Compare and Contrast 4 runner to Hilux Surf to Hilux Dual Cab

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1613 Views:8501 Replies:12 FollowUps:2
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G'day all,
I am STILL looking to buy my first 4wd. I have a better idea of my budget and from a detailed and extensive study of the tradingpost I think I am looking at an early 90s Hilux or 4 runner. I'd really like to buy a Dual cab (and live axle is important as it will be frequently used for light offroading), but I've noticed 4 runners and Surfs around the same price. I'd like to get some feedback on the differences and similarities in diesel engine and chassis specs of 4 runners/Hilux surfs/ and hilux dual cabs. Thanks for any help in advance.
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Reply By: Kiwoka - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
Be very careful of the Surf's. Most - if not all - are imported from Japan. They are made for the Japan market and therefore only designed to last 60-100,00km unlike local versions which have far better equipment in them. I have had Jap imports before and never again. Thay are cheap but there is a very good reason for that. Good luck with your search.
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Follow Up By: Chris- Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
Cheers Kwioka. I didn't realise this.
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Reply By: Paulr - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
Chris, firstly Kimoka has a very valid point; beware of Jap imports. There are many stories going around of "adjusted" speedo's, timing belt breakages, etc,etc which ultimately all become very expensive.
Between the 4-Runner and Dual cab versions there is not much difference performance wise with my personal prefference being in favour of the diesel Dual cab; it's far more practical in having a seperate cargo area for the carrying of fuel, water, fishing gear off road as well as the occasional trip of grass cuttings, etc to the local tip.
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Reply By: Chris - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Firstly all Surfs are imported from Japan, but this has since ceased (as of May I think). For the most part the Surf is the same as the Forerunner except that it comes with a larger range of options and different motors, generally a 3 Litre or a 2.4 litre diesel, both with a turbo.

I would take the story about them being a lesser vehicle than locally complianced vehicles with a pinch of salt. The fact is that the 3 Litre motor is currently being sold in locally available Hilux's and Prados, so take from that what you will.

I own a 3 Litre Surf and so far apart from the usual problems you would expect from any used vehicle havent had a problem with it. I should add that overheating is a common complaint, but this seems to stem mostly from lack of maintenance by the previous owner. A good recore seems to fix it most times. Once again however, lack of maintenance is the gamble you take with any used vehicle.

Most Surf owners will tell you that when you need work done, or are after parts, dont tell them its a Surf or you will attract premium prices and stories about parts from Japan. Most parts for the Forerunner fit the Surf, otherwise parts for the Prado (water pump) and sometimes the Hilux fit. All parts are readily available though.

There are many suspected reasons why imports have stopped, the most common is that the local dealers were losing out due to the huge sales of Surfs and Terranos that were occuring each month and pressured the federal government to put a stop to it.

There are a couple of good Surf discussion groups available on the web if you are interested. Surfs seems to have a cult following amongst their owners, so they cant be all that bad.
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Reply By: Beddo - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
I've drive 4WD's offroad for work - worked out west near Cameron Corner and around the forests just north of Sydney. I would not buy a vehicle that would not last - the Toyota is my choice and have driven lots of Hiluxs, and the live axle is an advantage offroad, then there is the torsion bars which handle heaps better than the live axles (dpends if you want off road ability or combination of both).

