keep my hilux or get rid of it?

Submitted: Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 17:38
ThreadID: 131102 Views:3056 Replies:11 FollowUps:13
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Heres my problem.

I have a 99 model diesel hilux that I have owned for the past year. I bought it for 7500 without a rwc (idiot move) and spent a fortune fixing it up.
When I bought it I did not know a lot about cars and obviously paid way too much as I soon discovered oil leaks everywhere, cracked exhaust manifold, worn out suspension and steering components, a broken pinion in the rear diff and bleep ty wiring. However it only had 220000kms on it when I bought it and have had zero engine related problems over the past year.

I have now fixed most of the problems but still have to do the following:

-Overhaul the cooling system as the radiator and hoses look ancient
- Replace the timing belt and fan belts
- Replace crank seal
- Relace rear main seal and may as well the clutch too
- Overhaul the power steering as its leaking and find out why the steering is so spongey. Has a bit of play before any actual turning happens.

Now I'm at a point where I'm sick of spending money on it and would rather be out and about 4x4ing and camping instead of working on it every weekend. I also don't want to put all this money into it and then have the engine blow up or the injector pump bleep itself... but then again I'm not sure how likely that is since the engine runs beautifully and only has 230000kms on it.

I'm not in any situation to afford extensive engine work if something bad happened. I have a hard enough time doing running maintainence and 5000km services.

I have the opportunity to swap it for a nice suzuki sierra in great condition with fully rebuilt diffs and some nice goodies for 4x4ing like dual batteries, snorkel, spotties, uhf and a 2 inch lift. I think it would make the perfect weekend car for what I want to do which is some 4x4 tracks and a bit of camping here and there. I have a little buzz box that I drive to work so I wouldn't be using it on week days.

I have no idea what to do but all I know is that I either need to get rid of the hilux now and take a loss


Slowy save up the money to fix what I can, when I can and potentially miss out on many weekends of fun times camping and driving.

I would really like some advice from someone thats been in a similar situation.

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Reply By: Kenell - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:14

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:14
I am no psychiatrist but reading your post indicates to me that you have settled on a preference. Your leaning makes the tower in Pisa look straight ! You have learned a valuable lesson by buying a car in need of maintenance. If we were honest probably most on this forum have been bitten at least once so you aren't Robinson Crusoe. The satisfaction you will achieve in restoring it to good health I would think would be significant as well as the knowledge of the vehicle you will have at the end. A compression test on the engine will possibly tell you that it is true to its mileage. They are a good base unit. When all is said and done though you have a car that is 17 years old and it will continue to require maintenance probably beyond regular servicing. The Hilux will probably be easier to work on than the Suzi. You are the only one who can decide on this in the end and again - I reckon you have.
Good luck with it mate.
AnswerID: 593700

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:23

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:23
Haha yeah I am leaning towards the zook. But I know what you mean, the hilux has been really reliable and I am quite attached to it. Which is what makes it hard desicion. Thanks for your 2 cents.

How much does a compression test cosy generally?
FollowupID: 861999

Reply By: 671 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:18

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:18
It is hard to say what to do. Your list of things that still have to be done will be expensive if you can't do them yourself. Even if you can the parts costs will add up.

Your swapping alternative sounds ok except that Suzuki could be a worry. Why did both diffs have to be rebuilt? If it was due to water entry then ok but if it was wear then the rest of the car could be in much the same condition and you could be back where you started.

If it was water entry then is the transmission the next to go? It may still have water in it.

With diff problems plus a suspension lift etc, it sounds like it has been set up for some serious off road driving and it may have had a hard life.

I would be inclined to get a suitably qualified person to have a look at both cars and give you an estimate of what it will cost to get both up to scratch before you make any decisions. After that see if there are any 4wd clubs in your area catering for whatever car you choose. They can be a great source of information, assistance and good used parts.
AnswerID: 593701

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:40

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:40
The zook has about 140000kms and has been restored top to bottom. Its a 1995 1.3l wide track model.

It was owned by an older retired bloke with a lot of time on his hands. Has new brakes front and rear, new starter motor, new extractors, new alternator, waterpump, fan belts, timing belts, spark plugs and leads, weber carbi.... list goes on. It does have a 2 inch lift but its only got little road tyres so it doesn't look like its been someones bush pig.

Still I'm a little skeptical about it

FollowupID: 862003

Follow Up By: 671 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 19:08

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 19:08
"Still I'm a little skeptical about it "

So am I. All of that work for a car that has only done 140,000 ks. Then there is the tyres: have you ever heard of anyone fitting a 2 inch lift and leaving little road tyres on it?

