Buying my first 100 series, how many miles is too many to start? (2 Viewers)

Joined
Dec 14, 2020
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9
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North West Arkansas, USA
Hey all,

I'm about to buy my first Land Cruiser 100 series after having owned a 60 series with a slew of problems that could never get fixed. I only drove the car for a few minutes across it's lifetime. I'm wondering how many miles is too many to start off with when it comes to 100s? I've been seeing listings average the 200-250,000 range. I'm trying to spend under $16k, and I would really like to still be driving it in 4-5 years. This forum has been a great resource so I figured some good advice can be found here.

Thanks for any help!😁
 
Joined
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Baton Rouge, LA
Mine has almost 315k, and I'd buy it today and plan to drive it another 5-10 years. Everyone is gonna have a different opinion on this though. If it's been taken care of aka not abused, the engine is one of the most reliable that I know of in the automotive world. I wouldn't think twice buying one with 200-250k on it. In my head, this is at least a 500k vehicle.
 

87warrior

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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Junction City, Kansas
I bought mine at 246k miles 5 years ago (it was a 1 owner with a complete maintenance history) and I am now at 344k miles.....I hope to hit 100k before the 5 year anniversary on 1/6/21.

A solid maintenance history and relatively clean vehicle is worth more than a number on the odometer.
 
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Joined
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91107
you want to see if there is a record of a few of these things are costly and might not show up on the test drive but sooner or later it will need it above 200,000 miles. ABS pump motor, rack and pinion, upper and lower control arms need work ball joints for sure and maybe bushings, CV joints, tilt steering, AC compressors leak. I'm sure I missed of bunch of other things that are probably worn down at 200000 miles. If none of these have been done you're looking at least $5,000 plus plus repair bills coming sooner or later. Good luck with your purchase.
 
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How many miles is too much? The one that you see has a bunch of repair items needed and is leaking. It could be one with 120k miles, it could be one with 250k miles.

Honestly, I've seen some 250k mile ones that are in better condition and that I'd buy over a 120k mile one. There are really some pieces of junk undermaintained 100s out there that you should avoid. I think Toyotas are most common for the most undermaintained cars I've personally seen out there and the Cruiser is no expection.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
12
Anecdotally - have an '04 that is at 250k. My second LC. Bought it in May, 2017 when it was at 190k. Absolutely love it. Took it this past summer from Nashville to Sedona to the Grand Canyon to Bryce and Arches, then back through CO, over Independence Pass, and back to Nashville with my son. We changed the oil prior to going (that's all) and did over 100 miles on unpaved, dusty NFS roads while on the trip - no rain on the trip. Got the oil changed upon return and thought the air filter would be cooked. Guy doing the oil change asked me why I thought I needed a new one. Have a timing belt coming up at 270k that I will do in about 5k. Been an amazing vehicle. My son is turning 16 in a few months, and he thinks he is getting it. He is only getting it (and working for it at that) if I can find another 100 for me. I have a saved search on Cars-dot-com for 03-04-05 LCs and monitor it constantly. Would love to have two in the driveway.

I was skeptical to begin with - had an 80-series ('97) that I bought in 2004 with 100k, kept it for 10 years, and then at about also 190k, that one was essentially done. The engine was A-1 fine, but the rest of the vehicle could not keep up (or I couldn't afford to keep it up). Overall, it was a great 100k miles on the vehicle.

With both vehicles, my wife discovered them while driving past used car lots. Seriously. Both of them. And both rides have been/were fantastic. If I can get into two LCs by what at first appears to be dumb luck, on second consideration I have to believe that these things are basically workhorses across the board.

(That post above about all of the things that can go wrong around 200,000 miles has me slightly freaked out, but I haven't had any of that stuff appear yet, and I think I am going to roll the dice again this summer and head out to AZ on the current set-up, with maybe some new tires.)

I might have too cavalier an opinion, but I am 50 years old and currently plan to drive used LCs until they take my license away.
 
