Purchasing a used 3.4 Prado

Submitted: Monday, May 04, 2009 at 14:35
ThreadID: 68510 Views:6120 Replies:10 FollowUps:25
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G'day all,

Does any one have any words of wisdom about this model? My father has owned a few through work, he always got rid of them before their milage went into 6 digits. My budget will leave me with one between 100k and 200k on the clock. I'm not fussed, auto or manual, RV6 or GXL. I'd love to know if there are any faults with this model that I should be aware of. I've heard of a Manual box going at 150k, is this the norm or an exception?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

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Reply By: PradOz - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 16:31

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 16:31
i have gxl petrol/lpg auto and it has been great. had no worries at all. there are plenty out there in the market so take your time and get a good one - service history, one owner, no or limited off road use etc etc. mine is dec 99 which was the first of 2000 series and has just done 130,000kms and as i said no issues. you should b able to get at least 2000 onwards i would think. i have auto and it has been greta off road and also towing. if you get the RV6 you, may have issues with tyre size/width for any off road use. i would be looking for gxl at minimum but personally prefer grande for that year model and with the amount out there for sale you may get one with a few extra options too (just look on ebay as people always tring to sell them there and they seem to take ages to sell since fuel went over the dollar mark)
AnswerID: 363170

Follow Up By: sam_84h - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 16:57

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 16:57
Thanks mate, most appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - Mark C (NSW) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:03

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:03
purchased a second hand 2000 model 3.0 turbo diesel an has so far cost me 7000 dollars in repairs. Havent touched the gearbox yet but by the feel of it wont be long and the clutch at the same time. Have always been, and still a toyota fan but would always buy a landcruiser proper in future not a lightweight substitute.
Have a 2003 td table top and cant fault it!. Check things out properly I am not sure my speedo has genuine mileage on it.
AnswerID: 363188

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:48

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:48
Mark what ks does your speedo say. Are the digits all lined up even ?
Cheers cPete
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Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:55

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:55
Hi Mark, sounds like it might have done some more klms then showing, or it was very missed treated prior to you getting it. What has been the issues with it ?? The only real main thing I have heard about wth these motors has been the occasional head going but very far and few between, and like a lot of things, some times I dont think we get the full story, service history, oil/coolant changes ect. I have just bought myself and 01 grande T/D with a genuine 78k on it and so far so good. Will the head go ?? who knows but if it does Ill obviously have it repaired, lets hope not and I dont have the troubles you have had. Im Toyota through and through but they all have the problems. Did you know you can do a check on previous owners, pink slip klms, ride offs, previous owners etc via the RTA website, costs you around $23 for the check, well worth it. Might even pay for you to do it now and if you find anything dodgy with the pink slip like speedo been wound back then you can have them big time. It will show you the last 5 years of what klms the pink slip had on it when registered each year.....WHG
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Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:26

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:26
I had no idea that was available, History says a thousand words, $23 is a small price to pay for the truth - 'such a lonely word but mostly what i need from... used car sellers!

FollowupID: 631056

Reply By: Member - Porl - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:07

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:07
Check for dashboard rattle, can drive you nuts on corrugations, fixes are out there but a pain as well, check for drop on the rear door, just means you may need a shoulder to close it properly.
AnswerID: 363190

Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:29

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:29
Axles hold wheels, Doors don't do as good a job. I've noticed this annoying fault, swing away kaymar bar would be a dream but obviously the coin is huge.
FollowupID: 631057

Reply By: Member - Shane D (QLD) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:40

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 18:40
There's one model that doesn't have the daul fuel tanks, maybe RV6?
Something to bear in mind when looking.
AnswerID: 363200

Follow Up By: tim_c - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:51

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:51
It was only the 2.7L 4-cyl "RV" model that had one fuel tank - all the V6 ones had two tanks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Shane D (QLD) - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:30

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:30
Ahhh. . . .that's right, I knew one of 'em did
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Reply By: PradOz - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:41

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 19:41
jump on the forum at www.pradopoint.com and get some answers there too
AnswerID: 363224

Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 00:29

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 00:29
Thats funny, i have been waiting 3 weeks to join that forum. Still waiting on approval, tried twice. Given up now.
FollowupID: 630900

Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:23

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:23
I got accepted straight away, I even admitted to not owning a Prado. Not sure whats wrong with you mate?! perhaps you have cyber BO;-)

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Reply By: sam_84h - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:05

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 20:05
Thank you all for your input, it is great to have a wealth of informaton and experience within 6 hours from posting!
AnswerID: 363233

