Need advice: Potential purchase (1 Viewer)

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All,

I have first right of refusal on a 90k mile 80 series. The current owner has had it for 4 years and said he's put about 100 miles on it since then. It's been garage kept so the paint, frame, and leather are in better condition than just about any other one I've seen . Given that it's been dormant for so long, would you pass on buying it? I know rubber items are a general concern, but is there anything specific I should look for or be concerned about with the 1FZ?

Provided the vehicle starts and idles fine, should I just budget for a full fluid flush, new tires, hoses, and seals? I plan on getting a PPI done later this week - is there anything particular I should ask them to look at? The battery has been removed while it sits, so I'm going to have to request the owner put 50ish miles on it before taking it in just to give the computer enough time to throw any codes.

Thanks!
 
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The owner tells me inside mostly - he has quite a few other cars so I believe he bought this with the intention of tucking it away and cashing out down the road after values go up (now). Given the low mileage (and lockers) you could argue it should have a premium price, but I feel this is countered by it sitting (we're not talking about a 300SL or 959 where it's perfectly acceptable for an old car to have like 2000 miles).

It's a 1996 - any thoughts on fair price assuming there are no major red flags found in the PPI?
 
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Pass, then tell me where it's located.

;)

Between 10k (super deal if in good shape)-20k+ (might be too much if it has issues),
All depends on condition, location, and what the seller wants for it.
 

clx16

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Starting an engine that has sat that long makes me nervous. I personally wouldn't ask someone to start it and run it. I would go see it. Stick a camera through the spark plugs and see how dry the piston walls are and if there is rust. If it isn't rusty then i would spray that fogger lube in each one. Then i would drain and put new oil in it to drain out any condensation and let oil run over the cams back down the engine. After checking other fluids i would then crank it with the center plug on the destributor disconnected and see how the oil pressure looks before starting it up.

Then start it. Remember the gas tank may have bad gas in it so taking some has might be a good idea. Might even suck out the old and put in some fresh.

If it runs well take it on a 50 mile test drive if you want and buy it.

That's my thoughts on it. Any used vehicle of any age will need some things replaced.
 

cvenom96

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I'd much rather deal with replacing rubber than rust so if no rust it's whatever you're willing to pay. @clx16 it could be also that it was started weekly or just driven around the block during that 4 years so it's possible it's fine. I'd be curious to know if that was the case or not. Everything else people suggested is a good idea. Fresh fluid, replace rubber, etc. It's low miles for a cruiser but you should still plan on baselining it.
 

brettk

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Rubber hoses aren’t terrible to replace, If anything I would expect valve stem seals to be shot and for it to use a little bit of oil until you get start thinking about doing a head gasket.
 
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Everyone: thanks for your input!

kernal and musthave - It lived in southern CA for the first 20 years of its life and even has the original untorn leather on the front seats.

clx and cvenom - unfortunately he pulled it out of the garage to take pictures so it's already been started. I'm hoping he turned it on and let it at least idle every so often. He has another 80 series so it gives me a bit of reassurance that he's an enthusiast and probably wanted to take care of it.

Brettk- great thought around valve stem seals, that's probably one of the more expensive 'worst case scenarios'.

tacocat - LOL, I really love Toyotas because 99% of the time they're not money pits like other brands, so I'd really like it to be the case for this one too.
 
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Everyone: thanks for your input!

kernal and musthave - It lived in southern CA for the first 20 years of its life and even has the original untorn leather on the front seats.



clx and cvenom - unfortunately he pulled it out of the garage to take pictures so it's already been started. I'm hoping he turned it on and let it at least idle every so often. He has another 80 series so it gives me a bit of reassurance that he's an enthusiast and probably wanted to take care of it.

Brettk- great thought around valve stem seals, that's probably one of the more expensive 'worst case scenarios'.

tacocat - LOL, I really love Toyotas because 99% of the time they're not money pits like other brands, so I'd really like it to be the case for this one too.

That’s a funny one 😆 Toyota’s are not money pits.
 
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@MickeyB

Depends on how you define money pit I guess. Sure you can spend a lot of $$ on a Toyota but if you are aiming at going back to OE specifications then you typically only spend that $$ a single time at relatively infrequent intervals. Compare that to some autos that are more exotic or less reliable and you'll not only spend way more money for parts but you'll also need to replace parts more often. Have you ever priced service items on something like a Ferrari for instance? Ever worked through a restoration on a Mercedes? Conversely have you ever kept something like an antique VW bus road worthy? Those are more money pits in my opinion because parts are either very expensive or they need service more frequently, or both. I don't have first hand experience with too many money pits but I've owned a few and even though an 80 is somewhat complicated parts are on the lower end of the price spectrum and reliability is very high relative to most alternatives.

Now, if you go all in on non-stock upgrades and break things rock crawling every weekend then sure, an 80 can be a very expensive hobby worthy of the title "money pit" but I don't think the term is accurately applied for more moderate and stock use cases for any Land Cruiser.
 
