Towing 1.9T van - Landcruiser V8 or Turbo diesel?

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:13
ThreadID: 56918 Views:2935 Replies:10 FollowUps:16
This Thread has been Archived
Hi all, been lurking for quite some time, but this is my first post. I have trawled the forums for this information, but can only find limited components, and often where people have differing requirements to mine.

Am looking to buy a tow vehicle for my 1.9T van to tow around Aus for around 8 months. I have narrowed the choice to a 100 series (probably between 02 - 05) landcruiser, either V8 or Turbodiesel. Once the trip is complete I will be selling the car.

I am well aware of the TD's much better consumption - however given the finite time I will be keeping the car, it will be only up to a certain amount. I'm also aware that to buy an equivalent TD at the moment seems to cost over $15k more than the petrol equivalent. Lack of investment income on that $15k goes a fair way to reducing the consumption difference.

The other common discussion point regarding diesel & petrol appears to be where you are travelling to. In our case, we won't be literally travelling around the country, and will more often than not be close to the coast. We are not planning on heading to the remote areas - so in that respect I'm not sure that the extra range (don't mind filling up more often anyway - as we need breaks) or the availability of petrol is an issue.

So here's the rub - I really don't like diesel's too much. I drove a TD and V8 back to back recently. Around town, on the highway - the petrol was sensational - smooth, dead quiet - felt like driving a large sedan. I couldn't say the same about the diesel though. Whils this thing was miles ahead of any old diesels I have previously experienced - I still hated the annoying drone every time I accelerated, or even when sitting on constant revs on the highway. It just felt like going back to a truck again (I know - I'm a little soft!).

So ultimately I would prefer the V8 in all respects and think it's appropriate - with one very important possible exception. I can't seem to find much info on how they simply compare for towing (irrespective of all other factors). With higher torque arriving at only 2000 revs, that does seem to make the TD quite attractive - ie: less downchanging, hold a speed easier etc? But is any of this really an issue with the V8, or does it still have plenty of torque to do the job anyway. Going up hills I guess either are going to be revving hard. Presumably the TD simply allows you to sit in o/d a little more often without labouring the engine. Although the V8 still feels excellent running in 4th. At 100km/h in 4th would the petrol possibly be getting closer in torque to the TD in 5th? Ultimately I don't want to be driving something that appears to be struggling - as we will be doing tens of thousands of kms towing, and would like it to be a reasonably pleasant experience.

So am a little unsure at the moment - I prefer the V8, but will certainly bite the bullet if the TD is much more appropriate.

Any advice would be most gratefully received. Thanks.

oh - as an aside - in the TD - is the Sahara much quieter in the cabin than the GXL?
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:43

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:43

Either will tow your van fine, slightly different driving styles, but no problems with either choice. Assuming (with a van on) that you won't be going anywhere terribly remote, fuel availability for the petrol should not be an issue. It is funny how when you jump into a diesel they seem noisy. My experience is really that it is just a different noise (rumble) from petrols and that you get used to it pretty quickly.

The V8 (which you seem to prefer) will be fine for what you want to do. You have obviously done some thinking on the economy front vs higher purchase cost of the TD, so will leave that alone. Noting that you are looking at 3-5 year old vehicles, someone else has kindly taken a hit on the depreciation front for you and I don't think that similarly aged diesels and petrols will depreciate by significantly different amounts over the time you intend to have it.

The only other factor which I reckon you need to seriously consider is that you will probably find the TD much easier to sell when you get back. Large petrol 4WDs are a dime-a-dozen at the moment and plenty around. There is also an opportunity cost associated with having the V8 sit in your driveway for a couple of months while you try to sell it vice the TD which will probably move quicker. But then again you might get lucky.


Envious Matt.
AnswerID: 300048

Follow Up By: Member - David.M.C - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 12:26

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 12:26
I love the sound of a diesel. My very first ute i bought off the old man had a 6/354 Perkins. I used to leave the window down just so i could here it better. LOLOL. Even now with the much quiter td100 i still like to listen. I even like the smell of diesel. Haha. I would not have anything else. The V8 is a good unit though, plenty of get up.
FollowupID: 566199

Reply By: Best Off Road - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:44

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:44
Apparently Overlander Magazine did a recent test of the V8 vs the TD as a tow vehicle.

I haven't read the article but have seen the performance figures which show the V8 to have quicker acceleration from vary speeds eg 70 to 100 kmh and uphills. This, IMHO tells me it is a better tow vehicle.

It will use more fuel than a TD, but whack it on LPG and you'll be well ahead on both fronts.

If you're travelling in extremely remote locations LPG may not be available. LPG may not be be as cheap in rural areas as in major city centres.


AnswerID: 300049

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:56

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 11:56
Yeh OK Jim. But you would be hard pressed to mount an argument that he would recoup the LPG installation costs over an 8-10 month ownership period.
FollowupID: 566190

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 17:04

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 17:04
Not sure, would need to know distances, anticipated fuel prices etc.

