The Truth About Cars » Isuzu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:27:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Isuzu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: The Last Afghani Trail to Blaze http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-the-last-afghani-trail-to-blaze/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-the-last-afghani-trail-to-blaze/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:26:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860353
M.D.K. writes:

UNCLASSIFIED

I am currently at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where I will often find myself motoring around the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in one of the last generation Chevy Trailblazers. It is the straight six variety and it has undoubtedly led a difficult life. My requirements are few however…pretty much I need something that can do 25 miles an hour or so and not strand me on the other side of the airfield. As a bonus, the Trailblazer has a working AC and radio. What it doesn’t have is the ability to do 25 or so miles an hour regularly and get me back from the other side of the airfield.

Pressing the gas pedal beyond a few millimeters will get me stalling and/or backfiring. In general it sounds like it is running on 4 cylinders. It will surge and run normally for a second and then not. It seems to get worse the hotter it is (which is bad this time of year.) I took the damn thing to the motorpool and they told me I can turn it in and walk back if I don’t like it (the drawdown is a mother). I had to jump out and push it up the little ramp into our compound as it lacked the power to accomplish this feat on its own. As a Ford guy, I get some amusement out of this and taunting the Chevy fans but the fact is we could really use this thing. A bunch of us IT types have stared under the hood for some time and haven’t figured anything out. I am mechanically inclined (I’ve changed motors and stuff before) so I think I am the truck’s last hope.

This thing would be the nicest vehicle in our fleet by virtue of the AC if it would run. No, I can’t pull the damn codes as the PX is short on OBDII readers (and toilet paper) and there isn’t an Autozone within 7000 miles or so. If this may be something simple like a fuel filter or something I’m willing to get some parts sent over and crawl under myself. Just need to know if there are any common issues with these things. I don’t see any major mechanical issues like overheating or oil in the coolant. I appreciate your input.

UNCLASSIFIED

Sajeev answers:

So…no professional diagnostic tools, no basic Autozone diagnostic tools, and you’re the truck’s last hope? And an LS1-FTW swap is totally out of the question?

Checking the forums, it’s possible that a cam position actuator solenoid is the problem…and it will not throw a code.  Or maybe a dirty throttle body, a clogged fuel filter or a dirty air filter.  If the fuel you receive out there isn’t the highest quality, the filter is a major concern.  And maybe your IT folks have electronic contact cleaner to clean the throttle body AND the mass air flow meter. But I’m all over the map: here’s my plan of action, given limited resources:

  1. Replace fuel filter, if other vehicles need regular filter changes out in the field.
  2. Shake out the air filter, bumping it on a large surface. Don’t bang it against a wall hard enough to damage it. I find large plastic garbage cans work well here.
  3. Clean the mass air flow meter and throttle body with electronic contact cleaner.
  4. Pull the spark plugs, clean and gap them.
  5. Replace the Cam Position Actuator Solenoid: even Amazon stocks them, maybe one of their drone prototypes can deliver it.

I will keep my fingers crossed that bad gas and dusty air are your only problems.

But no matter what, thank you for writing to us and thank you for your service.  

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Geo Storm GSi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1991-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1991-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852577 03 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Storm, a rebadged second-gen Isuzu Impulse sold by GM’s short-lived Geo division, was with us for just the 1990 through 1993 model years and didn’t leave much of an impression. I see the occasional Storm in wrecking yards these days, but it takes a factory-hot-rod GSi version to get me to reach for my camera. We saw this ’90 Storm GSi in a Colorado yard a couple years back, and now I’ve found another in Northern California.

Let’s watch some Storm ads!

The 16-valve performance force from Geo.

The GSi was quite a bit quicker than the ’87 CRX, but depreciation of cars bearing the doomed Geo marque probably meant that this ambitious young paralegal would have been better off sticking with the Honda.

In Canada, you could buy this car as an Asüna Sunfire.
15 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith 130 horsepower, the Storm GSi offered one of the best bang-for-buck deals of its time. I think I’d still have bought the Sentra SE-R, though I was driving something a little more hooptie at the time.
01 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPresented without comment.
17 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToday’s Junkyard Find looks just like my super-rare diecast (actually all-plastic) Geo Storm GSi, which was given to me by a LeMons racer who claimed it was a dealer-promo item.

01 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Piston Slap: Weather The Storm, Trooper! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/piston-slap-weather-the-storm-trooper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/piston-slap-weather-the-storm-trooper/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 12:03:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=814746

Alex writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have recently come into possession of a 1994 Isuzu Trooper (pictured above). 158k, One owner, with good service history until 100k. After that the (affluent) previous owner basically used it as a Home Depot Hauler for 7+ years so besides oil changes and tires, not much was done. That’s fine by me as the truck cost $1600 and it is pretty great running shape.

However, I have noticed a few things that may need attention, or are just plain bothering me. Unfortunately Isuzu forums are pretty sparse due to the waning popularity of these trucks…if you can help me out that would be wonderful.

1. The timing belt was done once at 60k and its gone 98k on it. I heard somewhere the Isuzu timing belt maintenance was switched to every 100k? I think this is a non interference engine, do you think I can squeeze 120k out of the timing belt?

2. I think the Trooper is on the original clutch (Previous owner things he may have changed it but doesn’t remember and doesn’t have documentation. The clutch feels fine however.

