Buying a Cruiser/Patrol, opinions please

I'm looking at buying a 4x4 for trips like Canning, Cape York etc. I'm an old school thinker and have trouble accepting these new 3L electronic diesel turbo [eg Prados] machines are more reliable than the older 6 cyl 4.2 ones are. I understand electronics are pretty much unfixable without real expertise. The 80 series Cruisers are starting to date - I thought that model was very good. Troopys seem a good option but are expensive. I was hoping to spend around $30Gs. Opinions please!
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Reply By: Kanga1 - Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 11:37

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 11:37
G'day Bill, depending on where you are, I would have thought you would have been spoilt for choice with Troopy's up to $30K, if you don't like electronics, get one with the 1HZ diesel 4.2 litre motor. These are seriously everywhere, and in particularly large numbers in the bush. Keep looking, you will find a good one. Cheers, Kanga.
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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 11:56

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 11:56
I share your inclination re the modern high performance engines however the Prado engine does seem to have a good track record and many owners suggest that the later versions of the Patrol 3L have largely fixed the 'hand grenade problem' if you drive them sensibly.

Your profile does not give much insight to your situation. Are you mechanically inclined and able to do some work for yourself? My reason for asking is that there is a big difference in getting a vehicle that is ready to go and one that is basically sound and with some thorough checking and fixing will become a good tourer. For $30k I would be looking for a basically sound vehicle but expecting to spend some time and money putting it into top condition. The older models built in the 90s generally prior to all the electronics, are not all that expensive to give a new lease on life and make good tourers if you are not expecting high performance.

There are still good 80 series around if you look hard but they will need some work. The GQ Patrol is getting a bit long in the tooth but again makes a good vehicle when brought up to scratch. There are 105 series in your price range but you will have to look carefully to get a good one and it will need work to ensure it is up to scratch for the travel you suggest.

We have a 100 series for touring and towing and is a great vehicle but when we planned an extended trip into remote areas with no towing and a need for off the ground sleeping I purchased a standard 1995 1Hz Troopy that had seen a lot of work but was sound. I rebuilt most of it myself, upgraded the suspension, fitted it out for remote travel and ended up with a vehicle that has given us great service, highly reliable and cost in the order of $20k all up. I would do it again. It is an option you may consider. That way I knew the vehicle very well and had no doubts about the condition of all the major systems.

Good luck with your project. Take yor time and avoid rushing into something.

AnswerID: 462246

Follow Up By: Member - Bill L1 - Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 15:53

Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 15:53
Alastair, I would be interested in knowing how many Ks the troopy had done at purchase, if it had had an engine rebuild and what the 'upgrade' consisted of. Thank you .Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 11:18

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 11:18
The Troopy had done just under 300K when I purchased it. On inspection the engine ran well with no suspicious noises, no smoke, no drive train noises other than a noisy rear dif. It was basically standard, just a steel b-bar, a second tank and plenty of red dust throughout. It had no obvious underbody damage but plenty of stone chips. I was told it had lived its life in the country, mostly used on farm. I purchased it based on my inspection and drive.

I did a full rebuild of the whole vehicle but no engine rebuild other than all the belts because it ran well and a compression test showed that it had no problems.

I did the following:
Changed all fluids and belts
checked everything that i could see and replaced anything that looked wrong
Rear diff rebuild + ARB locker
Electric winch
New cranking battery & added second battery & isolator
Rewiring of a lot of obviously modified bits plus proper fusing
power outlets for fridge and accessories
decent inside lighting
new BFG Mud terrain tyres
new HD springs F/R, greasable shackles
new shocks
repack all bearings
replaced 3/4 passenger seat with bucket
had drivers seat rebuilt with extra lumbar support
home build centre console
shelf above windscreen
home built storage system, fridge slide & bed on top
internal water tanks & plumbing
home made roof rack for 2 spares, shovel, Hilift jack

Vehicle has now done more than 100k since rebuild and only minor issues. This included a 40k trans-eurasia trip that was very demanding.

I have no hesitation in taking this vehicle on any remote trip. We tend to travel at a leisurely pace, look at the scenery and stop often so the 1Hz does fine for us. We get 10-11L/100k unless in hard going like sand or mud. With the 180L fuel capacity we have a good range. Even in the very cold & high altitudes of Tajikistan the vehicle ran well.

There are some pictures of the vehicle in my profile

FollowupID: 736588

Follow Up By: Member - Bill L1 - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 13:12

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 13:12
That is really impressive, thanks for that,
FollowupID: 736594

Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 17:33

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 17:33
QUOTE "I'm an old school thinker and have trouble accepting these new 3L electronic diesel turbo"

Mate these engines have been around for over 10 years... don't know when you will class them as old.

Electronics are very reliable and most who think they aren't have never had one... my mates next door neighbors cousins sister knew this guy who's brothers friend had on that failed Blah Blah Blah.

There are many things that can stop a non electronic engine too.

