Current model Toyota Hilux clutch problems ?

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 22:19
ThreadID: 91306 Views:37798 Replies:12 FollowUps:22
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G'day All

I am not far off buying a new ute - narrowed it down to the new Ford Ranger XLT and the current model Hilux SR5. The Hilux is now about 10k cheaper than it was this time last year and after my best haggling it is a few grand cheaper than the Ranger. I know there is an updated Hilux coming but as I have to buy something before June 30 that is out of the equation. My dilemma is - in the last 2 weeks I have spoken to 3 new Hilux owners and all 3 have had to have new clutches fitted - all before 40,000 k's and one of them has no towbar fitted. Also after talking to some work colleagues ,they know of 2 more people who have had to have their clutches replaced. I must say that they were replaced under warranty without fuss but it puts me off a bit as I have 2 trailers and do a fair bit of towing. Now - what should I do - go for the trusted and proven Hilux and hope I don't have any problems or go for the new and unproven Ranger and hope I don't have any problems ???
I have never owned a Toyota in all my life and according to half the people on this great site they are THE most reliable vehicles but my last 3 vehicles ( 2 Nissan's and a Rodeo have all done over 200,000 k's before I have needed a new clutch !!
I know you can have some bad luck with any vehicle from new but as the majority of you ExlorOz readers / members are very knowledgeable people with totally unbiased opinions - I thought I would post this thread !

In case I don't get to thank each individual reply THANKS to all who do !!

Happy Travelling

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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 06:42

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 06:42
G'day Gazz,
Have a look here for info regarding Hilux clutches.
Hilux forums

The problem is not confined just to the Hilux. It's generally an issue with most vehicles that have a Dual Mass flywheel. Not sure if the Ranger has a DMF but I wont be surprised if it does't have similar issues if this is the case.
Its all come about because the manufactures want the car to "feel" more like a car instead of a light truck so consequently the clutches are not as robust as before.
My friends Nissan clutch only lasted about 70,000 km but he does tow a horse float with it on occations. He had a heavy duty replacement fitted some time ago & while it is a bit harsh in operation he is pleased with the result.

Just google "Dual Mass flywheel & you will find some good animation & descriptions of how they work.

AnswerID: 475380

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:24

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:24
Thanks Stu

I think your right - I have heard of other makes with clutch problems. I have never been keen on autos but you wonder if the extra dollars is worth it. When I get home from work I will do some more research into the dual mass flywheels.


FollowupID: 750315

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 08:40

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 08:40
Not keen on an auto either.

Looking at replacing my current Hilux (2nd one I have owned) with a third one but this has been one reason I am considering the Landcruiser 79 series ute instead.
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 08:54

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 08:54
Talk to an auto transmission guy about the new autos. He will put you off auto for good on ALL makes.

They are putting the computer controller inside the tranny box. Less wires, connections or some such. Bottom line, they fail or play up.
Some, Ford, have a throw away part whereas others replace the computer. The cost is something to amaze you.
And many of them are being done under warranty too.

Prado manuals have to have the genuine clutch plate installed, otherwise they get a shudder up and a groaning noise at low revs - and thats just driving not using the clutch!

What to buy? Its a nightmare. I think I will go back to an older model of anything, rebuild the engines and anything else that needs fixing.

Bill B

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FollowupID: 750325

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:04

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:04
Hi Gazz,

I've done 40000km in my Hilux (In 3 months) some of it towing my 1200kg boat and dragging 2000lts of water for my lawn. I haven't had any probs as yet.

I dont think you'll have any probs which ever you choose.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 475381

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:29

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:29
Thanks Wilko

Buying a new car is always a bit stressful as you often wonder "should I have bought brand x and am I making the right decision ?" Anyway, good luck with yours and hope you get another 160,000 k's before you need a new clutch !

All the best

FollowupID: 750316

Reply By: Isuzumu - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:24

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:24
Try the auto in either the Ranger or Mazda BT 50 that may change your mind, and the BT 50 is some what cheaper than the Ranger.
AnswerID: 475382

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:33

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 07:33
G'day Bruce

Most reviews reccommend the auto over the manual in the Ranger. Might look into it a bit more - I guess after changing what must be 15 million plus gears in my time an auto would make life easier - especially as I'm not getting any younger !

