4WD Wagon Comparison - your views?

Submitted: Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 19:57
ThreadID: 30260 Views:4154 Replies:12 FollowUps:10
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Hi guys,
I am in the market for a 4WD wagon. I'm trading up from a Hilux twin cab - needing the extra leg room for a growing family. I have been into 4wd's for many years and am a mechanic by trade but have been out of the trade for a few years now and haven't kept up with the times. I would love to hear from some readers who can give me some info on the pros and cons of what I'm after. My budget will allow me to buy a 1998-2002 Patrol or perhaps Discovery. I am after enough grunt to pull a van or a big trailer on occasion. I'm wanting manual and perhaps dual fuel as opposed to diesel. Less than 150K is a must and that just about knocks a 100 series out of the picture from a $$ point of view. I would like to buy something with airbags and ABS maybe. Are Discoverys a heap of junk? They seem to be pretty cheap. Any other options ?? (I am definitely not a Pajero or Jackaroo fan). I would really appreciate some feedback/advise - fuel economy, drivetrain weaknesses, comfort, spare parts cost and availability etc.
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Reply By: Patroleum - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 20:24

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 20:24

A mate of mine recently bough a petrol auto 100 series done 60000km, one owner for $29000. was probably 6 months ago. I reckon a 99-2000 solid axle 4.5l petrol manual done nearer 150000 km could be purchared for very early 20's, add 2500 for gas and your sorted. Don't give up yet.

all the best

AnswerID: 151896

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:49

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:49
Thanks Greg. My budget is $30k tops, but I would like quite a bit of change to fit winch and other accessories, so I'm thinking about $23-25K for the vehicle and I want one with less than 100,000k's on the clock, so as I said, I think it just about knocks 100 series out of the race. I appreciate your reply all the same.


FollowupID: 405712

Reply By: BennHW - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:05

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:05
Hi Mark,

Check out 4X4 Australia Magazine. Last time I looked they were doing reviews for buying 2nd Hand fourbys.

I imagine you could go to their website and search for back issues.

The reviews that I have read are pretty good - highlighting common problem areas, what to look out for when buying one, pricing etc.


AnswerID: 151911

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:50

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:50

There are so many 4x4 websites out there! Do you have an address for the one you have in mind?

FollowupID: 405714

Reply By: desert - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:28

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:28
You've probably answered your own question, when you said you needed to tow a van or big trailer and prefer LPG. Has to be either 80 series, Nissan or at a stretch,Challenger.
AnswerID: 151925

Reply By: DP - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:07

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:07
Hey Mark
I can't vouch for the Series 2 Disco's but I had a Series 1 that I converted to LPG. Unfortunately it just would not run properly on both fuels. To my disgust it had to be tuned for either LPG or petrol - which in my opinion defeated the purpose.
I traded up to a 1999 Challenger (no comments please!) with leaf springs at the rear and have found this very good for my puposes of occassional 4wd trips (a few weekends a year) and regular towing of a moderate weight trailer for my lifesaving club. I do find it is a little underpowered on long hills with the trailer behind.

Good luck and enjoy your research - remember it doesn't cost a cent to look, and endeavour to test drive as many 4wd's as you can.

AnswerID: 151951

Follow Up By: arthurking83 - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 23:48

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 23:48
I've heard that some people have problems with Gas on rover V8's???

Three converted rover V8's I've had, have all been great!
Except the conversion specialist bonce in Collingwood(Melb) that couldn't get the tune right :(

I've also read that LPGas1 in Lilydale are great with Rovers.

I got my Rodeo converted there, and apart from one small teething trouble, the conversion has been as solid as a rock! :))

Pity that the gas is burning the valves away........slowly!

Rover V8 on gas towing a trailer :/ should get around 4.5-5km/l
FollowupID: 405557

Follow Up By: BenSpoon - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 12:19

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 12:19
Gas burning out your valves? Check out the Moreys Flash Lube.
I have had 2x cars on LPG now and both have had a drip feed of this stuff into the engine. I think it was something like a drop every 10 seconds or something. You mount a bottle of it under the bonnet and change it every few months. Easily available at car shops and servos, LPG places know all about it.
FollowupID: 405905

Reply By: BenSpoon - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 23:30

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 23:30
Maybe biased, but I'd go an 80.
Check the fuel consumption on the discos before you buy. For unbiased figures, check out redbook.com.au for prices and car stats. When you pull up your particular make and model of vehicle, you can also view specs for most which include power, weight, consumption and features. Use the compare feature there too- very handy.
drivetrain weaknesses- what modifications are you going to do?
Alot of 80 Series cruisers come with dual fuel, and I reckon the 80 is more comfortable to drive than the 100's, and Im driving both every other day.
If you are planning alot of accessories, I'd recommend steering away from the disco- Nissan and patrol you wont have any probs though.
AnswerID: 151982

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:55

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:55

Thanks for your reply. I am interested to hear that you prefer an 80 series to the 100 series and you drive both! I have seen a few 80 series with low k's on the market but not many under 100k's and that's what I want. I heard from a mate who was in Alice in July and he said there was a bloke in the caravan park who had been stuck there waiting 4weeks for a replacement windscreen for his Discovery! So I am tending to back away from that idea based on this and what some people are saying on the Forum.


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Reply By: Big Woody - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 07:01

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 07:01
Hi Mark,

8 weeks ago my brother picked up a 2002 model 100 series GXL petrol landcruiser with 120,000 km's on the clock for $17,500. It is in excellent condition and was in a Toyota dealership (they don't seel crap) had a few extra's and now after fitting LPG the car owes him about $22,000.
There are bargains to be had in the big car range at the moment.

