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Thread: 1997 Isuzu Bighorn

  1. #1
    Member GMH72's Avatar
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    1997 Isuzu Bighorn

    Hey team,

    I have got rid of the Freelander and looking at getting a 97 Bighorn. 3.1ltr, auto in standard Green. 240K

    Quick drive in it last night everything seemed fine, bit of a clatter and did run a bit rough on start up but that went away. Brakes seemed average but could be standard Bighorn, but I am not sure. Everything else seems to work fine. Bit bigger than the Freelander

    Turbo has just been replaced, timing belt light is on but will try and find out when the belt was replaced as it may just be the light has not been reset. It looks like it has lived by the sea and has a bit of surface rust on the chassis etc so will hit that with rust killer and paint as soon as possible.

    Anything I should be looking for before purchasing? Any improvements that I should look at doing when I get it. Pretty new to this type of vehicle so any replies are appreciated.

    Cheers
    Daniel

  2. #2
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    I've got one the same year, 280k 3.1 diesel, fairly good SUV, but heavy and slow.
    Check front CV joints, will click when turning, at full lock if worn. in $X$ (4x4) both mine have failed,
    I had a bolt come out on the torque converter, and get jammed between the flywheel and housing, locked up engine, so had engine, out to repair, luckily this happen in the driveway, I was attempt to figger out the noise at the time. rebuilt Engine while I had it out.
    Check glow pugs are all working, or it will be hard starting when cold, $20 each.
    I bypassed the emission's egr in mine, was heavily plugged with carbon and soot,
    4" exhaust will improve power, as engine can breather better,
    turbo waste gate line can be plugged off, for better response,
    I wouldn't recommend spending a bunch, on trying to increase performance, its an old vehicle, with a heavy pig of engine, and heavy body, ride ok, but no racehorse.
    find out about the timing belt.
    GMH72 likes this.

  3. #3
    Member gadgetman's Avatar
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    They are known for being 'smoky' on start up, particularly in cold weather. Just unburnt fuel from engine management mucking about. Check the vacuum hoses for the brakes as they do perish.
    GMH72 likes this.
    There are only three types of people in this world. Those that can count, and those that can't!

  4. #4
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    Engine electronic management systems suck. Problems here will write the vehicle off. Suggest get a pro to look it over as they have common failings including structural rust areas on the body, engine, electronics. Unfortunately these can be very expensive to fix totally out of reference to the current value of the vehicles and also what is probably worse, the partial electronic management systems on the engine and driveline can do very weird things that can be a bastard to trace back and solve. Think D22/ZD30 Navara bad...

  5. #5
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    check it in 4wd somewhere where you can check that the front wheels spins mine has one stuffed cv so no front wheel drive .

  6. #6
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    Took it for a good run, drives OK, most things seem to work. Current tyres are shit off road, 4wd did work, was really wet where I went and it struggled in places. Shot one duck on my test drive (and missed a few more). When engaging and disengaging 4wd the light doesn't work.. will try and fix it, but do I need back up a bit to disengage 4wd or anything like that?

    Going for a WOF on Monday so as long as it passes then I will buy it.
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  7. #7
    Member gadgetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMH72 View Post
    Took it for a good run, drives OK, most things seem to work. Current tyres are shit off road, 4wd did work, was really wet where I went and it struggled in places. Shot one duck on my test drive (and missed a few more). When engaging and disengaging 4wd the light doesn't work.. will try and fix it, but do I need back up a bit to disengage 4wd or anything like that?

    Going for a WOF on Monday so as long as it passes then I will buy it.
    Attachment 71115
    Jack the tail end up and check if it is open or LSD rear end. Spin one wheel. If the other side spins the same way LSD, if the wheel spins the opposite direction open diff. Can be a lottery which one you get. They are pretty good for a factory vehicle with the LSD.
    There are only three types of people in this world. Those that can count, and those that can't!

