1992 Isuzu Gemini Irmscher R: The Engine is In!

Work and life often get in the way of our progress on cars, but whenever I could steal a chance, I’d get out to the garage and work on bolting more and more stuff to the engine. Keep in mind, originally, this engine was meant to come out the bottom of the car with drivetrain, subframe, suspension, turbo, intake, etc. all attached. Since I’m going in through the top, I’ve got a hard road ahead.

Still, I wanted to get as much bolted to the engine/drivetrain as possible because access in the engine bay is extremely limited. So, all sensors, wiring, vacuum hoses, turbo, intake, downpipe, CAS, coils, etc. got bolted up. The only thing remaining to be attached is the intercooler and the vacuum hose to the cansiter. Now, some of the stuff will need to be dismantled a little to allow me to hook up the clutch cable and shifter cables, but for the most part, it’s good to go!

So, into the air she goes! Before I could slot it in however, I had to attach a final transmission brace and front engine mount bolt. I couldn’t install those while it was sitting on the ground because they kept running into my wooden blocks that were keeping the whole thing upright. It took us about an hour of fiddling, kicking and shoving to get it slotted in. One of the hardest parts was getting the output shaft for the rear drive slotted into the driveshaft while clearing the front A/C condenser. In the process, we smashed up my Intake Air Temperature sensor.

Fortunately, those are still available and a new one is on order! With some more kicking and pushing and swearing, the engine finally dropped into place and we started doing up motor mounts! There are three mounts that hold it in place, one on each side, one up front and one in the back mounted to the transfer case. I got all but the transfer case mount installed and the engine sitting in place on it’s own weight. The transfer case mount is going to be an entirely different battle though!

After the t-case mount, I’ve gotta hook up the wiring for the alternator and starter, then install the A/C compressor and power steering pump, pop on some new belts, throw in new plugs and wires, install the clutch and shifter cables, throw on the intercooler, and… oh… I’ve got to fix the oil cooler lines. One was broken from the previous owner. Fortunately, those are at Dashbuilt Performance getting AN fittings welded on!

More to come as I make more progress!

3 thoughts on “1992 Isuzu Gemini Irmscher R: The Engine is In!”

  1. Greetings! I just imported a 1990 Isuzu Irmscher Gemini, literally 2 days after getting it here, it started smoking. I am going to source some parts for it and deciding on using a used Impulse RS engine, or rebuilding this one. Pistons/rings seem impossible to find, as well as the crankshaft bearings. In any case, if you wanted to chat (as I believe you and I are one of the few owners of these cars in the US), please reach out. Mark (I hid your number so you don’t get hundreds of spam calls – David)

    1. My memory is awful, but I figured I would go ahead and write out a reply here for others seeking this information!

      The Impulse RS engine is pretty similar to the regular 4XE1W that’s in the non-turbo cars, so things like piston rings and seal kits for the N/A cars can work. When I rebuilt mine I used these from RockAuto:

      Gasket kit (includes head gasket): FEL-PRO HS9685PT
      Piston rings*: ITM ENGINE COMPONENTS 0216525
      Water pump and timing belt: DAYCO WP169K1AS

      *: I actually had my engine builder hunt down new rings, but if they’re standard sized rings, there’s plenty available. Oversized rings are pretty much not available though.

      Now, you’ll notice that I didn’t put the main bearings on there because those are well and truly not available. I tried hunting some down through Isuzu Japan, but they only had a set of oversized and I needed standard. I tried finding a set for the Lotus Elan M100 (same engine) from the UK, but the seller only had three bearings, not three sets, just three bearings. In the end, we ended up reusing my factory bearings because they were still well within spec. However, if you have the original bearings, you can actually use them as a template to modify a set of N/A bearings. They are identical with the exception of an additional oil hole on the turbo bearings. So, a bit of measuring and a precise drill through and you can replicate a set of turbo bearings using N/A parts.

      Here’s a set of N/A bearings for reference: SEALED POWER 7284M

      As for the connecting rod bearings, I can’t remember what we did, I’d have to double check with my engine builder to see.

      Hopefully this information helps keep more of these rare beasts on the road!

  2. I love how you explained some details on the rebuild. I’m in the market for one of these gems and need all the info I can get. I’ll be sure to check back here. You have my email. Keep me updated.

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