Thanks Bruce

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Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 09:04

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 09:04
We had a late 2005 Hilux and had the clutch replaced at 60,000 kilometres...... not because it was slipping or anything like that, every now and again it had a very low level metallic clicking noise when disengaging the clutch..... the dealer said new clutch.

Our Hilux was on the heavy side all the time (2900Kg) and for most of it's life we towed a Ultimate camper trailer on and off road, the Hilux did it with ease and reliably.

The only warranty claims we had over 5.5 years and 100,000 kilometres was a small plastic clip holding some fuel lines broke, the clock spring in the airbag failed and the clutch..... the Hilux was always serviced on time through Toyota and driven sensibly even though it did a lot of hard off road work.

When you hear the issues with other makes the Hilux is the pick of the bunch, we moved up to a Landcruiser 200 series TTD VX and not overly happy with it, the Hilux was a better honest 4x4 and was a pleasure to own and drive.

We run a fleet of mostly Toyota field service vehicles operating under full weight in harsh conditions with very little problems..... you can't beat Toyota build quality and reliability.

We have recently had a warranty claim on one of our Ford field service vehicles get rejected by Ford warranty claiming wear and tear (vehicle has only done 30,000 kilometres on bitumen)..... if it was one of the Toyota's it would of been repaired under warranty.

It's left a bad taste in our mouth and shocked the dealer making our next decision on vehicle not Ford.
AnswerID: 475387

Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 09:26

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 09:26
We also run fleet vehicles and hilux is no longer king of any bloody thing apart from issues. My auto Colorado just clocked 100000. Not a single issue, breakdown or trip to the doctor between services. All our manual luxs needed clutches done early. The last model ranger was the same. We switched to auto boxes and wait for it - not a single failure. Oh hang on, one of the rangers auto shift fascia got out of alignment and wouldn't let reverse engage. Nothing wrong with the box, just the plastic bit around the shifter.
By the time you do a clutch upgrade you've paid for the auto box anyway, and the bastard hasn't let you down just when you needed it most.
I've driven the new ranger but we haven't bought any yet. We hooked up a 680 Haines patriot, hit the highway and used the cruise control at 100 kph. Something the patrol could only dream about. It is a powerful engine with a great auto box behind it. Being 1.5t rated she's a bit rough when empty, but it doesn't need coin spent upgrading the suspension to tow 3+ tonne which is a bonus. That is a completely different playing field to a lux.
Luxs are now very much last generation, like my Colorado, but while she's kicking goals I won't look at changing up just yet.
FollowupID: 750329

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 13:14

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 13:14
All our vehicles go onto a manufactures extended warrant and usually gets sold when 4 to 5 years old.

One of our SLWB Hiace vans had a clutch done at 40,000 kilometres but bear in mind they weigh 3500 kilograms all the time.

Toyota are still by far the most reliable quality vehicle made for the price.

Fleet is a funny thing, we do mechanical work for large government, semi government, private and public sector in the field of heavy vehicle and earthmoving and over the years they have tried all different makes but always come back to Toyota.

Most say they have a better run out of them, are more reliable, operators accept them better and have better resale value.

Toyota are the more expensive vehicles but they still outsell the others by a large margin..... that in it's self is saying something.

But every one has his or her own views and why something is better or worse.

We have a few customers who run Hilux's and have added Dmax's to there fleet and are overall very happy..... they always seen to add "for the price" after happy.

FollowupID: 750347

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 13:23

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 13:23
Forgot.... about the Ranger, yes I think they are setting the new bench mark along with VW (to smaller engine) for the new range of SUV's.

I was interested in the new Ranger but the warranty refusal as mentioned above has taken them out of the running.

Being a new vehicle only time will tell what they are really like and as for the Hilux's being "much the last generation"... for the last 6 years they have been the leader others have been trying to follow.

When the new Hilux comes out in the next few years it will all start again and history may repeat.
FollowupID: 750349

Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 10:42

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 10:42
Yes, the lux will come good again.