It sounds like it could have been owned by that retired blokes teenage son.

It reminds me of a 1960s magazine cartoon for sale notice for Norm Beechey's racing S4 EH Holden. It said "One owner, driven on Sundays only".
FollowupID: 862005

Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Monday, Dec 14, 2015 at 05:27

Monday, Dec 14, 2015 at 05:27
I would say 50% or more 4X4 Vehicles would never see a dirt road, of which many would have a lift kit under them because Joe down the road had one. No need to have AT's or big set of Muddies on it.


FollowupID: 862098

Reply By: lancie49 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:48

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:48
Bit of a quandary there Len :-)

You've made a good start on the Toyota and know it's issues.
The Suzuki is a bit of an unknown quantity isn't it.

It does sound as though you want that Zook, but don't let emotion make your decision.

If you do replace the Hilux, no matter what you look at be sure to get an experience eye over it before you pay out the money so you lessen the risk of being caught out again.

Good luck with the toss up.

AnswerID: 593702

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 00:27

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 00:27
Cheers lance. Yeah, definitely not rushing into it this time around. I suppose the good thing about my hilux is that I truly do own it right down to every little clunk and rattle.
FollowupID: 862008

Reply By: wizzer73 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 20:24

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 20:24
I rekon go the zook. They are great offroad, easy to work on. Only drawbacks is obviuosly space and highway driving.

AnswerID: 593706

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 00:37

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 00:37
Yeah I know they lack space and don't like 100kph but I'm not too concerned about that. As long as the one I get doesn't have the notorious 80kph death wobbles. Test drove one last week and didn't dare take it over 80kph as it started rocking side to side quite violently. Whwts your experience with suzukis? Do you have a sierra?
FollowupID: 862009

Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 14:35

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 14:35
Yes i used to own an old seirra. My main type of 4wding in it was beach/dunes sort of work that was within 1-2 hrs of home. I had slightly larger tyres on it as my only mod. That vehicle would go everywhere. I did buy it with a sus motor. I found a cheap import motor from a barina and replaced it in an arvo, in my driveway with a mate. I'm no mechanic, but the car was easy to work on.

You don't say in your original post if your hilux is registered yet? But if your wasting your weekends working on it and just want to get out there, suzukis are great fun.

Saying all that, I did sell the seira after a few years and bought a hilux surf. Mainly so I could carry a bit more for longer trips. I had zero problems with the surf in 10years of ownership, but it wouldn't have kept up with the zook on the beach.

FollowupID: 862032

Follow Up By: The Landy - Sunday, Dec 13, 2015 at 16:06

Sunday, Dec 13, 2015 at 16:06
Um, go the Zook.

I have a 79 Series Dual Cab, and the other plaything (which also gets me to/from work) is a Suzuki Jimny...

I'm convinced it will go anywhere the 79 Series will...albeit much slower!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
FollowupID: 862082

Reply By: swampy - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 21:09

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 21:09
U are swapping from one project to another .
Stay with the Lux best of a bad lot
Sounds like both have had a hard time ,neither are an ideal choice
Both can be found in far better condition with low kms
Even a vehicle with low kms can still be poorly maintained
Cooling system service for a vehicle with below average history
Radiater rodded out at rad specialist
thermostat replaced
reversed flushed with thermostat out
water pump replaced
timing belt / tensioner replaced
cam/crank seals replaced
water pump belt replaced
oil added to viscous hub and check operation
rad cap and hoses replaced
all fixed pipe work inspected for corrosion
Harmonic balancers chew out the key way U MUST CHECK THIS
pressure test and check welsch plugs and heater core

The above is all standard maintenance procedure

AnswerID: 593709

Reply By: Stu & "Bob" - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 08:40

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 08:40
G'day Jesse,
For what it's worth, my money is on the hilux.
Reason being, you have spent a good bit of coin getting it to this stage, and there is not much to do on it.
Also as you say, you own it down to the last bump and rattle. I think, that once the maintenance items have been caught up on, you will have a reliable vehicle which is a pleasure to drive both on the highways and off-road. Besides that, you will know every nut and bolt in it, and you will know it has been done properly.

With the Zook, again you will be buying somebody else's problems, which may or may not be in worse shape that the hilux initially.

Getting everything up to scratch takes time, and to be impatient will cost money, and lots of it.

