Opinions on 4runner

Submitted: Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 18:57
ThreadID: 65267 Views:4153 Replies:9 FollowUps:10
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First post, I'm new to all this and have just bought a 2000 model goldstream star campervan, so now I'm looking for a long distance towing vehicle, something which will be able to get us off the tar and get us out of the parks (currently towing with a Falcon AUIII wagon).

Just wondering peoples opinions of early/mid 90's model 4runners, would be looking to spend about 10k max. Would something like this be able to get us most places you can take a van? Any other suggestions? I was thinking of a cruiser, but feel its probably much bigger than I need, but I'm open to suggestions.

I'm hoping to be able to get a 12 foot ally to put on the roof as well.

For the next year we will just be going within a days drive (probably no further than exmouth north or esperence south of perth, but plan to do a 3 month trip north in 2010.

Thanks all.

Matthew Watson.
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Reply By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 19:08

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 19:08
I had a 1996 Forerunner V6, Great car great motor, heaps of power. I had a good run out of it and from what I have heard if they are well looked after you can get a lot of Kms out of this motor. Not so good to put a boat on the roof, I would only do this on a ute. Too much salt residue drops off the tinny after you load it, my opinion anyways. Best of luck the goods ones may be just a bit more than you can pay. Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 345111

Follow Up By: Matt Watson - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 19:11

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 19:11
Thanks tony.

Unfortunately, if I want to take a boat (and I do), there isn't really much option except for the top of the car or top of the van. Was considering an inflatable, but that seems like too much work.
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Follow Up By: Madfisher - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 21:50

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 21:50
The most reliable and long lasting 4 runner motor is the 2.4 22r petrol, followed by the 2.8 diesel if very well serviced and lastly the v6 which had the best power but gave the most trouble. All the trouble stemmed from the heads. Few covered more then 200000ks with out costying their owners $5000.00m . Member WHG has a lot of info on these as he worked for a toyo dealer.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 613123

Reply By: Willem - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 20:37

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 20:37

Buy a mid to late 90's Nissan GQ 4.2 diesel. They are virtually unbreakable and you should be able to pick one up for under $10,000.

AnswerID: 345122

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 10:16

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 10:16

Agree with that 100%

Any sub 10 grand car is a gamble, however with the GQ, the gamble is very small.

I've had a number of customers pick them up in lovely condition with less than 300,000 km for $7 to $9K.


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Follow Up By: Member - Matt (Perth-WA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 14:51

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 14:51
Well I agree tooImage Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be Found

Fantastic old patrols...at least you know you can fix them...if you ever need to and parts are always available.

The 4.2 just keeps on going.

I have just spent a few months fixing up an imported Safari for my FIL...the BIL drvoe it off a 15 foot sandune and bent the front axle, ripped both engine mounts clean away, left the sunroof open and molded up the entire interior.

But after a bit of elbow grease, new diff housing, radiator shroud and new shocks and springs ($1600) its about ready to roll again.

Sub $10k is a great price range if you do your homework.

FollowupID: 613197

Reply By: booboobabs - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 21:27

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 21:27
I love my 4 Runner. I wanted a surf but was talked out of buying an import, so went with the lower speck 4 runner spent $7K never do anything to it its cheep to run (after my 350 chev towing wagon anyway) heaps of grunt go's well off and on road (just did a 3000Km trip to Frazer Isl. for christmas).I pack mine to the hilt all the time when going away, and I use it everyday for work full of tools. I have a Rola roof cage and gear sack so i pack even more on top as well as surfboards windsurfers two pipes full of poles and stuff.The mountain bikes and other bulky gear gos in my trailer and I dont even notice it behind me! All in all Id say get one there cheep and good. Not as fancy as other bigger 4WDs but every bit as good.
AnswerID: 345133

Follow Up By: booboobabs - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 22:49

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 22:49
P.S you cant kill a toyota hylux. Ever see top gear when they tried to kill one? Even ran having been crshed burnt and spent a night under water!!!
FollowupID: 613130

Reply By: Ozboc - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 21:38

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 21:38
My first 4x4 was a 4runner - great little car V6 is a little heavy on fuel for what it is - and excellent car to sleep in as the seats fold down great and easy to sleep 2 in the back

but if you looking for a good tow vehicle thats great for 4x4 also - 3 ltr Nissan turbo diesel would be the go - just spend the few extra $$ if you want to spend more -- then the 4.2 TDI is bullet proof

4 runner is a good starter - but would not be a great tow vehicle , little underpowered , you will find yourself ringing its neck to go places

AnswerID: 345137

Reply By: Louie the fly (SA) - Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 22:59

Monday, Jan 19, 2009 at 22:59
Matt, I have a 92 4Runner with the 2.8D 3L engine. It's a great car that has done some cheap as trips over the last couple of years. But now I have a shagged front diff that needs fixing. I haven't towed anything with it yet but was planning on trying it out towing my boat (21' & just under 2000kg fully loaded). The guy I bought it off used it to tow his boat (smaller and lighter than mine) from Gawler to Renmark and said it went OK but took a while.