3. The trooper has a squeal that is heard when driving slowly (heard when near walls since the sound bounces.) This squeal is heard even when brakes are not pressed. My father in law jacked up the car from the rear and it seems that when the rear wheels turn, there is a rotational squeal every half turn or so. It seems to be coming from the area where the drive shaft meets the rear differential, right after the U-joint. If I go faster than 10 mph you cant hear it, but you can hear it when driving slowly. Maybe some tired seals or something caught in mechanical? Doesn’t affect drive-ability at all.

4. Ripped CV boot in the front driver side. Can i drive it till it starts to creak or is it worth replacing with a Quick-Boot split CV boot from autozone?

Sajeev answers:

Troopers are far from my forte, but perhaps you’ll trade it in for a Crown Vic we can give such a cool and obscure ride a group hug via this esteemed column.

So let’s do it, to it:

  1. A thread from Planet Isuzoo suggests your 6VD1 3.2 SOHC V6 (correct?) is not an interference motor. Probably. But if there’s any doubt, there is no doubt: at your mileage, the Trooper’s had two timing belt changes and the next one is coming up soon. Soon-ish. Can you extend the service intervals?  Is it worth the risk? Don’t be a tight wad: FIX IT as per owner’s manual recommendation.**
  2. Clutches aren’t like timing chains: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, son!
  3. Squeals are usually the realm of slipping belts. This sounds like a “squeak” from a bad bearing. If it isn’t an easy fix, get a replacement assembly from a junkyard with a warranty.  It’s easier to swap axles than diagnose an internal problem. Especially if you aren’t rear axle savvy, don’t learn this particular trade on your own ride.
  4. I’ve never used quick boots before, the big concern is that a CV joint with a ripped boot already has grease contaminated with dirt.  Perhaps the quick boot (when installed correctly) can dramatically increase the life of the CV joint.  Or, if you bought it with a ripped boot, perhaps not. Only you can make an educated guess here, best of luck with that.

**Or sell it and buy the Ford/Chevy SUV equivalent and enjoy a bulletproof timing chain and easy repairs for the rest of your life.

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom: 

This is a good time to mention that owning such an obscure machine means one must, absolutely must, own a set of factory shop manuals.  Hell, I bought the FoMoCo ones for my British Ford Sierra before it even landed in the Lone Star State. Even though it’s kinda like a Merkur XR4Ti, it’s different enough to justify the cost of buying the proper manual.

 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

]]> http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/piston-slap-weather-the-storm-trooper/feed/ 30 Piston Slap: If Only We Knew Ye, Trooper! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-if-only-we-knew-ye-trooper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-if-only-we-knew-ye-trooper/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:58:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773721 Well that looks cool... (photo courtesy: http://www.sodahead.com/)

TTAC Commentator Dave M writes:

Hey Sajeev!

A question for you and B/B. Especially during cold weather my Trooper gets a ’clunk’ shifting from 1-2 (it’s a 4 speed automatic) and then back down. This coincides with a CEL. It doesn’t happen all the time. There are other times (even during cold) where the truck runs normally – no clunk, no CEL. Checking the CEL code and it indicates all four oxygen sensors (replaced last year); when no CEL no code to read.

My first thoughts were it might be time for ANOTHER transmission. But my brother says no, it has to be electrical since it’s intermittent. Any ideas where to start?

Sajeev answers:

Welllllllll…for starters you could write us with more info: stuff like the year/mileage/service history/CEL code totally wouldn’t hurt.

Perhaps it is time for “another” transmission, if we knew why you said it like that.  Like maybe knowing the condition (look and smell) and age of the transmission fluid. Or perhaps the CEL isn’t fixed because Oxygen Sensors aren’t usually the problem: they are the messenger of a problem upstream. Maybe $10 in new vacuum line fixes the CEL, eliminate a leak that’s messing up both the engine and transmission’s parameters.

Or maybe you need a whole new transmission.

It’s kinda impossible to tell.

Come on son, us armchair analysts can’t judge a problem this complex with such half-baked  info! That said, have at it, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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GM, Isuzu Put Another $60 Million Into Moraine, Ohio Diesel Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/gm-isuzu-put-another-60-million-into-moraine-ohio-diesel-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/gm-isuzu-put-another-60-million-into-moraine-ohio-diesel-plant/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=734673 1M6600-02

General Motors and Isuzu announced that they will be investing $60 million in their joint venture DMAX Ltd., which makes diesel engines for heavy duty trucks. Reuters reports that thw investment in technologies at the Moraine, Ohio plant will make design changes to meet future emission regulations easier. GM says that 500 jobs will be retained due to the expenditure. DMAX has produced almost 1.6 million diesel engines since it started operations in 2000. Isuzu owns 40% of DMAX and GM owns the remaining 60% controlling interest.

The investment brings the total amount the two companies have put into the plant to $760 million. The Moraine facility currently builds the Duramax 6.6-liter turbo diesel engine used in the heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks as well as the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size commercial vans.

GM has announced that starting in the 2016 model year, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups will offer the 2nd generation Duramax four cylinder diesel in a 2.8 liter turbocharged version and the company is considering offering a diesel option on the the regular duty versions of the Silverado and Sierra. It’s not clear if either of those engines will be assembled in Moraine. A 2.5 liter version of GMs new diesel is currently assembled in Thailand.

