One of the reasons we bought a VehiCross, on top of its coolness, was the ability to tow another car. See, the VehiCross is not my only car. I have two others that are both in various states of disrepair and both are in Delaware, where I was born and raised. Currently, my two real projects are 650 miles from where I make my home in Kentucky and if I ever intend to drive these toys again I will need to get them here and get to wrenching. Now, we could hire a delivery service to pick up the cars and drag them down here, but that’s a) very expensive, and b) difficult since, while both cars start, they barely run. So we decided to do the towing ourselves. First we installed a hitch, then we hooked up a car.
One of the biggest complaints about the Isuzu VehiCross, even when new, is its ride. It is very stiff; much stiffer than your average SUV. Part of the reason for this is the stiff springs and motorsports derived shocks (Isuzu did run VehiCrosses in the 1998 Dakkar Rally). While the ride is stiff, the handling is reasonably sprightly for a two ton, body on frame truck. The other reason for the stiffness is the very long, hard rubber bumpstops that help prevent body roll. While these work in keeping the trucks upright, the hard rubber makes for a jarring ride over speedbumps, bumps and potholes. Cutting down the bumpstops is an easy way of improving the ride quality on most Isuzus. However our VX has a third reason for a crappy ride: those awesome shocks are completely worn out from 170,000 miles of hard use. So to kill three birds with one stone, we turned to Old Man Emu's 3" lift kit.
With four project installments of our Project VehiCross, you would expect we would have done something insane to it. After all most MotoIQ projects don’t stay stock very long and so far the only aftermarket parts this truck has seen are an air filter, brake pads, and tires. After ranting and raving about how terrible replacing a power steering hose on a VehiCross is, we promised we would start putting on some sweet aftermarket parts. We lied.
Last time you read about our VehiCross project, we ended with a tease about how bad replacing a power steering hose is. Originially, this was going to be the closer of our previous post, but as the power steering hose balooned, it took on a life of its own. A few years ago, I replaced the same hose on my 240SX. It took a little more than an hour and was fairly easy to do with the most basic of hand tools. In the VehiCross, it took 11 hours spread over three days.
If you've ever owned a project car, you know that things never go according to plan. Our VehiCross is not supposed to be a normal project car, falling more into the mildly restored daily driver category. But when you need to replace parts and can gain some performance, you might as well, right? Unfortunately with any project, things don't always go as planned and as you replace one thing, you find another and another and...
Scheduled. Maintenance. To car people, these two words usually mean a weekend under your pride and joy, with a visit or two to the parts store, getting good and greasy, and finishing up with a beer (or soda if you're a younger wrencher) as you admire your handy work, basking in the glory of a job well done. Or...maybe sulking in the defeat of a stripped bolt head. For everyone else however, "Scheduled Maintenance" means "Do I choose between getting overcharged at the dealership or getting ripped off at Jim-Bob's Tire, Lube, Dry Cleaning, and Horse Shoeing?"
Isuzu VehiCross. If you have no idea what that is, well you're just like the DMV, insurance company, mechanic's shops, and about 95% of the general population. Also, you're not reading MotoIQ enough, because astute readers will have already seen this particular VehiCross (or VX for short). So what is a VehiCross and how did we end up with this latest project?