If you intend taking any offspring on your trip you might want a bigger vehicle. I made a rear storage bizzo for mine so I could maximise the use of the rear space as they are a bit small in there.

Although a good car it's just smaller than Patrol, LC, etc. which makes it harder to accommodate "stuff" if you know what I mean. I.e. mounting UHF & HF radios, carrying water & extra fuel, carting a tent & fridge, and so on. Good fuel economy though, even with gear on the roof rack.

AnswerID: 345147

Follow Up By: boongie - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 11:31

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 11:31

my son is wrecking a 1990 2.8D 3L hilux and has a good diff if you are interested.

FollowupID: 613178

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 09:37

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 09:37
I had a 92 4runner diesel with after market turbo and replaced it with an 85 cruiserdiesel also with turbo. The cruiser has been much cheaper to run, when you consider overall costs. Things just don't break in the same way, especially for heavy off road stuff. Plus you have the extra space and power for towing. The electric wind up window on the rear of the 4runner is a real pain and liable to jam, especially in dusty conditions. You cant lower the tailgate unless the window has been lowered and there is no manual override. But the seats on 4runner are more comfortable.
AnswerID: 345176

Reply By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 14:12

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 14:12

Another boat option is a porta bote. You can see it folded on the top of my vehicle in my rig pic and there are some more shots of it on the water in my rig pics.

Ours is a 3.27 metre job which will take 3 adults and easily plane with a 5 hp outboard.

Once you get used to the flexing they are a great boat. I had mine down at Normanton beach on Saturday playing in a nasty little chop. It did the occasional surprising flex when we fell off a wave but it felt safe and was very dry.

They can be launched anywhere you can walk to the water. We were up the Murray last November with the bote on the roof, pulled into a spot on the river and were motoring away 12 minutes later.

No connection, just a fan.


Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

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AnswerID: 345211

Follow Up By: Matt Watson - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 14:34

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 14:34
Thanks pete thats very interesting, I've seen them before but pretty much dismissed them as a novelty. I can't find any prices on their website though, or max HP. Looking at yamaha website, the smallest 2 stroke they have is over the max engine weight of these. Any idea what these normally sell for?
FollowupID: 613196

Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 15:38

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 15:38
The 3.27 is around $2,800 new. I got mine second hand for $3,000 including a 3.3 Mercury, but they do not come up very often. The max Hp from the handbook is 5 for the 3.27 and 8 for the 3.85. The mercury's are under the transom weight. I am runnign 26kg 8Hp Yammaha on mine and it is fine.

Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

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Reply By: Flywest - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 15:53

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 15:53
Ozzy Dictionary-

Porta Boat / Inflatable = "southerner speak" for crock teething ring.



AnswerID: 345223

Follow Up By: Matt Watson - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009 at 09:08

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009 at 09:08
haha. I'm leaning towards a quintrex car topper, but I'm not sure the budget is going to stretch, unless I can actually find one 2nd hand, whatever I get will have to be manually lifted (no way the budget is going to stretch for a boat lifter), so I don't want anything too heavy.
FollowupID: 613291

Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 16:00

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 16:00
Hi Matt

Not for me, I have a thing against vehicles that roll to easily
and the forerunner is one of those.

I would certainly not consider it for towing, at least your AU3 has a reasonably low centre of gravity.

Mine was an auto and was fitted with ARB aftermarket suspension from new which made it 50mm higher and worse to drive.

Generally speaking it wasn't a very capable 4wd with limited articulation but being a company car it was easy to dump.

I would go down the Cruiser/Patrol path as others have advised.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: stefan & 12 times Dakar winner - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 16:36

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 at 16:36
We went out last weekend......had a 4runner with us, while it was a mistake of his. It was only dumb luck that it came back on to 4 wheels. We all went a little white. I belive a Patrol or Cruiser would have been more forgiving.

Cheers Stefan
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