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Toyota virgin - advice please?


New Member
Aug 4, 2021
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Hello all,
I thought i'd say hello as i'm about to buy my first toyota and honestly know very little about them, at the moment i'm going on reputation of 'will last you the rest of your life' which can be said about the land rovers i've owned as long as you put 'if you keep fixing it every five minutes and don't mind the shoddy workmanship'... so here I am...

We are after a tow vehicle, for a bit of hay, the occasional horse and a variety of other animals - it needs to be able to have four wheels that go round at the same time and not get stuck in 4" of mud (unlike the 1 wheel drive p38).
We think that the 120 prado on a 2004-2006 will suit our budget with around 150k on the clock. It's going to be an occasional use car 2-3k miles per year tops.

Does anyone have any buying guide recommendations, things to look out for and questions to ask please?
I've seen an advertisment for one stating that it's had a new clutch (in an auto), is this normal wear and tear at 150k? Would I expect to do this for these models by the 200k mark?
Bearing and ball joints are consumables - it is what it is - the diffs on the other hand are a bit more involved - assuming they're serviced, they should last 'forever'? do they whine? any advice please?
Ive also seen people posting on here about changing the injectors?

Does anyone also have a recommendation for a toyota specialist in the midlands (banbury/northampton/coventry) that would be able to do a diagnostic/health check?

Manhy thanks all,

Steve Wright

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2010
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Hi James
Welcome to the group, and I cannot help with everything but a couple of comments, with reference to Towing and getting stuck.
First you need to find what weights you are going to tow, I am not too sure but I think the max you can tow with 120 is 2800Kg, so if you need more you need to look at the 100 series which is 3500kg, and to the getting stuck in mud, if you don't want to get stuck you need off road tyre like BFG's

hope that is of some help

Rob Cowell

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2011
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Buyers guide is easy. Get underneath it and prod. Rust is what will kill them. Check the cross members, anywhere rear of the transfer box, especially, but not limited to where the top control arms mount the round cross member. If you're buying it to tow have a really good prod all along the rear cross member. They seem to be less bad than the others, but they do rot and they do twist when they get weak. Try and hit the top of the square cross member (between the rear and the the round cross member, depending on the model this may be the cross member the spare wheel is chained to). Check the whole of the back axle, especially the turrets where the top arms mount, and the where the coil springs mount, and the panhard rod mounts. Check where the coil springs mount on the chassis. Check around the rear bump stops.

They will drive 2 wheels because the center diff lock will almost always work, but check the orange light comes on the dash when you engage it. Only the LC3 has a rear diff, and it usually doesn't work, so try to select it and make sure the red light comes on and stays on. If it flashes the diff isn't engaging. If you tow on slippery fields that's nice to have. About £400 to replace. On the LC4 and LC5 the rear axle traction is looked after with electronics. Hopefully someone with one of them will advise how to test it.

Diffs last as long as the oil has been changed. Service book says every 20K miles. If it hasn't been wading they probably don't need that frequent, but good to see some service evidence. If they aren't whining they're probably OK for now though.

Injectors should be treated as a service item. They'll last around 120K miles.

Mine tows lots. 2.8 tons is the legal limit and you'll feel that on hills, but it will cope. Worth checking the gear selector stays in 3 and 4 (often the retention spring is broken, which is sometimes easy and cheap to fix and sometimes not). If you tow a lot in a hilly area you want to be able to stop the box using top gear or it'll be changing up and down all the time and overheating the transmission.

There is no clutch in an auto, could be the torque converter? I'd be worried if this had gone under 150K though. Maybe sign of some towing abuse. If the car you are buying may have towed a lot be worth budgeting to get the auto box fluid flushed through. Or at least plan on changing what you can a few times early in ownership.