Looks like I made a purchase mistake and I need some advice

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Threads
63
Messages
348
Location
Santa fe, New Mexico
Greetings all,

So I need some thoughtful advice from you. And I am aware I should of had it inspected before I bought, but it is what it is, I have learned, and I’m trying to figure out what to do next.

After owning 60’s and 62’s for close to 17 years I decided to sell and get something more modern and safe for my growing family (wife, 5 year old, 6 month old). Also the age was starting to show and I am really not very handy with a wrench. Computers maybe, but not as handy as I’d like to be with a vehicle. Part of that is that I just don’t have any free time to do it anymore. It is what it is.

And yes, I know it is silly to be this way and want to drive old cruisers, but I love the darn things. And no, I am not rich:)

So this being what it is I hunted for a year for a good deal on either a Lexus LX470 or Toyota 100 series. Cause I love the look and feel of them. After a lot of looking I got what I thought was a good deal on a 99 LX470 with 154k and what sounded like a strong engine, only one small spot of rust on the tailgate, and immaculate interior with a working sunroof and everything electronic functioning great. The 4h to 4l shift was stiff as hell but I thought I could just lube that over the course of a few weeks and I’d be find. I checked out the undercarriage and other than a bit of rust here and there and a barely functional spare tire mechanism, it looked ok to my amateur eye.

I took it off roading, it ran great, I got that mechanism moved to 4Low and WOW. The differential lock came on and it was incredible. A great time. When I left I about killed myself getting it back to 4h but I was able to. I shot PB up into it the linkage and tried it again for a few days and it got harder every time.

I took it to Lexus. I paid for a thorough inspection. They said the differential is fine, just that I need to drop the transfer case and clean the 4h to 4l mechanism. Also that my shocks and struts need to be replaced (4K) and the front axel passenger side has a small leak (1700).

I say thank you and then take their list to my normal mechanic. He looks at the vehicle and says WOW. Sell this thing. It is too rusty. Any work he does on it will take so long in labor to free the rusted bolts it isn’t worth it and he does not want to work on it if he doesn’t have to. Ok. I’m in Santa Fe. Mechanics and builders are sort of notorious for not wanting difficult projects. Maybe that is it. He also said I have the start of a exhaust manifold leak (fairly common) but said my front passenger axel is fine.

So I think well, lets get another look. I take it to a really fancy spotlessly clean Toyota and Lexus place. At this point Ive filled up with 86 octane by mistake and the engine has a knock. I know:(

They say things similar to my normal mechanic. That they will work on it but everything is going to cost a fortune more for the labor and it isn’t worth it. Trade it in and buy something newer. Also the engine might be going out cause did you hear the knock.

So here I am. I own this outright and can afford to put 5-7 into it. Is that worth it? Are there mechanics in New Mexico willing to work on such things?

Or am I better off taking my losses and using the 5-7 as a nice down payment for a 2014 GX470 or 2017 4Runner TRD and just have a newish vehicle?

And I know I made some mistakes buying this thing. I got excited. What should I do wise board members?

Thank you for any input and ideas!
 
Your best spend is to put that cash towards a truck that suits your tolerance for maintanece , which would be a newer truck like the GX.

100 series that's 20 years old will be costly to own if you're paying some one to do the work.
 
I know nothing about 100s, but you need pics so people have something to look at and compare.
A video with sound of the motor running would help as well.
 
I agree with @abuck99, there are going to be things that come up. But before you trade it off, tell us more about the LX.

Post photos of the underside. 'Too rusty' is subjective based on whether you're talking with someone from the NE vs someone from the SW.

If the suspension/AHC is truly shot, most just scrap it and replace with conventional LC torsion bars/springs and shocks for a fraction of the cost.

The engine knock, I'm not sure what's going on there. Maybe post a video for us? You say it was fine until you topped it off with 86 octane? I've run my truck on 87 octane everyday for the past 5 years with no ill effects. Not sure whether 86 would cause detonation and engine damage.
 
Dude before you abandon ship a couple thoughts:
- shocks and struts are the same. Fronts aren’t that costly and if your ahc is shot just do the ahc removal and go with a 1000$ mild suspension kit. Now you can throw in bigger tires next time around and improve some of your off-road performance.
- find an independent mechanic who appreciates the vehicle and isn’t looking at you like a walking bank. Ive walked away from any mechanic that quibbles about a rusty bolt. I think of my
Mechanic as a consultant that knows the cruiser is part of the family.
- think of it long term...as long as the major engine drivetrain components are good (you mentioned you got it Inspected) and the frame isn’t going to fall apart (rust that has compromised frame integrity) think of each repair as “fixing it for the next 150,000 miles”.
- each repair just think add seals, gaskets, hoses, bolts to whatever part you replace. Camelback Toyota is your friend...and Kurt at cruiser fitters.

