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Buyer's Guide?

stuzbot

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Hi all.

Well, I'm finally getting to the stage where I might be in the market for a Colorado/Prado in the next month or two. I've just got to finish a couple of jobs on my VW Syncro and get that sold and then I'll be a-cruiser-hunting. <insert fingers-crossed smiley>

So I was wondering whether there's a checklist anywhere on the site for stuff to look out for when buying? Apart from the usual things to look out for on any used vehicle, I've picked up on a couple of things. from reading threads on here and watching YouTube vids. Namely:

* Rear diff seized and rusted
* Front ball joints worn.

Is there anything else specifically Colorado / Prado related to look out for? I'll be after buying a LWB diesel manual in as unmolested condition as possible .
 

Shayne

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There really isn't one , if you get under it check for rust and leaks and find your happy enough with the condition and it drives well you can pretty much take the rest at face value . If anything the trouble is they are so well built that even a scrapper will polish up like new on top .
 

stuzbot

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Thanks. That's good to hear. I was kind of hoping that my inability to find a longer list of potential 'gotchas' was because the list was a short one.
 

AdventureWagon

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Timing belt if diesel (petrol 3.4 is non interference)

Lower control arm bushings if high km.

I know you said manual but if you are tempted by an auto check for milkshaking (mixing of ATF and coolant caused by broken cooler in the radiator).

If it has a towbar check the hitch isn't rusted into the receiver. Try removing it and check the length of the hitch
 

copperland

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A few months ago I bought a 3.4 V6 Prado.

Expert said me no problem in engine and transmission but there are a lot of oil leak from every part. He changed crankshaft seal, valve cover gasket, axle seal, differantial seal etc. Also there was a voice from timing belt and ex owner said I never changed it so we changed.

I have driven 2.000 km since I bought it and there is no oil leak, no burning oil, no unusual voice etc. Now everything is seems good.
 

Lancashire Cruiser

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I looked at quite a lot of Colorado’s and later LC’s before buying the one I have now. Invariably most had rust to varying degrees to the chassis and rear axle. The body and interior can look immaculate but many are badly corroded. Don’t take the vendors word for it that they are sound. One I was interested in looked very nice but a look at the MOT history sounded alarm bells and on inspection the rear of the chassis was badly corroded. Eventually I found a one family owned Colorado in fantastic condition, I would have liked a manual but the condition was such that the automatic wasn’t a deal breaker. Other than the underneath check as for any other car.
 
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AdventureWagon

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Eventually I found a one family oI would have liked a manual but the condition was such that the automatic wasn’t a deal breaker. Other than the underneath check as for any other car.

I was after a manual but settled for an auto. Once setup the auto is pretty reasonable and our last trip with the camper trailer it handled the Great Dividing Range with no worries. Auto trannies are very common here, Australia has a love affair with the things!
 

Chris

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I've had a couple of Collies and 120s over the years and rust wasn't an issue, but then they were fairly new - old cars back then. Increasingly on here the evidence is pointing toward rear chassis and axle rot. Pretty severe in many cases. It's probably the greatest weakness to have appeared. If it looks nice and clean back there then the rest is probably going to be OK. Early Collies suffered from heads cracking on the 1KZ-TE motor and autos experienced failures in the cooling system that mixed coolant and trans oil but other than those things, they're damn fine vehicles. Even general body rust doesn't seem too bad on most. Steering racks and bushes were something that needed attention from a pretty early point actually. I remember doing mine where you couldn't even get the part soff the shelf like you can now.

So for me, it's back axle inspection before looking at anything else. Spring perches, bump stops, trailing arm mounts, top arms and panhard rods. Quite why the rear end of these models have deteriorated so badly isn't clear. They can't ALL have been used to launch boats!

One final note though, I'd really urge you to consider the auto. I've had both and in all honesty the torque is so huge, you'll wonder why you bought a manual. Most of the time you'll drive it like an auto. If I bought a 308 GTB I'd have a manual for screaming around, but if I bought a tank, I'd have an auto for sure. Changing gear just becomes a chore. The single greatest benefit is more hard core off road where you get better engine braking, but that's about it. All of the manuals that I have had, gave worse MPG than the equivilent autos too. The manuals are considerably lower geared.
 

Juddian

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Rust is the killer, worth finding a recently imported Prado instead, no salt used on Japan's roads so you can start with a cleaner sheet than one that's seen 17+ UK winters.
Had i not found the present well kept 120 i'd have been looking for an import myself for the same reason.
 

diggerdave

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They can't ALL have been used to launch boats!

:laughing-rolling:

I saw a couple of really nasty, rotten ones when I was looking for mine some years ago now, and I doubt the stock is getting any better. There is no substitute for getting underneath with your overalls on. Take a torch! Everything should be visible and the worst stuff at least should be fairly obvious. Surface rust is not the problem but copious welded plates, dripping oil from a rusted-through differential, and rotten turrets for the rear suspension that look like they're about to disintegrate are. Also check the sills, especially near the rear arches.

Urban legend has it that Scottish ones are worse...
 

Lancashire Cruiser

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To be honest after having my Colorado with the Auto box I have to agree with Chris about the Auto being the better option for normal road work I come from Defenders, all having been manuals which you do get used to but the Auto is a nice relaxing ride.
I do wonder how prevalent the issue of cracked heads is on the 1KZ-TE engine. Of the many thousand which have been sold I wonder what the percentage would be that have experience a cracked head. One of the first things I did with mine was to renew the cooling system with genuine Toyota parts as although the vehicle had been very well looked after there was no history of any of the system being replaced. I thought preventative maintenance would be a good idea.
 
