I’ve been lookin’ to buy an older trooper with 4-cyl 2.3 engine. Seems like a lot of 'em have a blown head gasket and/or compression problems. Isa this a known issue and does it have to do with valves, rings, or what?
Odds are the vast majority of the problems are owner inflicted; abusive driving habits, overheating for any one of a number of reasons and continuing to operate the vehicle while running hot, etc.
To a lesser degree, engine design and the policy of not retorquing head bolts on aluminum head engines after a break-in period is also a factor; at least in my opinion.
The Isuzu 2.3L seems to be a relatively reliable engine and most premature failures can be partly or fully blamed on abuse and/or neglect. Many have crossed my path with over 200,000 miles on the clock and running well.
Thanks for the input. I talked to a mechanic at an Isuzu dealer and he said probably it’s not a head gasket at all but a busted timing belt causing the bad compression readings (bent valves etc). They do a compression check and get weird readings and say “oh musta blown the head gasket”. He also said being so under-powered might cause the belt to break sooner by lugging it. So probably you’re both right: abuse.
I’d never buy an old vehicle with unknown serious engine problems. Besides the obvious risk, it’s impossible to test the other key systems such as chassis and brakes. You have to get a vehicle on the highway to test it out properly.
Given a trooper with 4 cylinder is likely going to at least twenty years old, if its running and not rusted out it may be a decent vehicle.
Just check the compression before purchase or have a mechanic do it for you.