4WD Cars

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 14:51
ThreadID: 91268 Views:2445 Replies:8 FollowUps:15
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I want to buy either Landrover Discovery TD5, or Nissan patrol running with LPG or Landcruiser running with LPG (year 2000 – 2004). I have the following questions to ask you:

1. Which one is the most reliable car (seldom break down or have problems)?

2. Which one is the most economical to run and maintain?

3. Throughout the life span of the car, which one do we spend most money?

4. Generally speaking, which one has the longest life span assuming they are maintained equally?

5. Lastly, if we want to main by ourselves/DIY, which one is the easiest to work with/suitable for that purpose?

I need the opinion from the 4WD experts.

Thank you very much for opinion.

Yours faithfully,
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Reply By: Rod W - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 15:22

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 15:22
Having had a Landcruiser Troopy with the 1FZFE 4.5lt engine on gas, it returned 5.6ks per litre on petrol and 4.6ks per litre on gas. The 1FZFE engine is classed as being bullet proof, but things can do go wrong. The economy of the vehicle was not an issue for me as it was a very capable vehicle to which I thoroughly enjoyed driving.

Maintaining the vehicle yourself is the best way to get to and know you vehicle and saves you money.
AnswerID: 475201

Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 15:41

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 15:41
Hi Colonel

Thats pretty straight forward and it would be one of the cars I have chosen , the 4800 GU petrol Patrol in a manual.

There are some qualifications though - the TD5 diesel would clearly use less fuel (the Patrol uses the most) but still has the lowest life cycle cost.

A manual is much easier to maintain fix and is more reliable.

Gas is an issue and while it makes the car more economical than even the TD5 I wouldn't fit it if you go into the serious outback.

The Patrol also is the most powerful and also the most stable with lower C of G and longer wheelbase.

Its also a part time 4wd with a lot less complexity than say the full time cruiser.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 475203

Follow Up By: Colonel T - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 16:11

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 16:11
Dear Robin,

Thanks for your reply.

I do not understand what you mean with the lowest life cycle cost. Is this the maintenance cost or something else? Please explain in more details.

Kind regards,

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 16:30

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 16:30
Sorry Colonel

I have an engineering approach to everything and things like the fuel cost are just part of the story.

Life cycle cost embraces every cost from purchase to sale and all inbetween.

Fuel for example in the car I reffered to represents about 20% of the total running cost in the first 5 years of life.

If you used gas at 1/2 the price of petrol then your maximum potential cost saving would be 10% of the total life cycle cost and even less if it was diesel.

I'm more interested in hitting the 90% factor than the 10% factor.

So with depreciation accounting for most costs in cars up to roughly 10 years old this is the key factor in any cost based decison.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 16:16

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 16:16
I wouldn't touch LPG again for all the tea in China. I ignored several good mates who gave me the sort of warnings I'm now giving, and turned my previous Prado into something I didn't want to own. It was gutless ad thirsty on gas and halved my fuel range. On ULP it did 12-13 l/100km & 23 on LPG. The 90 ltr main fuel tank was replaced with an 80 ltr LPG which would only hold 64-66 ltrs so my range went from 1200- odd km to 700-odd. It really stuffed up a great car.

If all that wasn't bad enough, after 3 yrs it needed the heads done as compression had dropped alarmingly in 3 cylinders necessitating the expense of well over $5,000.

Learn from my error, please. Just don't do it!
AnswerID: 475205

Follow Up By: dazren - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 18:38

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 18:38
Sorry Paul I disagree, the problem was not the Lpg, but the vehicle your choose to convert. since 1996, through my job and also privately i would have done more than 1 million Klms in Dual/Fuel vehicles
1 VS Commodore 96 model done 380000 klm
1 VS Commodore 99 model done 420000 klm
Granted both cars had changeover heads @ around 80ooo k but were changed to Gas Heads [ Hardend Valves and seats ] then they were both trouble free for the rest of the Klms, and both running very well when we sold them I could list the others as well if you want, they include Falcons, Mazda, and my current vehicle 2011 Colarado Duel/Fuel Factory fitted direct injected Gas Returns 14 - 15 Ltr per 100 Not Towing, and 24 - 25 Ltrs p/100 towing my 19' Lotus Van 2400Kg fully loaded. ALL VEHICLES can be converted to Lpg
but it must be the right gas system and fitted by the right people Holden supply the Colarado with a Gas compliant engine and have the Gas fitted by HSV Holden, then it is covered by the full holden warranty,
If you were only getting 23 L / p100 out of the Prado. there was something wrong with your set-up, as my best mate who we travel with has a 2004 GXL Cruiser on Duel/fuel, and he is getting 18 - 19 l /100 and his is a V8

So Colonel do your home work and go with what you learn and Feel, as for our opinions, they are going to be wide and varied, Rgs dazren
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 19:49

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 19:49
Each to his own Dazren, but that's exactly the sort of advice I did listen to prior to going with LPG, ignoring the comments of people like me who just had really bad experiences.

The set up went back to the installer over & over because I wasn't happy and it cost me a really good friendship with the installer, who is reputed to be one of the best. It even went to the company (no names no packdrill) that made the kit for them to check and was no better.

