If you give me money, I'll try to spend it.