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Piston Slap: Such a Trooper! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/piston-slap-such-a-trooper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/piston-slap-such-a-trooper/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:21:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=501157

Keith writes:

Sajeev,

I am facing a problem with little real consequence, just more looking for advice.  We have a third vehicle, one that isn’t really used much and was purchased for $1400 a couple years ago to serve as a backup when/if one of our primary vehicles was out of service (A 2005 Pahtfinder with 130k miles and a 1998 Rodeo 4×4 with 235k miles).  It’s a 1999 Isuzu Trooper 4×4 with about 190k miles on the clock.  Other than burning oil there really wasn’t anything wrong with it.  Everything worked and to be honest my wife liked driving it much more than her everyday car. 

That being said, after changing some dry rotted belts and hoses I decided to take a look at the timing belt to make sure it looked ok.  After pulling off the cover it was badly deteriorated.  I employed my father in law to try to change the timing belt.  Long story short, we were off on the timing and think the heads are now ruined.

I am considering replacing the heads (about $350 a piece online) but I have also seen longblocks on ebay for $1200 to $1400 as well with less miles than mine.  What is the better way to go with this?  A junk yard engine or just put some remanfuactured heads on the existing?

I know the heads are the easier fix, and this vehicle really isn’t anything we depend on, but it is nice having a third car.  I also am weary of buying a junkyard motor as there’s no telling how long it’s been sitting.  There is always the option of getting another craigslist car but I spent a lot of time finding a decent one and I don’t feel like scouring the dregs of Houston craigslist to find another decent deal.  If I replace the heads I may consider doing an in-car rebuild to replace the piston rings as well.  It’s basically just a weekend project car right now and my kids can learn a little while I work on it.

Sajeev answers:

I wonder what people outside of Houston think about a three car truck household. Such is the joy of living in the flyover states, in a gigantic cow town more diverse than New York City.  A land where all people enjoy the Body-on-Frame lifestyle!

Or not…but I digress.

I think you are on the right track, replacing the heads is the cheapest fix.  There’s (probably) nothing wrong with the short block after a timing belt fiasco: take a borescope (make sure it fits thru a spark plug hole, some cheaper models will not) and check the piston for cracks/holes.  I suspect the valves are messed up and nothing more.

Once the replacement heads are in your garage, get a complete gasket set too. This is ensures everything is freshened from the head gaskets all the way up to the fuel injectors and throttle body! Why not make the motor 100% sorted if you’re going to all this trouble?

You seem to like this rig;  it is a Trooper, after all. Go ahead and do it right this time.

 

As I mentioned on Monday, I am running low on reader-submitted questions. So start thinking of something fun and clever about your car, send it over…keeping in mind the information in the next paragraph.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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Junkyard Find: 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1986-isuzu-i-mark-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1986-isuzu-i-mark-hatchback/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=474845 In the late 1980s, if you didn’t want to buy your Isuzu Gemini as a Geo/Chevrolet Spectrum, you could get it as a genuine Isuzu. I-Marks are (and were) very rare, though we have seen an ’87 in this series), and so this one with gigantic ISUZU badging has some historical interest for the true connoisseur of cheapo 80s hatchbacks.

The only I-Mark I’ve ever driven was the needs-some-TLC ’81 diesel in the clip above, and it was a fine car. However, that was the earlier Chevette-sibling rear-wheel-drive version. Today’s I-Mark Junkyard Find is the front-wheel-drive sibling of the Holden Gemini (among many others).
That’s the 70-horse 1.5 liter 4XC1 engine right there, close cousin to the engine in the early-90s Lotus Elan.
It was cheaper than the Civic, Corolla, and Sentra, and… it was cheaper.
This one almost made it to 100,000 miles during its 27 years on the planet.
It probably still ran when towed away, but expired tags spelled its doom.
When a car owner knows that the junkyard is the likely next stop, the Cotton Candy Little Tree usually gets replaced by a New Car Scent tree. That’s the law.
You want luxury? An I-Mark with factory sunroof in 1986— that’s luxury!

02 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 35 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 37 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 39 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 41 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1984 Isuzu P’up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1984-isuzu-pup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1984-isuzu-pup/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469021 All right, we saw one of the rarest examples of Detroito-Japanese badge-engineering of the 1980s in Sunday’s Junkyard Find— a Chrysler/Mitsubishi truck— and today we’re going to look at GM/Isuzu truck that’s a bit less uncommon (but still not something you see every day): a Chevy LUV wearing its original Isuzu badging.
Chevrolet stopped selling the LUV in the early 1980s, but you could still get the second-gen Isuzu Faster in North America for the 1983-88 model years, now badged with an equally cute name: P’up!
I drove a Diesel P’up when I had a job delivering tropical fish in the early 1990s, and the thing— which had about 400,000 miles on the clock— was miserably slow but got absurdly stingy fuel economy. This P’up burned gasoline and didn’t even make it to 150,000 miles.

The P’up was cheap, and it had Joe Isuzu as pitchman.

