Newbie Question

Piper

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Hi everyone,

I've been browsing the forum for quite some time but finally thought that I'd say hello and also ask a wee question if that's ok. I don't own a LC yet, but my wife and I are planning a trip from our home in Glasgow to Cape Town and back so I'm starting to plan ahead.

I've been reading all on different websites that the 80 series is the truck to get but I have to say, I do like the 90 series and there certainly seems to be many more available and at good prices too. So I guess my question is why the 80 series is considered to be superior? Is it actually better/stronger/more reliable, etc.

Please excuse my ignorance but I'm keen to learn and would be happy to hear people's opinions on the 80 vs 90 debate.

The trip we're planning is probably going to be down the west coast of Africa, up the east and back home through as much of europe as possible. We've been out there a few times as my wife works for a small charity in Malawi and really wish we could start the trip now!

Thanks!
Ryan
 

Andrew Prince

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Hi Ryan and welcome!

I suspect that a search will throw up plenty on the relative merits of 80s and 90s - I suspect that I've even thrown in my 2cents a few times :o

The big reason that people seem to recommend an 80 most often is that it is a big tough truck that has been proven countless times to be up to the toughest challenges. That seems to be the general consensus.
Of ccourse there are countless 2WD cars that get up and down Africa every day, so a 4wd is not a minimum requirement. However you are looking to make the trip with a minimum of hassle I assume and you're willing to spend some money up-front to avoid the potential hassle of fixing a broken down £100 banger in darkest Africa :mrgreen:

In my opinion, for your trip, you'll want a diesel for fuel consumption reasons and for availability (diesel is always available because of trucks) but in most places you could probably get petrol truth be told. Petrol cruisers are not renowned for their fuel economy for good reason - they are very thirsty beasts. So that's as good a reaosn as any to rule out a petrol,
So diesel it is! 4WD is a given if you're buying a cruiser and that's a good thing - not because you're looking to create your own Camel Trophy but because 4WD vehicles are much more secure on dirt roads and if weather/road cnditions get nasty, you'll be more able to get through.

Finally getting to the point, IMHO the pros for an 80 vs a 90 are (for an 80):
- bigger vehicle inside (load capacity) and tougher drivetrain
- SFA means it's easier to upgrade the suspension for heavier duty shocks and springs to cope with corrugations and potholes.
- Not much in the way of critical electronics, diesels have mechanically-driven injection pump etc.
- Reasonable power and economy from a very reliable engine.
- UK spec 80s will have front and rear difflocks, so as good as it gets in terms of traction (although you should not be attempting any pistes/tracks that require 3 x difflocks in my view, not without another vehicle to assist)
Cons:
- Finding a decent 80 at a sensible price is not so easy any more.
- Ride on tar is not as refined as the 90 (once you leave Europe, this will cease to be a factor until you hit Southern Africa)

Cons of the 90:
- Diesel 3l KZ-TE has a fairly common weakness cracking the cylinder head through overheating.
- IFS means upgrading options for front suspension are relatively limited (compared to 80)
- Smaller carrying capacity (may not be an issue if there are just 2 of you and you're not hauling the kitchen sink)
Pros:
- Quite a few around
- Nicer ride on-road and a bit more wieldy to handle.

I could keep going for hours writing down my thoughts. I'll leave the continuation of the debate to others :mrgreen:
 

fridayman

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Finding a decent 80 for a decent price is becoming very difficult. I ended up getting a 90 as a daily driver and to do our trip to Oz and so far I am very happy with it. It has impressed me immensely off-road with only a set of AT's fitted, and the road handling is almost car like.
 

Tommo&Claire

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My 2p..

There are valid arguments for both but you have to weigh them against questions such as the likely terrain to be encountered, i.e. which way are you going to go, how much kit are you carrying, how many in your party etc

I think the key question that will be the decision maker will be, how much kit are you hauling.

As for the 80 vs 90 debate well...... make no mistake the 80 is a big brutal beast of a truck, extremely tough and robust, can carry huge loads, good off road, very reliable, easy to modify. If you are going down as a family of 4 people plus the dog then i'd say you want an 80.

The 90... not as big, but bigger than say a Discovery. Also extremely tough and robust, can carry not as huge loads, not as good off road but again, in your situation you wont find that limit (you have to be deep into technical stuff to get to where an 80 leaves a 90 off road). Also very reliable if cared for. Not as easy to modify but not exactly hard either. If there were only two of you for example, i'd have the 90.

The 80 is without doubt the daddy, but the 90 is really close behind but with a couple of advantages, it is more economical, better on the road (where you are likely to spend most of the trip) and they are cheap as chips right now.

