Toyota Surf

Submitted: Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 22:37
ThreadID: 4851 Views:16026 Replies:15 FollowUps:3
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I am thinking of buying a medium sized 4wd and have come across the Toyota Surf. They appear to be great car and I am interested in the 3.0 litre Turbo Diesel Auto.

I am not sure how this imported vehicle thing works but as far as i can gather it is the same as the Hilux 4 runner we have here?
Does anybody out there own one of these vehicles? I am looking to buy a 96-97 model.

I am interested to see if there is any hassle involved because they are an imported vehicle. I am not importing one will purchase one which is already in Oz.
Are there any major problems running and maintaning one?

Any reviews of their perfomance would be great too.
Many thanks in advance.

Mark :)
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Reply By: tex1972 - Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 22:48

Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 22:48
hi again know a bloke at nambucca heads with one. go's like a scalded cat, they only problems I've heard about with low volume imported vehicles is getting parts- hopefully a surf would have some parts common to 4 runners/hiluxs?
AnswerID: 19708

Follow Up By: Jeff (Beddo) - Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 23:51

Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 23:51
I have a 97 model Surf which is 3L diesel intercooled - great vehicle been to Cape York and back and about to go to the Kimberleys. Have a look at this site there is also a 98 model here for sale but it might be more than what you want to pay. It is white with the intercooler and I know the guy who owns it and he looks after it so well to the extent that he won't go anywhere near a branch or twig that will scratch it - he is selling it for this reason he believes it is too good a vehicle to scratch - white in colour which is rare as, 115 000 Km, sunroof and looks of options, bullbar, new emu springs etc, I also think it is advertised in the 4sale section here. Parts I have had no problems - they are either Prado parts for the KZN185 model and also hilux parts for some, the panels on the KZN185 are a bit rare in that no vehicle over here had the same panels - so if you ding it you will have to search the wreckers around the place but there are a few around that import half vehicles from Japan, NZ also has plenty of these imports aswell. Apart from that the earlier Surf KZN130 has the same shape as the 4Runner and so panels are easier to get - but don't look nearly as good as the newer ones. All I know is that mine has the same motor as the Prado and is an auto and it flies - also you are not in full time 4WD like Prado which has its advantages - I have driven both the auto & manual and I reckon the auto goes just as hard. After market equipment is available as myself and others have done research and purchased most of it - have a look at my vehicle. There are 2 KZN185's one has the intercooler with bonnet scoop the other has no scoop or intercooler. Anyway might see you out and about especially if your from Sydney - the web site I gave you before - they do the occasion trip.Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
FollowupID: 12524

Reply By: chapo - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 06:08

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 06:08
Dont be fooled ,the surf is nothing like the 4Runner.Surf diesels are different and you may wait weeks for parts such as injectors to be shipped in from overseas ,if available at all.The 4Runner was a brilliant 4by,good donk,suspension,and very reliable. The surf is nowhere near as good.
AnswerID: 19716

Reply By: Member - Pedro (SA) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 09:55

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 09:55
My son had a surf. Nothing but probs getting parts. (in Adelaide)
Also very expensive to insure if under 21yrs of age. Let it never end!
AnswerID: 19726

Reply By: Surf - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 11:28

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 11:28
Cant let this one go by without a comment. Negative comments are all part and parcel of owning a Surf, most you'll find are not based on hard fact, but word of mouth.

To say that the Surf diesels arent much chop is to say that the diesels in all Hiluxs and Prados are of similar quality. The 2.4 is almost identical to the 2.8 sold here in Australia (2.4 owners will correct me if I'm wrong) and the 3litre is the same as sold in the current model Hiluxs and Prados (minus intercooler of Prado), its the 1KZ-TE.

As with any used vehicle you take a risk buying it, doesnt matter if its a grey import, or a locally complianced vehicle. Get it checked out first and that could save you a lot of grey hairs.

Parts are not the problem they used to be, most parts are either 4 Runner, Hilux or Prado. The best advise relating to parts is dont tell them its a Surf, and you wont have any problems.

My favourite story, (and all Surf owners have one) is the leaking seals in my power steering pump. I was told that the parts would have to come ex Japan (2-3 weeks waiting) and were going to cost a bomb.