Joined
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Baton Rouge, LA
The other thing is I literally tried to find a suitable replacement for mine in a moment of insanity during peak covid. Checked out the new Defender, which I now absolutely loath. I came to the conclusion that I'll probably only be driving LC's the rest of my life, maybe a 200 is next for me, or the 300 depending on what they do with it. The only other vehicle that I have any remote interest in is potentially the Grenadier, but there's so many big questions left to be answered on that, especially with that BMW engine. When I drive other vehicles, I can't wait to get back in my LC. It's just that much better than the other stuff on the road, to me.
 
Joined
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411
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Fort Mill, SC
To the point above regarding a $5000 repair bill, it's true, all that stuff done by a reputable shop would be about that amount of money. Two things though; how much would a new car payment be and for how long? Once these items are done it's another 150-200K before big items show up again. That's about 10 urs for above average driving. And second, can you turn a wrench? Because that number would shrink significantly. I've had mine since 215K and have almost put on 50K since. I've replaced the alternator and timing belt/thermostat. About $800 in parts and my time. I've owned it for 5 years now. That's like $14/mo in maintenance costs to date. Even though I've got some items coming up, it's still gonna be a cheap vehicle to own. I could drop $5000 into it today and it would still be cheap to own.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Louisville C)
Mine has almost 315k, and I'd buy it today and plan to drive it another 5-10 years. Everyone is gonna have a different opinion on this though. If it's been taken care of aka not abused, the engine is one of the most reliable that I know of in the automotive world. I wouldn't think twice buying one with 200-250k on it. In my head, this is at least a 500k vehicle.
My 2000 has 407,233 on the clock. Regular maint. is the key to this Daily Driver.
 
Joined
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91107
Just want you to know the major things that I found out.
Since you're buying it now and paying a premium be cautious.
Also thru the years there's quite a difference in transmission and horsepower.
If you're not aware of the differences Slee has a
page.
 
Joined
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381
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Waynesboro, VA
I would listen to @ShenValley100LC. The man bought a HIGH MILEAGE 100. His thread reminds us how reliable our engines are, and how expensive refreshing everything around the engine can be. ;)

Apologies for the book but...

The question with the 100 Series is less "how many miles" and more "how much rust?" whether its 200,000 or 450,000 miles all the maintenance intervals and parts lifespans are the same. A 200,000 mile truck where all the suspension is original and pulleys haven't been replaced is not better than a 350,000 truck that was baselined at 300,000. Plus you are most likely going to be doing much of the work yourself or doing modifications and upgrades. These become 10x harder with rust. To me its much more about the deal that you get. For one, you're best off buying a 100 series off a suburban mom or some professional who just had this as their DD and doesn't really know anything about cars. Most of them don't know what these are worth, that's your best chance at getting a 100 series for sub 8K, anyone else will try to gouge you.

Frankly if you are looking at building it out then there's not much point in getting an expensive 100K mile truck when you are going to rip out all the ball joints, shocks, bushings, and springs anyways. Might as well get 250-300K mile truck with loose ball joints and saggy springs and soft shocks for cheap since you are just going to rip it out and upgrade it anyways.

Engine miles are almost irrelevant. The only way I have ever seen or heard of anyone killing a 100 series land cruiser engine is the heater T's busting and loosing all coolant and continuing to drive until the head gasket goes. I think I know of one person who had lower radiator hose issue and lost all their coolant as well, that's it. So as long as they've changed the oil, the transmission fluid is reddish, and the T doesn't fall apart when you touch it, the engine is probably fine just replace the T's the second you buy it. If it hasnt been done and the truck is >250K+ then just plan to replace all vacuum hoses, pcv valve, and spark plugs, gaskets, etc. You'll have a tune up and it will run like new and you'll have peace of mind. Clean throttle body and MAF while you're at it.