We had warranty issues with holden (commodore crewman which kept dying). Had a stink with the service manager and thats it we're not buying holdens any more, which is a shame because the colorados are going well for us, but a stink's a stink.
So now we're buying ford/toyota.
I was always toyota and had the last jap built model lux (2003 sr5) which went o.k. 100 series, 80 series, 105 series, and BJ prior to that.
I was let down big time by genuine servicing on the 80 and the lux, and watched enough of the new thai built lux's spin big ends and eat injectors to realise they'd come back to the field in a big way. Hence buying the isuzu/holden product at that time which has proved a good move, but one with no future as the alliance has split.
I hope toyota don't follow with the issues they've had in the American market because I'd hate to have to buy land rovers!
FollowupID: 750428

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 09:48

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 09:48
I would seriously consider an auto as the modern ones are generally very good for towing and off road. For a long time I only had manual 4wds but my last 2 have been autos and I would not now switch back. I do have an old troopy for the rough stuff and of course that is old style manual.

My current LC100 TD is an auto and is without doubt the best tow vehicle I have ever had. I cannot comment on the particular vehicles you are considering but give the auto versions a test. Try to borrow or hire one and actually try it in the towing mode.

AnswerID: 475390

Reply By: whisky_mac - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:10

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:10
I have had over the years a Toyota FJ45, Toyota V6 station wagon 4x4 and now drive a Land Rover with Auto. The FJ45 needed work on the transfer case, expensive, the V6 (cannot for the life of me think what it was called but toyota's version of the pathfinder) I never had it long enough as life's circumstances changed but am totally happy with the landrover auto and it allows you to feed in power without burning out a clutch. Go the Auto's.

AnswerID: 475396

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 11:04

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 11:04
Time to move away from FJ Holden technology and move into the 21st century.
Get an Auto.
AnswerID: 475399

Reply By: peteC - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 16:57

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 16:57
I bought a new model ute a few years ago - all good, thought it was the best on the market, but then the issues started as it did with everyone else. Needless to say I traded in on a Hilux for true and tested reliabilty ( or as close as you can get ) and no issues for me in 12 months. Ranger does look really good and if it works will be top of sales and many will switch to them before the other manufacturers can catch up. But if it starts showing problems with age - say 12 months your stuffed. The Hilux maybe a bit old hat but you know what your getting yourself in for.
For me the Ranger is a gamble at this stage.
AnswerID: 475427

Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 19:45

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 19:45
Firstly - thanks to you all for your advice - Stu, Bill, Bruce, Olcoolone, gbc, Alastair, Jim, Oj, Pete C !

You blokes are doing my head in !! What happened to the good old days where you just took your hard earned down to the nearest car yard, bought a vehicle, went home and showed the missus and your mates and were happy for years to come ? Apart from the cheaper price, the main reason I was thinking Hilux over the Ranger was the availability of accessories that I need such as long range tank, suspension upgrade, canopy, bull bar, etc as both ARB and TJM are still working on goodies for the Ranger. History tells us that buying the last model in a series is probably the safest thing to do as the manufacturer has sorted all the problems over the years compared to a new release vehicle which could have some teething issues.
I agree with Bill about the older vehicles - Bought my old GQ Patrol new in 88 and when I sold it with 560,000 k's on it I had put 2 clutches in it - one alternator, one radiator, one indicator switch, one headlight and apart from servicing NEVER touched the motor. One trip across the Simpson Desert ( 96 ) we went east to west in February (50 degrees plus) and with one and a half tonne in the tray I towed a HJ 75 Landcruiser also with one and a half tonne in the back nearly all the way across as it struggled with the dunes ! Oh what a feeling ! (same tyres, same tyre pressure) The bloke I sold it to recently told me it's still going strong with nearly 900,000 ks on it ! My current vehicle - a 2004 Rodeo has 220,000 k's on it and apart from the sunvisor falling out, the tailpipe falling off in the Snowies, the tailgate latch breaking and needing a new ignition key it's travelling perfect - still has the original disc pads in the front ! Anyway - you all have some very valid and sensible points so I might just have to think things over for a few more weeks as I don't have to buy until June ! The way I see it - buying a new 4wd is pretty much the same as getting married - some blokes don't have any trouble at all and some blokes end up with a lemon !!

Thankyou all

And Happy Travelling no matter what you drive !

