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

mudgudgeon

Resident galah
SILVER Star
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
6,640
Location
Hanging on to the underside of the flerf
Just wish they didn't love gas Stations so much.

A work mate was quizzing me about my cruiser once. He asked "how's it go on fuel"
My response, "yeah, really good mate! It fúcken loves the stuff!"
Was not what he expected to hear
:lol:
 

Spdstr280Z

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
551
Location
Georgia
I've had my 80 for about 4 years now, most of that time it has been torn apart in the garage. I had a 3rd gen 4Runner for a decade before the 80. I joke that I bought a s*** box example of one of the most reliable vehicles ever built, then replaced everything on it. I have a different perspective maybe, and my approach between the 4Runner and the 80 has been 180 degrees different. I bought the 4Runner at 200K and drove it for another 120K with maybe $1500 in (non regular) maintenance and maybe another $1500 in mods over a decade. I tore in to the 80 and replaced so much of it because I pretty much plan to keep it forever. I didn't have to do 3/4 of what I did, but I did it because I wanted to. Either is a valid approach. Other than 80's, I am also in to Datsun / Nissan Z cars. Toyota Land Cruisers are a completely different world than most other manufacturers. Yes, I am scared of that discontinued parts thread, but I am also shocked what I can still buy for this thing. I have bought new window runs, interior plastics, pistons and bearings, screws, bolts, vents, seals and bearings from Toyota for a 30 year old truck ! Don't try that at Nissan or an American brand. The only real concerns I would have about getting in / back in to an 80 today is the state of the car market and anything that is seen as unique right now. The prices are up, and these are starting be be seen as classics. But, get a fair to decent truck with no rust if possible, buy anything major while it is still available, and drive it for another 30 years. That's my plan anyway. I do have another daily driver, and the 5th gen 4Runner (gone) and GX460 we have are super nice and capable, but they aren't 80's....

Jason
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
76
Location
MN, USA
the surprising availability of parts (both OEM and aftermarket), overwhelming amount of documentation & intense level of OCD nerdiness around here make it a very viable vehicle imo. the cost of ownership is like death by 1000 cuts, but that's all self inflicted in most cases.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
33
Location
CO
I guess it depends on your budget and what not. I have a heavily modified 2017 Tacoma that I bought for 35k and put 15k of mods into it. The 80 after full rebuild and restoration will be about 30k, then another 10-15k in mods. So I'm not sure it's cost effective, the 80 will be slightly more capable but the Tacoma is more comfortable.

Problem really is that most 80s for sale are high mileage or beat up so they all either require work initially or will be due for major maintenance soon.
 

Spdstr280Z

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
551
Location
Georgia
the surprising availability of parts (both OEM and aftermarket), overwhelming amount of documentation & intense level of OCD nerdiness around here make it a very viable vehicle imo. the cost of ownership is like death by 1000 cuts, but that's all self inflicted in most cases.

You are so not wrong....
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
1,287
Location
Toronto, NSW, Australia
Stick with non-IFS. If you don't like 80's get a 105 (not a 100). I think the 79's (the new ones) are solid axle all round still, but be prepared for 12 to 24 month wait and a $120k plus price tag (if buying from a Toyota dealer here in Oz).

Not many present-day 4wd/ute/pickup vehicles are going to last 30+ years like 80's 75's 60's do.
 

GW Nugget

Do the best you can with what you have...
GOLD Star
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Messages
3,673
Location
Coalinga, CA
Website
forum.ih8mud.com
Came to this a bit late, but as any older vehicle my motto is "Pay Now or Pay Later" Most rigs in good running order will cost about 20K/30K. Spend 20K plus for a car & drive it or spend 10K then put 10K in repairs as you go.
 

PNWTreeOctopus

GOLD Star
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,311
Location
Salish Sea
Stick with non-IFS. If you don't like 80's get a 105 (not a 100). I think the 79's (the new ones) are solid axle all round still, but be prepared for 12 to 24 month wait and a $120k plus price tag (if buying from a Toyota dealer here in Oz).