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@MickeyB

Depends on how you define money pit I guess. Sure you can spend a lot of $$ on a Toyota but if you are aiming at going back to OE specifications then you typically only spend that $$ a single time at relatively infrequent intervals. Compare that to some autos that are more exotic or less reliable and you'll not only spend way more money for parts but you'll also need to replace parts more often. Have you ever priced service items on something like a Ferrari for instance? Ever worked through a restoration on a Mercedes? Conversely have you ever kept something like an antique VW bus road worthy? Those are more money pits in my opinion because parts are either very expensive or they need service more frequently, or both. I don't have first hand experience with too many money pits but I've owned a few and even though an 80 is somewhat complicated parts are on the lower end of the price spectrum and reliability is very high relative to those that I've owned.

Now, if you go all in on non-stock upgrades and break things rock crawling every weekend then sure, an 80 can be a very expensive hobby worthy of the title "money pit" but I don't think the term is accurately applied for more moderate and stock use cases for any Land Cruiser.

Generally speaking the majority vehicles are a depreciating asset. In most cases you will lose money and not see a return on what you put into the vehicle. To say otherwise is wishful thinking. Why do you think the majority of insurance companies will not a write a policy for more than the blue book on these. You can go the classic car route but your going to be paying a premium and have a limited amount of miles you can drive.
 
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The owner tells me inside mostly - he has quite a few other cars so I believe he bought this with the intention of tucking it away and cashing out down the road after values go up (now). Given the low mileage (and lockers) you could argue it should have a premium price, but I feel this is countered by it sitting (we're not talking about a 300SL or 959 where it's perfectly acceptable for an old car to have like 2000 miles).

It's a 1996 - any thoughts on fair price assuming there are no major red flags found in the PPI?

Would have to see pictures and get more info to determine fair price. For some reason people think their gonna get a deal like Joe Dirt, where some lady sells you a crazy expensive car at a cheap price. At the end of the day most people are only gonna go down 2-3k on the high end from asking price. Based on what you have said price is probably high and owner is wanting a premium considering the condition. Unless you have other LCs that you can buy and compare to you don’t have much leverage.
 
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Generally speaking the majority vehicles are a depreciating asset. In most cases you will lose money and not see a return on what you put into the vehicle. To say otherwise is wishful thinking. Why do you think the majority of insurance companies will not a write a policy for more than the blue book on these. You can go the classic car route but your going to be paying a premium and have a limited amount of miles you can drive.

I agree with what you are saying here but want to point out, to balance the conversation, that I think you are omitting other sources of value that vehicles can provide beyond just low costs of ownership and high resale values. Also, to clarify my "money pit" response was not a commentary on appreciation or depreciation.

Your responses are likely appropriate in this thread given that the original poster is asking about a higher value, lower mileage 80 but I push back against the broad application of the "money pit" label from the perspective of someone buying an 80 as their main vehicle when they also know how to care and feed for it either by doing most/all of the work themselves or at least through a trustworthy/reliable mechanic. For someone like myself the 80 is a fun hobby, it meets all of my transportation needs and it's also likely worth more than I've put into it at this point. For others that paid more upfront, have paid for lots of repair labor and don't get much extra enjoyment out of owning an 80 they may have been better off buying a newer SUV. All of us 80 owners though, compared to buying a brand-new, similar SUV may be ahead financially depending on how you calculate it. $70k would be easy to spend in pursuit of a new instance of a similar vehicle so spending $20 or $30k plus some thousands in repairs on an 80 is not that bad if you get years of use out of it from there. Insurance, taxes, etc. are also less though I agree that the insurance situation is not ideal and that most of us 80 drivers are assuming extra risk in that area.

All of that said I never recommend older cars to anyone that asks about them and who is also considering a newer alternative, even though I've always drive 20 to 50+ year old autos myself. Basically, if you have to ask then it's probably not the right option for you. By the time you know what to look for, how to care for it and what you are getting yourself into then you don't need to ask if it's a good deal or if you should buy it unless you are just doing market research which may be the case of the original poster in this thread. Regarding the low mileage 80 in this thread though I say that if you have the money, a sense of what you are buying and really want it then go for it. MickeyB is right though and you shouldn't buy it just because you think it will appreciate in value since it may, or may not, do that and even if it appreciates the cost of ownership may be higher than any appreciation you see.
 
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Allow me to clarify my money pit comment. I did not mean it in the true sense of throwing money down the drain, but rather having to shell out a lot of money after purchase to get it up to snuff. $3-$5k in maintenance is OK, but $10-$15k would hurt. Should I mentally prepare for $X? This is not an investment play, but I want to make sure I'm not walking into a situation where I clearly would have been better off buying a different one.

Seller is asking $25k for the vehicle so I want to get a gauge on if that's a reasonable price. Or perhaps since price is relative, allow me to pose the question as:

If you had $25k to spend, would you do it or look for another?

I realize we're speculating on maintenance issues at this point, but it would just be a bummer to pay full price and then end up with high dollar deferred maintenance items.

For additional context, I have another Toyota from the 90s that runs like a clock that I wouldn't hesitate to drive across the country, so I'm a huge believer in their cars from that era and Toyotas in general. While any future appreciation would be nice, I plan on keeping this vehicle for years and years to come and enjoying it and taking pride in it along the way. My intent is to keep it stock and use OEM parts - at this point the biggest mod I plan on doing is larger tires and maybe a stock height OME kit if the current suspension is shot. I'm somewhat competent with a wrench but would defer to paying a mechanic for larger jobs in cases where the head needed to be pulled or transmission rebuilt (valve cover gasket, fuel pump, etc. I can do).

My intent of the original post was to understand if it being very lightly used for 5 years was a red flag where I should abandon the vehicle altogether or dramatically reduce the purchase price. From the comments above, I don't think that's the case yet which gives me hope that this could be the one. I'll be sure to update you guys once I have more information.
 
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Sounds like you understand what you may be getting yourself into here pretty well. In my opinion the best way forward is for you is to focus on:
  1. inspect the 80 in question in greater detail, possibly getting/sharing photos and details here on this thread
  2. spend what time you can learning about the 80 series common maintenance and repair items here on mud
At $25k for a vehicle this old I think that the seller should allow thorough inspection by the buyer. At a lower sales point I get a seller not wanting you to waste their time but hopefully this seller will be willing to tell you more of it's history and let you really look it over. I'd look particularly closely for rust as it's a deal breaker for anything other than a trail beater in my book. Beyond that there is only so much you can do but my inspections would include:
  • looking for signs of bodywork, repainting, crash damage, paint failure, etc. This can be hard to spot but close/careful examination in good light could turn something up that could really bug you later on.
  • looking for loose steering components/wheel bearings/suspension components. at this age you will likely have to go through all of these systems over the next year or two regardless but if any are really bad now they may point to larger wear/damage problems or neglected maintenance. i'd lift each wheel one at a time and shake it for looseness, I'd also have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth with the front tires on the ground and inspect the whole steering system for loose joints/etc.
  • looking at fluids for cleanliness/freshness. I'd expect dark brake fluid and oils since it's sat so much but smell/inspect them all as you can sometimes catch worse issues here though you likely won't I'd guess
  • adding up all of the fixes you can including est. related time/costs. This may include new tires, full brake service/component replacement, front axle rebuild, hose replacement, suspension bushing replacement, door/window rubber replacements, etc. etc. Some of these may be a relevant bargaining chip to discount the price and cover the expenses.
  • carefully listen to it idling/revving while stationary. turn the wheel while doing this also to listen for power steering pump noise
  • noting all leaks roughly. I'm sure it's got a few at least
  • A driving test that includes low/moderate speeds with windows open and closed to listen for driveline noises/etc. and also a run at highway speeds, ideally including rough surfaces and turns, that can help you get a feel for how much it wanders or how well it tracks/etc. Hard braking on gravel/loose surface to test abs as well as a hard brake on pavement to see if tires lock up would be informative...
  • noting how quickly the windows roll up and down but expect them to need attention
  • etc. etc.
Personally I'm not going to spend $25k on an 80 if it's not able to run through the above test due to availability or condition. I may buy it even with shortcomings in multiple areas because I have a good idea what they all require to fix but you may need to research any problem areas before you buy and running through the above can help you identify a lot of common problems. I may not scrutinize a less expensive 80 as closely but I want as much information as I can get about the current condition of any car before I buy it because I want to know how much work I'm in for more than I want the information to set the price. The price is often only loosely connected to the condition of the vehicle in question but if you want it to perform reliably you'll have to address any issues once you are the owner.

If you read on mud you'll see a lot of repairs being covered repeatedly. Head Gasket replacements, brake servicing and front axle rebuilds are pretty prominent. Suspension bushing, steering/handling and water leaks are also pretty common topics of discussion. Dig around in the forum and you can start to distill a list of common issues, what they often require to fix them and these can be a great guide during your inspection. The buyer inspection/checklists and videos can also be a great help.

If you had $25k to spend, would you do it or look for another?

Only if I really wanted this particular 80 as regards color/accessories/mileage/etc. otherwise I probably wouldn't pay extra for low miles and instead would be looking for something with more current/better service history and/or color/accessories/etc. that match exactly what I was looking for. There are enough of these out there to shop around and find what you want. I think it's important to find one that you are excited about, whatever that means, as that will make the maintenance/repairs fun vs. drudgery. If this one inspects well and is useable, or close to useable as it sits then I'd probably pay the $25k if it was also exactly the 80 I wanted to caretake for the indefinite future.
 

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