If you're getting a high mileage 100 Series LC and worried about it leaving you stranded then do the following:
A) Get AAA deluxe, its like $140 a year for peace of mind and pays for itself in one use
B) Take care of the 4 things that will cause a vehicle not to start 1) battery - keep a battery pack self jumper in the car 2) Replace the fuel pump and clean electrical connections if unknown age 3) replace alternator brushes if unknown age 4) replace or carry a spare starter if unknown age
C) CV/Front diff issues - have tools to be able to remove front drive shaft and flanges and you will be able to lock the center diff and keep going
D) Carry 1 Jug of Coolant, 1 Qt Oil, 1 QT ATF, 1x 4oz bottle of AT-205 leak stop, OBDII reader in the truck

Everything else is just about avoiding headaches but virtually none of means the truck is a time bomb. For instance, look for leaks around valve cover gasket, test the brake booster (car off, pump brakes 40x, turn key to on, time it and listen for strange noises if it stops in 30-40 seconds you're good). On test drive feel for slop in the steering, steering rack is a pain the butt to change out but if youre gonna have this for 4-5 years who cares itll be nice to have a new one in there and you'll know it was put in right and you can change all the bushing and fluid while you're at it. Slee has an informational page and OTRAM has a 100 Series Pre-Purchase inspection video that is very easy to follow. At some point past 200,000 miles old is just old and you're better off with more cash in your hand to put into baselining and know everything has been serviced and replaced.
 

suprarx7nut

The YotaMD Guy
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Apologies for the book but...

The question with the 100 Series is less "how many miles" and more "how much rust?" whether its 200,000 or 450,000 miles all the maintenance intervals and parts lifespans are the same. A 200,000 mile truck where all the suspension is original and pulleys haven't been replaced is not better than a 350,000 truck that was baselined at 300,000. Plus you are most likely going to be doing much of the work yourself or doing modifications and upgrades. These become 10x harder with rust. To me its much more about the deal that you get. For one, you're best off buying a 100 series off a suburban mom or some professional who just had this as their DD and doesn't really know anything about cars. Most of them don't know what these are worth, that's your best chance at getting a 100 series for sub 8K, anyone else will try to gouge you.

Frankly if you are looking at building it out then there's not much point in getting an expensive 100K mile truck when you are going to rip out all the ball joints, shocks, bushings, and springs anyways. Might as well get 250-300K mile truck with loose ball joints and saggy springs and soft shocks for cheap since you are just going to rip it out and upgrade it anyways.

Engine miles are almost irrelevant. The only way I have ever seen or heard of anyone killing a 100 series land cruiser engine is the heater T's busting and loosing all coolant and continuing to drive until the head gasket goes. I think I know of one person who had lower radiator hose issue and lost all their coolant as well, that's it. So as long as they've changed the oil, the transmission fluid is reddish, and the T doesn't fall apart when you touch it, the engine is probably fine just replace the T's the second you buy it. If it hasnt been done and the truck is >250K+ then just plan to replace all vacuum hoses, pcv valve, and spark plugs, gaskets, etc. You'll have a tune up and it will run like new and you'll have peace of mind. Clean throttle body and MAF while you're at it.

If you're getting a high mileage 100 Series LC and worried about it leaving you stranded then do the following:
A) Get AAA deluxe, its like $140 a year for peace of mind and pays for itself in one use
B) Take care of the 4 things that will cause a vehicle not to start 1) battery - keep a battery pack self jumper in the car 2) Replace the fuel pump and clean electrical connections if unknown age 3) replace alternator brushes if unknown age 4) replace or carry a spare starter if unknown age
C) CV/Front diff issues - have tools to be able to remove front drive shaft and flanges and you will be able to lock the center diff and keep going
D) Carry 1 Jug of Coolant, 1 Qt Oil, 1 QT ATF, 1x 4oz bottle of AT-205 leak stop, OBDII reader in the truck

Everything else is just about avoiding headaches but virtually none of means the truck is a time bomb. For instance, look for leaks around valve cover gasket, test the brake booster (car off, pump brakes 40x, turn key to on, time it and listen for strange noises if it stops in 30-40 seconds you're good). On test drive feel for slop in the steering, steering rack is a pain the butt to change out but if youre gonna have this for 4-5 years who cares itll be nice to have a new one in there and you'll know it was put in right and you can change all the bushing and fluid while you're at it. Slee has an informational page and OTRAM has a 100 Series Pre-Purchase inspection video that is very easy to follow. At some point past 200,000 miles old is just old and you're better off with more cash in your hand to put into baselining and know everything has been serviced and replaced.
Love this. Exactly my thoughts.