15 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1984 Isuzu P'up Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1987 Isuzu I-Mark http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1987-isuzu-i-mark/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1987-isuzu-i-mark/#comments Sun, 30 Sep 2012 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461840 North Americans bought the post-Chevette Isuzu Gemini under several marques. There was the Spectrum, sold as a Chevrolet, a Geo, and a confusing Chevrolet/Geo. In Canada, you could get a Gemini badged as a Pontiac Sunburst. And, of course, there was the Isuzu I-Mark, a destined-for-China’s-steel-industry example of which I’ve found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
These things were cheaper than a Corolla, had front-wheel-drive, and… they were cheaper than a Corolla.
The 1.5 liter four delivered 90 horsepower, which wasn’t so bad in 1987, and the I-Mark proved more reliable than, uh, the Hyundai Excel?
All in all, a forgotten commuter appliance that now serves as a reminder of The General’s musical-marques efforts of the 1980s and 1990s.


Who can forget the “Joe Isuzu” ads of the 1980s? Let’s watch a few for the I-Mark.

11 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1989 Geo Spectrum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1989-geo-spectrum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1989-geo-spectrum/#comments Sun, 23 Sep 2012 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460978 The Mitsubishi Sigma I found a couple weeks ago was one rare Junkyard Find, having been sold in the United States for just two model years. Today, though, we’ve got something even more obscure: an Isuzu Gemini badged with both Chevrolet and Geo emblems, available for just one year.
The General never seemed quite sure what to do with the Geo brand; the Chevrolet-ized Isuzu Gemini aka I-Mark was available for a few years, but then became a Geo in 1989.
But wait! What’s that Chevy bowtie doing on the grille? I’m sure it all made sense after a 21-hour marketing meeting in an airless Motor City conference room.
These things were reasonably competent commuters, but didn’t exactly fly off the showroom floors.

It’s too bad Geo didn’t use this Japanese-market Gemini ad to sell the Spectrum.

12 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 01 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 02 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 03 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 04 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 05 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 06 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 07 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 08 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 09 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 10 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard 11 - 1989 Geo Spectrum Down On The Junkyard ]]>
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Even Isuzu Wants Out Of Opel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/even-isuzu-wants-out-of-opel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/even-isuzu-wants-out-of-opel/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 17:05:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455640

Opel, the sick man of Europe, just can’t catch a break. Even Isuzu wants out of its current arrangements with the ailing German automaker.

Just-Auto and the Nikkei are reporting that Isuzu will halt engine building activities for Opel (including the Meriva, above), and will end a joint-venture with General Motors. It was unclear how Isuzu would get rid of its 40 percent stake in the Poland-based diesel engine operation. Isuzu denied that it would pull out of the venture, or cut its workforce in Europe.

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Say “As-Salamu Alaykum” To Yusuf al-Isuzu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/say-as-salamu-alaykum-to-yusuf-al-isuzu/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/say-as-salamu-alaykum-to-yusuf-al-isuzu/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2012 17:34:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=453597

Isuzu is joining the “let’s flee Japan and the rising yen” bandwagon, and their latest venture involves assembling export-bound trucks in Saudi Arabia.

Just-Auto outlines Isuzu’s strategy, which has nothing to do with the VehiCross

Isuzu can minimize the effects of the strong yen and better compete for what is expected to be a growing market for commercial trucks as Gulf nations step up infrastructure investment.

Small and large commercial trucks will eventually be added in, with production reaching a total capacity of 25,000 units. As much as Isuzu is made out to be the butt of jokes in North America, their Middle East distributor network looks fairly robust – or at least more robust than the Lebanese parliamentary democracy.

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Number One In Pickup Sales Per Capita? It’s Not Who You Think http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/number-1-in-pickup-sales-per-capita-its-not-who-you-think/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/number-1-in-pickup-sales-per-capita-its-not-who-you-think/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2012 16:03:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451587

Well America may be the overall volume leader for pickup truck sales, the per-capita title belongs to Thailand, and they prefer a different flavor of truck as well.

Research for the Chrysler unibody truck story led to a Ward’s Auto report discussing the Thai pickup market. Buyers in the Asian country prefer double-cab midsize pickups, since they offer a good mix of both passenger and cargo space for families that must make do with one vehicle that must be versatile.

Chevrolet’s Colorado was developed in Thailand, and is built domestically, while Ford, Mazda, Isuzu, Nissan and Toyota all have their own truck nameplates. Patima Jeerapaet, president of the Thailand Automotive Institute, told Ward’s that double cab pickups alone account for 37 percent of Thai vehicle production.

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Geo Storm EV Mule, The Chevrolet Volt’s Baby Daddy? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/geo-storm-ev-mule-the-chevrolet-volts-baby-daddy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/geo-storm-ev-mule-the-chevrolet-volts-baby-daddy/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 15:23:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447010

While on the Infiniti JX launch event, I met a gentleman who now works with Nissan. He had a number of interesting stories about his tenure at GM, and what it was like to work on the EV1 program, as well as the technology that he swears was the forerunner to the Chevrolet Volt.

According to him, GM engineers in 1991 needed a way to keep the batteries in their GM Storm EV mules charged. A crude range extender was fashioned out of a Honda generator, which would kick in when the batteries dropped below a certain point.

