TRADING YOUR OLD CLUNKER FOR NEW?

Tired of forking out your hard earned to keep your old bus on the road? Well selling and buying something newer might cost you more!

The old versus new 4WD debate is something that I’m very passionate about. Many people often ask me for advice in what they do with their old 4WD and whether or not they should sell it and buy something a bit newer. It’s usually the time when the starter motor goes on the blink just after they’ve forked out a stack on new injectors, fixed that leaking swivel hub and replaced the uni joints. They are starting to get fed up spending the coin to keep their old ‘trusty’ on the road.

It’s a tough question to answer, but I suppose when you buy an old 4WD get ready for a bunch of maintenance to keep it on the road. But don’t think for a second that buying a newer model 4WD will stop you from breakdowns and constantly fixing issues. Once we start driving tough terrains that are hard on 4WDs, like mud, water and corrugations, we can expect even the newest of 4WDs to have issues.

Most of you know that I own one very old 4WD, a highly modified 1988 Toyota 60 Series that’s racked up about half a million kilometres or more and a 2014 model Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series. I’ve driven both vehicles hard off road in remote areas around the country, I’ve broken and fixed things on both numerous times. After owning the 79 Series for 20,000km and putting it through its first bit of tough mud driving, the alternator packed it in 2 weeks later. I suppose it doesn’t matter what 4WD you own, if you put it through its paces in the toughest 4WD testing ground in the world, Australia, you can expect issues to pop up.

While I didn’t get around to putting a sealed alternator in the 79 (and yes you can apparently get them) I was short of time before a big trip and opted for another factory. Chances are that will pack it in if the 79 goes through a bunch of mud again.  The good news about breaking something is that us 4WDers usually rebuild it bigger and better than before, so we end up with an over engineered 4WD that is suitable for our tough Aussie conditions. I was tired of breaking CVs in the 60 Series and made the call to put strengthened CVs and axles in the front end. While I have stopped breaking things, there will be no stopping the amount of maintenance I will need to practice to keep the Dirty 30 on the road because of the conditions I drive.

The same goes with modern 4WDs. The kicker with modern 4WDs is, that unless you do most of the work yourself, you can expect to pay somebody more to fix modern vehicles. They’re usually more complicated and take longer to spin spanners around due to poor access and expensive replacement parts.

People are often under the false belief that buying a newer vehicle will mean less servicing and effort to keep it on the road. Take rocket Rod’s 79 Series for example, after every 4WD Action trip that vehicle is stripped down to its axles and all seals and bearings are inspected and new grease is added. More times than not, the bearings need replacing because of water and mud ingress. Those service intervals (around 5,000km) is a far cry from the Toyota’s Service guide for changing the bearings in the vehicle.

So I suppose if you’re sick and tired of fixing and maintaining your 4WD and think your old one is costing you the earth, a new 4WD might not solve all your problems. As tough as a 4WD might seem to be, they don’t cope with being subject to the toughest off road conditions in the world without regular service, new or old. 

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