Short trips in an old school 2H diesel?

Submitted: Monday, May 15, 2017 at 14:38
ThreadID: 134869 Views:5224 Replies:8 FollowUps:15
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Good afternoon everyone.

I'm in the process of purchasing a HJ75 and this will be my first diesel. I've heard short trips are bad for diesel motors (people criticising soccer mums for driving to the shops and back before the engine is at operating temperature). I'm not sure if this relates to modern common rail electronic diesels with diesel particulate filter etc. or whether it applies to old school diesels too. Is there a general rule on advisable minimum run-time/distance travelled before shutting an old diesel down?

The reason I ask is because the vehicle has had most parts replaced and it was rebuilt 120,000km ago (currently at 540,000km) so I'd like to look after it. If I should park it in the garage hooked up to a battery maintenance charger and save it for outback trips, touring and camping then that's doable - I'm thinking about purchasing a $2,000 daily runabout for my short commutes (eg. 5 minutes to work, 5 minutes to the shops, 5 minutes to daycare etc.)

Thank you for your time.
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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 14:50

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 14:50

Buy it and use it as your daily driver. Spend the extra $2000 on extras for the '75.

I have had 2 HJ75's which I used as daily drivers. This was in small country towns -1 in the northwest the other in the southwest of WA. Mainly used for short trips exactly as you describe during the week with longer trips on the week end.

Regular servicing and maintenence, good clean fuel and remembering it was a HJ75 and not a HSV Commodore had them serve me extremely well.

Enjoy it - that is why you want it!


AnswerID: 611115

Reply By: Athol W1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 15:10

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 15:10

Short trips are not good for ANY vehicle, regardless of engine type (excluding electric), however the worst affected are old school petrol (read carburettor type engines).

Buy it, and spend the extra $2000 on extras as has been suggested, and enjoy it as a daily driver plus long distance as required.

Any vehicle fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF or DPD) MUST be used for longer (ie hot) running whenever the DPF is going through its regen function, often indicated by a light on the dash. Diesel vehicles have only been fitted with these filters in the past few years (ie 75 series V8TD from about 2016 on)

AnswerID: 611116

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:23

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:23
I'm just guessing (well not really having owned 13 naturally aspirated Landcrusiers - both personal and farm usage) at 540 000 km it won't have a DPF.

I am also guessing it is probably pre 2006. More than likely late 90's to early 00's given the km.


FollowupID: 881134

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:57

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:57
It's a late 80's being a 2H (pre-1HZ era). The 1HZ powered utes are HZJ75 instead of HJ75 :)
FollowupID: 881137

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:16

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:16
Sorry you're absolutely correct Ben!

I was referencing off my current vehicle. My bad!


FollowupID: 881138

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:21

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:21
No worries, mate! By old school diesel I was referencing pushrods, gear driven cam and an inline pump :)
FollowupID: 881141

Reply By: blue one - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 17:24

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 17:24
Ben years ago I bought a diesel HJ75 that had been driven cold on short trips. Not knowing any better I took off to White Cliffs. Pretty hot and about 120kms north of WC the motor opened up. Oil pressure, temp gauge went berserk. Manage to get to Cobar (Max 60kph) where the garage told me the engine was kaput with little compression on all cylinders.
Luck I could limp back to Melb where the car was sold for parts.
Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 611119

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:38

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:38
I am not sure that you can singularly blame short cold trips for the destruction of a motor!

My 2006 100 series (240 000 kms)is driven the same as all my previous Landcruisers - with most trips during the week never exceeding 8 km (being the distance from home to work).

It is, as with all my vehicles regularly serviced and well maintained. It still has original clutch and brakes, radiator, desiel pump, injectors and glows etc etc with the only mechanical fault since new purchase being a recent faulty immobiliser solenoid.

We took it around Australia for eight months, towing a 2 tonne trailer, covering 48 000 kms. This included remote dessert, Cape York, Nullabor etc etc. the only preparation was its scheduled service and a check up - which revealed no additional work needed. Only repairs needed was a new battery.

The point of my writing - you purchased a second hand vehicle. What was its history? How had it been serviced? Had it been serviced? We're there other mechanical issues that resulted in it's ultimate failure? Your statement is failure specific as to the cause of its failure when there are so many other variables.