The simple fact is the car was an absolute peach on petrol and a lemon on LPG.

Over the 4 years I had it, wherever I found anyone else with a 4x4 on gas I'd ask how they liked it and most did not have complimentary things to say about it. It gets back to power, reliability and range, all of which assume massive importance when they're not there, as distinct to a fair reduction in fuel costs which when you look at it isn't particularly significant anyway. I could have bought an awful lot of petrol with the $3000 it cost the govt to install it for me.

I could have put up with it a lot easier if it didn't absolutely butcher my fuel range
FollowupID: 750183

Follow Up By: dazren - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 20:20

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 20:20
Fair comment Paul, as stated to each their own, and opinions will be wide and varied, No doubt that Prado's are a good car,I would have bought one, but i would NOT put one on Lpg, although the mates Cruiser is nearing 200000 K and no sign of any trouble at all [ it is a V8 ]
If I had your experiance at the start, it would no doubt have turned me off Lpg also, BUT after more than a million K on Lpg, I am happy to stay with it and pass on my experiances, Living in WA it looks like you do a bit of remote travelling, if so Lpg is really not for you anyway, Most of my travelling is done in Vic. SA, and NSW, where Gas is readily available and cheap, If i lived more remote I would be a diesel guy, happy travels mate, Rgs dazren
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 01:39

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 01:39
I've had a lot of lpg cars and not had the bad experience at all. I reckon the installer or equipment were in some way faulty to give you figures like that. I would have been spewing too. Chalked up at least 3 million kilometres on lpg.
FollowupID: 750221

Follow Up By: Bobba - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 09:50

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 09:50
Interesting reading...our 98 Prado has done over 100,000kms since the LPG conversion and we couldn't be happier with how it runs, servicing and the low cost of filling it up.

FollowupID: 750243

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 11:07

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 11:07
Good luck to you guys, but the best in the business couldn't find out what was wrong with mine - everything all checked out ok except that it was very heavy on fuel and lacking in power. Which was what I was warned about before-hand. I just wish I had listened to those people rather than those who said yeah no worries - just do it!.

I guess my point is the risk isn't worth it. Even if it works well at say 17-18 ltr/100km, the fuel saving is infinitessimal (compared to the total cost of owning & running the car) and fades to insignificance alongside the reduction in fuel range and the risks on reliability and performance.
FollowupID: 750249

Follow Up By: Colonel T - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:20

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:20
Dear mikehzz,

Thank for your reply.

If LPG is installed properly, do you think the engine will last longer on LPG or longer on petrol. How long do you think the average 4WD engine will last on LPG?

Thank you.


FollowupID: 750256

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 13:24

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 13:24
All of my 4wd's on LPG have gone 350,000 kms or more. The last one was a 3.3 litre Pathfinder that wasn't even using any oil on 350,000 kms. I traded it because it didn't have creature comforts and safety options. It was especially prone to skidding on wet roads. The rest of the car was starting to get dodgy but the motor was fine. I used to only service it every 6 months regardless of kms travelled so I can't complain.
I think that the heyday for cost savings using LPG are gone and will only get worse as the price rises in comparison to petrol. Out in the bush there is just about no cost saving at all and that has been the case since the late 70's anyway.
Diesels have the range advantage and the service intervals for the new ones are up around 12-15,000 kms or 6-12mths which is certainly an improvement on the 5k services of the Jap diesels. If something does go wrong them then unfortunately you need deep pockets.
FollowupID: 750260

Follow Up By: Bobba - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 18:07

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 18:07
"Even if it works well at say 17-18 ltr/100km, the fuel saving is infinitessimal (compared to the total cost of owning & running the car) and fades to insignificance alongside the reduction in fuel range and the risks on reliability and performance."

No doubt you were harshly bitten Paul but your experience obviously isn't the same across the board and as with everything in this game, there is no perfect set-up because everyone's situation different.
As noted the range is reduced but we managed to travel 25,000km towing our trailer with kids around Oz. With the sub tank of 69 litres, LPG 68 usable litres, plus 40litres in jerry cans on the trailer we had no issue with range and in fact didn't touch the jerry cans. We didn't go into the isolated desert tracks and if that was our thing we might look at a different rig. Now though we're back in town and you can't beat LPG prices here. Our Prado is nudging 300,000kms and is still running like a dream with little difference between LPG and petrol performance for us. We run it often on petrol and get the gas side of things looked at during servicing...no injector problems, fuel pump problems or 5000km oil changes to worry about, I'm glad now I didn't get the diesel Prado that was 5 - 8 grand more than our petrol Prado at the time. I think when you really look at total cost of ownership you can't say one is a clear winner over another.

Having said that I also have a 96 V6 petrol Triton and there is no way I would convert that to gas. They had a terrible reputation on gas and I'm not risking it. In terms of LPG vehicles I've had a 4.4L Rangie, 60 Series Cruiser, XF Falcon wagon and TN Magna wagon all on LPG so I've had plenty of experience dealing with LPG and I'm a convert.