Not many present-day 4wd/ute/pickup vehicles are going to last 30+ years like 80's 75's 60's do.
As much as I love dreaming of Oz spec vehicles, I love dreaming of the tracks I could driven them on more! Gotta plan a 4WD holiday there before I’m dead.
 

ozarkmud

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
243
Location
PNW
Personally, I feel like for many, IFS is fine, but the 80 is still a solid rig.

Toyota had a weird sequence of events with its model lineup. First, they perfected a durable IFS with the mini-trucks. And I know that the torsion bar mini-truck IFS doesn't articulate as much as some, nor is as supple as some, but it is Toyota level durable, on par with the solid axles in my opinion, or at least close to it. The 3rd gen 4Runners were, overall, a notable step up in quality over the 1st/2nd gen 4Runners. They aren't as good on trails, being longer, but they're more comfortable, quieter, and I suspect more rust resistant. They also have the 5VZFE 3.4L V6 engine which tends to have a better reputation than the 3VZFE 3.0L V6, though I think the 3.0L is a bit over vilified and underrated. The mini-trucks / 1st/2nd gen 4Runners also came with the well regarded 22RE, but it is very anemic for a loaded down 4x4 vehicle. Fine for 2WD, though!

But with the 3rd gen 4Runner, which I think is a near perfect vehicle for many, they gave it their horribly designed lower ball joints that fail popping off. Absolutely terrible. Fine for most street drivers, but not suitable, in my opinion, for world travel. Whereas the mini-truck IFS should be more than fine.

The only vehicle that combined the mini-truck IFS with the 3.4L motor was the T100 for a couple of years. Which though underrated, is maybe a bit on the large side for trail use. It does sound like the 100 series Land Cruiser IFS might also be related to the mini-truck IFS as it uses a torsion bar, but I think it's a different system. The 100 series Land Cruiser is also larger yet, while adopting more questionable electronics.

Until driving the 80 series I thought that maybe a solid front axle is not great for daily driving. I now disagree, provided it's done as nicely as it is on a stock 80 series. Other than washboard, it really is supple and good on the road. Not as good handling as IFS, but the 80 series Land Cruiser, by my measure, is a very comfortable vehicle for what it is.
 

rdcnj

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
204
Location
NJ
I don't think there are many cars with the "vintage" label that are worth it financially.

I don't think that many people bought a/their 80 because they wanted a 'financially sound' project vehicle.

That being said, if you want to own an 80 at the least possible price... pay up for a clean example and start wrenching on what you can. Short of removing the drivetrain or heavy differential services, A LOT can be performed at home with some skill and patience. This forum is loaded with people that have a ton of skill and sometimes even more patience.

It really depends on what you're trying to achieve with your 80 and what other vehicle will help you achieve the same thing.

I originally bought it to have fun with my family, knowing my pocketbook was going to hate me.... but my family would love me.

Both have stood true and I still wont sell for as long as I don't have to.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
4,582
Location
Juneau, AK
...Not as good handling as IFS, but the 80 series Land Cruiser, by my measure, is a very comfortable vehicle for what it is.
Compared to a 1st or 2nd gen 4Runner, I believe the 80 series handles better. It's wider and heavier with about the same ground clearance.
An 80 seems fairly well planted on the road when cranking the wheel, more so than earlier 4x4 Toyotas.
I'm not sure my '90 4Runner gets any better MPG than the 80 either. The 3.0 is pretty bad!
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
124
Location
Taos, NM
Compared to a 1st or 2nd gen 4Runner, I believe the 80 series handles better. It's wider and heavier with about the same ground clearance.
An 80 seems fairly well planted on the road when cranking the wheel, more so than earlier 4x4 Toyotas.
I'm not sure my '90 4Runner gets any better MPG than the 80 either. The 3.0 is pretty bad!
I just bought a '96 triple-locked, lifted, built 80 series to replace my built '97 that was "totaled" when I ran into a guy driving across a freeway at a 90 degree angle to traffic. The new one was $21,500, with 180K miles, perfect interior, roof rack, bumpers, 35s, nice stereo, snorkel, sound deadening, etc etc.

