My first Post, Time for a rethink?

Paul Rowley

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Mar 11, 2010
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I want to replace my Toyota Surf 3:0 V6 petrol very soon as the engine is on its way out. I have owned it since October 2006 and apart from needing new head gaskets it has been reliable and owes me nothing.

I have spent time in West and North Africa driving Toyota Land Cruisers, Hilux’s and Mitsubishi Pajaros and I want a typical rugged Japanese 4x4 (with the possibility of doing some over-land trips).

I have around £15,000 - £18,000 cash to spend and I really wanted a Land cruiser. I like the 80 series but I don’t think that I want such an old vehicle. A 100 series might be an option and I do like the 4.7 V8 petrol versions but I’ve not seen one close up yet.

The other option that has caught my eye is the 120 series.... but I have just been reading about the engine problems (on another forum) and am very disappointed. I don’t want to spend a reasonable amount of cash on a vehicle that is likely to blow up any time. What is happening to the famous Toyota reliability?

Another contender is the Nissan Patrol but again I have heard there have been some problems with their engines or turbo?
I’m starting to get a little disheartened now with what I have been reading!

I would be interested in your opinions.

Regards,
Paul
 

Crispin

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Feb 24, 2010
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Welcome!

I am sure you will get a flurry of answers from the more learned 80 and 100 owners but on the 120 engine trouble thing - it is blown (no pun intended) out of proportion.
While there are cases of the engine seizing due to broken injector washers, I think it is more hysteria than anything else. I am sure Toyota has sold thousands of 120s driving around and not really had thousands back for recall (their hands are too busy with other recalls :lol: )
There are a number of us here with 120s, true, there are a number who have signed up because their 120s went pop.
I don't think you should write it off all together though. Get a later model (05 onwards IIRC) which has the newer washers.

Having said all that, you would be better off through africa in a 80 an probably a 100. There is less to go wrong.

As for the 80 being old, isn't it now that their engine's are just starting to break in? ;)
 

Andy Harvey

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Mar 6, 2010
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120 would be good or a late model 80 or a 100. The 4.2 TD Diesel is renowned for long life - 300 - 500K miles not unknown. Build quality is brilliant and even old ones are still in good nick. For the sort of money you are looking at you could buy a late model 80, get all the important bits reconditioned - Axles bushes etc and even get the engine fettled (new Big ends etc) and still ahev quite a bit over to buy some serious overlanding kit and make yourself a great overlanding vehicle. the 80 and 100 are very well thought of in overlanding circles being comfortable, roomy, reliable and great carry-alls plus being easy to work on which is important if something does go wrong in the middle of no-where. Plus well served for spares in Africa and people who know how to fix them.

You don't need to think so mauch about age as condition and history with these things, sit in one, drive it, check it out etc. The 80 was a high spec vehicle when new and consequently is still a great vehicle to drive with plenty of grunt, comfortable suspension and even pretty reasonable handling for such a big old beast.

Along with the Patrol they are probably the best of the best when it comes to being fit for purpose. The only difference between the two in a lot of ways is that the Land Cruiser is a bit more comfortable than the patrol but then again it has always been a more expensive vehicle so you would expect that.
 

adrianr

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Mar 4, 2010
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Echo that on the 120 comments - they can handle some big mileages and only a small number seem to have had the problem, seems like a pretty quick preventative maintenance fix too, if you do decide on one.

I am biased - the 80 is a tough, reliable truck. SImple to work on and hard as nails. Big, roomy and simply stunning once you get off the tarmac and onto the land. I think they are pretty good on road too, certainly great for trundling along for hours on end. In the recent snows it was interesting how many vehicles the landcruiser drivers recovered, and some of the 80's lads were know to lend a helping hand to the 40 foot artics that were getting stuck. Not bad for an old truck. Just passing 125k on mine and she's only just starting to loosen up.

May I suggest you go and drive a few of the different models on and off tarmac if you can and get a feel for what is right for you.
 
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Jon Wildsmith

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Feb 24, 2010
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I wouldn't dismiss 80's based on age, mechanicaly a good example will be as reliable as the new trucks, if not more so and the anti-corrosion / quality of steel used on the 80 is about as good as it ever got. My 2001 100 is about averagely rusty underneath which is about as rusty as my 1994 80 that I had abused quite a bit was when I got rid last year and more rusty than the 1993 80 I just sold.

The 120 is smaller than the 80 and 100 and I'm not sure it has as many options for lifting it if that's your thing. Being smaller can be and advatange in car parks etc but it won't carry anywhere near as much for overlanding etc.

If the size of a 100 doesn't put you off then given your budget you might prefer the better road manners they have over an 80.
 

Andy Harvey

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Mar 6, 2010
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Echo what Jon said on the 80 as far as on road. I used to use my 80 as a daily truck and covered on average 20K miles a year, lots of motorway and it was nice a vehicle to drive on road as any I had ever had. Really comfortable, eats up the miles and you get out of it after 3 or 4 hours behind the wheel quite fresh.

The 100 is more of the same, a bit quieter and the suspension (especially with AHC) soaks up the road better than the 80, IFS seems to be a big factor here on road (although slightly more limiting off road than the solid front axle on the 80 but not much for what most people do). The 100 really does drive like a big executive cruiser - which it is apart from the fact it also has the capability when you need it off road.

The 120 and the 90 before it were also strong, willing reliable trucks. They have had occasional issues but that is a minority of vehicles and guess what, on a Forum you tend to have a larger percentage of the population have problems, because a lot of people have the trucks and they go on for ever and they never join a forum. The D4D engine is still an incredibly well put together engine, it's not just in the Cruiser, it's in loads of Vans and Hilux pickups being used and abused every day by builders and the like. Toyota may have the occasional problem but far less than pretty much anybody else. If you want engine problems then read up about the Izuzu Trooper, or the Freelander or occasionally Discoveries.

