Is an 80 Series still a viable/cost-effective option on a reasonable budget vs. IFS trucks?

SaturnAscends

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Also, can't this question be asked of any Land Cruiser? Toyota probably thought Land Cruisers were no longer economically viable, that's why they stopped making them for the U.S. There's an interesting rant on YouTube from a guy who remarks about throw away culture in the U.S.and the view that vehicles are now appliances to many people. Surely some people see a Land Cruiser as just another SUV (probably more so for 80, 100, and 200 series), but it's also very rewarding to keep older vehicles in good condition for personal use.
This is a good point; durability no longer seems to be valued by the majority of the public when it comes to a vehicle.

After all, Volvo and MB no longer make anything like the old 200 series or the W124 wagons, respectively.
 
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It's absolutely viable. I LOVE it when people tell me they love my 4Runner or my Land Rover!

It's paid for.

Working on mechanical things is my therapy.

I like old stuff better than new stuff.

I don't let other people work on my stuff. (except body work and automatic transmissions)

If you're asking these questions if it's viable, then NO! It's not viable for YOU.

Stop right now. You've already sold your 80, so you're out of the club. Pick up your toys and go home.
You said exactly what I would have said👍
 

cruiserdan

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I've held onto my 80 (original owner) for 30 years. I have done so because I have never been able to find another vehicle that can remotely come close to replacing it. This is on many levels. Initial build quality, performance both on and off road, comfort, visibility, traction, dependability, durability... I could go on for a very long time.

There isn't a single currently produced vehicle out there that I would consider replacing it with, other than a Ram TRX. And only because I was a Mopar guy before I became a Toyota guy. 700+ horsepower doesn't hurt either.
 

cruiserdan

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Equally overbuilt? Try a Unimog, I guess. 🤷‍♂️

No, not really. Try driving a Unimog 600 miles at 80 miles an hour on your way to the trailhead.
 
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I'd seen various posts lately warning against buying one at their current prices and at their current age

That's usually because the person asking is wishy-washy and clearly expects new car performance and reliability out of an old Land Cruiser. I would never advise an old LC for some noob with no mechanical skills and an overstressed wallet.

It's exacerbated by the recent explosion in prices. Everyone sees a BAT listing for a decked-out "overlander" (i.e. car camping) and thinks their rusted-out 3FE that "ran when parked" is worth a fortune. It's like the muscle car boom when all the Baby Boomers had enough spending money after the kids moved out.
 
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They are all 25 years old. So let's say you buy a 80. You want it to be safe and reliable. So first you tackle the brakes. At 25 years old you will need pads and rotors front and rear, brake caliper hardware, all new brake hoses, LSPV, lspv arm bushing kit, brake master, and brake booster. At that point youve not addressed leaky window seals and the rust forming under the seals, or the suspension, fuel system, cooling system, oil leaks, wiring issues, interior issues, inoperable power windows, steering system, birfields and wheel bearings, ignition system, fuel system, and...cup holders. They are rugged but time and miles still takes its toll.
 
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OP - you’ll get as many opinions as folks who care to share, in spite of that here’s mine, and it applies to any classic car / rig.

Spend a little more to get one in good physical shape. Body work is expensive and specialized. If you can’t / won’t wrench on it yourself, it’ll cost way more. If you are real worried about cost, it’s probably not the rig for you. You will probably also ignore this part. Your wife / significant other will be frustrated about all the time in the garage / money spent. Be ready for that too. If it’s me, I would skip the 3x locked for a DD. Parts are a little harder but nowhere near impossible or impractical to find for the stuff most likely to break. Everything else you can find used. Usually.

It is the most capable vehicle ever built, but only if you take care of it, and then it’ll take care of you. Ignore this part at your peril.

Above all, enjoy the journey. It’s frustrating, expensive, but rewarding. Burn the boats if you go for it. No shame in not.

EDIT - to answer your question, as compared to an IFS truck, an 80 is more expensive but more capable and rugged. By the time you mod out an IFS rig to match an 80, you’ve saved a little money maybe but still out the “it” factor of an 80. I got into a 1997 3rd gen 4Runner after my 80 and hated it so bad I sold it at a loss, even though it was miles ahead of the 80 in terms of gas mileage and “comfort.” Just working on it, you could tell it wasn’t as well-built and that bothered the sh*t out of me. It was an emotional decision for sure but one I don’t regret.
 
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Some real solid advice/wisdom shared in this thread already. I certainly think a 80 series is still a viable option today. I even like the stock engine. I think they are very simple trucks to wrench on and require routine maintenance to stay running reliably but at the same time they are very durable. Once you actually get under the hood and start wrenching on it you will realize how simple a lot of the work actually is. It’s just a matter of learning a thing or two and being okay with getting your hands dirty. Every time I hop in my 80 or any of my LC’s it puts a big smile of my face and my kid’s faces. They have come to love them and consider them apart of the family. My youngest even named them. To me that makes it all worth it…YMMV..
 
