Help on a new suv

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Nov 11, 2003
Mountaintop, Pa
Thanks folks, Here's the situation. I am SUV-less and will need one by the end of summer or sooner(using a borrowed vehicle)

I'm hoping to get some feedback and opinions. The vehicle will be my daily driver(I do have a 65f250 2wd as a toy), But it needs to shuttle 3 kids around get me to work and to my hunting location. Homedepot runs and general yarsd abuse.

Most of all must be reliable!

I got rid of my 88 landcruiser which did all this but was a little tight w/ 3 kids But All I put into it was a waterpump after 4 years. It never left me stranded. I cannot say the same for the RRC I had for 4 months and was down as much as it was up. I've done lots of reading of FAQ but I'd like some real input

So my choices are:

2001 dodge durango 88k miles 4.7 (found many)

1996+ toyota 4runner stick shift only under 150K (???)

1994/95 toyota land cruiser

They all have pro's cons' the LC I had one and loved it. The durango, it's cheap @ $7500 easy to find parts ect. The 4runner is very popular and have yet to find one I can afford or that hasn't been rotted out.

Your thoughts??


Went through the same thing just over a year ago. I'm still here. :)

4runner is tighter than the 60 series cruiser, in my opinion. I have a full family with a wife and 4 kids under 11. Back seats are cramped for the 11 year old, but the middle row is fine. The slider windows make great 3rd row access for the little ones and the friends all think it's way cool. I installed a 3rd seatbelt in he 3rd row so I seat 8 and do so frequently. When older kids ride in the back they make it work without complaining, so it can't be too bad. It'll go anywhere, but gets lousy MPG. At current prices, a real consideration. I don't trust the Durango with all the recalls and repair history. They are also tighter than the 80 series. A 96 will have more power than your 60, night and day, but not as much freeway or off the line as the Durango. Drive them each and then make a call. These are just my opinions and I'm sure someone will disagree. Good luck!

I love my 80.
My opinion;

Durango is a gas Hog (I know, who you callin' a gas Hog, you 3FE 80 series lover), and the Tranny's are Crap. Fit and finish, use the same previous adj.

the 4 runner's are nice, but a tight fit for three kids, and they tend to be more expensive to purchase used, than the 80 series.

The 80 is the perfect everything vehicle. Great kid hauler, real tailgate to put the munchkins on for;

-lunch at the local park
-putting shoes on a Munchkin

The 80's are also excellent for;

-carrying assorted munchkins with friends to... you name it
-can carry three kids, AND 4 adults easily.

I vote for the 80 on this one.
My .02 on this, wait my .01 on this is, it depends. I have a 1993 80 with 179k mi and love the truck. I have owned it for about a month but refuse to take it out for long trips (1/2 hour +). The reason being that I am still trying to work through all the fluids and all the other stuff on it (PM) and I want to make sure everything that needs to be done on the truck is done. The previous owner didn't take care of it at all. My other truck is a 1997 V8 explorer, I use that as my DD. I know the capabilities of the explorer and know what maintainence work i have done to it and how reliable it has been for me. Currently everything is original (tranny/engine no rebuild) on the explorer and it has 174k mi on it. I have done all the PMs on that so I really have no issues with it.

Point being, I am not telling you to get an explorer. Simply, make sure that you are comfortable with knowing that someone may not have taken care of the truck that you are purchasing used. There are some people out there that can't even check the engine oil level/windshield washer fluid and will probably end up at the auto store asking for blinker fluid. Make sure everything is checked out with the truck before you purchase it and hopefully get some money off of your purchase.

For me PM is a must, I take really good care of my cars, matter of fact, I have owned a 1990 Chevy Caprice that I put 327,xxx miles (that's right) on the original engine/tranny without a rebuild. So, the car's depedability is what you make of it IMHO. You also have to have a good base to start off at. You can't expect a crappy engine to last you a long time with doing all the proper PM's. On the same note, you can't have a great engine and no PM and expect it to last you either.

You were saying you want something reliable, well you can't get more reliability than a LC. There are a bunch of threads on this website that are absolutely amazing (w/pics) that can show you what/how to check for things. Run a search and you will find what you are looking for. Browse through the FAQ (Romer has done a great job putting it together) and see the PMs that are on there. This web site is truly the greatest tool any LC owner could have.