If this bloke is savvy enough to understand that he can have his $15K working for him, I am sure he'll be able to do the calculations and work it out for himself.

Also factor in that the car if fitted with LPG it will command a better price when he sells it, than if it is Petrol only. That premium may further increase if he converts now with the rebate and it is removed in the future.

I know with my car the break even point is 13,000 km (about 7 months for me). I don't think he'd be too hard pressed to 20,000 km or more touring Australia for 8-10 months.

Like I keep saying, it is all about the Maths.



FollowupID: 566257

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 14:16

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 14:16
Readjustment needed.

Last night driving home ULP $1.55, LPG 60 cents.

My break even is down to 10,000 km.


FollowupID: 566402

Reply By: Member - Bob V (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 14:46

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 14:46
I have a 2004 V8 and I believe you would go a long way to find a better vehicle, much quieter and enjoyable to drive, sure the TD will be slightly more economical on fuel, however you also need to take into account the additional servicing cost and original price of the purchase of the diesel, plus every time you fill up, the stink of diesel on your hands. Should you ever have the misfortune of a major engine failure with the petrol there are plenty of second hand engines around, If I was going to replace my vehicle I would buy petrol again! Now watch this statement open a can of worms. Go for it boys!
AnswerID: 300084

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 15:02

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 15:02
The difference in purchase price is a complete non issue. As I predicted a couple of years back then the argument was v8 100 vs TD. Those that bought the v8 on purchase price alone would have cried when they saw the difference in reale more than made up the in itial purchase price difference. Now with the 200 the ageing v8 compared to the brande new twin turbo diesal unit along wit rising fuel costs you can expect resale o the TD to be a capitol investment come resale compared to the petrol unit
FollowupID: 566233

Follow Up By: Member - DOZER- Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 19:48

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 19:48
The prices of the 100 t/d secondhand have increased in the last year or so....more and more people are after them. Thesame happened to the 80 series multivalve turbo. Bottom line is how much are you planning on travelling, as the diesel will tow at 16l/100 compared to the petrols 25l/100 Gas will be more like 28-30 and gas is not guaranteed available off highway 1. Please take these figures as a guide, also before you buy a diseasal, pull up in a servo, look on the floor to find the diesel bowser, stand in it, take the bowser out and put it back, you now have diesel running up to your armpit from the handle aswell as on your shoes...get back in the car and slip slide on your pedals for a few minutes... smells great, try to get rid of it.
Andrew multivalve diesel
FollowupID: 566289

Follow Up By: Member - DOZER- Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 19:56

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 19:56
The v8 will tow the van easier than the t/ the mark, at speed in all respects will also get a v8 alot cheaper, 15k is concervative....but when you go to sell it, dont expect to get your money back, the way fuel is going, Toyota will be giving them away in 12 months. Having come from a petrol 80 to the t/d, i do miss the responsiveness and smooth motoring a big petrol motor allows.
FollowupID: 566290

Follow Up By: mowing - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:21

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:21
Bob, If you are happy with the V8 that is all that matters, you raise some good points re availability of replacement motors.


FollowupID: 566298

Follow Up By: Member - DOZER- Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:39

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 21:34

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 21:34
where are all these second hand engines for sale? Cant say I have seen any at all?
FollowupID: 566324

Follow Up By: Member - DOZER- Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 07:16

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 07:16
I thought that too, seen 3 hdfte motors in the last 6 months for sale on at the moment....and no 2uzfe's....not one....
FollowupID: 566671

Reply By: Member - Bob V (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 14:48

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 14:48
You should also be towing in fourth gear and not fifth which is really an overdrive, read the toyota manual!
AnswerID: 300085

Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 15:17

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 15:17
Have a serious look at the petrol GU 4800 2001-2005 Patrol Newtown.

Its a significantly better tow vehicle due to lower C of G , longer wheelbase and has more torque over a wider flatter curve than V8 and almost (430/420) as much as the TD but over a wider area
and a lot more power (185kw/151kw).
Robin Miller

My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 300087

Reply By: Top End Explorer Tours - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 16:21

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 16:21
Ok lets have a look.

Turbo Diesel : Great Tow vehicle, economical, reliable, all round work horse, far better resale value.

V8 petrol : Great tow vehicle, not as economical, good work horse, very little resale value.

You can tow in 5th gear, with no labour on the car and on the flat at 100 kph towing in 5th is fine, especially with the TD,stronger G/box.

They come with a surround sound system so if you are worried about a bit of engine noise put on your favourite CD and relax.

Myself I would never entertain the idea of buying a petrol 4WD.

Cheers Steve.
AnswerID: 300096

Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 16:50

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 16:50
All good points Steve, but comparing resale values only gives half the depreciation equation. You need to take relative purchase price into account as well; and the petrols are significantly cheaper to buy.

