suitable 4WD for big trip to cape york, kimberley etc.

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 10:15
ThreadID: 10750 Views:4073 Replies:9 FollowUps:15
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Hi all,

thanks for all your responses on my query re hilux surf for both city use, weekend off road and a long three month+ trip through interior of Australia up to Cape York, across through Kakadu to North Western Australia and through the kimberleys.

I have talked with various different people regarding this trip and have been warned away from the surf, have been told the jackaroo with independent front suspension is not really up to this trip unless the driver is extremely skilled, the diso would be very good but can be extremely expensive to repair, and the best options in a full wagon would be a GQ Patrol or 80 series landcruiser, 1992-1994, diesel, $20-$25K

My budget is around 20-25K, and will be looking at buying a diesel

I believe these bigger wagons patrol/cruiser will be a lot more expensive on fuel than a disco but parts maintenance should be cheaper.

Are these older cruisers and patrols turbo diesels or not,

Looks like I now have three choices, disco TDi, patrol GQ, cruiser 80 series

Know its a lot to ask but any opinions/ideas would be great

Cheers all,

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Reply By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:20

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:20
GQ & 80 Series were'nt factory turbo but a lot have after market turbo's fitted. Any of above will do. Opinions will depend on what model respondent likes best. I favor nissans but thats just me.Regards Bob
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AnswerID: 47856

Follow Up By: jamcage - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 12:38

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 12:38

I appologize for appearing to correct you but the 80 series Landcruiser did come in a factory turbo diesel with manual or auto transmission and GXL or Sahara spec.

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Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:06

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:06
Apology accecpted :):) Regards Bob
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 15:47

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 15:47
the 80 series td was withdrawn for no apparent reason not to re appear until recently albeit withmodifications. I have heard it was because toyota doughted the reliability of the 4.2 TD. Any body got high milage factory 4.2td 80 series care to confirm/refute this?
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:25

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:25
Each one will do the job easily.

Drive each one, see what you like the 'drive feel' of as they are all different.

80 and GQ are on par. Preference - GQ, I like the solid Truck feel of mine. Turboed now too..

Disco would be the thirstiest and more expensive for parts.
AnswerID: 47857

Follow Up By: Sean O - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:27

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:27
disco 2.5 TDi would be thirstier than a GQ ? What size is the GQ, I thought it was bigger and much heavier ??
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Follow Up By: Roachie - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:42

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 11:42
I reckon the Disco TDi would have the wood on the big 4.2 Nissan in the economy stakes, no questions asked!! I own a 4.2 Nissan (GU now, but last one was a GQ qith Safari turbo). I regularly get around 14.5l/100klm and it was about the same in the GQ. I have a full length steel roof rack on all the time which stuffs the economy up too.
I understand that Disco owners get around the 10l/100klm mark; probably a bit thirstier on sand etc; but so is the Nissan.
I reckon you can't go past the GQ 4.2 diesel (turbo or not) for reliability and bushability.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:01

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:01
Mate had a Disco V8, sold it bought the GQ, and is a happy camper..

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Follow Up By: Sean O - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:30

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:30
another quick question !

auto or manual transmission ?? which is best for both off road work and city driving ?? autos a bit more sluggish at take off ?? autos downhill ???


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Follow Up By: Sean O - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:48

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:48
more questions !!!

2.8 or 4.2L diesel ,

is 2.8L ok for serious bush work
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Follow Up By: Roachie - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:05

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:05
My preference is for a manual box; but I realise there are a lot of advantages in having an auto, especially in sand driving and around town. Down hill engine braking is their biggest downfall as I understand it.
I personally wouldn't touch the 2.8ltr 6 cyclinder GQ or the 3 ltr petrol for that matter either. The 4.2ltr has MUCH better lugging ability and will just keep going day and night.
However, in my dreams I've always wanted one of those great 6.2 or 6.5ltr Chev V8 diesels and have thought that buying a "cheap" 2.8 etc would be a good starting point. It might be worth looking into, but a fair bit of mucking around initially.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 17:19

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 17:19
the 2.8 and 3.0 run car running gear, the 3.0 is the VL commodore motor to start same as Skyline, HEAPS of Nismo go fast bits for them...

And the 2.8 has 300zx Gearbox etc.. Pass....

So not even a thought for a cheap chev conversion sadly :( been there dreamt that...
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 17:20

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 17:20
Auto will walk all over manuals everywhere offroad, onroad apart from Downhills, which is fixed by Rockhopper gears.
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Reply By: Arkay - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 12:19

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 12:19
Sean, I know we all get a bit parochial & defensive about these things, but I'd have to say that suggesting a Jackaroo is "not up to it because of independent front suspension" is complete BS. I have a 1997 Jackaroo with 128,000 bush km and have been in most of those areas, and worse (e.g Iron Stirrup Ranges), without any problems at all. So, no doubt have a lot of other Jackaroo owners. These vehicles have a reputation for being very well screwed together, are a bit abandoned by GMH in terms of service & price of genuine spare parts (both of which can be gotten around), and were known as the "poor mans' 4WD" in the secondhand market because of their value for money versus an equivalent Toyota or Nissan. Now that GMH has stopped selling them new there are some even more excellent 2nd. hand prices around, and you may be able to get a considerably newer Jackaroo than you could a Toyota or Nissan for your $s. Mind you, you'll also get less for the Jackaroo when you sell it. I simply do not see the connection between IFS and 4WD driver skills you mentioned in your post. IMHO you should put the Jackaroo back on your possible list and make further inquiries about it on this excellent forum before you write it off.
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Follow Up By: Leroy - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:41

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:41
I agree. My Rodeo with the IFS has gotten me everywhere I needed to go. I wouldn't discount the Surf because of the IFS.

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Reply By: jeff-wa - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:15

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:15
IFS is not as bad as everyone cracks it up to be. The main limitation with IFS is you can't jack the front end up without comprimising some articulation. (well without big mods anyway).
All of my previous 3 4wd's have had IFS and I have taken them everwhere the GQ's and 80's have dared to follow. I have never turned away from a challenge that a rigid axel 4by has attempted. Ok articulation may not be as good, but dif lockers in the front come a long way to resolving any issue that may arisein the traction department, and normally that is only a problem when hopping rocks or in deep ruts, all of which I have done in all 3 IFS 4bies I owned without a problem.
I too got scrared away from the surf when buying my previous 4by and now that I have bought one (many years later) I still find me kicking myself that I didn't buy it years ago!
Don't knock the Jack's either, they will keep up with the big guys any day of the week! We had one of those poxy 2.0L 2 door jacks in the pilbra in the early 80's (we lived in marble bar for nearly 7 years). One of the first 4bies with IFS was the little jack and mate we towed frig'in broncos and cruises out of the mud on several occasions and towed an offroad camper through some of the toughest terrain you'll find!
- C'mon now everyone let me have it!
AnswerID: 47865

Reply By: Member - Bruce and Anne - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:18

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 13:18
Iam with Arkay, I was at a Qld Gov auction late last year and a Jack with about 50k and two years old tdi went for $25k, I would think that would be pretty good buying,
Hope you find what your looking for.
Bruce MU-ving on
AnswerID: 47866

Reply By: Member - Peter- Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:05

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:05

Be careful of the 80 series turbo model. There was an issue with the main bearing material not being of suitable grade in some of the engines. This actually led to the 100 series not beinhg available with the turbo variant initially .

All 80 series turbos should be at an age where if there was a problem they would have failed by now.


AnswerID: 47871

Follow Up By: chook - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:54

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 14:54
All 3 vehicles you mentioned are all excellent, and would do the trip your planing. The cruiser and the patrol would have far more room & carrying capacity than the disco which may suit you better. As for fuel well I'd say fully loaded they would use about the same (thats a diesel disco not a V8 petrol ). As for parts who's ever of cheap ones these days. The only real issue is availability and that would favour both the cruiser and the patrol. If you look to buying a disco look a service record(300TDI) I'd change the timing belt and timing pulleys approx $500 kit plus labour (if not recently done) and I would look at the rear hubs if the disco has done a lot of Kay's (about $50 each) as their a bit soft very easy to change thoughand Change the alternator to a Bosch if not already done that's their major problems. The other 2 vehicles well don't know them that well, I only drive Landrovers but obviously service record is a major go and if you've never owned a rover before I'd suggest either the cruiser or the patrol

Your trip sounds great,
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Follow Up By: The Bone - Tuesday, Mar 09, 2004 at 14:29

Tuesday, Mar 09, 2004 at 14:29

I have a 93 Sahara turbo diesel auto which has done 260k without a problem.
Great on fuel and if you are concerned about the main bearing, Toyota upgraded most under warranty and have a record of which vehicles were rectified.
I bought mine secondhand and my mains were never upgraded but as Peter suggested that if there was a problem it would have surfaced by now.(piston through the side of the block).
I love the Sahara and wouldn't swap it unless it was a latter model of the same.
I believe the Turbo diesel was dropped because of the price difference on new and flagging demand more so than anything else and you would still pay $3-5k more for turbo diesel auto Sahara over a thirstier petrol.
Because of there scarcity your resale is assured with the turbo auto diesel Toyota.

The Bone
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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 17:37

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 17:37
Sean The jack in my oppinion is a very undreated 4x4 it would do the trip as good as any choices in your short list.
If I had to chose from your short list I would go for the Patrol

Good luck
Eric York Connections
AnswerID: 47904

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 22:38

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004 at 22:38
Yep the Surf is no good for Cape York and the Kimberley !!!! Don't know where you got your advice but I can say my Surf went to Cape York in 2002 and we did not do any of the by passes on the OTL and it completed the Frenchmans track to Chilli Beach. Last year did the Kimberley and Mitchell falls and the Bungle Bungle - and guess what no problems on either trip with the Surf and I saw plenty of other vehicles on trucks going home ! Just be warned you can buy an older Patrol or cruiser but ensure it has been a city vehicle otherwise metal flatigue from corrugations could be an issue - my mates Patrol had a few issues from this. Would I buy another Surf for the same trips - yep you bet ya - they are not too big and they look great aswell. I'm a proud Surf owner and I have had no problems with parts. Any way best of luck - go with your gut feeling - I know when I imported my Surf I was worried from all the talk but now I know different. There are some jealous 4WD owners out there that paid way too much for vehicles equivalent to the Surfs, especially seeing that the KZN185 Surfs have the same motor and suspension as the Prado. I can say also that the auto goes as well as the manual - if not better !Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
AnswerID: 47956

Follow Up By: Sean O - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2004 at 09:19

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2004 at 09:19

cheers for you feedback, seems there are so many differing opinions out there.

so surfs are really that good, I presume I should be looking at buying the 3ltr diesel as opposed to the 2.4 if I was to go that way, what year is your surf and what sort of mileage was on it when you bought it, have you modified it much, ie suspension, lift kits etc or is it still pretty much standard

problems I've heard are mainly due to availability of parts when out in the bush compared with the cruiser and patrol and also their overall strength and bushability as they are made for japanese roads

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Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 20:18

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 20:18
Sean - mine is the 97 model which is a totally different shape to the old Surf (4Runner style) - so if I damage a panel it maybe a little difficult to locate one but they do bring in half wrecks from Japan for us to get panels off etc. I have not had a problem with parts but I have with working out the part number - but there is a good support line on Surfs so finding the part number is usually not a problem - I also have tried the sites in America and they have provided part numbers overnight - these part numbers I have found are hilux or Prado. The only problem I had going north and west was that a mechanic treated my axles as a straight hilux and put the apropriate parts in but missed out on the ABS components(Cairns) - so a rotor for the ABS was not included resulting in the new seals not sealing correctly - have fixed since though - nothing has stopped our holidays for any length of time (2 days to get new axle seals done in Broome) this is when we discovered the missing components and the mechanic and I had to do some website research to see what were the parts that were missing. Other stuff which went wrong were accessories - crack in bullbar and a crack in a long range tank. All easily fixed - and were aftermarket gear.
Oh yes it is the 3L diesel intercooled motor - same as Prado.
I have been happy with it - the many corrugated roads have resulted in a few more rattles but that's about it. We also have fitted a snorkel and beafed up the suspension after the Cape York trip - still standard height though. Do they build them weaker for Jap market - I don't think so as they are the same parts. I paid 32 K for mine on road with 68 000 Kms on it (2 years ago) - it now has 130 000Kms on it and all I have done is replace axle seals and regular servicing. A cruiser or patrol of similiar year may be stronger but I am sure it would cost more. My thing has I believe a few too many options - sun roof, climate control, criuse control, electric windows etc - don't need it all but it came with it for the price. Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
AnswerID: 48675

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