However some discreet enquiries regarding the same parts for a 4 Runner revealed $6 each and available straight away. Guess which ones I chose?

I think Beddo is a bit more adventurous than some Surf owners, as he has the 185 body shape. There were less of these imported, so long term parts may be a problem in certain areas, but he and some of his mates have been able to source all sorts of parts, both spares and aftermarket. You wont hear him complaining about it I'm sure.

As far as value for money goes, I dont think you can overlook the Surf, I got mine with all sorts of extras, and only 70,000km on the clock for around $25,000 (and even that was probably too much).

Ive had no trouble with it in the past 2 years, and plan to hold onto it for a long time to come. Its a shame they arent imported anymore as I'd probably get another one come the time to upgrade.
AnswerID: 19737

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 13:21

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 13:21
The biggest thing is insurance with Grey Imports... Or at least was. Mate with Surf in Vic, 26yr old was going to re mortgage his house to insure it.

AnswerID: 19742

Reply By: G.T. - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:56

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:56
Beware of imported vehicles from Japan. Many many vehicles imported into N.Z. had their speedo`s wound back. Caveat Emptor. Regards G.T.
AnswerID: 19756

Reply By: Bruce - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 16:22

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 16:22
Got to get on this one, owning a Isuzu MU grey import, there is only one answer to this question and our Gov sorted that out last year when they stoped the import of the Surf, Terrano and the MU, so any vehicle you look at to buy at the moment will be second hand. If you look around part's dont seem to be a big problem. The Surf being more common should be easy. The most important thing I think to look for in any second hand 4wd is have they been on the beach, that why I brought a Jap grey import, wish I could get another.
AnswerID: 19759

Reply By: SteveA - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 18:56

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 18:56
Have had the Surf for nearly 4yrs, best thing to do when you need parts is to take them into Repco or whoever and you will find that they can be the same as Hilux's from differing years. Strange but true.

Insurance was getting out of control so I went to a broker and got an excellent deal. bleep Suncorp off they wanted $500 a year with a $1000 excess and if my son was driving it, it was going to cost an additional $1600 bugger me I said.

The wife loves driving it (I've got the 80series)

I reckon, go for it (and they are reliable as well)
AnswerID: 19784

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 20:01

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 20:01
Mark, I have to comment again the 96 -97 is the new shape KZN185 and I use to have a 95 model(old shape) I am happy with these imports. You do often get unfavourable comment - maybe they paid way too much for the similiar budget models available in Australia such as the 4Runner. I know people which have both hilux/4Runners/ Surfs and all have similiar issues, one important thing with the Toyota hiluxs etc is that you have to ensure you check the oil - I have seem many hiluxs destroyed by running the oil low.
Anyway the KZN185 Surf which has the intercooler has the same motor as the Prado and the suspension configuration is the same also. Now we have got good web sites and databases to seek part numbers and advice - so prior to this is where all the rumours of part problems arose as the information database was not there and it was often over looked that the parts of the Australian models were often interchangable. Anyway if there is a part required from Japan, you can also possibly source it from New Zealand also - as these cars are common over there.Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
AnswerID: 19795

Follow Up By: Damen - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 21:30

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 21:30
Ok I am convinced that a Toyota Surf is the 4wd for me :) Thank you all for your helpful comments :)

I now have three in my sites and would appreciate any thoughts from the users here.

Number 1 is a 1996 TOYOTA SURF SSR-G. 3.0 Turbo Diesel. Very nice car all the options cd sunroof rear window mirror 70000ks. Asking price is $30,000 from a dealer with car yard 3 yr warranty

Number 2 is a 94 3.0 Turbo Diesel that came into the country 12 mths ago and has been sitting in the guy who imported it's warehouse. Has 79000ks no cd and no sunroof. Is in very good condition. Asking price $18,000 and will cost extra $1000 to get on the road.

Number 3 is 1995 Black 69900kms, SSR-X Limited Edition 3.0 turbo diesel. It is in immaculate condition and drives very well. All the options plus CD, immobilizer and alarm. 2 yrs left on warranty.
Asking price 23,000.