FollowupID: 750285

Reply By: wade66 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 21:30

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 21:30
Well I don’t think you’ll get a non-biased answer as I doubt that anyone here would have owned all three vehicles.
My Disco 2 which is a base model has been reliable and is used for outback trips i.e. Desert, Kimberley’s, Gulf and never had a problem. I would suggest stick with a base model and forget the ACE equipped models. Good economy for a auto, avg 10lt/100km. Go to the aulro.com.au for any advice.
Most buy 2nd hand, so you don’t know how those vehicles have been treated. If it’s been treated with no respect, it will give you problems regardless if a Toyota, Nissan or Landrover.
Hope this has helped you.
AnswerID: 475237

Follow Up By: Colonel T - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 08:53

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 08:53
Dear Wade,

Thank you for the reply. I need to ask your opinion since you have a Disco II:

1. Which one is more reliable, the petrol on LPG or the TD5? Generally, which one is has less problems?

2. Do you think the head in Disco II is suitable for LPG? How long do you think the engine will last if treated properly? Do you need to install a valve safer as well?

Thank you for your reply.

Yours sincerely,


FollowupID: 750230

Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:42

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:42
The heads on all modern unleaded vehicles is OK for LPG. I have a V8 Landrover on both petrol and LPG - LPG gives a bit less MPG but the engine runs cleaner and there is less carbon build up.

I run on LPG whenever I can as even with a bit more fuel usage it is cheaper than petrol. I also have a Landrover with a TDV6 diesel and the fuel costs between it and the V8 truck on LPG work out about the same.

Personally I would go the TD5 over a V8 on LPG primarily because you will get further on a tank, there is diesel outback, where LPG is harder to come by.

FollowupID: 750257

Follow Up By: wade66 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 20:20

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 20:20
Hi Colonel

Can't really help you with these questions, I've always prefered diesels over petrol. I would suggest that you put these questions on the www.aulro.com.au, I'm sure someone there could answer your questions

FollowupID: 750385

Reply By: zappa - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 23:41

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 23:41
There all good vehicles,and the landrover would be by far the cheapest to run as far as fuel cost are concerned but by depreciation the other two would hold there value better after a few years.Deisels are cheaper to run but their maintainence cost are higher due to frequency of servicing. The modern LPG systems installed by a good installer are a far cry from the older systems and give little trouble and better fuel economy. Although I drive a Landcruiser, I like all the cars in your choice range so wouldn't sway you any particular way. Drive a good example of all three and choose which one you like the most.
Regards Zappa
AnswerID: 475252

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 01:31

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 01:31
The newer diesels have the same or better service intervals as petrol. You have to buy a diesel car from brands who know how to make them properly.
FollowupID: 750220

Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:31

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:31
Hi Colonel

What type of work do you intend for the vehicle, as LPG may not be suitable given it isn’t available in remote locations.

Given you are looking to purchase a vehicle that is somewhere between 8-12 years old do you intend to overhaul the one you select as I’m sure there’ll be good, and bad in any of the choices you have suggested.

If you are buying new the answers might be somewhat different, especially given advances in technology over the last decade.

Good luck with your choice...
AnswerID: 475302

Reply By: Member - Richard H - West NSW - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 17:31

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 17:31
Colonel I had two Disco's, the first was a manual & it worked extremely well.

The second Disco was a Td5. At around 10,000 km it blew a hydraulic hose between the gearbox and the radiator. Though the vehicle was recovered and repaired gratis, it was still a pain because the Casino agent didn't have the part did he, and it had to come from bloody Melbourne.

O.K. no problems for several years, and I found that it was leaking hydraulic oil in the radiator. One of the cooling cores had sprung a leak. I wouldn't be near home when it happened would it? I was in Katherine, and after finding someone who could weld the leak, I paid dearly for the privilege. O.K. that was fixed, and I got home.

In 2008 leaving home to go overseas, vehicle full of luggage & grand kids returning home, I made McCullochs Range Rest Area, when it blew another hydraulic hose. By this time it was out of warranty, but the NRMA came to the rescue, and recovered the vehicle to my home. I then had to get my wife's Honda Accord and with the kids and our luggage head off once again.

I had it repaired on my return and flogged it off for a Triton, which though a good vehicle, is nothing like the Td5, which was a beaut vehicle to drive and it had lots and lots of room. I worked it out one day that I was getting 28 MPG, which even in metric terms is pretty good, though it was under good weather and driving conditions.

If you can get a good one go for it, but be mindful that the autos may have a defect in the hydraulic hoses that go into the radiator, and also be mindful that there ain't many Landrover agents across this fair land if something goes wrong.

I'll probably get another in a year of so, because I'm hooked.
AnswerID: 475328

Reply By: Geoff H (Q - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 23:26

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 23:26
I had a 1994 80 series Landcruiser running on LPG for 250K then traded up to a 2003 diesel Prado. We only ever went as far as Cape York with the cruiser but it was a great vehicle in all respects.

The power was down slightly on LPG and the fuel economy was also slightly down but at 50c a litre for the LPG it was no real issue.

I will definitely buy a petrol LPG vehicle next time because the most remote I will ever go is back to the cape.

AnswerID: 475456

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