I'm not sure how your comment could help unless?


FollowupID: 881135

Reply By: BenFraser747 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:24

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:24
Thanks for the responses so far. They're kind of polarising at the moment. I might wait for some further input before making a decision since I'm not in any rush. Throughout the week I usually make two or three trips a day (1-2km in the small town I live) and there's hours for the engine to cool down between trips. This is why I'm concerned with engine wear.
AnswerID: 611121

Reply By: blue one - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:51

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 19:51
I am not going to get into an argument.
I simply told what happened to me when a diesel was run cold over a long period. This led to the motor failing when exposed to high temps.
Over and out.
AnswerID: 611124

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:18

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:18
I'm not after an argument either!

I base my comments on 30 years plus of owning Landcruisers!


FollowupID: 881140

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:09

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:09
The H and 2H motors were engines that put a lot of carbon into the oil. Owned a few and drove many. Not good to short run them, but if you do make sure you change the oil and filter shorter than the 5000K mark. You can even do a hands on oil test by getting some oil off the dipstick and rubbing it between your finger an thumb, you then wipe your thumb. if it isn't reasonability clean the oil is u/s. It will engrain in your finger prints.

Some 2H's had a problem with overheating in hot weather (40c) and the a/conditioner would either cut out or you would have to switch it off when you saw the temp star to rise. With the 75 series there is a temp sender that shuts the a/c when the coolant gets hot.

The 2H is a good honest engine and even has a low pressure oil shut down that wasn't designed for that, from memory it was in case the engine ran backwards. Never had it happen though with that engine.

Enjoy the old girl and hopefully she was put together well.
AnswerID: 611126

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:17

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:17
Thanks for your response. If it's relevant, the one I'm purchasing doesn't have air conditioning. I'm certainly happy to increase the servicing interval to something shorter than 5,000km.

I'm not sure if I want to get air conditioning retrofitted. The last couple of vehicles I've had it didn't work so I'm somewhat used to having the windows down. Although the idea of having my windows down on those dusty outback tracks is making me think further into it. I'm also not sure how much power air conditioning will sap - the 2H doesn't really have much power to begin with.

I'm not planning on turbocharging it. I'm more interested in reliability.
FollowupID: 881139

Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:55

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 20:55
Ben, good call as some turboed ok and others didn't, some had problems with the head in the way they were manufactured but no one I knew could put a finger on it.

I drove many 47's and 75's without a/c and just opened the quarter vents. Guess if you haven't got it you just keep on keeping on, until the 80's I never had an a/c in a truck either.

if you decide to install a/c and need a bit more get up and go, I just used to say hit the turbo button (turn off the a/c). you only need to do that if you were on a steep hill or overtaking. For some reason some of those old girls could get along well. My last one could hit 140kph and that was on flat ground with no tail wind.Then again I can remember being the escort in a 47 series for some long loads and once we hit 100kph in open country I had to tuck in behind and tailgate the lead truck so I didn't get run over.

Check the front drive shaft for wear. Because most of the time the shaft is just sitting still the splines the slip joint wear, if you push it up and down you will feel it. Fill the front axle ball joints with heavy duty lithium greased made replace the ball joint wipers.

Check the gearbox and transfer case oil levels as they had a bad habit of pumping oil through the seal and daring one while over filling the other. Also put her in 4wd low range and listen for noises coming from the transfer case and trust me you will hear it if it its u/s. The idler gear in those old girls had a problem with case hardening on the idler gear shaft and caught early it was not problem and easy to fix, if let go you might as well install a new transfer case.

It probably has an after market muffler but a low restriction turbo muffler really helped their performance by about half a gear on a hill.

Don't be deterred by what I have said as they were a great vehicle.
FollowupID: 881145

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 21:16

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 21:16
Thank you for the information, I really appreciate it. I did ask the seller if it had a bypass hose installed but he said he has never had an issue with the gearbox/transfer seal. I'll probably install one for peace of mind.