One reason I got another 80 is that when I hit the side of the guy's car at 70, I didn't get a scratch. The 80 series I was in DID suffer some front-end damage, but the ARB bumper kept things from being much worse, and, the overall "tankness" of the 80 was a major plus. These kinds of collisions don't happen very often, but when they do, an 80 is about as safe a vehicle as you can drive.
 

ozarkmud

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
243
Location
PNW
Compared to a 1st or 2nd gen 4Runner, I believe the 80 series handles better. It's wider and heavier with about the same ground clearance.
An 80 seems fairly well planted on the road when cranking the wheel, more so than earlier 4x4 Toyotas.
I'm not sure my '90 4Runner gets any better MPG than the 80 either. The 3.0 is pretty bad!

My '90 4Runner might be a bit of an anomaly, but it feels downright sporty compared to the 80. It is definitely sharper handling, which can be good/bad, and part of it is definitely the weight. I have the same type of tire on both in practically the same size (one is a 17" 265, the other is a 16" 265), and live a ways down a gravel road that can get pretty rough. There is no contest on the washboard -- the 4Runner soaks it up much better. The 80 is not bad on the gravel road, but it simply has so much more unsprung weight that it's not going to handle as well. That said, the 4Runner does roll more in twisty turns and seems like it could use thicker swaybars.

My '90 4Runner has a 3.0 manual. It gets 17MPG, sometimes more. The 80 gets 13, maybe 14MPG at best.
 

PNWTreeOctopus

GOLD Star
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,311
Location
Salish Sea
I had a 89 4Runner 3.0 manual. I overlanded all over eastern Oregon in it before that was a thing…it was just exploring then. It was great when I was 20 and my girlfriend bounced all over the west….I think my body would find it less comfy now.

My 80 serves my needs better, especially with kids in the back. It also helps that it’s built to my needs/wants and I can spend some money on it. But at the end of the day it make me happy. That’s enough for an expensive rig that is impractical in most people’s eyes.
 

SaturnAscends

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
1,027
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Personally, I feel like for many, IFS is fine, but the 80 is still a solid rig.

Toyota had a weird sequence of events with its model lineup. First, they perfected a durable IFS with the mini-trucks. And I know that the torsion bar mini-truck IFS doesn't articulate as much as some, nor is as supple as some, but it is Toyota level durable, on par with the solid axles in my opinion, or at least close to it. The 3rd gen 4Runners were, overall, a notable step up in quality over the 1st/2nd gen 4Runners. They aren't as good on trails, being longer, but they're more comfortable, quieter, and I suspect more rust resistant. They also have the 5VZFE 3.4L V6 engine which tends to have a better reputation than the 3VZFE 3.0L V6, though I think the 3.0L is a bit over vilified and underrated. The mini-trucks / 1st/2nd gen 4Runners also came with the well regarded 22RE, but it is very anemic for a loaded down 4x4 vehicle. Fine for 2WD, though!

But with the 3rd gen 4Runner, which I think is a near perfect vehicle for many, they gave it their horribly designed lower ball joints that fail popping off. Absolutely terrible. Fine for most street drivers, but not suitable, in my opinion, for world travel. Whereas the mini-truck IFS should be more than fine.

The only vehicle that combined the mini-truck IFS with the 3.4L motor was the T100 for a couple of years. Which though underrated, is maybe a bit on the large side for trail use. It does sound like the 100 series Land Cruiser IFS might also be related to the mini-truck IFS as it uses a torsion bar, but I think it's a different system. The 100 series Land Cruiser is also larger yet, while adopting more questionable electronics.

Until driving the 80 series I thought that maybe a solid front axle is not great for daily driving. I now disagree, provided it's done as nicely as it is on a stock 80 series. Other than washboard, it really is supple and good on the road. Not as good handling as IFS, but the 80 series Land Cruiser, by my measure, is a very comfortable vehicle for what it is.
Yea I think the LBJ issue on the 2nd gen Toyota IFS was a result of an engineering shortcut going from torsion bars to a-arms that ended up putting continuous downward pressure on the ball joint. Even then they're usually ok if you change them every 60k-100k miles or so, depending on how hard you wheel it. AFAIK the 2nd gen Tacoma, 120 series, and FJC/4th gen 4runner all share a revised version of that IFS that had far greater reliability. I'm pretty sure the 100 series uses a separate torsion bar set-up.