AnswerID: 475439

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 20:45

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 20:45
Glad we could help even if we did make your decision more difficult!

One reason I am sticking with the toyota be it Hilux or landcrusier is like you say availability of accessories.
More importantly having worked on a cattle station in the Kimberley, the ease of getting parts. Many of the Kimberley stations & mines have Toyos so Hilux & Landcruiser spares are pretty easy to come by if you travel the outback.

Enjoy what ever you decide to buy

FollowupID: 750386

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 21:12

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 at 21:12
Thanks Stu - The replies I got certainly make the brain work a bit harder - it will be a tough decision but when the time comes I will inform you blokes of my decision and why !

After being absolutely stoked with my Patrols over 20 years I cannot and I repeat cannot praise my current Rodeo up enough ! It has kept up with and in some cases out done the Patrols and Cruisers in some of the toughest terrain you can get a vehicle ( I own a part time 4wd tour business ) Everyone buys different vehicles for different reasons but at the end of the day - if your 4wd gets you home from any and every trip then it's a great car, no matter what brand it is !

All the best

FollowupID: 750392

Follow Up By: Member - tdv - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 10:36

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 10:36
Hi Gazz

I'm currently driving a new 3.2lt 6 speed auto Ranger XLT and believe the engine and gearbox are brilliant. Towed my Aussie swag camper over 2000km at christmas without any issues and returned 10.2lt/100km. Love the auto and as others have said wouldn't go back to manual ever again.

I have just ordered a bullbar and winch from ARB and need to wait a little to afford more. There are plenty of accessories on the market now including long range tanks, snorkel etc. Canopies are available as well.

The biggest problem is the looonnngggggg wait to get one. I think if you order today you won't get it until almost May!!!!

Mine is a loaner until my actual vehicle arrives at the end of February (long story) but am pretty happy with it.

Cheers, Terry
FollowupID: 750427

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 12:57

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 12:57
hi gazz
VW are bringing out an updated amarok dual-cab ute before the end of june with an 8 speed ZF auto and 2ltr 132kw tdi motor you might like to throw a glance over it and test drive it just to further confuse yourself
the ZF auto has proven itself in the much more powerful VW toureg vehicles
rumours are the amarok will be here in late may/april

barry cheers
FollowupID: 750435

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 23:26

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 23:26
G'day Terry

Yeah, I know your story ( good luck to you ! ) - I know you are busy but if you get some spare time it would be good to hear a few real comments on the Rangers good and bad points so far ! ( as diplomatically as you can be )

All the best and thanks for your reply


FollowupID: 750482

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 23:40

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 23:40
Thanks for that Barry

I have yet to look at the Amorok because I am after a space cab - and to my knowledge / research they won't be bringing one out for a while. Also I am not a lover of 2 litre engines in big heavy 4wd's towing big heavy loads
( as I do constantly ) my theory is - you don't buy a cordless drill if you have to drill 10,000 half inch holes into solid concrete - you buy a 240 volt drill with 1000 watts ! After all the advice / info I received on this topic I am starting to lean towards the auto !

All the best


FollowupID: 750483

Follow Up By: Member - tdv - Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 13:12

Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 13:12
Hi Gazz

I might try to do a "Review" type thread when I get a minute. I don't mind being honest as I have no obligations to ford at all.

Cheers, Terry
FollowupID: 750532

Reply By: Discotwinturbo - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 02:04

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 02:04
I thought the hilux was unbreakable ;-)
AnswerID: 475461

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 13:57

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 13:57
hi discotwinturbo
according to nearly every toyota owner when asked if they have ever had any mechanical problems the standard answer always is
never layed a spanner on it mate !! ??

and yet ask their wives and you immediately get a completly different story about how much has been payed out on repairs

and yet if you read hilux and LC-forum etc its apparent that the toolbox is very frequently used regulary on all of them
so apart from a few on here
most toyota owners are to proud to admit to breakdowns and only tell you after they have changed brand names and then why and all about what they had trouble with
so who are they kidding certainly not me
this assumption has been formed over 5 decades of asking toyota owners how their vehicles are going in casual conversations around home and on the road in various places around oz
FollowupID: 750439

Follow Up By: Discotwinturbo - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 14:21

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 14:21
Touchy aren't we.