Any help with this decision will be greatly appreciated

FollowupID: 12585

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 00:29

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 00:29
Ok, with the balck vehicle just remember that balck show up dust and scratches very easily, they look good though, white is the best colour as scratches are not visable. Have a look at that web site I mentioned before there is a thread that mentions that when replacing the timing belt - issues about the idler arm or so and a model change that included 8mm bolts going to 10mm bolts, cannot rember which model that went to 10mm - anyway there was a concern that the 8mm bolts could cause a concern and would need replacing with 10mm. The advantage of the newer KZN185 model (new shape) is that you are sure that you have the 10mm bolts, you don't mention if any of the vehicles have intercooler ? I mentioned previously that there was a car for sale SSRG Limited Edition - he does have a price on it for $36 000 but it is in very good condition (will negotiate on price if going to a good home) - intercooled & white, alloy bullbar, climate control, power plug for fridge etc in rear, carbon fibre trim inside, sunroof, new springs & shocks - note that the original springs do sag easily with weight in the back so thought might be given to a vehicle with new upgraded suspension. The warranty sounds good though. If you go with the older shape it is more common so body panels are easier to get. Resale value well the newer shape is rarer so is more expensive - it also has the Prado type supension. I think that one for sale has 115 000 km on it. I sold a 95 model SSRX with 115000Km on it for approx $16 000 - it was in A1 condition no warranty.Mine if it was sold now a 97 model intercooled I would with all the gear plus a trip to Cape York (100 000Km) would ask about $33 000. Insurance - I am 36 and I am paying approx $700 from Tread Lightly insurance. Hope this helps - e'mail me if you wish at . My 95 model did have an issue with the temperature gauge rising when going up hill laden - my 97 model does not have a problem anywhere it always sits on halfway - this does not mean earlier models all do this. My biggest issue with the newer shape is panel availability if I ding it - I took the gamble - they look different and handle a little better - but they do cost more ! I have just reached 100 000 Km in mine and have owned it since 68 000 - have done regular servicing - have replaced a wheel bearing and about to do timing belt and rear LHS axle seal (a result of a few creek crossing in Cape York) - I cannot fault the vehicle so far. I also have a centre diff lock which comes standard and when compared to some of the earlier Surfs it has advantages going up steep loose hills - I did not take my 95 model up the same hill to compare it though. Hope this helps yor decision.
AnswerID: 19824

Follow Up By: BobH - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 15:25

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 15:25
Was your 1995 Surf a 3ltr Turbo with 1KZ-TE engine or a 2.4ltr. Interested to know about heating whilst under load.
Regards, Bob
FollowupID: 13005

Reply By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 01:04

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 01:04
Damen, I looked at them and got shyed away from the bad raps. I went on to buy a Land cruiser and have no regrets. Not too big, but carn't get the wife out of it. Ps there is one 4 sale in the Adventure trader sounds good too. I prefure the big 2 Patrol/ Land cruiser, but thats my opinion.Around Oz 06/2004
AnswerID: 19833

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 22:16

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 22:16
Mark, just check that web site I told you about as they can tell you if the car yard that you are dealing with is Ok or Not.Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
AnswerID: 19944

Reply By: Member - Allan - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 00:11

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 00:11
Damen, I know you are looking for a mid sized 4WD and I think the late model Surf is a good vehicle but if you have to pay $30k plus then I would rethink and go for a turbo diesel 80 series. Most Surfs are ‘town’ cars and you will end up spending more money on extra toys . You can pick up a good late model TD 80 with all the fruit for under $40K and the earlier models for well under $30k. If you think you may want to do an extended trip in the future or tow a serious trailer you may want to consider the larger vehicle rather than upgrading later. One thing is for sure - you can not go wrong with Toyota
AnswerID: 20090

Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 01:39

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 01:39
Some model Surf are also subject to to a defect notice on their seatbelts, even the Australian ADR'ed ones. Check NSW RTA.
AnswerID: 20095

Reply By: geoffp - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 21:32

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 21:32
new models of 3,0 ltr du in country soon through importers in nz doing a sly to avoid import probs with these mods from jap stay tuned
AnswerID: 20475

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