Second generation Isuzu Trooper LS (US)
|Assembly||Fujisawa Plant, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive / four-wheel-drive|
The Isuzu Trooper is a mid-size SUV that was produced by the Japanese automaker Isuzu between 1981 and 2005. It was exported internationally as the Isuzu Bighorn, Isuzu Trooper, Isuzu Trooper II, Caribe 442, Acura SLX, Chevrolet Trooper, Subaru Bighorn, SsangYong Korando Family, Honda Horizon, Opel/Vauxhall Monterey, Holden Jackaroo/Monterey and HSV Jackaroo.
In total, there were two generations of this vehicle: the first, produced between 1981 and 1991; and the second (UBS) produced between 1991 to 1997, with a substantial refresh in 1998. Its production ended in 2005.
The Trooper began as a rather basic and somewhat underpowered on- and off-road vehicle, offered only with four-cylinder motor, five-speed manual transmission, and part-time four-wheel drive. The first generation evolved to add both amenities and luxuries, including optional air-conditioning, power windows, and a more powerful V6 engine. The second generation was even more refined and available in two-wheel drive as well as four.
First generation (1981–1991)
|Also called||Isuzu Rodeo Bighorn
Isuzu Trooper/Trooper II (pre-1989)
SsangYong Korando Family
|Engine||2.0 L G200 I4 (UBS13)
2.3 L 4ZD1 I4 (UBS16)
2.6 L 4ZE1 I4 (UBS17)
2.2 L C223 diesel/turbodiesel I4(UBS52)
2.8 L 4JB1 diesel I4
2.8 L 4JB1-T turbodiesel I4
2.0 L G200 I4 (UBS13)
2.8 L LH7 V6
2.8 L LL2 V6
|Transmission||4-speed Isuzu MSG manual
5-speed Isuzu MSG manual
5-speed Isuzu MAU5C manual
4-speed Aisin Warner automatic
|Wheelbase||3-door: 90.6 in (2,301 mm)
5-door: 104.3 in (2,649 mm)
|Length||3-door: 162.3 in (4,122 mm)
5-door: 176.0 in (4,470 mm)
|Width||65.0 in (1,651 mm)|
|Height||3-door: 72.6 in (1,844 mm)
5-door: 71.7 in (1,821 mm)
The first-generation Trooper was available as a three- or five-door, with a solid 4.555:1 rear axle and an independent front suspension. In the Japanese market, the car was originally introduced as the "Isuzu Rodeo Bighorn", but the "Rodeo" part of the name was soon dropped. Early engines included a 2.0-liter gasoline and a 73 PS (54 kW) 2.2-liter diesel, lightly powered even by early 1980s standards for the vehicle's 3,700 lb (1,680 kg) empty weight. The four-wheel-drive system was engaged by operating a three-position shifter adjacent to the transmission shifter. Both Aisin manual-locking and Isuzu's own auto-locking hubs were employed.
In 1986, Isuzu introduced the 4ZD1 four-cylinder 112 PS (82 kW; 110 hp) 2.3-liter engine. Apart from higher power, changes to the previous engine included a Kevlar timing belt replacing the previous chain, and a larger two-barrel carburetor. This engine eventually proved somewhat problematic with a high incidence of burned valves due to poor coolant flow design of the overhead cam/valve head with mechanical lifters. A later head casting improvement by an Italian firm corrected this problem through improved coolant flow. Also available only for 1986 in the US was the 87 PS (64 kW) 2.2l C223T turbocharged diesel engine, using a Garrett turbocharger. It was not a popular option because of the low power generated, and furthermore is notorious for a weak bottom end, the connecting rods not originally designed for the increased thermal and mechanical stress of forced induction. Because of those problems, Isuzu changed the 4ZE1 for 1988 and used the standard 2.8L GM V6 for 1989 until their own new V6 engines could be manufactured.
In 1987, the rectangular headlights were introduced. For 1988, Isuzu introduced a 120 hp (89 kW) 2.6-liter (4ZE1) I-TEC fuel-injected engine for the US market. In 1989, an optional General Motors 2.8-liter pushrod V6 borrowed from the Chevrolet S-10 pickup was also available. Manual transmission equipped models had a gear driven transfer case with a 2.28:1 low range ratio; models equipped with the 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission had a 2.66:1 low range transfer case. Later first-generation models offered an optional four-speed automatic transmission. Models from 1988 to 1991 were equipped with live rear axles and four-wheel disc brakes.
