Buying an 80 series with 350k

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Jun 18, 2022
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Grass Valley, CA
I'm new to the land cruiser world but have owned numerous 4runners and Toyota in the past. I have about 20k to spend on a 80 series that is really just intended to be a family camping, off road toy. I won't be daily driving this. To make a long story short I keep getting priced out of anything in the 150-200k range that is in decent shape. I recently came across a guy who is selling a '94 that has 350k on it. Normally, I wouldn't even stop to look but I was pretty impressed with the condition of this thing. Every single record and log book from 2000-current, including about 10k in maintenance over the last couple years. The records show that a lot has been done to the truck that I would have had to do (complete engine overhaul, rebuilt front end, new suspension, etc.). Given all of this, I'm still a little nervous about buying a truck with 350k on the odometer. He's asking 14k which gives me about 6k leftover to spend in mods and other things. I'm hoping to get some opinions of more experienced people on here, would you purchase it if you were in my position? Thanks!
 
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It may be good for you to wait until the used car market bubble bursts. For a reference, I bought a supercharged 96 with 200k on the clock two years ago for $14k. The axles/ tcase were regeared, had arbs front/ rear, and the front had rcvs. The OME lift was a year old and it was on 35s. It definitely wasn’t a perfect car, but due to the mileage/ mods it was well worth the $14k. I mean I sold the supercharger 6 months ago for $4k…

80s are great. Don’t get me wrong. But an OBD1 car without airbags with 350k on the clock is probably not worth 14k even if the maintenance is good. I’d look into getting something else.
 

tampacruiser95

Upgrades are coming.
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I'm new to the land cruiser world but have owned numerous 4runners and Toyota in the past. I have about 20k to spend on a 80 series that is really just intended to be a family camping, off road toy. I won't be daily driving this. To make a long story short I keep getting priced out of anything in the 150-200k range that is in decent shape. I recently came across a guy who is selling a '94 that has 350k on it. Normally, I wouldn't even stop to look but I was pretty impressed with the condition of this thing. Every single record and log book from 2000-current, including about 10k in maintenance over the last couple years. The records show that a lot has been done to the truck that I would have had to do (complete engine overhaul, rebuilt front end, new suspension, etc.). Given all of this, I'm still a little nervous about buying a truck with 350k on the odometer. He's asking 14k which gives me about 6k leftover to spend in mods and other things. I'm hoping to get some opinions of more experienced people on here, would you purchase it if you were in my position? Thanks!
I don't know. For $14K with good history and maintenance as you describe, probably worth it IMO. You won't find a better platform than the 80 series to do what you plan to do.
 
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I just picked up another one 95 triple locked old man emu lift 33s, decent maintenance on it for 15k I’ve put another couple hundred bucks plus stuff I had laying around, 223k on it. Colorado truck whole life and I knew the last two owners. Seems to be some decent ones on Craigslist here in Colorado
 
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Thanks for the advice so far, I didn't even think of the fact it's ODB1. I should have posted the ad as he lists out all the work.

 
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I know they're high right now but 14.5k is a lot still in my opinion.

Around 10k would be an easier decision

Edit: I'd need the details of the major engine overhaul noted also before deciding....does that mean head gasket or just common wear items
 
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I'm new to the land cruiser world but have owned numerous 4runners and Toyota in the past. I have about 20k to spend on a 80 series that is really just intended to be a family camping, off road toy. I won't be daily driving this. To make a long story short I keep getting priced out of anything in the 150-200k range that is in decent shape.


If it's an offroad toy how concerned are you about the cosmetics of the body vs function?


My 97 has less than 150,000 miles on it. It is well built and fully maintained/baselined and ready to go. The interior is in decent shape and the undercarriage is basically rust free. The body is a bit rough but it's yours for $18,000.00
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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I wouldn’t expect the Land Cruiser market to burst quite like other cars if ever. 80’s are iconic and for shoppers on a $20k budget this is bad news.

Mine has 309k miles with original engine and trans plus one head gasket and it runs and shifts very well. At these kind of miles we roll the dice for sure. If the trans and transfer case seem fine when you drive it and it’s in good shape otherwise, as you say, I’d buy it. A Land Cruiser is a money pit no matter what.

OBD2 shmobd2. The only reason I’ve ever thought maybe I should have bought it is to make forced induction a simpler affair but I don’t need forced induction anyway. I purposely avoided airbags.

Does the truck have clothe interior? Bonus: 94 was the last year to actually say TOYOTA on the grill.
 
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If you're interested in that 80 you should NOT list the ad here as there are people from outside of that area who may beat you to it.

What exactly was done to "overhaul" the engine?? A new head gasket, rebuilt
bottom end??