5-7k on a 2014 gx is cool but I wouldn’t trade my rusty 100 for a gx. Actually trying to get my wifey in a gx from a rx . With a gx Ur gonna have a payment on something that you want to off-road and you’ll have to have an expensive full coverage policy.
 
I’m in NM too!

Agree on post pictures of the rust, only one person said that, so that’s odd. It’s a 20 year old vehicle, but one that’s generally pretty solid. Unless it was up north it shouldn’t be too bad at 154k

If you have AHC you could ditch it for not too bad of a price. Might want to check ball joints and all that fun stuff. The knocking could be the exhaust manifold leak. Mine has a ticking sound from the exhaust manifold.

Also make sure the timing belt was done at least once before.

Always a bummer when your new toy causes issues, but it is 20 years old and it’ll likely be fine if you’re willing to keep up the maintenance (as long as the rust isn’t awful)
 
I say nonsense to the lazy mechanic that doesn't want to work on a rusty car (northeast person here) and to the dealer that wants to charge you $4K for shocks. Makes me downright angry TBH. @abuck99 makes a very reasonable point about the tolerance for maintenance. I do think its worthwhile to learn a bit of wrenching yourself. I was going broke paying people (and I have a good mechanic) and decided to invest the time to learn. Last night we did the rear shocks and springs for $472 in parts and 3 hours of time. And trust me, I don't know much.

I want you to know the joy of driving a 100.

If the engine knocking is really just an octane issue and the transfer case is really fine with a little cleaning, I can't imagine getting rid of it.

PS - Rust can be the mother of invention. My upper shock bolts were rusted as hell, so we cut the shock off with a sawzall. Easy peasy. :)
 
@Pucker5 "find an independent mechanic who appreciates the vehicle and isn’t looking at you like a walking bank. Ive walked away from any mechanic that quibbles about a rusty bolt. I think of my
Mechanic as a consultant that knows the cruiser is part of the family. "

Perfectly said!!
 
Last edited:
Also, you mentioned you have a wife and a new baby so if you keep it I would refrain from making it your wife’s daily driver for a while until you baseline some things. I proactively went about a year before I was comfortable letting my wife drive the car wherever she wanted with our 2 year because I lead slowly overhauling things like brake system, a/c, driveline, suspension, etc...like i said, for the next 150k miles.
 
4k for shocks? WOW! All 4 OEM shocks can be had for under $200.
 
I find getting into 4H from L can be tough. Sometimes shifting into park helps. You also don’t need Lo often in my experience crawling around unless it’s a steep section
 
Greetings all,

So I need some thoughtful advice from you. And I am aware I should of had it inspected before I bought, but it is what it is, I have learned, and I’m trying to figure out what to do next.

After owning 60’s and 62’s for close to 17 years I decided to sell and get something more modern and safe for my growing family (wife, 5 year old, 6 month old). Also the age was starting to show and I am really not very handy with a wrench. Computers maybe, but not as handy as I’d like to be with a vehicle. Part of that is that I just don’t have any free time to do it anymore. It is what it is.

And yes, I know it is silly to be this way and want to drive old cruisers, but I love the darn things. And no, I am not rich:)

So this being what it is I hunted for a year for a good deal on either a Lexus LX470 or Toyota 100 series. Cause I love the look and feel of them. After a lot of looking I got what I thought was a good deal on a 99 LX470 with 154k and what sounded like a strong engine, only one small spot of rust on the tailgate, and immaculate interior with a working sunroof and everything electronic functioning great. The 4h to 4l shift was stiff as hell but I thought I could just lube that over the course of a few weeks and I’d be find. I checked out the undercarriage and other than a bit of rust here and there and a barely functional spare tire mechanism, it looked ok to my amateur eye.

I took it off roading, it ran great, I got that mechanism moved to 4Low and WOW. The differential lock came on and it was incredible. A great time. When I left I about killed myself getting it back to 4h but I was able to. I shot PB up into it the linkage and tried it again for a few days and it got harder every time.

I took it to Lexus. I paid for a thorough inspection. They said the differential is fine, just that I need to drop the transfer case and clean the 4h to 4l mechanism. Also that my shocks and struts need to be replaced (4K) and the front axel passenger side has a small leak (1700).

I say thank you and then take their list to my normal mechanic. He looks at the vehicle and says WOW. Sell this thing. It is too rusty. Any work he does on it will take so long in labor to free the rusted bolts it isn’t worth it and he does not want to work on it if he doesn’t have to. Ok. I’m in Santa Fe. Mechanics and builders are sort of notorious for not wanting difficult projects. Maybe that is it. He also said I have the start of a exhaust manifold leak (fairly common) but said my front passenger axel is fine.

So I think well, lets get another look. I take it to a really fancy spotlessly clean Toyota and Lexus place. At this point Ive filled up with 86 octane by mistake and the engine has a knock. I know:(

They say things similar to my normal mechanic. That they will work on it but everything is going to cost a fortune more for the labor and it isn’t worth it. Trade it in and buy something newer. Also the engine might be going out cause did you hear the knock.