Overseas model engines included the Isuzu C223 (2,238 cc), C223T (a turbocharged version of the same) and in the late 80s naturally aspirated and turbocharged 2.8 L 4JB1 diesel versions, all straight-four engines. The turbocharged 2.8 originally produced 95 PS (70 kW), not much more than the 87 PS (64 kW) of the considerably smaller C223T due to new stricter emissions standards. Later versions with intercoolers fitted offered as much as 115 PS (85 kW).
In 1989 only, a short-wheelbase (90-inch) Isuzu Trooper was imported to the US market as the Trooper. All of these short wheelbase Troopers were equipped with 2.6-liter fuel-injected inline-four engines, 4.77:1 differential gears and 15×7-inch aluminium alloy "snowflake" pattern wheels. Automatic and manual transmissions were offered.
In Central America, Troopers were offered with removable roofs and a higher wheel clearance. Powertrain options included the Isuzu 2.8-liter turbo diesel.
In 1988, SsangYong Motors started licensed production of the Isuzu Trooper and sold it as the Korando Family, and was only marketed in South Korea, Scandinavia, Southeast Asia and to a lesser degree South America. It used the same 2.2 L diesel engine but later versions used both the 2.3 L Mercedes-Benz turbodiesel engine and the natural aspirated Peugeot 2.5 L diesel engine.
Second generation (1991–2002)
|Also called||Acura SLX
|Engine||3.2 L 6VD1 SOHC V6
3.2 L 6VD1 DOHC V6
3.5 L 6VE1 DOHC V6
3.0 L 4JX1 TD I4
3.1 L 4JG2 TD I4
|Wheelbase||3-door: 91.7 in (2,329 mm)
5-door: 108.7 in (2,761 mm)
|Length||3-door: 166.7 in (4,234 mm)
5-door: 183.5 in (4,661 mm)
|Width||1992–94: 68.7 in (1,745 mm)
1995–97: 72.2 in (1,834 mm)
|Height||1992–94: 72.8 in (1,849 mm)
1995–97: 72.2 in (1,834 mm)
In 1991 for the 1992 model year, Isuzu completely redesigned the Trooper to keep pace with changes in the SUV marketplace, making it larger, more powerful, and more luxurious. These 4,155 lb (1,885 kg) vehicles used a 3.2 L 177 PS (130 kW; 175 hp) (SOHC) petrol engine or 3.2 L dual overhead cam (DOHC) version rated at 193 PS (142 kW; 190 hp). A SOHC 3.2 L engine producing 193 PS (142 kW; 190 hp) was introduced in 1996, replacing the earlier engines. Most models still used a part-time four-wheel-drive system, which required stopping the vehicle to engage and disengage the front axle. Starting with the 1996 SE Limited Troopers came a "shift-on-the-fly" engagement system.
From 1992, the UBS-series was available with a pushrod overhead valve (OHV) 3.1 L in-line 4-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel (designated "4JG2") producing 114 PS (84 kW; 112 hp) at 3,600 rpm, and 260 N·m (192 lb·ft) at 2000 rpm. It was offered as as a more rugged and fuel-efficient option for towing and heavy-duty operation, relative to the standard 3.2-litre petrol. The diesel-powered Jackaroo was available with a five-speed manual transmission and manual front hubs only coupled to a part-time 4wd system with open front and limited slip rear differentials. The 2.283:1 low range can be selected on the move, providing the front hubs are engaged, at up to 15 km/h 1st gear, 25 km/h 2nd gear and 40 km/h 3rd to 5th gears (the 3.2-litre V6 petrol engine version was also available with an optional four-speed auto and auto locking front hubs). The same diesel engine was also available in Great Britain and other markets with a belt-driven overhead camshaft, which developed slightly more power. After 1998, and the introduction of the "4JX1" 3.0-litre diesel engine, a four-speed automatic transmission was made available in addition to the five-speed manual transmission.