The key point is that even doing the trip you are describing you are probably only tapping into about 60-70% of the potential of either of these vehicles! So, if you need a big one have the 80 as you can fit loads in, if not have the 90 it's cheaper to buy and run!
 
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Chris

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Yeah, what they said BUT quite a lot of this depends on how good you are on the spanners. Having a vehicle that's easy to work on is no help if your don't know one end of a torque wrench from a centre punch. 90's are by definition newer. If you are planning a route based on tar then go in a VW Beetle. Well you take my point. The 90 is a hugely capable vehicle and the LWB with the seats down is cavernous. Charlie and Nina bought one, put their gear in it and drove to Vietnam and back! They will take some rough stuff. But the 80 in good shape is without doubt one of the best vehicles on the planet. Ever.

So it's a tricky question. We are going UK to Capetown, which Cruiser should we buy? Well there is more to that question that you have given us.

If I had to buy a car from e-bay and have it take me to Capetown tomorrow, I would probably buy a decent 90. It's the older ones that had the head problems. But if I had time, money and spanners, I would buy an 80 and do the work. But I wouldn't be leaving tomorrow.

Chris
 

Piper

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Thanks for the quick replies everyone.

The trip would be just the two of us. Equipment wise I'd obviously like to pack as lightly as possible but having never done the trip before I'm not sure what we'd need to carry beyond what I've read online etc. I wouldn't like to think that between the two of us we'd come close to what the vehicles can carry.

In terms of the terrain, our preferred route is to do the hardest section first, ie down the west coast. That way it's easier to plan where we will be with more accuracy in order to hit the bad spots during the best weather to avoid the worst road conditions. I'm not someone that would be looking to take the hardest route or do any serious off-roading so I don't think that I'd need the extra bit that the 80 has to offer. That said from all the reading I've done, the roads down the west can still be really bad even in the dry season.

I've always enjoyed working on my cars, but admitedly not even close to the levels of you experts on here. In fact, even though the trip is at least one and possibly two years away, I like the idea of buying the truck now so that I can get to know it as well as possible before setting off. Plus, it gives a reasonable period of time to get it ready for the trip too.

If there are any factors that I should also consider whilst deciding on the 80/90, please let me know! Thanks for the advice!

Cheers
Ryan
 

Tommo&Claire

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There is no answer to the question you're asking, i know i've asked it myself!

Essentially, both will do it, both were built for it and will lap it up. One is not better than the other they just have different attributes, so go and have some test drives and see which you fancy.
 

Crispin

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Chris said:
But the 80 in good shape is without doubt one of the best vehicles on the planet. Ever.

If I may kick the proverbial hornets nest... :twisted:
An 80 is also an old vehicle {edit: not to say it's too old...} . One in good shape to the naked eye not not seem to mean that much. A quick read on the 80 section is starting to read like a port from the LR forum; My whatits have gone, My elbow needs grease, My gubbin is dry and itchy! etc. Unless you want to baseline everything, and I mean down to the thingy-ma-jig that has a dry seal and needs new mermaid tears, I think the PT of a 15-20 year old vehicle is not worth it unless you have lots of time and money.

Sorry fellas, trying to fly the lag for the newer models here. The cannons on the HMS Victory where brilliant. In their day...

/runs and hides.

another edit: I am not slating the 80 but there are other options? A 100 if you want size (and have the money :drool: )
 

smokyjoe

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Crispin said:
Chris said:
But the 80 in good shape is without doubt one of the best vehicles on the planet. Ever.

If I may kick the proverbial hornets nest... :twisted:
An 80 is also an old vehicle {edit: not to say it's too old...} . One in good shape to the naked eye not not seem to mean that much. A quick read on the 80 section is starting to read like a port from the LR forum; My whatits have gone, My elbow needs grease, My gubbin is dry and itchy! etc. Unless you want to baseline everything, and I mean down to the thingy-ma-jig that has a dry seal and needs new mermaid tears, I think the PT of a 15-20 year old vehicle is not worth it unless you have lots of time and money.

Sorry fellas, trying to fly the lag for the newer models here. The cannons on the HMS Victory where brilliant. In their day...

/runs and hides.


good point :thumbup:
my 80 drank fuel like an alcholic locked in a brewery and cost me a small fortune in parts,
my 90 also has its faults but i am also very stuborn so will just take it on the chin and fix it,
any second hand vehicle can be problematic if not looked after by its old owners unless you know its history,
both the 80 and 90 will go just about anyware but they also inspire confidence in there of road ability which tends to get you further than most of the oposition, however this can be a bad thing because when they get stuck they do it big style.

i would recomend driveing both before makeing your mind up.
 