Just a little wink....sorry that you could not see the funny side.
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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 15:00

Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 15:00
no not touchy at all
i have a good sense of humour and an open mind and knew what you were saying
but thought i would add my observations into the mix to the oh ! what a feeling toyota dis/beliefs
i did buy a new 1982 petrol cruiser wagon which proved to be a dog of a thing and more like a farm truck to drive and as rough as gut to drive compared to the V8 jeep cherokee i owned before it
the toyota 6 used more petrol than the 360cu inch V8 rambler motor
alsobought a new 1983 toyota crown royal sedan which was a very nice and reliable car which clocked up over 400,000km with the second owner but ive never been tempted since by all the adverts
FollowupID: 750446

Reply By: Discotwinturbo - Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 03:21

Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 03:21
Spoke to a mechanic at toyotaways today. They are replacing on average 3 clutches a week on hiluxs alone, and all have the same problem. More than 25% of them are police hiluxs. Apparently Toyota is working on an improved version, as you would expect, so hopefully a solution soon, and then no more short term failures.
AnswerID: 475634

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 09:44

Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 09:44
G'day Disco

I put a deposit on a Ranger today ( see thread 91358 ) as I couldn't see the point in saving $2000 by purchasing a old design vehicle with far less features and less towing ability. I could be waiting as long as June but hopefully sooner. The waiting time on the Hilux was April so not much difference really. I just hope my business keeps plodding along with the dollars flowing, not trickling like the last few years as a new 50k ute doesn't earn me any more money than my old trusty Rodeo !

Happy Travelling

FollowupID: 750625

Reply By: Roland Bow - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 19:43

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 19:43
Well I don't have a current model hilux 4wd but I have the 2001/02 cab chassis model with the 5SLE engine. Had a leaking rear main seal at ~40,000k replaced under warranty. Had the rear main seal replaced again at ~ 95,000km a few years later (2004 - before 100k warranty ran out) and no problems with it until last month, at ~ 270,000km when the rear main started leaking again! Decided to fix it and do a good job at it, so accordingly will replace the clutch and machine the fly wheel next week. Quoted over $1000 to have the job done and two days off the road : (

However, not a bad wicket I suppose, 11 years and 270,000km in the old girl before having to doll out the dollars, but still, the one thing with the hilux that has annoyed me over the years, has been the cruddy rear main seal. Constant dripping oil in the driveway. And reading these posts it appears nothing has changed in the design principles adopted by Toyota in over 10 years!

Mind you, if it had been a ford or a commodore, the entire car would of fallen to bits by now, and the engine would have probably thrown a rod, so I feel blessed to have bought the hilux.

Now if only they built Hilux gearboxes like they did for light truck Hiaces. I dont know if they share any similarities or not with a hilux, but I know for a fact that the old Hiace light truck drive train was virtually indestructible. In fact we had one at work that many drivers tried to destroy over the years with compression lock ups and other acts of stupidity that only young men can attempt. It survived all of the abuse. Of course, that's wandering off topic and a story for another time.
AnswerID: 477225

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 21:48

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 21:48
Howdy Rowland

It's been a couple weeks since I posted this article on EO an since then I have put a deposit on a 2012 XLT Ford Ranger 6 speed auto supercab !
The best vehicle I have ever owned is my old GQ 4.2 diesel Patrol traytop - 2 clutches - 1 radiator - 1 alternator - indicator switch and 1 master cylinder ! 880,000 k's and still going strong - towed a 1HZ deisel Lancruiser across the Simpson one year east to west - Oh what a feeling !!!

All the best

FollowupID: 752424

Follow Up By: Roland Bow - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 19:04

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 19:04
Lol Gazz - despite being a Toyota owner I can see the fun at sticking it to one.

For info - we have about 50 vehicles in our fleet at work, approximately 10 of them are Ford Rangers. They are replacing the current Toyota's. Our fleet manager chooses vehicles based on what represents "value for money" which is a combination of price, servicing costs, reliability, fuel use and other oncosts and resale (whole of life costs). Our fleet manager is pretty keen in what he does, so no doubt you've made a good decision. May your ford ranger excel the GQ's record!
FollowupID: 752489

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