Buying advice please , 2006 78 Ambulance

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Apr 12, 2009
Hello All,

I am in need of some advice on what to look for/ expect to replace-repair.

I am looking to buy a 78 series lwb wagen here in Costa Rica. Typically they are used by muncipalties for ambulances . Some of the resorts used them for work vechicles. New they are very expensive new from the dealer.

I have found one forsale by a private owner ( who wants a good chucnk of change)
. It is a 2006, with 115K KM's. It appears to be well maitained. The owner is an elderly gentleman who has a farm here and does not like to fly and has dirven it back and forth from denver 5 -6 times over the last 4 years. It has the arb bumber, warn winch, snorkle, a/c and front bucket seats. All serivce was done by the dealer and records are available.

I believe it has the straight 6 desiel engine

It does not appear to have had any real 4x4 or work usage.

At this mileage/age, what items typicall tend to wear or need replacing.?


Anything that sould have been done by now that I should know about?

Anything that should be looked closely at?

In the next 40-50K KM, what should i expect for maintence from this vechicle?

The dealer has 2 forsale aswell, that have 50K KM, 06's, but they were used as utility vechiles for one of the resorts. They are a litter rougher cosmeticly, and have none of the expensive extras..

would i be better off with the lower mileage truck, even if the other one has been well maintained?


115klms is nothing for these. If the gearbox feels ok,go for it. These are super reliable,super tough vehicles and it takes more than the odd rough road to rattle them.
The reason I mention the gearbox is because they are reputed to be weaker than the older type although after 2002 they were upgraded with a one piece shaft.
They need a gentle hand to get good klms from the box.
The engine will be a 1HZ and these are very reliable.
You should get another 100000 klms trouble free from it.
The main thing that gets changed from new in Australia is the suspension. The aftermarket springs and shocks are much better than the OEM
and post up some pics:D
Oh I want this thing. Ill go take another look at it when I get hom on the 2nd. I am currently in Angola working.

The dream is to use this as my personal vechicle in CR, and over the next two years do some similar mods to gil has done and to ship it here to africa.

looks like an expensive hobby

B - the HZJ78 could do expedition stuff "out of the box" with basically no mods, they are that good. A lot of the expensive stuff - cargo barrier, drawers etc could be made cheaply - and you already have a fair bit on the vehicle. I did a Landrover on a real budget and reckon I had a very capable expedition/touring vehicle for probably 5K (GBP) or thereabouts. Don't let that aspect put you off! Pictures are needed here...

Thats my attaraction to the truck, its toughness. The roads here in Costa Rica rival africa. The only thing i would do straight away is some sort of aftermarket suspension, ol man emu's or someting similar to yours.

I work month on month off in Angola, so my goal is in 2011, to spend 3 or 4 of my months off traveling africa with the crusier. I want to do a month in Namibia, a month in Mozambique and a month in SA. Lots of surf to check!

I love the roof tent.

I am still a little aprehnsive of buying a truck with this kind of mileage. I have had some bad luck perviously. I mean something has to wear with this kind of KM's Hubs? diff? UV joints?

I ll be home on the 4th, I am pretty sure it will still be around as the man wants real money and times are tough these days. Ill take a ton of photos and post them here of the 78
my advice to everyone:
"never invest money you can not afford to loose"

this applies to this senerio perfectly, "times are tough".
get it inspected, go with your gut feeling NOT your heart or eyes. if something doesn't seem right then walk away.

what is real money? $10K $20K, $30K, $40K?
my advice to everyone:
get it inspected, go with your gut feeling NOT your heart or eyes. if something doesn't seem right then walk away.

Hello Wayne,

Toyotas in general and Land Cruisers in particular can stand a lot of punishment and still perform nicely thereafter. It depends on the abuse inflicted, though.

Dumb question: does gut feeling include your impression after test driving?

From experience, a good-looking rig may not feel as good as it looks after a drive, while an average-looking rig may feel great. I think this impression complements inspection results and your mechanic's opinion, among other things.

Does it count as gut feeling?

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my gut will start talking as soon as i get out of my vehicle... and i am not talking hunger either.

the look of the place
the attitude of the seller
the personality of the seller
the condition of the exterior
the condition of the interior
the appearence of the drivetrain

this is before i even go for a test drive or fire it up.

then the test drive, the more i can get the seller to talk the more comfortable i will feel or not feel.

all these things can give a gut feeling.
I am still a little aprehnsive of buying a truck with this kind of mileage. I have had some bad luck perviously. I mean something has to wear with this kind of KM's Hubs? diff? UV joints?

I ll

They are not comparable to Jeeps and Landrovers:D

My 88 73 series is on her original hubs and bearings at 290000klms and my 75 series has 240000klm.
Im getting my 75 series ready for a remote trip and I have no qualms at all about taking it into a remote area with those klms
These are genuinely capable of very high mileage with the appropriate maintenance.
If it has no serious clunks or whines it is good to go.
The last time I replaced a bearing on a landcruiser was at 300000 klms through lack of service

The big maintenance job that comes around every 100000 klms is the front axle which is stripped down and new seals and gaskets and a wheel bearing repack.
Most people do it in a day for the cost of an $80 kit ,grease and oil.
At 100000 klms the injector pump and injectors are due for a service

The 7* series are used almost exclusively in outback Australia for their on road performance and comfort and their offroad reliabilty
The guy wants 34K USD. New these things are in the 50's here.

I can afford it, my comment was ment to mean that I think with the price and the imtes, the likelyhood of it selling before i return is low.

I plan on using it as my daily rig while at home in Costa Rica.

I know Toy's go and go. My first car was a 95 sr5v6 ext cab p/u. I put 300k miles on it in 8 years and lived in the back for over a year. I did nothing more than what you could expect, clutch at 160k, axels at 200, a few timing belts.

Ill take a bunch of pics of htis thing when i get back.

if you can afford it then get it inspected by someone you know and trust and buy it.
sounds to me like a sweet rig.

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