Tradesman Truck Choice - Please Help!

Submitted: Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 19:16
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Im currently upgrading from Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara to the larger more durable Car licence 4500 4.5GVM Truck!
However I see pros and cons in them all and cannot decide between Auto transmission of the following:
Isuzo NLR 200 tradepack 3.0litre TD
Isuzu NPR 200 Trade Pack 5.2litre TD
Hino 300 617 Trade Ace 4.0litre TD
Fuso Canter 515 3.0litre TD

Please help as our trucks are set up for plumbing and we always have 800kg + at any one time. Ive had so much trouble with late model utes and its time to move on.

Has anybody brought the above trucks in the last few yrs?
And how does it hold up?
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 19:31

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 19:31
Except for the Canter, I haven't driven any of the others, but from my experience with heavy prime movers(Mack 'n Volvo), I'd go for the 5.2L Isuzu in auto. Can't beat "cubes" and if you're carrying 800kg plus, then there'll be little difference in economy, compared to the 3L offerings.

One of these in a body(rigid) would be what you need. 685hp & 12 speed iDrive slush box. Gets up & boogies!


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AnswerID: 599713

Follow Up By: Mooray - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:22

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:22
Thanks Bob

Big help I was hoping the NPR was the way to go just on the way it drives. Dont want the motor to be working so hard all the time.
Maybe Mack or Volvo will join the party over the next few years.

Cheers Bob
FollowupID: 868996

Follow Up By: Mooray - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:42

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:42
I could change the s**t out of a tap washer in that Mack and widen the street at the same time... win win
FollowupID: 868999

Reply By: wholehog - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 19:51

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 19:51
Isuzu NPR200 trade pack mate..5.2 litre and auto, cruise control..sat nav..air seat..bull bar.
AnswerID: 599715

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:06

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:06
Mooray - All the Jap trucks are reliable, and well built, and long-lasting. The Hino is reputed to be the pick of the bunch, but there's not much between any of them.

I've owned a 5 ton Mitsubishi FK417 (Fuso and Mitsubishi names are interchangeable - they are both, all Mitsubishi-built) and it was an excellent little truck.
I currently own an '89 FSR500 (5 ton) Isuzu with the 6.5L 6BG-1 engine.
It's done 710,000 kms and the engine, gearbox and diff are pretty much original, and it runs as sweet as they come.
An old bloke around the corner from my shop has an FSR550 with a tilt-tray, and it's done 2,500,000kms - and he got 1,600,000kms out of the original engine!

I've had a number of Isuzu diesel engines apart, and they're built like the proverbial brick dunny.

I pulled the diff out of my Isuzu mid-2015, because it had a centre pinion shaft bearing on the way out.
I couldn't believe the condition of the rest of the diff, it was hardly showing any wear. The diff gears are massive.

I replaced the two main pinion shaft roller bearings - left the pinion straddle bearing and diff carrier bearings alone, because they were all in good nick - installed a new pinion seal, and whacked it all back together, and it runs like a new one. It's good for another 700,000kms, AFAIC.

I hired a Hino 300 automatic about 4 years ago and it performed well, although I thought it was a bit thirsty for its engine size.

Bob is right on the engine size. Consider this - the 3.0L Isuzu engine is the same one as in the D-Max ute.
So it's going to be working hard pulling a full 4500kg maximum GVM - and really struggling with a big trailer.

The 3.0L Fuso is going to be in the same boat. A little engine working hard.
The Hino is better at 4.0L - but the NPR200 with the 5.2L engine would be my pick of the bunch.
It's got the power to perform, and pull a full load and a decent trailer, and keep up with the traffic.

You think you're buying different rigs with the different brands - but bear this in mind. Mitsubishi own Isuzu, and Toyota own Hino.
They all build components for each other, and you often find interchangeable parts and components on all 3 makes. The Jap automatics are all built by Aisin-AW (formerly Aisin-Warner).

Probably the main things that will also affect your purchase choice, will be what you're getting for the money you outlay, and how good the local dealership is.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 599719

Follow Up By: Mooray - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:35

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 21:35
Great Advice Ron

Thats pretty much all the info I needed Real big help mate.
Also good advice on the dealer. My Local Dealer Ive heard is rubbish so Im heading outta town to another that has a good rep with Isuzu sales and service.

Cheers Ron

FollowupID: 868998

Reply By: Michael H9 - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 23:25

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 23:25
The Iveco Daily has decent specs. Are they any good?
AnswerID: 599731

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 11:30

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 11:30
Michael, they don't sell very well in W.A. They're a typical European rig - a tiny little motor producing high power - excessive and very complex electronics - expensive spares - and poor dealer backup (get away from the cities, and you're on your own).

