Spend money to upgrade or buy a new vehicle?

Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
35
Location
Key West, FL
Hey everybody. I'm at an impasse. I own a 1991, RHD FJ80 that I brought back to the states with me from Japan. It's got roughly 80,000 miles on it (tach cable snapped, but I haven't put much on it since), an I've been having EFI relay issues (every few months the relay goes bad, never dies while driving, but still a pain when it all of a sudden won't start). Background on me would be that I'm a pilot in the military, married, no kids (though we plan to start trying in the next two years), financially stable. My wife recently recommended that I buy something new that has better reliability for my everyday driving. That being said, at this point in my life I just can't justify having two vehicles, so I would get rid of my 80 if I chose to buy something newer.

The impasse is this. I absolutely love my 80. It has it's problems, she's 27 years old after all... but I have many fond memories driving through the snow covered Japanese Alps, and sleeping in the back to get access to the first powder runs of the day. She's a go-anywhere, do-anything beast, and I get a lot of enjoyment every time I step outside and see her sitting there. Not too many new vehicles speak to me in that way. I like the look of the 4runner, but the reviews don't really leave me wanting to spend that kind of money for something I less than love.

If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. I'm open to anything, from spending the money on totally refurbishing my 80 into a reliable every-day driver, to buying something new and saying goodbye to my beloved behemoth. I'm not looking to spend more than 25-30,000 in this endeavor, and would ideally like to reap the rewards for quite some time after.

Please let me know what you think. I trust the people in this forum to understand where I'm coming from.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
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1,324
Location
Bend, OR
I'd say keep it and get the seemingly minor issues dialed in. Why waste money on a newer car if you have something perfectly capable for your needs.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
35
Location
Key West, FL
I'd say keep it and get the seemingly minor issues dialed in. Why waste money on a newer car if you have something perfectly capable for your needs.
Yeah, I suppose it wouldn't be super expensive to just take care of the little things. Just dropped 3 grand to replace the radiator and water pump though, which is one of the things that made me think "i hope I don't have something like this happening every 6 months to a year"

I think the "tackle problems as they arise" mentality is great, but with bad luck can slowly add up to the cost of a new vehicle.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2007
Messages
8,921
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Plano texas
Hi, On the 1991 Efi problems are common. Pull the black fuse box under the hood and rewire with larger wires,Toyota even has wires for this. Or relocate Efi to inside the cab. I fought this years ago and after rewiring never again. Mike
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
35
Location
Key West, FL
Spend $3k on a used Toyota Corolla and save gas money, then use the remaining $27k to make your LC a bulletproof monster!
That's absolutely something I was thinking about doing. Get a little putt putt car for work commute, work on the cruiser without having to be afraid doing stuff that effectively "downs" her for a little.
 

jfz80

80/20
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2005
Messages
11,209
Location
Madison NC
Do you have bad luck? :)

At that mechanic's rate your point may be true. That is under 800 in parts there for OEM goodness. 3k seems steep.

But with that budget or well under you could refurbish the truck to modern standards. Even a drivetrain swap is attainable at that price. The big challenge to 3fe rigs is obsolete parts. Esp efi sys.

If you have the time, space, and inclination buying some tools and learning some DIY tasks could make your dollar go much much further.

I vote keep it for exactly why you said. Nothing new excites me to see it sitting there waiting every morning.

Agree with above. Can you justify a new reliable beater and keep the 80? I understand space may prevent this but theres a local 2010 camry for 4200 here. I grabbed an 05 for 3k to let the 80 live on here with less dedicated duties.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
35
Location
Key West, FL
Hi, On the 1991 Efi problems are common. Pull the black fuse box under the hood and rewire with larger wires,Toyota even has wires for this. Or relocate Efi to inside the cab. I fought this years ago and after rewiring never again. Mike
I'm definitely looking to try rewiring. I've read through TONS of forum posts on it. I was worried that it might be something with my fuel system that is causing the problems, not simply overheating, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to start with the easier fix and see if anything else comes up.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
35
Location
Key West, FL
Do you have bad luck? :)

At that mechanic's rate your point may be true. That is under 800 in parts there for OEM goodness. 3k seems steep.

But with that budget or well under uou could refurbish the truck to modern srandards. Even a drivetrain swap is attainable at thatnprice. The big challenge to 3fe rigs is obsolete parts.


I vote keep it for exactly why you said. Nothing new excites me to see it sitting there waiting every morning.

Agree with above. Can you justify a new reliable beater and keep the 80? I understand space may prevent this but theres a local 2010 camry for 4200 here. I grabbed an 05 for 3k to let the 80 live on here with less dedicated duties.
I've got the room. So far this is the leading idea for me. Would actually give me much more time to work on the LC because I don't have to drive her.

Oh, and yeah, it was steep at the dealer, but I was stuck in the middle of GA with no way to get home during a hurricane evacuation from Florida. It wasn't the most ideal situation.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
174
Location
San Diego
I lease an electric car for $200 a month for my daily 50mi commute. The LX is now used on weekends, road trips, camping, etc. I am slowly tinkering/adding to it as I need. Not sure what I'll be doing once the lease is up, but I like the piece of mind of having 2 vehicles just in case the LX is down for repairs. It likes to nickle and dime me at times.

In other words... KEEP IT!
 

Proven

RTFM, STEP 6, POST
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2006
Messages
780
Location
Atlanta
That's absolutely something I was thinking about doing. Get a little putt putt car for work commute, work on the cruiser without having to be afraid doing stuff that effectively "downs" her for a little.
I have a Camry as my "DD" and my Cruiser as my "FUN" car.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
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1,025
Location
Oregon
Sell it and buy a Prius. They're very nice, practical, efficient boxes for moving from A to B. They're so dull that they're practically a form of meditation, so you don't have to worry about ever forgetting those 80 memories. With the money you save on gas, you can fund a drinking problem to cope with the regret.
 

IanB

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
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Location
Winnipeg, MB
Having a backup car is great for one's sanity when trying to keep a 27 year old truck on the road, especially one that you don't care about (not ANOTHER project as well as, lol). Another vote for keep it, and if you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, re-power with a better drivetrain and keep it for life.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
3,966
Location
Colorado
I wouldn't daily drive my 80 because it has 325k and has lived a very rough life. Not to say it couldn't do it, it has never let me down, but I won't ask it to. I frequently think about a 2UZ 4runner as a potential replacement, but ultimately the money I've already dumped into the 80 makes selling it just too bitter a pill to swallow.

So my vote is to keep it running--even spend some good money if you need to. Reach out to a LC guru mechanic if you can't sort out the issue yourself. Or spend mega-bucks to do a professional drivetrain swap. Still cheaper than a brand new 4Runner. :eek: I know you said two cars isn't practical, but damn, it sure makes life easy. Get something economical and idiotproof to drive around when you want to tear into a project on the 80.
 

Golgo13

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
2,023
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate and recommend to go and test drive a 4Runner. You can get a used one in good condition for the money you have available. And it is a great truck. Make sure the vehicle meets your needs instead of you always having to meet it's needs.
I have a '92 FJ80, a '12 FJ Cruiser and a '17 4Runner. The 4Runner is by far my favorite mostly because I know I don't have to think about it at all. The FJ80 was great when it was driveable, but now just causes me more stress than I really want in my life because I always have to think about it being a 25 y/o vehicle. Once it is driveable again, it should basically be OK, but there are still a million things that can go wrong that I haven't 'fixed' yet.
 
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