Would you buy a cheap Land Cruiser for trip........

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Would you buy a cheap Land Cruiser for trip........

Unread post by outbackjack » December 24th, 2016, 11:04 am

Hi All,

Sorry long post.

I am about to embark on a 10k trip. Starting in the NT, down to Adelaide across to Perth and back up to NT. Over about 5 or 6 weeks.

I have a vehicle that is not going to be ready for the trip, we want to leave early next week. I went to pick it up yesterday and got told it wont be ready until late January at the best.

So found a 1999 105 locally. 370k Kms, Diesel and auto

Its cheap enough but has the following problems

Starter motor is buggered
The aluminum bull bar steel mounts are rusted out
Evidence of Corrosion on chassis. Not much on body apart from rear top tail gate around window.
Corrosion around the front end around radiator etc. No rust holes, just signs of corrosion. Even power steering reservoir.
Needs at least a few tyres.
Few dents on sill panel passenger side
Paint is buggered, clear has gone on just about every panel
Body has few scratches dents etc. So its not a pretty sight.

Pluses are

Interior is perfect
New Exhaust and extractors
Near new batteries, it has twin batteries
Swivel Hubs suppose to be done.
New tie rod, steering damper and ball joints.
Timing belt done about 10k kms ago
Has actually got a pretty good service history with current owner taking it to Toyota, last bill is over 4k for new bushes etc etc.

So what would you do???

Originally I can get it for less than 7k, now been told less than 5

Peter Aawen
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Joined: June 17th, 2005, 8:01 pm

Re: Would you buy a cheap Land Cruiser for trip........

Unread post by Peter Aawen » December 24th, 2016, 1:50 pm

The $2 k you save in the asking price could well pay for a new starter motor, a new radiator, & a new HD auto fluid cooler; & it might even stretch to replacing the bullbar mounts if you provide the labour for all the necessary work. Doing all that plus fitting a new set of tyres (at least 5 new same size same tread tyres would be my recommendation) & getting a full service on the vehicle including replacing ALL the oils & filters & doing a service on the auto box would be pretty much be on the cards whatever vehicle of that sort of age you got; and honestly, the rest of the stuff you mentioned sounds pretty much cosmetic, but only someone using Mk 1 eyeball & physically touching & inspecting it could really tell!!

Sooo, if you are reasonably happy with it mechanically (maybe do a compression test & a leak down test to work out the diesel's likelihood of not needing any major block/head work immediately; & check/ensure that it runs well running gear, engine, & driveline wise & specifically doesn't have any significant auto box gripes either) then if you aren't leaving the major roads/tracks &/or going particularly remote; AND you are fairly competent with the spanners & basic maintenance yourself, then it might be a go-er.... Or it might be a poorly maintained rust bucket that's on it's last legs that's had a few things prissied up to suck in someone none the wiser & just get it out if the previous owners way?!?

Still, & seriously, you are the only one in a position to be able to make that call!! The generally safe recommendation would hafta be 'NEVER head off on a long trip or go remote in an untried &/or old & potentially un-reliable vehicle'; but that said, if the trip you are planning is just long as opposed to really remote & the vehicle looks to have been reasonably well looked after while racking up those kms, they are generally pretty robust vehicles despite how bad they might look cosmetically & if it's a reasonably well maintained vehicle, then 370K kms on the diesel engine, running gear, & an auto box should just be a drop in the bucket!! There are similar vehicles out there now pushing past 1 million km without major hassles!

If I was faced with the making same sort of decision & I was reasonably happy on all those counts above & the servicing etc, I'd probably risk it.... hang on, I have done pretty much the same trip in an older higher milage vehicle without major issues - but then I am fairly confident & competent with a spanner & in getting/keeping things moving, as well as being reasonably well able to keep myself & anyone with me alive in the outback for a few days.... possibly over-confident, but well aware of that risk & the other risks facing anyone on that sort of trip, so I don't think I'm dangerously so or unable to safely decide that it's an acceptable risk or otherwise. But what about you?? It really does come back to being YOUR choice & YOUR risk. What do YOU think??

Maybe it'd help to tell us your thoughts & even step thru your concerns or considerations & let us critique them - I'm sure that at least some of us could provide a helpful critique that might make your decision making process a little clearer, if not even possibly less 'risky' - but it's still gonna be & hasta be YOUR choice in the end! ;)
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

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Re: Would you buy a cheap Land Cruiser for trip........

Unread post by outbackjack » December 24th, 2016, 3:09 pm

Cheers,sort of response I was hoping for.

I am reasonably mechanically minded, so can do some things my self.

It has supposed to have a major service done at Toyota, with a bill over 4k. This included all suspension bushes etc.

The brakes have been done over the last few years, rotors look funny as they have holes in the rotors......

Apart from starter, it runs fine. Guy has owned it for over 6 years and always had it serviced at Toyota, something I dont understand why on a vehicle with high KM`s and age.

Not sure if the injector pump has been done.

No real plans to go offroad in remote areas for hundreds of kilometers. Mostly on major highways. Maybe the odd beach run or some places of interest.

Doesn't appear to be any major oil leaks underneath.

I am top level member of AANT, if it broke down they will get it home for me........ or at least pay someway towards it.

Other Land Cruisers with similar KM`s are 10k plus and more like 12 to 15k. Body and rust aside, this leaves a lot of coin saved. Even if I did have to spend a bit on it.

V Williamson
Part of the furniture
Posts: 1401
Joined: February 6th, 2008, 9:16 am

Re: Would you buy a cheap Land Cruiser for trip........

Unread post by V Williamson » December 24th, 2016, 9:11 pm

Another comment that rests on certain presumptions...

Are you going alone on this trip or are there others involved - particularly the better half - because if you buy a boat anchor and get caught out, bluntly, relationships can be strained. Especially of they are not particularly prepared for an "adventure" into the unknown - or more likely an adventure with an unknown.

If they are ok with the idea, then if the vehicle scrubs up and you think it is ok, ahh go for it, why not... You might start the trip wondering if you can get to the end, and that in itself might be a good little challenge.

Hands up those who remember the "Bush Mechanics Challenges" years back where a minimal priced 4by (usually close to the end-of-life phase) was pushed into some relatively knarly 4wding. Part of the challenge was keeping mobile. And they did.

If everyone is happy that you are dealing with an unknown that might not even get out the front gate, I think you could have some good times. It shouldn't take too long to sort out whether the old girl is fit for the job and so the longer you can travel in the first few days, then very likely success will breed success and you have better confidence of making the intended trip.

Just make sure you are prepared for problems and ensure the basics are adhered to such as carrying sufficient drinking water. You are travelling in the hotter time of year and these conditions can be torrid on the vehicle nevermind the occupants. Drive moderately and your chances of success improve.

I have to ask though, if the starter motor is on the blink and it is an auto, how do you start the engine?

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