You can't easily buy a "new" enough 100 to avoid all the normal wear maintenance that should have been (or will promptly need to be) performed.
 

nbailz

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
97
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Lexington, KY
Apologies for the book but...

The question with the 100 Series is less "how many miles" and more "how much rust?" whether its 200,000 or 450,000 miles all the maintenance intervals and parts lifespans are the same. A 200,000 mile truck where all the suspension is original and pulleys haven't been replaced is not better than a 350,000 truck that was baselined at 300,000. Plus you are most likely going to be doing much of the work yourself or doing modifications and upgrades. These become 10x harder with rust. To me its much more about the deal that you get. For one, you're best off buying a 100 series off a suburban mom or some professional who just had this as their DD and doesn't really know anything about cars. Most of them don't know what these are worth, that's your best chance at getting a 100 series for sub 8K, anyone else will try to gouge you.

Frankly if you are looking at building it out then there's not much point in getting an expensive 100K mile truck when you are going to rip out all the ball joints, shocks, bushings, and springs anyways. Might as well get 250-300K mile truck with loose ball joints and saggy springs and soft shocks for cheap since you are just going to rip it out and upgrade it anyways.

Engine miles are almost irrelevant. The only way I have ever seen or heard of anyone killing a 100 series land cruiser engine is the heater T's busting and loosing all coolant and continuing to drive until the head gasket goes. I think I know of one person who had lower radiator hose issue and lost all their coolant as well, that's it. So as long as they've changed the oil, the transmission fluid is reddish, and the T doesn't fall apart when you touch it, the engine is probably fine just replace the T's the second you buy it. If it hasnt been done and the truck is >250K+ then just plan to replace all vacuum hoses, pcv valve, and spark plugs, gaskets, etc. You'll have a tune up and it will run like new and you'll have peace of mind. Clean throttle body and MAF while you're at it.

If you're getting a high mileage 100 Series LC and worried about it leaving you stranded then do the following:
A) Get AAA deluxe, its like $140 a year for peace of mind and pays for itself in one use
B) Take care of the 4 things that will cause a vehicle not to start 1) battery - keep a battery pack self jumper in the car 2) Replace the fuel pump and clean electrical connections if unknown age 3) replace alternator brushes if unknown age 4) replace or carry a spare starter if unknown age
C) CV/Front diff issues - have tools to be able to remove front drive shaft and flanges and you will be able to lock the center diff and keep going
D) Carry 1 Jug of Coolant, 1 Qt Oil, 1 QT ATF, 1x 4oz bottle of AT-205 leak stop, OBDII reader in the truck

Everything else is just about avoiding headaches but virtually none of means the truck is a time bomb. For instance, look for leaks around valve cover gasket, test the brake booster (car off, pump brakes 40x, turn key to on, time it and listen for strange noises if it stops in 30-40 seconds you're good). On test drive feel for slop in the steering, steering rack is a pain the butt to change out but if youre gonna have this for 4-5 years who cares itll be nice to have a new one in there and you'll know it was put in right and you can change all the bushing and fluid while you're at it. Slee has an informational page and OTRAM has a 100 Series Pre-Purchase inspection video that is very easy to follow. At some point past 200,000 miles old is just old and you're better off with more cash in your hand to put into baselining and know everything has been serviced and replaced.


Can we get this stickied or use some sort of auto reply whenever this question is asked a few times a week? Couldn't agree more with everything you said here. Thanks for taking the time to put into words how I'm sure many of us feel.
 

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