If the 100 series still ends up out of range for you, I would go the 80 series. They have proven to be one of the best towing vehicles on the market and the 4.5l engine is strong.


T/D 80 Series Landcruiser
AnswerID: 152004

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:57

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 20:57

I have been checking out the 4x4 trader mag's and trading post etc for 2months now and based on my research on prices it sounds like your brother got a fantastic deal - bet there aren't too many out there that cheap. Was it a base model?

FollowupID: 405718

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 22:24

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 22:24
Hi Mark,

No it definately is not a base model. It is a GXL - power windows, auto etc...
We have found the bargains either to be private sales or for some reason lately there seems to be some great deals in car yards. I think the trend to move to smaller more economical vehicles means that the dealers will only consider buying the big 4x4's if they can get them at a bargain price and offload them quickly.

In saying that the market seems to have stabilised a bit in the last month or so and prices on 4x4's may have gone up a little after everyone overreacted to the high fuel prices before Christmas.

If I were in your shoes I would be looking for a 97 or 98 model 80 series GXL for those dollars. They had perfected the 80's by then and IMO are a better truck than the first 2 years of the 100 series. After that you seem to get a couple of models (01 & 02) where the 100 is not too bad and then they go and stuff up the front end by putting IFS under there.

Good luck with your decision,
FollowupID: 405781

Reply By: adamj1300 - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 14:43

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 14:43
why not a the earlier gu with the 4.5 engine. they are going in the late teens for a 1998/99 model & the engine is pretty much made to run of lpg, unlike the 80 series one where u hear of reports of burnt heads!
AnswerID: 152071

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 21:00

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 21:00

My budget is a bit better than late teens (see above follow up) so I can probably go to a 2000-2002 GU. Is there something special about the heads/valves on a GU petrol that makes it more suitable to LPG than an 80series? Where did you get that info? Would like to know more.


FollowupID: 405722

Reply By: flappa - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 15:14

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 15:14
A 98/99 GU 4.5ST. May even pick up a slightly newer one . . . 2000 or so , on dual fuel.

One of these will pull anything you want . . . easily.

Fuel economy isn't great , on Petrol around Town you could expect around 20/100 , and highway around 16/100. Towing is probably up around 22-24/100.

LPG you usually add about 1/3 more , but , of course , LPG is cheaper.
AnswerID: 152075

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 21:03

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 21:03

I have just about reached that conclusion based on all above and other advice. Thank you for the fuel cons figures, not quite as good as I'd hoped but........ as you say........ LPG is pretty cheap. I'd love a turbo diesel but why the hell is diesel consistently and significantly dearer than petrol considering it is a by-product of the petroleum refining process???? I must be dumb but I don't understand!


FollowupID: 405726

Reply By: Nifty1 - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 17:45

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 17:45
Mark, I don't really know what your budget is. I was hoping to spend about $25,000 and looked at everything that made sense, but projected the probable costs of ownership over 10 years. I ended up buying a brand new auto diesel Hyundai Terracan with extras including towbar for under $36,000, including 5 year 130,000km warranty - yes, it works out cheaper and you have a pretty good car too. I think there is an even better offer on them now with unlimited kilometre warranty.

I never thought I would be a Hyundai owner (and I admit I was a bit ashamed at first to own up to one) but it's making a hell of a lot of sense. Get about 11.5l/100km towing a 1300kg poptop, and as good as 8.9 on an easy country drive not towing. If your budget will stretch, do the sums.
AnswerID: 152094

Follow Up By: markp - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 21:07

My budget is the same as yours was and I appreciate the advice, I will look into it but........... a Hyundai? No offense intended! I am starting to think with the trips I have done and the trips I have planned that my choices really have to be a Cruiser or a Patrol as the availability and price of parts in isolated places could be a problem otherwise. You have made me think about doing some research and sums on new vehicles though. Thanks for your reply.


FollowupID: 405732

Reply By: BennHW - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 00:02

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 00:02
Hi Mark,

I just did a Google search looking for a dedicated site for 4X4 Australia Magazine - and there doesn't appear to be one.

I'm interstate at the moment and away from my stash of back issues, but when I get back to Brissy I'll check for info on how to get hold of past articles.


AnswerID: 152199

Reply By: Nifty1 - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 10:14

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 10:14
Well, Mark, if your budget is about what mine was, you should immerse yourself in this forum
You'll get a wide variation of information and opinion here, and for me it was probably the most critical factor other than the price/features/reliability thing. There's nothing like getting all the info, good and bad, from actual owners, and many of them seem to have had a lot of 4WDs and a lot of experience.

My choices (all diesel) ranged from a Toyota Surf to Pajero, Jeep and Prado, but Landcruiser and Patrol were too big and heavy for what I wanted. Yep, the parts availability thing bothered me too but I rationalised that a new car with a 130,000km warranty wasn't as likely to need repairs as a 5 year old one with 150,000 already on the clock.

I always considered Hyundais to be the cane toads of the road but it's quite apparent that they now make a quality product - think they came second to Lexus in US new car reliability survey recently (I'm sure someone will correct this if wrong).

The price I mentioned came after a bit of negotiation of course. I even came away thinking I could have got a few more extras thrown in, but couldn't think what to ask for! I was very happy with the deal and still am. Overcome your prejudices and go and have a drive.
AnswerID: 152235

Reply By: BennHW - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:04

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:04
Hi Mark,

To chase up past issues of 4X4 Australia Magazine - phone 136 116, fax (02) 9267 4363, or e-mail magshop@acp.com.au

The segment you're looking for is called "Action Replay" - Used 4X4

'Fraid I don't know which issues feature either Patrol or Disco.


AnswerID: 153575

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