What to buy? Jack, Paj, Surf

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 16:26
ThreadID: 11060 Views:2582 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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I'd like to buy a jack, paj or surf sized vehicle in a manual diesel. It's for a family car around the city, offroad on weekends and the occasional trip up north etc. I'm very cost conscious in terms of big servicing and repair costs (and fuel economy). Budget is 25k.

I've been a bit worried by the jack discussions on this site (excellent site by the way) in terms of injector seals etc. I was leaning towards the jack but if the motor is gonna cost big bucks in the long run I'd rather stick to something a bit 'simpler' (not so high tech) if that's the case.

Can anyone share their experience with any of the above. Is there perhaps a solution to the Jack problems (maybe servicing injectors at certain intervals...cost?) Is the Jack not a good choice for someone who doesn't want to spend up big on servicing?

Any advice would be much appreciated! I basically want a reliable economical diesel 4x4 that'll cart the family around wherever we wanna go.

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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 18:01

Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 18:01
The jack, paj or surf(hilux) are all reasonable good propositions and there is FAR more difference in the individualal 2nd hand vehicle than any generic differences between the 3(4) models. Each has an its own advantages and disadvantges that they end up so similair and thats why they are in the same category.

IMHO it is far more important on how the indivudual vehicle has been treated. Has it been serviced regualrly, how much offroad use or abuse etc... I believe its better to pay a bit more for a vehicle with a service history than save a few dollars and buy one with an unknown history.

Many, if not all, surf owners will disagree with me, but I personally shy away from the 2nd hand jap imports. There are differences in radiator sizes and air-conditioner sizes, amongst other things, than the "same" hilux vehicle. But you do save $$$ and generally they have far more luxury features, so the choice is yours.

Either way, get someone who is experienced in 4wd (not RAC, NRMA) to do a proper check. Any fool can see dents, ripped interior seats etc, but a proper test like checking diff/gearbox oils and levels etc...(first check level at filler hole, then drain a small amount to see if their is water/metal/gunk etc...). Check grease in svivel hubs etc... the things the RAC, NRMA don't do. The check list goes on, but someone experineced, particualrly in that model, will make all the difference in buying a bargain or a lemon.


AnswerID: 49390

Reply By: dogart - Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 23:31

Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 23:31
Homework, homework and lots of homework.

Look up as much as you can on the web.
Start looking at and watching prices.
And go and physically have a look at the
model(s) you are interested in. Get a feel for it.
Only then will you be on the right foot
to make the final choice.
Took me 4 months to work out,
research and purchase the car I really wanted.

"94 Jack Monterey auto pet
150000km on clock
exc cond
$17900 - $1800 trade
and loving it.

AnswerID: 49418

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 09:13

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 09:13
Don't rule out Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

or Ford Explorer.

Both of these marques get a bad rep. but Both are good performers but have terrible first resale value, ie you can pick up a great car under $20k.

Talk to previous owners rather than people who have heard of friend's friend that had problems.

that's my 2c

PS we just (2weeks ago) bought a 97 Cherokee ($18k) with the lot, as a 2nd car, we looked at Paj, Jack etc (wouldn't go near a surf (after talking to owners)IMHO) and we decided that the Jeep was the option for us.

Happy hunting!
AnswerID: 49424

Follow Up By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 09:28

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 09:28
sorry, i missed the manual diesel bit.

In that case rule out the Explorer (can you get a surf in manual???)

our cherokee is a 97 turbo diesel 5 speed, so that still counts.
FollowupID: 311234

Reply By: Tim - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 12:07

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 12:07
Some thing that I checked out was the sitting position. In the surf, you are sitting near on the floor with your legs straight out, not sure about the paj but in the jack you sit up a bit higher in the vehicle. For some ppl its not an issue but its a biggie for me.
AnswerID: 49432

Follow Up By: Rusty bear - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:37

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:37
Yes the paj also you sit higher and a comfortable ride don't have a diesel though and not too bloody bad in the sand
FollowupID: 311285

Reply By: VWR - Monday, Mar 08, 2004 at 13:56

Monday, Mar 08, 2004 at 13:56
Don't be scared by the comments on Jack (some are mine) I have a 2000SE petrol Auto becuase my wife can't drive a manual - had it since new and two things have hepened in 140,000K
(1) I went into Harvey Normans and the key got scrambled by the electronics in there (I think that is what happened) Used my wife's key to start it and then went to dealer - he told nme to use my key again now it had reset - bingo off we go.
Other thing is pinging - That is it.
Engine light cam on after service - They claim the sensor was dirty and fixed it for $5 - on the spot - Personally I think they accidentally dislodged it while servicing something.
I am buying it at 150,000K - I guess that says a lot (moderate off road but I am fussy so I have tried to avoid scratching it etc (without luck - It is covered in sctratches), limited sand work) Regular servicing.
Watch out underneath it is easy to bottom out with that protection plate.
I love the thing.
AnswerID: 49521

Reply By: D-Jack - Monday, Mar 08, 2004 at 18:31

Monday, Mar 08, 2004 at 18:31

Howdy there.

