1st 4x4 2nd hand buyers advise pls! man pre 2000 max $7kish

Submitted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 19:21
ThreadID: 102176 Views:1935 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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I am a 18 y.o male and looking to buy my first car/4x4 and asking after some expert advise and opinion.

The main reason for purchase is that I will be moving up to QLD to study at uni and want a car that I can go places in for weekend trips camping/exploring/off roading and for long road trips, such as between melbourne and the gold coast.

To be honest, I have never needed a car in Melbourne (suburbs) because my pushy has done me fine but want to get into the world of 4x4ing and exploring oz.

Smaller SUVs like x-trails and crvs were an option but I ruled them out mainly because I don't want to be limited by them in 2-3 years and then have to upgrade... Always open to suggestions though!

At a glance, I am (preferably) looking for / my criteria thus far has been;

- $7k or less including ALL on road costs (minus insurance...)
- Manual
- At least 5 seats with 7 seater option a bonus
- Can't be a V8... :(

So basically I just want to know what you seasoned 4x4ers think? Is a pajero my best option? Turbo Diesel or Petrol for economy? Out of patrols, cherokees, pajeros, discos and ravers, jackaroos and any other main contenders will I be able to get the best quality car for my budget?

Sorry it's a bit vague at the moment, I have a better idea than above of what I need/want but didn't want to over complicate the thread!

Obviously i'm a poor student so upkeep/maintainence is a concern but not a deal breaker (otherwise i'd be in the market for prius.. ) that said a more eco 4x4 is preferred to a bigger engine that I won't make full use of!


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Reply By: Member - canopus20 - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 20:02

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 20:02
Hi Keith,
Don't rule out the x-trail, quite capable and also economical, you can get the early ones in your price range. I get 10l/100 k on trips and 12 around town. I also had a diesel Pathfinder, more of a 4wd (low range) but not a bad car either, plently around that have not been bush bashed.
Good Luck

AnswerID: 510915

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 21:35

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 21:35
Thanks mate! You are right, an X-Trail and pathfinder would be capable for what I would use it for but I was mainly thinking in terms of size rather than offroad capabilities as I see myself being limited more in what/who I can take with me than where I can go!

How come you had a diesel? Do you prefer it..? I ask because at first I was pretty sure that diesel would be the better, cheaper long-term buy but after reading into it it seems that there are some differing opinions!

Thanks for the reply, really appreciate it!
FollowupID: 789027

Reply By: 08crd - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 20:03

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 20:03
1997-1999 Land Rover tdi. 4cyl not 5 cyl.
Great car, 10km/l around town, go anywhere,easy and cheap to fix.
The pre 1997 models, had an issue with the rear bearing on the manual transmission, they improved the oil flow to it in 1997.
Just find the lowest k's, best example available.
My two cents worth.
AnswerID: 510916

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:02

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:02
Thanks - I didn't know that!

Would love a Discovery to be honest... I've just had a bit of trouble finding any in my price range with less than about 300,000km on it... That said, from your experience how do they hold up with age? Would you bother looking at those models with 300k+ on it?

I know my granny had an old 80s Defender and the old lady's still up and about with about 600k km+ - and they are all kenya, safari miles... My cousin has it down in Tanzania now and she's still soldiering on.

What do you think - will a disco with that many K's keep on or will it cause me too many problems?

FollowupID: 789032

Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:17

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:17
G'day Keith,

for value in your price range you could look at Pajero or 80 series Landcruise petrol.

The petrol Cruisers can be thirsty if flogged but they have heaps of room, will get you anywhere you want to go and I have a mate that has hammered his for over 600,000 kms all across Australia towing a camper.

AnswerID: 510930

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:35

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:35
Cheers matey,

Test drove a 96 lwb Pajero 2.8ltr turbo diesel with 284,000km's on the odometer this afternoon. The price tag is $7,500 no more to pay. Car drove great, handled well and seemed very solid, only issue is the cash!

Haven't been able to get in the drivers seat of an 80 series yet, but looking online at a 93 FZJ80R GXL "outback" edition with 277,000km at $5,800.. seems pretty cheap to me? Owr hasn't alluded to any 'issues' with it though...


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Follow Up By: fisherPete - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:25

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:25
With a petrol 80 expect to use 20/100.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 789118

Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:33

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:33
G'day Keith,

I never owned a Pajero myself but I know a few blokes that have owned them and loved them. Good for touring but a bit stif for paying around on full on bush tracks.

Mechanically, if you have a mate that's a mechanic or a trusted mechanic it would be worth taking a vehicle your interested in for a test drive to them for a look,

I used to own a Jackeroo and had a good run with that but the family out grew it as we started doing longer trips.

We had a 94 Rodeo dual cab for a while and that was a great vehicle.

Most petrol vehicles are going to be a bit thirsty but if you're buying it for the right price you should take into consideration how much you're saving compared to the fuel bill.

I swear by the 80 series due to there reliabilty and the ability to get parts almost anywhere when travelling remote - even off the side of the road at times.

You will get good advice here, so take it on board.

Have fun,
FollowupID: 789122

Reply By: Keith B2 - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:22

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 22:22
Test drove a 96 lwb Pajero 2.8ltr turbo diesel with 284,000km's on the odometer this afternoon. The price tag is $7,500 no more to pay. Car drove great, handled well and seemed very solid.

Thoughts on this model?? Price okay??

Also, have driven a 94 Jackaroo and a petrol 94 Pajero (370km on the clock...) any Pajero/Jackaroo advice?

Also, looked at a gq patrol for $8,500 (but think that was their 'hopeful' price...) it had about 290k kms if I remember correctly... Let me know what you think!

Thanks in advance!

AnswerID: 510931

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:00

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:00
Keith - I could tell you about the 3.5l petrol Jack but you'd be joining an exclusive club of people who enjoy trouble-free, comfortable and reasonably capable 4WDing. Did I mention the incredible (to me) value they seem to be right now for a low km job in top nick? If I was currently looking to replace I'd go again.
FollowupID: 789067

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:44

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:44

Have heard some great things about the Jackaroos, how do they go on fuel economy? Most of the 2nd hand ones I'm seeing seem to be th 97-03 turbo diesel model which from what I understand were riddled with issues, particularly the turbo... which I really couldn't afford to replace.

What do you think, would you suggest a petrol jackaroo for fuel eco over an earlier (pre 97) diesel model?

Thanks for the response.

FollowupID: 789080

Follow Up By: fisherPete - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:38

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:38
We have four Jack 3.5 v6s in our family, all have been superb. Auto are thirsty around town especially the later heavier wide tracks. Son has the lighter 99 model SE in man ,and has got as low as 10.9/100 on a trip sitting on 90ks.
And yes the diesels in later Jacks arte a nightmare. I paid $6000 for my sons Jackaroo with 155000ks, interior was very good,mechanically good, but the clear coat had seen better days. Perfect for a first car, now with 170000ks and the only expence has been tyres and services. Get one that has a good service record, and little off road and you cant go wrong.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 789123

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 12:33

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 12:33
Yes, give the diesel a wide berth. Great concept but the implementation was poor overall.

My manual 98 SE gets around 8km/l average. The 98-on 3.5 V6 is a vast improvement over the pre-98 3.2l petrol motor. It's low revving, powerful and responsive and the manual gearbox is a pleasure to use if you go that way.

In 200,000+ I've replaced the shocks, wheel bearings, disk brake pads and front ball joints. The clutch was replaced under warranty many years ago.

I've read articles about body roll, clutch weakness, and one or two other negs - suffice to say I haven't experienced any of them. A few of the 3.5l did blow head gaskets - mine was one. Only discovered later that it was common enough in earlier 3.5 models for Holden to assist with the repair costs if you asked!
FollowupID: 789151

Reply By: andrew t - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 13:53

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 13:53
check out the grays on line ex military auction link on this site a good second hand ex army landy might be a good start
AnswerID: 510963

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:50

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:50

Thanks for the heads up - just had a quick look but couldn't see any 5 seater options... That said, would love to bash around an old landy! Especially with camo paint... Two things I'm wondering though, both perfect displays of my naivity...

1, would it be possible to put in some proper seats in the back? Maybe from a scrapper for a couple of hundred bucks?

2, Saw one that said the odometre read 000113km... assuming this means the beast has done over a millions km's? Better than bullet holes though...

FollowupID: 789081

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 18:25

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 18:25
I would steer you in the direction of an RB30 Nissan Patrol GQ.

This is quite a car really ,it was a version of the GQ that instead of using the big very thirsty 4.2 petrol engine used a 100kw 3lt carburetor version of the engine used in the holden VL commodore. So parts and bits and knowledge abound.

Its a 7 seater whose rear sets come out easily and leave tons of room.

It was however much lighter at approx 1850 kg and being a GQ is so easy to maintain and just generally live with.

Despite it light weight it retains the true 4wd live axles and long travel coil springs
that made them seriously capable cars.
They did not have the heavy feel of some big cars and even used a very smooth shifting 5 speed manual box.

Not particularly economical fuel wise but a lot better than the big heavy GQ
whilst still having the body size. They can also run the simpler gas systems if ultimate
economy was the issue.

They were made from about 91 to 96 and are from 3-5k mostly.

Post 93 they came with electric windows and side intrusion bars.

Check one out - I think you will be surprized.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 510998

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 21:32

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 21:32
Thanks for the advice! If I can get my hands on one for a test drive I'll let you know.

Any ideas on how the diesel variants of the earlier patrol go for economy? Such as the RX GQ model...

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Follow Up By: fisherPete - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 22:04

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 22:04
Keith you will save money on fuel till the head goes with the 2.8. The 4.2 is thirstier but bullet proof. as is the rb30 Robin is talking about.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 789183

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 11:35

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 11:35
Thanks Pete,

Think the 2.8 will be better for me as ill most likely be doing more pitchmen/highway driving than offroading - at least at this stage.

Any rough ideas how much it'd cost to replace the head if it does go on the 2.8?

FollowupID: 789196

Follow Up By: fisherPete - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 13:12

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 13:12
Usually $3000 to $4000. You can replace a whole petrol mpotor cheaper then repair a diesel head.
That RB30 motor and the 3.2 and 3.5 v6 Jack motors are the pick for those on budget, with the Jacks being better on fuel usually as DOHC 24v and injected.
Good luck Pete
FollowupID: 789302

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