Either way, looks like the seller spent close to the asking price in repairs
in the last few years. Having said that I agree with others, 14k for 350k miles
and fading paint is a bit high. Maybe $10-12k
 
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IMHO, the '94 is the golden year. Especially if it has cloth interior. And an intact dash. If all that work was done on it, you've removed most of the "high mileage" problems already, and the most costly ones at that.

Is it the paint that's peeling or the clearcoat?

The implementation of OBDII on the '95-'97 isn't that great (full dislcosure, I have both a '94 and '95 - the '94 is my fav), and you can get all that with a scangauge anyway. Airbags and ABS in a Land Cruiser are personal choices - it isn't a sports car. Again, just my 2¢.

Lastly, ignore everyone's idea of "what it's worth" who doesn't have their name on your bank account. What it's worth is what you're willing to pay for it. Just make sure you know how much you're going to "have to" spend on it, versus how much you "want to" spend on it, before you buy it (which is what you're doing by asking these questions) and you're good. Land Cruisers are a great way to spend your time and money. Regardless of how much of either you put into them. Both have to go somewhere.

And I can't count the number of times I've read someone who says they bought a creampuff with 10k miles for $4000. Although my first 40 was $2k and had 40k on the clock, but that was back in '93. I'll never see that again...
 
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Questions to ask yourself: how detailed can you be when assessing what needs to be done to be sure it is reliable for that family camping trip? and do you know the costs to baseline those items?

Keep in mind some baselining / repairs can be done at a low cost with aftermarket parts but they may not last as long as going OEM. So, it also depends how long you expect to keep it.

Just sharing my mistakes that may not apply to you:

I lost a lot of objectivity when looking at the 80 because it was an 80. This caused me to overlook things when I knew better.

Second, there were some issues I probably would not have spotted even if this was a Camry. Mostly because they were systems I never overhauled on past cars. I had some surprises on what the actual replacement costs would be for some of the parts. I had to delay/do without a lot of the mods I had hoped to do because I'm stuck paying for parts.

In the end everything I wrote really doesn't matter if you have the budget to get the 80 in the condition you need it. The question is whether $6K is going to cover it.
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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I am never a fan of OBD2, airbags, leather, FI or any type of modern electronics on a 80 series. So 91-94 is all i will ever need on a LC. If i want all of that, i get a 200 series.
A built 200 on 37’s; an overland beast.
 

LandLocked93

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+1 OBD1. But it is a personal preference indeed.
For various reasons it just doesn't complain like OBD2.
Plus 'scanner anxiety' is a real thing. lol

100% agree with others on "much of the high mileage concerns may already be addressed, or at least lessened, with the stated maintenance already performed".
 

LINUS

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I’m either behind on pricing, or $14K is alot, not seeing it or wanting you to link the ad ( @Kernal makes a excellent point of the vultures).

I’d been thinking extremely randomly my ‘97 has 147,xxx on it & I’ve owned it 20yrs - I’m not out to sell it, but some $22-25K would make me pause.

I’ve been kicking the idea of a ‘13+ 200 if I sold the 80 & the Tundra, so 350K/$14K seems high unless it has great documentation & ticks all the boxes for you.
 

Tachycardic

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Let's be realistic...pricing for 80's have been on the rise (outpacing inflation) since the pandemic started. Sure, you can find 80s for 4-5 grand if you do a nation-wide search, but factor in the cost of travel and ones' time--the days where someone can easily get and FZJ for $5k are over. Oh, and everything is more expensive in CA.

$14k for a well-maintained '94 is not crazy these days. 350K miles is moderately high, but it'll probably run another 100k+ before something major needs to be done with the drive train (assuming that it has been well-cared for and the previous owner(s) didn't abuse it).

I'd offer 11K and see where it goes.
 
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Thanks for the advice so far, I didn't even think of the fact it's ODB1. I should have posted the ad as he lists out all the work.

Nice ad. I wish you success. I am selling our 1991 Metallic Beige Land Cruiser. It's hard to part with these vehicles. They have "soul."
 
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Louisville ky
When buying an older vehicle, i generally want to spend as much of the budget (regardless of whether budget financially limited or simply self control) as possible on the initial purchase itself. If you assume an efficient market (which seems the case with cruisers), then you will get less value by buying or performing work on your dime than paying for what is already there. Additionally, the higher you go up in purchase price, the fewer people there are to compete with..theoretically. long story short, if you have 20k to spend on a truck, and intend to layout 20k regardless, get yourself the nicest 20k truck you can. Maintenance is not a one time event, but rather a constant for an older vehicle that intends to do more than sit. Those costs should be factored in as X per year independent of the purchase discussion. Thats not a bad truck at all for 14k given the current market. All just my 2 cents, which isn't worth much these days.
 

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