The main buyers of Iveco Dailies seem to be big companies, there are very few owner-drivers owning them.

I know people who own numerous types of Ivecos, and they complain about the high cost of parts. How about $800 just for a cast alloy water outlet housing?

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 869004

Reply By: gbc - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 14:06

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 14:06
Are they all ifs now? I know a couple are. It would be high on my list of wants for a lightly loaded tradie truck around town. Our cart sprung canter 3.5 isn't exactly comfy with less than 1t in it. Auto trans is a good idea too. Ours if a swb tipper body. 2005 model from new. It is a site vehicle which tows a bobcat and is driven daily by different people, half of whom probably shouldn't have a license. It is in better nick than I give it credit for.
I'd test drive them all. If you are planning any highway work, take them up to cruise speed. Some are real screamers at 100 kph - run out of gears at about 90 odd.
AnswerID: 599751

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 16:24

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 16:24
IFS? In a truck? Good God, I suppose you'll be asking for climate-control air-conditioning, and DVD players, and inbuilt entertainment systems, next!? [;-)

Not too many trucks that I know of with IFS. Maybe some of those trendy chassis-less Euro models that never see a dirt road, perhaps?

All the Jap trucks in the 4500kg GCM range and up, have solid beam axles, AFAIK.
They are supposed to be a truck, after all! What makes the ride, is the quality of your suspension seat.

I find my old Isuzu rides quite satisfactorily for a 5 tonner - although I have fitted a fully-reconditoned ISRI seat (the original was the same brand, it was just worn out).

Surprisingly (to me, anyway), one of the best riding trucks I've ever owned, was a 3 tonne E series Bedford (previously the TK) with a Holden V8.
Despite being gutless and thirsty, the little Bedford rode better than many cars I've owned, and it never even had a suspension seat!

Bit of a shame that Bedford couldn't make a rust-resistant cab and provide a decent size diesel with a 5 speed overdrive, or I (and a lot of others) would still be driving Bedfords.

Bedford would be a classic example of a manufacturer who couldn't understand that the Japs were providing what buyers wanted, in the small-to-medium size truck range.

Not providing a tilt cab when the Japs were, was also a huge mistake - although few people know, that it only takes 15mins to disconnect and lift the cab completely, off a late-model Bedford chassis.
But of course, the difference with the Jap trucks, was that it only took 30-60 seconds to lift the cab! - and you didn't need a gantry or crane!

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 869021

Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 17:18

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 17:18
I know the fuso is independent front end, 4 wheel disks, ebd and stability control with 30k service intervals. We have looked at upgrading the one we have. I haven't checked the others, but there is a whole lot to look at in this sector these days, they are really making an effort to knock off the Utes.
FollowupID: 869028

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:51

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:51
I just had a look through the Fuso spec sheet. They certainly are IFS, and a pretty cool little truck - and they also have a Multimedia Unit, which includes satellite navigation with truck mapping, digital radio, Bluetooth radio connectivity, iPod interface and DVD player!
They've got climate-control air-conditioning, as an option, too! [:-0

It sure looks like Fuso are making it very attractive for tradies to move up to a small truck from a ute. It's not only got IFS, it has a suspension seat as well.

What gets me is - you can buy a "top brand" 4WD ute - for $60,000 or $70,000 - and still get a crap drivers seat that immediately needs replacing with a decent one!

What interested me about the Fuso was their clever "Duonic" auto tranny.
Now this appears to be a Mitsubishi-designed-and-built tranny, not a standard Aisin auto tranny with the normal torque converter, planetary gears and clutch packs.

The Duonic is very clever, in that it uses a pretty standard sliding gear transmission, in conjunction with two electronically-controlled clutches.

When I saw this initially, I thought, "Oh no, not another VW-style DSG, pile-of-crap gearbox!".
But no, the Japs have obviously studied where VW went wrong - and they have built in two concentric oil-immersed clutches that each operate an odd or even number of gears in the range.

So, clutch No.1 operates gears 1, 3 and 5 - and clutch No.2 operates gears 2, 4 and 6.
Cunningly, when a gear is selected, the next gear is preselected by the other clutch and electronics. The shifts are seamless and the tranny is obviously very fuel-efficient.

It's an amazing step up in technology and it's bound to send all the other manufacturers into a tizzy to try and come up with their version.
With clutches operating in oil, clutch life is increased enormously, and shock loading is virtually eliminated by the dual-clutch setup.