FollowupID: 566251

Follow Up By: Member - John G- Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 17:17

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 17:17
G'day Steve

I'd like to see the tow-in-5th vs don't-tow-in 5th discussion thrashed out some time. I follow the manual advice (TD Hilux) but there are times on a long flat stretch where I think 500 revs less would be good for the fuel economy. Then I think a gearbox is going to be much more expensive than a few $$ saved on fuel.

Is it vehicle dependent? i.e. are some gearboxes better than others at handling towing in 5th? and what happens with automatics? do some effectively drop into an overdrive?

ah the mysteries of mechanics

FollowupID: 566263

Follow Up By: Top End Explorer Tours - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 17:21

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 17:21
Hi John

The subject has been done with a 50/50 out come, I have towed in 5th over several hundreds of thousands of Km without incident.

Yes some G/boxes will handle the job better than others.

Cheers Steve.
FollowupID: 566266

Reply By: Newtown53 - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:17

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:17
Thanks all for your replies - didn't expect nearly so many so quickly. This forum is fantastic!

DavidM.C - are you for real, or am I being had :) Surely you don't really wind the window down to listen!

Regarding resale values that some people have commented on, I am aware of that, but then I think it has far more relevance when buying new (ie: petrol buyers have taken a greater hit, particularly as fuel prices have increased). However with the first few years depreciation done & petrol prices factored in - I agree with Matt's comment - in that I don't see there being much difference. ie: If I pay $35k for a good petrol, in 6 months time if advertised at say $30-$32k it will probably be at the cheaper end still & should sell reasonably easily. A TD on the other hand I will have to pay say $55 for. Could it drop to say $50k when done - quite possibly. I guess that on a higher value there is always a possibility of greater depreciation. Not to mention that there are probably still limited number of private buyers who are ready to drop in excess of $50k in cash on a vehicle.

Jim - thanks for the comment on the lpg - I am definitely also considering it, but didn't put it in my post at this stage so as not to muddy the waters. As I may still consider just on outright petrol. I do currently have a Landrover Discovery petrol which is on gas and it is superb. It's on sequential injection, and I literally get within 5% of the economy of petrol. Not to mention that the power is exactly the same as when running on petrol. It's a sensational system. I had it done by a reputable and experienced fitter, and would want to be sure of being able to do the same for a landcruiser. I have just been having trouble finding anyone in Vic. ie: every place I ring either has had no experience doing cruisers, or they are still only doing the air valve system which I'm not fond of. Anyone know of any experienced injection fitters?

Thanks also Robin for your comment regarding the Patrol. I have considered the 4.8, and haven't yet ruled it out - don't mind the 05 model ST-L's. Although I still do prefer the drive of the landcruiser.

Anyone else had the opportunity to compare the TD with the petrol just for towing only?
AnswerID: 300152

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:11

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:11
Give me a yell on 0411 874406 and I'll put you in touch with Eric. He has a 100 on Seq Gas and has spent a lot of time developing systems, he knows his stuff.

I can also tell you a bit about the GU on Gas, parents have one which I have used to tow. Sensational. Eric is a died in the wool Toyota man, but he says the GU is a better tow vehicle due to its better torque characteristics.


FollowupID: 566427

Follow Up By: Newtown53 - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:49

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:49
Thanks Jim - appreciate it. Looks like we were both thinking the same thing, as I just spoke with Eric recently. I will probably look into the parnell prins system after speaking with him. If anyone has experience with this system, would love to hear about it.
FollowupID: 566431

Reply By: mowing - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:35

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:35
Hi Newtown53,
I think the consensus is that both vehicles will do the job description very well. In regard to economy and resale, your post indicates that you are street smart enough to sort that out.


AnswerID: 300161

Reply By: westozal - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 10:13

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 10:13
Just a thought for you....a lot of people buy a package to do an around OZ trip with the idea of selling the 4WD and van when they return. From my understanding a fair percentage enjoy themselves that much that they decide to retain the car and van even if it means going on shorter trips for a while.
Dont know if this could apply to you but perhaps it could be a consideration for you.
One other thing to consider is the price of fuel, as one of my caryard mates says everyone has diesel burned into their minds and any large capacity petrol motor will suffer from the consequences of this mindset at resale time.
I possibly dont subscibe to his thoughts totally but it is information for you.
Regards Alan.
AnswerID: 300227

Reply By: Thermoguard Instruments - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:41

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:41
Hi New (or should I say "Mr Town"?),

Not right up on my LCs but what about the 4.5L 6 cyl petrol? Was it available in the 02 to 05 period? Always thought it was a well regarded donk - torquey, almost as powerful as the V8 (which is only 0.2L bigger), simpler to maintain and a lot more of them around for sourcing parts (or replacement) should the worst happen.

And maybe, come resale time, "6" won't sound like as 'dirty' a word as "V8"?

Just a thought.
AnswerID: 300267

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)