1988 Isuzu Trooper II 4x4 2.6 from North America


2.6 liter, 4-cylinder, will blow out on you. Beware!


Aluminum heads either cracked or blew gaskets three times within 40K miles, and this was without overheating problems according to a temperature gage, water pump, and radiator that were all found to be in working order.

General Comments:

Granted, I got this car with a lot of miles already on it, and I got it for a very good price -- or so I thought. Every mechanic I know and trust says the same thing about the 4-cylinder, 2.6 liter motor, "they're underpowered and thus problematic." Its always the same problem, cracked heads or blown head gaskets due to the combined traits of being too small a motor in a large vehicle AND expecting it's aluminum head to handle the task. Honest mechanics have even declined to rebuild it for me because they know its reputation. These are good guys whom I know.

Good side, relatively economical for an SUV with a heavy four wheel drive transmission to tote around. Averaged 18 miles per gallon in city, 22 highway.

Excellent visibility, view in all directions.

Classic 'box'-y design still looks good after many years. Notice lately Mercedes and Toyota have brought out extremely box-y new 4x4 models.

The automatic transmission has a good reputation. Even if it slips a little or is sluggish to awake on cool mornings its really not going out! I know this from both my '88 and '89 Troopers, both in the 175,000-215,000 mile range. Just do a simple transmission filter change. I've even talked to transmission shop owners about this, they've told me they almost never have to fix '88 or '89 Trooper II automatic transmissions.

I've also heard good reports on the '90 and '91 V6 motors from mechanics who rebuild engines. Apparently here in the states it used some American auto maker's motor (was it GM?).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th June, 2003

19th Oct 2004, 11:51

I own an 88 trooper II, now with 289,200 miles on it.

Great torque and power at the slower speeds, but going from 45 to 55 you have to be a little patient.

I'm not out to beat anyone off the line, but I have used it to pull a 16 passenger van and a Chevy Suburban out of the mud with, 4x4 low is great.

My problem right now is the oil pressure readings.

I don't know if it's the gage, sending unit or the pressure.

At idle the pressure reads 45-55 psi. That may hold as the RPM's come up or may not. The real reading drop usually occurs at higher RPM's 2000 - 3000 for extended periods, but not always.

The gage reading may fluctuate from near zero to 55 at the same RPM's.

Sometimes on the highway when the pressure drops, if I drop out of gear and let the RPM's come down the pressure will come back up.

I change the oil regularly and check the level constantly.

I'm thinking about a used motor to rebuild and swap.

Any hints or input would be greatly appreciated.