And yea the IFS is more than enough for 99.99% of the situations most people would find themselves in. In fact I'd bet a GX470 with ATRAC would embarrass my old 80 series with open diffs off-road. IMO the solid axles are there more for long-term durability than off-road prowess. Despite the SFA the suspension didn't seem to have that much travel; I doubt it was much more than the 3rd gen Toyota IFS, and it was definitely less than an XJ or TJ.

It's not like the axles on the 80 series os infallible either; when used hard they can develop frame cracks around the steering box, studs can snap, and I've seen multiple reports of the front axle housing shearing off, I think at the pan-hard if I'm not mistaken. IIRC they foxed those issues on the 105 series though and it's still probably the best all-around set-up they ever made.
 
Last edited:

Dave 2000

Not all Land Rovers are useless!
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
4,452
Location
Spain
The 80 pretty much does everything it was designed for very well however, it has to be said there are problems that do show up, the head gasket failures on the petrol versions for example. Could that be a result of continuously running hot for example regardless of why this the case? The early diesels had big end bearing issues, once changed there were no further issues, but like anything built there will always be something to go wrong.

But my point is ill thought out modifications cause way more problems than anything else for example, broken/twisted sector shafts, cracks around steering box mounts, the aforementioned axle cases and even bent axles. Apart from rust in the box sections in the older models the majority of other failures are from suspension changes, huge lifts without getting the geometry right, fitment of oversized wheels and tyres which also reduces the effect of the brakes, which then brings out cries of how bad the brakes are, and of course pure abuse.

Unfortunately, the above is not what those who have modified their vehicles without professional input wants to hear, sadly though it is a fact.

My 80 is pretty much stock in the wheel/tyre/suspension department, in fact not even a lift but it is loaded to the actual weight limit when I leave the tarmac, and it drives fine loaded or otherwise. If I were to change anything it would be a very small lift perhaps 2" just to give the 80 a little more ground clearance when fully loaded.

Without wanting to sound clever or cocky, I have broken with over 10 years on/off road.......well actually nothing, I had a worn bush on one of the rear trailing arms, I replaced both arms complete as they were heavier and came complete with bushes (incidentally not clocked correctly so corrected by yours truly, so in my opinion this speaks volumes for the original design.

Regards

Dave
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Thousand Oaks, CA
My wife and I had wanted a Land Cruiser for some time, and I really liked everything about the 80 series. We found a 1996 last February that looked good and bought it, knowing it would need some work. Great vehicle that has receivedmuch of the catch-up on deferred maintenance discussed in this thread, including a head gasket / top end rebuild, all hose and gasket replaced, new suspension, etc. We knew we would spend additional funds to bring it back to bullet-proof. My wife loves the vehicle and now has a 3X Land Cruiser to run to Costco and the grocery store! Hard to get the keys out of her hands!

I also wanted a solid axle Land Cruiser because I was not spending enough already on my great condition solid axle 1991 Chevy Suburban V2500! I have had that one since 1999, and as an avid fly fisher, hunter and outdoors person, have used that capable vehicle in some very interesting areas and tight spots.
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2014
Messages
143
Location
USA
You'll get a bunch of opinions with a question like that (been discussed in the past, a lot), but here's some quick observations:

The cost of ownership is too much if you have to pay someone to work on it versus what some people might think is a pain in the arse if you do all the work yourself.

Most people who pick up an 80 series, all of which are now 25+ years old, spend at least a few thousand to bring them back into reliable working order.

Some of us with LC OCD spend more to bring them (or some systems/components) back to factory new condition.

And then add the poor gas mileage.

Some people who own both a FZJ80 for example and a 100 series say the 100 series (or LX470) is better for long trips with the family, more comfortable, and more power with less strain.

As mentioned above, once you've owned an 80 series you might not want to drive anything else.

They are getting older (obviously) so more components begin to fail and parts are being discontinued by Toyota,. At some point that will become an issue.

So it's kinda like if you ask the question then 80 ownership may not be for you.
This is all you need to know OP. If you're not willing to do the work / maintenance / repairs yourself, it's honestly not really worth it. But if you've got deep pockets, it is 100% worth it regardless. Find yourself a rust free triple locked 80 series under 10k, then do all the work yourself and you've got yourself a killer capable rig that you can be truly proud of.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom