Isuzu Irritants
I thought I would dare to be different and build a unique sport truck, so when I found a super deal on a '98 two-wheel-drive Isuzu Rodeo, I jumped on it. It's good-looking and with a shave, slam, and new rims, I thought I'd be set. Unfortunately, the truck started having problems soon after my check cleared. I don't want to proceed with any modifications until I'm sure the problems aren't serious. The problems are: The idle speed increases without any apparent reason; the ABS lights flash, again without apparent cause; the automatic transmission is slow to engage first thing in the morning; the steering wheel vibrates; and the fuel gauge doesn't move until I've gone at least 100 miles. Can these things be easily fixed, or should I bail out?
Dave Johnson
Eugene, Oregon

Some of your problems are common to V-6-equipped '98 Isuzus (Rodeos and other models) and others are unique to '98 Rodeos. The '98 V-6 problems are electrical ones, such as flashing ABS lights, flaring idle speeds, stalling, and no-start conditions. Service bulletin TSB 3B99-04-8001 deals with these problems and blames a poor ground connection on the P-6 ground point on the engine block. That's a pretty simple fix.The transmission start-up problem, steering wheel vibration, and inaccurate fuel gauge are '98 Rodeo problems. The transmission suffers from torque converter drain-down overnight. The steering wheel vibration can be eliminated with a steering yoke spring kit. Use your trip odometer to deal with the slow-moving fuel gauge. These problems are irritating, but they shouldn't be too tough to overcome. If this were our truck, we'd be more concerned about spending too much money modifying a not-too-popular vehicle. Resale could be a problem.

Illumination Via the Internet
My name is Kyle Warner, and I live in Vandalia, Ohio. I'm writing to you about number 8 on the 10 Mostly Worthless Facts. It says that in 1986, everyone added the third brake light. I have a '91 Chevy Silverado, and it doesn't have a third brake light. All it has is a cargo light. I didn't take it off, and I have had the truck for eight years. It might have been changed, but I don't think so. Thanks for making a great magazine, and keep up the good work.

In 1986, my folks had an Olds Cutlass Ciera, and it was the first car I can remember having a third brake light. Not all cars had them, but that was the start of the third brake light revolution. For a little more history on the elusive "center mount stop light," go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_brake_light#History on the internet.

Mouse for a Mazda
I have an '89 Mazda pickup, and it's in great shape, except for the motor and trans has 209,000 miles on 'em. I'm lookin' to swap a small-block Chevy into it. Can you help point me to someone who's done this? It's all too often you see an S-10 with a Chevy V-8, but I want a Mazda or Ford with a Chevy motor. That would be so cool. Please let me know? Thanks.
Tom
via e-mail

There once was a shop called Ultimate Customs that produced V-8 conversion kits for Mazda B-series pickups. The kits included motor mounts and a tranny crossmember that would work with a Turbo 400 or Turbo 350 tranny and any first-gen small-block Chevy. The company is now out of business, but we see its kits pop up on eBay every now and again. One kit sold for $149 bucks just yesterday.