The Storm mules were gutted and filled with batteries and a generator and driven around during development. He swears that, with the number of EV1 and Impact (the original GM EV) people left kicking around for the Volt’s development, the range extender idea must have lived on in someone’s mind for a very long time, until it came time to put it in operation.

I begged him to grant me an interview, or at least let me quote him, but he wouldn’t indulge me. I was left wondering about the early days of the program, until I stumbled upon this article in the January 1992 edition of Motor Trend. The big difference here is that GM has ditched the range extender and worked out a proper 220V charging system (apparently that was an obstacle in the early days).  Note that the EV1 charging paddle is absent here, and it seems to use a very-1990s flashing LED charge port, similar to the L.A. Gear running shoes that were found to have mercury in them.

Since there seems to be a fair amount of Storm love on TTAC these days, it’s worth recognizing the irony of a largely forgotten car paving the way for perhaps the biggest automotive lightning rod since the Edsel.

You can see the full-size scan in the gallery below

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail stormmule ev1-paddle-2

 

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Because No Toy Car Collection Is Complete Without a Geo Storm GSi! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/because-no-toy-car-collection-is-complete-without-a-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/because-no-toy-car-collection-is-complete-without-a-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Thu, 17 May 2012 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=444765 Giving gifts to 24 Hours of LeMons judges in order to ensure smooth turning of the gears of justice has been a tradition for several many years now. While jugs of quality booze remain the most common judicial bribe, keeping my liver at least semi-functional mandates that most of that stuff get passed on to track workers. Not so with bribes involving weird toy cars, however; I’ve got quite a collection of such gifts on my office bookshelves now. While I prize my Leyland P76, Nissan Prairie, and Impala Hell Project diorama, the car that now sits in the place of honor on my desk is one that I received from a Denver racer who couldn’t wait for the B.F.E. GP next month and came by Chez Murilee with this lovely Detroito-Tokyo icon of the early 1990s.
Yes, the Geo Storm GSi, a fine example of which I spotted in a Denver self-serve junkyard not long ago. Remember this badge-engineered Isuzu? Quicker than a Civic Si, and (after all the rebates) cheaper as well. Apparently, GM had AMT make up a bunch of plastic promo models of the GSi back in the day… and now I’ve got one, thanks to Cadillac Bob of twin-supercharged AMC Marlin race car fame. Thanks, Bob!
Which isn’t to say that I’m not overjoyed by all the diecast Soviet cars I’ve been receiving from generous racers who understand my obsession with Warsaw Pact drivers. Inspired by this piece about an UAZ-452 I spotted in Vietnam, two racers gave me 1:43-scale Bukhankas at the Michigan race last month.

Toy Geo Storm GSi - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 2- Toy Geo Storm GSi - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Diecast UAZ-452 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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GM And Isuzu Want To Rekindle Old Tie-Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/gm-and-isuzu-want-to-rekindle-old-tie-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/gm-and-isuzu-want-to-rekindle-old-tie-up/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2012 21:39:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442077

Here some background on the GM/Isuzu tie-up. Japanese wire services such as The Nikkei [sub] and Jiji report that GM approached  Isuzu and “informally proposed acquiring a stake” in the Japanese truck maker. The source is an unnamed executive of Isuzu.

According to The Nikkei [sub], GM and Isuzu will start negotiations in early May for a roughly 10 percent share. If the negotiations are successful, Isuzu President Susumu Hosoi and GM CEO Dan Akerson could meet this summer to sign the agreement.

Holding a 9.2 percent share, Japanese trading house Mitsubishi is the largest shareholder of Isuzu. If the talks are successful, that title will pass to GM.

Isuzu and GM go a long way back. In 1971, General Motors purchased a 34.2 percent share of Isuzu. Isuzu’s KB pickup truck was sold through GM dealerships in the United States beginning in 1972. More light trucks were added.  Isuzu also produced the luckless  Chevrolet LUV  from 1972  through 1982.

In 1974, Isuzu built the Opel Kadett under the Isuzu nameplate as the Bellett Gemini. In 1976 GM imported the Gemini into the United States as the Buick Opel. Few knew that the German car, sold through GM dealerships, was actually manufactured in Japan.

In 1999, GM had 49 percent of the company, effectively gaining control of the company. One of GM’s strategic planners, Donald T. Sullivan, was installed as executive vice-president of operations. No Japanese manufacturer had ever involved a non-Japanese speaking manager in such a high position before.

Shortly thereafter, the romance began to sour. In 2002, Isuzu started to buy back its shares from an increasingly cash-strapped GM, reducing GM’s 49 percent share to 12 percent.

Then, things get a little murky. The official history timelines are mum in regards to GM’s final disengagement. “Due to financial difficulties, the United States’ GM sold its 7.9 percent stake in Isuzu in 2006,” says the Yomiuri Shimbun. Shortly thereafter, Toyota bought a 5.9 percent share in Isuzu.

Isuzu will have to evaluate GM’s advances carefully, because a lot is at risk, and there is more than one knot that needs to be untied. “A reforging of ties between the two could trigger a response from Toyota,” says the Nikkei. Translation: Toyota will most likely dump the stock. Isuzu will also end capital tie-up talks with Volkswagen . According to Japanese media, Isuzu still hopes to supply pickup trucks to Volkswagen in Thailand, where they will be sold as VWs.

Judging from the high-level leaks to sympathetic Japanese business wires, some executives at Isuzu might not be too excited about the rekindling of the romance. As part of its default, GM has stiffed Isuzu with bills of $1.7 billion, some people say. As it turns out, the on-line sources confused  1.7 billion dollars with 1.65 billion Japanese yen ($20 million.)

 

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GM and Isuzu In Bed Again? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/gm-and-isuzu-in-bed-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/gm-and-isuzu-in-bed-again/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2012 17:15:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442043

Uh oh. Here we go again. GM apparently wants a 10 percent stake in Isuzu to build commercial vehicles.

The deal would focus on Asia and Central/South America, while also necessitating an end to the Isuzu/Toyota commercial vehicle alliance. Isuzu was also reportedly in talks with VW regarding a deal to sell Isuzu pickups in Thailand badged as Volkswagens, but that would end as well if an agreement with GM was reached.

Isuzu has resisted GM intervention in its management before (for a very lengthy, detailed timeline, click here and scroll down), but if GM did get its 10 percent, GM may have an option to get more in the future. A Thai pickup venture for shared R&D and production was also discussed – something we’ve seen in the past as well.

 

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Honda Passport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1996-honda-passport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1996-honda-passport/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=440311 Some examples of badge engineering are ridiculous yet wonderful, others made a lot of sense for both companies… and some just make you clutch your head in dismay. The Honda Passport is the clutch-your-head type.
Honda could do no wrong in North America from the mid-1970s through the early 1990s, but then came the big missteps. There was the Accord wagon (which flopped), and then the CRX became the Del Sol (which drove away the young male buyers who loved the CRX), and then there were all those slow-selling Acuras. Then Detroit started getting rich from minivans and SUVs, and Honda didn’t have either type (the Wagovan and the original Odyssey were too small for Americans to take seriously and thus don’t count). What to do?
What Honda did was make a deal with Isuzu to slap Honda badges on the Isuzu Rodeo. For the first time, Honda buyers would be purchasing a General Motors product.
The Passport wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t likely to run for as many trouble-free miles as an Accord. Fortunately for Honda, the company will always have a good source of revenue in Asia. I had forgotten about the Passport until I saw this one in a Denver self-service yard.

15 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1996 Honda Passport Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Storm GSi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439130 When you think about cheap factory hot rods of the early 1990s, do you think of the Geo Storm GSi? Probably not— the Isuzu-built Storm has been nearly forgotten by now— but the GSi had some pretty impressive performance numbers. How about 130 horsepower in a 2,392-pound car?
The ’90 Storm GSi listed at $11,650 (and that’s the pre-dealer-markdown-and-factory-rebate price), which gave buyers a pretty good bang-for-buck ratio when compared to, say, the 108-horse/2,291-pound/$10,245 Honda Civic Si.

Of course, you see 1990 Civic Sis all the time these days, and this is the first Geo Storm I’ve seen (outside of 24 Hours of LeMons races) in several years.
Storm trivia: what notorious whackjob mass murderer drove a Storm? Answer: Timothy McVeigh, who daily-drove a Storm until a week or so before he did his crime. The Storm, which he dubbed “The Road Warrior,” got rear-ended at a gas station, and McVeigh ended up using a ’77 Mercury Marquis as his getaway car.

16 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Possibly the Greatest Badge Engineering Feat In History: Isuzu Statesman Deville! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/possibly-the-greatest-badge-engineering-feat-in-history-isuzu-statesman-deville/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/possibly-the-greatest-badge-engineering-feat-in-history-isuzu-statesman-deville/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=430165 Last week, I had never heard of the Isuzu Statesman Deville. Then, my fellow LeMons Supreme Court Justice suggested that I do a quick internet search for the name of this fine Detroito-Australo-Japanese luxury sedan… and my life changed forever.
Dave at Bellett.net (a site devoted to the strangely non-Opel-based Isuzu Bellett) has written up what I believe to be the definitive history of the Statesman Deville, and I suggest that you read every word.
The Isuzu Statesman Deville was essentially a rebadged Statesman HQ Deville (Statesman was a separate GM-Australia marque, being to Holden as Eunos was to Mazda), complete with vaguely Cadillac-ish emblems and the look of an alternate-universe ’70 Chevy Impala. Now, I’d have gone for the Toyota Century over this car, were I a wealthy Japanese car shopper in the early 1970s… but it would have been a tough decision. Let us now bask in the healing rays of this fine example of Pointless Yet Amazing Badge Engineering, brought to us by The General.

Isuzu Statesman Deville 3 - Picture courtesy of Bellett.net Isuzu Statesman Deville 1 - Picture courtesy of Bellett.net Isuzu Statesman Deville 2 - Picture courtesy of Bellett.net Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Piston Slap: Bad ECU, Cowboy? This Ain’t my First Rodeo! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/piston-slap-bad-ecu-cowboy-this-aint-my-first-rodeo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/piston-slap-bad-ecu-cowboy-this-aint-my-first-rodeo/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2012 12:47:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=426424

TTAC Commentator Tree Trunk writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I comment on TTAC as Tree Trunk from the frozen tundra in interior Alaska and am looking for advice on how to deal with an out of control repair of an old beater. I have a ’95 Isuzu Rodeo with 130K that until recently had been a pretty low maintenance, reliable ride.

Out of the blue the check engine light came on and the engine stalled.  A handy friend checked all obvious things to get it running again without success.  It would start up run for a few min before reving wildly and then die.  Luckily I thought, it broke down close to a reputable shop (NAPA certified) so we towed it there.

Seven weeks and two thousand dollars, not to mention the rental car cost I am back at square one. First they diagnosed bad PCM, a rebuild unit was in five weeks later, two weeks behind schedule.  I made it half a mile down the road before it stalled again.

This time around it was supposedly a slack timing belt hitting the crankshaft sensor causing the engine to stall. Week and another thousand dollars later, after first ordering the wrong parts and then not all the needed parts the engine started up, but wouldn’t you know it stalled again.

In hindsight, I should have scrapped it the moment it broke down.  But short of finding a time machine that is not an option.

Now I am waiting the next call from the shop and need advice from you and the best and brightest. It seems obvious that the one or both of the diagnostics were faulty and some third thing is causing the stalling.

What do I do, keep paying with a smile, demand a full repair free of charge or something in-between?

Sajeev answers:

First off, this is NOT the Isuzu’s problem. Sometimes I treat Piston Slap like a child psychologist, blaming the parents for the bad behavior of a little kiddo.

That said, I am sure you are a wonderful “parent” and I’d never think otherwise. I blame your shop: my first indication was their first suggestion, a bad ECU.

Folks, the computer is rarely the culprit in a poorly-performing electronic fuel injection (EFI) system. Yes they are wear items, other more actively engaged EFI gizmos are far more fragile as time goes by. Many times a problem like this comes from a bad TPS (throttle position sensor) or the electronic idle/choke system, normally called an idle control valve.  The only way to know for sure is to scan for engine codes, write them down, and look up the diagnostic tree associated with that problem via searchable database. Any decent mechanic should do this. Thanks to Google, anyone reading this website can do it, too. I am not sure if your rig is OBD-I or OBD-II, and the latter is universal and rather easy to diagnose.

You need to know the codes generated from the Isuzu’s self-diagnostic test. Do you know them? If none are present, the EFI sensors themselves need to be tested to see if their electronic guts are to spec. In this case, I suspect the Idle Control system is at fault…but that’s just a wild-ass guess.

So what should you do? Demand answers.  Demand engine codes.  If the shop stutters and sputters in their answer, demand a full refund for your lost time/wages/money.

From what little I see, it really, really sounds like they didn’t diagnose the problem. And threw your money at the problem instead. Not good.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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First The Tsunami, Now The Floods. Japanese Companies Get No Breaks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/first-the-tsunami-now-the-floods-japanese-companies-get-no-breaks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/first-the-tsunami-now-the-floods-japanese-companies-get-no-breaks/#comments Sat, 15 Oct 2011 12:30:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414862

Japanese carmakers are driven out of the country by a rising yen and an urge to diversify their production after the catastrophic March 11 tsunami. A favorite destination is Thailand. Due to free trade agreements with many nations, Thailand increasingly morphs from the Land of Smiles to a South East Asian production and export hub. Now, most car production in Thailand is stopped – again because of killer floods.

Toyota has three plants in Thailand. Toyota says the plants were not affected by the floods. Again, it is the supply chain that brings production to a halt. Plant closures, originally planned through October 15,  now have been extended through October 22. “A decision on production at the plants from October 24 onwards will be based on a close observation of the situation as it develops,” Toyota says in a statement.

Honda has two plants in Thailand. The car factory in Rojana Industrial Park is reported as flooded and inaccessible. Honda’s plant for motorcycles and generators and is not directly affected by the floods. However, both plants will remain closed until further notice. “It has not yet been determined as of the date of this Notice when production will be able to recommence at each of the above two production bases,” Honda wrote in a letter to shareholders. “The Company plans to determine about future operations upon monitoring the situation.”

The Nikkei [sub] reports that Isuzu will extend the shutdown of a factory on the outskirts of Bangkok to next Friday. Nissan planned to keep a plant outside the capital closed through next Wednesday.

On Sunday, The Nikkei [sub] reported that Japanese carmakers manufacturing in Thailand are likely to suspend production for a month or more. Again, it is parts makers that took the brunt o the catastrophe – no parts, no cars. Toyota has asked major parts makers in Japan to increase output of parts for cars being built in Thailand.

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And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-real-winner-is-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-real-winner-is-16/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 05:19:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=403396
If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency nailed down if you can manage to keep the thing on the track for most of the weekend. Easier said than done, of course, but Zero Budget Racing managed to do just that with their ’82 Chevette Diesel.

This car managed about five laps at its Gingerman debut back in April, limping to an ignominious halt in a cloud of busted-Isuzu-engine smoke while the snowflakes swirled. That’s about what you expect from this sort of car, but Zero Budget didn’t give up. No, they didn’t give up then, and they didn’t give up this Sunday when the mighty 51-horsepower (really!) engine bombed their transmission. Fortunately, the team had thought to bring a spare transmission, and so they got right to swapping it in.

Oh, it was incredibly slow indeed, although the cornering speeds weren’t too bad. In the end, the Zero Budget Racing Chevette managed 39th place (out of about 65 entries), which we think makes it the most reliable (and maybe fastest) Chevette Diesel in history. Congratulations, Zero Budget Racing!

