Toyota owners: I'm looking to switch, and am willing to be convinced!

GrantC

Observer
I'm considering buying a new-to-me vehicle and would like to get some feedback from Toyota owners. There is a story here, so bear with me!

Currently my wife and I drive Mitsubishi Monteros - I have an '87, she has a '97. I like the vehicles, but the manual transmissions in the '87 are apparently weak (mine needs a rebuild at 135k miles), and the V6 used in the later versions have issues with valve guide seals, cam seals, breaking butterfly valves in the intake, etc. The V6 is also a serious PITA to work on, which is an issue since I do all of my own work.

Parts availability is an issue (the nearest dealer is an hour and a half away), as are the vehicles themselves (I'm in Oregon but well outside of the PDX area.) I'd like to replace the '87 with something from the late '90s to early '00s, but low-mileage Monteros of that vintage without major problems are quite rare in my neck of the woods.

So, I'm considering switching brands to one which is more common, easier to work on, and hopefully has fewer problems than the Mitsubishis. I'm considering the late-90s to early '00s Landcruisers, which seem to be the closest match to our Monteros. I have no experience with Toyota, but their resale values suggest that they have good long term durability.

Usage: daily driver, frequent expedition/recreational driving in spring/summer (unimproved or historical roads); inclement weather during fall/winter. We're not into rock climbing or mudding, so major mods will not be a concern. We buy used vehicles and keep them until they're just no longer serviceable, so models that will easily go past 200k without major work are what we're looking for (neither of our Mitsubishis has made that cut!) The biggest reason for even considering Toyota is their reputation for longevity, but sometimes reputations aren't based on reality!

I might consider an earlier (early '90s) model if they are better/more reliable vehicles.

The questions I have:
1) What is the best engine option in terms of reliability and ease of maintenance?
2) What are the major problems with mid-90s to mid-00 examples? Engines, transmissions, transfer cases, differentials, electrical — what issues requiring major replacements or rebuilds seem to happen with regularity? In other words, what's known for breaking?
3) How is maintenance/repair as the mileage gets past 150k? What problems can I expect?

Finally, in your mind what is the one major objective reason to pick a Toyota over a Nissan or Jeep (which are the only other brands I'm considering, and I'll be asking the same questions of their owners in those forums)?

Thanks!
 

Flagster

Expedition Leader
The 4.7l V8 has proven to be really stout...I would pick this (98-2007 land cruisers) over the 4.5l inline 6 in the 80 series cruisers (93-97)...
If you would consider a 4 runner they can be found pretty reasonably now (2003-2009 4th gen runners had the 4.7l v8 option)
Don't discredit the 4.0l v6 either...my 2005 Tacoma has been bulletproof for the first 100k...

I think all vehicles over 100K need maintenance...don't plan on buying a 15 year old land cruiser and not doing anything to it...

Nissans are ok but if you want to be a true expedition poser you have to have a toyota... and jeeps are garbage (this is the LC thread right)
 
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TXLX

Observer
Man that Mitsubishi must be awful if you are considering a jeep! Just kidding, I'm sure jeeps have their place... I'd consider one if all I did was play in it.

Toyota is definitely proven reliable over the years for the most part. 100 series land cruisers are very reliable, but they need the maintenance and things fixed when they start breaking... As with any vehicle. All the power train components should be good to 300k if maintained. The UZ engine is bulletproof, but uses the fuel (12-15 mpg in mine).

4Runners have been intriguing me lately. I've been looking for a 4th gen 4x4 v6 (no timing belt), but they seem hard to find.
 

Upland80

Adventurer
If you want a land Cruiser search for Slee newbie guide. 100 series sounds like what you're looking for, but the 80 series is tops for those who crave the more challenging terrain. Any LC will spin circles over anything else you have mentioned...not even close.
 

GrantC

Observer
Man that Mitsubishi must be awful if you are considering a jeep! Just kidding, I'm sure jeeps have their place... I'd consider one if all I did was play in it.
It's worth noting that the same question posed here and the Nissan forum have gotten multiple responses; not a peep from the Jeep forum folks. Maybe they're embarrassed? ;)
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
I've owned a couple of Rubicons, and many many Toyotas. I just replaced a 40,000 mile 2011 JKUR with a 175,000 mile '99 UZJ100 Land Cruiser and even my wife (who is VERY picky) admits that the Land Cruiser is a MUCH nicer rig to drive!
 