The Australian version of the UBS-series was sold as the Holden Jackaroo/Monterey. In July 1993, Holden Special Vehicles also launched 79 HSV Jackaroo models, which were just a cosmetic upgrade to Holden donor powered by the same 3.2 L 177 PS (130 kW; 175 hp) (SOHC) petrol engine. Around the same periodd, Isuzu and Honda established a working relationship that saw Honda sell a rebadged Trooper. The car was thus sold in Japan as the Honda Horizon (1994 to 1999) and in the United States as the Acura SLX (1996 to 1999).
Beginning in 1998, the US-spec Trooper became equipped with a DOHC 3.5 L engine producing 215 hp (160 kW; 218 PS). European and Asian buyers could opt for the diesel engine option of the 4JG2 3.1 L (later superseded by the more problematic 4JX1 3.0 L of 159 PS or 117 kW). A Borg-Warner torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system was introduced, along with freshened styling. The grille was redesigned again for the 2000 model year.
Transmission options included a five-speed manual transmission, the Aisin AR5  and the electronically controlled 4L30E four-speed automatic. The 4l30E was fitted with both a "power" shift feature allowing the gearbox to take better advantage of the engine's power by adjusting the shifting nature and a "winter" mode permitting third gear starts for added stability in slippery conditions. The 2000 to 2002 Trooper included a feature called "Grade Logic" which allowed the transmission to automatically downshift on steep grades in order to slow the vehicle down.
The suspension consisted of a fully independent torsion bar front suspension, and a multilink coil sprung rear suspension integrated with a solid rear axle.
The Trooper LS and S models offered 117.8 cu ft (3,340 L) cargo space, while Limited models had 112.3 cu ft (3,180 L).
While US-spec Troopers came only in the 5-seat models, in Europe and the UK 7-seater version was also offered. Optional on all models was a rear limited slip differential. In the US the 3-door RS model was sold only from 1993 to 1995.
A Trooper with the 16-valve 159 PS (117 kW; 157 hp) 3.0-liter 4JX1-TC engine was sold in the Philippines from 2002 until model year 2005. Known as the Skyroof Edition, it came in a rear-wheel-drive configuration with anti-lock brakes, a limited slip differential, billet-type radiator grille, and large power moonroof. Other standard options included leather seats, wood trim, and a VCD entertainment system. It was later succeeded by the Isuzu Alterra.
The "Acura SLX" was a lightly upgraded and re-badged Isuzu Trooper sold by the Acura division of Honda from 1995 to 1999, as 1996 to 1999 year models. Sold only in the United States, the SLX was later replaced by the Honda Pilot-based Acura MDX in 2001.
The SLX omitted some of the options available on Troopers from concurrent model years, including the manual transmission and certain engines. From 1996 to 1997 the SLX was only available with the 3.2-litre DOHC V6 engine, switching to the new 3.5-litre DOHC V6 engine in 1998. The SLX received a restyled front end for the 1998 model year, but continued to sell poorly and was ultimately discontinued after 1999. It is said that sales were affected by bad press when the 1996 to 1997 models were rated "Not Acceptable" by Consumer Reports for their tendency to roll over during testing.
In Europe, the Trooper/Big Horn was sold in Europe as an Opel or Vauxhall from 1992. Called the Monterey, the plate lasted until 1999 on the continent (as an Opel) but only until 1998 in Great Britain, where the Vauxhall badge was used. The Monterey name also saw use by Holden in Australia, at first (from 1994) as the top equipment level (V6 only) for what was there called the Jackaroo, but later as a standalone nameplate for the more luxurious part of the range.
The second-generation Trooper received negative press in the United States when the 1995–1997 models were rated "Not Acceptable" by Consumer Reports for an alleged tendency to roll over under testing. In response to a petition from the publication's publisher, Consumers Union, the National Highway Traffic Administration conducted its own tests and found no issue that could lead to a need for a recall. However, the magazine's claims had hurt sales of the vehicle.
