Looking to buy my first 80 series, could use some opinions.

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So I'm in high school and have been wanting to get into the 80 series platform because I've been a fan for a while. I've been looking around for a few weeks now and have come across a lot but this one stuck out with the price($7500), miles(196, XXX), and cleanliness. In order to buy this car, id has to sell my 06' Subaru Legacy which is a great reliable daily and this LC would become my daily driver and only car. I'm wondering if it's really worth the risk of the maintenance cost, which I'm willing to wrench myself but being in high school is it worth the cost and possible headache of not knowing what I'm getting into to the full extent? The guy has it listed for $7500 OBO, and I received pictures of the undercarriage which does have rust, noting looking to be catastrophic, it's a 3-hour drive to go take a look in person so I'm wondering if this is just a possible bullet I should dodge now. He noted that it needs "a little TLC and it will be in daily condition"Any feedback is appreciated! View attachment 2895806View attachment 2895807View attachment 2895808View attachment 2895809View attachment 2895810View attachment 2895811View attachment 2895812
 

Ozark80

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Classic car? s*** my hdj81 is my second newest rig and my DD. I think maybe you're soft or projecting.


As a high school kid, no way I'd recommend one as a dd unless you have help with the bills.

My daughter's dd is a 66 f100 with a sbf but I pay for fuel and insurance.
I say "classic" loosely, for lack of a better word.

And what exactly am I projecting? Parts alone for these things can add up to $5k or more to get it up to snuff. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.

Besides, you literally repeated my sentiment in the second line of your post, be it high school student or someone without robust finances.
 

Ozark80

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Anyway one approach that could be taken on a very limited budget (i.e. high schooler) is to borrow however many thousands it takes to baseline a 25+ year old truck then pay that off over time. Beats a payment on a new car I guess?
 
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I say "classic" loosely, for lack of a better word.

And what exactly am I projecting? Parts alone for these things can add up to $5k or more to get it up to snuff. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.

Besides, you literally repeated my sentiment in the second line of your post, be it high school student or someone without robust finances.

I didn't repeat your sentiment.
These rigs are robust enough to drive while baselining. Almost every rig needs maintenance and having owned over 60 cars my lc is no more expensive to maintain than anything else.

My big gripe for a high school would be fuel. Where we live driving 30-40 miles a day is normal and at 10-12 a gallons and $4 a gallon that adds up.
 

Ozark80

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I didn't repeat your sentiment.
These rigs are robust enough to drive while baselining. Almost every rig needs maintenance and having owned over 60 cars my lc is no more expensive to maintain than anything else.

My big gripe for a high school would be fuel. Where we live driving 30-40 miles a day is normal and at 10-12 a gallons and $4 a gallon that adds up.
I’ve been driving mine for the last several months as is. Luckily I was keeping a close eye on fluid levels and caught some leaking heater hoses before they drained all my coolant.

As much as the little things add up, it does take a lot to actually stop these things from rolling down the road; there's only so many points of catastrophic failure.
 

clx16

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Worst decision i Made related to cars, was getting a car payment once. That was the most expensive vehicle I've ever had. Car payments are always just an addition to every other cost: tires, oil changes, replacing wearout parts, gas, insurance, and part failure issues. The cost is different if you live up north as you also have some winterizing costs that might just mean krown/fluid film etc, and snow tire changes etc. It is a double insult to pay so much for a vehicle, then have a car payment on top of that and the normal costs of ownership. Baring expensive German and British vehicles, i have not known many used cars to be more expensive than the cost of a car payment and a new/newer vehicle.

I work on all of my vehicles and always have, and I can't say that the 80 parts are that much more expensive for most of the regular parts: water pump, tie rod ends, etc,

Two old vehicles are more valuable to me than one new or a newish one that has a car payment.
 
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DD’ing mine for the last 2 years almost. Am a few grand into it baselining the cooling system and front knuckles, but that’s it. Felt lucky when I found my truck as it was well-bought - records, recent HG replacement, one owner family, and a decent deal. Gas mileage is horrendous, but you know this going in and that’s the price you pay for driving a tank. Chump change compared to knowing that the dipsh*ts on the LA freeways are just a little less of a threat in the event of an accident.

