New here and help deciding...

Joined
Apr 9, 2008
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Location
Calgary, AB
Hi All,
I am new to this forum, just signed up recently. Been lurking here for a while and found a wealth of info (and a bunch of great people
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)

I am writing from Calgary and highly considering buying a '93 Hilux Surf. I just test drove the car today and it is in good condition considering its age.

The price seems right I even tweaked it down to C$6500, the condition is good and the salesman seems honest (well, they always do until you drive off the lot!), they are AMVIC registered, so no "curbers". What scares me is any hidden surprises that maybe lurking underneath without me knowing. This is where experience with this model comes into play. I would very much appreciate your opinions on this and providing me with any key things to check for before the purchase. Any failure-prone items or nags that shows up frequently with this model. Stuff like that..

I chose the Hilux Surf since the 4Runner is widely available here so many parts maybe common. But what do you guys do for engine parts and other items that maybe specific to the Surf?
Also, do you recommend any shops in Calgary who are familiar with JDM service while charging reasonable prices? I am a hobbyist mechanic myself restoring two collector cars, so I can probably do most items myself, but not familiar with diesels at all.

Cheers..
Ahmed

Calgary, AB - Canada
 
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Ashland, OR
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www.jeffersonstatecruisers.com
Great people? :D Where? Hehe Welcome to Mud Ahmed!! :flipoff2: <- Mud salute.

Check out the tailgate real good, that and the rear wheel wells are prone to rust on the 93 Surf/4Runner.

Just about anything you need can be had through the dealer, but don't expect it to be fast or cheap... Always check with CruiserDan (Here on Mud) He's a Dealer parts guy and gives Mud members a discount and ships to your door, although I've hear horror stories about the Canadian customs/importation fees.... CDan is in New Mexico I think.

Hope to see you around more, and I hope we'll get to see some pics of your Surf (Whether you get it or not...) :D
 
Joined
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Messages
58
Location
Calgary, AB
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
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Location
Calgary, AB
I heard that the cylinder head goes quite often on these trucks. Is that true? Is there anyway to check that in-situ (maybe look for water in the oil or vice versa)?
 

DanS HJ-45

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Dumont, CO
Thanks for the heads up Jerod!

Welcome :flipoff2:

I'd go with the LN130 Surf over the 3.0 4-runner any day of the week.

Here's why: both have basically the lamest engines Toyota ever made. The 3.0 isn't particularly strong, efficient, reliable, or anything else. It runs, and that's just about it. The 2LT-E (which this vehicle has) is a great engine, except for the whole head-cracking issue. That's why I'd say they've both got to be about the lamest engines Toyota ever made.

The 3.0 because it's just plain mediochre at everything, and the 2LT-E because it either requires a lot of babysitting or a lot of new heads.

That said: you'll notice I have a 2LT-E in my pickup. I know that the head will eventually fail, and I have accepted that fact. In fact, I make sure to always have enough money in my bank account to replace the head, and the phone number, part number, and e-mail address to an Australian parts source is in my phone--always. (I would try CDan first though, the guy works miracles, and he's less than an hour away from my house--yes in New Mexico). That's about it for the hard to find parts--I do keep spare oil and air filters in my garage, just in case I can't get them quickly someday (I currently have 4 oil, 1 air spares). The hard part is getting a part number, it's not very difficult to get the parts once you've got the part number.

It's got plenty of power, and the turbo really does keep up pretty well. In the low ranges it's got torque (because it's a diesel). At the high speeds it's got power (because it's got a turbo). I'm constantly amazed at how driveable the 2LT-E/R150f combo is (it's also what's in that truck, IIRC).

If you want to check for potential head cracking....

1)Check for water in the oil (it's the foamy white stuff on the dipstick)
2)Watch for an unexplained drop in coolant
3)Remove a coolant hose or two and check the general cleanliness of the coolant passageways. All of the Surf's I've known of that had problems off the bat had dirty, dirty nasty coolant.

To protect the engine from cracking (even though it eventually will, but this at least prolongs it, at least I think it does :) )
1)Get rid of excess weight. I don't have those sissy steps, air conditioning, rear seats (mine's a pickup though), etc....
2)Install a pyrometer!!!! You NEED to know how hot your turbo is.
3)Drive sensibly. Just because you can drive around with the turbo spooled and have amazing performance doesn't mean you should--your mileage will also thank you.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Again, I love my diesel. Even though it's the somewhat lame 2LT-E. It gets excellent mileage, has much, much more power than the 22R-E ever did (at least at high altitudes), and is the only vehicle I know of that every girl digs.

If I were you, I'd look it over and buy it. If you can find a 1KZ-TE powered Surf though--but it instead. All the benefits of the diesel, none of the drawbacks of the 2LT-E.

Dan
 
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Joined
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Messages
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Calgary, AB
Thanks Dan for the great info. Very enlighting and useful. I will try to hunt for a 3.0 L Surf. Though not very common around here but they show up every now and then.
I read somewhere though (I think of the Surf site out of the UK) that Toyota started using better heads, coded 3L (not to be confused with 3.0 Liter heads) in trucks built from the late months of '92 on. Don't really know how accurate this info is and which S/N they started from, but if it is true, I sure would like to know to limit my search. Any ideas..
Cheers..
Ahmed
 

DanS HJ-45

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The basic history of the L series...

L (2.2Ltr)
2L (2.4Ltr)
2L-T (2L, but with a Turbo)
2LII/2LII-T (2.4Ltr, with or without turbo, but many small changes from the simple L series)
2LT-E (basically a 2LII-T, but with an EFI injection system)
3L (2.8Ltr, very, very similar to 2LII-T, just more displacement)

What you read about the 3L heads is that the 2LII-T, 2LT-E, and 3L heads are all interchangeable. The 3L head is supposed to be more robust, and is usually used as the replacement head on the 2LT-E (it's what I will probably put on mine when it goes bad). I'm not sure if they were shipped from the factory with the 3L head, but I know there was an updated 2LT-E head (which very well may be the 3L head) that came in '92. But, if the head has failed, chances are high that it has already had a 3L head put on it.

The 3.0 Ltr 1KZ-TE is definitely preferable, but if you couldn't find one or needed a vehicle soon, the 2LT-E Surf isn't that bad (scratch that, It's still awesome), it's just that the head is very, very prone to cracking and demands serious babysitting. And a 1KZ-TE is simply more awesome than the 2LT-E powered vehicle is. Both should get high 20's mileage on a vehicle like that, which is MUCH better than the 3.0 4-runner.

There is still some mixed feelings about even the 3L head fix, as it appears that it just may not be the permanent fix that people were hoping. Definitely better from what I've seen (and mostly read, on TDM and the Aussie Surf site), but not necessarily the end-all fix.

Dan
 

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