Chris

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Hi Crispin, you quote me and then defend the newer models? Reading the quote again slowly.... An 80 IN GOOD SHAPE....... I wasn't advocating the 80, I was (I thought) being objective but pointing out the differences. I meant genuinely good shape, not just one that didn't have a tear in the driver's seat you know. Buy an 80 and leave tomorrow? I'd be lucky to make the ferry.

And that's the crux. Brand new against brand new, I'd take the 80. But that is not what I posted.

Buy a brand new 150 series, load it up and go tomorrow.

I have had 90's 95's, 120's and now an 80. If I had to drive long distance now, I would go the the showroom and throw my money down. Mine is 16 years old and a money pit at the minute. When finished it will probably top out at 10K I bet. A 120 would come in at£? Less than that I'd think. Change of oil, some ATs and turn the key.

Chris
 

Crispin

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Chris,

My point is that an 80 in good shape may have hidden gremlins which are not apparent when purchasing. That is true for all vehicles, but my point is that the older the vehicle, the more worn bits it will have. It's a machine after all and with all the best intention in the world, it is still a mechanical device with lubricant between two unfriendly surfaces.

Buying an 80 without rust and turning into a good condition 80, now that's a different story. :)
 

Chris

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Hey matey that was sort of my whole point. An 80 in good shape, not an 80 that on e-bay looks like it might be in good shape. I meant an 80 actually IN good shape. You are unlikely to come across a wholly good 80 nowadays as the youngest was made in 1996. An import might be better of course.

But then an ex company 120 with 250k on the clock? Might look nice...

Why are we having this discussion? Blimey, it's like being back on TCOCK. :lol: :lol:

Mind you, I would say that an 80 has a flat tailgate and out of all the features on an LC this is simply one of the best ever. Forget the axles, lockers, engines blah blah, somewhere to cook yer Spam fritters is a real plus point. OK, the width of the whole cargo area on the 80 is better than any of the others too. The 120 rear aperture I found quite reduced. Not so good for packing. But a monster boot space nonetheless. Nice vertical boot too. 90 series pretty vertical too but the 120 does slope quite a bit. Just don't slam the door without checking.

Chris
 

Graham

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Chris said:
But then an ex company 120 with 250k on the clock? Might look nice...

Chris

Not quite there yet, just about 15k to go :thumbup:

Graham
 

Chris

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Of course Graham, but you have had people looking after yours.

Not everyone is so conscientious or honest.

C
 

Jon Wildsmith

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Aren't there injector seal problems on 120's? :) Just read yet another good review of 150's in 4x4 Australia :mrgreen:

They'll all do what you want so buy the one you like the most, that's the one you'll enjoy owning till you get bored with it ;)
 

Chris

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Not all 120's Jon, just like heads on 1KZ-TEs I guess. My 120 made terrible noise, but it never actually missed a beat and when warm went like a rocket ship at 28 mpg minimum.

Chris
 

chriscolleman

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I guess when your going on a long haul just about anywhere you should be buying a LWB in stead of a SWB.

The 80 drives like an offroad truck and has the reliability of an offroad truck.
The 90 drives like an offroad car is more refined will have more creature comforts, but will lack some robustness.
Get yourself some factory specs on both vehicles and stay within 75% off their maximum.
With a bit off luck nothing will break on them in that case.

Have your engine, transmission and communication in top notch before you go exploring.
The rest is easily fixed when you're out there.

The only down to earth magazine about overlanding I know off is Overland journal, get hold of some back issues. There is an enormous wealth of info in there to be considered.
They don't deal with vehicle specific stuff, but more the Human specific stuff.
Plus anything they recommend you can easily depend on!
Toy comes highly recommended :thumbup:
 

Piper

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Thanks so much for the replies and good advice. There certainly is a lot to consider.

So, if I was looking at a 90, is there any points that I should look for, models/years to avoid, etc?

Cheers
Ryan
 

fridayman

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Piper said:
Thanks so much for the replies and good advice. There certainly is a lot to consider.

So, if I was looking at a 90, is there any points that I should look for, models/years to avoid, etc?

Cheers
Ryan

When I was looking these were the main things that I was looking for:
1) UK vehicle - the imports don't always have the rear locker
2) 1998 or newer - from 98 onwards did not appear to have the cracked head issues
3) good service history
4) Preferably under 150k miles (I plan on doing another 150k on it)
This should give you a good platform to build a great overland truck.
 

Chris

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If you go for a later 90 you should be absolutely fine, but worth considering the difference between the GX and VX. Leather of course but the VX also has roof rails. Now this might be good or bad news depending on what you want to do with the roof. There is a chance that they might interfere with an expedition type roof rack. They will come off of course but leave holes to fill. You can mount a roof rack or bars onto them but I don't think that they carry the same load as gutter mounted feet.

Chris
 
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