Duonic transmission

Even the little Mitsubishi donk is a hi-tech piece of work. 4 valve heads, double overhead cam with steel timing chains, Bosch CR fuel injection, variable geometry turbocharger, and air to air intercooling.

The only worrying part is the 4100RPM top speed for the donk. She's a real screamer, and this is typical of the smaller engines having to do the revs to get the power.

All in all, though, the little Fuso is certainly offering a hi-tech product that makes it on a par with any top-brand work ute. The only concern to me would be the lifespan of the little 3.0L donk, and the increasing amount of electronics in what is essentially a work vehicle that is going to be operated in many adverse conditions.

I didn't know that Daimler actually now own more than 90% of the Mitsubishi Fuso company - and obviously, Daimler is now pushing for German technology to be incorporated more into the Fuso range.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 869039

Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 05:58

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 05:58
We've got that little 3 litre motor. You'll see its up and producing max torque at 1350 odd rpm, so it's pretty lazy. It's all about shuffling the gearbox though, and she runs up to just shy of 3000 rpm on the highway at 100 in top gear. It could easily run a couple more gears. Ours hasn't missed a beat in 11 years and pulls like a train. Nothing like a 3l in a ute.
You can see just how well shagged we are getting in the ute market when comparing against these newer light trucks. They offer great value for $
FollowupID: 869052

Reply By: Mooray - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 20:28

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 20:28
Just to let you know..,
I test drove all 3 - Hino, Fuso and Isuzu
Loved the feel and comfort in both Isuzu and Fuso. The hino drove nice with a car like feel in the auto trans. But steering was shady and didn't like the narrow or wide cab hino for comfort.
The technology feels a lot better in Fuso and Isuzu.
With all of them the exhaust system is a worry I like the way they are going with DPF but not sure they have perfected this part of the new light trucks. I've also had a few people get constant problems with the system.
The Isuzu trade pack comes in a better package for the money. Tray is above average with racks and side steps. The seat is good enough to sleep in. Plenty of storage and room in the cab compared to the others. Sat Nav has options aswell.
The motor size was a big seller for me just knowing that I have the option to pull more was a big selling point.
The Isuzu auto drive a bit funny and does lack a bit of power compared to the manual. Which I didn't get as much with the others. But once you hit around 30km/hr it's all the same.
If I needed a truck a bit lighter I would have gone with the Fuso for comfort and prob fuel economy. But this time, this truck is going to be the 5.2 NPR Isuzu purchased today.
I've had so many issues with new Utes that are not made to good standards, manufactured in Thailand or somewhere I will never go back. Clutches after 15000km firewall cracked, gearboxes go steering pins crack and all the suspension is for office workers carrying books.
My fleet now consists of - 2 Hilux 1991 & 1993 great cars and a Nissan
Navara 2011 which is for sale. I'm actually thinking of buying a old HQ Holden ute to add to the team. At least these older Utes are cheap parts, easy to fix and can do what they where made to do.
Why don't they bring back a ute capable like the old 1tonner was?

Thanks for all the info big help!

AnswerID: 599878

Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 00:06

Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 00:06
Thanks for the feedback and good to see you made your choice after careful consideration.

Yes, the old Holden 1 tonners were very capable, and cheap to run, and reliable as well - not to mention being Australian-designed and built.
However, we have to live with reality, and we'll never see their likes again. They filled the bill in a totally different era and conditions, as compared to todays world.

I always remember when we demolished an old prospectors humpy in the Southern W.A. Goldfields in the 1980's - and we found a copy of the "Kalgoorlie Miner" dated 1936.

Perusing the pages, we discovered an ad for a used Chev ute.
The ad read - "For sale, 1 ton Chev ute - will carry 2 ton" ... !! LOL

Some of the old girls did some unbelievable work in earlier years. Near our mine was the remains of a 1929 AA Ford truck - which had wooden-spoke single wheels (or what remained of them).

On our mine there were some Huntington mills for crushing ore. These are essentially a large cast iron bowl about 2M across and with a cast trough around the outside. Just the main casting weighs around 6 imperial tons.

There's a picture of one here ...

I asked the local resident old prospector, Mick, how they managed to get the Huntington mills from the siding to the mine (about 2 kms, and over a moderate hill).

He replied - "They brought them in on the old AA Ford, of course!" 6 tons on a 1 ton truck!!

When I expressed some amazement at the ability of the old Ford to carry the mills, Mick said, "You shoulda seen the tyres!! I was sure they was gonna bust!!" LOL

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 869178

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