Reply By: rags - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:13

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 21:13
I ve had a prado for 10 yrs,98 model rv6 auto,with safety pack,brough when 12mths old, i have now done 240 kms,serviced every 10kms, it has got twin fuel tanks, tyre fit not a problem as has dual tyre placard [ as maybe suggested in previous post].This car has been the the best ,most reliable 4wd that ive owned in 28 yrs of 4wd ownership.Total repairs = 1 radiator ,other than the regular service items,car does not have so much as a oil leak.The prado has had a few mods to suit my desire use as a tour car to tow camper,the odd off road weekend adventure etc.Just return from 2300km annual QLD visit to the in laws and averaged 12.5/13 l/100km fuel. It has suited our family needs quite well.
i have been considering in recent times about updating it to a 07/08 d4d prado but havent been able to swallow the change over price yet, but if i do sell it would only be for another prado.
hope my experience helps.
AnswerID: 363253

Follow Up By: Tenpounder - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:58

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:58
Hi there. Similar experience myself: 11 year old GXL manual. Mine since new. Almost no problems in 210,000km (master window winder switch panel 2007 [ouch: - $400]; starter solenoid in 2008; air con seal 2009. Otherwise just routine replacements, a couple of suspension rubbers. Quite boring really.
As for "scuttle/dash rattles" yes, it happens, but two solutions: if the corrugations are slight, turn up the radio; if not open the window and enjoy the ambience.
Like Russell says, the big problem is the $50k changeover price to a new one!
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Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:33

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:33
Those repairs seem minimal for a 10 year old car. Sounds like both yours have been cared for and not abused. I htink it is the History that i need to watch.

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Reply By:- Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:50

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 22:50
We have a 98 Grande petrol and took it around Australia for 6 months last year with the kids towing a camper.

Their performance is 'adequate', probably the only downfall. Economy is good for a medium sized petrol wagon, comfortable, great turning circle. The rear air con for the kids was fantastic (Grande only).

Check the timing belt is done (Series 1 at 100,000km and Series 2 at 150,000km). They have a hum or vibration around 2600-2800rpm, most due it from new, no cause for alarm . Dashboards can rattle but fix is better than new. Bump stops have a letter printed on them (an F I think!) so check they're not worn off. Supposedly prone to water pumps going (mine at 200+kms is fine). The black plastic trim on the roof gutters comes away as the factory glue goes brittle, easy to glue back on. They're the only ones specific to the 90's that i can remember. Obviously there's other common checks, with CV boots, driveline slackness (full time 4wd vehicles), oil leaks etc.


AnswerID: 363272

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Monday, May 04, 2009 at 23:24

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 23:24
Hi Mark, I had the 97 Grande petrol V6 myself. I just sold it about 3 weeks ago with 186k on it for $16,500 same as I payed for it 2 and a bit years ago. I added some OME suspension, cargo barrier, bullbar and a few other bits and pieces, sold it with the bar, barrier and OME was left in it. Was a great vehicle. My biggest mistake (for myself) was putting LPG on it. Had no issues what so ever with the PLG but the tank size 59L usable was way too small and really stuffed me for long distance touring. You are spot on with the annoying droning/vibration sound coming from the exhaust in that rev range but just turn up the radio a bit more LOL. I also heard about the water pumps but mine was still ok was still running the original pump. Mine did develop a rear main leak not bad, but enough for it to drop a drop or two of oil over a couple of weeks. The only other thing I found was the front discs seem to warp easy and IM not hard on brakes (wife yes), other then that a very capable vehicle.
Sam as said check it over good, there is a tube that runs from one side of the vehicle to the other just in front of the rear wheels, get a torch and check it out make sure if the vehicle has been on the sand that this is clear as the sand will sit in there, also open both front doors and check inside lower front guards for sand, down behind headlights. Check around the heads for oil leaks at the rear, if its a grande check the rear control panel (behind centre console) is working. Take the cover off where the jack and tool kit is passengers side rear cargo area, for possible corrosion down at the bottom. The 96 V6 models did have an issue with head gaskets going but would have been rectified by now due to age (klms). Myn use to use around the 17L per 100 klms around town but that was a lot of stopping and starting. The best I ever got on open road was 12.2L per 100 (all freeway). Great all round vehicle. If you want to go extreme rock hopping then buy a patrol or 80 series or early 100 series cruiser without IFS. Any IFS, torshion bar front end is no match for the soild coil front ends, leaf spring front ends were fairly good to. As said above, heaps out there so take a good look, GXL or Grande would be the go if $$$ allow for it...........WHG
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Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:20