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New or Used: The Homebrew Uberwagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/new-or-used-the-homebrew-uberwagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/new-or-used-the-homebrew-uberwagon/#comments Tue, 31 May 2011 17:40:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=396819
Geðrven writes:

Greetings!

Here on TTAC, one finds recurring references to that elusive “sub-$20k AWD manual diesel wagon”. Clearly, this brief blurb of specs isn’t my dream alone; sounds like a lot of us want such a car. But suppose one cares not for a million airbags, iPod styling, touchscreens, blackbox electronics, or much of the other modern malaise plaguing cars that come with warranties. Suppose one’s warranty is a toolbox, two hands, and a brain. Suppose one wants to get such a vehicle by customizing an older platform oneself, on half the budget. And suppose we add one more criterion: light off-road ability. What does one do?

Here are the basic specifications for the end result:

- Size: must be able to fit a person sleeping in it, but weigh no more than 4000 pounds, preferably closer to 3000. Compact pickups/UV’s
are ok, but a wagon would be preferable, I think. This is primarily a long-distance roadtrip/camping vehicle with secondary offroad ability, not an exo-caged monster-tired rockcrawler.
- Drivetrain: non- (or minimally) electronic, proactive AWD, or
manually operated 4WD.
- Diesel, capable of reliably running on veggie oil in a dual-tank system.
- Age: as long as it performs adequately and I can get parts, the older the better.
- Wear parts must be readily available in North America. Other parts should be reasonably sourcable on this continent (so no Euro-only
engines, for instance).
- The chassis, suspension, ride comfort, and driving dynamics have to be good in at least one of two arenas: on dry pavement, or off-road.
I’d like to avoid a basic-transportation shitbox that’s both mediocre on roads and incapable off of them.
- No slushbox. Three pedals. Ye olde stick ‘n clutch.
- Budget is about $10k. This has to cover the candidate vehicle, either a whole donor vehicle or used/junkyarded big pieces (engine,
trans), and the vast majority of the entire vehicle’s wear items (new parts). Labor costs will be little to none.

Comfort, performance, style, badge cachet, and other criteria not listed are secondary to irrelevant (about in that order). The theme
here is reliable long-term Function. I’m able and willing to do some custom work, including driveline swaps and mild fabrication. So, what platform should I start with, and what should I do with it?

Steve Answers:
Two vehicles almost fit your description. Really. They are both ‘authentic’ in their approach. Although one of them is a PITA and the other as rare as a hen’s tooth. But if you must buy an elusive model…
I have owned two Isuzu Trooper’s from the late 80′s. The first had about 90k. The other 105k. Both of them averaged only about 5,000 miles a year when I got them and both came with Isuzu’s oil spewing. 2.3 Liter 4-cylinder engine. Nope, not a diesel.
However there is a very strong enthusiast site for this orphan brand, especially in diesel form. Even today you can sometimes find them available as diesels in the US because they are a popular aftermarket swap. The diesel offers better grunt. 30 mpg on the highway, and more than enough space in the back for sleeping. They are awesome vehicles even without a diesel. . Land Rovers are also available as diesels but I would just go for something a bit easier to service and less costly on the wallet.
Other cars? Ummm… Peugeot 505? A jacked up 1st gen VW Passat? Maybe even a W124 diesel wagon if you can find one? But if you want to do any off-roading… fughedaboutit! Go get something a bit more rugged with a lot more room. You may be a little sorry when repairs come for the Isuzu. But not nearly as sorry as when you try to buy parts for the European vehicles.

Sajeev Answers:

You want something with a diesel, a stick, a wagon/utility body and a fair amount of parts availability in North America?  I don’t doubt your ability to keep this hypothetical beast running, but what intrigues me is your ability to do a custom work.  I’d start with a diesel wagon and let you figure out how to put a stick in it.  My choice? A mid-80s Mercedes 300TD wagon. While the platform totally rocks and has decent aftermarket support, I don’t believe the diesels ever came with a stick. But I am sure you can find a U-shift-it gearbox that’ll bolt up, and the pedal assembly to make it work.  If you can’t, hey, three outta four ain’t bad.


Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
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Volkswagen And Isuzu Are At It Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/volkswagen-and-isuzu-are-at-it-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/volkswagen-and-isuzu-are-at-it-again/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 18:39:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392436

When the first rumors of a possible tie-up between Volkswagen and Isuzu were floating around, they were vigorously denied by Isuzu, and meekly (“currently not on the agenda”) denied by Volkswagen. Here they are again. The Nikkei [sub] writes without the usual qualifications that „Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Volkswagen AG have begun negotiating a tie-up involving the mutual supply of truck engines and related technologies, a move that could create a formidable force in emerging markets.”

According to the report, if that engine deal progresses well, “they will also consider acquiring stakes in each other.”

The Nikkei heard that “Isuzu would supply midsize diesel engines to Volkswagen, while the German automaker would provide advanced technologies to the Japanese partner. They would also begin joint procurement of engine components.”

When they say midsize, they are talking truck engines, a 7-liter-class diesel engine for commercial vehicles produced by Volkswagen group firms, such as MAN SE.

Toyota still holds a 5.9 percent stake in Isuzu.

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