FJ Alternative: 1986 Isuzu Trooper Turbodiesel – Sold!

Mar 2020 | Classifinds, Truckin Tuesday


Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

This 1986 Isuzu Trooper has been catching our eye ever since it appeared for sale by a private owner in Rhode Island a little over two weeks ago. In addition to being an incredibly nice version of a truck that has gone extinct, it’s also features the desirable turbo diesel engine, and is listed on Craigslist in Tiverton, Rhode Island with the seller stating there’s less than 10,000 miles on the engine rebuild. While the seller’s asking price of $4,500 is above the current NADA Guides Classic Car Valuation Tool’s “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $1,250, $1,650, and $2,625, respectively, the market for vintage Japanese SUVs has been getting hotter as of late.  Successful sales of Troopers here on back that up.  If you are serious about buying this turbo diesel Trooper, you can start the conversation by texting Carl at
(401) 683-8531 and please mention you saw his post featured here on

I actually have a fairly close connection to the original Trooper II, as I own a very similar model – almost identical, in fact – but with the standard 2.3 liter gasoline engine. The turbo diesel is a coveted mill among the Isuzu faithful, simply because it’s overbuilt from the factory, and any engine you can strap a top-mount intercooler to and cut a hole in the hood for a custom scoop is going to get an enthusiast’s attention. Regardless of which engine you choose, the early Troopers are celebrated for their off-road capabilities right out of the box, and for being extremely easy to work on. These are simple trucks with ample room in the engine bay for making adjustments, and a Weber carb conversion wakes them up nicely. The later 2.6 four-cylinder s bit more refined and definitely more powerful, but you can’t beat the cool factor of a Japanese turbo diesel.

The seller notes he rebuilt the engine back in 2019, and that he’s been using it since May of that year as a daily driver. The Trooper has been returning 30 miles per gallon despite being shaped like a brick, and that’s a clear sign of a healthy engine. Most of the Isuzu faithful will tell you there’s an engine rebuild in your future regardless of whether it’s a gasoline or diesel-powered mill, so the next owner of this truck will have plenty of trouble-free miles in the future. The list of fixes and improvements beyond the engine rebuild is impressive, including new glow plugs, injectors, water pump, rings, engine bearings, alternator, and much more. A small oil leak is noted at the rear of the engine, most likely related to the pan gasket. These are beginning to be made of unobtanium, and finding a rust-free first-generation Trooper in the Northeast is next to impossible. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

1986 Isuzu Trooper Antique Turbo Diesel 2.2l. Completely rebuilt engine with less than 10k. Finished rebuilding it in May 2019 and its been my very reliable daily driver since. 30mpg!!! 4×4

All fluids changed. Was originally from Georgia – minimal rust for the year. When i had the engine and trans out, i blasted and painted the frame from the front to the rear end with POR. (rear part still needs to be done). New Jeep high back seat for the driver (still have the original seat but is seems to be crooked).

New: injectors, glow plugs, rings and new engine bearings (mains, rods, camshaft..) Mechanical injection timing properly set with special tool. Crankshaft was reground. Water pump. All filters. Alternator. No coolant leaks, radiator is solid. New clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing and pilot. N ew hood latch. All new sensors on engine. All gauges and instruments work. New vinyl cargo area. New rear slider window latches.

Other parts not yet installed: inside door handles. Triangle windows full rubber seals. Various other parts (have the complete veggie oil conversion kit also – but i took it out cuz it was gummed up, just needs cleaning). The only real issue is there is a small oil leak at the rear of the engine, either rear main (even though it new?? or more possibly a bad seal at the oil pan around the rear cap.) Other than that the truck is a minor beast – always starts, no electronics to fail. Turns heads and gets beeps like madness.

I don’t really want to sell it, but i got a new truck and am not giving it the love it deserves anymore. Also bought it as a project truck that i expected to use for hunting and camping, however its a little too small for all our gear.

2 factory service manuals (i used one in the garage and kept one in the house). RI valid inspection through May 2021. Willing to trade for DRZ400, WR250R, KLX250 of equal value or as a partial. Truck nuts and Alexa not included 🙂  Thanks for looking

Text Carl @

Do you have an Isuzu Trooper story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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