After the release of the NHTSA report, Isuzu filed a lawsuit against Consumers Union seeking $242 million in damages, claiming that during Consumer Reports's tests the steering wheel had been twisted more sharply than "a driver is willing or able to make in response to an unexpected event. The judge in the suit, Richard Paez, determined that because Isuzu had engaged in an extensive public relations campaign to refute the claims prior to filing suit, it was considered a public figure, raising the standard for defamation from a simple preponderance of evidence that the report was false to "clear and convincing evidence" that Consumer Reports published the article knowing it was false or with reckless disregard for whether it was true or false. The defamation suit went to a jury, which found that eight of the 17 statements in the report questioned by Isuzu were false, with one displaying "reckless disregard" for the truth on the part of Consumer Reports magazine, but that Isuzu was not damaged by that statement. Two of the 10 jurors on the panel did not believe the magazine believed that the other seven statements were untruthful when they published them. Consequently, the full jury panel did not award Isuzu monetary damages for the alleged damage to its reputation and lost sales. Isuzu calculates the total cost of the Consumer Reports claims at $244 million. As Isuzu was denied damages on all counts, the formal court judgement in favor of Consumers Union entered by Paez required Isuzu to pay CU's "reasonable costs" of defending itself against the suit, not including attorney's fees.
- 1992 – Trooper won class victory in '92 Australian Safari.
- 1993 – Troopers took first and second place in the class of '93 Australian Safari.
- 1994 – Trooper won the Marathon class victory at the 1994 Paris-Dakar Rally.
- 1994 – Trooper finished first in its class at the Pharaoh's Rally.
- North America – Isuzu Trooper II (1983–1989), Isuzu Trooper (1990–2002), sold by Honda as Acura SLX (from 1996 to 2000)
- South America and Africa – Isuzu Trooper and Chevrolet Trooper
- Colombia – Chevrolet Trooper (First Generation), Chevrolet Trooper 960 (Second generation)
- Venezuela – Caribe 442
- Asia (except Japan) – Isuzu Trooper, also sold by Chevrolet as Chevrolet Trooper.
- Japan – Isuzu Bighorn, Subaru Bighorn, sold by Honda as Honda Horizon (similar to the SLX, introduced in 1994, discontinued in 1999)
- Europe – Isuzu Trooper (1st & 2nd Generation) & Vauxhall Monterey (UK, 1992–1998), Opel Monterey (Continent, 1992–1999)
- New Zealand – Isuzu Bighorn, Isuzu Trooper, Holden Jackaroo, Holden Monterey
- Australia – Holden Jackaroo, Holden Monterey
1988 Subaru Bighorn
Top mechanical issues
While Isuzu Trooper was relatively a first comer to the SUV market from a Japanese manufacture, it also has suffered from issues that were not seen on other Japanese cars of the same generations. Particularly the vehicle was very vulnerable to rusting, transmission failures, Torque on Demand failure (TOD), excessive oil consumption and overall engine troubles. The average life for an automatic transmission on vehicles equipped for the US market was around 100,000 miles. This was significantly less than an industry average of about 200,000 miles.
- Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1990). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1990 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. pp. 1255–1256.
- "Korando Family". Koreaoto.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
Sell time: '88.10~'94.8
- "Isuzu: Isuzu In The Philippines". Car-cat.com. Archived from the original on 2011-02-23.
- "Isuzu. Isuzu In Malaysia". Car-cat.com. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
- "Upgrades to the Horizon Series". Press Release. Tokyo: Honda. March 19, 1998. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- "Holden JackarooService Repair Manuals | Service Repair Manuals". Onlyrepairmanuals.com. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "Technical specifications for GM 4L30-E" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-27.
- "Agency Finds Isuzu Trooper Defect-Free". Los Angeles Times. 26 July 1997.
- "Isuzu sues Consumers Union over report on Trooper". The Daily Courier. 1 August 1997. p. 2A.
- "Trooper report trips up sale". St. Petersburg Times. 3 November 1996. p. 6H.
- "Consumer Reports Defamation Trial Starts". The Washington Post. 9 February 2000.
- "Jury clears Consumers Union". Daily Union. 7 April 2000. p. 3.
- Pollack, Andrew (7 April 2000). "Isuzu Is Denied Damages in a Lawsuit Against Consumer Reports". The New York Times.
- Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher (2008-02-02). "Isuzu to stop selling new vehicles in North America". projo.com. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
- "Business solutions from AllBusiness-Redesign". AllBusiness.com. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
Media related to Isuzu Trooper at Wikimedia Commons
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