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Advice on choosing an LC for touring camping/light overland

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Joined: 17 May 2018
Posts: 1
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 18:03    Post subject: Advice on choosing an LC for touring camping/light overland Reply with quote

Hello all and straight off let me apologise for being another newbie asking what might be dumb questions again, please bear with me.

I am shortly going to be in the market for a 4x4 for light overlanding and touring and could do with some advice and opinions to narrow down model/year/engine choice.

The legendary reliability and capability of Toyota Land Cruisers has led me towards them rather than Land Rovers (also because I hate the LR Defenders driving position, I’d need to remove either the drivers door or my arm to drive one!).

I’m looking to do this on a skinny budget so am looking for the most car for the least money without it being a rust bucket that eats money. It’ll be bought and built up a bit at a time while being a daily driver rather funded all in one big project in one go. I’d love a big 70-series Troopie camper or an 80-series world-crosser like others have done but they seem to be getting rare and/or expensive to find one that’s not rotted out or costing a fortune in the UK. So I’m wondering what folks think of building a rig based on one of the smaller engined Prado / Colorado models (either a pre-02 J90 or pre-96 J70) as my main criteria are:

• Minimum “bad-road capable” – as I’m not likely to be doing anything too extreme or going too far off the beaten track to require serious technical off-road capability.
• Minimal to no “mission critical” electronics – I’m getting sick of electronical gremlins in modern cars and am planning to learn how to diagnose and repair the vehicle myself beyond my current “I know what it does but I’ll be buggered if I can remember the technical name for it!” basic knowledge.
• Economical (as much as possible) on fuel – I don’t mind slow but I’d like it not to be a big drinker to minimise fill-up costs and maximise range which led me to wonder about the smaller Hilux based engines in the Prado / Colorado.

What does the collective mind here think about narrowing down year/engine choice for a suitable lighter duty LC? Does the J90 have too many electronics to make it reliable and bush-mechanic repairable? Is a J70 Prado / J70 Light going to be either too old and busted or (if in good nick) too much of a collectors car now to suit a low budget?


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 18:03    Post subject: Google Ads keep this community free to join!

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Joined: 15 Aug 2018
Posts: 1
Location: Stroud, Gloucestershire

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Craig, this forum seems to be a little quiet so I thought I'd join in the discussion for the bumps and chat.

I'm in a similar situation to yourself, providing you haven't already gone and bought one, the difference is mine needs to be a little bit showy as it'll be my works car for meetings and site visits.
In the interest of discussion, things to consider are:

How much space to you need? Do you need to carry a lot of gear? Will a 3dr do or do you need the longer wheel base 5dr which wont have as great layover angle and could more easily become 'beached'. Having a long wheel base on my pickup has been very useful in terms of the amount of stuff I can cram in it but the temptation then becomes "How much stuff can I take?" rather than "How much stuff do I need to take?" so overloading becomes an issue. The turning circle on my truck is also horrendous but it is more stable on uneven ground.
How much do you want to spend? On the vehicle and on fuel/repairs. And older cruiser might cost less to buy but might need expensive work doing and will likely guzzle more fuel. A new vehicle may need more expensive parts but they will be easier to get hold of and it may not need the work doing at all depending on the condition of the truck. The less you spend on the truck however, the more you can spend on toys like camping gear and tires (being the number 1 factor in how well it will do off road).
What toys do you need? After trying to do some camping and long and off road trips in my trusty 2008 Ford Ranger, I have discovered that Aircon really is worth it, especially in the summer months when spending hours on the motorway. When off road however, the lack of locking differentials has proved to be a huge limitation in the type of terrain I can tackle. Its amazing how easily you can get stuck in mud or uneven ground with open diffs even with half decent tires.

Ive narrowed my search down to a 5dr 120 3.0 D4D, though I have seen some very tasty 90s. Id love a 100 and a 101 (not build for the UK market) would be amazing. One day I want to have that V8 noise in my life but ATM I think it can wait.

For what I want it for, I would be reluctant to go any older than a 90. Yes you get mechanical reliability but for long journeys, I think the comfort of a 70 would make the trip tiring. They also seem to be hard to get hold of in reasonable condition and I can image parts being even worse.
Newer landcruisers still seem to be very popular in Australia and southafrica where the nearest garage could be thousands of miles away which makes me optimistic about the reliability of the electronics. I feel like this is something toyota will take very seriously given what the intended use for these vehicles is so even if a fault did occur, I think the vehicle would still remain usable. These are merely assumptions though as I am yet to own one).

There is a chap called Andrew St Pierre White who is famous for his overland adventures. He was one of a handful of people who got to thoroughly test the 90 when it came out and has some amazing stories about it. Including a time he took it for a swim and it inhaled a lot of water. The vehicle survived to to his quick thinking, before the water could do any damage he let the engine stall/turned it off. The vehicle was then towed out of the water after which they removed the glow plugs, jacked up one wheel and with the vehicle in 5th gear he manually rotated the lifted wheel. The majority of the water was pushed out through the holes for the glow plugs, the rest was ejected as they cracked the engine over on the starter motor with the plugs still removed. After a few turns the plugs were replaced and the engine immediately fired up with no hint of damage. From that day he has never owned anything but landcruisers and I think has had over half a dozen, taking them to some of the worlds wildest and most remote places.
Search for '4xoverland' on youtube if you are not already aware of this gentleman.
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