You won't go wrong on any of the Land Cruisers, it has built a name for ability and reliability and that is because of actual experience not marketing.

I'm biased towards the 80 and 100 having had them but any of them will work.
 

Paul Rowley

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Mar 11, 2010
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Thank you for the kind advice guys.

I used to own Land Rovers (totally rebuilt a Series IIA) so I know about their reliability, or should I say lack of!
I’ve had the Surf 3 ½ years and only paid £2,000 for it. It needed new head-gaskets 3 months after I bought it (£1,000) and the starter motor reconditioning. I only do about 4K per year at the moment (use the train and my Brompton bike for travelling to work) so I don’t mind the 16 mpg I get from this truck. All in all it has been cheap motoring!

I have had a few tough years paying off loans etc. but now I don’t owe anyone a single penny, so I feel it is time to treat myself to something nice! I can save at least a £1,000 per month so the kitty is growing.

Now that the better weather is here I am planning on looking around for a suitable vehicle. I know that a local Toyota Main Dealer has a 120 in at the moment so I will go and have a look at that.

I friend has a 90 series LC so I am familiar with the size of those.

A late 80 or 100 series might be the way to go and then spend any surplus adding extras and making sure it is kept in tip top condition.
I want an auto and would like leather, cruise, AC etc. but then I do really like the rugged good looks of the Troopy! So much nearer to the trucks I used in Africa.

Thanks once again.
 

Andy Harvey

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Mar 6, 2010
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Paul.

if you go for a late 80 series you won't get an Diesel auto unless you go for an import, I am pretty sure all of the 24V 80 series UK models were manual. You will need a 12V (up to 95 year) if you want an auto or get a jap import (an HDJ81). All the Petrol ones I think were Auto however.

100 Series (98 on) is available with Diesel Auto or Petrol Auto from the start. Diesel ones command higher prices and are 4.2TD 24 Valve with Electronic bits - engine is 1HD FTE, late 80s have 1HD FT which was 24 Valve without the electronic bits.

I paid 8K for my 99 VX spec Diesel with ride height and comfort/sport suspension (otherwise known as VX Active).

Used to have a Surf myself - 1993 2.4TDI SSRX. Sold it when I bought my 80 series. Loved it, did loads of miles but it lunched on 2 cylinder heads and a head gasket.
 

Andy Harvey

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Mar 6, 2010
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I Know one of the Overland specialists (think it might be TBR) have said they could (and I think they have) import the 76 station wagon with the single turbo V8 in, so possibly could also get the troopy varient. Unfortunately I don't think Toyota Gibraltar Holdings can cell to the public. A V8 Troopy would be awesome and would probably have all the toys as well (AC etc although probably not leather).

Or how about just importing a Troopy from Aus.
 

Graham

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Mar 22, 2010
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Hi Paul,

As good as the 80, is, I think for general every day use they may be a little thirsty.
Again for the 100 which shares the same engine, albeit with different fuel management system.

The 120 problems you read about, are, as many have said, are confined to the few (relative) owners who have had problems.
For the rest of the owners of the same D4-d engine, in many varients of Toyota, already mentioned, then I think Toyota must have produced hundreds of thousands of very D4-d engines, and very satisfied owners.
I actually have no idea how many D4-d engines have been made, but I am sure the failure percent is very, very small.

I for one am very satisfied with reliability, performance, and especially with fuel usage.
The D4-d is Toyotas most economical engine in any 4x4 they ever made.
My 2005, 120, D4-d engine runs 'sweet as a nut' with almost 230,000 miles on the clock.

If you have to drive your Toyota every day, then I suggest fuel economy, and I don't say that 'tongue in cheek' but it should be considered.

Also as they are a little smaller than the 80 or the 100, they are easier to park.

Graham
 

SimonD

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I am in australia
Mar 15, 2010
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Hi Paul
Paul Marsh at Footloose is a knowledgeable guy and has been able to source 70 series and the hallowed 105 series. You could do worse than give him a call for your budget. Toyota Gibraltar don't sell to punters only the UN.
 

Andy Harvey

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Mar 6, 2010
342
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SimonD said:
Hi Paul
Paul Marsh at Footloose is a knowledgeable guy and has been able to source 70 series and the hallowed 105 series. You could do worse than give him a call for your budget. Toyota Gibraltar don't sell to punters only the UN.
Ah Ha, I couldn't remeber who it was who was bringing in the 70s, think he has also brought in or plans to bring in the new 76, single Turbo V8 Diesel.
 

Tommo&Claire

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Mar 4, 2010
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Bat21 said:
Graham said:
My 2005, 120, D4-d engine ran 'sweet as a nut'.....
:thumbup: ;)
Conversely, we have a Hilux at work which is the run around for the Pre Deployment training guys which runs the 3.0 D4D engine in it. It is a 52 plate and has just short of 500,000 miles on it and this thing gets hammered with a capital H. It is driven by a collection of Matelots and Marines all over the country most weeks clocking up more than a thousand miles between different training areas (think Salisbury Plain and worse) is loaded up to the gunnels and then thrashed over rough terrain with little or no mechanical sympathy! And whilst it looks like it has been through the wars I have driven it and it feels and sounds no different to mine which is the same year of manufacture and has only 115,000 miles.

There must be tens of thousands of these D4D's out there by now and they're hardly known for their unreliablility are they?
 
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