The seller is a mechanic and this was his daily driver (2nd owner purchased off his father). He's only selling it because he recently purchased a low mileage 79 series with the lovely 1HD-FTE motor in it. He was very thorough going over the vehicle with me, even offering to drop the oils for inspection. He also shared detailed vehicle history with me from trips to repairs in the almost 30 years he has been driving it.

When I asked if 4WD engaged and worked well, because it spent most of it's time on highways, he showed me the old front diff bearings he had recently replaced because they had worn grooves into them from not being engaged in so long. The old bearings still worked, they were just noisy and he realised this on a rare occasion he actually needed to engage 4WD.

I wasn't sure whether extractors and an exhaust would make much of a difference just based on the conflicting opinions I've read. After reading your post though I think I'll actually add an exhaust upgrade to my 'to do list' :)

Thank you
FollowupID: 881146

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 21:29

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 21:29
It sounds like you have found a genuine gem. If you treat it like the guy your buying it from you should have no worries.

Enjoy it - I still have an 86 on the farm as a fire tender. It's old it's slow but it is still reliable and fun to get around in at harvest.

FollowupID: 881147

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Monday, May 15, 2017 at 21:42

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 21:42
Thanks Anthony, that's my plan!

Yes the seller seems to be a genuinely good bloke. I would definitely have a beer or two with him.

Funny story: when I went to inspect the vehicle I'd taken all my tools, multimeter, jumper cables etc out after unpacking from our easter camping trip to vacuum the back of our old 4runner wagon. I walked down his driveway to leave and my vehicle wouldn't start. No lights, nothing. It was a convenient spot to break down because old mate came out and quickly diagnosed a corroded battery terminal which he sorted and got me back on the road home. Top bloke :)
FollowupID: 881148

Follow Up By: mike39 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 08:05

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 08:05
Am also a past owner of 2H powered L/Cruisers.
They are a dirty engine, quickly contaminating the oil when subject to many short (cold) trips.
From my experience valve rocker arm tip wear can be significant plus hardening of the valve stem seals which I put down to short trips, cold engine.
The rocker tips can be inspected by removing a pushrod (careful you don't pull the tappet out with it!) and rotating the rocker arm. Wear is easily recognised, and with it valve clearances can not be accurately set.
Valve stem seals can be replaced without the need for head removal.
They are a long living sturdy engine but don't put a turbo on. It will crack the head, its unavoidable with the design.
FollowupID: 881152

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 08:30

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 08:30
Thank you for sharing that information with me, Mike. I'll check things out when my mechanic mate shows me how to adjust the tappets after I purchase it.

I think I'll end up purchasing the cheap run about, even if it's just for my own peace of mind. I'll save the HJ75 for weekend trips and the year 12 high school graduation formal dance - where all the kids get dropped off in restored classics and brand new HSV etc haha :)

FollowupID: 881153

Reply By: Mikee5 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 12:58

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 12:58
I had an HJ45 with the H engine for 24 years. The short run story is about the battery. With the power drawn for glow then start, and with a lowish output alternator, several cold starts and short runs will see the battery depleted. I only had a 5km run to work and this was my issue, by Friday it barely started.
AnswerID: 611132

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 18:50

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 18:50
Ben, I should have expanded on my original post. Just use the old girl for what she was made for. I will give you an example. Standard unleaded taxi engine get over 800000k and the reason is they are run hot, so if you had a new diesel then run it 24hrs a day. That is not possible because of your circumstances, so just use her and after she is run in don't pussyfoot with her on hills and open road after when she has warmed up.
AnswerID: 611143

Follow Up By: BenFraser747 - Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 10:00

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 10:00
Thanks for following up with the extra information. Yes, I've heard it's good to drive diesels hard after they've warmed up so they don't glaze the bores while idling along the highway for extended periods.

Although I'm not sure how much truth there is in that.

Thank You.
FollowupID: 881170

Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 13:38

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 13:38
Ben you only glaze them up under light loads. e.g. idling, lightly loaded gensets. You won't glaze one driving along a highway at low speeds. There is enough load to stop that. Just make sure you bed the rings in from new. No sustained low engine revs and no extended high engine revs and vary the revs while driving and they will bed ok.

Enjoy the rattle of that old diesel.

FollowupID: 881175

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