Comparing the imports - I bought a Surf 95 model and was happy with it and then later upgraded to the newer Surf with the Prado running gear. These go great and parts are not a problem as Prado stuff fits. The earlier one had the 1KZ-TE diesel motor - have a look under the bonnet of a Prado & look what type of engine "1KZ-TE" - though it did not have the intercooler - my new one has though. The Surfs are good value for money and there are a lot of people which are scared of them because they have heard about parts problems when there are no problems - they also hate them beacause they spend a heap of money then when a mate buys a Surfs and compares them - the Surf has all the options and he didn't pay nearlly as much. You see 4Runner around $26K still and you can get a 95 Surf with 100 000 on the clock for $18K. But beware check that the odometer numbers all line up as some have been to the clock doctor - some have full papers which can verify mileage. There are a couple of Surf web sites also around - check these out.
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Follow Up By: Rodeoowner - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
My little Bro has a Surf with a 2.4 litre TD, and apart from usual maintenance, no problems.
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Reply By: Beddo - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002 at 00:00
Anyway the Hilux twin cabs are great - out west with the corragations and ruts the narrow tyres / split rims had to be replaced with wider ones to improve handling - though wider tyres meant less traction in mud & higher puncture rate. The hiluxs in ute & dual cab are very light in the rear - so be careful in the wet. The 2.8 was a good motor - though keep oil up to them - if the warning light comes on it is usually too late - work mate stuffed a hilux during fires with 20 oo km on it because no one checked the oil - light came on and next thing it was seized. If a hilux has had a hard lift look along the guards near where the windscreen pillar goes up, with the bonnet open you can check for cracks along the guard - means that the vehicle has had a hammering out west. Auctions are a good place to buy - forestry vehicles usually carry heavy loads (water for fires), NPWS vehicles would be Ok - check for under carriage damage, also brush marks along sides are a dead give away as to a hard lift. Red dust in air cond. & under carriage that looks like some has been underneath with a shot gun will identify a B'Hill, Bourke or Tibboburra vehicle - these will probably be sold in Adelaide. Hope this is helpful.
PS. Surf's have same suspension as 4Runner.
The 1991 hilux 2.8 dual cab we drove it PROPERLY - flat out out west - would do 130 flat and we would travel at 110 to 120 most of the time (took it a bit to wind up to 130- otherwise we were doing that). Temp guage never moved off 1/2 way, even in summer (40 degrees etc). Turbo and intercooler would be great on one of these.
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Reply By: jono - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00
I have a 92 2.4L Turbo Diesel Surf. I reckon its a great car (although as with most 4WD's it does benefit from a small lift). These cars can go far further than most people give them credit for. My dad has a Prado in totally stock condition and i can get my Surf (which has a 50mm lift) further than he can get his car. The 2.4 is perhaps a little on the small side, so if you can afford one i would go for the 3.0L. The 2.4 just revs a little too high at highway speeds. Ignore the people who say parts are hard to get, just go to Repco (or similar), and stay away from Toyota dealerships as they will lead you astray. Surfs have all the extra options that 4runners miss out on like electric windows, sunroof, fog lights (most) and others. The person who suggested that the engines are only made for Jap conditions and 60,000 k's is either mis-informed or has had a bad experience, i'm on my second surf and it now has 90,000k and my first one i sold when it reached 185,000.
I love my Surf.
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Reply By: Werner - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Chris, I own a 1994 2.8L diesel 4runner which I have had for 18 months. When I had bought the vehicle, the rear springs were stuffed making the back end sag. The springs have been replaced with heavy duty hilift springs and the shockers have been renewed as well. Recently I have replaced the 65l fuel tank with a 113l fuel tank. The exhaust system was replaced with a 2" system and extractors have also been fitted. This has given me a bit more power in spite of the extra weight. Also fuel consumption may have improved, the most recent figure of 9.2 l/100km on 60/40 city / country driving. I run standard rims and 16" lite truck tyres (205's). Haven't had a problem yet re access. Am in the process of fitting dual battery and snorkel. My partner's father has a 1991 (?) 2.4L diesel Surf and apart from a punctures hasn't had any problems with it over 4 years. Keep your oil and filter changes regular and you should not have a problem.
Hope this helps.

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Reply By: Tim - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00
I too looked at the Surf and I was warned off them for 3 reasons
1. Commonly had Speedos disconnected and missed out on services which are vital to a diesels llife
2. Because of the Speedo, you never new how many KMs its actually done
3. Because a lot of driving is done in heavy traffic, there are heaps of little accidents (fender benders) whci are patched up and not fixed probably.
They may be a good truck, thats just what I heard.
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Reply By: brian - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2002 at 00:00
I've got a 93 2.8D Hilux- very happy with it. Whatever you get keep one or two grand aside for the suspension. The front leaf springs will probably be inverted and the rear are as hard as. I replaced mine with Kings Springs and Rancho shocks, rides alot better but still a lot short of most other 4WDs. Also, I cant stand vacuuming dirt out of carpet, I've got a tray back so after a big weekend I just park it on a hill and hose the tray out- the only downside I guess is dust and a lack of security for your stuff when compared to the Surf.

Good luck with it!
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Reply By: Bryan - Thursday, Aug 01, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 01, 2002 at 00:00
I don't really know what the surfs are like but I've got a mate who bought one last year and has had a bit of trouble with it. It looked a really nice car and he loved it until he was returning from a trip down to the beach and it stopped. Turns out some oil hose had ruptured and the car had lost all of its oil. After waiting ages for a replacement hose from Japan he discovered and the engine was cooked and I think it cost him $5000 for a replacement engine. Anyway the cars running well again and he still loves driving it. This could happen to any car, not just a surf but the fact they're Japanese can mean lengthy repair times. His was off the road for at least 6 months.
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Reply By: Chris- Thursday, Aug 01, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 01, 2002 at 00:00
I just wanna say thanks for all the advice and help!
This is a ripper of a forum!
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Reply By: jay killen - Thursday, Sep 19, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Sep 19, 2002 at 00:00
I owen a 92 surf and i have been half way around oz in it my most recent one was acrooss the simpson desert and it din't miss a beat i love the thing its done 174.000ks no problem and all i have done is o.m.e shokes and spring a arb bull bar and long range tank and she has been more hard to get places than most of my mates 4 runner cant beat em .
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