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:20
Thank you both for your input, most informative. We took a 96 Grande on the CSR a couple of years ago. I ended up with my knees hard pressed against the glove surround. I'm stoked to hear the solution isn't a finnancially costly one - I guess I'll cross that bridge when i come to it. As already said every model has it's pitfalls. Thanks again,
FollowupID: 631050

Reply By: V64Runner - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 06:04

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 06:04
When my V6 4runner eventually dies, the 3.4 litre quad cam petrol engine is going in as a replacement. Toyota techs tell me that this engine is bullet proof and more reliable than the old 3.0 litre V6. Also develops 55 more KW than the old 3.0 litre and is more fuel efficient. All the teeting problems when the 3.4 quad cam first came out ,have been resolved and they go like a bat out of hell. Would like the 4.0 litre V6 but its a question of Dollars. Maybe might get lucky with the next big lotto jackpot - then pink elephants might fly as well :-))
AnswerID: 363282

Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:12

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:12
Interestingly I have a RV6 95 4runner. You make a good point about economy, the best I've done is 12l/100 on petrol (I think average is around 14) and usually average 17l/100 on LPG around town.
Thanks for your input
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 08:08

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 08:08
Those earlier Prado's are tall and narrow and represent
to large a rollover risk for us Sam.

I wouldn't put my family in anything that rolled at less than 45 degrees.

The second series was improved a little but , think you can get wide wheel pack on some models which helps.

These things have been discussed a bit , e.g. posts 60050,62388
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Tenpounder - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 10:09

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 10:09
Hi Robin. Yes, you are right about the Prado's narrow track and the fact that it does not pass the 45 degree static rollover test. The practical reality is that this inherent weakness has to be seen in context: most vehicles that roll are actually moving, and the practical determinants of a rollover are, as you, an engineer well know, include also matters of grip, and also lateral force. Whether or not 45 degrees has any magical value is debatable, but I have to say I would develop some serious digestive disfunctionality well before a static 45 degree figure was achieved whilst I was driving.
When you add factors like a roof rack loaded with spare tyre and a few other things, many 4wds are fairly dubious in the lateral stability department. We ALL must use our vehicles safely. But there's nothing magical about 45 degrees, even though London Transport was so very proud of its double decker buses back when!!
Chris (SA).
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 10:52

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 10:52
Thats a well presented line of discussion that I agree with Chris.

The instant I put even a small trailer on my car, its stability is reduced significantly in some areas and requires driving to suit.

45 is as you say no magical figure , just like a fixed speed limit isn't in some weather conditions.

Some of my driving situations like last weeks thread 68264, do make you go for every bit of stability you can get.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:56

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:56
Its interesting. My current 79series has the same track as the 90series Prado I owned previously but when offroading, it feels a lot less likely to roll over.

I think the IFS on the Prado is an additional factor - there is less unsprung weight and the front end can easily lift, raising the centre of gravity.
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Follow Up By: rags - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:13

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:13
I don' think i would be too concerned between the difference of a 45deg and 48 deg slope as a car that measures aprox 2metres wide we would only be concern with a variation of about aprox 70mm in rise of slope, i can assure you that when i am installing metal roofing it does not make much difference if the roof is 35 deg or 60 deg i still cant walk on it so i would assume that i would not drive on these type of slopes. I would also feel much safer if i was travelling on a wet slippery surface with as step side slope, that i am in a prado or any safe vehicle with good suitable tyres rather than a vehicle that may on paper have a better side slope angle but with 20% remaining tread tyres [as per68264]!i guess 160 -180 ltrs of fuel weight at floor levels does have an advantage. In 28 years of driving 4wd i have nether based my buying decision on roll over angles only,but i did consider such things as safety features available when i bought the prado and made sure the option boxes had been ticked.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:25

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:25
Hi Phil , Russel

There is a lot in that impluse surge as the body rolls , I get uncomfortable driving across a calibrated 20 deg slope even though I know its well within the cars capability , but I know that if it slips a little on wet grass then a wheel goes into a rut that this is the real worry.

Its all potentially manageable , but it seems that what happens is that some factor gets forgotten , and this tips the car over , starting with a more stable car puts the odds in your favour.

I guess I've seen to many 4wd rollovers to do anything other than stack the odds in my favour

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:40

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:40
Where do you find the roll over details from? i'd be interested to know the details... makes you think twice about throwing a roof rack on.

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Follow Up By: sam_84h - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:53

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:53
in regards to the other posts i did try to search the forum for other posts similar to this one. I found that either the site wouldn't allow me to search or i'm no good with computers, I think the latter is the most probable option. My apologies for clogging up the forum.

