I picked up my license plate from the registration guy who, despite giving me a registration sticker for June instead of November, came through in the end. I zip-tied the plate on, and the Trooper finally became legal. I told my brother, so he suggested to go on a quick night trek through a local trail called Holy Jim Canyon.
The Trooper was driveable, so I agreed.
Its first trip :)
I planned on replacing the shocks the following day, so I thought it might serve as a good “before” test. Now, Holy Jim is your typical washboarded dirt road with a few tricky offshoots. Here’s a video that isn’t mine of the place.
The test site was a series of uphill, offset whoops. It challenges articulation and lifts wheels... I’ve seen it deny plenty of worthy rigs. I began the dark ascent before an audience of my brother and one random guy. I was halfway up when a heard a loud metallic “TWANG!” The random guy said it was my aluminum side step crashing down on a rock, so I kept going. The Ol’ Goat climbed its way to the top without much effort. I turned around at the top and took the most difficult line down. The truck felt a little weird, like a trailing arm had bent, but it still made it down with ease.
When I got back to flat dirt, I noticed that the left rear had sunk considerably. A flashlight inspection showed that the loud TWANG was actually the sound the Isuzu makes when it’s pooping a spring.
With a disconnected sway bar, and shocks that travel way too long, the rear wheels were able to droop 4+ inches more than the unloaded spring. Still, it did most of the hill up and down on 75% of its springs.
What a champ.
We articulated the suspension and put the spring back in. Deciding not to press our luck, we headed back. Just before I got home, the 4x4 light started flashing. I guess the spring wasn’t the only thing that broke.
Working on the truck the next day revealed that the right-rear spring came off of its mounts, taking out the rear speed sensor wire that the transfer case needs to operate. Doh!
Switching out the shocks showed just how oversized the rears were compared to the new Bilsteins. For reference, the Bilsteins are 3" longer than stock. New springs and spring retainers are on order :)
Moral of the Story:
Know your limits.