Another thing to think about will be availability of spare parts. Especially off the beaten track. There were many, many hiluxes made, lots still getting around, but how many Suzuki Sierras do you see?

Anyhoo, those are my thoughts.

AnswerID: 593717

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 08:50

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 08:50
Yeah that is a valid point. When the rear diff went on the lux I had a reco one back in within a week and I picked it up for 50 bucks! Used parts are everywhere so its easy to get spares.
Hmmm doing some serious pondering now. Thanks for the advice!
FollowupID: 862011

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 10:09

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 10:09
Tend to agree with Stu. Though there's still some work to go, the fixes aren't major and you will wind up with a vehicle that you have confidence is sorted correctly, albeit at some cost.

The other plus is you say the engine is running well. The Hilux's were a pretty indestructable beast as long as they were serviced regularily and weren't overloaded or thrashed. A good running Tojo Deisel engine with 220000 k's should be good for another 200000 k's without any major work.
FollowupID: 862017

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 14:31

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 14:31
Yeah I'm hoping it be good for another 200000kms. I did a vin check on it and discovered that it was sold to a fleet near Cairns back in 99 so hopefully it was looked after and hasn't been flogged.
FollowupID: 862031

Reply By: Tony H15 - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 09:18

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 09:18
The last 4WD I would buy would be one that has all the 4WD accessories and mods and has had repairs done. If it has all those accessories and mods it was for a reason the owner used them which means the vehicle has had some hard use. Repairs are another thing, why did it need repair? and how well were the repairs carried out?
When looking for a 4WD I look for one without all the accessories and mods and one that has had nil repairs..
AnswerID: 593720

Reply By: NeilM_BoabOZ - Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 12:53

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015 at 12:53
My two-bob's-worth ... better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't. Others have commented and my impression is about Hilux 9 Suzuki 1 ... stay with the Hilux and finish it off to best condition ... then enjoy the Devil you know

Cheers ... NeilM
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AnswerID: 593723

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Dec 13, 2015 at 13:32

Sunday, Dec 13, 2015 at 13:32
Clean the Hilux up & sell it. They bring reasonable resale. At only 220,000km to have that much going on it's obviously had a hard life & will continue to dissapopint..
Forget the Suzi. They have a shorter lifespan & with all the mods & repairs you're repeating the same mistake.
Go out & look for an old fogies car. They generally have low KM's, are well maintained & looked after. In comparison a car that's been modified & used offroad may last just half the kilometers
AnswerID: 593759

Follow Up By: lenlen91 - Sunday, Dec 13, 2015 at 14:07

Sunday, Dec 13, 2015 at 14:07
Yeah I'm trying to sell it off now. I've decided not to go with the zook for those reasons. I'm hoping to get at least 7500 for the lux with reg and rwc. I'm not too sure what my next 4x4 will be but it needs to be reliable, have solid axles front and rear (the ifs on the lux was terrible) and be cheap to maintain on a low income. Fuel economy isn't a huge concern... rather spend money on fuel than fixing broken stuff. Any suggestions?

FollowupID: 862078

Reply By: lenlen91 - Monday, Dec 14, 2015 at 06:21

Monday, Dec 14, 2015 at 06:21
Thanks for the replies everyone. I have decided to do the smart thing and sell it, pay some more of my loan off and just wait 6 months until I can afford to get the 4x4 that I want.

Next time I'm going to get the most grandpa spec 4x4 I can find. I've learnt my lesson buying pre-modified cars... but at least I gained some mechanical know how along the way so its not all regrets.

AnswerID: 593774

Reply By: lenlen91 - Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 12:48

Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 12:48
Just an update. I managed to sell my hilux for a good price and have found an immaculate 90 series prado for sale locally. Its a 3.4 v6 manual with 280,000kms on the clock. Its owned by a mechanic and is bone stock and drives like a dream. It comes with a complete service history and 9 months reg all for $2800.

I took it for a test drive last week and drove it to my mechanic to have a look over. He was impressed with it and couldn't fault it.

I think it'll be a suitable car for me as I will only drive it on weekends to go camping or some moderate 4x4 track so the fuel economy won't matter a great deal. Also been hearing that the 5vz-fe is a pretty reliable engine when maintained, make decent power and are everywhere if you need parts or a replacement engine.

Has anyone had any experience with 90 series prados?

AnswerID: 594087

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 13:42

Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 13:42
Good result, enjoy the new ride.
FollowupID: 862436

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