  8. #8
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    only need to back up to disengage 4wd if auto hubs takes pressure of for them to disengage.you can look up on internet for model number to tell if it was fitted with lsd.

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    If it has G80 in the options codes on firewall plate its LSD. Unless its been swapped out.

  10. #10
    Member peril 787b's Avatar
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    The alternator is a nightmare to replace. Try something like 8 hours...
    Make sure the battery is good, ideally fit a secondary battery system if yours doesn't already have it.

  11. #11
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    took me an hour to tighten the alternator belt I ended up taking battery out to get it half tight.found it much faster to get brother in law to do it much easier.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by peril 787b View Post
    The alternator is a nightmare to replace. Try something like 8 hours...
    Make sure the battery is good, ideally fit a secondary battery system if yours doesn't already have it.
    I replaced mine in an hour, and I'm no grease monkey.
    Cartman likes this.
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  13. #13
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    3.1 4JG2 Isuzu motor quite a good diesel. Based on the earlier 4Jb1 2.8 which was a beauty. The 3.1 will occasionally crack heads but nothing like as bad as the 2.4T or 1kz series toyotas. Indirect injection system feels like they're a little sluggish to get moving but once up and running they pull quite well. 120-135hp depending on model. Very good box and drivetrain, and easy to modify for club use.

    Things to look for with 4JG2 (and most any diesel):
    * turbo noise on wind down - $1000 if turbo bearings shot on 4JG2.
    * Check steering box for leaks. WOF issue and can be $400 to fix
    * Check lower crank pulley for movement (serious) and for oil leaks (easier)
    * Check if timing belt done
    * Check radiator - well maintained coolant or dirty. No oil or sealant material in it. No temp issues on road test.
    * Check excessive fuming - lift off oil filler cap
    * Check for excessive engine noise
    * Check oil leakages around block, and esp at rear main seal join between motor and gearbox
    * Check front CVs and CV boots. If skinny CV shafts (some are very skinny but most 25-30mm diameter) then no good for offroading
    * Check 4wd in both high and lo ratios when driving
    * Check if LSD (G80 on options plate on firewall) or by wheel spinning test
    * Check even tyre wear and alignment on road. Half worn muds no good for club offroading - that's when we sell them.
    * Check auto smooth changes and at right revs - changes smoother after running 5-7 minutes.
    * Check for smoking - puff of blue on start up ok, and bit of grey or black ok when running. Not white.
    * Check rear pinion and axle/hub seals not leaking
    * Check for vibrations/noises when driving - can be universals, driveshaft hanger bearing, wheel bearings, rear diff etc
    * Check it has adequate power
    * Check all window operations - they all cost money to do.
    * Check every electrical item
    * Rust check every panel and underneath.

    Run through this checklist and you'll troubleshoot most diesels. Before about 95 (approx) 4JG2s are usually mechanical diesel pumps and easy to tweak timing and diesel flow for 15 more hp. After round 95 usually electronic pumps and harder to tweak. 2.5" bigbore from turbo allows greater airflow, gives them extra hp and brings turbo in boost sooner. I wouldn't expect a 20 year old diesel 4wd to be perfect - just a matter of noting work that needs to be done, checking its cost, and coming to a fair purchase price.
    Last edited by mudgripz; 25-06-2017 at 12:43 PM.
    gadgetman, GMH72, 223nut and 1 others like this.

  14. #14
    Member GMH72's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies guys... it passed a WOF, small oil leak noted and no mention of anything else.
    Its not the LSD version but I don't think that is an issue for what I will need it for.
    Timing belt would be the only issue that I need to check and replace.
    All electrics seem to work fine. There is a switch on the left, engine with a glow plug symbol... can anyone tell me what it does?

  15. #15
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    I think that is an 'idle up' switch. Increases the revs a bit, like a replacement for the older style knob where you could set your own revs when cold.
    There are only three types of people in this world. Those that can count, and those that can't!

 

 

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