I think for your needs, you will be a lot happier with the 80 than anything else with the family.

Lastly, you might want to check out slee's website regarding 80 series newbie guide. It goes step by step through body, electrical, drivetrain, and interior. Print out the list and take it with you and go through it when you go see the truck. Goodluck on your purchase hope my .01 helps.

80's Rock
Thanks guys, I agree this site is the best. I've been here a few years. Haveing the 62 for so long and knowing it was as reliable as a rock. It killed me to pass it along. I appreciate everyones input. I've been searching for the past few weeks and looking for issues to research much more research than what I did on my 62.

My choice would be another 62 with the 4/5 speed swap , but to keep the family together the boss indicated I needed to get some thing 1990's +. And I know I cannot afford someones built 62.

Plus the 80 is a little bigger than the 60's which is a plus and the seats fold in sections which when taking kids and long stuff is great..

No, I think I will be going back to a cruiser hopefully sooner than later.


Obviously you are going to get a biased crowd here.

Our family soccermobile is a red '96 FZJ80. My offroad toy is a moonglow '96 FZJ80. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Yes, count on going through and doing a baseline on the fluids, hoses, brakes, front axle rebuild, etc... What this baseline costs varies depending on who you ask. When I bought our 2nd '96 I counted on about $1,000 to base line it, and was pleasantly surprised to find out it had been dealer serviced with the exception of oil changes and coolant which had been done by corner oil change chains. Two oil changes, hoses and a complete coolant flush later and I'm pretty happy with it. All told about $150.
yer findin' many Durangos for a good reason...there's lots of people who want to get rid of theirs ;)

why not a 100 series?

the prices on them are coming down quite a bit...and most are going to be in better condition than (older) 80 series rigs.

just thought I'd throw something else into the mix...
I looked into the 100's but the 80's are still in my price comfort zone and I like the looks of the 80's better. Not that we couldn't afford a more pricey vehicle I'm just a tightwad.

This isn't our family's main vehicle we have the minivan for that, but's it's mine. If I had my say I'd have a 40 a 62 and a 3/4 burb for my needs. And rotate them as needed. :)

out of all of these all things equal I'd say the 80. What's the price though because if you are just using something to get from point a to point b go with the cheapest one of the bunch. No point paying for the great off road prowess of the 80 if you aren't going to use it. As a matter of fact I might even say find a large sedan or wagon to get better gas mileage at the same time. These 80's start to lick their lips when we pull into gas stations.
If I had my say I'd have a 40 a 62 and a 3/4 burb for my needs.

Yeah if I had my say i'd have my 80, my vette and a 3/4 ton 80's burb with the solid front and a 6bt swapped into it. :grinpimp:
Well, I need the 4wd. That's #1 I like to trailride which also is where I hunt. Alo Like the vehicles I drive. Part hobby part obsession.

Oh , you sound like my wife. :)

Go with the 80 then if you need the 4x4. 4 runners are way overpriced. the durango's are nice and cheap but might be a little tight with the kids
Oh , you sound like my wife. :)

your wife likes vettes and diesel suburbans too awesome :flipoff2:

yeah i think my girls why buy it if you don't need it is starting to influence me:doh:
My neighbour's 2001 Durango threw a couple of con rods, etc. after the oil pump failed (apparently a common problem here). I test drove one these when new and it seemed to wander like it had a mind of it's own.

Stick with the newest king of the road, Toyota.
so, do all head gaskets need to be relaced?

The 80 I'm looking at is a 94 w 160K and HeadGasket was never done. orig owners. I really need reliable vehicle at least for the next year to get my hunney of my rear. I know there are no sure things, but I don't want to be pulling a HG job 2 months into the vehicle.

I looked up the HG issue it looks like eveyone has done it. Are there any engines out there that haven't done/need it??? I'll be looking for leaks streaks and bubbles, anything lse I should do? maybe pull#6 SP??

Getting cold feet here.... "talk me down, man!" at the current situation, I'd be passing if I saw any HG issue even if it is a good deal.

wow, I need to post more I'vebeen here 4 years and havn't broke a 100 posts. :(

Tons of people, have not done the HG, they do not all need early replacement. I think my 93 w/200k had the original HG, as does my 96 LX. If you have the time/skill/money, it would be nice to do as preventative maint though.

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