Isuzu Elf Feedback

Submitted: Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 18:02
ThreadID: 140058 Views:2254 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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G'day all,

We are considering purchasing one of these rigs for family trips on weekends & school holidays.

Does anyone have any first hand experience with them?

Looking at models around 1994-1999 and particularly interested in any feedback regarding reliability and performance.

Cheers,
Darren & Nat
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Reply By: Doc - Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 20:27

Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 20:27
I assume you are referring to the NPR series of light trucks (I haven't seen them called Elf in Australia)?

I have a late 90's NPR300, and pretty much all the reliabilty issues have been electrical. Mechanically it seems unbreakable, but I've had several issues with corroded wires in cable harnesses over the last few years. ther than that, I had to replace the aircon compressor, and a few other minor issues.

I do like the "old-school" engine - no electronics to go wrong.

I'm not sure I'd want to do a family trip in it - ride is fairly harsh compared to a 4WD, it is pretty noisy at highway speeds, and power is a bit lacking (non-turbo engine). It will cruise at 100 - 110kph on flat ground, but takes a while to get there & needs a long straight road to overtake anything.



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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 06:15

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 06:15
The elf’s and the Toyota cam roads are a factory camper. Different chassis, springs and gearing to the commercials we get here. If they are still around in 10 years I’d be tempted to have a look myself.
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Follow Up By: Doc - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 06:38

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 06:38
Ok, makes more sense. When I googled Isuzu Elf I got:

The Isuzu Elf (Japanese: ???·???, Isuzu Erufu) is a medium duty truck produced by Isuzu since 1959. Outside Japan it is known as N series. ... In Indonesia, Philippines and several other countries, the Elf is not only used as a truck, but also converted into microbuses by local body makers.

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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 09:50

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 09:50


Not sure when they stopped building them, this is a mid 90's model. If I were considering one , the first thing I'd check out would be vehicle spares availability.
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 11:59

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 11:59
Apologies, it looks like only the Toyota Camroad is a purpose built motorhome, where the Isuzu is a retrofit onto their standard truck body. Something to think about. A small lift and some super singles would make the little Toyota an interesting prospect?

http://isuzu-elf-motorhome.jigsy.com/4-wheel-drive
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Reply By: rooboy97 - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 07:49

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 07:49
Sorry I didn't mention that they are Jap imports.

There doesn't seem to be anything else in that size range that offers seating for up to 6, 4WD and at that sort of price (sub $40K).

Cheers
AnswerID: 631751

Reply By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 11:52

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 11:52
A friend of mine has one, had a lot of problems with the seller/importer in the beginning (do your homework) He felt it was so under powered that he got a turbo fitted to help it a long & due to the limited access to engine it cost a lot to get fitted, they are very happy with it & have travelled all over the place NO off road just Hwys & dirt roads etc., it is 4wd & it’s only small inside & there is only 2 of them & they are on the small side it will be tight with 6 adults & my Isuzu NPS300 4x4 with full size camper on it gets better fuel economy if there’s a head wind but it has never let them down even if drives like wondering whale & don’t forget to cover the headlights during the day so it can’t see the hills coming
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 23:32

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 23:32
Rooboy97 - Just remember, you're on you're own when it comes to "grey" Jap import vehicles, as regards backup and parts.
Insurance is another angle you need to investigate. Many insurance companies refuse to insure "grey" imports because of the unavailability of parts.

Local Japanese truck dealers don't want to know about your vehicle, they have no record of VIN's to source correct parts, and all of the camper fittings, equipment and attachments are purely Japanese origin - and if they break, you will have to buy a complete new local part/unit/attachment.

Hot water systems are usually a rare Japanese make or model, and if you develop HWS problems, you'll find it's cheaper to buy a new local replacement.

I won't even mention all the information being written in Japanese. Makes it interesting when you're trying to decipher instruction decals, or other information.

Finally, if you are looking at importing directly yourself (not buying off an importer), remember that you need to apply for Permission to Import a Vehicle, BEFORE you purchase it.

Then there's the asbestos situation. The vehicle must be TOTALLY asbestos-free to be imported today - and Customs will dismantle the vehicle looking for asbestos.

Asbestos was still used up to about 2004 for insulation, gaskets, clutches, and some brake linings.

It can be found in odd places, and Customs know exactly where to look. If asbestos is found, you have to pay to have it removed and disposed of (in the approved disposal manner) - and you don't get a choice of removal agents, nor are you allowed to remove it yourself.

Spoke to a friend recently who had a mate import a "classic" American car from the U.S. It cost him an additional $12,000 to have the asbestos removed from it.

Good luck with your considerations, just be aware of all the pitfalls.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 631775

Reply By: rooboy97 - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 08:40

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 08:40
Thank you to all who have replied so far. Much appreciated.

Cheers,
Darren
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