GrantC

Observer
The 4.7l V8 has proven to be really stout...I would pick this (98-2007 land cruisers) over the 4.5l inline 6 in the 80 series cruisers (93-97)...
If you would consider a 4 runner they can be found pretty reasonably now (2003-2009 4th gen runners had the 4.7l v8 option)
The 4Runner is a smaller vehicle, correct? Any differences on offroad performance/durability, or are we just talking size?
 

Upland80

Adventurer
4-Runner is smaller, is not in the same league as a 80 for offroad (lockers/solid axle, etc.). The 4-runner does have an advantage in the MPG category. Both can be found with over 300K miles on original drive train.
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
4runners are nice, but definetly not built anywhere near as heavy duty as Land Cruisers. You will notice that 3 different ways. Longevity, cost (both purchase and parts), and fuel consumption.
 

GrantC

Observer
4-Runner is smaller, is not in the same league as a 80 for offroad (lockers/solid axle, etc.). The 4-runner does have an advantage in the MPG category. Both can be found with over 300K miles on original drive train.
Ok. Doing some research, it seems that the 3.4l in the 4Runner is a "legendary" Toyota engine. In the LC, which is the better engine (in terms of longevity) - the 4.0l or the 4.5l?
 

Upland80

Adventurer
If you're looking for a 80, the 4.5 1fz-fe is what you want. 1993-1997 are the years, but there are some HG concerns with higher mileage just like any other engine. They are built for longevity and you can see a pulled apart engine with the bottom end looking clean with over 200K miles.
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
Ok. Doing some research, it seems that the 3.4l in the 4Runner is a "legendary" Toyota engine. In the LC, which is the better engine (in terms of longevity) - the 4.0l or the 4.5l?
The 4.0 (3FE) is quite possibly better for longevity alone, but the last one came down the line 23 years ago, so it's not likely you are going to find one in a pristine vehicle very easily. The 4.0 is very very old technology though, and really can't compete with either the 4.5 or the newer 4.7 V8 from a drive-ability standpoint. If you are looking for a truck to live on the family plot of 10,000 acres, and take the whole clan to that hard to get to fishing hole or similar, the 91-92 FJ80 is a great truck. For anyone planning to dd or even take the odd trip down the turnpike to granny's house the 93 and up is really a better option. This being an adventure travel forum, the expectation is that you will want to go further rather than closer to home. This is the reality for MOST people. The level of simplicity found in the older 80s and 60s is very appealing to some. I love early 60 series trucks, but the only way I would ever really want to drive one regularly would be with a turbo diesel or V8 swapped in.

In a nut shell, all of Toyotas offerings have good and bad points. You just have to be realistic about what you want the truck for, and choose accordingly.
 

Flagster

Expedition Leader
Ok. Doing some research, it seems that the 3.4l in the 4Runner is a "legendary" Toyota engine. In the LC, which is the better engine (in terms of longevity) - the 4.0l or the 4.5l?
Not sure what is legendary about the 3.4...no more reliable than the 1grfe 4.0l that followed and definitely not as stout as the 4.7l

In the LC if we are talking EFI engines and forget the F motors, IMO newer is more reliable and more usable...going from a 3fe to a 1fzfe to the uz is night and day in drivability and performance...my 95 LC is a turd that will keep up on the highway but is not that pleasant to drive long distances at speed

Nice thing about the 4.0l 1grfe engines in the tacomas and 4runners (land cruisers overseas) is no timing belt to replace...chained up
 

98 SNAKE EATER

Adventurer
I put roughly 800-1000 miles on my 97 TLC every week and make routine 1200+ mile straight trips every month or so.

Currently at 379,xxx miles with zero issues :)



Fuel is my only problem :eek:
 

CYK

Adventurer
Don't fully understand why people focus so much on engine reliability when many makes offer highly reliable power plants that go deep into six figure mileage.

Where the toyotas shine is overall reliability/durability. The whole package. Engine is just one variable in the equation. Timely, by the book maintenance and you're set. Electronics, diffs, tranny, lines, etc? Now we are talking.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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