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Follow Up By: rags - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 22:20

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 22:20
I think my issue is that with out statistical data on both high and low speed data of roll overs for both prados and patrols and other vehiclesand the break down of these stats as to roof racks ,speed ,wet conditions etc, i think we are spliting hairs over a minor difference to a few degrees. I worry that you [Robin ] sound like the Harold Scruby of the anti prado council, going on this post and previous posts.
I think we are getting away from SAM's original question re 2nd hand prado's, from most replies the owners have been more than happy with them and we are yet to get any replies from previous owners who may have had bad experiences from them and certainly no replies from owners who have rolled them.
Sam as affirmed before i have been more than happy with this vehicle have recommended this make to others and know of 2 others who have since bought a prado and seem happy with the decision.I do travel with other patrol [4] owners on off road trips etc have always have done and gone every where these vehicles and know 1 of these owners is considering changing to a prado after many problems which still remains un resolved 4.5 ulp, and laught at another who has a sticker on the back of his patrol
also an earlier reply mentioned the brake issue and yes i have replaced rotors but living at the top of a mountain i put this down to the cost of where we live.At the end of the day you need to decide what best suits your needs
FollowupID: 631079

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 22:51

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 22:51
Robin, I find every time some one mentions roll overs its the prados you jump at, What about the same year models in the pajero's, hilux's, tray back cruisers and a few others. While I dont dissagree with you in that the wider the wheel track the better, but at the end of the day it comes down to using our brains when out and about 4wdriving. I have lifted the front wheel/s on the old prado numerous times being IFS they dont have the wheel travel that for eg your patrol would have but most roll overs come down to driver error or going at some thing full boar instead of steady. Like driving on sand I for sure a hell would not try and turn my prado around and drive across a steep sand dune, for me its either straight up or down or If I get stuck halfway and dont make it hit reverse and go back the same way I tryed to go up. Same a freeway driving at 110k I have told my wife wether she is in her buzz box or the prado DONOT swerve to miss anything or you will end up on your lid. I have told her if someone comes into her lane, hit the brakes (ABS) hang onto the wheel and hope they either swerve back or there going to graze some metal off both cars, same as if a dog runs out in front of her, hit the brakes and if its still in front of you, sorry but old rover will be copping a bullbar up its clakker. I would appreciate if you could send me the link for the stats on roll overs either on or off road ??. At the end of the day its the same old question, do I need to go that way ?? is there another way ?? am I just chopping up the track to prove a point ?? or in an emergency situation then you may have no choice like we had to a few years back in the High Country with the fires behind us we had to get out via one way ....WHG
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Follow Up By:- Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 23:55

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 23:55
The roll-over angle is certainly ONE part of road safety. The Patrol may have a better roll-over than the Prado, but it's still a lot worse than normal sedans.

There are other factors in the Prado that are good: full-time 4wd (not on Patrol), ABS & Dual Airbags (Std Grande, opt. on others), great braking.

Then there's quality and type of tyres - muddies will grip the tarmac shockingly compared to highway treads, so should we all be on these instead. Cheapies will do a worse job than dearer ones too (generally).

Suspension affects steering and braking, so are these up to scratch?

Driver attitude and mental fatigue.

Other idiots on the road...

FollowupID: 631089

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 12:01

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 12:01
Hi Sam

(Note your search issues - I presume you are able to read the referenced posts like 60050 ok They contain links and info )

The Prado 90 data came from when Racv comissioned tests at Seymour Military tilt table facility, and published in there mag in nineties.
They no longer do these tests, and its hard to get current model data in Australia although in USA every new car is required to have rollover figures.
The US Prado nearest equivalent (4 runner) - has a poor 3 star rating.

Toyota Australia, have not to my knowledge released any figures on Prado's (as opposed to landcruisers)
- perhaps because after recalling 200,000 for rear-axle issues which contributed to rollovers they were very sensitive.

The improved new model still has woeful figures (42 degrees)

In addition we (myself Electroincs & brother Automotive engineer) were involved with comparative testing at Victorias Angelsea Test facility during release of this car and specificaly drove them on test slopes against other cars.

Hi Wherehegon / Hi Russel

You have asked a few questions and I am happy to answer I may have missed or not covered by references.

The Prado is a popular car and unpalatable facts are not so popular but its important that anyone asking for information, should have it so that can make informed choices.

What Can You Do about it ?
Australian police reports E.G. http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/muarc184.pdf
- show that static stability is still prime factor in rollovers, not good driver behaviour and that this can be dramatically improved with weight re-distribution.
Robin Miller

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