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Just wanted to add my .02. The 80 series is what introduced me to the Cruiser world & my local Cruiser club. I bought it out of necessity and its what i could afford at the time. Its hauled my wife and pups all over the southeast and it even got us out to Colorado and back. I've thought about selling it for a nicer cruiser countless times but i never do.
We have made countless memories with it in our 2 1/2 years of ownership. Its only failed to start once (faulty distributor) and the rest of the time it has graciously allowed me to address its upkeep at my own pace. I barely knew how to change a tire when i bought it. Its 25 years old, its slow and gets awful gas mileage AND its not the most comfortable BUT the sheer amount of joy it has brought makes it worth it. Does owning one of these make sense? To some people no, but to those who recognize these trucks for what they are, relics with a soul it is absolutely worth it.
 
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I just bought a 97. These are for people that are into cars. If you aren't a "car guy" it's gonna suck. If its not romantic and painful I'm generally not interested in it and bored quickly. Nerding out on details is a lot of fun and the amount of enthusiast attached to these as well as 3rd party support is huge. I will let you know when I purchase a car because its "viable" but don't hold your breath.
 
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You should have heard the awkward silence when my in-laws heard about a trip me and my wife planned to Death Valley last year. There was much doubt from them with just driving from Alabama to Death Valley and not being sick of each other. Let alone the fact that we were going to be driving the 26 year old 80.
It was a huge accomplishment to come back home with not a single problem from the cruiser. Memories were made and probably the best trip I’ve ever been on. By far the cheapest 10 day vacation I’ve ever been on. Being able to tell people you tackled many miles of desert roads while being 2000 miles from home in a 26 year old Lane Cruiser is worth the cost of ownership.
 
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You should have heard the awkward silence when my in-laws heard about a trip me and my wife planned to Death Valley last year. There was much doubt from them with just driving from Alabama to Death Valley and not being sick of each other. Let alone the fact that we were going to be driving the 26 year old 80.
It was a huge accomplishment to come back home with not a single problem from the cruiser. Memories were made and probably the best trip I’ve ever been on. By far the cheapest 10 day vacation I’ve ever been on. Being able to tell people you tackled many miles of desert roads while being 2000 miles from home in a 26 year old Lane Cruiser is worth the cost of ownership.
I feel much safer in my 95 Cruiser than in my wifes Calais which is a 2016 model

yeah it doesnt have all the fancy bells n whistles of newer cars but even my wife says the 'truck', as its affectionately known in our home always brings us back home safe n sound. its a bit of a lazy bugger though as it sleeps mon-fri and comes out to play on the weekend
 
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mudgudgeon

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Dave 2000

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The point being missed by the OP is that the price of EVERYTHING has gone up. The cheese sandwich where you fill up with fuel to the charge at the toll booth to a new engine and of course labour charges in any business regardless if it's a vehicle workshop or for a plumber, the 80 is not immune to that.

The 80 is a tough vehicle but not without its flaws, but a repair to for example the well known head gasket on the 80 might be expensive, but done properly will not blow again in the next 15 or 20 years or more? This is where the 80 shows it's strength, it is old technology but built tough, any repair will go on to give years of service.

If you are not mechanically minded or super car savvy, then take someone with you to the potential sale of a tidy example, but that person should know 80's inside and out. They can look in the right places, they can give you a good idea of the cost of something that looks a little awry, factor that in the final price. I am a mechanic by trade, and found my 80 about 12 years ago, it needed 2 new batteries, and second gear (manual) had synchomesh issues, paintwork was in need of tidying up I'm places and a couple of other minor problems. Costs so far was failure of the transfer box, but knowing the gearbox had issues I replaced both with stripped and inspected second hand units. All other cost are due to me changing stuff and of course regular maintenance suited to what I do with the vehicle.

Sorry for the long post but you need to be really (and I mean really), informed to make the best decision on which way to go.

Regards

Dave
 
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I just bought a 97. These are for people that are into cars. If you aren't a "car guy" it's gonna suck. If its not romantic and painful I'm generally not interested in it and bored quickly. Nerding out on details is a lot of fun and the amount of enthusiast attached to these as well as 3rd party support is huge. I will let you know when I purchase a car because its "viable" but don't hold your breath.
I started with
I just bought a 97. These are for people that are into cars. If you aren't a "car guy" it's gonna suck. If its not romantic and painful I'm generally not interested in it and bored quickly. Nerding out on details is a lot of fun and the amount of enthusiast attached to these as well as 3rd party support is huge. I will let you know when I purchase a car because its "viable" but don't hold your breath.
This is pretty much my story.
I started with a new '19 (200 series).
Then wanted a worthy project. Result? I've got a "back in time" new 80 series. Love both my beasts.
Just wish they didn't love gas Stations so much.
 

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