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Shayne

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I don't think it was actually on the Transfagarasan but the only time i ever wondered about my preference for manual was while driving my 90 following a non turbo 80 and an auto 80 up something like this
1618948016852.png

too slow for 2nd gear and too fast for 1st so i'd hang back to have a little fun powering on around the corners letting fat 33"s fight for grip :icon-biggrin:
 

stuzbot

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Thanks for all the replies.

I looked at quite a lot of Colorado’s and later LC’s before buying the one I have now. Invariably most had rust to varying degrees to the chassis and rear axle. The body and interior can look immaculate but many are badly corroded

This sounds a lot like one I've been watching on eBay. Just under 4 grand at the minute. But something about the auction listing sounded too good to be true. you know the usual bollox "One lady owner. Maintained regardless of cost. Sailed through its MOT" etc. And then you bring up the MOT history and it's had the same advisories for about 3 MOTs running. Also, for the last 2 MOTs, it's had advisories for corrosion to the back "not seriously affecting the integrity" [or however it's worded] which makes me wonder 'Does that mean just surface rust, which is a given on any UK vehicle? Or does that mean it's rotten but not quite badly enough to fail yet?'

Also, it's a dealer sale, based in Halifax [Yorkshire, not Nova Scotia!] and I can't find any info on the company. But I've found some pretty bad reviews of another car dealer with a different name at a similar sounding address. So I'm a bit wary that their eBay handle might be a 'convenience name'.


One final note though, I'd really urge you to consider the auto. I've had both and in all honesty the torque is so huge, you'll wonder why you bought a manual.

I say manual because I was brought up on manuals and have never even sat behind the wheel of an automatic, much less driven one. I know people say they're great and especially so off-road with all the low down torque control but I just have a mental block about autos for two reasons:

1: I'm of a generation were all cars were manual and you very rarely saw an auto. Also autos were associated with Americans and people who couldn't drive properly. Like having stabilisers on your bike.

2: There's the "it's just another thing to go wrong" factor. My understanding is that, if an auto box goes, it leaves you stranded, whereas if a manual gearbox goes, you'll usually be able to get at least one gear to engage enough to allow you to limp somewhere. And you can't bump start an auto if you get a flat battery or break a starter motor. I'm sure they're great when new. But since the Colorados I'll be looking at will be 10 -- 20 years old, I just have an instinctive feeling that an auto box won't age as gracefully as a manual one.

I'm prepared to be persuaded either way though.
 

Chris

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And if you're in a manual and your clutch goes.....
Pros and cons. All valid. But it is a Landcruiser. You have to remember that. All of your thoughts on autos are spot on. Dead right. But unfortunately about 30 years out of date. Go drive one. You don't have to buy it. But if there were two Cruisers on the forecourt - a rusty manual and a shiny auto, would you walk away? The advice I was given when I first started looking for a decent 80 was buy the first good one you see. Doesn't matter if it's pink with pedals, buy it. I walked away from a lot. as soon as I found a decent one, I bought it. Did I want white? Nope. Just don't limit your choice on a shrinking market with too many must be's
 

stuzbot

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Pros and cons. All valid...

Yep. I'm sure [especially given LandCruisers' reputation for ruggedness and reliability] their auto boxes are as good as you can get. And I'm not totally opposed to the idea of having an auto. But I wouldn't even know what to look for when it came to checking one over prior to buying.

I can jump in any manual vehicle and drive it about a bit and get a pretty good feeling for the state of the clutch and gearbox. But, like I said, in 30 odd years of driving, I've never even sat behind the wheel of an auto. So I don't know what it's meant to feel like. If I moved the gear lever and it made some noise or other... or I felt the gears shifting in a certain way... or whatever, I'd have no idea whether what I was feeling or hearing was normal or not, as I've no previous experience to compare it to.

So, it's not that I'm totally fanatically opposed to autos [only partially so!] There's also the fact that I'd feel out of my depth trying to evaluate one.

Also, having only ever driven diesels with a mechanical fuel pump before, I'll be on a similar learning curve if I go to check out a D4D with direct injection. There's only so much new stuff my oul' noggin can absorb at once!
 

Chris

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Not much to check on an auto but before you try one worth putting that question out there. They are incredibly well made and long lived with few faults and in truth not much that you can check. Poor fluid maintenance is a big one. Leaks is another. But other than that, it should just drive well. There aren't as many warning signs as there are with a manual, that's for sure. If you try one and think, man that horrible, then the chances are it's not right. It should just drive, like you'd expect one to drive.
 

Aeroelastic

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Can’t resist chipping in... anyone seen the ad for a Colorado that has an asking price of more than £12k, with raptor paint? Thought?

Apologies in advance if seller is one of the members here.
 

Lancashire Cruiser

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And if you're in a manual and your clutch goes.....
Pros and cons. All valid. But it is a Landcruiser. You have to remember that. All of your thoughts on autos are spot on. Dead right. But unfortunately about 30 years out of date. Go drive one. You don't have to buy it. But if there were two Cruisers on the forecourt - a rusty manual and a shiny auto, would you walk away? The advice I was given when I first started looking for a decent 80 was buy the first good one you see. Doesn't matter if it's pink with pedals, buy it. I walked away from a lot. as soon as I found a decent one, I bought it. Did I want white? Nope. Just don't limit your choice on a shrinking market with too many must be's
Very true, I had convinced myself that I wanted a manual after decades of Defender ownership also I didn’t want a black or a white one, however when the one I eventually bought came up for sale it was an Auto in black but the condition was such that I had to buy it after looking at some real poor examples.
 

stuzbot

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Well, I finally sold my old VW Syncro last week and got me some pennies. So the hunt for a Colorado / Prado is now officially on. If anybody needs me, I'll be on my laptop, compulsively refreshing the eBay listings page.
 
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