So here I am. I own this outright and can afford to put 5-7 into it. Is that worth it? Are there mechanics in New Mexico willing to work on such things?

Or am I better off taking my losses and using the 5-7 as a nice down payment for a 2014 GX470 or 2017 4Runner TRD and just have a newish vehicle?

And I know I made some mistakes buying this thing. I got excited. What should I do wise board members?

Thank you for any input and ideas!
If you love old Cruisers then you may feel even worse if you bail on this one and probably would want another again. 154K for this age of vehicle is a nice place to start. There is usually always something that will need to be done on a used purchase. Its great you posted up here about your scenario. I would start with just taking a breather. Enjoy the vehicle for a week. Just drive it. Give yourself some time to let the emotional dust settle. If you haven’t already, connect with a local Cruiser club. Educate yourself on everything 100 series. Baseline the vehicle and make a priority list. Regular maintenance items sometimes fix a lot. Bad shocks don’t strand you. Being stuck in low range on the trail would make it tough to get home. The knock you hear could be all kinds of things. Maybe it’s a loose bolt on the alternator hold down, a timing tensioner, or a little carbon in the engine and just needs to be driven on the highway. The nice thing about Cruisers is that a basic metric tool set goes a long way. I’ve seen some rusty bolts that didn’t look that bad that were and some I thought would break that didn’t. I’ve found a presoak of good penetrant a day or more ahead of time makes a big difference. I like an equal mix of ATF, acetone, and diesel. Sometimes slightly tightening before loosening can help too. You’ll probably feel better once you have figured out how to work through this whatever that looks like for you. And remember you have a good resource here.
 
If I had been paying someone to do all the deferred maintenance and other things that 20 year old vehicles need, I would have been better off buying a much newer vehicle.

That said, with basic tools, minor mechanical knowledge, and the help of this site... I've been able to do any kind of rehab that my LC has asked for. If you're apt to do it, its not crazy hard. I'm sure just about anyone can do it with the right instruction. But if that's not something you're willing to do, from a purely financial standpoint, it is hard to support the idea of owning any vehicle 20+ years old.
 
I wouldn't get rid of it until you post some pictures here and get feedback from people who,in many cases, will be able to provide honest feedback to help you make a decision.

A couple of things:
1) Your AHC is a mild cost to R&R if you go back to factory. If you want to reduce that portion, do like what other have said and consider a Non-AHC suspension system to swap in. <---there's a lot of options and information out there

2) The manifold leak is a common problem, if you're handy and have some time, you can swap a manifold. Just lots of penetrating oil several days before you start trying to pull any exhaust hardware

3) The knock is subjective until you are able to provide some extra input or a way that people from the interweb can hear it and help diagnose it. For 154K on the clock, I'd be surprised if it was something major.

4) The shifting from 4HI to 4Lo shouldn't be making you too worried yet. Start with the small stuff and work your way up. In most cases, you can pull linkage and clean up yourself. If it's driving fine in 4HI right now, leave it alone and focus on making it reliable.

5) Rust is subjective. Any mechanic that tells you to ditch a ride due to rust should have taken the time to get it on a lift, walk you out to the shop, and point out what they're referring to. I'm pretty surprised there would be any mention of rust concerns on a vehicle in NM. But, that doesn't mean it could have been on the beach or somewhere in the rust belt before you owned it.
 
It can be all bad, but it is probanly gpod and secure drivable and will keep driving like it is for at least 10 years with regular maintenance, and you will find better a more
helpable mechanics as you go.

Adjust your plans and budget during this time (maybe 10 years) to make the change when the right LC comes along.
 
What is too much rust according to this guy? Having bought a 100 in PA, I think they may not know. I was stoked to find one with as much or more rust than I suspect yours has. Wire wheel and converter goes pretty far cleaning it up and just soak bolts in PB blaster for a day before working on it.
I'll reiterate what was said about shocks. I bought OEM toyota fronts from a dealer on here, don't remember who, and they were $58/each then took me about 3 hours to replace both.
 
Been in New England all my life. Like said above rust is so subjective. I think people get it confused with rot. They still sale for a premium up here. Drive a GX and just compare pros/cons? I chose my LX just for the size alone. Rather have more room then none. AHC rarely leak. Possibly pressure is high and blowing past seals? Unless a line where it connects up top is leaking. Its paid for already. Bank that money you would pay for a note for maintenance. I'm being partial so keep it. Good luck and READ UP.......
 
If you can trade it/sell it for a fair amount and add $5-7k on top... that can put you in a pretty decent vehicle. If it's a 155k mile 100 that is behind on maintenance and repair it is going to cost some money to keep it functioning as designed. My 100 is fairly well kept 200k miles, but it seems like it constantly needs parts here and there due to age and wear.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom