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Bighorn Plaisirs any good?

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Bighorn Plaisirs any good?

Postby IronPaw » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:43 pm

I'm looking at getting my first Isuzu.
I like the look and reasonable comfort of the Bighorn Plaisirs.
Found a couple of 1996, auto, 3.1 motor examples locally.
Both have travelled about 180000km.
Are these old girls any good, and what faults should I look for please?
Other option is Isuzu Mu 3 door, and a Wizard Mu 5 door, both 3.1 motor.
Just want cheap (around the $6000 - $7000 area) and reliable for the odd drive Nelson to Christchurch, plus a bit of local 4 wheel driving.
Your thoughts and comments welcome.
If I don't get one of these the Missus wants me to go to 'The Dark Side' and get a '96 Prado SWB (and I know enough about their head cracking, etc).
So any help much appreciated.
Should add that we are a couple of oldies, so raised, snorkelled, thrashed and crashed is not for us.
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Re: Bighorn Plaisirs any good?

Postby geeves » Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:39 am

I dont know what the "plasair " actually means but believe its the comfort version. "Irmsire" is supposed to be a gt pakage but there is also the "lotus" version.
Look out for evidence of overheating. Cracked heads are common on all indirect injection diesels although the Toyota 2LT with alloy head was one of the worst. The 3.1 Isuzu does crack the odd head as well.
Look out for a whistle from the turbo after you turn the key off. This is a sign of impending turbo failure Typically they fail around 160k.Look at the front chassis near the susspension mounts for cracks although this should of been fixed in a recall 10 or more years ago.
It might be worth getting a mechanical inspection
Mus are a lot smaller but dot really gain much in performance and economy but easier to park. Wizard is much the same as the 5 door bighorn but lower roof line and only 5 seats. The Mu and Wizard are not intercooled but otherwise same engine
The basic engine is good for 400000km plus if looked after The autos are equally good and much the same as the Toyota
I wouldnt call the Prado the dark side. A 96 should have the 3 litre 1kz engine which is a good engine but they are highly sort after and normally a lot more expensive. If its the 2.4 2lt engine avoid like the plague.
Also dont get tempted by the later isuzus with the 3litre engine (bighorn or wizard) It will have an engine cover saying clean diesel. This is the famous 4jx1 which is a brilliant engine when running correctly but impossible for the average mechanic to fix when it breaks.
Sanding your knuckles before starting work can help. That way you cant skin them
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Re: Bighorn Plaisirs any good?

Postby keiPHadventure » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:14 pm

I would have to agree with Geeves with that one. We've had a couple of Bighorns too. The Lotus is kind of the sportier package, that was the one I had. My brother had a Plaisir verson, but there really wasn't much difference. We had good histories with those cars, they were much better than a Pajero of Prado of the same vintage in my opinion.

It would be a good idea to have a turbo timer and boost gauge installed to monitor and care for the turbo. Avoid the new engine as I have a Wizard with the 4JX1 engine and I'm not enjoying having to worry about the engine as it gets older. But if it's working right, it's a really good engine. It cost me big money to fix a simple fuel rail oil pressure sensor. Better to stick to the mechanically injected 4JG2 instead.

Also, try to find a good set of brake pads that can work better with the weight of the car as I found the brakes as a weak point of the car.
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