Really the new electronic ones are no different then the old skool versions, most people adapted well from pen, paper and calculators to computers with very little effort.

When was the last time something with electronics in it failed in your life.

Now time for the Knockers to come out.
AnswerID: 462269

Follow Up By: Member - Bill L1 - Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 16:05

Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 16:05
You are probably quite correct, and even if you weren't, the fact of the matter is electronics are not going to go away so get used to them! Have you an opinion on prefered vehicle/ engine choice for around $30G and what extras you would have with it for serious long distance dirt tracks but without the thrashing to death of a good vehicle. Thanks
FollowupID: 736474

Reply By: Madfisher - Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 20:17

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 20:17
Electronics is not the problem bill, modern electronics are very rel;iable. But the modern common rail motor can not handle any water or dirt in the fuel. Cracked heads are another problem mainly with 4 cylinder diesels, and it now appears they all do it if they have and alloy head. But a 4.2td Patrol or similar cruiser is very hard to beat. We also have far more issues with modern diesels then petrols. The d4d I picked up from Toyota today needed a new ecu, but that was a first and done under warranty. Last week it was a 3l Patrol that refused to start. This turned out to be crook fuel but a $9000 repair bill.
You will not go far wrong with any 100 series.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 462292

Follow Up By: Member - Bill L1 - Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 16:20

Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 16:20
Dirty fuel certainly doesn't go well in a diesel motor. The 4.2 motor certainly seems to have been around for ever. Do you know what upgrades if any have been done on the 4.2 over the years and if the very latest of them is the better motor? Have you got an opinion on solid front axles compared to independant, with independant becoming the fashion whether we like it or not?
FollowupID: 736480

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 20:34

Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 20:34
Hi Bill the first 4.2 diesel which appeared in 88 was NA. Turbo versions appeared in the Gu which I think come out in 97 and later they added and intercooler as well.
Bill my first four 4wds where all solid axle. 79 lj80 Suz, 76 fj40 cruiser then a swb 2l petrol rocky followed by a lwb 2.8 diesel rocky. All of these rode like a billy cart, bump steered all over the road(all where leaf sprung).
My first IFS vehicle was the last of the old shape Jacks in SWB 2.6 petrol. First drive I could not believe the diff, it was actually a joy to drive, steered superby, braked and rode much better. (remember I was used to leaf springs). Took it to an off road test track that my diesel rocky had no hope of climbing with standard tyre presures and to my amazement that little Jack bolted straight up it. I could feel the LSD working.(I do suspect the previous owner may have tinkered with it)Since then we have had a 92 ifs 4runner, 93 gls v6 Paj and our current 4bys a 98 and 03 Jacks.
So to answer your question if you intend going rock hopping , or extreme 4ewheel driving solid axles with coils is the way to go, but for all else rear coils and ifs are the go. No bump steer, less fatigue(from fighting with the dam thing) and they will surprise you where they will go. I am getting close to 60 and no longer want to test myself to the limit so for me its IFS.
By the way I use to use my bosses old v8 petrol 100 series to go to Sydney to bring back horse floats when we sold them, very impressive vehicle.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 736506

Reply By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Aug 13, 2011 at 09:06

Saturday, Aug 13, 2011 at 09:06
Hi Bill

It may be that you are fixated onto a diesel - but if not then there is what I have proven to be a better option - cars like my 4800 patrols.

We have done all those trips and even just completed the hardest , the Madigan line.

The lack of fuss , higher reliability , more power and stronger coil sprung live axle chasis means these cars are pretty much unbeatable , but you have to accept 30% higher fuel costs.

The electronics in these cars is at a much lower level and simpler than modern diesels and $30k will give you a range of buying options for 2001 - 2005 models.

My brother has just gone down the path of maxing out an 80 series TD and ended up with a great car but significantly slower and little better on fuel than our manual 4800.

Indeed suspectibility to water in fuel , critcal adjustments , complex systems make me wonder if the TD's haven't had there day where performance and reliability count.

As an example of what I mean fuel pumps and injectors are vital to modern TD's and petrol cars.

I carry a spare fuel pump at $79 - see if you can get one for a TD at under $3000.

Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 462481

Reply By: PeterInSa - Saturday, Aug 13, 2011 at 13:25

Saturday, Aug 13, 2011 at 13:25
I would look at a late 80 series TD and be prepared if necessary to do up the gearbox/ transfer case /clutch/radiator/engine.

Mate did that with a Petrol GQ Patrol, bought the vehicle for $4.5K and spent around $15k on the above replacements plus LPG, did his own paint job.

Vehicle looks great and will last until he goes to the hear after.

AnswerID: 462496

Follow Up By: Member - Bill L1 - Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 16:30

Monday, Aug 15, 2011 at 16:30
What your mate did is hard to argue with as he's got a top machine at a good price and he knows whats been done to it. He's not feeling real crook is he cause I could be interested in his Patrol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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