I wouldn’t hesitate to do this if you’re in HS, if you find a good example that’s been well-maintained and can handle the gas and insurance costs. Add it up and compare to your Subaru, then make the best decision for you.
 

Ozark80

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I feel like these things are almost too "reliable" for their own good. They were designed to put up with abuse, so people just stop bothering to maintain them with fresh fluids etc., and they keep chugging along in their semi-broken state, and then people are surprised when/if something catastrophic happens like a blown head gasket or thrown rod.
 
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I feel like these things are almost too "reliable" for their own good. They were designed to put up with abuse, so people just stop bothering to maintain them with fresh fluids etc., and they keep chugging along in their semi-broken state, and then people are surprised when/if something catastrophic happens like a blown head gasket or thrown rod.
Stop bothering and sometimes can't afford. Either way. It's not like, say, a modern BMW, which is designed to last through that 3 year / 36K mile lease with "lifetime fill" trans or gear oil... yikes.
 

Ozark80

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Stop bothering and sometimes can't afford. Either way. It's not like, say, a modern BMW, which is designed to last through that 3 year / 36K mile lease with "lifetime fill" trans or gear oil... yikes.
That's true that a newer BMW makes a Cruiser look like a horse drawn cart in terms of the ease of maintenance.

I never said the J80 was an unreliable vehicle. But many of them got severely neglected/abused over at least part of their lives (usually around the recession when they couldn't be given away), and some people buy them thinking they'll be indestructible, then get stuck with all the deferred maintenance. It sounds like you got a really well-cared for example when prices were still reasonable.

As I said they'll shrug off a lot of neglect and keep trucking but little things like brake boosters and steering pumps can add up quick when the OEM parts are so overbuilt and high-quality.

You have to pay to play for all that legendary overbuilt durability. For many would-be J80 owners, a 3rd gen 4runner or eve a Subaru would probably suffice, unless they actually need the full capabilities of the J80 platform for whatever reason. In any case, your heart definitely has to be in it to own one of these things.
 
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I never said the J80 was an unreliable vehicle. But many of them got severely neglected/abused over at least part of their lives (usually around the recession when they couldn't be given away), and some people buy them thinking they'll be indestructible, then get stuck with all the deferred maintenance.
This, and holds true with any other recently-desirable car/truck. They weren’t worth much back in the day, so they were ridden hard and put away wet. With interest (and values) on the rise, a “cheap” one likely still needs all that deferred maintenance handled. This is where n00bs get hosed...especially if relying on shop labor.

We were all n00bs once, though. Still consider myself one in lots of ways.
 

Irish Reiver

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Its not necessarily about neglected maintenance. The maintenance schedule in the FSM gives the inspection and replacement schedules based on miles/months. There are few, if any, preventative maintenance activities. The intervals between the maintenance activities is the same regardless of the vehicle age. However, as we all know, age plays a part. For example, the only cooling system maintenance activity is to change the coolant every 3 years or 72,000 Kms. There is nothing about checking the condition of the hoses or the heater valve or even the radiator. In fact almost 100% of the maintenance tasks are changing fluids, greasing etc.

Anecdotal evidence shows these vehicles were designed to operate for 20 years or 300,000 Kms with nothing more than routine maintenance. Well for some of us the 300,000 Kms is already a reality and for all of us the 20 years milestone was at least 5 years back. Every one of these vehicles need a full baseline - even the one that sold $80K on BAT last year with 4k miles on the clock. Rubber and plastic age - it just does. Most owners aren't mechanics and most oil change shops don't have mechanics so the the first time an owner knows he needs to change a part is when the vehicle makes a noise or no longer works. Even then it is likely that only 1 part is changed - 1 coolant hose that started leaking. The rest are obviously just fine because they are not leaking but it isn't long until the next hose fails or the radiator leaks and the owner starts thinking "WTF, time to get shot of this 25 year old POS". Then you come along....the PO made a decision to sell and not to be bothered with the maintenance list that will grow. When you buy it it is with the knowledge of what the PO did or didn't do. There should be no surprises on what is required going forward. Baselining should be done on a system basis (Cooling system, Fuel/Ignition system, Suspension system etc.) If you piecemeal it then you will always be chasing your tail and never more than one failed part away from a catastrophe.
A good baseline strategy will give you another 15-20 years of minimal maintenance and outstanding reliability and way less than a monthly car payment.
 

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