I was in exactly the same position a few months ago as you are now. I only wanted a Patrol or Landcruiser, and was going to pay pu to $35000 for it - needed the larger amounT of room in the back. We ended up getting excited over a camper trailer and so decided not to outlay more money for a while. that is until we met a couple with a 2000 Jackaroo TD Manual while on holidays one day. All of a sudden it clicked that we did not now need the copious amounts of room in the luggage area now that we had the camper trailer, and started looking around at slightly smaller propositions - the same ones you had. Ended up buying a 99 TD Jackaroo Manual - and here's why-
-$23000 (could only get the dearler down that much from $24000)
-Vehicle is an ex Government car from the country and was serviced regularly. Bull bar/2xroof racks/tinted windows

Cop this:
Jackaroo TD - 118KW at 3900rpm - 333NM at 2000 rpm
Pajero TD - 92KW at 4000rpm - 292NM at 2000 rpm
Discovery TD 101KW at 4200rpm - 300NM at 1950 rpm
Patrol 3.0 TD 116KW at 3600rpm - 354NM at 2000 rpm
Hilux 3.0TD 85KW at 3600rpm - 295NM at 2400 rpm
(2001 model - probably the equivalent of the Surf)

Jackaroo TD power to weight ration 17KW/Kg - the best of all the 4cyl diesels.

- It gives punchy accelleration, almost whips you back in your seat in 2nd.
-Believe it or not, there is more leg/head room in the rear seat of a Jackaroo than in a 100series, just look at the measurements.
-Jackaroos blow SURFs and Pajeros away power wise, looking at about 118kws vs about 85(or less in the older surfs) to 90kws.
-Jackaroo is very quiet, comfortable seats and ride.
-Looks good, especially with the big bonnet scoop!
-Mine is a base model, but came with air, steering.
-Have taken it bush and performs extremely well in sand.
-The body shape has been around since 1992, and I am yet to see one with any rust perforations (I know someone out there will have though!)
-Very good turning circle. (10.8m I seem to remember from my magazine)
-Fuel economy for me averages about 12l/100km (not as good as the 3.0 TD Nissan engine at about 10.8 claimed average around town.)
-Good factory recovery points front and rear.

Negatives as I see them:

-Jackaroos TDs have a transfer case guard that drops fairly low to the ground. Has not been a problem for me yet, but I could invisage it a problem over big boulders or washouts. A bit of careful driving can overcome this, but only necessary in hardcore 4wd situations.

-Independent front suspension and using torsion bars inhibit the amount of lift you can give the front end, but same problems arise with Pajs and surfs.
-Base model seats were too sloped down for me. Replaced them with SE seats at $450 pair - tilt adjustable and armrests.
-Only has one air filter, no precleaner. I added a sorkel for this and other reasons.
-Later models (1999 on) have two starting batteries, making fitting an aux battery a pain in the but. But you can fit a high cranking amp battery to replace them and then do the dual battery thing no problems.
-Standard tyres (goodyear wranglers me thinks) are dodgy - replace with something else when worn (or earlier!)
-Using correct oil as I just found out fixes starting problems in cold weather you may encounter.
-As for the seals, I have read heaps and spoken to many people - I think it only applies to 1999 models - about 2001, but a recall was conducted on applicable models and even now that factory warranty has expired on most, the dealer will replace free of charge (or that's what they told me before I was sure mine had been changed over) There will be a green sticker inside the glove box to indicate the seals have been replaced.
-Ride is soft and body roll fairly evident
-compromise of rear seat leg room is smaller luggage area - plenty for around town or if you tow a trailer/caravan, but not really large enough for the family on a week long trip.

Apart from these things, there have not been any major problems with them. I would be interested in all the stories that have turned you off Jacks.

A publisher did a 4wd comparrison of 100 series, Patrol and Jackaroo (only the three of them for some reason - think because they wanted Holden/Nissan/Toyota comparison. Jackaroo proved itself over and over - watched it for an Hour at a car dealer one day, can't remember the name of the video though.

Everyone I have spoken to says they are an extremely underrated 4wd. Continue to do your homework and I think you will end up with the same results as I did.
I have tried not to be biased, but it is hard! Hope the negatives have balanced it a little bit for you. Hope it all helps


AnswerID: 49565

Follow Up By: WDR - Monday, Mar 08, 2004 at 18:55

Monday, Mar 08, 2004 at 18:55
I would argue about the limited storage - You can put al awful lot in there if you pack it carefully. We had a jeep cherokee before and were looking for extra room (two terrors, one 14) - Looked seriously at the Nissan but my wife was scared by the size - I was worried about the wheel wobble inherrent in them - Even the one I was test driving had it, dealer was blase and just said it was a Nissan quirk - Possibly could be fixed with off vehicle balance - I wasn't going to start with problems so forgot about them (anyway its pretty hard to overcome a wife who is terrified of the size) - Couldn't afford 100 or the Prado I wanted - Even new the Jack was best value and largest inside for the buck. They are even better as they depreciate.
Not a rattle to be found after 140,000K
Seats have been steam cleaned once and kids' seats have been protected by blanket - no sign of wearing or tearing yet.
They float a bit on the freeway but stick em on a hill in low range and you will fall in love.
Mine has an irsome quirk of not allowing me to do a three point turn in 4wd - different speeds of hubs I suppose - can be a pain but not a problem.
Some of them (mine included) whine like an aircraft (inside the cabin) in 4wd over 40K or so - Depends if the original owner whinged enough to have the box reset, i didn't and as promised 4wd has never been affected by it.
I am talking petrol here - beeeeeeutiful motor with plenty of get up and go. Quieter than many cars.
FollowupID: 311359

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